Author Topic: Is there a ticking clock?  (Read 7325 times)

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fountainof

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2013, 11:27:39 AM »
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There's no ticking clock, but some people think that if you don't get married within a certain timeframe, then you might as well not be married and just stay engaged. (Please note, I don't think this, but I've heard the views expressed by dozens of people over the years.)
I must admit I think this.  I wonder why people get engaged if they don't plan to legally marry in the near future.  Just be a couple, live together, have kids... whatever but why be eternally engaged?  I don't get it.

We have an engaged guy at our office, who hasn't set a date yet and he is 35.  He has now been engaged a year and I guess it just seems weird, if he were 18 yeah but at his age I would think you would want to get married or not.  If they weren't ready to get married why did he propose?  You should be ready to marry the next day when you propose not maybe a few years down the line.  Last year he told clients he was engaged (not sure why really) and now this year some clients have asked how the wedding was and he says they don't have a date yet and the clients kind of look at him like  :o

GlitterIsMyDrug

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2013, 02:07:27 PM »
Thank for you all the responses and guidence!

I'm not really bothered by people asking if we've set a date. A lot of my friends have announced engagements by saying to me "Mark your calender, December 6th, you're busy! It's my wedding!", so it's not odd for them to think we'd already have a date. We've also been together for 5 years and have lived together for 2 years, and everyone knows the subject of marriage as come up for us so why not discuss locations/dates/venues/whatever. Some of our family memebers are in the "Get married already!" boat, especially my great uncle who isn't in good health (which in my family means he'll bury us all but be very dramatic while he does it).

I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some unwritten "Gee by the 1 month mark you should really nail down that date" rule type thing.

I also agree the engaged for forever and a day thing just makes me want to bang my head. Though my group of friends are more the "lets get engaged just cause oh look now we broke up" type. I have one friend who has been engaged 7 times. Married 0. Planned 0 weddings. But boy is she good at getting engaged. Anymore I don't even get excitied over "I'm engaged!" from her. Oh, you're engaged? Must be Tuesday.

I'm very different from a lot of my friends when it comes to relationships. Moving in together was huge to me. It was a commitment to begin sharing our whole lives with each other. And getting engaged to me (and to Partner) is another big commitment. Its the starting stages of committing to spending our lives together. This is one of the few areas of my life where I'm fairly serious.

Yvaine

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2013, 02:55:05 PM »

katycoo

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2013, 12:07:06 AM »
Quote
There's no ticking clock, but some people think that if you don't get married within a certain timeframe, then you might as well not be married and just stay engaged. (Please note, I don't think this, but I've heard the views expressed by dozens of people over the years.)
I must admit I think this.  I wonder why people get engaged if they don't plan to legally marry in the near future.  Just be a couple, live together, have kids... whatever but why be eternally engaged?  I don't get it.

We have an engaged guy at our office, who hasn't set a date yet and he is 35.  He has now been engaged a year and I guess it just seems weird, if he were 18 yeah but at his age I would think you would want to get married or not.  If they weren't ready to get married why did he propose?  You should be ready to marry the next day when you propose not maybe a few years down the line.  Last year he told clients he was engaged (not sure why really) and now this year some clients have asked how the wedding was and he says they don't have a date yet and the clients kind of look at him like  :o

I guess some people enjoy the idea of being engaged - a level of public declaration of committment.  Different strokes and all that...

TootsNYC

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2013, 01:06:21 AM »
But I guess my own reaction is, that's what marriage is for.

If you want some intermediate stage, I don't really want to know about it. I just think that the "public" really doesn't need to know all the ins and outs of all the intermediate stages.

People can and will do what they want.

But I think that traditional etiquette really doesn't recognize "being engaged" as an "official stage." It's a transition period only.

miranova

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2013, 10:12:29 AM »
I think people just want/need to know when your wedding is so that they can plan ahead.  That's all.  And I do think that there should be sufficient time to allow people to take off work etc IF it is important to you that they make the effort to be there.

CluelessBride

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2013, 10:37:32 AM »
But I guess my own reaction is, that's what marriage is for.

If you want some intermediate stage, I don't really want to know about it. I just think that the "public" really doesn't need to know all the ins and outs of all the intermediate stages.

People can and will do what they want.

But I think that traditional etiquette really doesn't recognize "being engaged" as an "official stage." It's a transition period only.


I'm very curious what makes you think this. Doesn't traditional etiquette recognize engaged couples as social units? True, they aren't married yet and therefore aren't entitled to certain legal benefits, but I've always felt that being engaged comes with a bunch of social benefits. Which to me makes it as official a stage as any.

There is also historical precedence for engagement being its own stage. It varies from culture to culture, but in many the engagement/betrothal period was very much its own stage with specific privileges and responsibilities. In some breaking an engagement actually required a divorce.

There are all sorts of reasons someone might choose to wait to get married and frankly they are no ones business but the couple's.  I find the judgmental attitudes about length of engagement appalling. An engagement is just like marriage - it only matters what it means to the couple. Some people truly believe and hold themselves to the idea of "until death do us part", others see marriage as a commitment, but not a life-long commitment. Some believe marriage requires exclusive monogamy, while others believe in open marriages.

