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.
We were ready — my boyfriend and I had talked about marriage extensively and I knew he was getting the ducks in a row, the last one strapped with an engagement ring on its tailfeather. I’m a modern woman, in a modern relationship — it was time to lock that down. But, I felt very alone in the lady-proposing forest. Between the lack of articles and a a few centuries of tradition telling me otherwise, it was tough going. Turns out tradition just means “old”; since my engagement, I have met plenty of married women who have shared that they also popped the question. This is for all those BABs who need a reminder: Do what you want!
Logistics? No need to sweat it, I’ve got your back. Just follow these simple steps:
Decide you want to propose Beware! Even though we no longer live in the 1950s, many, many people will question the decision of a woman proposing to a man. I told one close friend about my plan and she said “I just don’t understand how that can work.” I did, and it did. Stay strong, ladies!
Let the important people know I decided to ask his parents for their blessing (and to pep me up for the big ask!). I also ran it by his best friend to test the waters in a moment of doubt. It’s important to talk to people who will give you clear advice and be cheerleaders for you on this mission.
Make a plan that suits your partner My fella is more into grand romantic gestures than me, so I decided to take a page from his book. I planned for Third Thursday at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (a favorite museum of ours) where they serve beer, host bands and have a photobooth. It combined our favorite couple spot, a fun “us” event (we take a yearly photobooth picture) and two things we both love: bands and booze. The proposal doesn’t need to be expensive to be grand, and remember ladies: guys have feelings and memories too — they aren’t trout.
Be completely unlike your usual self and keep the plan a secret This is seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My fella had no clue and I was bursting with excitement because I KNEW I was going to be engaged soon and wanted to start planning and picking out dresses and … Don’t. Tell. Him. Seriously, DON’T TELL HIM! I made it, but barely.
Get a ring (or not)
For you, for him, for whomever! Part of the fun of bucking tradition is there are no rules. I decided to be traditionally untraditional: I had inherited a gorgeous engagement ring and was excited to start showing it off!
Seriously BAB, you’re so close! Don’t give up This is where all the doubts and worries kicked into high gear. Was he going to think I “stole his thunder,” like all the well-intentioned but bad advice was telling me? In a moment of weakness, I emailed his BFF (See point 2) and asked what he thought. His reply: “Fella will think this is great!” was the immediate response. And with that I was back on track. Keep calm and stick to your plan!
Ask him already! For all the planning in the world, it didn’t play out quite like I envisioned, but it was still magical. My plans went comically awry when we got to the art museum and I realized it was the opening of a DEVO exhibit. My fella, being totally clueless of my intentions, rushed straight past the Asian Art section I had carefully chosen for THE moment and directly into a large crowd gathered around a video of Crack That Whip. After an hour of lego hats and ping-pong paddles, two-headed cars and ever increasing nervousness, I grabbed his arm and pulled him into the closest empty gallery. I forgot my entire script and just asked.
And … he said yes!
Use his pets for backup if needed (her yes was my ticket!)
There you have it — how to magically change your boyfriend into a Broke-Ass-Groom in 7 easy steps. Stay strong, follow your heart and remember: The only rule is that in 2015 there are no rules! Now if I could just find some “He said yes!” banners … (Psst: Christen used her Google-fu and found a print!)
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 and being legit married. People get REALLY excited for you … and then they’ll have A. LOT. of opinions and “advice” for you (I use the latter lightly, because some of it is so not helpful). But before you get lost in piles of magazines, websites, tulle and cake (so much cake), let yourself really truly enjoy this time before the wedding planning gets under way and while you can still bask in the glow that you know this is your forever person and they feel the same about you. Here are The Broke-Ass Bride’s Top 5 Things to Do After You Get Engaged:
Don’t Tell Anyone … If You Can Help It.
You know how sometimes it can be really fun to keep things under wraps? Sure, your best homeboys and homegirls probably either know or are dying to find out and your folks might need a little heads up, but don’t take to social media quite yet to show off that sparkler or proclaim your engagement from the rooftop. Bask in the glow, because the second you start telling people, the second you’re going to start getting wedding planning questions that you probably haven’t even thought of, and few things will dull that engagement sparkle faster.
Take Care of Your VIPs.
Make sure the very most important people in both of your lives know before the whole world does. I guarantee Mom is going to be legit pissed (within reason) if she finds out from Aunt Mildred that you got engaged. When you’re ready call them or meet them in person if you can. They’ll likely have questions (when, how, etc.) but those don’t have to be addressed right away. Just give parents, siblings, super close friends and perhaps grandparents the courtesy of being the first to know. They’ll appreciate it (and it’ll save you some grief).
BDV (Budget, Date, Venue)
Before you even THINK of looking at invitation suites and attire, you gotta take care of these three logistics. You really, honestly can’t even make a damn move without figuring out what budget you’re working with. And don’t just pick a number out of thin air — think hard about it. Sure, $15K might seem doable, but consider how much “extra” money you really, honestly earn each month and whether you’ll be able to stash that much away without putting too much of a dent in your social life (you’ll want your social life during planning to help keep you sane) or hindering any other day-to-day aspects. Sure, there may be offers of help from family members, but I recommend figuring out what exactly you and your partner can afford without anything coming from anyone else. Next, consider your date and / or venue — these two are very often intertwined. If you have a specific venue in mind, consider booking for offseason (varies by location) or off-day (any day but Saturday) to defray costs. If you’re adamant about the day — especially during the summer — start contacting venues to see if they’re available.
Divide (or Don’t) and Conquer
Not all partners are into wedding planning. I’ve seen weddings where the groom has had considerably more say / done more than the bride, I’ve seen weddings where both grooms gave ALL the shits and did everything hand-in-hand and I’ve seen weddings where no one really cared at all, as long as there was a photographer, some bubbly and great company. Figure out where you and your partner fall — do they care about stationery? Venue? Dessert? Food? — and tentatively choose tasks based on those lists. There will be changes down the line, trust me. Nothing needs to be set in stone. It’s good to get a rough draft of what you both want, inquire as to the possibilities, suss your budget and assess from there. If it turns out that you care way more about craft beers than you thought you did, take that on as a team. But don’t let the whole process be one-sided, because that’s no fun.
No, seriously. Stock some bubbly in your fridge for whenever you get that oh-so-giddy feeling. Let someone throw you an engagement party (or throw it your damn self)! Get a manicure, take engagement photos, use it to your advantage at dinner (you can do this for about a week or so. Any more than that is just kind of selfish.) and allow yourself to be pampered and thrilled about this time. After all, you worked hard to get here! Relationships take work, and committing yourself to another person can be scary and thrilling at the same time. Revel in it, yo!
Congratulations and welcome to the party! We do hope you’ll let The Broke-Ass Bride accompany you on this journey. We love being able to provide sane, sound and savvy advice to couples who really just want to rock a badass wedding on a broke-ass budget, no matter how that looks to you!
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