Not Engaged Yet

Too soon to start exploring?

So my BF and I have been dating for four years, living together for a little over 2. We've talked A LOT about the future, and I've known from day one that he didn't want to get married until he's done with school, but that's where we are headed. He is currently 1-2 years away from finishing his PhD and I just started medical school. On our recent anniversary, we were lounging around and out of the blue he said "Let's get married. But not right now." After talking in the past month, we decided that it makes sense to get married sometime in my fourth year of med school, because my school offers a one month break elective and once residency starts we will have no time and likely be far from family. That would put the wedding anytime from June 2020 to June 2021. There is no official proposal at this point, and I don't anticipate there being one for about two years.  However, since this is our tentative plan, and medical school will make planning very difficult when the time comes, do you guys think it is too early for me to start checking out venues, vendors, etc?

Re: Too soon to start exploring?

  • So my BF and I have been dating for four years, living together for a little over 2. We've talked A LOT about the future, and I've known from day one that he didn't want to get married until he's done with school, but that's where we are headed. He is currently 1-2 years away from finishing his PhD and I just started medical school. On our recent anniversary, we were lounging around and out of the blue he said "Let's get married. But not right now." After talking in the past month, we decided that it makes sense to get married sometime in my fourth year of med school, because my school offers a one month break elective and once residency starts we will have no time and likely be far from family. That would put the wedding anytime from June 2020 to June 2021. There is no official proposal at this point, and I don't anticipate there being one for about two years.  However, since this is our tentative plan, and medical school will make planning very difficult when the time comes, do you guys think it is too early for me to start checking out venues, vendors, etc?
    I definitely think it's too early if your plan isn't until 2020 or 2021. So much will happen during this time. Venues will open, others will close, pricing will change, you may decide you want the wedding in a different location, etc. I just think any research you do now won't be relevant by the time you actually want to book things. 

    Honestly; you just started a huge program, your FI is (likely) dissertation writing, you have these exciting things happening; focus on those right now and do wedding planning once you're closer to the date. 
    SP29ahoywedding
  • I agree with you that everything could change in the next few years. But when do you think would be a good time to start planning? My BF has said that he doesn't want a long official engagement, no more than a year. He believes that as long as we know where relationship is headed, it doesn't matter if the whole world knows. The "official" part of the engagement would start only soon enough for people to be able to plan for the wedding. But I'm worried that waiting to start planning at that time will be cutting it too close. That will roughly coincide with me starting rounds, which to my understanding is 60-80 hours of hospital shifts per week, likely coinciding with the operating hours of most vendors. For the next two years, I'm taking classes, which leaves me very busy, but also gives me some flexibility in my daily schedule. 
  • edited September 8
    1) Oh I know Hence why I posted in this thread.
    2) We have actually had multiple extensive conversations about getting married. The only reason I have such a large date window is that i don't know the specifics of the month I get off. I'm going to meet with my advisor next week to get more details, but the date would likely be 2020 instead of 2021.
    3) Because I'm in a set 4 year program, I actually have spent a lot of time planning my financial future for the next 4 years and have a very good idea of a rough budget.
    4) Glad to know a year is enough time. My top priority is spreading out my stress. I know I have a stressful few years in store, and I know the only way I can get through it is to hyper-plan. Of course, that only goes so far. My goal is to be able to spend no more than 1-2 hours a week planning, but still be able to make relevant instead of theoretical decisions. I know it's a balancing act, but I'm hoping it's an attainable goal!

    Thanks for the input and any other input you guys may have!
  • 1) Oh I know Hence why I posted in this thread.
    2) We have actually had multiple extensive conversations about getting married. The only reason I have such a large date window is that i don't know the specifics of the month I get off. I'm going to meet with my advisor next week to get more details, but the date would likely be 2020 instead of 2021.
    3) Because I'm in a set 4 year program, I actually have spent a lot of time planning my financial future for the next 4 years and have a very good idea of a rough budget.
    4) Glad to know a year is enough time. My top priority is spreading out my stress. I know I have a stressful few years in store, and I know the only way I can get through it is to hyper-plan. Of course, that only goes so far. My goal is to be able to spend no more than 1-2 hours a week planning, but still be able to make relevant instead of theoretical decisions. I know it's a balancing act, but I'm hoping it's an attainable goal!

    Thanks for the input and any other input you guys may have!
    I don't think wedding planning needs to be completely nutty and stressed. I think to a certain extent the wedding industry pushes the 'stressed bride' image because if you are more stressed it likely means you are planning more and then spending more money. I think if you go into it with the idea that you don't want to be strung out, and keep that goal in mind, it's definitely possible.

    There are a few things you could do now (since you sound like a planner) that would help you down the road. For example, you could start collecting all the contact info for people on your guest list. Obviously your guest list will change in four years, but there's nothing wrong with building it as you go. It's pretty time consuming to put all that info together. Another thing would be to start looking at venues, not as exact venues but as inspiration. If you go into your year of planning with a really clear idea what kind of wedding you and FI want you are well ahead of where a lot of people start.

