67 Must-Knows to Get Engaged and Before & After Secrets No One Tells You

Getting engaged is a big deal. There are things you need to know first, questions to ask, and things you need to have in place.

getting engaged

Does it feel like everyone is getting engaged? If so, don’t worry, good things come to those who wait. Or maybe you don’t even want to don fancy clothes and walk down the aisle anyway!

But if you’re thinking of popping the question, or you think your partner might be about to, there are plenty of things you need to know about the engagement period.

A little pre-knowledge helps you to enjoy this special time even more, without wishing you could go back and do it again. [Read: Reasons why he hasn’t asked you to marry him just yet]

What is the meaning of getting engaged, and what is the point of an engagement?

Just in case you weren’t aware, getting engaged means that you’re in that period of time between getting married and being serious. It’s the waiting period before the wedding when they’ve put a ring on it and you’re in planning mode.

The point? Well, it means you’re going to get married!

For some people, engagement is a thrilling time full of organizing and putting together the best wedding ever. While some people prefer to be a little more chill about it and enjoy the process.

Whatever side you fall on, remember to commit this special time to your memory! [Read: How much should you spend on an engagement ring to make her happy]

How long should you be engaged, and who proposes?

Of course, one of the most common questions is who should do the proposing. Well, although it’s traditional for the guy to do it, we don’t live in the dark ages anymore, and anyone can pop the question!

There’s also no time limit on how long you should be engaged. You can be engaged for a day or ten years, it’s really up to you. However, most couples tend to start planning for the wedding pretty soon after popping the question, even if the big day is a couple of years away.

[Read: How to propose to a man: Get a yes without emasculating him]

Things to know before you get engaged 

Remember, engagement is a big deal; it essentially means that you want to spend the rest of your life with this person. So, before you jump into it and before you say “yes,” make sure you know enough about your partner.

This list is all about openness. Talking about these things with your partner will not make you uptight or too planned out. This does not take away the spontaneity of your relationship.

These are things you should know before you start preparing for the future. We never know what will happen, but discussing the common issues couples have and your dreams and goals will guide you there more smoothly. [Read: 53 proposal ideas and ways to propose to your girl in a way she’ll never forget]

1. Your religious views

Religion is a complicated and touchy topic for some people. Although there are lots of couples with conflicting beliefs that make it work, that is because they discuss it. With any differing beliefs they have, their morals match up.

But whether you share a religion, are atheist, or are spiritual, knowing where your partner is in this is important. Will your wedding be in a church? Will you raise kids to follow a certain religion? [Read: 32 questions to ask your lover to learn everything you need to know]

2. Your political views

Similarly to religion, politics may not come between you when you’re out at night, but in the long run, this can become a major issue. No more than ever before, our politics define us and the choices we make. 

Knowing you and your partner are on the same page is important for future decisions. [Read: How to have a difficult conversation without losing your nerve]

3. If you want kids

If you have not discussed this, now is certainly the time. Having children or not is a huge decision and one of those vital things to know before you either ask the question or say yes. Don’t overlook this topic, no matter how awkward it is to talk about.

Getting engaged to someone without sharing your feelings on the topic is irresponsible. And if you do want kids, you need to talk about how you plan on raising them. 

Of course, this changes as you learn more and more, but you should be able to agree on the basics. [Read: 20 best questions to ask in a relationship to understand each other]

4. Your family situations

Some people are extremely close to their families. Others only see their parents on holidays. Be aware of these relationships and know how to handle them.

Will your future in-laws be moving in one day? Will your brother-in-law be staying in the guest room when his partner kicks him out? These are conversations you need to have before committing in such a major way.

5. If your friends and families get along

Handling one set of in-laws can be a lot, but both at once can be even more to juggle. Do you get along with your in-laws? Do your in-laws get along with your parents? 

Figuring out how to spend the holidays, how to throw parties, or even where people will sit at the wedding is just a small part of managing a joining family. [Read: How not to screw up when you meet the parents for the first time]

6. If you can travel together

You should not only know whether or not your partner likes to travel, but also how they travel. Have you flown together? Have you gone upstate for the weekend? 

If you love being home and they love galavanting off on an adventure, how will you find that balance? [Read: Reasons why traveling is the best test of compatibility]

7. How will you handle money?

This is one of the things to know before you get engaged because it’s also one of the most common causes of divorce. Couples have a hard time handling their money. But talking about your current status and goals before combining them all is vital.

Are you a spender or a saver? Do you have debt? How much money should you talk about spending before doing it? Who will pay the bills?

Who will do the taxes? How much money will you two save for retirement, vacations, home renovations, and children’s schooling? [Read: The top 30 reasons for divorce most couples ignore until it’s too late]

8. What are your career goals?

If you aren’t sure how important your partner’s career is to them, this can cause problems further down the road. Will your partner choose a work meeting over your sister’s birthday party? 