And really you can't win. If you have a small cake and punch wedding that you can afford right away, some people will judge and complain that they are expected to attend a wedding with no meal or booze (I've even seen people here on ehell express this sentiment). If you save for a few years to afford a BWW, some people will complain that the engagement was too long or the couple was wasting money (again, even people on ehell do this).  Since someone is going to be upset anyhow, they might as well do whatever makes them happy.

To the general question of how long do you have to set a date, while I don't think there is any official timeline for setting a date, I would expect the couple to have a general idea of a timeline after a month or two, even if that only means that they've decided they are going to wait quite awhile before setting a date and getting married. The further out the date, the more general the timeline can be. So for example, lets take a couple that got engaged in August 2013. By now I would expect them to have at least started to think about a timeline. If they were planning on getting married before the end of 2013, I'd expect that they had picked a specific date (or at least picked a weekend). If they are planning to get married in early 2014, I'd expect they had picked a month. If they were planning to get married sometime in 2014-2015, I'd expect that they had picked a season (e.g. "sometime next fall", "sometime in late 2015"). If they were planning anything past that, I'd sort of expect that they'd indicate that they were planning a long engagement ("we are thinking in 3-5 years" or "we want to wait until after Jane finishes residency" or simply "we are in no rush, but you'll have plenty of notice before the actual date").

White Lotus

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2013, 11:13:40 AM »
Most engagements I am familiar with mean the couple is intending to get married to the point of doing actual planning.  Engagement parties are more like "meet the Intended" for friends and family in the location where held, such as parents' homes in their respective hometowns, and never, ever are gift giving occasions. I think you get engaged when you are ready to actually plan a wedding, which it sounds like you are, OP.  Pick your venue and set a date pretty soon -- a month or two -- and you will be fine.  I wouldn't have wanted a long engagement  -- we were ready to get jobs, find a house, think about babies, as soon as we were done with our degrees, and didn't want to drag it out any longer than we had to.  Our wedding was multinational and complicated, and it still only took 6 months from "we're doing it" to "we did it." 

flickan

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2013, 12:33:34 PM »
OP, since you have clarified that you have been together for such and such a time and now live together I would say that you only need the engagement period for as long as it takes to plan a wedding, so while you shouldn't feel rushed to set that date, I can see where others are coming from on this engagement period being treated as a finite and not overlong state.

My spouse and I had an engagement of over 1 1/2 years.  But we used that time to get our metaphorical house in order.  We knew we were going to get married very early and we were engaged by 10 months-- although by 6 months it was pretty obvious that it was going to happen.  We had a wedding date set by the first month of engagement but we gave it a good long while because we used this intermediate period to get to know each others families better, to sort out our living situations, pool our resources, and attend pre-marital counseling.  For me engagement was a whole other level, not quite marriage but not more than a committed relationship.  Engagement is when we began to treat one another as spouses.  In essence, engagement is when I became "married" in mindset.  Not much changed after the wedding at all, as we had moved in together a couple of months prior.  But the length of time was our buffer to prepare ourselves for this lifestyle change.  We're very practical people and we had to make sure we had our teamwork together to prepare for the long haul.

katycoo

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2013, 06:30:03 PM »
But I guess my own reaction is, that's what marriage is for.

If you want some intermediate stage, I don't really want to know about it. I just think that the "public" really doesn't need to know all the ins and outs of all the intermediate stages.

People can and will do what they want.

But I think that traditional etiquette really doesn't recognize "being engaged" as an "official stage." It's a transition period only.

I'm not quite sure what you expect.

If a couple becomes engaged, the general consensus is that there is nothing wrong with the couple having an engagement party.

From there, what ins and outs do you experience?  Other than a differing lapse of time between the party and the wedding, what "knowing about it" are you subjected to?  Does the actual concept of you being aware of a couple being engaged for a long time without sealing the deal somehow offend you?

I can perfectly understand that you don't see the point of an extended enagagement (I don't really either) but I don't see why it bothers you.

What period do you think is reasonable?  18 months is pretty average here.

TootsNYC

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2013, 07:41:32 PM »
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An engagement is just like marriage - it only matters what it means to the couple.


Actually, I do not believe that this is true. Marriage is not about what it means to the couple or how they feel about one another.

If it were, there would be no public ceremony. There would be no license, there would be no witnesses.

Marriage is a specific legal state that grants certain rights and responsibilities--that's why you have to get a government-issued marriage license. It's a recognized logistical and social partnership that affects a great many interactions with *other* people.

Of course we all hope that people who marry will have the deepest possible commitment. But that's actually not any of our business--that's a private, intimate matter between the two of them. The public aspect of marriage is all that is important to the rest of it.

And, of course, you can have the deepest possible commitment to another human being without any sort of marriage. But the rest of us shouldn't be asked to judge whether that exists. It is only appropriate for us to judge what's going on that's apparent to the public--which is why getting married is such an important life stage.

That's why that "what it means to the couple" is not a part of marriage. I believe that marriage is about "what it means about the couple's relationship to the rest of the world and the rest of society."

