A short vs. long engagement…what is best? According to Brides, the average length of an engagement in the U.S. is a year to a year and a half. But that doesn’t mean 12 – 18 months is the right amount of time for every couple. Some couples are quite content with (and capable of) planning their dream wedding in just a few short weeks. On the other hand, I have friends who have been engaged for a few years with no wedding date in sight yet. You know what I think is the perfect length for an engagement? Whatever works for the couple! But here are a few pros and cons to consider when you’re deciding if a short or long engagement works best for you.
- “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” – said by a wise Harry Burns in one of my favorite movies. An obvious pro but one totally worth mentioning! Skip all of the wedding planning stress and you can get right to the fun part…being married!
- A shorter engagement will leave you less confused. There are literally a million options for every wedding decision out there. It can be really overwhelming! Only having a few months to plan a wedding will force you to make decisions and stick to them. You simply won’t have the time to be wishy washy.
- It can be cheaper. I think those brides who are ok with shorter engagements tend to be low key. No fuss, no muss means not getting caught up in all of the (sometimes unnecessary) details…which means fewer unnecessary expenses…which means more money in your pocket at the end of the day. To be honest, you won’t have time to get caught up in all of those details anyways.
- Your favorite vendors may already be booked. And with such short notice, you may have a hard time finding vendors period. I’m not saying it’s impossible! It may just take a little extra work.
- Less time to shop around may mean you end up spending more money in the long run. You simply won’t be able to hunt all over town for the best bargain.
- Shorter lead time may mean you need to skip the designer wedding dress. In most cases, a wedding dress can take 6 – 8 months to even come in, let alone time for alterations. If you don’t have that kind of time, you may be forced to find something off the rack. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; you can still find beautiful styles and often at lower prices. It’s just something to be aware of.
- If you’re paying for a portion or all of your big day, a longer engagement will give you more time to save up.
- If you are adamant on hiring certain vendors, a longer engagement will play to your favor. Plan ahead and book them as soon as you nail down a date. The nitty gritty details can be discussed when the wedding date is much closer.
- More time means more DIY projects you could tackle, if hot gluing is your thing. You’ll have the availability to learn and perfect a craft, and even start over a few times if you have to – a luxury the bride on a time crunch simply doesn’t have.
- After a while, you’ll experience that “I just want to be married already!” feeling. Wedding planning can be fun…to a certain extent. After that, you’re kind of just over it and want the day to just be there! A longer engagement means you may have to deal with this feeling for more time than you’d like.
- Wedding trends change all the time. As time passes, the original vision of your big day may become a little muddy. You’ll be tempted by the latest, newest, next big thing in wedding details. This happens to every bride, but the more time between now and your wedding, the more you’ll have to fight the temptations off.
- Major life changes may throw a monkey wrench or two into your plans. A bridesmaid becomes pregnant, there is a death in your immediate family, or your fiance loses his job…all of these things could derail wedding plans. Life happens and there will always be something to contend with. But major events like this may mean delaying the wedding even longer.
As you can see, there are pluses and minuses to both. After you get engaged, have an open and honest discussion with your fiance about a realistic wedding date. If it’s right around the corner, good for you! If you decide to wait a few years, that’s cool too! Whatever floats your boat, my dears, regardless of what the national average says.
How long was your engagement? Do you think it was too short? Too long? Just the right amount of time? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!