Do you have differing paths? Do you work so you can enjoy your life or do you enjoy your job? Knowing if you are both going to have very challenging jobs down the line can help you answer other questions too.

9. Are you open to moving?

Do you want to settle down in the city or the suburbs? Or, will you live with your parents until you can afford your own place? If an opportunity came up to move to another state, would you be willing to go? [Read: New relationship doubts – 22 toxic and normal signs to read what you feel]

10. How will you handle arguments?

You may already have an answer to this, but you may have not actually talked about it. Do you never go to bed angry? Do you make sure to take a break before talking about a sensitive subject?

How do you handle your arguments? Make sure you are both on the same page. 

11. Your pasts

A lot of people want to keep the past in the past, but our past experiences affect us forever. They leave us with scars, lessons, and more. You don’t have to share an autobiography with your partner, but you shouldn’t keep anything from them either.

Talk about your major relationships and milestones. Share any run-ins with the law. Talk about anything that would upset you to find out later. [Read: How to talk about a past relationship and not piss your partner off]

12. Your expectations

Marriage is a big deal, but it won’t fix any problems. Just because your boyfriend is your husband doesn’t mean he will start picking up his dirty socks and putting the toilet seat down. 

Talk about what you expect from each other throughout the engagement and the marriage. And we mean everything, including your expectations for date night once a week to expecting them to go to your work events or grandmother’s half-birthday. [Read: 33 honest questions to ask yourself before marriage to know if you’re a good match]

13. How you give and receive love

This is something some couples do not find out until too late in their relationship. When you first start dating and your partner brings you flowers, it can be sweet. Maybe you don’t like flowers but you want to be polite. 

Well, letting that go on forever is not healthy. If you receive love through words of affirmation, your partner should know that so they can show their love in a way you will understand it. And if they receive love through time spent together, make time for them because a sweet text won’t do the trick.

14. Your wedding plans

You don’t need a date set to know which flowers you want or if you’ll serve meat or fish immediately. But knowing the general plan is a good idea. If you want a summer wedding on a cliff with 300 guests and your partner wants to elope in Vegas, you could have some issues.

Agree on some basics and maybe even a budget before committing to the planning; you may not get your deposits back. [Read: Are they just wedding jitters or signs to back out?]

15. What you want

When you talk to divorced couples, many say they wanted different things. And although we change and grow as people, this is something to figure out beforehand. 

There is no perfect formula for a long-lasting marriage. You cannot foresee if you will want different things in the future, but you can try every step of the way to remain on the same page. 

Do you want to retire in the mountains? Or do you want to have 10 grandchildren? Do you want to be a stay-at-home parent or do you want to run your own business?

Things no one tells you about getting engaged

We know that engagement is a big deal, but these things in life can sometimes turn out to be a lot different from what you expect. Putting a ring on it is no different!

Let’s take a look at some of the things that people don’t tell you before popping the question, so you don’t have any surprises.

1. You may not be wearing the perfect outfit

When you propose to your love, you might choose to do it in the heat of the moment, so you won’t be wearing your best clothes. And, it’s very likely that if your partner is asking the big question, you won’t be wearing whatever you had in mind for that big moment.

Just roll with it! [Read: How to stop overthinking – secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

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

It won’t feel real for a while. You’ll keep looking at your hand and forgetting that you’re engaged! You’ll also be pretty spell-bound by the new rock on your finger and you won’t be able to take your eyes off it.

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

Whether you did the asking or your partner, everyone will ask for the story, save no minuscule detail. It would be rude not to indulge them, right?

4. People will immediately start asking about wedding dates and locations

You might even have had time to think about it, but people will ask you when the big day is, where it’s going to be, and whether it will be big or small. Just humor them for now. [Read: Marital traditions – their not-so-sweet origins and our modern choices]

5. Not everyone will be happy, but your best friends will be there for you

Getting engaged is supposed to be a happy thing, and mostly it is, but it can be upsetting when someone doesn’t approve. If that happens, accept it and move on.

Your closest allies will be happy for you and that’s all that matters.

6. Recently married friends will suddenly become wedding experts

Whether you want their advice or not, you’re going to get it. Just smile and nod; it’s the polite thing to do! [Read: Long-term advice – tips to transform your love life]

7. You’ll watch wedding programs and movies differently

You’re in that situation now and it’s a lot closer to home. You’ll start looking for tips, comparing, and deciding whether you might want what they’re having at their wedding.

Basically, you’ll never watch a wedding movie the same.

