How Long of an Engagement Period Do You Need?

Of course, there is no simple answer. While some couples might be engaged for two or more years before they tie the knot, others want to get right down to business and pull off the wedding of their dreams in less than 6 months. What works for one couple might not work for another, and when it comes down to it, you have to do what feels right for you. I’ve compiled a few stats for you as well as my own pros and cons of a long or short engagement for you to ponder before you commit to a date.

Average Engagement Length

According to The Wedding Report, the leading source for wedding statistics and market industry for the wedding industry, the average length of engagements has decreased in the last five years, going from 18 months to 15 months.

Short Engagements – Pros

I consider a short engagement anything less than 10 months, and they are definitely doable if you’re not afraid to make decisions. Shorter engagements are great for couples who have a particular wedding date or season in mind and don’t want to wait another year or more for that date or season to roll back around. With a shorter planning period, the excitement from the engagement goes right into the excitement of planning, and that eight, nine or ten months is truly focused on you.

Short Engagements – Cons

With a short engagement period, your options for things like a wedding or reception venue, photographers, bridal gown, etc. might be limited. Popular venues can book up more than a year in advance. Same thing for popular photographers. If you don’t have your heart set on a specific wedding location or using a specific photographer, you should be fine as there are plenty of awesome wedding vendors to go around, especially in a big city like Dallas. With a short engagement period, there’s more of a sense of urgency to make a decision, so if you are one that likes to weigh all your possible options before committing (can you meet with one or two photographers or do you want to meet with four or five?), a short engagement probably isn’t for you.

Long Engagements – Pros

Long engagements are great for couples who want to take their time making decisions about the wedding, have limited time to plan their weddings, or want to save up money for the big event. I had a pretty long engagement (19 months) ’cause my husband and I were paying for a big chunk of it and we refused to go one penny into debt financing our wedding. We were able so sock away a bit every month and then have the wedding and honeymoon we really wanted, even though it took nearly two years to get there. With longer engagement periods, there’s a little more down time since things can be done in little bits over time so life seems a bit more normal and not wedding 24/7.

Long Engagements – Cons

Depending on the length of your engagement, the time can really drag on. With such a big event so far down the road, there is a possibility of being burned out or “over” your wedding before it’s even begun. Will you be sick of your wedding colors 24 months down the road? If you think burnout is a possibility for you and you are planning a long engagement, it might be best to spend some time just enjoying being engaged and not get into the nitty gritty of your planning until 12-16 months in advance.

Again, there’s no right or wrong answer here, and each couple should consider all the options and then make a decision that fits their needs and desires the best. So, what do you think? Is a long or short engagement more your speed?


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  • Rachel / High WireJanuary 9, 2012 - 1:38 pm

    I had a mid-length engagement – 11 months. I thought it was the perfect time!

    It really depends on each couple. If you need to save up a lot of money, obviously a longer engagement is best for your situation. For a bride ready to get it all done, a shorter engagement is totally doable.

    Hopefully everyone gets the length of engagement that is right for them!ReplyCancel

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