One year ago, my boyfriend unexpectedly got down on one knee, took out a ring, and asked me to marry him. And I stuck out both hands at once and said, “Yes, but I don’t know which hand the ring goes on.”
Don’t be like me. Learn from my experience. Here, have some wisdom, in the form of a handy list:
10 Things I’ve Learned Since Getting Engaged
- The ring goes on the left hand. If you’re left handed, this will suck. You’ll have a panic attack the first time you pee and reach for the toilet paper and realize you are about to swipe a diamond at your vag. Bathroom sinks will suddenly terrify you (pro tip: make a fist). It’s normal.
- If your significant other seems like they’re about to propose, or is just acting kind of strange, do not, under any circumstances: wear your worst underwear, skip shaving, or have chipped black nail polish. And for the love of god, don’t do all three at the same time.
- Taking a photo of your engagement ring will make you feel like an idiot. There’s no such thing as an attractive picture of a splayed hand. Here’s what to do: wrap your hand around your significant other’s arm, like they’re escorting you to some fancy Edwardian ball. Now hand your phone to someone (a stranger/waiter works in a pinch) and have them snap away.
- The moment you make the announcement on social media, your phone will blow up. You’ll get texts from people you haven’t heard from in years. You’ll be so busy replying to well wishes that you won’t get anything else done for hours. Be prepared for this. Coordinate a date and time with your partner, then simultaneously post your announcements and wait for the onslaught.
- Remember to tell family and close friends before the social media announcement so they don’t have to find out via instagram. Make a list to prevent accidentally leaving someone out.
- Say goodbye to your weekends. The moment we announced we were engaged, suddenly a dozen friends texted, “Congrats! Let’s get brunch and celebrate.” We spent the next few months working our way through a mountain of well wishes and Eggs Benedict. Every Saturday and Sunday. In hindsight, an engagement party might have prevented this.
- People will refer to you as “the bride.” Don’t make a face. Cashiers will spot your ring, suddenly light up, and chirp “Congratulations!” when you’re buying toilet paper and deodorant. It’s weird as hell. It will happen without warning. Sorry.
- Your mom will have a wedding dress hidden away somewhere that she’ll try to force on you. If you’re lucky enough to escape this, your future mother in law will swoop in with her dress. A great sentence to get out of this without hurt feelings is, “That’s a beautiful dress, and I’m so touched at the offer, but I’d like to wear something on my wedding day that reflects my personal style.”
- Book your wedding venue before you try on dresses. No one wants to drag a three-foot long white train through the woods. Or wear a princess gown on a sandy beach. Or sweat through a long-sleeved dress in a barn in July.
- You don’t have to start wedding planning the moment there’s a ring on your finger. Take some time to enjoy each other’s company and to discuss how you picture your future together, not just your wedding day. And maybe after that you can talk about the weird targeted ads you’ve been getting on Facebook ever since you announced your engagement. Because seriously, what is up with those?