Longest engagement ever..? Possibly.

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5th May 1995.

The date my Other Half proposed. 

And as most of you know already, I’ve never made it up the aisle so it has been a bloody long engagement!

We were young (or in my Other Half’s case – younger) and very much in love. We first met on a blind date of sorts less than seven months earlier. The ring cost fifty pounds and I put more than half towards it. It seems such a cliché to be young and poor and very much in love but we were just that! And when we became engaged, we had every intention of marrying. It was never about the gesture, or the label of being engaged and certainly not the ring! We wanted to be together forever. We wanted to be married and tell the world that we wanted to be together forever.

But time passed by, life got in the way and we never got around to making those wedding plans. At the time, I wanted the big white wedding that I had been dreaming of since I was a little girl and of course, there was no way that we could afford that. And back then I wouldn’t entertain the thought of a little registry office wedding. It just didn’t feel special enough. But in hindsight, I actually had it all wrong. I was wrong in thinking that we needed the dress, the flowers, the cars and all the rest of it. We didn’t. We just needed us.

Over the years, careers, houses and babies got in the way of us getting married. But I can’t help thinking that it can’t have been that important to us or else we would have found a way in all of those years. But that said, I have never felt the need for us to be married as such. We were completely committed to each other without that piece of paper telling us so or indeed the party of the century to tell the world. It just didn’t seem that important. We weren’t quite as young, but we were even more in love than ever.

But now, after being engaged for sixteen years I do regret that we didn’t get married right at the start, I really do. But now, after all of these years I am faced with the quandry of should we or shouldn’t we? I would definitely like to be married and I know (or at least hope!) that my Other Half would be too. But having a big white wedding after being together for so many years and four children later, would just feel kind of silly I guess. But on the other hand, just nipping off to the registry office one Thursday afternoon wouldn’t be big enough either.

In all honesty, I would love for just us – me, my Other Half and my four children – to go away, get married on the quiet and come back and say SURPRISE! But I just can’t do it. My head tells me that our wedding should just be about us. Our little (well actually, not so little!) family but my heart says that I just couldn’t do that to my family, to my parents. But then a small wedding just wouldn’t be possible with our extended families. We would have to invite Great Aunt Wots-her-face that I haven’t seen since I was six and it would just end up being about everyone else. Not us. And that’s not what I want. But I don’t know if I could do the running away thing either!

So where does that leave me?

Right where we’ve always been.

With the longest engagement ever 😉

41 thoughts on “Longest engagement ever..? Possibly.

  1. Carly says:

    Awww I love your view of marriage, I think the paper is just that, paper. What matters is your love and commitment. You only have to look at divorce rates to see how unimportant ‘marriage’ is these days.

    Hubby and I decided to have a very small (just us) trip to the registry office when I became pregnant. We had classed ourselves as ‘married’ for years anyway so thought we may as well. We postponed the reception though and we are having that this July as I did want a bit of fuss 🙂

    I have loved the planning of it (although expensive and stressful at times), we just want the opportunity to celebrate ‘us’ and our family (Belle) with all our families and friends and the chance to say a few words. It is not the most important thing in life but just something I would have always been thinking ‘what if’ and I don’t want any regrets. We are keeping it very informal and relaxed as that is the sort of people we are.

    I think too much fuss is placed on the actual ‘marriage’ certificate, it doesn’t mean anything other than being symbolic really. Couples should be committed before ‘marriage’ anyway, in my opinion 🙂 xxx

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      I think that sounds absolutely lovely! It really sounds like you are getting the best of both worlds and how lovely that Belle will be there too! A real celebration of your lovely family x

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  2. MellyBently says:

    I think the simple answer is. Don’t have the massive, hugely expensive, stressful wedding and don’t just nip off to a registery office either. We had something firmly in the middle and it worked brilliantly. I can recommend it. We only had 24 close friends and family at the day do and 100 just for the buffet and party at the evening reception. It felt small but very special and suited our budget. It also would be great having the kids in the pics. A real family occasion.

