Broke-Ass Tag: engagement


Exactly 14 seconds after you announce your engagement, you will get bombarded with questions. Have you set a date? Where? Theme? Colors? If you are anything like me, you kind of wanted to scream at everyone. “CHILL OUT YO, the ring hasn’t even gotten warm on my finger yet, I’ll let you know as soon as I know!!!”

Confession time: We only got to share one day together engaged before Michael had to go back home. That night, I had a nightmare where I was standing on a tiny island alone, surrounded by a sea of wedding ideas, concepts, colors … junk essentially. I could see a tornado of all of this screaming towards me, and I had no place to run. I get swept up in this swirling vortex of nuptial doom and I’m trapped with no way out. Even in my dream I start having a mini panic attack. OMG, what color will the napkins be? Should I use real flowers or silk? Is there really a difference between ivory and ecru? Faster and faster I’m swirling until I wake up in a cold sweat gasping for air. Holy crap, did I just have a nightmare about wedding planning?! UGHHH! I had the same nightmare every day for the rest of the week. By the time the weekend came, I made a mad dash to Connecticut to see Michael. Maybe we could help me master the nuptial vortex.

Now, I’ll admit I had been quasi wedding planning for about a year or two. Don’t pretend you don’t have that secret Pinterest board where you squirrel away your wedding ideas. We all do it. My fiancé, Michael, on the other hand, has not been secretly planning a wedding since birth. So, while I was sort of expecting this bombardment of people demanding information, he was completely blindsided. It doesn’t help that we are separated by 250 miles and didn’t get a chance to absorb everything in one sitting. I was going to set some things straight if it killed me. Four sleepless nights aren’t pretty.

Real Bride Danielle...and Mike

Everyone always teases me that I live my life in a series of lists. Meh, so what, it’s how I organize my thoughts. After we had full bellies and a glass (or three) of bubbly to celebrate, I pulled out a notebook and started making a list. We realized, before we could even begin navigating this insanity known as wedding planning, we at least needed to lay out our priorities. In hindsight, this is perhaps the best thing we could have done together. There are all of these things I’d love to have and have always wanted but this one little list made me stop and think: What are the absolute most important things that I want for my wedding day besides my guy? What did I absolutely have to have in order to be happy? We both set out to write three things we needed in a wedding and then shared the notebook.

Once I sat down and really thought about it, the only things I HAD TO HAVE were great food, fun (hopefully in the form of a bouncy castle) and a short wedding dress. All Michael wanted was to minimize cost and scale. Bless his penny-pinching skills! Putting these things down on paper lifted a huge burden off my heart. No matter what happened, as long as we had these things and each other, we’d be just fine. It felt like we had waded through the wedding planning tornado and actually found ourselves on the other side. . That night, I slept like a baby. I now know who we are as a couple, and this can keep me anchored as I navigate these stormy seas.

What about you? Did you feel suddenly overwhelmed once you landed the ring? How did you find yourself again?

  • 3/22

    BABs, can you believe it?! It’s officially been a year since we got engaged. Between wedding fervor, busy summers and the craziness of the holidays, I feel like it’s totally flown by. It has also occurred to me that I haven’t shared the story of how we got engaged!

    The whole week leading up to our engagement, I was trying to nail down plans for the weekend, but he was being unusually noncommittal. He’d shrug when I’d ask him what he thought of going out to dinner or seeing a movie. By Friday night I started to get really impatient. He finally told me that we had dinner reservations, and we were staying at a hotel Saturday night. I remember thinking it was rather extravagant for a random weekend in March, but obviously I wasn’t about to complain.

    The next afternoon, we packed overnight bags and headed to the hotel. It’s an absolutely gorgeous hotel called the Iron Horse, and he reserved a beautiful corner room. We got ready to go out and called a cab to take us to the restaurant. We were a little early, so we walked around the neighborhood a little, stopping at another restaurant for a drink before dinner.

    Let me preface what happened next by telling you that by this point in our relationship, any mention of a house, or a dog or any future-y thing, prompted a slightly snarky, “well, not unless there’s a ring on my finger” from me. Turned out there were quite a few of these future-y things brought up that night over dinner, and it has been brought to my attention that I might’ve been getting a little sassy about not wanting to talk further about this stuff without a ring.