    In terms of keeping your year simple, these are a few things that I think would help (and you can choose to take this with a grain of salt as I'm still planning my own - so I'm no expert!)

    1) Stay off Pinterest. It seems like a great place for inspiration until you get sucked into feeling like you need 8,000 DIY projects or you'll be crowned a wedding failure. Get a clear vision of what is you and is important and remember that so many of those little projects and touches won't matter to anyone as much as they matter to you and likely won't matter to you much a few years later. 

    2) Think about keeping your wedding party on the small side. Everyone you add is an extra dress to coordinate, an extra gift, etc etc. I'm not by any means condoning leaving out your closest or saying you should only see your bridal party as projects, but it could definitely simplify your year to have only your really close.

    3) Try to be open-minded about as much as you can. I have no idea what I want for bridesmaid dresses. We are going shopping next week and we are just gonna pick one that I and the girls like. I haven't bothered with colours until we figure out dresses. Flowers will get sorted when those other two fall into place. Sometimes putting together your wedding based on what is in front of you instead of having a big checklist of your vision that you then have to track down, simplifies a lot. I wanted my family and friends, a more relaxed venue and a photographer I really liked. The rest will get figured out or it won't. If everyone is fed, watered and well hosted they will have a good time.

    I agree with PPs that you're really early for a lot of planning, but I hope this helps a bit!
  • I agree with you that everything could change in the next few years. But when do you think would be a good time to start planning? My BF has said that he doesn't want a long official engagement, no more than a year. He believes that as long as we know where relationship is headed, it doesn't matter if the whole world knows. The "official" part of the engagement would start only soon enough for people to be able to plan for the wedding. But I'm worried that waiting to start planning at that time will be cutting it too close. That will roughly coincide with me starting rounds, which to my understanding is 60-80 hours of hospital shifts per week, likely coinciding with the operating hours of most vendors. For the next two years, I'm taking classes, which leaves me very busy, but also gives me some flexibility in my daily schedule. 
    I recently moved abroad to a country where a (non related) man and woman have to be married in order to live together. Most of my friends here had to plan weddings in less than 3 months while dealing with moving internationally, filing for visas, new passports, all of that. It can be done.

    I don't understand not wanting a long engagement and telling you that this is where this is heading. Like seriously, wtf? What is the issue with a long engagement? Seems like a red flag to me.

    Don't start planning until you are in a position to talk budget and guest list. I agree with @southernbelle0915, a private Pinterest board would be about as far as I would go.

    if I were you, I would start quietly saving money in a separate savings account. If in a couple years he decides to propose, you will have some money to spend on a wedding.
    charlotte989875CMGragain
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Agree with the above.

    Wedding planning doesn't have to be complex, or stressful. It's about managing your priorities. Your priorities are the ceremony (which only requires an officiant and witness or two), knowing your budget, deciding on your guest list (whoever was invited to your ceremony is invited to the reception), then finding a place to gather these guests to serve them food and drink appropriate for the day and time, oh, and having a chair for whoever attends. Everything else is extra and not required.

    Keep ideas in mind that you like, figure out the general style/type of wedding you'd like (big vs small? Formal vs. casual?). But I would not start officially planning anything until 1-1.5 years out. It is entirely possible to plan a wedding in less time than that.

    charlotte989875
  • I think it's a bad idea to plan a wedding if you're not engaged; whatever an "official" proposal is to you. If you want a private Pinterest board for a hypothetical wedding that's up to you, or thinking about what type of wedding you want someday, but anything else, IMO is just a bad idea. Like @SP29 said, 1-1.5 years is a good timeframe although you can plan a wedding in far, far less time if you want (like a few weeks), it just depends on what type of wedding you want. 

    My now-H and I were engaged for 11 months and we definitely didn't spend 1-2 hours each week planning. We met while getting our PhDs so I definitely understand at least what your BF is going through. I didn't want to get married in school, but many of our friends did. They got married on a Friday/Saturday and came back to classes Monday. Or got married around a break. Many didn't take honeymoons right away and waited until after exams/proposal defenses/different points in reseaxh studies/combined with conference travel (that's what we did). So there are many ways to make a wedding work with extremely busy schedules.

