10 Things No One Tells You About Getting Engaged

You literally won't be able to stop staring at your hand—we promise.
woman in restuarant getting proposed to
anja winikka the knot wedding industry expert
Anja Winikka
anja winikka the knot wedding industry expert
Anja Winikka
Wedding Industry Expert
  • Anja Winikka is the founder of Editor In Chief Media.
  • Anja is a wedding editor and digital marketing director turned educator and contributing editor.
  • Anja worked for The Knot for over 13 years in various roles.
Updated Apr 10, 2020

No matter how long you and your soon-to-be spouse dated or how many times you've been a bridesmaid in your friends' weddings, there are some truths you just don't find out about until you get engaged.

1. You may not be wearing the perfect outfit on the day of your proposal.

Whatever fantasy proposal you had dreamed up (at the most romantic place in the world, wearing the most perfect dress, with the best hair, nails and complexion you've ever had) may not happen in reality.

Our Advice: Your proposal story—whether it happened on the couch in your pajamas with no makeup on or in the middle of the Caribbean in a hot bikini—is more important (and special) than that fantasy proposal you might have had in your head. Why? Because it's your story and no one else's.

2. You won't be able to stop staring at your hand.

You have this amazing new piece of jewelry on your finger. That alone, plus the once-in-a-lifetime significance of the symbol, is enough to make you want to stare compulsively at your ring finger. Even if you're not a "jewelry person," you're still obsessed.

Our Advice: Everyone is going to want to see the ring, so get a manicure (and be careful gawking at your hand while driving or crossing busy intersections!).

3. You'll have to tell your proposal story a million times.

As soon as you get engaged, one of the first questions people will ask is how you got proposed to. Get used to it. Telling and retelling the story is part of the fun of being engaged.

Our Advice: To make it easier on yourselves, submit your proposal story to How They Asked (and put it on your wedding website too) so your friends and family can get all of the details.

4. People will ask you about a wedding date and location before you've even had a chance to think about it.

You know how it goes: Everyone is excited. But before you've had time to begin working on your checklist, your family and friends are already asking for details like the the venue and your wedding dress.

Our Advice: If you have no idea where and when the wedding will be (and psst... you don't have to know!), come up with a blanket statement you can use whenever someone asks. Say something like, "We're so excited just being engaged right now. I'm sure there will be plenty of time to figure out the details in the coming months." They'll take the hint.

5. Not everyone will be happy...

There's usually at least one person who may come off as less supportive or elated as the rest of your friends and family. If this doesn't happen to you, be thankful, because you're in the minority.

Our Advice: A not-so-positive reaction to your good news is a reflection of that person (not you). Don't dwell on negative feedback. Focus on the positive—you're getting married!

6. ...But your best friends will be there for you.

You'll know the people you can count on. They're the ones who post five-exclamation-point messages to your Facebook wall the minute you announce your engagement, take you out for drinks the day after you get engaged to celebrate and tell you they're ready to help you with whatever you need.

Our Advice: Lean on the friends who express excitement for you (and celebrate your newly-engaged status often!).

7. Recently married friends will suddenly become wedding planning experts and give you (oftentimes unsolicited) advice.

There are plenty of reasons this happens. Some friends may be going through the postwedding blues and miss the excitement of planning their own weddings. Others may just think they're doing you a favor.

Our Advice: If a friend offers wedding planning advice (like, "You shouldn't invite kids to your wedding," or anything else that starts with, "You should/shouldn't..."), take it in stride. Graciously accept it as a sign of their friendship—there's no need to get defensive. If you agree with the advice, take it; if not, thank them and move on with your plans.

8. You'll watch wedding movies and TV shows differently.

Whether you've seen dozens of Say Yes to the Dress episodes or haven't watched one, you may now find yourself a little (or a lot) more interested in wedding movies and shows.

Our Advice: Watch Father of the Bride, My Best Friend's Wedding and 27 Dresses—and don't feel bad about sitting through and enjoying a TLC wedding special or two. This is one of those guilty wedding pleasures you're totally allowed to indulge in while you're engaged.

9. You'll have a hard time not jumping into wedding planning right away and will find it difficult to just enjoy being engaged.

Sure, you recognize there's a long road ahead of you and there's plenty of time to plan a wedding. But after the shock wears off, the next natural step is to start working out wedding plans.

Our Advice: It's okay (and good!) to get started early—just be sensitive to each other. Your future spouse may have just spent a lot of energy (and money) on a proposal and needs a little time to relax before starting to spend on the wedding. A few things you can get started on right away: planning out the guest list (at least your family and friends) and documenting your proposal story.

10. Your relationship will feel different (even if you've been living together for years).

A marriage proposal is exciting, but it's also serious. You've just agreed to commit to one another—for forever.

Our Advice: Work out the nitty-gritty details you may have only touched upon when you were dating. Decide what you'll do for holidays every year, whether you want kids and where you want to live long term. Even if plans change, it's good to know where you both stand now. If you're not required to through your church or temple, consider signing up for prewedding counseling, where you'll be led through the process by a pro. Working out hard-to-make decisions together will make the wedding ceremony that much more meaningful.

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