So Excited! But Need Advice...

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 3:16 AM

Last night my boyfriend told me that he is saving for the ring and will be proposing soon! I've known it was coming for a while but hearing it just made my heart lurch and my entire body has been occupied with butterflies ever since.

(Our story is quite a long one, so feel free to just skim down to the questions...)

We dated long distance for nearly a year until I moved to his town about 7 months ago. I was in a very well paid position at a large organisation and managed to save quite a bit of money (despite flying across the country to spend the first weekend of every month with my boyfriend). When I moved to this town 7 months ago, it was with the understanding that we were going to live together with the intention of seeing if the relationship (which had been long distance up to this point) would be able to withstand the daily slog of living together (those of you who have lived with a partner before marriage would know what I'm talking about!). Needless to say, within only a few weeks we had settled into a good routine and things have been going well since then. When I moved down here I knew that it would be nearly impossible for me to find a job in my industry (IT) paying me what I was paid before (quite a lot), so we agreed that I would start university again seeing as I wouldn't need to pay for tuition (my dad used to work at this university, so I am eligible for remission of fees) and would just need basic living expenses. Seeing as I have substantial savings, I thought it would be ideal. I get to complete my degree and I get to live with the man I love! Fastforward 7 months and well... We're still madly in love but more than that, we have formed a strong bond and feel we are ready to settle down... Now I'm just waiting for the ring!

The questions...
1. He has savings (despite a year of flying across the country to spend the third weekend of every month with me!) but wants to keep this for 'in case of an emergency" and I support this 100%! But how am I going to make it through the next 3-4 months while he saves?! The waiting is going to drive me nuts!
2. I am 26 years old. An adult. I have been looking after myself since my teens. I support my 15 year old brother financially (he has no father and our mother is unable to do so).
I have traveled, I have lived and worked abroad. I am not some little kid fresh out of high school who wants to play housewife. So why do people look at us strangely when they hear we want to get married while I am still studying?
3. As mentioned above, my boyfriend and I live together. Even though I am more than capable of assisting with bills, he refuses to split bills or take money from me (beyond me occasionally paying for coffee or meal when I insist) and says I shouldn't touch my nest egg (yes, we're anal about savings but if you lived in our country, you would be too). Knowing that he is saving for my ring, how can I make a contribution to the household expenses without giving him the idea that I'm trying to hurry him along? (Yes, yes, I should be patient, I know! I know! But I'm soooo excited!)
4. My family lives in a totally different part of the country to his family and the two of us live in a different town to either family. There are great wedding venues where his parents live but it is literally on the other end of the country. Where my family lives (a little bit closer to us) there are ok-ish wedding venues but nothing spectacular. Where we live there are no suitable wedding venues at all. Should we try to arrange a wedding long distance where his parents live because they have nice venues there? Is it ok to expect our guests to travel there? Should we try to arrange a wedding long distance where my family lives, even though the venues are just ok? Is it ok to expect our guests to travel there? Or should we save a ton of money and just get a nice restaurant where we live and expect everyone to travel to us?

Any suggestions on any of the questions (especially on how to acquire patience!) will be much appreciated!

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MelissaMather Posts : 4 Registered: 4/16/10
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 4:04 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I am in my 20's and engaged to the man of my dreams. We live together too and he has a full time career, as do I, but I am also going to school on the side. Some people seem to think its weird that I'm going to school and planning a wedding but that's life, you know?

As far as the waiting for the ring part, what I learned from my engagement is that you just have to wait until they're ready and able to do it. I waited a year from the first time my fiancee told me he wanted to marry me. A YEAR. Talk about suspense. When it finally happened I was so surprised because I was starting to think it would never happen.

And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. He bought the ring without any help from anyone. No loans or credit cards or anything. I think your future fiancee wants to do it his way with his money. So don't try to help him out with other expenses. Let him be the man and in a few months you will be happily engaged.

I know the waiting sucks. But just enjoy being with him. Life is short and you know you guys are going to end up together, The diamond just seals the deal.

Don't ever forget that the real meaning behind all of this, the engagement, wedding, honeymoon, etc. is about your RELATIONSHIP. Not your engagement. :]

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apriljs Posts : 3 Registered: 2/11/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 4:46 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Hello,

Wow! I am Engaged getting married in 7 days also in my 20's.. From reading your thread I know your excited and anxious. You are doing well, but I agree with the last comment you need to let him do it at his own time and funding.

