Monday, August 23, 2010

One Year Engageaversary

In my everyday life, I generally keep my trap shut about the wedding. Yes, it comes up on occasion, but usually only if I'm asked or you happen to be one of a few select people (like my mother, other friends getting married, friends who are helping with the wedding, or Jason. Poor Jason.) But really, you folks are my wedding community. I keep my crazy contained here in the online realm and leave the rest of my life for life. But I'm finally starting to want a bit more of the wedding in my everyday life. We're seven months out now from the wedding, and I'm ready. I'm ready for the squeals of joy. I'm ready for the champagne and women-time at a shower.

In a lot of ways, my non-online community never got the chance to get fully excited or invested in our marriage joy, partially because we're having such a long engagement (19 months) and partially because other aspects of our life took front-seat priority. The day after we got engaged, my mother ended up in a foreign hospital and it took months to sort everything out. I didn't get the chance to tell her or anyone else about our engagement for weeks because, obviously, her health situation took precedence. And then, Jason got downsized just after my mother's situation finally stabilized. The engagement became unimportant (publicly) and to some extent I used this blog and wedding planning research as an escape from it all. But it was a private escape. We never made a big deal out of the engagement. We had other more pressing life issues to deal with. We felt lucky that we had a year and a half so we had time to deal with our immediate challenges and save up for the celebration.

Somehow, a lot of people in our community took it to mean I wasn't excited about our wedding. And over the last year, I've put up with a lot of half-joking comments about our neverending engagement and how we could have already been married, bought a house and had kids by now (um, no) so what are we waiting for? And the cold feet jokes just really need to stop. Because our 19 month engagement doesn't mean I'm not excited about our wedding. And it doesn't mean I'm not engaged.  Good for you that you (or your parents) had enough money sitting around to make your wedding happen in nine months. We didn't. And we're okay with that, even if you, apparently, aren't. And as crazy as you may find our process (though why do you care again?) and as much as I wish we were just freaking married already, it's been a blessing to take our time..

Our long engagement means we haven't had all that much to talk about publicly as we slowly work through our to-do list. It means I know I'm an overworked, easily stressed out procrastinator and that I needed lots of time to slowly pull this together, find affordable options and lock in lock in 2010 (and even some 2009) prices for our 2011 wedding. We've had time to really refine our plan for what makes a meaningful wedding. It took a while to get on the same page, but we're both truly excited about our crazy hippie taco truck fiesta wedding. We've had time to really find wedding helpers we love and adore and we've been able to build real relationships with them. I'm genuinely excited to share our wedding day with people we care about, instead of simply capable people we hired to perform a service. We've had time to plan for our marriage, including working through a great book, start our Making Marriage Work class, and join a temple. We've had time to be lazy procrastinators. Really, it shouldn't take two months to deal with a guest list. But it did, and didn't and it didn't cause any problems in the overall timeline. We've had time to take up new hobbies like side businesses, volunteering and gardening.

My first self-planted succulent! I hope I can keep it alive...

And we've had time to build our family

But now that our wedding is finally around the corner (ish), I'm kinda excited to have people celebrate. I don't want a shower with a pile of gifts, but I'd really love the chance to revel in this a bit. It's time. I wish we could just be married already, but I recognize all the smart reasons and benefits to having waited. But now, it's finally our chance to have some public fun with this process. So, on our one-year engageaversary, I just wanted to say what an extraordinary year it's been and how much I'm looking forward to the next steps in finally pulling it all together, full of last minute DIY projects, logistical overplanning, a bachelorette evening and all.

22 comments:

  1. I laughed out loud at this post because someone literally said to me two days ago: "Wow, a two year engagement... I guess you weren't really sure you wanted to get married, huh?" Um, no. I was sure that I wanted to get married, but I was also sure that I wanted to give my family, scattered all over the world, the time to plan and save so that they could come celebrate with us. I've been amazed at how critical some people have been of long engagements, but I'm with you: We've had so much time to settle into being engaged, to build our family and our home, to procrastinate like crazy on the planning, and to think about the significance of what we're doing not just the details of the day.

    Happy Engageaversary!!

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  2. I know the feeling! My husband and I were engaged for 21 months. As much as I may have complained about wanting to be married already, I wouldn't change a thing!

