Eric and I have known for a long time that we were going to get married some day. In fact, it was never really a question for us. So we didn’t have much need for a traditional proposal. I mean…why ask “Will you marry me?” when you’ve been asking different variations of that question for the past two years now?
And on and on and on.
Eric and I have talked a lot about what it means to be engaged in 2012. When you live together and intend to get married, you really have to think about what the point of a proposal and engagement is. We agreed that we had done too much work, gotten too much happiness and satisfaction, made too many plans, made too many sacrifices, given and accepted too much support, and rearranged our lives for each other in a way that most people don’t unless they’re planning to spend the rest of their lives together. We both knew that privately, emotionally, we’ve been engaged for a long time.
After some discussion, we decided that for us, an engagement doesn’t mean wedding planning. It doesn’t mean our relationship will suddenly change. It’s simply a new label. It’s an announcement. It’s a very efficient way of telling people what your intentions are. We decided that getting engaged wasn’t about what we’d been saying and doing privately; it was the moment when we talked about it publicly. So even though getting engaged was about us, we felt like it was really more about our families, friends, and communities. And we felt like yeah, there was a need for some sort of a ritual to go along with that announcement. So rather than either of us planning a surprise for the other, we decided that we would surprise them.
So along with shopping for rings for both of us (which is a whole other story for another day!), we started planning a way to surprise our families with the news. We don’t get to see our families very often, so seeing them in person for this was important to us. Eventually we were able to get his parents and my mom to plan a trip to Houston for this past weekend, under the guise of meeting each other for the first time. Once the plane tickets were booked, we started planning a surprise engagement party. My amazing coworker Jacob designed this evite (though it actually had a date, time, and address on it) and we sent it to all of our friends and even some family members — everyone but the parents.
It was hard keeping it a secret, and I was a lot more emotional and anxious than I expected in the last couple weeks leading up to it, but still — it was really fun. Even though I didn’t propose to Eric, I’m glad I still got to experience some of the fun of planning an engagement surprise like this because, well, planning surprises for people you love is awesome! I really loved having a role in it. Because it’s a big announcement and we wanted to give them some time to process it, we decided to tell our parents just before they arrived in Houston. So last Wednesday evening, Eric and I exchanged rings at home — after walking the dogs, while waiting for our DiGiorno pizza and “Psych,” our typical Wednesday night date night — and then we “made it official” by telling our parents and sending them a picture of our rings.
As we had anticipated, they were surprised (sort of — my mom and his mom’s coworkers were all suspicious that a big announcement was coming this weekend) and happy. They arrived in Houston just happy see us and to meet each other and eager to relax, hang out, and do a little celebrating. My best friend Beth flew in from Chicago on Friday night and it was awesome having her here (and that was another mini-surprise for my mom, who has known Beth since we were kids and loves her like part of the family). The rest of my friends knew what was happening and sent tons of love our way last week and throughout the weekend. We spent plenty of time relaxing and then on Saturday night had our party with friends, coworkers, and our families. It was incredibly chill — Beth’s (fabulous) champagne toast midway through was really the only engagement/wedding/bridal thing we had at the party — which made me happy. Sunday, Eric’s parents headed home, so we spent the day at the pool with my mom and Beth just hanging out and relaxing. It was an awesome weekend — everything I’d want from a proposal/engagement. It was so awesome, in fact, that we only stopped for one picture together the entire weekend, about midway through the party.
Which, I’m sure you know, means it was a very full, happy weekend.
So…I’m engaged! And…now life goes back to normal! Really, I doubt that our day-to-day lives will change very much any time soon. Eric and I both have a lot of things we want to accomplish before we get married, both personally and as a couple, so we aren’t setting a wedding date until we have a better idea of how long it will take us to check those items off of our list. I don’t think either of us expected some big change; I know that I’ve been noticing how we’ve been changing gradually over the past year in all sorts of ways and I’m sure we’ll live our way into being ready to set a date and being ready for marriage.
(And I hope we’ll eventually live our way into being comfortable calling each other “fiance;” for now, the most we can bring ourselves to do is occasionally write out the word “feyonce.”)