It sounds like you are a incredibly strong woman who is use to depending on yourself and feel the need to have part in the decisions that come within your life circle. But remember it is also so beautiful to have the feeling that he did it on his terms, on his time. He felt the pull of your love and leaps! He is so sweet to not let you touch your nest funds to help him. That is true love. I am happy for you I hope you enjoy this time waiting for him and knowing that your time, every second with him is a reminder of your trust in him! Let him take care of you! just remember to take care of his heart that's why they need us!

just wanted to put my two cents in hope I did not cross any lines! O and never let the wedding details get in the way of enjoying the engagement!

Soon to be Mrs.
a

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 5:49 AM Go to message in response to: apriljs

Thanks girls! Really sweet responses from both of you... Yes, we are keeping the relationship first in our minds and sometimes it is difficult with his job and my studying. I also have a little business that I run on the side, not really for an income (although I do make some money from it) but mostly to keep my skills current and maintain the networks I built during my career - you never know when you might need them, right? So in between all of this, it is important to us to focus on our relationship.

Right now, I'm just soooooo excited! He has asked me to email him pictures of rings I'm interested in so that he has an idea of what I would like, but he wants the final decision to be his.

7 days is next week! How are you coping with nerves and excitement?

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pitdigger Posts : 37 Registered: 10/31/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 11:03 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Okay, I think I can answer these.

1. The wait is tough once you know the proposal is coming. I waited probably about 9 months between "let's get married" to actually getting engaged. There were trips to visit him, meetup, ring shop; all took place during that time. I'd get ready to go for a trip up to see him (out of our 4 years 2 months of dating, we have been long distance for 3 years and 11 months of it) and get myself psyched up, only to be disappointed. I think the trick is just to distract yourself with other things and don't hound him about the ring. It's tough, but if you think about it non-stop, you will drive yourself crazy.

2. I'm in grad school (defending my thesis on Wednesday!) and 26. I can tell you why I would look at you funny about getting married while in school. No matter your age: school takes time and so does planning a wedding. They are both stressful things and I would tend to try not to do them at the same time. This being said, I am getting married this summer. My fiance and I did the bullk of the planning while I was on breaks and we're having a destination wedding. We deliberately chose methods that mean we have to roll with whatever happens because neither of us are particularly interested in stressing out over the wedding. The wedding has certainly distracted me, sometimes this is good and sometimes it just feeds into my natural procrastinatory tendencies.

So all this to say: it's a matter of where you focus your energies. I think most people assume that when planning a wedding, the world collapses around it for the bride and she doesn't do anything else. You certainly can do other things and honestly, if you think you can get it all done, go for it.

3. With the household expenses, could you try to make it about contributing to the household? But frankly, I wouldn't worry about it since he's got his timeline and hurrying him along isn't necessarily going to do much good.

4. I think that generally, it depends on who is footing the bill. If you and your fiance are paying, you can certainly choose a place near you for your convenience in planning or not. If one set of parents is, then they may request that you have the wedding closer to them. It's really up to you, because people are going to have to travel no matter what unless you all lived in the same town. At least where I am, there is the expectation of having to travel occassionally for a wedding, and depending on the distance I may decline, but I don't expect a wedding to necessarily be convenient for me if it's not mine. For instance, my wedding is in South Africa, very few of my family is coming, but all of my future father-in-law's is because he's from South Africa. Our location isn't really convenient for most anyone, but they're travelling to it (and most of them were budgeting to get to North America for the wedding, so they're really excited). So, pick a spot you like, accept that some guests are going to have to travel and accept that some will decline because of it and enjoy your wedding. Note: if there is a particular person you want to be there who does not travel well, you can take that into account.

I hope some of this is helpful.

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CaliforniaLove Posts : 15 Registered: 2/15/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 3:23 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Welcome CapeTownBride!

Waiting for the ring is unbearable, but fun at the same time. Just try to enjoy it as much as you can. He'll only be your bf for a few more months!

