Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Surviving My First Engagement Party

Saturday night, I attended my friend Cindy’s engagement party – my first experience as a guest at this type of soiree.

Like most firsts, this one was accompanied by some anxiety about the unknown. What kind of gift is appropriate? Would I be stranded in a sea of couples, forced to explain why I’m still single? Thankfully, I emerged from the event not only unscathed but happy to have been part of it.

Bride-to-be Cindy and me at her engagement party

Held at the inviting Westchester clubhouse of the housing development where Cindy’s parents live, the intimate party (about 50 guests) acquainted me with more of her nearest and dearest – and gave me the opportunity to catch up with her fiancé Jason.

A genuine sweetheart of a guy, Jason always has a smile on his face and a concert on his calendar. We talked about our shared affinity for live music (he’s been to more than 700 shows – including a week-long stint attending Springsteen at Giants Stadium last summer) and about his pragmatic approach to wedding planning.

Simply put, he said, follow his spreadsheet of nuptial to do’s and act quickly when finding a great vendor.

“I’ve got concerts and movies to see,” he quipped.

Jason’s don’t-waste-time approach mirrors the path he and Cindy have taken since meeting on J-Date about a year ago. They got engaged in December and will be married in July. They knew what they wanted and made it happen, no muss, no fuss. My kind of couple -- and the complete opposite of another 30-something duo at the party.

Together on and off for more than two years, they spent most of the evening sniping at each other. The male half told me he’s in no hurry to move to the suburbs because he’s still “single.” Yikes.

When it came time for speeches congratulating the happy couple, I couldn’t help feeling a surge of envy – not for their romantic bliss, but for their good fortune in having parents to share it with.

And then, just like that, I remembered my parents’ attitude of gratitude and redirected my thoughts toward what I do have -- a world of family and friends who I know will be right by my side when my turn as a bride comes.

For now, I plan to continue enjoying the perks of life as a single gal. Much to my surprise, the second part of my action-packed Saturday night afforded the chance to do exactly that.

Coming up…A Mardi Gras celebration at one of New York’s swanky rooftop bars and a look at a local performing arts showcase.

No comments: