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The Fiancé(e) Phase: Is a Short or Long Engagement Right for Us?

The Fiancé(e) Phase: Is A Short Or Long Engagement Right For Us?

Your partner popped the question, you’re newly engaged, and you have a wonderful wedding to plan! But you have one big question to ask before you get started. Do you want a short or long engagement?

Some couples are eager to tie the knot, flexible about their wedding date, and happy to make quick decisions. Other couples want to enjoy the engagement phase of life longer, want their parents’ opinions included in the planning, and want more time to think up creative details for their big day.

So, what’s right for you? We’ve provided the average engagement length and compared the pros and cons of each, but the decision is ultimately yours.

Average Engagement Length is 12–18 Months

The length of engagement varies by couple, of course. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long an engagement should be. But, it is worth noting that the average length of an engagement is between 12 and 18 months, according to Brides Magazine. The thought is, this length gives you roughly enough time to book the venue and chip away at some of your planning tasks without them consuming every minute of your life.

The Perks of a Long Engagement

Long engagements, we’re talking 18 months or more, can sound very beneficial to some couples for several reasons.

Better Venue/Vendor Availability

When you have more than a year to plan, you’re more likely to land that event venue you’ve had your heart set on since you were young. The same is true for popular vendors like photographers, videographers, caterers, DJs, etc. You also have a better chance of landing your first date choice, too. But don’t waste too much time after getting engaged. Venues and vendors book a year or more in advance. So, you’ll want to be swift with these big decisions and take your time on the smaller details.

More Time for Family Input

The longer your engagement, the more time you have to get family input whether it’s your parents, siblings, or in-laws. This can be great for tight-knit families that work well together and want wedding planning to be something everyone is involved with. And it can be really valuable to have helping hands throughout the process.

More Time for DIY Projects

If you’re looking to save money on your wedding or you just really love crafting, a longer engagement provides you the time necessary to buy supplies, gather a crafting team, and create your DIY projects. Some common DIY wedding projects include centerpieces, wedding favors, table numbers, and invites.

More Time to Save Money

This one is pretty self-explanatory. An 18-month engagement gives you more time to save money for the big day.

Easier for Guests to Schedule Around Your Day

The further out your wedding date is, the easier it is for family and friends to schedule other activities around your big day. Send save the dates 6–8 months before your wedding for a better chance at everyone attending. (But be aware, the industry says approximately 20% will decline.)

More Engagement Fun!

The engagement phase of a relationship is so fun and exciting. You’re constantly sharing your proposal story, answering wedding questions, and gawking at your fiancé(e). If you want to take your time to enjoy this phase, do it!

The Setbacks of a Long Engagement

Of course, not every aspect of a long engagement is great. For some, it’s not ideal.

Wedding Fatigue

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, especially if you don’t have a wedding planner. The longer you plan, the more fatigued you can get, which is why some people avoid long engagements. You want to make sure you’re still excited for the big day when it arrives and not exhausted from the stress of planning.

Second Guessing Decisions

If you’re anything like me, the more time you have to think about a decision, the more opportunity to second guess yourself. Do I really want pink garden roses or should I go with traditional white? Should our centerpieces be candles, flowers, or both? Sometimes, the less time you have to plan, the better.

Family has Time to Provide More Input

I know we listed this as a perk, but for some people, the more time their families have to weigh in, the worse the experience is. Maybe your future mother-in-law thinks you should have a plated dinner rather than a buffet, but it doesn’t fit in your budget. If you only have a few months to plan your big day, it’s easier to avoid pleasing everyone in order to focus on what you and your partner want.

You Have to Wait to Get Married

At this point, you’re so head-over-heels in love with your partner, you likely wish you could marry them tomorrow. But, a long engagement means you’ll have to wait.

The Advantages of a Short Engagement

Short engagements, we’re talking six months or less, can be great for couples who can’t wait to get married and are flexible with wedding plans.

Quick Decisions and No Time to Second Guess

While long engagements can lead you to second guess your decisions, short engagements do the opposite. If you only have a few months to plan, you’ll be more decisive and have less time to question your initial choice. For many people, this isn’t a bad thing.

Won’t Get Caught Up On The Details

Weddings are a never-ending list of details from the venue, caterer, DJ, photographer, dress, dinner, cake, tablecloths, centerpieces, chairs, etc. The details can actually drive you a little crazy if you let them. But the less time you have to obsess over what color linen napkins would look best or which wine to serve during happy hour, the happier you’ll be. Trust us, your wedding day will be beautiful and wonderful no matter what because it’s a day you created.

Your Excitement Never Fades

I planned a wedding in less than four months, and I’ll tell you, I was ecstatic from the moment he got down on one knee to the day we said, “I do.” Short engagements keep the excitement and anticipation for the wedding day thriving because you don’t have a lull in action or time to question your decisions.

You’ll Be Married Before You Know it!

This is easily the best perk of a short engagement. When you’re floating on cloud nine because you’re so in love with your partner, you can’t wait to marry them. And who says you have to? Pick a date in the near future and get to planning. Soon, you’ll be newlyweds!

The Disadvantages of a Short Engagement

OK, so short engagements aren’t for everyone.

More Difficult to Land Specific Dates/Venues/Vendors

As we said before, venues and vendors book up a year or more in advance. So, if you’re planning a wedding four months away, you might not get a Saturday in September at your favorite venue. This might be a dealbreaker for some couples, but others may find solutions to this issue, like booking a Friday at that venue instead. Vendors will also be pretty booked up this close to your preferred date, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a great photographer or caterer. You just might have to do some more research.

Less Time to Save Money

Again, this is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re planning a wedding in four months, you have little time to save, especially for down deposits because you’ll owe vendors more money in less time.

Things Could Cost More to Rush Them

Ordering a wedding gown from a specialty boutique is no problem when your wedding is a year away, but if your wedding is only three months away, you’ll have to pay extra to have it rush ordered. One way around this is to shop at consignment stores. It may not be the perfect fitting dress at first, but a talented seamstress can do wonders.

Stressful to Figure Everything Out in a Shorter Timeline

While you won’t have to stress for more than a year about the details of your wedding, you will feel stressed with having to figure out everything in a shorter amount of time. My suggestion is to plan a simple wedding or get a lot of help (i.e. wedding planner, family, friends). And remember two things: planning your wedding is supposed to be fun, and your wedding day is about you and your partner, not the flowers, food, or music.

Guests Don’t Have Time to Plan Around Your Wedding

If you just got engaged and you’re already sending wedding invites a few months before the wedding, there’s a greater chance some family and friends won’t be able to attend. This is especially true in the summer and fall seasons, when families are busy taking vacations or already committed to other activities.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to having a short or long engagement, so do what feels best for you and your partner. And remember to have fun! Happy wedding planning!