1. Saving for the ring is a very long process. I was lucky that my bf began saving when we first started dating. That being said, it took him nearly a year to save for my ring. It's ridiculous how much rings cost! BUT perhaps you could clue him in on your expectations for an engagement ring? A ring that costs $2k takes less time to save for than one that costs $10K. ..My bf says we can always upgrade to a bigger "anniversary ring" later.. ;)

2. I totally understand the student thing. Urgh! I'm 23, I have a bachelors and masters degree, but I'm in my first year of law school. Although were are going to wait until after I graduate to get married, I can just see my family's faces (cringing). I feel like these days being in school is equated with NOT being grown up. The only piece of advice I have is to shrug it off.. It's your life, you want to be more educated, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks.

3. As to your assisting with the bills, maybe you can suggest you pay just one of the bills? Like energy or water? Then he'll have a few more dollars to put into to ring fund without feeling like "less of a man".

4. With regard to wedding location, it's entirely up to you. I agree with the previous post that you should take into consideration who is paying for the wedding. That being said, it is YOUR wedding. Some people will not be able to make it, but that isn't something you can help. I'd probably go for the nicer venue, but that's just me.. :P.

Lastly, just enjoy all of this! For me, it has been really hard to relinquish control and admit that I'm not the one determining the precise outcome in this situation. I can say that picking out the engagement ring helps pass the time. My bf bought the center stone 3 months before we ordered the setting. Looking at settings is SO MUCH FUN! Taking the time to figure out what I wanted definitely helped pass the time. I think I convinced myself that I was doing a diligent job making sure that I found the perfect ring.. when in reality it didn't matter if I found "the one" 3 months ago or today.. I'm still not getting it for a while!

If your bf is letting you choose I'd check out pricescope.com to get some ideas (their ladies in waiting section is fun too). Also, If you happen to like Tacori rings, you can drop a hint to him that TACORI RINGS ARE ON SALE on Diamond.com. That means less waiting time!! **wink wink** I sound like such a junky right now, but if I could have 2 engagement rings I'd heavily consider a Tacori one. Especially a Tacori setting that is discounted $1k! Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck! :)

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CaliforniaLove Posts : 15 Registered: 2/15/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 3:30 PM Go to message in response to: CaliforniaLove

CapeTownBride - Since you requested in another thread to see a pic of my actual ring, I'll post a picture of it in my "ring came in" thread. Also, I think all of the rings you posted are absolutely GORGEOUS! My favorite is the second one.. ;) If you're looking for something that wont catch on your clothes you may want to look at channel settings? Good luck..

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CaliforniaLove Posts : 15 Registered: 2/15/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 16, 2010 3:42 PM Go to message in response to: CaliforniaLove

Sorry, I double posted.. :)

Edited by: CaliforniaLove on Apr 16, 2010 3:47 PM

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BlueBoxBlueShoes Posts : 49 Registered: 2/15/10
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 17, 2010 12:27 AM Go to message in response to: CaliforniaLove

Cape, at 26 you being a student is a LOT different than being a 22 student or recent grad. Namely, you are getting an advanced degree and you have actual work experience and a salary history. You don't have unreasonable expectations of what your financial future will look like.

I would definitely consider a longer engagement just so you have time to plan AND focus on your course work, though. Just for YOUR sanity.

I would choose a wedding location based on venue. You can't please everyone, so you might as well please yourself. I know that we are open to a wedding ceremony in the city where we first met... since it's sentimental to us and we're from cities that are 3 hour flights/9 hour car rides away from each other. Plus my family isn't from MY hometown and would have a 6+ flight regardless, so we're expecting the majority of our guests to have to travel anyways.

I know the impatient feeling of just wanting any ring, but I have a feeling that your SO really wants to get you a ring that not only you'll love but that he'll be excited about as well. That was what was holding up my guy... I thought that he was just dragging his feet so I wouldn't move on but it turns out that he was just being selective about how much "bling" my engagement ring would have. He just didn't like how it might reflect on him or his intentions. Once we found a perfect ring in our budget, he was all ready to go and ordered it!

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 3:33 AM Go to message in response to: BlueBoxBlueShoes

Wow! What an awesome response!

There really is a lot of great advice on these forums...

