What To Expect When You’re Engaged

Just engaged? Here's what may happen next - and how to enjoy your 'I said yes!' moment.

by Lambeth Hochwald

He finally popped the question! You’re high on love and can’t stop looking at that brand new sparkly ring. Then the calls start: everyone wants to know the date, what the bridesmaids are going to wear, and where you’re going on your honeymoon. Suddenly, you’ve gone from the heartfelt proposal moment to fever-pitched negotiations (read: arguments) about the wedding guest list, china patterns, and whether you’ll offer chicken, fish or steak. Eek! So, what happens next?


Image: Kym Griffiths Photography

Fielding Questions 

Mums are often the first to start asking questions. “The first thing my mother-in-law wanted to know when we announced our engagement was what kind of dress she should shop for,” says Rebecca Menkens, a marketing director. “And my fiancĂ©’s grandmother wouldn’t stop asking us about the date. She told us to hurry because her calendar was filling up already!”

Sound familiar? It’s easy to let people stress you out during the ‘newly engaged‘ phase. Don’t let them. You’re probably bombarded with questions from all sides; but if people keep pressuring you about the date, just say, “Once we come off our cloud, you’ll be the first to know the wedding date!”

Press Pause – And Enjoy

Whatever you do, don’t miss the chance to bask in your newly soon-to-be-hitched status and enjoy those first few weeks free from planning pressure. Your mums may not be too happy that you’ve decided to ‘abandon’ (their word) the wedding plans while you feel out your new commitment. If their endless questions and ‘helpful hints’ are crowding your headspace, it’s important that you respectfully ask family members to back off for a couple of weeks. Most parents will get the message, even though they can’t wait to start helping you plan.

Meet The Parents

If they haven’t yet met, this is a good time to introduce both sets of parents. Traditionally, the groom’s parents call on the bride’s (if they live far away, the groom’s mother might call the bride’s mother or send a note). If the groom’s parents are divorced (or vice versa) the bride’s parents might extend separate invitations to each parent.

Why Doesn’t He Want To Start Planning?!

When the time is right, one of you — (usually the bride!) — will get the itch to start planning (some wedding reception venues get booked out a year in advance, so don’t linger in your just-asked glow for too long). Often, the bride is motivated before the groom, because he feels like he’s already done enough work for the moment — he planned the proposal! Not to worry, it’s not that he isn’t excited about the wedding, he just has to refuel and absorb what’s happened.

Have ‘The Wedding Talk’

After your love cloud has started to float back down to earth, corner him for a chat. Before you open the floor to family input, it’s a good idea to sit down with your spouse-to-be and privately discuss your wedding priorities. Maybe you both always wanted an outdoor wedding on a mountaintop. Find out what’s non-negotiable. Also, talk about how much you want your families involved in the planning, and finances if they’re contributing.

Ready, Set… Go!

Finally, the wedding actual planning will begin. to get you two on track with this giant project, agree to tackle some tasks together and split the rest fairly. For example, you’ll probably want to choose ceremony and reception locations as a team. From there, it’s easiest to assign responsibilities by interest: perhaps the bride can start on invites and flowers, while the groom may enjoy planning the honeymoon, and choosing music for the reception. Your main mission? Vow to make planning as fun as possible.

And the moral of this story? Don’t let the logistics and people involved in your big day taint your newly-engaged bliss! Treasure this time and revel in your excitement with your soon-to-be groom.


by Lambeth Hochwald


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