The Rules…er…Reality of Engagement

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Picture the fairytale – beautiful locale, a very much in love couple, and many displays of deep affection. Then he gets down on one knee and out comes the ring. She screams, cries, and says yes.

For so many of us, especially in our 20s and 30s, the proposal is the start of a journey to that age-old rite of passage called marriage. However, in the middle of the proposal and marriage is that oh-so-special stage called engagement.

You begin to grow closer as a couple and dream of a new life together, the white picket fence, babies and happily ever after. As a woman, you are flashing the new ring and planning the dress, and as a man you are thinking that you so bloody lucky that she said yes. THEN COMES REALITY.

You see, while this engagement thing is all shiny and new, and people are still congratulating you, there is nobody to tell you about the other side of it. This is an exposé…er…warning to those who have just broken out the bubbly about the possible hazards you may encounter.

1. Engagement macos
Of course, when you get engaged to that special someone, you want to shout it to the rooftops and wave yuh left hand ‘til it falls off. What you don’t expect is the “Law and Order” interrogation squad that will miraculously appear to grill you to find out when is the date, what is the theme/colour scheme, which church you’re considering, and if you have a wedding planner yet – a week after you got engaged.

2. Engagement haters
Now these may be a subset of the engagement maco grouping, but they are crazy enough to warrant their own category. They usually appear in two camps – the frenemies who grin and congratulate you, but secretly plot to put the knife in your back (Et tu, Brute?), and the ex-man, ex-woman, or person who thought they had half a chance, but now have none. Both groups can be equally crazy, and do or say heinous things to you or worse yet, behind your back. Be forewarned.

3. Family bacchanal
As my mother says, the two occasions that bring on the most family bacchanalia are funerals and weddings. If the bacchanalia reaches to a sufficient degree of confusion, both occasions may occur within quick succession. If you are getting married, thank your lucky stars, if your mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother or sister-in-law, aunty, uncle, nennen, or grapevine family actually like you and sanction the wedding.

4. Guest list headache
The guest list is usually the cause of or the result of mucho confusion. You and the groom always have to make concessions for people who you can’t stand – but have to invite, people who you can’t afford – but you have to invite, people who will get vex if you don’t invite them – but you have to invite, pumpkin-vine family who you never see – but have to invite, and Mummy’s friends and Daddy’s drinking pardners – who you definitely have to invite. If you omit any of them, you can expect to get No 3. AND No.1.

5. The actual cost of the wedding
Until I attended a bridal expo just outta fastness, I had no idea that weddings could be so expensive. I saw spa treatments that cost a month’s groceries and wedding décor worth two month’s groceries. I knew it was time to get out of there, when I asked a lady how much for a particular dress, and she said, ”Oh about eight.” EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS!

For me, shacking up is not an option, but at that price I can see how people either do that or get married in the courthouse. Save your shekels, if you’re going to the chapel people.

6. Bridal crack
Yes, you heard me right. For the brides in the middle of wedding planning, you know exactly what it is. When you first get that bridal magazine in your hands, or, if you’re a 2.0 bride, from the minute you look up that first wedding website, you’re hooked. You spend hours in the night like a dope fiend looking through colour schemes, table settings, dresses, shoes, and various other wedding paraphernalia. You drool over Cartier rings and Vera Wang gowns. You just can’t get enough, even though you know you can’t afford it in this lifetime. Take a deep breath, choose for your wedding, and step away!

7. Wedding wars
With all this madness going on, unless you are a bona-fide candidate for sainthood, that man or woman that you are soooo in love with when the ring ‘went on finger’ is guaranteed to have a different vision than you about what your wedding will look like, how much it will cost or some other detail. It can even be chalked down to differences in the way the male or female brain works, or even how both people grew up. Whatever the case may be, you will fight with your significant other on the way to the chapel (well hopefully, not in the church). Let’s just hope the premarital counselling will give you some much-needed skills to kiss and make up.

So, after my rough guide to engagement, if you are still in love and want to be married, I wish you all the best. Just remember, at least you are not alone for this wild and crazy ride.

Nicole G. Henry

Nicole Henry is currently pursuing a degree in Sociology with a minor in Social Policy at The University of the West Indies. She has a special place in her heart for disability and mental health issues. She also loves to write, and her taste in music ranges from gospel and soft rock to classical, roots and zydeco (Google that). Domiciled in the 'safe' suburb of Morvant, she is seeking to further fund her addiction to Bijoux Terner and Wonderful World merchandise.

1 Comment

  1. Frankson D S Marshall

    July 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Great article

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