Hi hi hi friends! Welcome to Behind the party I am one of your hosts, Amanda, and today, I am chatting all things engagement with Jenna.
So here’s the thing - if you’ve listened to other episodes or work with us at our “day jobs” you know we always like to circle back to your relationship, the core to all this fun stuff. Last week we talked about engagement parties but today we want to chat all about the importance of ENJOYING your engagement.
The average length of engagement is 12 - 18 months according to Brides.com with wedding planning also averaging about 8 - 9 months. It’s a short phase of your relationship when you’re thinking about the decades and life you’re building together but it’s filled with excitement, memories, and moments you will remember for the rest of your life. The thing about your engagement though - is that it tends to be overshadowed by wedding planning, especially if it gets stressful. So this episode we want to talk about what to expect from your engagement, the realistic expectations, and some ideas to keep that engagement fire or spark burning, even when things feel overwhelming at the moment. After all, how you two work through things in this phase will really set the stage for your communication and relationship in marriage.
Things you “have” to do as soon as you’re engaged
These are the things you cannot put off for later. So get ready to check them off your list:
sharing the news with your inner circle
sharing the news on social
resize + insure your ring
determine how long of an engagement you want
start the conversation on a general budget/vision for your wedding (will you be eloping? destination? large local celebration?)
4 Things to expect when you become engaged:
1 - Honeymoon phase:
This is FILLED with excitement, smiles, and energy and we absolutely love it. Many times people talk about honeymoon phases of dating and marriage (that one makes sense) but becoming engaged has its own too. You two are excited and an extra “layer” of love and positivity fills your relationship as you know you’re starting this big journey together.
Your “people” in life: family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers in the nail salon will excitedly congratulate you and ask to see your ring. Get ready to have your hand touched by 1000 people as they peep at the bling, and don’t be shy to show it off!
Are you excited to share your proposal story? Well, buckle in because until you two are officially married you will be saying it DAILY. MANY times most likely. Honestly though, soak it in and live it up - proposal stories bring so much joy and love, and the fact that you get to share it with others is incredible.
Wedding plans - EVERYONE is going to become your closest friend and want the inside scoop on your wedding plans. This is where most of our couples (at least in North Texas) tell us they get overwhelmed and stressed. Sometimes, you want to pretend wedding planning does not exist and that’s okay! Maybe you haven’t gotten to that stage of planning - don’t let others asking about it or telling you to get on it push you into a sense of urgency… Unless it’s from the wedding professionals you hired - that is a different story.
It’s okay not to share your wedding plans, it’s definitely okay to say “we are focusing on our engagement right now”, or even that you will get to that soon. You do not have to divulge any details you do not want to. While we’re mentioning that - please don’t post wedding specifics (date, location, time) on social media if you aren’t opening an invite to your friends/followers. We have had so many stories from couples who didn’t plan to invite so-and-so, or feel uncomfortable because now an old friend they haven’t spoken to has commented “can’t wait to celebrate with you!” When there was no plan to invite them in the first place.
2 - Family:
OO talk about excitement! Typically family (maybe not all, or possibly not both sides of your family) members are filled with excitement for you two. Even the most excited family members are going to go through a cycle of emotions and feelings as you get closer to the wedding. It’s totally normal and if you think about it, makes complete sense. Most people don’t talk about it and when they do are shocked to hear others experience the same SO friends, you know we don’t gatekeep here. In the light of behind honest, and supportive and wanting the best for you two here are some things I (Amanda) wished someone had talked to me about when I was engaged.
Your family, especially the ones you two are closest to are going through changes too. They are realizing that your relationship is taking a big, amazing step and even though they support you it’s going to mean changes for them and changes in your relationship with them. That’s OKAY. It can mean bigger and better things! However, it’s still kind of scary having an unknown expectation right? Some people feel like they’re losing them (enter your relationship here) son/daughter/sibling etc. Others feel like “they’re gaining a son/daughter”.
What the kicker is though is that they’re probably going to feel both. Especially for parents, they’ve lived through what the first few years of marriage are like, how relationships grow and change, and know what is coming. It’s healthy to focus on your marriage, and lean less on your family for “needs” and more so for support, friendship and memories.
3 - PRESSURE:
OH, MAN. I have one word for you friends. HOLIDAYS.
Newly engaged? CONGRATS! You just unlocked a new level of complex navigation: holiday commitments. There is an unspoken (most of the time) expectation that when you’re engaged your fiancé will be at the holiday party/dinner/banquet. Especially if it’s family, but also for work, friends, etc.
I won’t dive too deep into it, since you can always grab the free guide, tips, and downloads over in our Holiday series:
Holiday Guide: EPI 28
4 - Serious talks
At this stage in your relationship, these talks are exciting, and fun and you’re learning more about each other on a deeper level than ever. You two have committed that you’re doing these things together - not just talking about things you want that maybe you will do together as you did during the talking/dating phase of your relationship. This is future planning - family planning - financial goals for your marriage and future together. CUE the chills we love it!
At the same time, some conversations may be a bit more heavily weighted and give you two a chance at working on those communication skills and compromising as a couple. Working through these, keeping the focus on the fact that it is you two vs the topic/problem is important and will help you develop communication tools to use in your marriage for years to come.
Boundaries to set when you are engaged
Give yourself time between your proposal and when you start wedding planning
Wedding planning day of the week (at least at the start of your planning): don’t overload yourself doing everything ALL the time.
Wedding email: YES! We love organization. All those inquiries, leads, wedding contacts, contracts, and designs are tucked into one email account. Where you only open it when your wedding planning hat is on and keep it closed when it’s not.
Plan ahead = less stress (or hire a planner wink - if you need recommendations in the North Texas, DFW, or Denton area shoot us an email)
NO wedding planning / talk on some dates
Keep it FUN - make sure you’re focusing on your relationship, trying new things, and laughing together as you make these memories!
Ideas for while dating during your engagement
Make your cake tastings, catering tastings, and wedding registry a date night
KEEP dating - your relationship should be growing during this time, not on pause for wedding planning
Romantic gestures: big or small. No scratch that. Big AND small gestures (both of you)
Try new things together - have you ever golfed? Played pickle ball or spent a weekend touring wineries?
Try each other’s hobbies - even if it seems too dirty, glittery, or plain old boring. An afternoon with a good attitude might be the best you’ve had in a long time, plus it gives you a glimpse into their world.
Take a weekend trip: take turns planning a trip so that you can experience different things in different areas. In North Texas there are SO many places and things to do and see in a 4-hour drive, let alone flights around the country making your options endless.
Date night: open wedding gifts together with a Netflix show, favorite drink, and pizza.
At the end of the day, your engagement is about you two - and sometimes wedding planning steals the show. Although we love wedding planning here at behind the party, we truly want your relationship to thrive.
This Episode was hosted by AMANDA
Listen to the Episode HERE