I’ve been engaged for just over 3 months, and I’ve learned some pretty surprising things about the #egnagedlife that nobody really ever warns you about. For the sake of saving future fiancées/fiancés from similar shock, disappointment, and annoyance, I will share my lessons learned.
1. People will suddenly give a shit about you, in the weirdest way ever.
Jesse and I have been together three and a half years, but most people didn’t have much to say about our relationship until we were engaged. Suddenly, I am someone that people want to have endless conversations with, but not about the weather, my dog, or what I did this weekend. The only thing people seem to want to hear me talk about is the wedding.
This is weird to me, because I am not someone that you would expect to constantly gush about her upcoming nuptials, but I’m still asked nearly daily “So how’s the wedding planning going?” People literally seek me out to ask me about this one particular topic. For other women (and men), this might be the most exciting aspect of being engaged, (besides all the love, of course) but for me, this is the worst part thus far.
Even if I were an A++ conversationalist (I am not), I would still not love being poked and prodded by these questions on such a frequent basis that I now have a generic, memorized answer that I give without a second thought. There are two reasons for this: Primarily, as I said before, I am not one who gushes about anything. I do not like to talk about myself at length unless I am with a very close friend, and I certainly am not the type of girl who has spent her whole life dreaming about her perfect wedding day (if you are, that’s amazing and I wish I had thought about it more). My groom is much more interesting than our wedding day, in my opinion.
Ask me about him, I’ll talk your ear off for a year. Secondarily, I hate this question because it makes me feel rude because I don’t want to talk about it constantly. I feel as if I am letting those who care enough about me to ask down when I don’t immediately light up and start on a long winded monologue about our flower arrangements and cake tastings. It makes me feel terribly uncomfortable and mean, makes them feel awkward and as if I don’t want to talk to them, and no one walks away happy. Moral of the story: ask me about something else. I’ll talk about the wedding eventually, I promise.
2. Pinterest only has so many ideas.
This is a shock to me, because I am a Pinterest fiend. I currently have 46 boards and over 3,000 pins. And yet, every day I check for wedding ideas, and every day I am disappointed. Maybe it’s because I am a very specific person, who craves authenticity and originality in all I do, but I just can’t find anything beyond the 100 or so pins I already have on our wedding board (most of which are beer/flower girl tutu/pun related). This is a point I would like to make because I have been to many weddings which are literally the pages of Pinterest made into reality.
That’s nice and all, but do you really want a trending wedding? Or a wedding that looks exactly like that person you went to high school with who got married last month’s? I don’t. I want a wedding that screams “this couple put a lot of time and thought into every detail of this day so it would reflect who they are as people!” These Pinterest weddings, albeit gorgeous and romantic, do not have much original thought included.
They are a mismatch of pastels, burlap and tulle, mint green (okay okay this is our wedding color but it’s also been my favorite color since I was 10 so back off) accents, and Etsy created signs. If I never see another chalk board sign at the entrance of a wedding again, it’ll be too soon.
I guess what I am trying to say is that one cannot plan their wedding on Pinterest, because Pinterest doesn’t know you. They don’t know your partner. They don’t know that you love Jim and Pam’s wedding from the office just as much as you loved Pheobe’s wedding on Friends, and they don’t know that your ideal wedding would look exactly like Crosby and Jasmine’s in Parenthood.
They don’t know which elements from Disney you appreciate most or how much your fiancé loves Star Wars, or that your main goal is to be comfortable and have the most fun after party to a 5 minute ceremony anyone there has ever seen. They just don’t know you like you know you. So get out there and come up with some semi-original ideas (or at least ones you don’t see every single time you log into Pinterest) and make that wedding yours.
3. People don’t care about your parties, but they want to come to your wedding.
The most shocking thing that happened when we got engaged was how many people cared. We aren’t the same social butterflies we each were before we got together (primarily because we are both very picky and judgmental and no longer feel the need to pretend we aren’t), so it was quite the surprise when, upon announcing our engagement to social media, we had over 100 “likes” and even more well wishes. Yes, we’ve seen people with nearly 1,000 “likes” after getting engaged, but we are not in competition, and we were humbled by the amount of people who were apparently happy for us even though we hadn’t spoken to them in years. It was a warm fuzzy feeling that made the sweetness of newly engaged-dom even sweeter.
