So you know that the next six weeks are the BIGGEST time of the year for new engagements, right? And if you’re a gay couple, let’s face it – you have so many more proposal options. He can propose, or he can propose! Same with the lesbians out there – she can pop the question, or she can surprise her with a ring? There are no expectations, except within your own relationship. There are no rules. Whoever gets up the nerve (and the cash for a ring in some cases) can be the one to take that big step. Forget the stereotypes. Have fun with it. Bill and I got engaged on December 20, 2003, and we celebrate that date together every year.
So is there a chance this is the holiday season to begin making plans to formalize your relationship? If so, I have a few tips that might come in handy – for the partner asking, and the partner being asked.1) Go get a manicure (unisex demand here). You cannot have ganked-looking nails if there is the slightest change that somebody is going to be slipping an engagement ring or promise band on your hot little hand over the next two weeks. Start the basics now – gentlemen who don’t consider themselves “metro” ought to take a serious look at their paws. Maybe it’s time to take a walk on the wild side and get somebody to tame those nasty cuticles. Ladies who don’t lunch – your hands matter too. Stop chewing the nails, invest in a file, and remember that everybody is going to be looking at the symbol of your love resting on the hands. You’re just providing an attractive backdrop. Or at least an inoffensive one. I know it’s hard when you work with your hands – I have a hard time myself because wedding flowers tear me up – but this is the time that it’s really worth the extra effort (or hand cream).
2) There are no rules about how a proposal has to go – you don’t have to have the ring there, you don’t have to have a ring at all! Just depends on what the two of you have talked about and whether your expectations are met overall (let’s face it, if you ALWAYS wanted a diamond and you don’t get it, you’re gonna be bumming). So if you feel the moment, take it. Even if you’re not formally prepared, if you sense your partner is trying his or her hardest to actually, formally “pop” the question and you’re watching them struggle… be kind and help out. If, of course, you love your mate enough to make that life commitment.3) If you do get engaged, be ready to share that information together. It’s okay to keep it a secret for a short period of time while you get your ducks in a row. It’s the holiday season for goodness sakes. Even if you’re bursting with joy to announce that you’re making a life commitment to each other, if your partner’s family is going to be all around you for the next week and they’re not all as supportive as you would both prefer, it might not be the exact right time to share that information. By all means, tell your friends and those who love and support you, but save the bombs for dropping after the holiday season. Let’s face it; anybody who doesn’t support your union is wrong. And it’s going to be unpleasant when you deal with it, right? So why the hell would you want to put a damper on the most amazing thing in the world by telling THOSE people when you are in a celebratory mode? Let them find out through the grapevine down the road unless you relish the idea of a drama-filled holiday engagement. Not!
4) Don’t think you have to have a long engagement – nowadays, you can get married as soon as you’re ready to do it. If you want to go someplace far away and bring your best friends and closest family with you, you probably need to give them a little bit of notice, but not that much. How long you draw things out may complicate matters that don’t need to be complicated. Remember, nobody but you and your intended spouse actually gets to have an opinion.
5) Have fun with your engagement! Go out and buy a beautiful ring holder for the dresser (if you got something to put on it), get some ring cleaner (I find the red jar at Bed Bath and Beyond is pretty gentle and effective and also comes in a toothbrush-looking travel applicator that’s good to keep in a Dopp kit or cosmetic bag). Celebrate your love and take lots of pictures. Make the date of your engagement something you celebrate every year for just that reason – it’s the date the one (or both) of you got up the nerve to commit every day for the rest of your lives to one another. Pretty significant. And for gay couples who have struggled just to have the right to be together and actually have this moment, it’s probably even more important. Don’t let anybody poop on your party – go celebrate, show off and have a blast. Congratulations!
Sandy Malone, a guest blogger, is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings and commitment ceremonies in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island) , Boutique in Vieques and Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm). Visit her at www.weddingsinvieques.com.