    I know you said you won't get a month off until 2020 or 2021 but you will have breaks/long weekends in med school and, if you're in the US, there are now laws about how many hours residents can legally work in a week so you will have some time off. I guess you just have to prioritize what you want; type of wedding, location, being married sooner rather than later, having extended family there, etc. and do what's best for you. 
    SP29
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited September 10
    The only thing I think it's not to early to start doing is saving money. Because there's never a bad time to start trying to put something away for a rainy day, whether you turn out to use it for a wedding or a car or a house. 
    charlotte989875southernbelle0915SP29CMGragain
  • Breathe and drink wine!  I think that trying to plan everything out down to the 1-2 hours of wedding planning per week is just way to much stress for what could potentially happen in the future.  I get that some people are more of the planning type, and like to have a timeline, but I'm sure tons of people have gotten engaged/married in med school and been just fine.  In the long run you need to really remember that it's a one day party and don't let yourself get to stressed out!!
    SP29
  • I think gathering inspiration and maybe trying to think about what type of wedding you'd want, how much it might cost, etc would be good things for now. Then you'd have a good "base" going into planning. Plus those things are fun to think about :) But it doesn't have to be a huge thing! We planned our wedding in a year-ish, while also buying a house, both working full time, and I started grad school. I had classmates in nursing school (not the same as med school, I know, but still time consuming) who planned their wedding for a week or two after graduation. One friend got married the week before the bar exam. It's totally doable! Enjoy where you guys are in your lives right now & have some drinks, because things are about to get bananas!
    nightnerd
  • Spreaking as someone in the same position (minus the medical school), I can confidently say that it's too soon to begin "exploring." If you start narrowing your ideas down now, you'll kind of rob yourself of the experience later on - not to mention that you might miss some of the good stuff happening right now. The other women here also make good points about it just not being practical, as any planning you do now has a good chance of becoming irrelevant in a few years. In helping friends prepare for their weddings, I've learned that it actually is not as time-consuming as you may believe. One girl has a four-month engagement, and they still had their choice of venue, caterer, etc. It's just not necessary to start this early.

    I can totally understand the impulse to get ahead, as well as the excitement of realizing, "Yep, this is him. It's going to be him for life." Some things that have helped me deal (because it's going to be a couple years for us too):

    1) Make a list of things you want to accomplish, individually and in your relationship, before you get married. (Bonus: this works well for baby rabies too.) It sounds like you are each very busy right now; what would you like to have completed before you take this step? I know there's academic stuff, but think of some other things that are important to you. For example, saving a certain amount of money, a trip with your girlfriends (I wish my group of friends had put more effort into this before we all started settling down), or developing a particular skill or talent. Learning the piano and improving my running endurance have been my saving graces recently, because they make me feel good about how I'm spending my time right now. What are some things that are important to you right now? I think you'll find that there are better uses of the time you have now than planning a wedding that won't happen for 3-4 years.

    2) Don't talk about it! Do not ruminate on weddings. You're not responsible for where your mind wanders, but you do need to gently pull it back to the present when you notice you've gone off track. Don't discuss it with your friends or family, and if your boyfriend brings it up, tell him it would help you to be patient if you wait to discuss until you're actually engaged. Getting this support from the people you're close to will certainly help in those moments where you want to dive right in.

    3) The following advice may seem counterintuitive, and you have to know yourself well if you're going to try this. Sometimes - very, very occasionally - I find it helpful to allow myself a small wedding binge on Pinterest. Not for hours on end, not to nail down specifics like venues or dates, because there is no way to rely on those plans right now. But spend 20 minutes - literally set a timer if you have to - looking at dresses, cakes (OMG, I am so excited about wedding cake), favors, whatever you're thinking about. Save some ideas if you feel so inclined. I find that this gives me a chance to get it out of my system, and then I can move on to something more productive. As fun as wedding stuff can be, a girl can only look at so many centerpiece ideas before wanting to do something more cerebral. You're a smart lady, taking classes and getting ready for an amazing career as a physician. Wedding planning will have its special moment in your life, but I think you are someone who can easily find other things that are just as meaningful to concentrate on.

    4) Consider reasons why you may have such an impulse to pre-plan at times. I know for me, this summer I had a friend get engaged and start looking for a house, a friend get pregnant, and another friend planning her adorable son's first birthday party, all within a couple months of each other. I hate to say it, but I had a brief moment of intense jealousy - and my boyfriend and I just moved in together! I have a new job, we're both going for our next degrees - we are certainly moving forward in life together too. Watching my friends have all of these things happen all at once suddenly made me feel stagnant, but when I looked at my life, I saw that we are moving at EXACTLY the right pace to get the most out of every moment we spend together. My point is, try to recognize if there is anything that causes you to think more about your future wedding, and be mindful of its influence.
    KahluaKoalaCMGragain
  • So my BF and I have been dating for four years, living together for a little over 2. We've talked A LOT about the future, and I've known from day one that he didn't want to get married until he's done with school, but that's where we are headed. He is currently 1-2 years away from finishing his PhD and I just started medical school. On our recent anniversary, we were lounging around and out of the blue he said "Let's get married. But not right now." After talking in the past month, we decided that it makes sense to get married sometime in my fourth year of med school, because my school offers a one month break elective and once residency starts we will have no time and likely be far from family. That would put the wedding anytime from June 2020 to June 2021. There is no official proposal at this point, and I don't anticipate there being one for about two years.  However, since this is our tentative plan, and medical school will make planning very difficult when the time comes, do you guys think it is too early for me to start checking out venues, vendors, etc?
    This brings back memories for me.  I never did marry him.  I married the man who said, "Let's get married as soon as possible!"
    You have a lot of time to enjoy each other and work on your careers.  I would start saving, but leave the wedding planning for another time.  It is amazing how much wedding dress fashions can change in 4 years.  Above all, don't tell people about your future plans.  Keep it private until you are ready to start planning. Once you are officially engaged and have told the families and set a date, you can start real planning.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
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