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Good Housekeeping
May 30, 2007

Cosmo's Guide to Getting Engaged

From getting your guy to pop the question to handling friends who freak out to finding the most romantic ring, read and learn.
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When the man who makes your knees weak and understands the depths of your soul asks you to marry him, you’re possessed by a delicious, dizzy feeling that’s equal parts of joy and nervous energy. But other than parties and lots of planning, what can you really expect once you’re engaged? You’re in for surprises, say women who’ve been there. “I was shocked at how things changed once I started sporting that ring,” says Leila, 28. “It’s exciting, but it all gets weird very fast.” Cosmo gives the straight scoop on the strange territory that lies between bachelorette and bride.

People get nosy.
“When women I barely know find out I’m engaged, they’ll ask me all sorts of personal questions—from do I like the ring to will my fiancé and I stop having sex to make the wedding night more exciting,” says Melissa, 27. “I feel like my relationship is being scrutinized.” You should never feel pressured into answering any inquiry that makes you uncomfortable, says Cynthia C. Muchnick, author of “Will You Marry Me?” The World’s Most Romantic Proposals (IDG Books Worldwide, 1996). “When people pry, asking if you’ll take your husband’s name or what religion you’ll raise your children, respond with a polite-yet-vague statement like ‘I haven’t had time to think about it yet,’” says Muchnick. “Or if your interrogator is hitched, ask her what she did. Married women love to give advice, so that will take the spotlight off of you.”

Friends reshuffle.
Becoming a fiancée can transform friendships, says Aileen, 25, who noticed a shift in her ties with two unattached pals she usually sees once a week. “I just don’t have the time for a weekly girls’ night out now that I’m so busy, and I think they’re resentful,” she says. That’s why it’s important to reassure any single friends who feel left behind that you still do care about them. “Continue to go out with them whenever you can,” says Leah Ingram, author of Your Wedding Your Way (Contemporary Books, 2000). “And when it feels right, tell them you appreciate their standing by you during this crazy time.

You start having doubts.
After the initial excitement of saying yes to her boyfriend’s proposal, Carla, 27, freaked out. “Becoming engaged felt so adult—I just wasn’t prepared,” she says. “So I asked Mark if we could wait a week before telling anyone, to get used to the idea. He was upset, but luckily my nervousness passed quickly.”

Even if you’ve been wishing for a ring, your reaction to the big moment might be less giddy than you’d expect. All sorts of fears suddenly pop up: “Is he really the one?” “Are we rushing things?” “Does this mean I can’t hitchhike across America?”

To differentiate between normal nerves and ones that forebode marital disaster, ask yourself: Am I nervous about the wedding? Or am I worried about spending the rest of my life with this person? “If it turns out you’re simply anxious about planning out the ceremony or getting along with his family, there’s no cause for alarm,” says Judith Coché, Ph.D., a Philadelphia psychologist. Being uncertain and even scared about taking the plunge is also normal. “After all, you’ve never done this before,” says Coché, so take time to sort out your feelings and make sure you’re not having serious doubts.

What if your fiancé starts freaking? Talk to him so you can find out if he’s just having a case of jitters. “Say something non-accusatory, like ‘I’m a little nervous about this whole marriage thing, aren’t you?’ Once you’ve mentioned it, he should open up,” says Coché, so you can work through your worries together.

Your mom will get weird on you.
Normally sweet and sane moms have been known to morph into madwomen when their little girls announce they’re getting married. “My mom called me five times a day, pestering me about the wedding details before I’d even picked a date,” says Berna, 26. “Finally I snapped at her to leave me alone, and she was really hurt.”

A smart way to keep mom happy? Assign her specific wedding-research tasks right away. Invitations, guests accommodations, and reception locales are good choices because she’ll likely care about the impression they’ll make. If you and your mom have divergent mental images of your wedding (she’s thinking horse and carriage, you’re thinking barefoot on the beach), be assertive but sweet. “Say ‘Mom, I know you want my wedding to be perfect, and for me that means…’” says Denise McGregor, author of Mama Drama (St. Martin’s Press, 1999). “It’s a big day for both of you, so be gentle. Ultimately, she wants you to be happy, so she’ll likely acquiesce to your wishes.”

The bridesmaid question rears its head earlier than you’d think.
You may think deciding which buds to ask to be in your bridal party is something you can put off for a while, think again. “Shortly after I announced my engagement, friends started acting overly helpful around me, as if they were expecting something,” says Rhoda. “Some even dropped hints!” To prevent others from putting you in an awkward position, either suck it up and make your decision early or make it clear that you and your fiancé won’t be deciding about the wedding party for three, six, or even nine months.