    The planning would also be a great subject for many interesting posts 😉

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      Ha! Never mind making for good blog fodder – I can see me tearing my hair out with the stress of it all!
      It’s nice to hear when people do find that middle ground though – it sounds like you had a lovely wedding day x

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  3. Susan Mann says:

    I wanted our wedding to be about us, not about the fuss & not about inviting everyone. Plus I would have gotten too stressed out & my dad wasn’t there either. So we went to Gretna, we got married by candlelight in the evening. We had 30 people there including us & our baby. Close family & friends. It was lovely. We had a meal afterwards & then had a reception the next evening. It was about us getting married. xx

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  4. Katie aka mummydaddyme says:

    That is a long engagement! A few friends of mine have had a similar problem with family and so have gone abroad to get married. They have told their families far in advance so they can buy/save up for a ticket if they really want to there! Could be an idea then you are giving them the choice!

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  5. Kristen @ SEO Runner says:

    I really enjoyed your story. I don’t know if marriage is necessary, but it’s different for everyone.

    Having been married (and subsequently divorced) it’s not #1 priority. Then again, our story is different than yours. As is everyone else’s.

    We got married on the beach, with only immediate family in attendance. It took a little over a month to pull together. But, I’ve never dreamed of being the bride – so it’s different, I guess.

    Sure a big white wedding of your dreams sounds nice. But can you imagine planning that? Yikes!

    Anyway, talk with your hubby. If it’s important to you to “make it official” (which I’d say it already is) than I’m almost certain he wouldn’t object. But that piece of paper does change things. Why? I don’t know, but it does.

    As for inviting everyone including Aunt-What’s-Her-Name, unnecessary. If you decide to have a small ceremony, have it. It’s not about others. Invite parents, siblings and close friends, period.

    Anyone who’s upset about it doesn’t realize this is between you and your husband and children. It’s not about other people.

    As for being engaged for 16 years…well, don’t tell anyone ;), but I think that sounds divine.

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      Ha! I often feel silly when telling people that I have been engaged for that long!
      But thank you for your lovely comment – it actually makes a lot of sense. It is just about us you’re right. And maybe I should take the stand of that if that offends you, then maybe I wouldn’t want you there anyway if you can’t be happy for us?!
      It sounds like you had a really special day x

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  6. Midlife Singlemum says:

    I would go away for a family weekend and have a quiet wedding – maybe invite your immediate families to join you (parents, siblings). Then when you get back, and at your convenience, you can have a party – in someone’s garden even to make it cheaper – to celebrate your marriage with Great Aunt Whats-her-face et al. You can even make a few speeches if it makes GAWHF feel better.

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      That sounds great in theory but I still can’t help but think that my closest family are probably the bossiest so I can’t help but think that they would still manage to hijack it somehow and take over! They are quite good at that 😉

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  7. Sarah says:

    awww go on – do it! It’s great fun and because you’re older now you can have what you want without everyone telling you what to do (my experience). I’m thinking of renewing my vows for 25 years 🙂

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  8. Kara says:

    You should defo go away and get married. My aunt says best thing she ever did and then just have a party when you get back. It is just for you, my wedding day was ruined thinking of everyone else and now I can’t watch half my wedding DVD for that reason. We renew in 3 yrs so that I can have a day for just me and my hubby xxx

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  9. PhotoPuddle says:

    It sounds like it’s important to you to get married so I say do it!! Run away somewhere lovely with your other half and the children and do it just for you. Then come back and have a huge party and invite everyone you know!!

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  10. Circus Queen says:

    When we got engaged we sat down and thought about what the wedding should be like and decided that 25 guests sounded about right. By the time we’d gone through the logistics of who’d be offended, etc, we reached 300. The fact that we got to 150 in the end should feel like a triumph, I suppose but I understand what you mean about extended families. Weddings are complicated! Go for it in the way that you want to and can afford though, because it really is just about the two of you.

