Where the traditional engagement usually involved the groom-to-be asking the bride-to-be’s father for her hand in marriage, and then surprising her with a proposal, times have changed and so have engagements. Nowadays, couples are learning how to communicate better than ever before, talk about their dreams and goals, and yes – discuss their future as a couple.
This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s helping couples to be more prepared to face the challenges they will have moving forward. It also makes sure that both parties are on the same page as far as what they want out of the relationship.
With all that said, it has become quite normal for a couple to not only talk about getting engaged one day, but both actively be involved in the engagement process. No longer is it up to the groom to go and speak to the bride’s parents on his own, pick out a ring he hopes that she likes, and plan some big huge display of affection in order to propose. Modern couples are tackling all of these together and starting that bond as a couple with the engagement itself.
If you and you’re significant other see yourself as one of these modern-day couples that prefers to take on life together, you may enjoy these tips on how you can make the engagement process something you both enjoy, feel included in, and end up with some beautiful memories you can cherish forever.
Discuss Your Future Plans as a Couple
The engagement process really needs to begin with a frank and open conversation together. Bringing up the topic of marriage isn’t something that should make either party cringe. If it does cause a negative reaction in one of the parties involved, then this is obviously a red flag.
Being able to express your wants and desires as far as where you see the relationship going is important. It’s a great way to see if you’re on the same page and if you agree on a timeline. Simply stating that you want to get married “one day” isn’t really nailing down a timeline. Discuss if you see marriage in the next year, five years, 10 years, whatever that timeline may be for you.
It’s important to also discuss some other issues that will come up in marriage. You can talk about whether or not you want children, how you plan to blend your children together if you both already have kids from other relationships, finances, religious values, healthy habits, and even household responsibilities. The more topics you are able to discuss ahead of time, the less surprises there will be in a marriage.
While these topics may not exactly seem romantic and part of an engagement process, they are preparing you both and opening your eyes to what it is you are talking about. You are discussing entering into a legal and spiritual union for life, so taking the time to discuss important issues makes sense. Once you get these rather heavy topics out of the way, then you can move on to lighter things.
Shop for an Engagement Ring Together
Of course, it is romantic to be surprised with an engagement ring, but when you’re the one who will be wearing that ring every day moving forward you want to make sure you love it. That’s why more and more couples are making ring shopping a joint venture. You can even design your own engagement rings online through companies such as Adiamor Diamonds & Fine Jewelry.
Designing a ring together is a romantic and very personal experience. You are able to choose something that not only fits your own personal style, but your couple style. Your ring will forever be a sign of the love you have for one another and just how unique the two of you are. You will be able to choose the diamond, the setting, and the metal.
It should be noted that before you start the shopping experience, you’ll probably want to set your budget first. The last thing you want to do is get your heart set on something that is completely out of your budget. Be realistic about what you can afford, and remember, it’s not about the cost or the size of the diamond, rather the love it stands for.
Give the Groom-to-Be Control Over the Proposal
Here is one area that you may want to leave in the groom’s hands. While the fact you are getting engaged isn’t a surprise, when it will happen and how still may be. You can always discuss this as a couple, and maybe the two of you would rather skip the whole surprise element and just go out and celebrate with a romantic dinner for two.
Announce Your Engagement
If you were following the traditional rules of engagement, the groom-to-be would visit the bride’s parents in person, on his own, and ask for her hand in marriage. For modern couples, this probably isn’t the way you want to go about it.
Rather than asking for permission to get married, which frankly seems pretty archaic, instead you can visit each person’s immediate family in person and announce the engagement. Make sure you wait until the engagement actually takes place, and you’ve got the ring so you can show it off. Let’s face it everyone wants to see the ring!
Throw Your Own Engagement Party
Where it used to be that the family of the bride would throw a large engagement party to give their family and friends a chance to congratulate the couple, today the rules have changed. There is no reason to put this on either set of parents, instead, the couple can throw their own engagement party. This will allow you to choose the guest list, the size of the party, the venue, the style of the party, the cost of the party, and whether or not you want the reason of the party to be a surprise. Just because the engagement wasn’t a surprise for either of you, doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your guests with the news!
Throwing your own engagement party gives you a chance to show off who the two of you are as a couple. If you and your partner aren’t exactly the formal type, then there is no reason to throw one of those traditional stuffy affairs. Instead, you could make it a relaxed backyard BBQ where all your friends and family have a chance to share some laughs together.
You can still involve the parents, and it may be that one set of parents wants to host it in their home. Should you agree to one of the parent’s hosting, keep in mind you will also be giving up control of the party.
Schedule Engagement Photos
This particular step isn’t quite so fun, but it’s one you will probably appreciate years down the road as you flip through the pictures and remember that amazing time in your life. Again, this is something you can do as a couple so that you both feel your opinion is valued. You can start by interviewing a few different photographers and pick the one whose style and personality best works with the two of you.
Next, you can talk about whether or not you want a theme for your photos, if you want something more candid, or perhaps this is the time you want to give a nod to tradition and stick with the more traditional looking engagement photos.
As far as the engagement photo shoot goes, it may be nice to schedule it before the engagement party so that you can have copies of the photos to display at the party. You can even send the photos as the invite to your engagement party. Of course, this will take some planning and organizing on your part, which will require more time.
Keep Up with the Couple Approach to Planning
As the engagement comes and goes, and you move into wedding planning territory, you can continue on with the same approach that you make decisions and handle tasks as a couple. There is no reason why it should be up to the bride to plan the whole wedding. That is a lot of work, stress, and time for one person to dedicate to a task.
As well, there are a lot of grooms to be who have been waiting for this time to come where it’s acceptable for them to have a say in the wedding plans, take over tasks, and inject their personality and wishes into the wedding.
Making the Engagement Period Special for Today’s Modern Couples
Despite the fact that today’s couples tend to be much more modern and progressive in their approach to marriage, this doesn’t have to take away from the romance, magic, and love that is involved in getting engaged. In fact, allowing both parties to be involved in the engagement process can create more of a bond that can be shared throughout your marriage.