Why I’m Planning My Marriage ceremony Earlier than I’m Engaged

“Congratulations in your engagement!”

Over the previous few months, I’ve spent my evenings sending out a flurry of emails to what feels just like the entirety of the tri-state space marriage ceremony industrial advanced. In response, practically everybody—planners, videographers, florists—has answered my admittedly novice inquiries with this similar euphoric sentence: “Congratulations in your engagement!” Then, as soon as we get on the cellphone, some ask my boyfriend to share the “story,” i.e. how he proposed and when.

However the factor is: I’m not engaged, and I gained’t be for a short while. And up to now, working exterior the standard marriage ceremony timeline has prompted numerous questions, a number of laughs, confused appears, and at the very least one particular person telling me it’s the “most Capricorn factor” she’s ever heard.

the author and her boyfriend on the brooklyn bridge

My boyfriend visiting me in New York Metropolis in July 2016, two months after I graduated from faculty.

To again up a bit, my boyfriend and I first met as freshmen in faculty, nevertheless it wasn’t till a number of years later that we turned mates. It took a number of extra years for us to start out relationship critically, and by 2018, we had been each in New York, formally collectively in all senses of the phrase. When the pandemic hit, we spent these first few months quarantining collectively in a three-room condominium, scrubbing our groceries, and speaking to household from exterior our window, two tales up. Every part felt alien and scary and unpredictable, and but right here we had been, in some way speaking, negotiating, apologizing. Relative to the remainder of the nation, our days had been quaint and uneventful, however in our bubble, additionally they felt monumental; I used to be comforted understanding that issues between us might stay straightforward, even when nothing else was. As soon as, my mother referred to as to ask how we had been getting alongside, because it was additionally our first time residing collectively. “Every part is nice, however I’m wondering if it’ll be tougher as soon as the pandemic subsides,” I mentioned. “Once we’re out of the home extra, will or not it’s troublesome to make time collectively?” She laughed and instructed me: “That is the toughest factor you’ll do. If you are able to do this, you are able to do something.”

I don’t bear in mind when precisely after that we began to speak about marriage, however I do know that it started with my very own anxieties. I’m fortunate to have mother and father who’ve been collectively for many years—as soon as once I was a child, I watched my mother and father loudly battle after which make up quickly after, and I stormed into their bed room, demanding they inform me how they did it—however shortly earlier than the pandemic, an advanced divorce rocked my prolonged household and left me questioning if you happen to might ever, actually, know anybody in any respect. I didn’t perceive the way to pledge the remainder of my life to somebody once I didn’t know what the remainder of my life would appear to be, who I’d turn into, or what my associate may need sooner or later. After numerous speaking, my boyfriend and I made a decision that if we bought married, we wouldn’t be promising eternally (although we each hope that’s what we get), however moderately that we’d keep collectively so long as it made sense for each of us, that we’d promise to do proper by one another, even when it was troublesome. Nonetheless, I wasn’t satisfied. One evening, I requested him, “What if one thing horrible occurs, and now we have to interrupt up? We might damage one another, and we’ll be so unhappy.” He instructed me, “Even when we don’t get married, and sooner or later we cut up up, it’ll be so unhappy.” I couldn’t escape the danger I’d already signed up for. I had run out of fears.

a few different rings laid out at a jewelry store

Why sure I have begged my boyfriend to indicate me a photograph of the completed ring although I already instructed him I don’t need to see it till he proposes.

So when the fall of 2021 rolled round, and I sprained my ankle and bought COVID in fast succession, I made a decision to spend my couch-bound days doing one thing productive: I began planning our marriage ceremony. On one hand, it most likely was my Capricorn sun-Virgo rising combo rearing its earthy head; I figured all of the {couples} who needed to postpone their nuptials attributable to COVID would make it much more troublesome to snag a venue if I didn’t begin trying early. Plus, I actually wanted one thing to do throughout these chilly, sick months. Reduce to the next Could, and we toured a number of venues, put down a deposit, and texted our closest family and friends to verify they had been free for our date, which was practically two years away (lol). This previous fall, we went collectively to design my engagement ring, made out of the easy pear diamond my dad used to suggest to my mother. By now, we’ve secured a not insignificant variety of marriage ceremony distributors, from our DJ to our photographer, although I’m nonetheless engaged on the gown—the most important merchandise I’ll most likely save for post-engagement.

But, for quite a lot of logistical causes, there gained’t be a proposal till this summer season. My boyfriend is attempting his finest to make it a shock, and I’m attempting my finest to not wreck mentioned shock. Once I speak about our planning course of, folks will ask in the event that they missed an Instagram announcement or surprise why precisely we’re doing this all out of order. The simple reply can be a real one: I’m Sort A at my core, and sadly, planning forward is a key a part of my character. However the different reply is that marriage solely made sense to me as one thing we did on our personal phrases—even when what we’re doing isn’t significantly radical or totally different. (I’ve heard from a handful of people that additionally booked their venue or set a date earlier than they bought engaged.) For it to work for us, it needed to be collaborative and natural and a product of who we actually are, not some arbitrary timeline or rulebook. I can’t think about doing it one other manner, identical to I can’t think about being with one other particular person. And each time we do get engaged, even when we have already got our complete marriage ceremony deliberate out, I do know will probably be proper on time.

Headshot of Madison Feller

Madison is a senior author/editor at ELLE.com, overlaying information, politics, and tradition. When she’s not on the web, you can probably discover her taking a nap or consuming banana bread.