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      That’s just it, isn’t it? When you go through the logistics of it all it becomes very complicated. Like for example, I am very close to my cousins and so I would want them to be there but then of course, we would have to invite my Other Half’s cousins (of which he has lots that he hasn’t even seen in years!) I always find it hard knowing where you sort of draw the line at close family and that’s when our lists become way too long! Even though it would be our day, I really wouldn’t want to offend family that I really care for, you know? It’s tricky! But it sounds like you found a perfect balance!

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  11. Kate says:

    Well, this is odd cos today is our 7th wedding anniversary. I was always sure that OH would never get married again so it was a kind of shock when he proposed.

    Neither of us wanted a huge wedding due to both having been married before. However, we have large families too and didn’t want them to miss out completely. We went to Key West in Florida, offered to pay for flights of the 3 living parents and told siblings and their families the details if they wanted to come. None of them did. But, we had a simplish party for everyone when we came home – kind of like an evening do with buffet and disco – and that gave us the best of both worlds.

    I guess it’s about coming up with something that makes you happy with your decision. Everything is a compromise in life – you just have to decide what you will compromise over and what you won’t.

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  12. Cake and Tea Blog says:

    Do it, do it, do it! We had the same concerns as you about wanting an intimate service but not wanting to offend anyone, and ended up getting married abroad. We invited everyone, knowing that great-aunt-what’s-her-face probably wouldn’t bother coming due to piles/fear of flying/phobia of foreign food. We ended up with both close families and six close friends on the day. It was great, and we had a cheap party at home when we got back (got to wear the dress twice!!) and no-one could say they weren’t invited.

    By the way, marriage does change things, in a subtle but fantastic way. It’s really hard to explain why, and it’s something I never expected. But it does, and it’s great. Do it!!!

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      That sounds fab!
      And on the marriage does change things bit, you are not the first that has said that to me. A friend of mine had been with her fella for yonks and they had three lovely boys and they decided after all those years to get married on a whim. I will always remember her telling me that she never thought it would make a difference – why would it? But she said from the morning she woke up as a married woman, she felt completely different and somehow completely settled – even though she was perfectly happy before. It’s really interesting that so many people say that it does actually make a difference x

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  13. Vegemitevix says:

    After being with my ex for over 16 years and married for at least 13 of those, I never thought I would ever marry again. But then I met my Englishman in Paris, and moved to England with my three kids in tow. It seemed silly for us to get married in a big wedding – even the thought of a big poofy dress for me (now in my early forties) seemed ridiculous in the extreme, and I didn’t have friends here to do the whole hen night/maids of honour stuff! In the end we had to get married in the Church of England (long complicated story)and because our local vicar wouldn’t marry us two divorcees we had to get married in my Englishman’s old village church in North Yorkshire. So two years ago on 23rd May saw me pull on a strapless gown with an elegant bolero, carrying a bunch of lillies and roses that I’d hand tied, walking down the aisle (again) on the arm of my 15 year old son. We had about 30 guests. Our three kids were involved in the ceremony, and we had a laugh. The vicar told us to stop f-ing around at the altar, the best man set his speech alight, and I almost walked into the church with my corset straps trailing outside my skirt, BUT it was the most personal, intimate ceremony I have ever experienced. It was not only about my Englishman and I, but it was about us – our family – all of us in it together. I don’t think you’re ever too old, or you ever have too many children to remind yourselves of the promises that tie you together. Go for it lovely mummy!! xx

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  14. janeblackmore says:

    If you want to marry then crack on woman.

    Weddings always upset someone, if you go small then someone who thinks they should be invited isnt, if you go big then someone who thinks they should be invited isn’t. At the end of the day you inadvertently hurt someones feeling momentarily by pure accident and as a result one day may find yourself on the ‘no’ list for their son/daughters/great neices christening/wedding/coming out party.

    weddings are to celebrate you and him and whom every you chose to share it with – sod protocol have a good time!