And that's why "being engaged" is not a full "life stage"--it's a preliminary to a life stage. The social world reacts by treating an engaged couple almost as though they are married. But I think it's also why people get exasperated if the engaged state goes on for a long time. People feel "gamed"--they've extended the social considerations of marriage to someone, and yet the *actual* life change hasn't materialized.

I don't think it's the same thing as it was before, because we also now recognize the state of "living together," when previously we didn't.

katycoo

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2013, 07:50:09 PM »
And that's why "being engaged" is not a full "life stage"--it's a preliminary to a life stage. The social world reacts by treating an engaged couple almost as though they are married. But I think it's also why people get exasperated if the engaged state goes on for a long time. People feel "gamed"--they've extended the social considerations of marriage to someone, and yet the *actual* life change hasn't materialized.

I don't think that many people feel this way.  I appreciate that you do, but so far, you're the only one I've encountered. 

I don't personally care what another person does - whether they live in an unmarried state of committment, live engaged forever, or get married.  Other than the fact that I like attending weddings, I so don't care.  I treat them all the same anyway.

Lynn2000

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2013, 07:54:43 PM »
For the practical consideration of people asking about a date, as someone else said, I think it's usually the opening question about wedding preparation and/or otherwise continuing to show interest in the topic you, the newly-engaged, just brought up--your engagement. "Is there a ring?" and "How was the proposal done?" are another couple of common questions, IME. Kind of like, if you tell people you just bought a new car, they will show interest by asking you further questions about it--make and model, mileage if used, color if you're like me and know nothing of cars. ;) I think, mostly, they are really just saying, "We're excited and happy for you, and we want to know more."

There can also be a logistical component to it, as others have pointed out. People may also be asking, "Is this going to be very soon, like next weekend, or in roughly a year, or more like three years, or what?" Because, presumably, they're interested in attending the wedding and want to make sure they don't inadvertently book a big vacation or whatever at the same time. If people's attendance is something you're concerned about, it only makes sense to settle on a time frame, and soon thereafter an actual date, as soon as possible, so you can "book" that date on your guests' calendars. Especially if there are going to be issues like people coming in from other countries, which can take a long time to work out. So one answer might be, "No date yet, but we're thinking fall next year at the earliest, and maybe even later. We will definitely keep everyone informed, though."

On a philosophical level, I think engagements are very interesting. They can represent such different things to different people. For some, it's the start button on serious wedding and marriage planning. For others, it's the next level of commitment, but one that can have an indeterminate length. For example, one person I knew met her boyfriend in high school, and when they went off to different colleges, they became engaged as a way to reaffirm their commitment to each other. Although I'm sure many of those plans have gone wrong, in this case it had a happy ending, as they finally started planning the wedding during their senior year in college and held the wedding soon after they both graduated (and are still married today).

Another friend of mine was living with her boyfriend, serious relationship, and he got a job offer that would take him across the country. She didn't want to have a long-distance relationship and was prepared to follow him out there and continue living with him, but she was much relieved when they became engaged, so she would be accompanying him as a fiancee and not just a girlfriend--to her this seemed more stable and committed. I don't know when they started the wedding planning, but it probably took a bit because they had all the logistics of moving and her finding a job to deal with first. But they did eventually get married (and are still).

Like so many things, it's not the timeline that's rude, but how the couple handles it. For example, announcing that you're getting married next weekend and everyone MUST be there or you'll throw a fit? Rude. Being engaged for three years with no hint of a date, and then announcing you're getting married next weekend, etc.? Also rude. Getting married next weekend but being totally cool about who can come or can't is polite, although it may still leave hurt feelings, which may or may not be reasonable.
~Lynn2000

TurtleDove

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2013, 09:42:42 PM »
I don't have a stake in anyone else's relationship, but "long" engagements with no movement toward actually getting married do tend to make me question what is going on. Because being engaged is not the same level of commitment as being married. It would make me think one or both partners do not truly want to be married to each other, for whatever reason. Which is fine, but it makes me wonder "why get engaged?"

mspallaton

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Re: Is there a ticking clock?
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2013, 10:58:34 PM »
Most people have addressed it already, but I would just add that even if it gets frustrating, the "what is the date" question is one worth having as much patience as possible with.  People generally only know a few questions to ask and seem to really want to share the joy of the impending nuptials.

Here are the ones we got a lot:

- What's the date?
- Can I see the ring?
- How did he propose?
- How did you meet?
- Where are you getting married?
- What are your wedding colors?
- How big is it going to be?
- Have you sent out invites yet?

The last two I tended to take as hints from people.  But the rest, even though they got annoying after a while, I just figured people wanted to share the joy and didn't know of anything more creative to ask.  The main thing is - I wouldn't take it personally or take it as pressure to choose a date when people ask.

So, my recommendation - be honest, but without a lot of detail.  "We haven't set a date yet.  We both like fall so that's one option, but there's so much to consider still..."  That one is for people you don't mind continuing to chat with.  For someone you want to wrap up the conversation with, I would just leave it at "We haven't set a date yet" and let it hang in the air.  If they ask a follow up you can decide what to do from there.