    After dinner, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk since the restaurant was along the riverwalk in downtown Milwaukee. It doesn’t get very warm in Wisconsin in March, especially not in the late evening. I remember it being about 35 degrees and windy. So no, I really didn’t want to go for a walk, but he was really pulling out all the stops to be romantic, so I thought I’d suck it up for a little bit.

    We do this thing when it’s cold out but still want to hold hands. He’ll take my hand and put it in his jacket pocket to keep it warm. I asked him if we could share his pocket, and he told me “not right now.” I think that’s the moment when I knew something was going on. He would’ve never denied me pocket space.

    A little ways down the riverwalk, he stops me and tells me how he can’t picture his life without me, and would I marry him? You know how people sort of talk about getting married before they actually get engaged? That’s what I thought was happening, since we hadn’t really spoken the words officially, so I was like, “Yes, of course!” He then asked me if I pinky swore. And again, I said yes, and went to lock pinkies, and the engagement ring was around his little finger. Turns out the ring had been in his pocket, and that’s why he didn’t want to share pockets while we walked.

    First: Adorable. Second: That was super risky on a riverwalk on a cold windy night. That thing could’ve been knocked out of his pinky and be at the bottom of the Milwaukee River right about now.


    Once I stopped my uncontrollable giggling, we promptly walked back to the restaurant, eyes permanently locked on each other, and waited for a cab to take us back to the hotel, where we celebrated at the hotel bar for a while.

    I think all I’ve ever wanted from a proposal was for it to be a surprise, and for the ring to be something he picked out himself. Both of which came true. It’s still crazy to think that our whole worlds changed that night.

    Did any other BABs know their proposal was coming, or was it a surprise?

  • 12/16

    Maren Cotton Photography

    It’s "Engagement Season" again, and with each passing year there are more and more articles on the latest trends in proposals. Unfortunately, most of the articles are written for men who want to propose, with scant few words spent on us ladies want to do the asking; I was one of those BABs. Maren Cotton Photography We were ready -- my boyfriend and I had talked about…

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    Engaged Metallic Banner Etsy AlexisMattoxDesign

    Metallic Banner by Etsy seller AlexisMattoxDesign Yay! You're engaged! Welcome to the wide world of Wedding Land. It can be a little scary and a lot fun (and don't worry, we're here to help you through all of it), but before we even delve into All Things Wedding, let's take it slow, boo. Getting engaged and being afficanced is this magical world between being coupled…

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    Love must be in the air: Between my graduate school cohort, the assistant lecturers with whom I share an office, and my Facebook news feed, I think I’ve seen about 10 engagements, six weddings, three babies, and one vow renewal in the last month alone. All this love and excitement lately has me feeling a little nostalgic; as a person who had a Pinterest board full…

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  • 11/16

    100 Engagement Rings Under $1000

    BABs, let's talk rings. Yeah, that ring. As Broke-Asses, we typically like for our ring to match our lifestyle -- classy but savvy, fun but smart, stunning but brilliant. And that means finding the most bang for your buck with that all-important engagement ring. You know what you like, now you just have to find the one that makes the most sense for your taste…

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    Real Bride Emily's Engagement Ring

    Since becoming a BAB, perhaps the most surprising part of the process is just how many opinions there are. Opinions, and sometimes unsolicited critiques. You have the pressure from the wedding industry to buy more and more, only to come away feeling like it’s still not a “real wedding” if you don’t have everything they say you need. You have people who are close to…

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    Emily Engagement Selfie

    I never thought I'd ever be a Broke-Ass Bride. I expected when I got married it would be an awesome, fun, nontraditional party for our friends and family, but I've never been great at DIY, crafting, negotiating or thrift shopping. In January, my super hot, smart, amazing boyfriend was starting his own business. I had taken a big pay cut for what I thought was a step…

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  • 8/11

    Fiances at Fenway

    Hey there, fellow brides! I'm super excited to join The Broke-Ass Bride team to share my experiences as a Real Bride Blogger, specifically about how I'm creating a wedding dress to wear for the big day. That's right -- I'm sewing my wedding dress from scratch. A little bit about me: I met my one and only, Chris, about four years ago when I started…

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