Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In Praise of Being Engaged

This is a post I've been meaning to write for some time, but I've been collecting my thoughts until now. Seeing as how I've gotten a temporary reprieve from school work, here are my mojito-fueled thoughts about a long engagement, wedding planning during the engagement process, and stopping to smell the roses.
I am completely enjoying my long engagement. I am in grad school and working full time, and I can't begin to imagine how I would plan a wedding right now. I have to structure all my free time in order to get all my reading done as it is. Thinking about adding cake and food testings, DIY projects, touring venues, writing vows, etc to that makes me tired and it would suck all the joy out of the process. I am enjoying being an engaged person and everything that comes with it rather than someone planning a wedding. Most people I've seen get married in recent years follow the 8-10 month rule (as in 8-10 moths after the engagement there will be a wedding) and I'm sure this is by necessity in some cases. If I were in the throws of planning right now there would be a lot of ideas I would miss because of the time crunch, I would miss the opportunity to deliberate and think about what I really want, and worst of all I would miss being engaged! My missing sense of urgency contributes to my high level of comfort with our long engagement too. I am in no rush for any reason. I'm lucky in that respect.

I didn't think joining the world of engaged people would feel different, but it does. After a four year relationship and 3 years living together, I thought the only palpable difference would be having a ring on all the time. I don't know about you, but I felt immediately different in an excited and deliriously happy kind of way. Everything we had talked about was suddenly happening: lifetime committment, a public and legal expression of love/joining of our families, and building a life together. It's not that these things don't exist if you decide to start wedding planning right away, they totally do, I just think I would be missing out on this time with my intended to enjoy this moment in time and these wonderful feelings of anticipation, deep love, and comfort that I'm having. I have never been like this. I am always thinking 5 steps ahead, so jumping into planning would have been totally natural. I am not usually an in-the-moment kind of gal, so this is new for me...but nice.

I was finally spurred into action to write this post because of this video on Offbeat Bride. While there is definitely some good advice in there for the perpetually anxiety ridden bride, Ariel does say that this can be caused by a long engagement. I agree that having a year or more to mull over what people will think, are these linen colors right, do I have enough food, can drive you mad with worry. I think one answer to this dilemma is know thyself. If you are a worrier and can swing it, get married sooner rather than later. If you want time to think and collect information give yourself that time. That all sounds a little cut and dry, but starting from a point where you know you limits and can work around issues that will drive you crazy is probably a great place to start. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, right? I'm really determined to follow this "make a decision and stick to it" thing, which will also serve you well no matter what your personality is.
I am personally loving all this time I have to deliberate and just be. Anyone else love the long engagement?

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