So You’re Getting Married – How to Survive Being Engaged
A little over two weeks ago the guy I’ve been living in sin with for three years asked me to marry him.
Secure in the fact that I was finally being made an honest woman, awesome happy fun times ensued. This lasted roughly 24 hours before the hangover set in and being engaged became a tournament to test our physical, mental, and emotional limits – a fitting prelude to married life.
If you’re newly engaged too you probably have a lot of questions. How do we set a budget? DJ or band? What do flowers cost? Unity candle or hand fasting ceremony? If my dog is a ring bearer, how do I stop him from shitting on the aisle and farting in front of my guests?
Take a deep breath and put these questions aside because the first thing you need to do is learn how to survive the first couple of weeks – these tips are going to help.
1. Get a proposal story
The first question everyone will ask is “how did he/you do it?” You are going to tell this story roughly 800 times, so it’s good to be prepared. If you’ve got a proposal story that involves any of the following items you’re set: elephant, hot air balloon, sky writing, public audience, crash scene, secluded beach setting, the Eiffel Tower, a puzzle or maze, or a room full of candles/roses.
If you don’t have any of these items, it’s worth putting some thought towards what you want to highlight. One or both parties getting down on one knee, for example, is a nice touch.
I’ve found endless delight in the reactions of loved ones and acquaintances by starting our proposal story with “Well, we were lying in bed…”. When Mr Enager said this to one of his mates, the mate replied “Jeez mate, you shouldn’t have to go to those lengths, what will happen when you’re actually married?” Gold.
2. Make up a date
The second question everyone will ask is: “have you picked a date?” Expect this straight away. Less than 12 hours after getting engaged, I made the mistake of answering this question with: “I’m more focussed on getting drunk right now”. Apparently a more acceptable response would have been: “we’re hoping for a spring wedding”.
To keep things simple, and regardless of your actual intentions, pick a vague range of time like “summer 2014”, “early next year” or “once the divorce is finalised”. No one beyond your family and closest friends will remember so go ahead and make something up here.
In fact, despite asking, no one actually expects you to have picked a date yet. If you have picked a date, and that date is eight months away, people will assume you’re pregnant. Some people will even just ask straight out (I wish I was joking).
3. Decide if you’re going to use the “f” word
Fiancé is a weird word, smug in its newly engaged-ness with the little French accent above the e. I tried it on for about half a week but found myself pausing before saying it, and then following it up with an apology. Awkward all round.
If you’re not French there are limited alternatives. “De facto” (bogan), “Partner” (ambiguous), “Boyfriend” (juvenile), and “Husband-to-be” (pretentious).
It’s a personal choice and personally I like to refer to my fiancé by his name. Sometimes he calls me “The Mrs” in which case I call him “dickhead”.
4. Get a realistic perspective on money
According to the “Cost of Love” survey in Bride to Be magazine, the average Aussie wedding will set you back $48,296. If you don’t have a lazy $50K in your savings, and you’re going to put yourself (or your parents) in debt for this shin dig, it can help to have a bit of perspective. For the same price you could get the Chanel Shell purse or this T-Shirt. You’re getting a whole wedding for the price of a t-shirt or hand bag, so chill out about the money you’re spending already!
Remember too, depending on how your culture celebrates weddings or if you’re planning on asking for cash in lieu of gifts, you could actually stand to make money out of the wedding. If this is likely, put everything on credit card for now and pay it all off after the big day.
If that doesn’t help, try prioritising your shit out. Most people can’t afford an ice sculpture, chocolate fountain, flock of white doves andentrance in a horse and carriage for their wedding. At some point you’re going to have to make a choice.
Ask yourself the hard questions: how important is ice to you? Were you raised in Siberia? On the other hand, how much do you love chocolate? Enough to swim in a fountain of it? Boom – choice made.
5. Plan everything straight away
This is going to be a controversial piece of advice, but from my well informed perspective planning a wedding should be a sprint event not a marathon.
Chances are good that you probably both work full time jobs. Well done you! You might also want to consider taking on weekend work or night shifts (see point 4).
Between having a life and working a job, all your spare time should now be spent Googling venues, arguing about which cousins to invite, trying to decide between peonies and ranunculus, and of course discussing the virtues of an ice sculpture over a chocolate fountain (again, see point 4).
After two weeks Mr Engager and I have picked a date, booked the ceremony and reception venues, finalised the guest list, booked the photographer, and picked our wedding party. At this rate we’ll have it all planned in eight weeks and be able to enjoy the final six months or our engagement in loved up, pre-wedding bliss. If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is.
Apart from her insightful prose on social phenomena, Annabananabomb also shares her pithy thoughts on Twitter. You can follow her @annabananabomb