• Tez Clark

Rethink Long Engagements

In today’s society, many couples choose to have lengthy engagements, using the extra time for wedding planning, financial planning and relationship building. These are important aspects of the engagement period and though every engaged couple has different circumstances. I’m extremely grateful for amazing mentors in my life who helped me think through this common practice.

Once there’s a ring on it.

You would definitely find some couples who would recommend a long engagement. Many of those who had a long engagement might say it gave them longer to decide if it was right to get married. Engagement is a special and fun season, some waiting much longer than six months and living together.

One of the greatest joys of being a couple is sexual intimacy. Sex can be said to unite you to your partner.

The duration of your engagement is ultimately up to you, but many couples are waiting at least a year before exchanging vows. the average engagement length for U.S. couples was 13.6 months. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this number is a national average and takes into account a variety of responses. Some engagements are shorter (like a month, for example) while others last for years. We say there's no wrong or right length of time to be engaged—every relationship is different, and you and your partner should decide what's best for you. 

Similarly, there’s no science behind popping the question. In fact, the length of time couples dated before the engagement varied widely. According to The Knot 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study, three-fourths of all couples who exchanged vows this year dated for two or more years before getting engaged. However, 30 per cent of couples dated for less than two years—and nearly half of those couples dated for less than a year.

How long you decide to be engaged is completely up to you. But if you’re on the fence about how long you should wait before saying, I Do, here are a few things to consider when it comes to your time frame.

Pros of a Long Engagement 

While the average engagement length back in 2018 was 13.6 months, there are some benefits of having a longer engagement. If you and your partner are long-distance, busy with other commitments, or would like more time to plan your celebration, a long engagement might be the best choice for you both.

Long engagements are helpful when people are at different places in their lives, So if you or your partner are still finishing school or living abroad at the moment, it might be better to start thinking about the wedding once you've completed those chapters in your lives, then your marriage can signify the start of brand new lives together.

One of the most common benefits of a longer engagement is it means having more time to save for the big day. Couples also reported that an extended engagement allowed them to do thorough research on vendors and get the best deals possible. 

For some couples, those extra savings are important, as weddings can cost a fair amount of money. According to the 2018 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding is $33,931. The study found that couples typically pay for 41 per cent of the wedding (while parents of the bride contribute 44 per cent and parents of the groom contribute 14 per cent). Because of the cost, some couples require more time to save up for their nuptials. 

A longer engagement also means taking more time to plan and organize wedding logistics, especially if you’re without a wedding planner and you’re hiring a range of vendors.

Another pro of a long engagement? More time to think about making your wedding more personal to you both. More and more couples are adding thoughtful details to their wedding day for a unique experience with 70 per cent of all couples having at least one signature element (like a photo booth, food trucks, signature cocktails or a creative theme) at the reception. If having those sweet and special details are important to you, a longer engagement allows you more time to plan them.

Pros of a Short Engagement 

If the national average engagement length seems too long for you, perhaps a short engagement is the best route. A brief engagement may work better for you if you're eager to make big life decisions (like having children or moving in together), although, in 2020 and way before, people were doing the latter before marriage anyway.

Another advantage of having a shorter engagement? You, your partner and your loved ones will be extra excited about your wedding. One of the problems with an extended engagement is the level of excitement can begin to diminish over time, not only with the person who is engaged to get married but with friends and families as well.  According to real newlyweds, this is a major pro of having a short engagement. Some couples claimed a shorter engagement time meant they could really soak up all the excitement in a condensed time period.

An extra benefit of a short engagement is that it gives you and your partner less time to stress out. Let’s face it: while wedding planning can be fun, it can also be overwhelming. Less time spent planning can mean less time to worry about all the tiny details so you can focus more on your love for each other.

So, there are pros and cons for both a long engagement and a short engagement. Do what makes sense for you and your partner—whether that’s a three-month or a three-year engagement—and enjoy this special time in your lives.

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