Proposing - A challenge in logistics

Ok so I’m planning on asking my girlfriend to marry me and I have an idea of when I want to do it but her friend is suggesting that I wait until Spring. I want to do it in September so that we can get started on the preparation stuff since we wont be together after the end of November when I graduate from school and get a job. (she doesn’t graduate until next December) Does asking her sooner make it easier to get started on that stuff or should I wait until Spring as her friend suggests so we have a shorter engagement (which is the reason she suggests I wait, apparently my girlfriend wants to be engaged just long enough to plan everything). If I waited until Spring, I’d have to propose over a short break just to leave her again since she’ll still be in school out of state, and I’d hate to do that to her.

Honestly, I have a feeling I’m going to do it in September regardless but I thought I’d ask the people who know better than I do!

God Bless and thanks!

Isn’t life great when you can plan it all?

“Life is what happens when you have other plans.”

Length of engagement makes no difference. There is plenty to do and the more you two discuss things prior to the marriage, the better. A quick preparation is not a good one. Like one priest says. Married life is more difficult than religeous life. But we spend 6 years preparing for religeous life. And only a few months for married life. :shrug:

You will need to go through a bunch of good discussion and training if you are going to have a Catholic wedding. Far more is really helpful. NFP preparation prior to marriage takes months. Litterally. I highly recommend spending as much time discussing these things as possible.

You’re the one proposing, do it when you want. In this case I would suggest proposing then seeing the priest and doing the marriage preparation first thing, then plan the rest.

I suggest the marriage preparation first because then, if you find that you have things to work on in the relationship you’ll have time to do so before the big day. If you wait to do the prep until close to the wedding day (some couples I’ve seen finish a week before the wedding), even if you find that you should wait you’re unlikely to do so because everything is paid for and ready to go.

Thanks for the replies already! I was reading through the “how long is a Catholic engagement” thread and realized that it would probably be incredibly useful to do most of our prep while we are near each other this Fall. Granted, of the 6 months required (at least) we’ll only be together 2 before I go to work, it will be a good start and I think it would be good for us, especially since we have not been dating very long.

Her friend who suggested I wait is not Catholic and probably doesn’t understand the gravity of the Sacrament and what goes into it.

Still looking for some more opinions though!

Do it when you had planned to do it- that made much more sense. :thumbsup:

What sort of wedding does she want? If you’re getting married in a not-so-busy parish then having a small reception in your backyard and all your family is local, it might not take that long to plan a wedding.

However, keep in mind that some churches have as long as a 2 year waiting list for weddings, most good wedding reception sites are booked a year in advance, it’s difficult to find a good photographer within 9 months of a wedding (unless you’re getting married on a Friday or in the Winter), it typically takes a year to book a band (DJ’s are easier), unless she’s buying a dress “off the rack” it takes 6-9 months to get a dress made and altered, and if guests are traveling, you’ll want hotels blocked, a website made, and save-the-dates out about 9 months in advance.

The wedding industry today is amazing, even compared to just 5 years ago. Prices have skyrocketed (about a 23% increases year-to-year), places book way out in advance, and everything is much more elaborate. You can thank those “Bridezilla” shows for the trend (the “average” wedding is now close to $40,000 and it’s very, very difficult to do something for less than $20,000 because most vendors have increased their minimum price - even if it’s a simple backyard wedding, feeding people for less than $150 per person (after tax and gratuity) is tough, and if you need a tent in case of rain, that’s $4,000 on it’s own, not to mention flowers, DJ, dance floor rental, chairs and tables, utensils, plates, etc.).

Anyway, the point is that it really does take a minimum of a year to plan a typical wedding these days.

Get started doing marriage prep TODAY. I am a big fan of pre-engagement counseling. No money is invested, no emotional investment in a “wedding day”. Just solid guided discernment and preparation. All done before a ring is bought. Engagement should not be a surprise. A proposal can be, but not engagement.

amen! Very very wise words.

Our church will not allow you to go through pre-marriage counseling unless you have a confirmed wedding date. And you cannot have a confirmed date unless you’ve paid for the church ($1000), and even then, the counseling costs almost $200.

Why wait till September? Do it now!

I am a male Roman Catholic and I am dating a Buddhist woman. I am wondering if it is allowed and recognized by the church to be married to her. Is there an interfaith ceremony that we could do or would I be unable to be married in the/a Catholic church?

Alarm 1

Alarm 2

Ah, marriage prep is important for ALL marriages. You’ll need a bit more due to differences in religions.