8. You’ll struggle not to jump into wedding planning right away

You want to enjoy the engagement honeymoon period but you’re struggling not just buy a stack of wedding magazines and jump into the planning.

Look, this is your engagement, do what you will, but at least enjoy it for a few days! [Read: Happily ever after – The psychological benefits of marriage and commitment]

9. Your relationship will feel different

But in a good way! Even if you’ve been living together for years, once you’re engaged, everything changes. You’re about to be married!

How to get engaged

If you want to get engaged, you just can’t sit there waiting. Well, you can, but it doesn’t mean it’ll happen any faster. So, it’s time to learn a couple of things if you want to get that ring on your finger and leave the single club.

By following these tips, you can encourage your partner to pop the question, or at least move a little closer toward it. [Read: Committed relationship – 59 signs and ways to show your commitment in love]

1. They have to feel ready

This is a huge issue because this whole time you probably thought it was about you. Yes, you have imperfections but that’s not it. Your partner has to feel that they’re ready to take the next step.

You could be the love of their life, but if they don’t feel ready, they won’t propose to you. In this case, you can either wait or find someone else who is ready. [Read: Is your boyfriend going to propose? 21 signs and hints to get him to do it]

2. Don’t give an ultimatum

Listen, life is not a romantic comedy. Giving people ultimatums in real life usually doesn’t work well in their favor. You cannot make someone choose on the spot something that will change their whole life.

If they’re not ready, they’re not going to pick you in the ultimatum. Instead, if it’s coming to this point where you’re debating an ultimatum, sit down and have a serious chat with them. [Read: 47 secrets to get a guy to commit and make him realize he needs you]

3. Have a conversation about the future

You’re here trying to figure out how to get engaged. But do you actually know what your partner wants in the future? That’s the thing, many of us only think about what we want rather than the person we stand beside.

Sit down and talk to your partner, discuss their goals, and what they’d like to see in their future. Maybe your futures don’t even match up. If so, why didn’t you talk about this sooner? [Read: 196 fun and deep relationship questions to test your couple compatibility]

4. Keep the hints to a minimum

We all make hints when we want something. And if you want to see some progress, there’s nothing wrong with dropping some hints to your partner.

However, don’t come home with a stack of wedding magazines and sigh at every wedding photo you see on Facebook. Keep your hints subtle, and keep them sparse.

5. Give your partner space

When we like someone, we tend to suffocate them. Everyone is guilty of it. But, it also works in the opposite way you want by dragging out the engagement process.

Why would this person ask to marry you if they already feel like they’re married to you? Give them some space. [Read: Smothered in a relationship – 37 signs and ways to stop feeling suffocated]

6. Show them your independence

Many people are scared to commit because they feel like they’ll be tied to a ball and chain. Show your partner that you’re still independent. Don’t be afraid to go out on a Friday night with your friends.

Your partner shouldn’t feel as though if they propose to you, you’ll be fully dependent on them.

7. Leave your dream wedding out of conversations

Let’s not freak them out just yet; at least wait until you have a ring on your finger. If you already have your scrapbook of wedding cakes, dresses, and flowers, don’t bring that out to show them.

Asking someone to marry you is terrifying, shoving a book in their face about your dream wedding doesn’t make it any better. That’s added pressure that they don’t need. [Read: Itching to get hitched – Why you shouldn’t rush marriage]

8. Focus on you

We often invest all our time into the other person and forget ourselves. So, we end up lost in some relationship that isn’t giving us exactly what we want. That’s not fair.

Your partner needs to see that you appreciate and respect yourself, so, redirect some of the attention back onto you. [Read: How to focus on yourself – 27 ways to create your own sunshine]

9. Hang out with married people

If everyone you hang out with is married, well, that’s a pretty good hint. Also, it’s a good way to show your partner that married people have fun; the only difference is that they’re married.

Your partner needs to see that married life isn’t that different from the single days. If anything, it’s better.

10. They can’t live without you

If they can’t live without you, well, then proposing to you is the best option for keeping you around, wouldn’t you say? Your partner needs to feel as though you need to be a part of their future, that they don’t see anyone else but you.

Give them space, let them chill with their friends, but also be there as a partner. You give them freedom and support, a combination that all people want. [Read: How to know if you’ve met the One already – the all-revealing hints]

11. Let your partner know what you feel is lacking in the relationship

They’re not mind readers. You need to have a conversation with them if you’re still not getting what you want. Maybe they’re not catching the hints.

Tell them what you need from this relationship and see if they’re able to give it to you.

12. Find someone who wants to get married

If you’ve been with your partner for ten years and there’s no sign that they want to settle down with you, then find someone who wants the same things as you.

Of course, this is a huge move, but, if you’re not getting what you want from the relationship, there will be someone else who will offer it to you.

