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.

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Congratulations, you’re engaged! What do you do first?

Stock Image

Stock Image

Go to Disneyland? Just kidding. I have a few friends who got engaged over the holidays and I am very happy and excited for them. As I was talking to one of my friends, it occurred to me — what do you do first after that ring is on the bride-to-be’s finger? I thought I’d put the question to my married friends on Facebook. Some of the replies were pretty hilarious, and I hope you enjoy!

“Got married”

“Found a church so we could set a date.”

“Actually that was the second thing…when we got back from our picnic at the beach”

“I started buying giant bridal magazines, thus beginning an obsession.”

“planned announcements”

“We put our phones away and reveled in the moment together before calling our family and friends. Logistically? We set a date and found a venue.”

“Called my mom”

“CRIED”

“Put our clothes back on…Lol” (This one cracked me up, coming from a minister!)

“Called our parents and told them wedding was in three weeks!!!”

“Went to war”

“We opened the rest of our Christmas presents. I proposed Christmas morning 2004.”

“Texted BFF and Changed my “myspace” status lol”

I plan to revisit this issue again, because my conversation with my friend made me realize that some people may not know what to do after the question has been popped and a ring accepted. So, for all of you newly engaged….just enjoy it for now!

Breakdancing flash mob proposal

It’s engagement season again, and from my photographer friend Ja Tecson I discovered this video of a breakdancing flash mob surprise proposal. Sound complicated? It kind of was, but in a good way!

Photos by Justin Element Photography

I am guessing this all took place at Cal State Long Beach, because the mob was made up of past and present members of PAC Modern, the university’s Filipino Club’s associated dance crew. (Cal State Fullerton alum here!) As an aside, PAC Modern and other dance crews like it have gone pro and appeared on shows like America’s Best Dance Crew.

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Awesome proposals

As I’ve mentioned before, the holidays are a prime time for proposals and engagements. In my circle of friends on Facebook, I’ve seen quite a few. Plus, there have been a few in the news, and I just wanted to highlight a few here because they’re such great stories.

My favorite story by far this engagement season is from an old family friend. Cecile Tecson is the daughter of Andy Tecson, a wedding photographer who worked many a wedding with my mom. We’ve kept in touch over Facebook, and over the weekend, saw the amazing photos in an album titled “Graffiti Art at Venice Beach.”

These amazing photos were shot by Cecile’s brother, Ja Tecson, a spectacular photographer in his own right! And yes, he does weddings too!

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Where to get engaged in L.A.

Photo by Flickr's Rubyran

It’s now that time of year — engagement season! I think, personally, I’ve not known a lot of people who got engaged during the holidays. I think I know one. Anyway, but apparently, this is the time of year for getting down on one knee for several reasons: It’s Christmas and everyone is together. Guys want to give their girls that ultimate gift. And something about an end-of-year deadline (I understand about deadlines).

I highly doubt a lot of guys are surfing the web, looking for ideas on how to propose to their girlfriends. If you are….I feel either one of two ways. A) Good for you and b) how is it that you’re going to ask this woman to spend the rest of your life with you and you don’t know how you’re going to propose to her??! Heheh. That said, if you’re still at a loss, I have a few ideas for you. Strangely enough, they all kind of involve being outdoors, so make sure you both wear a nice warm jacket, but maybe not some gloves, for some warm hand holding. Awww…

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Ready to propose? Try these ultra romantic spots

Along with Christmas and New Year’s, Valentine’s Day is one of the top three days of the year to propose marriage. Don’t know where to do it? Don’t want a showy, public proposal? Then try one of these five spots.

The Getty Villa

If the Getty Villa were more easily accessible, I’d be here more often. Just like its cousin up the hill, the architecture and gardens are awe-inspiring. But the smell and sounds of the ocean are that much closer. I particularly like the Getty Villa because of my longtime interest in Greek and Roman history and mythology. My favorite spot at the Villa is the East Garden — it feels like a hidden, secret spot with a gurgling fountain and shady trees. In my opinion, its a perfect place for a private, meaningful proposal. It costs $8 to park, but tickets, while free, are timed and must be secured in advance. Plus, getting there ain’t no picnic — you must take Pacific Coast Highway from the south and turn right into the Getty Villa driveway. There is a cafe at the Villa (and I can think of nothing more metropolitan than having lunch and coffee at the Villa, hee), but if that’s not your cup of tea, there are plenty of food options in Malibu or Santa Monica, ranging from cheap yet quality (like California Chicken Cafe) to expensive but worth it (like Enterprise Fish Co.).

Whale watching

Being out on a boat, with the wind in your face and hair, the smell of the sea in your nostrils? A two-hour whale watching trip is entirely manageable. But, obviously, you’d be on a boat, so if you get motion sickness, you might want to forego this option. The trip I took, from Redondo Sport Fishing, took us around the Rancho Palos Verdes peninsula and back again. While my trip was light on the whale spout/dolphins playing sightings, it was still incredible to get out on a boat and spend an exhilarating day with my honey bunny. But I don’t think you have to worry about that, since the whale watching sites are reporting sightings on nearly every trip. You may or may not want seafood after your trip (um, this should go without saying, but don’t eat before you get on a boat), nonetheless, there are always plenty of food options around these ports. Go hog wild.

Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific

I love museums, zoos and aquariums, period. The pluses about the aquarium include the awesome shark lagoon, where you also have the option of touching (!) baby sharks and stingrays. There’s also plenty of these dim, romantic spots where love exchanges are possible. But keep in mind — if you go on a weekday, chances are you will encounter plenty of children. Um, if you go on the weekend, chances are you will encounter plenty of families. As for food, I do recall a cafeteria-like restaurant at the aquarium, but dude, you’re in Long Beach — there’s tons of food options within walking distance, even a Roscoe’s Chicken N’ Waffles if you’re willing to go a little farther.

Point Fermin Park in San Pedro

This is an incredible park. The view is spectacular, and the feeling you get up there is almost exactly like the feeling you get from being on a boat, without being on a boat. This park makes you feel a little like you’re on top of the world, or on the edge. Trinity and I got married here in 2004, in a long, interesting but convoluted story. If you opt to go here, I’d say you should pick up a to-go order from your favorite restaurant and have a picnic. Your fiance will be so impressed! Just avoid walking too close to the edge, since quite a few people have met their maker that way. Remember, you’re trying to start your new life, not end it.

Los Angeles County Arboretum

The other garden in the area can’t hold a candle to this place, in my opinion. There are super cool turn-of-the-century houses and structures to check out, wandering birds to coo at, lush trees and flowers all over the place, running rivers and a waterfall. When Trin and I went, it was a weekday, so it was literally deserted. Ahem, other more indiscreet couples might take advantage of that, but not us, of course. If you want to picnic first, there’s a lawn out front where you can do so. It also seems that there is now a cafe, appropriately called the Peacock Cafe. But you’re so close to the Santa Anita mall, you might as well go to Dave and Busters for some more fun, or eat at one of the many chain restaurants there. Just remember this place also closes pretty early — 5 p.m.