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Monday, April 15, 2024

First Comes Love. Then Comes Engagement.

Weddings are expensive. This is not news to anyone with a daughter older than 18. When I proposed to my then-girlfriend Megan last summer, I learned that lesson the hard way. Megan wanted the marriage part of the proposal; she could have done without the wedding ceremony. But I convinced her the white dress, the flowers, and the open bar were all parts of a day we would cherish for our lifetime. Soon I realized the money we needed to save and what we needed to sacrifice. I panicked. Then, Megan became the voice of optimism.

I confided this in my barber (because really a barber knows more secrets about a man than his wife), and he had this to say: “The engagement is a test. It is such a stressful time, and if a couple survives that period together, they can survive a marriage.” All right. I’ll buy it. To pass the test, I couldn’t be the best boyfriend or the best husband. I needed to be the best fiancé. What makes a fiancé great?

He admits when he doesn’t know what he is doing.
I work in the magazine business, so I like to think I have an eye for good photography — at a price we can afford. Since the list of options in the Tri-State feels endless, Megan and I split the duties of finding the right wedding photographer. When it came to flowers, I admitted to Megan she was on her own. I had no preference, and I’d be hard-pressed to even recognize the difference between roses and tulips. My floral knowledge wasn’t going to blossom overnight, and Megan liked relying on her flower power.

He admits when he knows what he is doing.

When I was 22, I bought my first suit from a salesman eager to make a commission. The gray three-piece fit me like a parachute. As a groomsman in a wedding a few years later, an employee at a tuxedo rental shop over-measured me. My experiences led me to read men’s magazine Esquire as though it were the Bible. I recite lines from suit stories like poetry, and I know exactly what works for my build. When it came time to choose my wedding attire, I picked a tailored suit, and Megan trusted my judgment. I couldn’t imagine outshining Megan on the wedding day, but it was important for me to look worthy enough to marry her. Good tailors who listen to the customer are abundant in Evansville: S.G.S. Fine Men’s Clothiers and Bachrach, to name a couple.

He admits when he needs help.
When my best man married his wife five years ago, his only role in wedding planning: Select the church. I chose the tuxedoes with his then-fiancée. I can’t imagine how she handled it. At times, wedding planning is overwhelming. It is OK to feel that way, and it is more than OK to lean on your significant other for support. I reached that point when choosing invitations. I dreamed I could tap my college education majoring in electronic media, but I soon realized graphic design wasn’t like riding a bike. When I tried to “ride” again after years of typing stories, the skills never flooded back to me. Frustrated, Megan reminded me the words were what mattered (I could still provide the words for the invitation), and several businesses offer invitation services such as PenPals Stationery Shoppe. Local designers sell custom invitations on Etsy, a website for craftspeople. Two to consider: Ellieoh Designs and Evansville Living’s graphic designer Jennifer Varner.

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