Post # 1
My friend bought a wedding dress yesterday. She and her boyfriend have been dating almost 3 years and are planning to be engaged in a few months. But it’s supposed to be a secret until then, only 3-4 people know, he hasn’t bought a ring. She already paid for the dress, so I just smiled and said how lovely it was.
Bees, I don’t approve of this. Personally, I don’t consider an engagement to be real until both families know about it. I think buying wedding stuff at this stage is too great an emotional and financial risk. Maybe I don’t know the whole story, but I think he is dragging his feet on making it official.
My question: do I encourage her in her shopping (venues, accessories, photographers, cakes, etc) and discuss ideas? Do I remain neutral and just smile when she talks about her wedding? Do I discourage spending money because they haven’t locked down a venue or a date and plans change? Do I disapprove of emotionally investing in a wedding that isn’t guaranteed to happen? I desperately want to tell her to stop shopping but I don’t feel like it’s my place.
Tl;dr: My friend bought a wedding dress before being engaged, what do I say to her?
Post # 3
Personally, I don’t think you really have a say. To me, if a couple is seriously discussing getting married and making plans, that’s an engagement. I don’t think that one has to wait until telling everyone about the engagement to start planning. What difference does it make to you if they announce it in 3-4 months. Be happy for her. They’ve been together long enough it seems.
I see you are getting married next month – congratulations!
Post # 4
If your friend wants to buy a wedding dress before she’s engaged she can, it’s a free country! It’s none of your business or anyone else’s…
Post # 5
@canadajane: nothing – because it’s none of your business. just because you don’t agree and wouldn’t do it that way doesn’t mean you should butt in and let her know that. how would that help? it wouldn’t – but it could definitely drive a wedge between you and hurt your friendship.
i always think a person shouldn’t be so vain as to think ‘they know best’ – you have no idea what conversations they’ve had that you’re not privy to etc. and you’re not a party to their relationship so i would have an attitude of ‘it doesn’t affect me, they’re both happy, whatever’.
also – engagements are definitely real once someone has said ‘yes!’. i got engaged on holiday in spain and we were definitely engaged even though we told our parents a few days later!
this would be a good time to practice, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’
Post # 6
I did it so maybe I can help with insight.
Do you know of any underlying stressors that could put them in a position to not be engaged yet but know they are for sure getting married?
I was in a LD relationship and had to move out of state to be closer to my BF before getting engaged (smart move bc it’s hard to really know a person LD). When the decision was made that I would move here instead of him there some people very close to me (family) felt he was taking me away from them. Long story short lots of drama and hurt feelings.
I needed time to deal with things and had hoped that people would come around. I wanted to wait to get engaged until things were fixed but since we know we want to get married (I’ve been out here a year now) we talk about plans.
As for the dress, I was browsing davids bridal for a dress for a different occasion and saw the dress I knew I always wanted, marked down for clearance. On a whim I called the store to see if they had it and they had one left, in my size, marked down to $150.
I was disappointed in the fact that I didn’t do the wedding dress shopping the traditional way but at $150 for your dream dress, it would be stupid to not buy it bc of tradition and etiquette.
Post # 7
@canadajane: I agree with PP, I looked at venues before the engagement because we had spoke about it and knew it would happen before the new year and it did. So many couples aren’t “traditional” anymore (like FI and myself) and that’s okay times are changing just be happy for her and stay positive for her through this important time in her life
Post # 8
A. Its not really your place. but…
B. I did the same thing so I can give you some ideas from this end because people did ask me about it.
DH and I had our wedding in 6 months. My ring was getting made and I was well aware of it. My brother is in the Air Force and I wanted to make sure he’d be there. We booked our date and put our deposit down about a month before DH ‘officially’ proposed. I had to get a date I knew brother could be there for because of a training he’d be at from June to October. Because of our date and the 6 month turn around, I went dress shopping. Chinese New Year would fall in the time frame and we were worried I wouldn’t have adequate time for it to be made and altered.
What I’m getting at is that there may be reasons in the background for why she’s doing something. A few friends new about everything but nothing else. We made it a point that the only things we booked pre-engagement was the venue, my dress and a photographer. . I had out of town friends try on some BM dresses but waited to order. Everything else waited for the ring
Post # 9
@canadajane: I did everything but try on dresses before the ring was on my finger. I was researching like crazy. I wouldn’t have booked anything but I was sure looking.
Post # 10
There’s no guarantee that anyone’s wedding is going to happen. Bees here get engaged and it gets called off for a variety of reasons before the wedding even happens. So, a ring and a proposal are no guarantee that someone’s going to walk down that aisle.
What do you say? How about “That’s great!” and leave it at that. It’s not encouraging her or supporting her. Do not encourage and do not discourage. Just remain neutral. If things fall through andyou were encouraging, she’s going to ask you why you didn’t say anything. And, if you discourage her and it goes through, your discouragement will probably hurt her.
Post # 11
@canadajane: You say nothing – its not your place. She’s an adult.
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
I desperately want to tell her to stop shopping but I don’t feel like it’s my place.
That’s cause it’s not your place.. Just smile and nod when she talks to you about it.
Post # 13
@canadajane: It’s not your place. At all.
Post # 14
What do you care? It’s not your money!! Or your wedding! Or your LIFE!! Jesus, she’s excited, be a friend and be happy for her, and if it all falls to pieces, support her. You don’t have to agree with her choices in life, but it’s not like she’s hurting anyone. If the engagement doesn’t happen she’ll have learned a hard lesson, but don’t we all learn hard lessons at some point in our lives? You wagging your finger at her about it isn’t going to change anything.
Post # 15
While I do think it is (mostly) weird to be buying a wedding dress prior to an engagment, she is an adult and can do what she wants. If she asked me my opinion before she bought it, I would suggest waiting. Less due to the “not being engaged” thing, but because tastes, styles, and weight changes.
That said, we had a large portion of our wedding booked prior to the ring being on my finger. We had to wait a month for my ring to come in, but we knew the date we wanted, and where going for an 11 month engagement with a wedding in “Prime wedding season.” There was no secrets about it though.
You should just smile and go along with it. She is an adult in a long term, non abussive relationship. Thats sometimes all you can ask for.
Post # 16
It’s not really your place so I wouldn’t say anything.
I bought my dress and booked our venue and photographer before we announced everything and before he “officially” proposed. Basically we were waiting on him getting my ring and he didn’t want to announce it before then because he wanted me to have it first (I didn’t care). However, we agreed on the date for the wedding and I did tell my parents. So…it does happen. We wanted our exact date and weren’t willing to compromise on it and we were about 13 months out so that’s why we booked ahead. DH wasn’t in the dark though about it (or the dress lol).