In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess something. My daughter is technically not engaged yet. At first, starting to make plans without an official engaged made me a little uneasy. We have good reasons for our timeline; Dev and Greg are in their last year of college (Greg is actually in his last semester), and they know that they want to get married next June. However, for a lot of good reasons, they won't become well and truly engaged in the literal sense until. . well, I can't say here.
I asked some younger friends who know everything about weddings and so forth if this was okay. I asked my hairdresser, Kristina, if we were going to get grief from all the wedding professionals with whom we'd be talking. She and everyone else assured me that this kind of planning isn't unusual these days. Lots of brides make all their plans and then are only engaged for a few a months. I felt a little better.
And my friend Stacey gave me more assurance: she said that in the realest sense, Dev and Greg already ARE engaged, since we are all knee-deep in plans for a wedding. No ring on the finger yet, but come to think of it, neither of my grandmothers ever had engagement rings. It didn't make their marriages any less official (for 50+ and 60+ years respectively!). And I have faith that a ring will come along shortly.
I can't imagine trying to pack all this planning into less than a year, so I'm relieved to know that what was de rigor when I was a bride-to-be isn't anymore. I spent my youth reading and consulting Amy Vanderbuilt's books on etiquette, and I worked hard to ensure that my wedding followed the rules. But the rules aren't what they used to be!
That's good and bad. I miss knowing with certainty what is proper and what isn't--that's gone by the wayside in this day and age. But it's pretty cool that we can make just about anything work as long as it's in the best interest of the bride, the groom and the guests.
Maybe it's time to buy a new etiquette book.