Is a Long or Short Engagement Right for You?

There are different benefits – as well as flaws – to having a prolonged or shortened engagement.

Is a Long or Short Engagement Right for You?

Photo: Samuel Lippke Studios

The length of a couple’s engagement can depend on many extenuating factors: careers, schooling, a preferred marital season, etc. Many wedding professionals have weighed in on the benefits – as well as setbacks – that come from having a long or short engagement. Couples themselves have also spoken up regarding what worked – or didn’t work – for them. It can be a tricky day to nail down and with added pressure from friends and family to send your save the dates, you and your sweetie will surely be discussing what timeframe works best for you as a couple.

Discover what we found to be popular opinions on both long and short engagement periods, below:

Long Engagements (over a year):
With the average time from proposal to vows lies somewhere between ten and twelve months, waiting over a year to tie the knot is considered falling into the “long” category. At times, lengthy engagements are necessary to accommodate certain nuptial needs – waiting for an available date at your dream venue, scheduling around other big events, and things of that nature – and other times, they’re just preferred. If the pair believes they’ll need significant time to plan the perfect ceremony, they may choose to prolong the coordinating process.

Of course, with a far-off wedding date comes a great deal of opinions: some may think one or both members of the couple aren’t as comfortable in the relationship as they’re trying to convey. While having a good amount of time to think and plan is healthy, that also leaves more time for disagreements. Additionally, many brides that have gone through a longer engagement note that, after all of the planning, they have major wedding withdrawals immediately following their big day. If this sounds like you, a shorter engagement might be the way to go.

Short Engagements (less than eight months):
In some cases, couples are hosting a smaller event and/or have a clear-cut vision for the day. Sometimes there are too many commitments down the road to plan around. Other times, couples just want to be married to each other already. As with the long, you are sure to hear your fair share of negative comments concerning a quick engagement: the term “shotgun” may arise once or twice. There will be friends or family members that believe you’re rushing into things and aren’t thinking ahead.

If you ignore the naysayers, however, there is one distinct benefit that comes with a short engagement: the groom gets more involved in the planning process! We believe it: with little time and a lot to do, the bride needs all the help she can get. 

The “Perfect” Amount of Time (eleven months):
If you're looking for middle ground, coming in at just under a year is the “ideal” engagement length for marrying couples. Factoring in the coordination details and the stress of the time period, eleven months – if doable for the pair – combines preparedness with excitement and makes for the least amount of worrying and the most enjoyment!

Opening photo by Jason and Rebecca Walker for Ira Lippke Studios