Rules of Engagement


So he put a ring on it...  (eeeeep!) CONGRATULATIONS!!! Right now you are on cloud nine and can't think of anything else other than flower arrangements, gowns, and that dazzling rock on your left hand. And how you no longer have to throw your hand up when Beyonce's Single Ladies comes on and the queen says, "IF he liked it then he should put a RING ON IT" to throw him a hint (ehem). So many wonderful things to think about and the spotlight is completely on you and your honey!

Now let me stop you right there. While it is so easy (and fun) to get caught up in all of the hype, remember to stay focused on what is actually happening; you and the man of your dreams are going to be married! (Eeeep again!!!) This time is all about the two of you and your budding life together.

A year ago yesterday, my wonderful man popped the question on Waikiki Beach in Hawai'i with our friends there to share the moment. The sunset, his speech, my heart was pounding... it was all amazing. I can't even believe a whole year has gone by already! There are a few things I have picked up a long this first year of our engagement that I thought would be nice to help other newly engaged couples to really live in the moment. You know, after the moments of gazing down at that diamond.

Have a Party!

Since we set our date pretty far in advance, Jonah and I wanted to do something that would get both of our families together, as well as our friends. That way we could all share a meal and enjoy life for what it was at that moment, with the people that matter most. Our loved ones showered us with love, warmth, and well wishes that we will never forget and are so thankful for. 


An Engagement party is a fantastic way to celebrate your engagement as something spectacular, in and of itself. Not to mention this was the perfect set up to ask our friends to be in our bridal party. I made Bridesmaid boxes for my ladies like a week or two in advance and Jonah- well I'm pretty sure he poured them a shot, handed it to them and said "Hey bro, will you be my groomsman?" and they put one down the hatch together!  Whatever your style may be, whether it's nonchalant or more of a formal gesture, this is a great time to do it.

No People Pleasin'

I am preaching to myself with this one still. Right now, it is all about you two. Not about great aunt Myrna or your cousin Pete or even your parents (although we love sharing the enjoyment with them). As much as you want to make everybody happy it just ISN'T going to happen. This is a very hard pill to swallow if you're someone like me who wants everyone to be happy, get along, and have a great time! But for the same token, you cannot be walked over like that cute doormat you got from Target. I'm here to tell you that you don't have to ask that person to be in your bridal party or even at your wedding if you don't. want. them. there. You are not pizza, you do not make everyone happy!

What people need to understand and be respectful of is that these things (showers, parties, and the wedding itself) can get very big, very quick. The cost of your wedding is directly affected by how many people you want in attendance, which can lead things to get crazy rather fast. One rule of thumb I have been using in editing our wedding guest list is asking myself, "Would you invite this person/couple/family over your house for a dinner?" There's no reason you should have to feel like anyone is watching your every move or scrutinizing you and your fiancé on what is going to be a day all about the two of you.

Get a Journal

Hands down best gift I received from my (already married) friend, Joslyn. Let's wish her and her hubby a Happy 3 Year Anniversary, shall we? (Love you guys.) She gave me a notebook that she instructed me to write about our engaged life in. Write it all down. And if you're not a writer, take all the pictures and tape 'em in there! This has served as such a great memory keeper and will absolutely be a treasured piece for Jonah and I once we are married. 

Having all those fresh moments written down for you both to look back at is so refreshing. Not to mention a great reference tool for when you can't seem to see eye to eye after an argument. Yes, they will come, even in the most seemingly perfect relationships. The truth is, no one's perfect, which means no couple is perfect either. That's OKAY! What's important is that you both work on yourselves to be better for each other, to be a foundation of love, trust and mutual support. The not-giving-up is what matters most, that is what makes a relationship perfect.

Another way to keep track of the memories is using a hashtag! That way you can see your special day and moments from your loved ones’ point of view too!  

