Love and dating in islam
Just like the government only gets involved with married individuals (a man/woman can sleep around all they want without responsibility), God's relationship laws are only for those with the maturity and intellect to legally commit.
Believe me, I have spent many nights racking my brain trying to figure this one out for myself back in my teenage years.
The marital contract is the Nikah and no Islamic marriage is valid without it.
There are no set rules for how to do this, it can be a small affair a week before part 2 (explained) or on the same day as the Walima. It all begins with Islamic courting and ends with a wedding party.
You don't wait 6 months to get married and there is no gigantic engagement party.
But that's not to say you can't have an engagement party.