    For the record I had a big fat northern wedding, my mother went mad on the guest list, she still sobs to this day that we didn’t invite cousins to the day affair. She also had what she describes as ‘the best day ever.’ I also looked very cool in my big fat dress!

    xxxx

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      Oooh, your big fat northern wedding and your big fat dress sound fabulous! And I think you’re right – sod protocol! I think sometimes writing things down can help you to put things straight in your mind. As do lots of fabulous blog comments 😉

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  15. kAREN jONES says:

    Well who knew ! that’s you and Helen ! beautiful, clever, wonderful mummies and I am sure partners too. The fact that you are writing about this means its what you ultimately want! Do it, but make it on your terms ! Do what YOU really want, not what you think you SHOULD do for your family, friends etc. Then when you have decided that you can celebrate with everyone and if they don’t like it, Well who cares ! you have been a committed couple for so many years, have your four beautiful children. You have already proved the point xxxxx

    p.s. can I be maid of honour ? I really won’t upstage you like Pippa did ????

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  16. The mad house says:

    I have to say I am totally pro marriage. My wedding day was the best day of my life, even now 16 years later. Yes if we were to do it again it would be s very different day, a we are older and wiser, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Further from that on a totally practical purpose it does make life a lot easier should one od us die, sad but true. So I think you should do it, tie the knot. Do it the way you want to and enjoy it

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      Thanks Jen. I love that you say that you would do it all over again in a heartbeat – that speaks volumes about your marriage! And yes, you are quite right about the practical point of view – we don’t like to think of these things but I know you’re right.

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  17. Kirsty says:

    Very late commenting on this one, but I think you should go for it, have a small family wedding with immediate family and if others don’t like it, that’s their problem.

    I think Jenn makes a valid point too – you might be surprised what rights you do and don’t have when you’re unmarried. If one of you was in a serious accident, the other wouldn’t automatically be next of kin. I’m also not sure about your partner’s legal responsibility for your older kids (the law on this has changed in recent years, I think).

    So, for practical reasons if nothing else, I think you should do it. But also, I think it could be a fabulous opportunity for you and your little family to have a personal celebration of your love and happiness.

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    • (mostly) yummy mummy says:

      You’re right, I think I need to care much less about what other people think and remember that it is about us. And you are quite right about the legal thing too – horrible thought but a very practical one I know.

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  18. The Outlaw Mom says:

    I DEFINITELY think you should have a wedding! Not for the whole solemnity of the marriages vows, etc. – which you clearly have been living for 16 years and don’t need a ceremony for – but for the get gussied up and party aspect! I can see how it might feel silly after all these years and kids, etc., but . . . who doesn’t love to get dressed up and party and have a day about YOU! I am going to a friend of mine’s second wedding this weekend and instead of the beach wedding she had at first, she’s going for a fancy formal adults only reception. That means she’s lucky enough to get dressed up a second time and choose all the details she wants in a different flavor. I’m jealous! A wedding after such a long engagement and when you two aren’t kids anymore will be so much better than it would have been back then in the sense that you have realistic expectations of what the wedding will be: a fab party! No worrying about whether everything’s perfect or what so-and-so relative wants. Go for it 🙂

    A word about your friend who finally got married after several years and 3 kids, it’s true (well, was for me): you might wake up and feel settled in the “uh-oh, now what” way and not the exciting fairytale way. But I am a bit of a crazy, so . . .

    Good luck deciding!
    The (Seriously Shallow, Commitment-Phobic) Outlaw Mom

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  19. Rox says:

    That is a long time!

    We had a similar quandary… we were 18 & 21 when we got married, had just bought our first home together and were too poor to have a big wedding and there was also the problem of how to get my divorced side of the family all in the same room together without daggers!!

    The answer was easy.. it wasn’t about them, it was about us. So, we went up to the Lake District and got married on our own, no one was invited! (i did have a dress, flowers etc – we didnt cut everything out)

    It was the easiest solution and for us the importance was about being Mr & Mrs, not the day itself really, or the family drinking champers at our expense ;o)

    Ultimately though, you’ve committed to more than a marriage by having children… you can divorce and go onto separate lives never seeing each other again, you can never do that when you have children.

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