Your groom hangs back.
It’s unfair but true: The stress of planning your blissful affair will fall squarely on you. “I feel like I have this huge task on my shoulders,” says Lisa, 28, of her upcoming nuptials, “while my fiancé, Ron, doesn’t even think about it that much. It’s hard not to become a little resentful.” Face it: Men just aren’t hard-wired to care about wedding details like flowers, cakes, and dresses like we are. Of course, the one time you do make a move without consulting him, you might just hear about it. To cut down on confusion and squabbling, Ingram recommends sitting down with your guy and asking him which wedding plans he really cares about so you can make sure to keep him in the loop on those decisions.

Your relationship needs TLC.
Once wedding planning begins, it’s easy to forget why you’re getting married in the first place. To put the focus back on you and your guy, Muchnick suggests periodically declaring a moratorium on matrimony talk for an evening or an entire weekend. “Recall all the things that you used to find fascinating about each other before your wedding took over your life,” she says. Or go an on “engagement-moon”—a romantic weekend getaway—a couple of months before the big day to give yourselves a break.

Most important, keep in mind that all the commotion is really about you two digging each other like crazy. “A few months into our engagement, Jojo stopped looking like my beloved and started to look like the jerk who hadn’t called the caterer back,” says Mabel, 26. “So one day, I packed a picnic with a bottle of Beaujolais, and we went to the park and spent the afternoon writing our vows. It reminded us of the true reason we were getting married—and made the actual day much more special.”

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Filter comments by:
  • inchiqueko Oct 27 2006 @ 06:59pm Report Abuse
    I love that guy in the pic....=)
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:14pm
  • melai Nov 20 2006 @ 03:01pm Report Abuse
    i love zanjoe..
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:13pm
  • missy_blue Nov 21 2006 @ 09:30pm Report Abuse
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:12pm
  • honeylette s. conde Nov 23 2006 @ 06:46pm Report Abuse
    i'll surely love a guy who could love me truly in return and promise him not to let him go as possible as i could.
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:12pm
  • joy ambe Nov 24 2006 @ 11:43am Report Abuse
    getting married does not mean you are becoming a different person...it's the other way around..you are what you are and you are sharing what you have...
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:12pm
  • jocan Nov 24 2006 @ 09:56pm Report Abuse
    basta ako happy =)
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:12pm
  • edelweissa79 Nov 25 2006 @ 06:18am Report Abuse
    girls/women please attend the fascinating womanhood this march 2007 you will have more ideas on WHY /WHAT HOW/ WHERE/ WHO WHAT happened/ what will happen/ in your marriage or during your marriage..
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:12pm
  • kizz Nov 29 2006 @ 10:26am Report Abuse
    married life is the most exciting life. Good luck to all woman who will get married. Prepare you self to all the emotions. It might not be easy but be strong!
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:12pm
  • sheero Jan 27 2007 @ 11:08am Report Abuse
    sa pag aasawa parang sugal yan e..kapag mabait ang napangasawa mo swerte mo kasi bigay yan ng dios sau..
    kaya Gud Luck nalang sa inyo..:)
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:10pm
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  • joan Feb 26 2007 @ 01:01pm Report Abuse
    very nice web site more education. if u need to invest lots here in philippines just come to our office lamorena land surveying, paniqui , tarlac 045-9310370 / 639109229612
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:07pm
  • ghelay Mar 26 2007 @ 11:33pm Report Abuse
    so hard pero i try my best na intindihin sya and mga gusto nya hayzz!!minsan d ko sya getz!hhehehe but being married to someone u know will take care and love u is enough IM HAPPY!!
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:05pm
  • lorna conde Apr 03 2007 @ 08:01pm Report Abuse
    may i know pls uur parents name honeylette
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:05pm
  • thess Apr 05 2007 @ 07:34pm Report Abuse
    just as long as you dont forget who you really are, go!
    you dont have to change yourself just to please the other person, dont forget that
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:05pm
  • tantan Apr 12 2007 @ 11:25am Report Abuse
    my boyfriend understand that i still not ready to be engaged kaya happy ako kc understanding sya!!!
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:05pm
  • khai Apr 19 2007 @ 12:16am Report Abuse
    getting married is not an easy thing...its like changing your peaceful life into a very hard one. be wise in choosing a man to marry,believe me...
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:05pm
  • cLeo_ Jun 04 2007 @ 01:35pm Report Abuse
    wow!!!! i learned a lot.. :)
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:01pm
  • chiz_06 Jun 19 2007 @ 09:59pm Report Abuse
    hindi ganun kadali pag-aasawa...kahit anung tagal niyong mag boyfriend may lalabas at lalabas pa ring ugali na hindi mo pa alam...at mashoshock ka...malas mo lang kapag ang napili mong asawa yung gagawin kang parang robot...kaya choose wisely...
    Last modified Apr 07 2010 @ 05:00pm
  • Aizen Feb 25 2010 @ 05:07am Report Abuse
    tagal n pala ng article n to, i think all commenters here are already married. i hope all of you are happy.
    Last modified A long time ago
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