Shortly after, we decided to celebrate our love (and also had just moved and wanted to show off our new house) by throwing an engagement party for our friends. We invited about 30 people, knowing some wouldn’t be able to make it, but were fully expecting about 20 to show up. We knew a great deal of them were expecting invitations to the wedding, and many would be receiving them, so we figured they would want to show up for this prequel, right? Well…..wrong.
We emailed, texted, Facebook-ed, and even asked in person nearly every guest in the week leading up to the party if they were attending, spent over $200 on food and two sweaty weeks cleaning, and still only 10 people showed up. 10. We were shocked. All of these people were supposed to be our closest friends, and half of them couldn’t even make it to a party celebrating the thing they all assumed they had a guaranteed invitation to? I got fairly upset about it for a couple of days, until my mom told me a similar story.
Her story was of the exact same thing happening to her 30 years prior with her first husband. I’m not kidding, even the same exact amount of people showed up. She explained that everyone wants to come to your wedding because people love saying they’re “going to a wedding” and feeling the love in the air during the day and the photos they can post on Instagram (of themselves, but never of you)*, but nobody but your very best friends and closest family actually wants to celebrate beforehand. I have learned this to be very true, and also a very valuable life lesson. If only that made it any less disappointing.
4. Despite the fact that nobody wants to join, there are, like, 500 parties.
If you are like me and have a giant, opinionated family that you like to keep separate from most of your friends, you’ll find yourself having more parties than you ever imagined. Here is a list of the parties we already have planned: friend engagement party (total bust), family engagement party, bridal/wedding shower, bachelor(ette) parties, rehearsal dinner, wedding , and the suddenly popular “day after” brunch.
You might be saying “……Duh,” but let me tell you, this was not something I had accounted for prior to getting engaged. I thought we’d have a wedding shower, our bachelor(ette) parties, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding. And let me be clear, I do love parties, but not parties in my honor, and especially not parties where I am expected to open gifts in front of everyone and hug every single person goodbye. I am the person at a party who says hello, makes sure I am seen, and slips out without even waving at the host. I am a rude party-goer. And now I am expected to host and stay until the end of so many parties that just thinking about it makes my entire body cringe. Of course, we don’t need this many parties, but if you met my family, you’d understand, we do. We have no choice. (Okay maybe we do but I am also a pushover and love presents, even if I have to open them in front of people.)
5. Being engaged doesn’t instantly make your everyday problems go away.
I realized last week that I’m falling into a depression. I was so angry with myself for being depressed while engaged because I thought it was the most ungrateful scenario I had ever heard. ‘How dare I be depressed during the happiest time of my life. Jesse will never forgive me,’ I thought to myself. But the thing is, being engaged hasn’t changed my life at all. It’s amazing and wonderful, of course, but so was our life before engagement. And it still had/has its challenges.
For instance, I still get mad when Jesse leaves dishes in the sink, laundry next to the laundry basket, and when he comes home from work grumpy or too tired to hang out with me. I also have a job I’m quite unhappy with, a lot of new bills I’ve never had before (thanks, real world), a new puppy who requires all my love and attention, and general anxiety issues that I’ve had for my entire life. Add planning a wedding and multiple parties, worrying about money for the wedding, and family members nagging me daily to this list, and depression makes sense.
I think some people expect an engaged person to be on cloud nine all the time, but I honestly feel I have never been more stressed out. I love my fiancé, our life together, and the thoughts of what our future might hold that flow through my head daily, but that doesn’t mean real life stops. This has proven to be my hardest lesson so far, and one I don’t think I’d be okay with learning if I didn’t understand my depression prior to this period of my life. I don’t think I’m alone, and I would never want anyone feeling similarly to feel badly about their emotions, mental state, or stress levels. Being engaged is easy. Life is hard.
*I am very guilty of this same act; I understand the impulse. But at your next wedding, try to take a picture of the bride and groom, even if it doesn’t get posted. Maybe send it to them? Show you care about why you were invited. It’ll go a long way.