In Jason Segel and Emily Blunt's new film, "The Five-Year Engagement," engaged couple Tom and Violet start the wedding-planning process, only to meet dozens of obstacles along the way.
The thing we love most about "The Five-Year Engagement" is its trueness to life. Tom and Violet don't face over-the-top, only-in-the-movies obstacles. They get bogged down with stuff regular people face every day -- an academic opportunity takes them to a new city, and struggling to settle into a new life replaces planning a wedding.
To celebrate the premiere of "The Five-Year Engagement," which hits theaters Friday, and to remind the world that's there's nothing wrong with a long road to the altar -- it might be the best proof that you're in it for the long haul, after all -- HuffPost Weddings spoke to three couples whose real-life engagements have gone on for five years or more. Click through the slideshow below to read their stories, and share yours in the comments.
David Abbitt and Amber Kristin met in an acting class in Los Angeles 12 years ago. David noticed Amber right away but didn't want to approach her. He said, "I swore up and down that she was someone I shouldn't get involved with. She's very, very beautiful so I knew she was bad news." Like every new student in the class, Amber, who works in real estate, was assigned a "buddy" (not David) to help her acclimate to the group. David, pining after Amber against his better judgment, convinced the "buddy officer" to assign Amber a new buddy -- him. That gave him a reason to call her before class, after class and on the weekend. Within six months, they were dating.
Two years after they got together, in 2002, David popped the question. The proposal was unforgettable: David, the CEO and president of a film production company, flew Amber to New York City where he was on-location shooting a movie. They stayed in a hotel overlooking Central Park and, on a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park, David proposed. Several years later, however, Amber called it off: "I really was not ready to be engaged," David said. Amber explained, "[I said], 'I'm not going to marry you until you're ready.' I thought it would really send a message." "Just over a year ago we got re-engaged," David said. "We took a drive up the coast to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, which is one of the most beautiful places on the whole planet ... There are areas along the way where you can pull over and there are seals during seal mating season, these huge lion seals, they come onto the beach and frolic in the water. We love wildlife, so we walked up onto this bluff and the moment was just right and I asked her to marry me a second time." She said yes.
David and Amber have faced major challenges in their relationship, the biggest being infidelity. But David said they've overcome the hurdles and "at this point we're closer than ever." He added, "We've engaged in pre-marital therapy for the last six months." They haven't set a date for their wedding, but David joked that they're "getting closer to the date when they're going to set the date." Amber said, "I did go out and buy a wedding dress. Actually, two ... I bought the first one and brought it home and decided I hated it. I couldn't return it so I lost the money on that one."
David and Amber have remained, in a sense, engaged for the last ten years for many reasons: David's uncertainty, busy careers, lack of desire to plan a wedding. But David said their friends and family have made their expectations clear: "I think we do face a certain amount of peer pressure. Most of our friends are married ... My parents are certainly very keen on the idea of seeing us married," he said. "That's the hardest part in a way because if we weren't pressured about it, it wouldn't be such a big deal ... I declare my love for Amber all the time to people we know; it's no secret that I'm in love, that I'm committed." Amber said she doesn't feel pressured but does sense her friends' impatience: "When I start to plan and people are like, 'OK! We can plan a date!' And then I stop planning because I get busy or whatever the situation is and they're like, 'Well, we're just gonna wait until we actually get a thing in the mail because the way you guys talk about it, you're never going to get it together,'" she said. "I'm not that girl that's really into [wedding planning]. It's not my idea of fun. I'm certainly not the person that's like, 'Let's hurry up and plan this thing!'" Amber and David say they're committed to each other and are sure of their relationship; they'll get married when they both have the time and feel ready.
London couple Andie Devlin Ball and Charlie Beall have been dating since 1998. They met at Cambridge University, where Charlie was entering his second year and Andie was starting her first. As a sophomore, Charlie volunteered to be a mentor to a group of younger students, his "college family," and Andie was among them. "I immediately took quite a shine to her," Charlie said. Andie added, "I was 18 when we met. I was instantly in love."
