...when you decide to have a long one, you're setting yourself up to hear a lot of questions, from a bunch of people who you'd think, frankly, should just mind their own business.
When we first got engaged and people would, of course, ask when we were getting married, and we'd reply with "in two years", we got a variety of different responses.
"Why not just get engaged next year, then?"
"If you're so ready to get married, why have a long engagement?"
"Are you guys trying to see if you wanna be married or something?"
"Two years? Why, what's wrong?"
Now, all of these irk me, but the last one was the very worst- I only got it once, from a not-too-close school mate. Now, I understand that movies and books all portray the whole engagement-wedding process as: girl and boy fall in love, boy proposes, girl has four months to prepare the perfect weddings (turning into a bridezilla at one point along the way, or else her dad falls into financial ruin) and that's that.
However, Mikey and I don't fall into the normal stereotypical wedding planning mold. I'm not saying that it's bad to plan a wedding in that amount of time- in fact, I'm always incredibly impressed by those ladies who plan a wedding in a year or less and it looks fantastic! Mikey and I just knew that wasn't what we wanted to do, and for several reasons.
First, we wanted me to graduate first. This isn't a necessity, but my parents, parents' friends and gramma have all drilled it into me to do so. They know how much I'd love to get married and pop out a baby, and so their line of thinking is that if i graduate and then get pregnant on the honeymoon (common theme in our family) I will at least have a degree- otherwise, they don't know that I'd finish school. I'm also going to be the third person in our whole family who has graduated (including cousins and such) and the second in our immediate family, so this is really important to them, and me as well. I haven't gone to school for *mumble* years to not graduate now. Although I'd like to think that once I was married, my priorities wouldn't change so much that my education wasn't as important to me anymore, but I know that if I do accidentally get pregnant on our honeymoon*, I'm not sure how pregnant me would feel about writing 15-page papers and attending three hour lectures. I get pretty hormonal when I'm pms-ing, and I can't imagine what it'll be like when I'm pregnant.
*Just a quick note- we do plan on using protection until we're READY ready for kids, but my parents used protection on their honeymoon as well, and yet my sister is proof that sometimes life has different plans...
Second, we knew that we weren't going to have a whole lot of money to throw around for the wedding. Mikey and I are going to be the primary source of money for the wedding, and so we figured that with a two year goal set, we could save, start to buy things early on, and spread out the spending over 24 months, rather than 8. So far, we have. I recently was asked what our budget was, and I put it at around three-thousand dollars. However, I did not include the honeymoon (we're using a stock Mikey's mom had set up for him before she passed- I felt uneasy about this, but Mikey is positive she would have approved), or anything we've already purchased. And, I have to tell you, this was a great idea. I've already bought my dress, shoes, half of the favors, and various other items we're going to use. We're making the mead (instead of doing a champagne toast) and are purchasing our own alcohol, one bottle at a time, which is going to save us-- literally-- around (at least) a thousand of dollars. We're doing the wedding in our backyard, which means no venue fees- only tent rental, and tables, chairs, etc- and we've found a wonderful vendor for that, and it's going to cost us under a thousand dollars.
Now, I know these are all solutions that we'd probably been able to come up with in under a years time, but having this past year, and the 8 months still left, has really helped. We can approach an idea, see if we like it, and back away and chew on the thought for a few weeks-or months- before deciding one thing or another. I get stressed really easily, and so this has been fantastic. I've been able to play around with so many different elements, and take breaks for school and life in between planning (not to say that I don't think about it frequently...) and it has really worked for me. I've been able to rework the design of our wedding several times, and we're finally settling into something we're both extremely happy with. I think the long engagement has really prevented me from obsessing too much over any little detail, and has really allowed me to look at what is important to us.
I'm not saying this is for everybody- tons of people work great under pressure (I do too, but then I end up pulling my hair out) and love the fast-paced, whirlwind wedding planning. I can understand the appeal, but to keep my sanity, and to really enjoy the whole process of getting married, this was the right choice for us. Which leads me to my last reason...
(Number three-) I really, really wanted to enjoy being engaged. Mikey and I, before we were engaged, were almost on a wedding show. We had heard from a friend (who knew we were moving in that direction) told us about a wedding show contest, and how they'd throw us a free themed wedding. Well, as you learned in my last post, I love anything free. So, when we had the chance to have a themed wedding at no cost to us, we jumped at it. We went through the initial interviewing process, and got up to a meeting with the studio producer, when we learned that the wedding wouldn't actually be free- we'd get a free wedding planner, and they could help out with certain elements, but the majority of the cost would be ours-- also, we'd have to get married in the next three months.
We sat down with my parents and talked it out, and decided it wasn't the right move for us. We probably could have pulled it off, but with only three months warning, and not a whole lot of assistance, it wouldn't have been the wedding we wanted. It would have been fun, for sure, but we decided we didn't want to sacrifice the kind of control we could have for a TV show and free wedding planner.
After we decided not too, I really thought about how it would have felt to be engaged for three months or less, and I wasn't crazy about the idea. I'd been reading a lot of wedding blogs, like weddingbee.com, and I loved reading about every step the ladies on there went through to arrive at their wedding day. There was so much excitement, and anticipation, and I really didn't want to miss out on that. Plus, I plan on being married for forever, but being engaged was something I'd only be for such a short time, and I didn't really want to make that an even smaller part of my life.
I think being engaged is important to a wedding and marriage- it's a transitory period, and even though I know Mikey and I would have been fine if we had been married then, we've done a lot of growing and learning about one another while planning the wedding. We've dealt with money issues, family issues, and about any other issue that you can imagine- and have come through every one with shining colors, and our communication skills are so much better for it. Again, I'm not knocking short (or no) engagements. There is a sort of romanticism to deciding you want to be married, and then flying somewhere and doing it within the week (like Mikey's brother and his wife did- and they're some of the happiest married people I know!). Had the wedding been completely free from the show, we probably would have done it, and I know I'd be just as happy with Mikey. But I'm glad we decided not to. I've loved being engaged, but I think I'm really ready to move to the next step. I've really treasured the time I've had as an engaged woman (even though I think saying 'fiance' is weird, but that's for another post), but I think I'm ready.
I'm ready to become a wife.
And as for all of those people who asked all of those invasive questions?
It's really easy to get them off your back. A nice, "Because that's what we decided we want for ourselves" works nicely, and if it doesn't, you can always throw out a half-joking, "Good point- you seem to know so much about our relationship and life together- any other mistakes we're making you'd like to point out?" really shuts up those persistent people who don't know you and are sticking their nose where it doesn't belong.
Any snarky comments about your engagement, or about how you're doing the whole wedding thing? Also, any additional come backs are always appreciated.