Thursday, April 19, 2012

The first 2 weeks...

Since I'm now 15 months into my engagement, the next couple of posts are going to be backtracking to discuss things that have already been accomplished and the way in which we are going about this whole planning business. Hopefully this will offer some little bit of insight to those who are also/will be in my same shoes at some point.

The first 2 weeks of my engagement were a bit of a whirl-wind. As soon as he popped the question he grabbed my phone, shoved it in my hands and said "Call your mom." To my shock, I was paralyzed. I wanted nothing to do with calling my mother, or anyone actually. I wanted to just sit on the couch with Howie for hours. Just sit. And maybe cry a little. And sit some more. To this day I cannot explain my initial reaction. This was something I had wanted and been looking forward to for months. It was something I was waiting for. And yet, when it happened I couldn't believe it. I felt like my life changed in that split second.

I was far from the quintessential screaming-out-of-excitement girl you picture in your mind. Howie had to convince me for 5 minutes that I should call my parents. But I didn't want to. I wanted to keep this a secret to hoard and treasure on my own for a while. After he kept repeating how much he wanted me to call people I finally gave in. Of course, everyone was excited. I can't even count the number of times I was asked "So, how did he do it?" All of this crazy attention was extremely overwhelming. It took away from the novelty and the sparkle that moment originally possessed. To this day I don't really like to share that story. It's my story, its our moment of vulnerability and commitment to each other.

For the next couple of weeks the weirdness continued... I was not ready to start planning and it seemed that's all anyone else wanted to know about. When's the date? Who will you have in your wedding party? Have you looked at dresses online? Where will you have the wedding? Where will you have the reception? Band or DJ? What about bridesmaids dresses? What colors do you want? What flowers do you want? I'd grit back my teeth and say "I don't know yet" a million times, when all I was thinking was BACK OFF. I have no idea if this is a common reaction - but if any of you have experienced this as well, let me know! It be nice to know I'm not completely out of my mind.

The worst part wasn't all the "others" asking the questions, though. It was my mother. Dunt. dunt. duhhhhhh.

As soon as Howie put the ring on my finger I blurted "We don't have to get married until 2013," which was to his relief (he had been hoping for a longer engagement).  My mother immediately assumed we'd get married 12-18 months later...She was not a happy camper when I told her we were thinking summer '13. But I realized in that moment I needed time. Time to breath, time to enjoy this new status, time to get my mind straight, and time to plan. She, too, started asking the same questions listed above, and any time I'd offer a thought, she'd counter with her own idea and how I had to listen to her because 'this was her gift to me.' That got old real fast and after about a month of being on completely different pages it became clear that this was not the time to plan. I mandated that we were going to take this slow and we were going to avoid arguing as much as possible.

This brings me to my two cents, if you will. If you feel anything like I've described, its okay to put your foot down. This process requires happy, level headed people working together. If you are feeling this way, know you are not alone! In a world where this thing is so hyped up and girls are expected to be giddy and have everything already planned in their minds since childhood, realize that is just not reality.

A word of advice: If you are debating between a long engagement vs a short one, I definitely advocate for the pros of a long engagement. It has been the best decision. I've had time to calmly discuss things with my mother that we don't agree on, I have felt no pressure or rush yet, and it gives me time to do my due diligence when it comes to research and deciding on the details I think are important. We started making some final decisions and commitments at the start of this year so I had my time to enjoy being engaged without the pressure all last year. I, personally, needed that time to process everything, to mentally make the switch in my mind that this is all real; it's no longer a hypothetical dream.

If you still have hot pants for a wild and fast romance, at least take a pause of time to put planning on the back burner and just enjoy that moment of being engaged. If you rush ahead without processing and enjoying simply being engaged, you will miss out. Whether its for a week or two, a month, or in my case a year, take that moment and breath it in; that's the moment you are living. 

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