I always said that I wanted to have a long engagement. I’d had enough friends get married over the years and tell me how quickly time flies when your busy planning and preparing for the day of your wedding (and all the events leading up to it) that they wish they would have stopped to enjoy the smaller moments, excitement of the experience, and the simple joy of being proposed to by the person you love most.
What I hadn’t thought about was what defines a long engagement. One year? 18 months? Two years? There are lots of books, online articles and wedding magazines that try to define it, but this is something I learned that every couple has to define for themselves.
When my long-time love proposed to me on our trip to Rome my first feeling was that of surprise, then elation, and if I’m to be honest, next came a little bit of selfishness. Here we were in Roma, Italia, a city that helps to compose the word ROMAnce, and all that mattered in the moments and days that followed his proposal were that we were engaged and in love. Not that our families wouldn’t have been ecstatic or jumping for joy had they been there, but there was something meaningful about sharing this moment alone without any outside influence – it was just the two of us.
I knew this wouldn’t last for long and so my fiancé and I came up with a term for this special time. We called it our EB; short for engagement bubble. We didn’t rush to post the news to Facebook or rack up international minutes calling family back home. Instead we chose to savor the remaining time we had alone, away from our everyday lives, simply enjoy being engaged, and staring a lot at the shiny new object on my left hand. (I really miss being in our Rome EB.)
It’s inevitable that after a period of time the high and glow that comes with being a newly engaged couple will fade as you return to your normal pre-proposal routines. And it doesn’t help that wedding planning is stressful and even those closest to you, who love and support you, can unintentionally push their opinions on the two of you or cause pressure on your relationship.
This is when it’s most important to stop, take a breath, turn to your partner and do something to get back into your EB. Remember that this special time in your lives really is about the two of you, your love for one another, and the commitment you’re going to make in … whatever time frame YOU CHOOSE.
These could be simple things that help remind you of the proposal, special moments when you were dating or just telling each other how much you love one another spontaneously. Here are some ways my fiancé and I remind ourselves that we are in our still in our EB even though we left Rome:
1. Send text messages to your partner while they’re at work that mentions something special from the proposal to get them thinking about your engagement. (We’ll randomly text something as simple as #EB or a photo from our trip in Rome to each other.)
2. Leave a note or card in your partner’s car for them to find on their way to work that tells them how much you’re looking forward to spending your life with them. (I’m planning to take my own advice a little further and plan a small scavenger hunt on my fiancé’s next day off that ends with a bottle of bubbly.)
3. Plan dates that are themed to take you two somewhere relative to where the proposal took place or that’s meaningful to your relationship. (We really didn’t need another excuse to go out for Italian!)
4. Plan fun activities together in the mix of all the wedding appointments to help make the planning phase more enjoyable. (We choose to meet with potential vendors at our favorite local coffee shop and make a point of walking our dog there and back. Ice cream tastings have also become one of our preferred vendor vetting experiences to do together!)
5. Discuss each of your wedding must-haves early on and make a point to celebrate with one another when you check one of them off of your list. (When we finally signed with a winery to be our venue, which was one of my favorite scouted locations, my fiancé and I went out for brunch and toasted with a glass of champagne.)
No matter how long you choose to be engaged, don’t forget that your engagement bubble exists wherever the two of you are and this really is a special time in your life, so soak it up.
Wedding wishes and celebratory cheers!
The 530 Bride-To-Be