So....I've been engaged for just over a week, and that's not long....
But one emerging theme is that my fiance and I think about things a lot, rather than just doing what's expected. I love this about us, and I think it benefits everyone...but it makes it hard to talk without sounding judgmental.
For example, I LOVE my engagement ring. It's a lab-created emerald in a recycled gold setting- reducing the environmental impact of gold mining, and no miners in Colombia were exploited for my emerald. This was really, really important to me/us, and is the main reason (even though it's absolutely beautiful) that my fiance purchased the ring he did. But it's hard to say that without sounding like "this is what you should do too" or "we're better than you"....which is NOT what I want to communicate. ...yet if someone just sees a gorgeous ring, they don't get the point.
Or dresses....I've gotten a fair amount of advice about dress shopping. A good chunk of it includes "just go to David's Bridal..." well...what, 30% of brides use David's Bridal? And I've heard some pretty wretched things about how they treat their employees. Never mind how many wedding dresses are made in developing nations by women who aren't getting paid enough to live on and are working 16 hour days...no. David's Bridal is really not an option. But I find myself often just nodding politely.
Or "are you having the wedding in [my parents town]?" Um, No. Absolutely not, wouldn't even consider it. My father's a minister, and if I were to do that, I would have the sort of gigantic formal church wedding that always makes me want to cry and hide under a pew when I attend one of them. We happen to be adults, and we want to actually have control over this.
And then there are the assumptions...about things neither of us are sure about. That I'm going to change my name to his . . . and there are compelling reasons for that, but at the same time, when I get married, I will be 26 with a masters degree and a good chunk of professional work under the name I have now. There aren't any good answers, and *I* don't know what my married name is going to be, so I wish other people would quit making assumptions. Or..."you'll probably be having kids at 30" (which, in fairness, was a response to my comment about never thinking I'd get married before 30). Really? given that the conversation between my fiance and I is about *if* rather than *when* to have kids, that one's really annoying. I love him, I'm just not certain that I'd be a good parent. And therefore, I'm holding off on kids until that's hammered down.
Part of me understands and appreciates the happy well-wishers and their attempts to help. And so I smile and say thank you....but a small part of me wants to shake them, or shout "heck no!"
But we're going to succeed.....in having a simple, special wedding that we both actually enjoy attending, in learning how to be a two-career ( very possibly two- academic) family, and in learning to be a family that looks like us, not what other people expect. If I didn't know that, I wouldn't be marrying him.