Andie and Charlie stayed together throughout three years of university but split up after Andie graduated and decided to go traveling for a couple of years. However, she said, "I never really found a way to get Charlie out of my head.". Charlie said he always thought about Andie but assumed she had forgotten about him. Until a mutual friend told him that Andie had mentioned his name and still thought about him. After that, in 2003, while Andie was living in Rome, Charlie got back in touch. He went to Rome "ostensibly for some work thing," Andie said. "But really he was chasing me. We got back together and we've been back together since then." Charlie added, "We both realized that life apart from each other wasn't that great, and that's a strong basis for a relationship."
Charlie proposed in January 2006 during a trip to South Africa, where he is from. "I proposed on a garden roof," Charlie remembered. "I took her to the town where I'm from and we had a ring made from local South African platinum and diamonds." The couple planned to tie the knot that year, with friends constantly asking if they had set the date. "It ended up slipping and slipping to the point where it was almost embarrassing that people were asking us about this wedding," Andie said. "We have family all over the world so we knew there would be a certain amount of cost involved. We decided, OK, let's get a flat first. Then we decided we wanted to have a business [<a href="http://www.darlingcollective.com/Home" target="_hplink">The Darling Collective</a>], so we had to put money into that. Then we had a baby, so there never seemed to be a time when it was justifiable to spend this money."
Now Andie and Charlie have finally set the date: The couple will tie the knot in London on December 1, nearly seven years to the day after getting engaged. "We're having a really London city wedding," Andie said. "I've always, since I was a little girl, loved Christmas and dreamed of a Christmas wedding ... We're going to have a party to end all parties." Charlie added, "We're going to have a string quartet playing Smashing Pumpkins songs." "What's going to be wonderful for us is to have our little baby daughter, Lily, who will be about 2 years old when we get married, in a little dress walking down the aisle," Charlie said.
Laurie Camerote and Jeff Hooks, who currently live in Chicago, met at a bar in 2005. They got together a few months later, and Jeff proposed after exactly one year, in August 2006. They were living in Philadelphia at the time, and the proposal was a total surprise: "We were supposedly on our way out to dinner and we stopped by an area called Boathouse Row. It's right on the river, really pretty, and he proposed there. It was a total surprise," Laurie said. The couple started planning their wedding right away with the goal of marrying the following year in October. They put down payments on a venue, a videographer, a photographer -- Laurie even bought a dress.
While planning their wedding, Laurie returned to school to become a teacher and was working odd jobs without a steady income. Six or seven months before the wedding, the couple realized that, financially, they wouldn't be able to go through with it. "We called it off and kept postponing it until we were ready," Laurie said. "But we ended up having to move to Chicago for his job [in finance], and then I got pregnant right away, which was a surprise. Now we have a 19-month-old, and we're still not married."
Laurie's family is in Philadelphia, and Jeff's is in San Diego. Ultimately Laurie would like to tie the knot in Philly, but since the couple currently lives in Chicago, it's tough to plan a wedding in another city. Laurie says that she and Jeff talk about getting married all the time; the fact that they have a child together and they're unmarried -- and they'd receive tax breaks if they were married -- keeps the topic at the forefront of both of their minds. "Obviously we love each other. What we have works, but we still want to get married," she said. "The sense of togetherness, especially now that we have a child together, it just seems like the right thing to do."
Laurie and Jeff's friends constantly ask when they're going to tie the knot. "It's understandable, I guess," Laurie said. "They see it as, they're married, so why aren't we? Our parents don't ask anymore. I guess they talk amongst themselves about it, but they're afraid to ask us. We know that that's what the want for us ultimately, to get married." "I feel like, financially, our life just hasn't come together yet," Laurie said. "Now that we've saved money, to put all that money towards a wedding -- at our age, I mean, I'd rather just buy a house. But in the same sense, I still want something to celebrate that moment." Laurie and Jeff plan to tie the knot some day, but for now they're working on building their life together in Chicago and raising their son, Tanner.