Engagement Expectations


Hey everyone, guess what? I’ve gone and gotten myself engaged. I said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m not sure how I got this fellow to stick around, let alone put a ring on it. But he has and it’s all very exciting. In exchange, I’ll give him the gift of waiting a couple months before mentioning that I expect to not have to work once we’re hitched.

But I digress. The point of this piece of writing is to bestow some wisdom on the reading public. I have, after all, been affianced for about eight days now, which makes me more than qualified to warn all you pre-fianced ladies and gentlemen out there about the perils of engagement. No, it is not all roses and daisies, veils and Chantilly lace. Sure, now you get to, officially, spend the rest of your life with, hopefully, the love of your life. True, you get to have a big party to kick the whole thing off—who doesn’t love a wedding? Unfortunately, there’s also a seedy underbelly to betrothal.

There are certain…expectations…you encounter when you get engaged. I call the most appalling of those expectations The Two Cs: communication and choice-making. I know I just threw out a couple of ugly words without much warning, but if you plan on entering into a life pact with someone else, it’s better you learn about this now rather than receiving the ice cold slap of truth later.



I love my family and I love my friends, but I’ve never made any claims about being a well-adjusted adult who feels comfortable chatting with people she did not plan on chatting with for at least a few days in advance, so excuse me for being a bit taken aback by how much I’ve had to use my phone in the last week. I mean, once I’m on the line with someone, everything is fine. But, for some reason, I have a mental block on being able to just pick up a phone and call any one of my favorite people in the world.

My usual process is as follows:

1. Realize it’s been awhile since I spoke to XXX

2. Make a note to call XXX in three days

3. In three days, decide to call XXX tomorrow

4. On the fourth day, pick up the phone and pace around a bit

5. Dial XXX’s number

6. feel a heavy and certainly unnecessary weight lift off my chest whilst I catch-up with XXX, someone who means a lot to me

Right now, I don’t really feel like exploring the deficiencies in my psyche that make the above process a truth. I’ll just use it as a way to explain why getting engaged is hard: because getting engaged means you have to tell everyone that you are engaged.

Within a couple hours of the blessed event, I had spoken to both of my parents, both of my brothers, and my grandfather (with an extra call scheduled for later, once my grandmother got back from the hairdresser). I called one of my uncles, but he didn’t pick up so I, gratefully, sent him an email. After a veritable Olympics of phone-use, all I wanted was a nap followed by 2-3 hours of Investigative Television.

But that was not to be my gift. Instead, I then started calling and texting friends, only to give up fairly quickly in favor of just changing my Facebook status. That gets the job done, right? Not really. People still want to congratulate you. And they want to hear The Story. To be fair, my engagement story is really good. Remind me to tell it to you sometime…later.

If you might be getting engaged in the future, or having any other life changing event, just beware: you’re going to have to tell people about it.


Dear lord, the choices. Do you know how many hundreds of choices go into putting a wedding together? I’ve only been engaged for eight wonderful days, so I don’t (despite my bravado earlier) quite have a grasp on it yet, but I have a sinking suspicion there are more decisions to make than when and where and what colors.

Some of you might be kind enough to point out that I’ve made the most important choice of all—to marry this fellow who I love and who loves me—how can anything else be difficult after that? I would, in turn, point out that details are hard. Duh.

When am I going to get married? Hopefully it’ll be on a day when it’s not raining. But rain can be pretty sometimes, so who knows?

Where am I going to get married? At a place that everyone we want to be there can fit in and get to. But it turns out places like that aren’t too hard to find, so who knows?

Will it be elegant? Romantic? Classy? Sophisticated? DIY? Laid back? A little bit country? A little bit rock ‘n roll? Uhhhh, It’ll be a good party, I hope, but who knows?

If you might be having a wedding in the future, or any other life changing event, just beware: you’re going to have to plan it.

When my beau asked me to marry him I thought, “Yes, of course!”

Then I thought, “Oh no, I’m going to have to be an adult now.”

Fortunately, I overlooked something very important: being an adult doesn’t mean that one is automatically able to talk to people on a regular basis or make decisions. I’m pretty sure most adults have a lot of difficulty with both of those things. That means I’m fine, right? Right! And it means my advice to all you future wives and husbands out there is this: know that even the most fantastically great things come with annoying strings attached, but you’ll probably survive it all. And stop whining about having to use the phone.

(That last part is mainly directed to me, from me.)

Sara Roan

Sara Roan

Sara Roan is a writer and performer. She moved to Brooklyn 7 years ago hoping to figure "it all" out. Fingers-crossed, that should happen any day now. 

  • Kristen Grundhouse

    How did he propose?

    • Sara

      He proposed on a mountain in Virginia. I was trying to get back in the
      car because I was cold. Our dog had an upset stomach and we saw a dead
      deer–it was perfect.

  • Aludra Dalal

    Bigo congratzio, as they say in what might possibily be Italian.