Actual footage of me post-Engagement party, with my décor piece for our # 

Actual footage of me post-Engagement party, with my décor piece for our # 

No Rush

Proceed with caution on this one. While you definitely do not need to have every little detail planned out within the first week of being engaged, it's equally wise to not save everything to the last possible minute either. Try to soak up this time for everything that it's worth. Enjoy your dinner dates and your days off together. Enjoy picking out your colors and what your signature drinks are going to be. Just thoroughly, wholeheartedly, enjoy these moments. 

We didn't even announce our engagement until the next day. Our phone calls were made the next morning because, well, we were a whole 6 hours behind in Hawai'i so everyone at home was long asleep when he popped the question. But in a wierd way, I loved it. I loved that it was only between me, Jonah and our friends that came on the trip with us. It was like this really cool secret I couldn't wait to tell. We were able to focus on each other and the people we were with and the beautiful place we were in without being inundated with phone calls, messages, and social media notifications. Until that morning of course!

Team work 

...makes the dream work! Stay on the same page with your fiance. Talk about the things you want to do; your goals and dreams. Talk about the places you want to travel to. Talk about what you want your wedding to be like and how much you are willing to spend to make that happen for the two of you. Communication is so crucial now and every day going forward. Now is as good a time as any to make sure everything is laid out on the table so that later on there are no surprises or misunderstandings. 

Venue shopping

This is something I really want to do with Jonah when the weather starts getting a little nicer out. I think that planning a wedding shouldn't have to be stressful and it shouldn't have to break the bank either. So far, I have been getting little things done at a time. You know, narrowing things down to the businesses we want to go to, color schemes, and all that fun stuff... The biggest part of your ceremony is where it is going to be! Are you looking for something by the ocean? Or maybe you want a more down-home feel in a rustic setting like a barn. I think it would be super fun to make a day out of looking at all the places we can share such a special occasion at. You could rank them and award the one you like most the winner. It keeps both of you involved and takes the stress out of some of the planning.


Start a Savings

Something Jonah and I were not expecting from our Engagement Party was the more than generous gifts our family and friends showered us with. Thank you guys again, if you’re reading this!

We decided that night to put all of that towards our wedding/future home. The very next morning we went to the bank and started a savings together. A joint savings is one in which both of your names are on the account and you can both deposit funds into. We both have our bank app on our phones too, so we can check out how much money the account has made from month to month and watch it grow!  

The Where and the When

Be prepared! You will be asked a lot of questions when you first get engaged and quite frankly you may only know some of the answers- heck! you may not even have any of the answers. Again, that is okay! No one is supposed to just have their life figured out. One of the big questions you will be asked is whether or not you set a date yet. This can be a daunting question for someone who is still coming down from the high of being proposed to. Luckily being the type A person I am, I wanted to talk to Jonah about this pretty soon into our engagement.

While he graduated college this year, I still have two more years into the nursing program to go. (Assuming I get in for this Fall semester guys, cross your fingers!) If you know someone who is a nursing major or is a nurse now, you are very well aware of how stressful of a time it can be. Jonah and I certainly did not want to be trying to plan and enjoy our wedding while I'm crunching in study time and clinicals. So, we figured what better time than the fall after I graduate? We knew we definitely wanted a fall wedding as it is our favorite season... leading us to find our date in October. When we saw our options for the Saturdays in October of 2020, we went with the tenth, being that it isn't too chilly and also how cool is 10-10-2020? Needless to say we are both counting down the days!


The best advice I can possibly give is to just be present. This is something I keep telling myself in my own day to day life too. It is too easy to get preoccupied thinking all about the nitty gritty stuff and stressing over things getting done. What really deserves our attention is our significant other. Focus your attention on them and everything else will fall into place. 




OH AND P.S.- take all the ring selfies you want, this your time to shine queen! Don’t let anyone or any other article on the internet tell you not to share that bling of yours. Be as proud as you wanna be! No one gets to silence your sparkle, not now... not ever!


Kelsey SwinburneComment