“Getting” Engaged vs. “Being” Engaged

[I know I write a lot about love and relationships, but bear with me. It’s what my life is. You write what ya know, ya know?]

One of my good friends, Angelica, is planning her wedding for next May. Not only that, but her and her fiance are looking at houses so that they will be able to start a family together right after the ceremony. It’s very touching and you can see the love they have for each other is set and strong, and I get to experience it all firsthand.

I’ve been to 6+ weddings (the count gets fuzzy, especially after I grew older and discovered what open bar really means), but this is the first time I actually get to stand up with the bride at the altar. That’s right, I’m a bridesmaid. Like any other bridesmaid, assumedly, I’m hoping my dress is somewhat adorable and that costs aren’t too high, but a girl can dream. In all seriousness, I’m very excited to be by Angelica’s side through all of the planning and preparations to make her special day everything she’s dreamed for.

After Angelica asked me to be her bridesmaid, her, I, and the other bridesmaid, Kiley, got together to discuss the timeline between now (which was April) and next May (2015). After our coffee cups had emptied and every detail was laid out by Angelica, we just began to talk . . . girl talk, if you will.

“I can’t wait to get married,” Kiley said. “My wedding is going to be so awesome even Pinterest is going to be jealous.”

“I hope so,” Angelica said. “If Ralph [her fiance] and I had the money, we would go all out, but it happens.”

“Well, they have a lot DIY stuff you can make to make things cheaper, you know?” Kiley added.

“I know, but I’m just happy to be marrying Ralph. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him,” Angelica confessed.

“I guess,” Kiley said. “But wouldn’t it be great to have an awesome wedding?!”

~

I found myself reading Nicki Lamont’s On Getting #Engaged and couldn’t help but remember this recent incident. Unfortunately, it’s not the first of its kind amongst my friend group.

Another good friend of ours (Angelica, Kiley, and myself), Ren, said something along the lines of having a huge wedding with all the glitz and glamour; the Wedding of the Century, as she called it.

“What do you want yours and Prince Eric’s to be like?” she asked me one time (again, of many) at lunch.

[Pet peeve: I hate dislike when people assume I’m going to marry Prince Eric. Yes, we’ve talked about it, on numerous occasions, and we’ve talked about a future together with kids, a minivan, and a house in the suburbs, but, to be a bit pessimistic, who knows what can happen from now. Don’t pull all of your eggs in one basket and hope to produce more from those. Disclaimer: I would love to marry Prince Eric because I think (keyword: think) he’s the one. We understand and love each other, and he’s my best friend. I can’t imagine life without him, and although that sounds like a dried out cliché, it’s true. But life keeps you on your toes, sometimes. I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket.]

I sighed, out of annoyance, and replied: “What wedding?”

“Umm, only the one you’ve been planning since you were six!”

Wrong little six-year-old girl. “I’ve never really thought about it,” I admitted. “I would much rather elope and have an awesome honeymoon to share with my husband, but I guess if I had to have a wedding, it would be small and simple. The majority of the budget would probably go towards the honeymoon and maybe the dress.”

Her jaw dropped down to the Spanish tile floor. “What do you mean you’d rather elope?” She said the word like it was some killer disease that she was terrified of ever contracting. God forbid Ren and her future fiance ever think about eloping!

“You know, like going to a courthouse and having the judge marry us.”

“But, why?”

“Why not?” I asked back. “As long as I’m happy and in love with my fiance/future husband, why does it matter if I have the big gaudy wedding? I’d rather spend time with him than put our love on display for everyone to ooh and aah at.”

Lunch was cut short then (again, not the first time), but not before she asked to be a witness at my elopement.

Umm, no.

~

The difference between Kiley and Angelica, or Ren and me, is that one wants to get engaged desperately. They want to plan the wedding of their dreams, try on the perfect white dress the first time, and eat cake samples with their future hub in a boutique bakery. They want their wedding to be remembered, written in history books as the greatest wedding ever had on planet Earth. They want sparkles dangling from the ceiling with an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord with the finest meats and vegetables. They want a cake taller than the Sears Willis Tower, and popping DJ to whip the dancers on the dance floor back into shape. They want the best airbrushed pictures to look back on their special day, to remember the good time every guest had.

What Kiley and Ren lack in their pre-planned weddings is the love. Not once did they say they might cry when they see the love of their life standing at the altar waiting for them. Not once did they mention the first dance and how meaningful it will be to hear “their song” through the speakers. Not once did they mention the butterflies or the nerves. Not once did they mention of being engaged, and how it’s a state of mind, not an instant gratification.

Angelica can’t wait for her special day, mostly to share it with Ralph and her family and friends, but she’s happily engaged and she can’t wait to spend the rest of her life with the man of her dreams. Marriage is a long road, and her and Ralph are taking the long way; they still learn from each other and fall deeper in love everyday. It’s evident in their interactions and their affections. Their wedding will be more than the tossed bouquet or the decorations; their wedding will be a celebration of their love.

That’s the difference between getting engaged and being engaged.

Don’t put your all of your eggs in one basket. Rushing to the altar only to fulfill your six-year-old self’s extravagant desires isn’t going to bring you closer to your significant other.

I’m content with wanting to elope. Just have it be Prince Eric, a Cook County judge, and me in one room, and we’re set for our happily ever after. But first, I’ll need to be engaged.

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