I was proposed to not long after 6 months of courtship. A very shocking one for me, if anyone knows me. That one without a boyfriend for the longest time and that one who thought she would not settle down until later. God is really fair. When I submit myself to Him, amazing things happened to me.
So, I was told by my partner that his family would want to come over for the official engagement a week later. *mugcow! Huru-hara, okay!* People who got news of it were shocked and some found it too rushing. Err, has anyone ever considered my feelings?
Maybe, because of this rush, I have forgotten (honestly, I did not have the luxury of time) to inform many people. Initially, I do not want an engagement. Later, I thought a betrothal is necessary only if the important people are around. Yes we have the Adat Merisik, Adat Meminang, Adat Melamar and Adat Bertunang. In the olden days, these customs were done progressively. Now, I feel, we should be more practical and waste less money.
We had a small gathering, both families joined by our representatives (“wakil” from both sides) where the elders talked about the details pertaining to the big day and whatnots. Where was I in this story? I had to sit in the dining room, not allowed to do any work like serving of guests. Honestly, I would wanna do it. I wasn’t allowed to. I felt really awkward and restless. My SIL and cousins reminded to be lady-like and sit still. You think? I wasn’t listening to the talk, I remembered vaguely they talked about the “duit hantaran”, nobody asked my opinion and I did not listen further. Totally shut everything out. I focused on playing with my niece instead.
Soon, I was asked to come out of my “hiding” for the betrothal. His mother put the ring on me and we somewhat became officially to be betrothed. How did I react? As much as I have been to many engagement parties, when it comes to your own, you’ll be lost. For sure. We took pictures, which I felt were not worthy of sharing them on social media. REASON: I looked fat and I would rather basked in that moments of awkwardness than have my ugly photo be shared on social media as an announcement of my engagement. We did not take any pictures together because his aunt thought it is not appropriate. It’s fine by me. We can always take pictures later on. We did not exchange any gift (yes, like those trays of gifts you see at people’s engagement). His side gave me a ring, a bouquet of flowers and a cake (only because my birthday was coming?). No, my side did not give anything in return. In my defense, it was not in our agreement to exchange anything. Tak perlu kan?
My betrothal was short and sweet. And we barely have 6 months to plan for our big day. I couldn’t care less if there is no engagement. But we still have our elders and I am very clear on which customs to keep. Unnecessary and impractical adats can go. I say so because in my line of studies, I have learnt so much about adat istiadat Melayu that they drive me crazy. Not that I am not proud to be a Malay. However, if you want to carry on an adat but you are doing it half-heartedly or just calling it an adat just because, no I’d rather not do it.
Our budding relationship is pretty new. Not many people know we are together, which is definitely fine by me. I keep my relationship private as long as close friends know who I am dating. As much as I wanted to tell the world, my engagement to my Random Awesome was the best birthday gift ever, I found myself pretty reluctant to announce it. And those who know me, would know I use codes to express my thoughts normally.
Word of my engagement got around because my dearest mama told me how much papa wanted to announce it. And if daddy was still around, he would be the happiest too. I relented. Mama uploaded the photos on FB. Some friends saw my tagged photos. And those who understood my term of “leveled up” also congratulated me. No qualms. That, too shall pass.
To this day, I am quite happy that I did not have to announce my engagement. If by chance you heard of it, thank you. If by chance you meet me on the streets or at wedding functions, or by now seen the ring, you would have known. My fiance ever asked if I was happy my engagement was not as big as our other friends and family, I was. And I told him I would not have it any other way. He agreed with me on the hadith “rahsiakan pertunangan, hebahkan perkahwinan”. This hadith, though, is considered to be weak. Some scholars and elders question why! The good news are meant to be shared. Yes, I agree. But I love this privacy. In shaa Allah, we’ll announce the big day so the whole universe will know ok?
So ladies, it really is up to you how you want your engagement to be. Nobody says anything you do is wrong. And do not let anyone pressure you to do anything you dislike. As long as you are happy, it is all that matters.