[Read: 34 reasons to break up with someone and leave even if you love them]

13. Don’t get stuck on cultural narratives

If you really want your partner to propose to you but nothing’s happening, why not propose to them? We’re so stuck in the cultural narrative that the man must propose to the woman, but, you’re also in charge of your future, right?

Why should the woman wait for the man to make a move?

Things to do after getting engaged

Your partner has popped the question, or maybe you did the deed instead; now what? Well, it’s time to enjoy this precious time, but there are also a few other things you need to add to your to-do list.

1. Call your parents

The first people you should tell are your parents. Not Facebook. Not Instagram. [Read: Overprotective parents – 28 signs, psychological effects, and how to deal]

2. Get a manicure

You need to have perfect nails and smooth hands to post all of those ring pictures, right?

3. Post a ring selfie

Which brings us smoothly onto…. the ring selfie! You can do this in a myriad of creative ways, but once you’ve told the parents, it’s time to tell the world.

4. Cheers!

It’s time to celebrate a little. Gather your siblings, your nearest and dearest, your friends, and anyone else you like spending time with. [Read: Memorable things couples should do together to deepen their bond]

5. Get your ring insured

Don’t miss this step! You’ll be heartbroken if anything happens to your ring and you can’t afford to get it fixed or replaced. Insurance covers that.

6. Take a breather

Relax! Enjoy the moment! This time won’t come around again.

7. Get your ring sized

In movies, the ring always fits perfectly but in reality, that’s rarely the case. It will probably go on your finger but it might be loose or too tight. Head to the nearest jeweler and get it sized properly and, if necessary, altered. [Read: He popped the question with an ugly engagement ring – what to do]

8. Think about a date

You don’t need to set a date in stone right now but it’s a good idea to have a general date in mind. That way, you have an aim to work toward, especially if you need to save up.

9. Research wedding venues

Some venues have really long waiting lists, so if you have your heart set on a particular place, it’s a good idea to know about this ahead of time.

10. Think about your wedding size

Big wedding? Small wedding? Something in-between? [Read: 20 crucial things you need to do before you get married]

11. Discuss a budget

This is important. Weddings can cost a small fortune and you need to know how much money you can realistically spend on the big day.

12. Build a wedding website

This is a much easier way to give information to guests; it saves time on sending endless texts! You can use a free website-building tool and create a page with everything right there.

13. Gather inspiration

Create a mood board, head to Pinterest, or go down the old-fashioned route and cut out pictures. Just find some inspiration to get your ideas flowing.

14. Choose who will be in the bridal party

People have busy lives, right? They need to know these things ahead of time! [Read: Most important maid of honor duties to remember for the big day]

15. Interview vendors/wedding planners

Because shopping around never did anyone any harm.

16. Check out trunk show schedules

A trunk show is a great way to find the dress you really want. So, research any scheduled events from your favorite designers and put them in your diary.

17. Throw an engagement party

It’s easy to focus all your attention on the wedding, but why not have an engagement party too? Throw a bash and enjoy yourself! [Read: 67 sweet yet small romantic gestures that show love in the biggest way]

18. Relax

And remember to chill a little too. Wedding planning is an exhausting business and you’ll need all your energy.

Things NOT to do when you get engaged

Of course, as many ‘do’s’ as there are, there are always going to be things you should avoid like the plague. When getting engaged, make sure you side-step all of these major ‘no-no’s.’

1. Don’t tell your Instagram followers before your granny

2. Don’t over-promise; make sure you set expectations from the start [Read: 20 healthy expectations in a relationship that define a good love life]

3. Don’t take all advice offered, but do be polite about it

4. Don’t choose your wedding party immediately; hold off until you know the budget, wedding size, and other details

5. Don’t wear a ring that doesn’t fit

6. Don’t book anything in a rush of excitement

7. Don’t buy a dress straightaway: This is a BIG decision! [Read: 25 obvious signs you’re high on wedding fever]

8. Don’t start stressing

9. Don’t go on a diet, have a boob job, or any other dramatic makeover

10. Don’t invite any guests the moment you get engaged

11. Don’t forget to say thank you for all the good wishes that come your way

12. Don’t forget to lap it up! [Read: 32 secrets to be present and live in the moment when life is speeding past you]

Remember to enjoy the moment

The most important thing to remember about getting married is that, hopefully, this moment will only come around once in your life. So, remember to take it all in and be present in the moment!

It’s so easy to get caught up with thoughts of the future that you forget to enjoy the here and now. Don’t make that mistake!

[Read: Reasons you need to stop being jealous of your engaged friends]

Getting engaged is a pretty big step, so it pays to get the lowdown beforehand. Whether you’re about to propose or you’re waiting, fun times are ahead!

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...