And I would suggest you look into “mixed marriages” as we call them. There is usually more stress and issues that need resolution and agreement when the couple does not share the same faith.

Are you sure she’s ready to accept your proposal? Does she have any idea what she would have to agree to, in order to get married in the Catholic church? Dude. You have a lot of work to do.

Strange. We didn’t have to do any of that. Times change I guess.

I’m sure it’s also the parish/diocese (and how much time they priests have). I mentioned our situation to demonstrate that it’s not always possible to have pre-Cana before the engagement.

You are misundertanding what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about doing “official marriage prep” classes. Get together with a priest you feel comfortable with and share with them the way you are choosing to do your sacramental prep. If you approach them and explain it correctly, they should be more than glad to oblige in assisting you in discernment. You can take the foccus before you are engaged. They don’t have to be in your parish either.

Don’t call it pre-cana. Call it something else. You can approach a priest for spiritual direction anytime, as a couple. Most priests in my area would bend over backwards for a couple that wants to do things in the right order and not focus on the wedding itself, but on true sacramental prayerfulness.

Your church rules, if those are accurate, are against what the church believes in preparation. One should NOT set a date until the first part of marriage prep is completed (the discernment stage).

You should stress you do not want to set a date. You are in discernment-

edit: I see you pulled up an old thread of mine: this is not the same girl :wink: That one didn’t work out too well!

Her FRIEND isnt Catholic… My girlfriend is VERY Catholic! I know she’ll say yes and I’m not worried about that.

To the person who said to do it now, I WISH I COULD!!! We’ve been apart all summer as I’ve had a job away from school and she’s been working at a summer camp many states away.

I like the idea of starting some stuff even before I ask her but I don’t see a way to do that without making it less of a surprise ya know… If there’s a good way to do that, let me know!

Thanks for the tips and suggestions, keep em coming!

Beyond the obvious (buying a ring and asking for her dad’s permission):

To prepare for the sacrament, you should be fine with 2 months of prep-time. Pre-Cana takes a weekend (or as short as 8 hours in some cases), and most priests schedule 5 or 6 sessions of prep, so you don’t really need to do any prep work other than finding a church to be married in and a person to marry you (if you know your desired wedding date or month and church, you could call ahead to see the church’s availability and cost).

Of course, this assumes that you’ve already “discerned” that the two of you should get married. You don’t need any formal counseling that could “give away” the plan, but before proposing, you should be clear on your intention for things like children (how to raise them, how many, when to have them, if either of you will stay at home, and family planning), family issues (how to split holidays between your families), and domestic issues (chores, where to live, etc). After you’ve had these discussions, there’s really nothing new that should pop-up in FOCCUS or pre-Cana.

Beyond the sacrament and discernment, if you’re going to have a full-blown reception (DJ, cake, florist, reception hall, caterer, photographer, transportation, dress, honeymoon, etc) you’re looking at a lot of work. How much you do vs. how much she does depends on the two of you. There’s really not much prep work you can do for that, other than downloading some budgeting software and trying to figure out how you’ll afford the wedding.

My parish requires that the couple sets up an appointment with Father an absolute minimum of six months before the wedding…I don’t know where the OP resides, but in various places I have lived on the west coast, this seems to be common.

Opps, let me clarify (I could see how that wasn’t clear) - most Catholic churches require you to set a date 6 to 12 months out, but within that 6 to 12 months, you can easily finish the required prep in 2 months. The delay is to make sure you’re serious about the marriage and not “rushing into” it.

My perception was that the OP is concerned that he’ll only have 2 months in the same town with his fiancee after proposing (though, presumably the wedding date will be further out). In terms of being able to complete the required marriage prep, that’s enough time (though, like I said, he may want to contact the church to check on their policies and his (or her) parish priest or deacon to check on the required marriage prep timing, as it can vary.

FastLearner: you’ve mad the correct assumptions - I was concerned about getting the Church prescribed preparation completed, but it sounds like we’ll be OK. The actual date will certainly be at the very least 6 months out, if not longer so no worries there.

Thanks for the help again folks - went shopping for the ring the last 2 nights and I’m getting very anxious! I think I have the one picked out. I wish I could just give it to her NOW! Good things come to those who wait right?!

Please read my past posts…

engagement should NOT be a surprise. You should discern this together. Proposal can be a surprise, but not engagement.

Honestly, it can take at least a year to feel really comfortable with NFP itself…perhaps health probs to get taken care of and stuff.

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