How Long is the Average Engagement?

You’ve found your person, you’ve got your ring, and your perfect proposal is already in the past. Now, it’s time to start planning the wedding. But we’ve all heard those scary stories of engagements that lasted well beyond their prime, so how do you know how long is too long?

Well, while most people are averse to still being called fiancé years after you’ve agreed to marry, according to The Knot and, the average engagement usually lasts between 12 and 18 months. That’s time for planning, engagement parties, growing closer with your partner, finding your wedding dress, and getting everything in order before the big day. Just because the average engagement length falls within those parameters, though, it doesn’t mean that you’re destined to stay engaged forever if yours lasts longer – this is an entirely personal decision that depends completely on the needs and wants of you and your partner.

Benefits of a long engagement

Waiting until you’re totally ready to tie the knot has some its positives, including:

  • Giving yourselves more time to get ready for the wedding means less stress to get things done quickly. Rather than feeling pressured to get everything in place in a matter of months, you’ll have plenty of time to find the perfect venue, save up for expenses, and possibly get better deals on wedding details when you book in advance.
  • You’ll have time to get to know each other better. Even if you were cohabitating before getting engaged, taking your time throughout the engagement gives you a chance to talk through all the hard questions you may not have gotten to already. You’ll also get the opportunity to learn more about your significant other’s family, and hopefully begin to knit together into one cohesive unit, even before you make it official.
  • As the saying goes, you should expect the best and prepare for the worst. Whether this means having a back-up plan in place in case your wedding doesn’t go entirely as you envisioned, taking advantage of the extra time to let the perfectionist in you shine, or preparing for the new role you’ll soon be filling in your partner’s life, having more time for reflection is always a good thing.
  • A long engagement gives you and your partner the chance to catch up to each other if you are at different points in your lives. For example, if one of you is still finishing up school and the other has already started their career, extending your engagement until you’re both in a good financial position can make it a lot easier to plan out your future.

Benefits of a short engagement

Maybe a long engagement just isn’t for you. Here are some reasons why taking the shorter route may be to your advantage:

  • If you’re excited to get moving on big life changes, like having children or co-habitating, but want to be married before you get started, then having a shorter engagement just might work out to your favor.
  • Less time between the engagement and the wedding means the excitement will still be fresh in everyone’s mind. Waiting too long after getting engaged can make you and your friends and family lose some of the anticipation that they may have had initially about your upcoming nuptials.
  • You can escape the “limbo” of engagement and get right to starting your life together – that means returning to your regular work/life balance without constantly worrying about wedding details. Not to mention, the faster you get to call them “husband” or “wife,” the more fun it is for you.
  • You’ll probably experience less of a “wedding withdrawal” than you would if you spent months or even years planning for one big day. Instead, you can focus on what comes after the wedding – your amazing new life with your forever love.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in the details when it comes to wedding planning. But limiting the time you have during your engagement means you won’t have to worry about the implications of every little detail. It can also force you to make decisions that you might have agonized over if you had too much time to think about them.

Stay focused

No matter how long you choose to make your engagement, the important thing to remember is that it’s yours. Talk with your partner about what the ideal timeline looks to you in addition to just discussing wedding details. And remember: the most exciting part is yet to come! After you pick out your wedding bands, read up on the benefits of marriage over on The Loupe.

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