Engagement Dos and Don'ts from the Five-Year Engagement

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This weekend The Five-Year Engagement hits theaters, and you don't have to be engaged to relate to the relationship ups and downs Tom and Violet (played by Jason Segel and Emily Blunt) go through over the course of the film as they struggle to make it to the altar. But if you are taking part in this wedding season either as one half of a betrothed couple, as a bridesmaid, or as a family member to a bride-to-be, there are some tips to glean from the rom-com. Check out these proposal and engagement dos and don'ts from The Five-Year Engagement now! (Warning: spoilers ahead!)

  • Do be sentimental and thoughtful.: When Tom proposes to Violet he makes it really personal by incorporating special moments between the two of them and details he remembered her talking about. He proposed on New Year's Eve, exactly a year after they met. And he got her an antique ruby engagement ring since he knew how upset blood diamonds make her. He even booked an appointment at a jewelry shop for the next day in case she didn't like the ring! Over the course of your engagement it can be easy to get caught up in the wedding planning, but don't forget to show your man some love by paying attention to the details and surprising him with thoughtful date nights.
  • Don't hook up with the best friend.: At Tom and Violet's overnight engagement party, Tom's best friend Alex and Violet's sister Suzie end up in bed together after having just met. While the hookup turns out fine in the movie (albeit with some unexpected consequences), in real life you could cause some messy moments by sleeping with a fellow member of the bridal party before the big day. If things get awkward between you and the guy, the whole group will suffer during all the lead-up to and during the wedding. If one of the groomsmen catches your eye, better to save it for the wedding reception.
  • Do communicate your feelings.: When Violet gets a job out of state, Tom puts his own career on the back burner so that they can make the move from San Francisco to Michigan. Violet is constantly asking Tom if he's OK with the move and the lifestyle changes that come with it, and he's always telling her he's fine even though he's really having a hard time with it.
  • Don't steal the bride's thunder.: Suzie's one night with Alex ends up having a major consequence . . . she gets pregnant! And to top it off, she and Alex decide to get married before the baby comes, which means they have a wedding and a baby all before Tom and Violet tie the knot. Obviously, you can't always help life situations like that, but if your sister or best friend is in the midst of planning a wedding, be considerate about your own big events.


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  • Do take family into consideration: A running joke in the movie is that Tom and Violet are taking so long to plan their wedding all the older relatives keep dying. It's always good to keep elderly family members in mind while planning your big day, whether it's when you're deciding the location, timing, or music selection. For many of them, your wedding is something they've been excited to attend for your whole life!
  • Don't bring up exes.: Alex has the not-so genius idea of presenting a slideshow of all of Tom's exes at the engagement party. Violet laughs it off, but there are many brides who would be mortified and outraged at such a scene. If you're a sister or bridesmaid giving a speech at an engagement party or the wedding, trust us, it's always a bad idea to bring up past relationships, no matter how hilarious it seems at the time. You'll make the couple feel awkward, and remember, this day is about their future, not their past. Save the ex talk for the bachelorette party!
  • Do let your man help with planning.: When Tom and Violet start up the wedding planning for the second time in Michigan, Violet is swamped with her new job so Tom volunteers to take it on himself. It may be really, really hard to let go of the planning duties if you're an attention-to-detail freak, but there are times when it's a good thing - for sanity's sake. Stop, breathe, and remember, this day is about both of you, so it's OK to let your groom have some input.
  • Don't put yourself in compromising situations.: After they move to Michigan, Violet starts spending a majority of her time with her new co-workers and boss, Winton. By spending so much time with Winton, it's clear that an emotional affair is in the works. This leads to an intimate moment between the two that threatens to destroy Tom and Violet's relationship.


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  • Do write down speeches.: Suzie's speech at Tom and Violet's engagement party is a blubbery, mumbling mess due to how emotional she is about her sister's impending nuptials. If you're a bridesmaid or family member of the happy couple and you know that you're going to tear up, have the speech written down on a piece of paper to keep you on track. And it's also probably a good idea to save the Champagne for afterward.
  • Don't wait for things to be perfect.: Tom and Violet continue to put off their wedding thanks to various less-than ideal circumstances in their lives. But unfortunate things happen all the time, that's life! And if you've found the person you want by your side during those rough times, why not just hit up the altar as soon as you can? That said, there isn't a rule book for how long or short your engagement should be, so do what's best for you and your man.
  • Do roll with the punches.: Despite all their setbacks, Violet doesn't fall apart or turn into a bridezilla. Over the course of the film she can't find a venue, she's dealing with pressure to set a date from her family, she starts a new job in a new state, she gives the planning reins to her fiancé, her sister gets married before she does, and (spoiler alert!) she ends up having a very, very nontraditional wedding in the end. No matter how hard you try during the planning process, things aren't going to be perfect. And that's OK! Don't let the pitfalls discourage you or sidetrack you from remembering that this day is about the love you share with your one and only. And some rain or a dropped cake or whatever it is that doesn't go according to plan won't change what the wedding is really about.

Related Content:
Announcing Your Engagement at Work: 5 Things to Consider
20 Ways to Save the Date With Your Engagement Shoot
Sugar Bride Guide: Proposals Stories



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