Now that you’re engaged, what’s next?

There is a huge, billion-dollar industry that banks on the fact that women have been dreaming of their BIG DAY since they were little girls. But I think that’s not necessarily the case anymore. More and more women are focusing on their careers much more so than on their dream weddings, so when one of those women finds themselves with an engagement ring on their finger, the next thought is, “now what?” I understand. I was one of those women. So if a princess bride wedding isn’t your cup of tea, well, I can help you.

(Stock image by lisafanucchi)

(Stock image by lisafanucchi)

I have a friend, a very good friend, who I have known since we were in college and who one of the few people present at my impromptu wedding by the sea. She is one of the ladies I know who got engaged over the holidays. Now, while she has been very career focused, she has also been very clear in her desire to get married and have children one day. Notice that that doesn’t include a focus on the wedding day.

So while I was chatting with her the other day, I asked her if she’d started doing any planning on the wedding. (I have ulterior motives here, of course, since I want her to have the wedding on the West Coast, rather than on the East Coast, where she lives now.) In chatting with her as she still basks in the post-proposal after-glow, she said the one thing that she and her fiance are solid on so far is pre-marital counseling. You go girl! It’s so important, in my opinion; my husband and I underwent a few months of pre-marital counseling before we got married. And especially since couples are tying the knot at a later age, it really helps mesh everyone’s expectations with the reality.

But, as our chat went on, I identified two questions that she and her fiance would have to ask each other as they decided what type of wedding to have: Who has the bigger family? And, whose family will contribute to the cost?

These two questions are very specific to my friend and her situation, and of course I only knew to ask them because I know her so well.  So, let me explain.

Who has the bigger family?

Both my friend and her fiance have large families. And, she is from the West Coast, while he is from the East Coast, where she lives now. You might think, then the wedding should be on the East Coast, where she lives now, right? Not necessarily. Whoever has the bigger family is a huge consideration, because if one would like to keep the costs of the wedding down, then it would actually be ideal to have the wedding away from the bigger family, sort of making the event a destination wedding. Not everyone on the East Coast will be able to shell out to come out to the West Coast for a wedding, and vice versa, so in that way, you’re already keeping your guest list — and your costs — down.

Whose family will be contributing to the cost?

Again, I ask this only because I know my friend so well, and I know that one of her beloved relatives will probably want to fund a portion of the costs. If that’s the case, then you would naturally want to have the wedding near that relative, to make attending the event easier on the relative.

The other thing I suggested to her was just to elope. Heheh — get married in a quiet ceremony and have a party in each state at a later date. And it turns out that that’s something they have seriously considered, but are looking at having a big wedding for their moms.

Wow — to have consensus so early on something so big is rare. I told her, as I would tell anyone else — if you both want to elope, elope! Don’t worry about your mothers, they’re not the ones who have to be married. Get married in a way that makes you happy, and once grandbabies are on the way, no one will care either way.

Got a wedding-related question? I can help! Send me your question by emailing darleene @ or find me on

Leave a Reply