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  3. Kelly and I were engaged for 4 years. Long enough to finish school. Long enough for my older brother to meet his wife, get married, and have a baby. Long enough to deal with some ups and real downs with chronic illness, including 3 hospitalizations. Long enough that when we celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2012, we'll have been married for only 3.5 of those years, and legally married for only 2 years.

    I wouldn't have had it any other way. I met my person when I was 17. I didn't want to be planning a wedding and finishing my undergrad degree. Maybe it was different for us as a queer couple, at the time planning an "illegal" wedding as we know the wedding wouldn't change anything legally. But, you know, the wedding DID change so much more than I thought it would. I didn't think it would feel different, and it did. And having had the time to think and plan and do it our way really allowed for it to be an incredibly meaningful life-cycle event.

    So, f#%$ the naysayers! Whatever. Your wedding is going to be amazing whenever it is because it is you standing in front of your community and saying, "This is my person. This is my love." And you should say that on your terms and your timetable.

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  4. Congratulations on your Engageaversary!!! YAY WEDDING! :)

    Two months out and all I can think/talk/dream about is wedding. wedding wedding wedding.

    I never thought it would happen. up until this moment, the pas 22months have been pretty low key with friends and family. Then my best friend got married in July and BOOM- i am wedding obsessed. weird. and I'm slightly embarassed.

    but good- cuz it's about time. :)

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  5. Happy Engageaversary, Becca!! We had a long engagement too (almost 17 months) and I wanted it that way bc you're only engaged once, so why not give myself enough time to really enjoy and plan? And you're right, now it's time to get excited, showers and bachelorettes, etc are the best! Enjoy every second of it :)

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  6. Happy Engageaversary!

    We were just answering this question on Saturday night when we were having dinner with Tony's friend. He got engaged around the same time as we did and was surprised to hear how far out the wedding was. We have so many reasons for this: money, wanting enough time for family and friends to get time off of work, school and custody schedules, enough time for the kids to be completely adjusted to their new situation, time for pre-marital counseling, etc., etc., etc.

    I have also used my blog as my place to talk about the wedding (and excape from real life) when real non-wedding life was too much, and I do not generally talk about the wedding much at all outside of the blog, but now that we're hitting real deadlines (must get those Save-the-Dates mailed!) and so many things have been settled, paid for, deposited, contracted, etc., I'm getting more excited and find myself wanting to talk about it a lot more.

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  7. Congratulations! It's got to feel awesome that the next benchmark will be the 6-month mark and, well, that means your wedding is practially TOMORROW.

    Loved seeing those pictures too!

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  8. We had a medium-sized engagement (about a year long), but what's interesting is that about 2 months before the wedding I started my blog...and that really slowed time down (in a good way).

    Gathering our pennies, blogging, going to pre-marital counseling, reading what other wedding bloggers were writing (thanks, Becca!), tearfully freaking out and being soothed by my guy, etc., gave me some perspective on weddings and marriage.

    And I'm understanding engagement in a new way now - it's not just a period of promise and savings. It's a period of emotional and spiritual preparation. For me, anyways.

    Congrats on your Engageaversary!

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  9. I totally relate to this post. Our engagement was 16 months and we definitely had a few people with the comments about why so long, when is it going to be over, blah blah blah! Like you, we needed time to save and plan and didn't want to be stressed or go into debt. And by the way, I personally think those that go for the less than 6 month engagement are rushing for some reason and that scares me a bit. Bun in the oven maybe? J/K

    Anyway...don't worry about it. I love that you are now getting more excited and wanting to 'revel' as you put it. That is the way you should feel...so shout it if you want to. Like you, I did most of it on my blog, too but I did love when the 'real life' people would bring up the wedding and ask about it. Fun stuff!

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  10. Your kitties are adorable!
    My husband and I had an 18 month engagement...mostly because I was one month shy of 20 when he proposed and we wanted to be a bit older when we got married. At the ripe old age of 21 :)
    I truly loved being engaged, it was an anticipatory time that I'll never have again. I cherished it. Everyone's timeline is different and it is what it is. Enjoy those champagne filled bridal showers when they get here!

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  11. @Kerry - when you say it like that... gulp. I guess we'd better finalize that website wording and get out our e-save the dates. Eeek!

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  12. I had 23 months and think it was the best decision for my husband and I. Sure its not typical but its really not that abnormal either. It was the perfect choice for us and we don't regret it one bit :-)

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  13. I think 19 months is really good. We did it in 10, but only because we did NOT want to wait and do it in the winter or the following Spring. Too long! In retrospect, I would have liked a few more months to wrap my head around the idea of being engaged before I started planning. I think 12-20 months is a really nice time frame. You go girl. Do yer thang.

