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A Very Long Engagement…Or is it Short? Which is Right for You?

Most people say that one year is an ideal time-frame in which to plan a wedding, but for many couples itching to get hitched, a year is just too long. Still others may feel that twelve months simply isn’t enough time to make all the arrangements and secure the perfect venue. So how do you pick the ideal date once you’ve got the ring on your finger? There’s no simple answer. You’re going to have to take a lot of factors into consideration when you set the date for your nuptials. Here are a few that could make a difference.

1. Availability of bookings. If you’ve got your heart set on a popular venue during wedding season (i.e. the summer months), you could find that trying to book even a year ahead of time presents some difficulties. On the other hand, some flexibility with your choice of vendors could provide you with the dates you need to make your wedding day arrive a lot faster.

2. Availability of guests. The minimum time for guests to make travel arrangements is generally considered to be three months (although it’s standard to send a “save the date” six or more months out to make sure people are prepared). But keep in mind that families with children may not be able to attend if you plan your wedding during the school year, so if you really want your sister to stand in as your matron of honor, but she has three kids of school age, you might have to push out your date to accommodate her.

3. Time for planning. If you’re already weighed down with professional and personal obligations but you’re stuck planning the wedding by yourself (no extra funds for a wedding planner), you may want to make sure to give yourself extra time to get it all done, especially if it’s a destination wedding.

4. Ability to wait. If you’re keen to get married like, yesterday, and your partner is feeling the same way, there’s no reason to wait for a white dress and chapel bells. Head to Vegas and hire an Elvis to read the sermon. Heck, you can even hold the ceremony in a drive-through if you’re in a real hurry.

5. Potential for problems. If your family is not particularly thrilled about the engagement and you suspect they might try to ruin the wedding (based on the fact that they staged an intervention to try to break you up), then maybe you’d rather do the deed before they have a chance to plot against your soon-to-be spouse. It is for these situations that elopements were invented!

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5 Signs it’s Time to Get Engaged

It’s not always easy to know when the time is right to pop the big question. You might not be able to gauge the interest of the lucky lady in question, you may not want to mess with a good thing, or maybe you’re just not ready. But as time goes by and the pressure mounts, you may begin to wonder if the “right time” is just a myth concocted by happy couples to hide the fact that they, too, were unsure about the proper moment for presenting a ring. Whatever your reason for waiting, you certainly don’t want to put off that next step too long or you may find yourself alone while the love of your life runs off to Las Vegas to marry your best friend. Here are a few hard-to-miss signs that it’s time to get to one knee and solidify your future with a diamond engagement ring.

1. She’s pregnant. If your girlfriend is sporting a baby bump as an accessory instead of a ring, it’s time to man up and remedy the situation. Bringing a child into the picture is a pretty clear sign that you’re moving towards a permanent partnership, so stop stalling and get the ring already!

2. You’re already married under common law. If the law says you’ve been together long enough to be married, maybe it’s time you took the hint. At the very least, you’re missing out on a monster tax break. If you’ve been living together for several years as a couple, you’re already married in spirit anyway, so why not make it official and give her the day she’s been dreaming of since she was a child. After all, if she stayed with you, she kind of deserves it.

3. You’ve been together more than half of your life. This is a no brainer. If you’ve been together more than half the time you’ve been alive, you’re probably not going to be moving on to greener pastures any time soon. If you’re in it for the long haul, then for goodness sake, make the commitment.

4. She’s started looking at rings. This is a sure sign that she’s ready, so unless you want to lose her to the next guy to offer her a shiny bauble for her third finger, you’d better start planning for the purchase of your life. Otherwise she’ll be planning it without you.

5. Her bags are packed and she’s thrown the gauntlet. Uh-oh! When it gets to ultimatum time, you may already be too late. Don’t suffer the knee-jerk reaction of telling her to go unless you’re sure that a life without her is just fine with you. Probably she’s already told you a few times and you just weren’t listening. So before you blame her ambush for the break-up, think about your own role and consider if you should have proposed marriage a lot sooner.

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How Long Should You Wait for a Proposal?

Most women can’t wait to get a shiny diamond engagement ring on the third finger of their left hand. But men, as we all know, are often hesitant to take the plunge. And so we are usually obliged to wait until such time as they realize they can’t live without us. Unfortunately, this can sometimes take years to accomplish, and with a mother nagging, a biological clock ticking, and a desire for resolution hammering in our heads, we may get tired of waiting around for our boys to become men and pop the question already! Some women take matters into their own hands by posing an ultimatum (marry me or I’m leaving!) or by taking one knee and proposing to him. But for those of you unwilling to risk losing your man by being too pushy or unable to break with tradition by asking for his hand, you’re just going to have to drop hints and wait it out. But how long should you wait?

Let’s put it this way: if you’re looking for a ring, common law marriage is the cutoff. If he hasn’t proposed by the time you are legally viewed as husband and wife (as in, the IRS allows you to file joint taxes), then you need to get out. He’s never going to marry you! And why would he? As many a mother has quipped, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? This is a pretty absolute deadline to set and it’s pretty fair considering common law marriage generally occurs only after you’ve been sharing a residence for several years (many people assume this time period to be seven years, but it varies by state). However, your personal cutoff may come a lot sooner.

In most cases, you will know within 2-5 years if the person you are dating is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, possibly even faster if you live together. By this time, you have gotten pretty comfortable with each other, shared most of your secrets, and probably started cohabitating. Once you’re living together, it’s just like being married anyway. So if you find that you’re getting antsy but he’s nowhere near ready to commit, then you have a choice to make. Love him or leave him. In other words, accept his unwillingness to propose and either put up with it or get on with your life elsewhere. If he’s smart, he’ll come to his senses and come after you. If not, maybe you’ll find that Mr. Right was just around the corner all along.