2 years ago this Saturday I got engaged. We were in New York (my all-time favourite city) and at the top of the Empire State Building and it was sodding freezing and everything was lovely. However, it was very different to everything I’d been taught to expect. So, here are 5 things I learned about getting engaged that society (and by that I mean movies, books and TV shows) wont tell you.
1. You will ruin it
Living in the UK, we obviously were’t just out in New York for a quick jaunt, we’d gone for a lovely 10 day holiday and unbeknownst to me the boy was wondering around with a ring in his pocket for almost that entire time waiting to find the perfect place to pop the question. The way he tells it, every single time he thought ‘this is it, this is the place’ I ruined it.
Ice-skating at Rockefeller plaza you say? No, it’s way too cold for that.
A horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park? I hate horses, also isn’t that a bit lame?
We even traipsed around the city trying to find a nice romantic restaurant I’d read good things about near the Top of the Rock…we couldn’t find it and ended up eating in a greasy burger joint.
By the time we did the Empire State we had 2 days left of the holiday and I think it become a ‘now or never’ situation. Event then I spent a good half hour listing to ‘Tony’ tell me about how many workmen had died during the construction process while the boy wondered around getting more and more nervous about the whole thing.
2. It’s awkward as hell afterwards
Maybe this one is more because we were in a very public place but after he’d asked and I’d said yes we then had to get in a lift crammed with other people, ride it back downstairs and then carry on about our day.
Mostly, we just didn’t really know what to do with ourselves, and we ended up going to the nearest Starbucks and grabbing a hot chocolate whilst I phoned my mum and told her the news.
This is probably different for people who get engaged in a very private place where they can jump into bed and ‘celebrate’ together, however, it was all just a little bit odd.
3. You wont be excited straight away.
This kind of ties in to point two, but during the Starbucks stop I posted a photo to my social media of my hand with it’s new accessory using the free WiFi and then I promptly turned off my internet and we headed to FAO Schwartz to look at the big piano, Zoltar Machine and a ridiculously overpriced giant stuffed panda.
Only when I turned my WiFi back on did I see that my feed had exploded with people messaging and commenting and wanting to know what was going on, and only THEN did we both turn to each other and go ‘Oh, it is a bit exciting isn’t it?’
4. You have to become an expert in dodging the inevitable slew of questions about the wedding that will follow.
Once all the hype has died down from the engagement, people will start to think ‘Well, OK, that’s great but when are we actually going to get to come to a wedding?’ and from there you’re are instantly expected to know exactly what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. I’m not good at this at the best of times, but when it comes to planning a large-scale event that I’ve never done before and (hopefully) will only have one shot at getting right, I’m completely clueless.
My general party line for the first 6 months was ‘I’m not really sure, we need to finalize the guest list before we can look at venues so we have an idea of size‘ which seemed to be both vague and detailed enough to keep most people satisfied that there was actually going to be a wedding for them to come to some time in the next century.
5. It changes nothing about your relationship.
Getting engaged will not make your relationship magically perfect. It will not solve all your problems (unless your only problem was not being engaged) and it will not change anything about the way either of you live your lives, either separately or together. This is a good thing.
Relationships are difficult and they take effort to maintain. You’re two different people who have enough in common to get along the majority of the time, and hopefully have a large amount of affection for each other. However, you’ll still disagree on enough things to argue over, he’ll still get annoyed when you snap at him for not putting the plates in the dishwasher, and you’ll still get annoyed that he hasn’t put the plates in the dishwasher (I mean, it’s right there for God’s sake!)
I love that we have both officially agreed that we would like to commit the rest of our lives to each other, and that I have an awesome ring to prove it. But I could have told you that before those things. I’m looking forward to getting married but I would have been equally as happy to carry on living in mutual weirdness with each other without a ring to show people. And that’s the important thing.