Pitdigger, are you getting married here in South Africa?! That's absolutely awesome - I live in SA too! Whereabouts are you getting married? Lots of really awesome venues in this country, forrest, bush and beaches! My SO and I both love the bush, so we have decided to get married in a game lodge near our town. This way, everyone has to travel to us and we avoid the hassle of planning long distance. Now we need to choose one! There are several closeby, offering a wide variety of wildlife, everything from buck to zebra, to giraffes to elephants! We're rather partial to zebra! ;)

Do let me know if I can lend a hand in any way - I live here, and I speak 3 of the 11 official languages, so I'm sure it would be easy for me to chat to vendors. :)

CaliforniaLove, $2000 is WAY out of our budget for rings! Hehehehe! As mentioned earlier, we live in South Africa... Spending 3 months' salary is not an option - savings are more important to us. With the political and economic situation being as uncertain as it is, and crime being what it is, I'd far rather have $2000 in the bank than on my hand! Although... I must admit, I am a girl... I'd love to have the options you girls in North America have! Or even just a Tiffany's! dreams...

He's budgeting on around $800-$1000, which I think is a bit extravagant. But he says it's not nearly enough... Although, to be perfectly honest, I'd be happy with some tinfoil, if it came from him...

I'm still floating with happiness...

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BlueBoxBlueShoes Posts : 49 Registered: 2/15/10
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 11:03 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Cape, does American currency work towards or against SA's? I know that the American dollar is pretty devalued compared to the Euro right now, so buying a second hand Tiffany from either eBay (*only if it comes with all paperwork, insurance evaluation, original packaging) or Portero.com (which certifies authenticity) could be options within your budget. I think a .25 carat from the store starts at around $1500, so you may be able to purchase one second hand for closer to $800. America also has online diamond vendors like Blue Nile, White Flash and Brian Gavin... I'm sure they can ship to you. I also like drooling at the estate pieces on DoverJewelry.com.

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pitdigger Posts : 37 Registered: 10/31/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 11:23 AM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

I am getting married in South Africa. We're going to a game lodge near Bayala and the Hluhluwe Game Reserve. We were going to do a beach wedding, but thought the game reserve would be a lot more interesting (beaches are everywhere, elephants are not). Thankfully, we've got all of our vendors lined up (cause otherwise right now I'd be hugely stressed), but thanks for the offer.

I think your idea for a venue is great, but I'm certainly biased there too. ;)

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CapeTownBride Posts : 37 Registered: 4/16/10
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 12:13 PM Go to message in response to: pitdigger

BlueBoxBlueShoes, American currency is awesome... For visiting Americans! :) Currently, US$1 = ZAR7.39. To give you some perspective, a BigMac Meal (regular fries and drink) costs around R30, one seed loaf around R12-R18 and perhaps more pertinently, 1 x 18ct white gold diamond ring with 1 x 1.08ct, G, SI2 round
brilliant-cut centre diamond would cost around R42 000. Sounds cheap until you remember that 24% of South Africans are unemployed and 50% live below the poverty line.

It would be awesome if we could buy something online but we don't really have eBay and thanks to our crime, Amazon and many other online retailers based in the US refuse to deliver to South Africa. Well, Amazon recently made an exception for the Kindle. A friend of mine ordered one for his wife and it got stolen in the mail. It's not all bad though, a friend of mine in the States bought my baby brother a Nintendo DSi and shipped it over to SA. Trusting American that she is, she wrote on the box / mailing slip, Nintendo DSi + game... And it arrived in one piece!

From the outside, the situation sounds grim, but it's a beautiful place to live. It just means I'll have to wait until my next trip to Europe before I get my dream piece of Tiffany's!

Pitdigger, will this be your first trip to SA? If so, you'll love it here! As mentioned above, yes, the people are poor, yes there is crime, but it's a beautiful country, especially out in the bush. Nothing quite compares to waking up in the bush to the sound of birds and having your morning coffee while watching a herd of elephant walk by... Hluhluwe is beautiful. Perfect setting for a wedding, but then again, I could be biased.

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pitdigger Posts : 37 Registered: 10/31/09
Re: So Excited! But Need Advice...
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 12:47 PM Go to message in response to: CapeTownBride

Capetown, it is my first trip to South Africa and I'm really looking forward to it. The fiance has been there three times before to visit family, so he knows what to expect where. I'm not hugely worried, I just know to be vigilant (I'm pretty well traveled). My only slight concern is in the larger cities since we'll be getting there pretty much right after the World Cup.

I can't wait to get there.

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