Things Couples Don’t Think Of Before Getting Engaged
Getting engaged is, of course, an emotional decision. There should be plenty of emotions overflowing between two individuals who decide to spend their lives together. But, it shouldn’t just be an emotional decision. It should also be a rational one. Couples shouldn’t just think about that proposal moment (though that does require planning, since those can go terribly wrong sometimes). They should also think about what happens right after getting engaged. What does getting engaged mean? Often, when a couple gets engaged, they are so moved in the moment, they forget that, you don’t just tie the knot the day after getting engaged. The engagement is quite a thing. It is a substantial part of one’s life. So, yes, you love each other lots and want to spend forever together. Just know that getting engaged sets off a series of events. Here’s what couples often don’t think about before getting engaged.
Now the clock is ticking
Before, when you were just dating, nobody was really thinking when are they going to get married? Maybe some were thinking it, but not a lot, and not often. But once you announce your engagement, a clock begins to tick—and rapidly—for everyone around you. There is a certain expected time frame within which you are expected to send out those Save the Date cards and find a venue and buy a dress.
Any delay raises suspicions
If you are sluggish on moving this engagement forward, people start to question your commitment to each other. Really—people will start to think you might be wrong for each other. Surely, a couple who really loved each other would want to get this wedding show on the road, right? See how nobody was thinking any of that before you got engaged. But now the pressure is on. Be sure you’re ready for it.
Plus, think of those elderly relatives
If you have any extremely old relatives in the family, their hopes are up high now that this engagement has been announced. Maybe they didn’t plan on holding on much longer, but now that they might see your wedding day, they want to stick around. If you know what I mean. Now that is really a lot of pressure. Every day your 90-year-old granny is asking when the date will be.
Record scratch: parents’ blessing, anyone?
Uh oh. Did anyone think to get the parents’ blessing on this? Even if you know they’d likely be into it, perhaps it would have been nice to ask them how they felt about it before you got engaged. I’m just saying—you could have drama coming your way if you just spring this on everyone.
Did anyone else just get engaged?
Don’t forget about announcement politics. What are those? Well, think about this: if your sister just got engaged two weeks ago, it may seem rude for you to get engaged now. You’d be stealing the spotlight. Also, can your parents afford to fund the weddings of two of their kids this year?
Have your families even met?
You’d be surprised how many couples get engaged before their families have met. I understand that if the families live on opposite sides of the country (or world!) that can be hard to make happen. But whether it’s through an in-person visit or a family Skype conference, your families probably want to get to know each other before becoming, well, family.
Where does religion come into play?
If your families come from different religions and they are devout, they are going to have questions about what role religion will play in this wedding. Are you having it at a religious institution? Which one? How will you raise the kids? I’m just saying that these questions are coming, so be ready for them.
Shining a light on others’ relationships
This isn’t really your problem but is a funny thing that can arise: if you have been together for much less time than another couple you know and love who is not engaged, they may feel a bit resentful. So you’ve been together 2.5 years and are engaged; they’ve been together four years and aren’t. It’s like you’re shining a light on how slowly they’re moving.
Has it been at least two years?
Speaking of how long you’ve been together, how long have you been together? The honeymoon phase is a real, scientific, biological phase. If you’re still in it (some say it lasts two years but it can extend to three), you’re not really in the right frame of mind to decide on something as big as marriage. There’s no good reason to rush marriage—but there are a lot of bad reasons.
Wedding planning can destroy you
Please know that wedding planning destroys some couples. Deciding to spend their life together and planning the ensuing event is the reason couples break up. Wedding planning is a nightmare. So here’s a good question: are you two comfortable with conflict? Do you know how to communicate well with each other when things get tough?
Who is paying for this thing?
What are your expectations surrounding payment? Talk about these before you announce your engagement, since your parents will have questions and concerns. And you should both know what one another’s financial situation is surrounding wedding planning. If one person’s family is dirt broke and won’t be able to contribute anything, you should both know that.
Do you have time to plan a wedding?
Really, truly, do you have the time? There will never be a time when wedding planning is easy, but if one of you just opened a business or you’re in the middle of renovating a home, this is not the time to plan a wedding. It’s okay to admit that.
People will start trying to plan for it
People will begin sniffing around, trying to figure out how to plan for this thing. Is it going to be next summer? Because they were going to go on a month-long cruise, but they haven’t booked it yet, and don’t want to miss your wedding so…do you have any ideas about the date?
Family takes stock in it
Your parents are going to start thinking and talking about this wedding—perhaps more than even you are ready to think and talk about it. They are going to call you with questions about it regularly. Be sure you’re ready for this. They are excited now, but they also have plans to make around it. They’re in it now—they’re invested.
What kind of wedding do you want?
Have you two discussed what kind of wedding you want? That’s pretty important. If one has always assumed she’d have a 150-person guest list and it would be an extravaganza in a ballroom and the other wants to elope at a courthouse, that’s an issue—one you should know about before getting engaged.