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  14. happy engageaversary, jason and becca! and you're right, now's the time for public celebration. bathe in it. it goes by so fast. which is a good thing, because by the end you will be so ready to just be married already. but enjoy the time you have left being engaged -- even during the "wed planning is driving us crazy" portion. And get ready for me to get all girlishly excited and coo over your plans/dress/accessories/etc!!

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  15. Ahh yes... same here. everyone assumed that since i wasn't blabbering on and on about stuff that i didn't care about my engagement or our wedding. not true at all. it consumed (and still consumes) so much of my time and energy that sometimes i 1.) don't want to talk about it and 2.) probably won't talk about it or act the way people expect me too (ie. all giddy and bursting at the seams). sometimes i wanted to bitch about not being skinny and sometimes i wanted to tell off WIC, which is not what people want to hear. they want color schemes and dress pictures. oh, and they want you to cry... over everything.

    a former coworker basically shamed me for not immediately crying when josh proposed. ok, so i laughed out of excitement and disbelief before the tears.... but that doesn't mean it was less special.

    and i think you do a great job with not making your wedding your life. gardening, volunteering, kicking ass... those are just as fun (sometimes even more fun) than wedding planning. um wait... did i just say wedding planning was fun? guess i kinda miss it. gross.

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  16. We're having a ...hang on, I'm counting... 27 month engagement, I think. Almost a year down! I think once we hit the year mark, I'll feel like it is around the corner.

    Because we're having two weddings though, we needed the time to save. We don't want to come straight out of the wedding day with debt and no savings. So we're taking our time to save for the weddings and hopefully most of a house deposit. Some days I'm ready for it to be over, and some days I'm glad we get to enjoyed just being engaged.

    Nobody has said anything negative to me about it though.

    Yay for you guys and doing things the way you want!

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  17. All I have to say is EFFFFFFFFFFFFFF the downers. Who needs a rushed wedding? Why not slow it down and enjoy (at least most parts of) the experience. Its stressful enough without having (more) ticking time bombs in your head about flowers and deposits and rentals. Poo on them!

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  18. love this. we'll have a 15 month engagement. and although i would love to be married already, I really wouldn't have it any other way. we got engaged in november, my senior year of college. I didn't have a job and fiance barely makes it paycheck to paycheck. My mother convinced me to shoot for february instead of september to a) give myself time after graduating to find a job/apt/get settled and b)they would essentially pay for the wedding if they were able to have those extra months to save up (since they'd be done paying tuition and have some extra funds to spare). Now that it's the end of August, I'm grateful that I am not getting married in a few weeks because I'd lose my mind. Moving into an apt on my own, starting my first grown-up job and managing my own finances are enough things to take care of at the moment!

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  19. We had a 16 month engagement, which I believe is around the average nowadays. I had wanted a March wedding (off season, spring break for my husband) but it was actually family that encouraged us to push it to August. The only reason why we picked our date was because it worked with my husband's finishing the bar exam and then our brothers' school schedules. What amused me was that even though our engagement felt long (we had already been together over 5 years when we got engaged) we were being told that it was "too short." My thought: people will judge no matter what. Stick with what works for you and don't be apologetic because ultimately it's your relationship!

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  20. i'm a new reader (and a newly engaged girl!) and i just wanted to say thanks for writing this (and thanks to everyone for commenting) - in the end, our engagement will likely be about 20 months, and i'm already tired of the questions and comments about the length now! but see, i'm not the only one...

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  21. Oh, yeah. After a 1.25-year engagement, the wedding is now three and a half weeks away and I wish I had more time -- and not just to tackle the to-do list, either. I want time to savor, linger, and meditate. And ENJOY. I'm reluctant to admit I liked the attention from others, but I did, and I DO. It's a special time that deserves to be treated specially. So I'm glad you realized that you want to make room in your life for public celebration, too. The people around you love you and are happy for you and just this once, it feels so good to let that wash over you.

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  22. Happy engageaversary! You know I'm in a long engagement boat like you and just like you, we're waiting for a lot of good reasons. But sometimes it can be frustrating to wait so long. It's exciting to be able to start to publicly celebrate. I'm not quite to that point yet, but I'm really excited for you. I'm happy that I've been part of your wedding community during this time too.

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