An increasing trend I am seeing among couples and on social media is the idea of planning your wedding when you aren't officially engaged (that is, having a ring or formal proposal). As a wedding vendor, I personally have encountered one or two prospective clients inquiring about services before they were engaged. And while there are overly excited girlfriends who are inquiring about my services so they can have an idea for a budget, the majority of these couples who are planning before they’re officially engaged are genuinely interested in working with me, but are taking their time to gather the funds and to consider every aspect of their wedding.
When asking fellow creative about couples doing it, I actually got a lot of personal stories and experiences of why they started planning. And a lot, if not all, came down to the groom wanting to save up for the perfect ring or they wanted to make sure the vendors they wanted for their day were available. With this kind of reasoning and reflecting on my own relationship, this method of planning is totally understandable, and would be something that I would do as well.
However, when I asked about how their families and friends felt about it, most said that they kept it on the DL until there was an actual proposal. This being said, I think there is a lot of backlash and negativity surrounding this; when I asked this question on Facebook, one of the responses I received was “It’s almost like the girlfriend is being pushy and jumping the marriage gun”. This is not necessarily untrue, as there are individuals like that, but there is so much more to being engaged than just a pretty ring.
"...There is so much more to being engaged than just a pretty ring."
Being engaged is almost like being half married (if that 1) can even happen, and 2) makes any sense whatsoever). You’re juggling finances, ideas, preferences, talking through problems in order to make this party happen. Outside of planning this party though, you are also communicating your hopes and dreams of the life you want to build together. You’re making that promise to each other to stand hand in hand throughout all the chapters of life, and merging together goals and aspirations to include your partners.
Being engaged is so much more. It’s really that time you take before you’re married to focus on what you want your marriage and life together to be like. It’s having in your heart and soul that without a doubt you want to spend of the rest of your life with this other person. It’s making sure that your values and morals are aligned. It’s recognizing each other’s faults and flaws, past mistakes…realizing that there will be more mistakes and problems in the future, but both be willing to make an effort to actively change for the betterment of each other. Being engaged is cementing these building blocks for your marriage in order to have a stable structure.
And you certainly don’t need a ring in order to make these feelings or these actions official.
And yeah, most folks want so badly to be officially engaged with the pomp and circumstance and the photographer taking the pictures from behind a bush or ugly crying in front of their closest family and friends. But at the end of the day, the love that you have for each other and for your relationship, the respect and acknowledgement of wanting to make a commitment to each other, that is what makes you engaged. The ring is nice, but it’s the love that matters most.