The average engagement length is about 13 months, but how do couples choose the right amount of time to stay engaged? If you recently got engaged, you and your partner are probably deciding on a timeline for your wedding. Although 12 to 18 months of planning is typically recommended by most wedding planners, plenty of couples choose to go longer or stay within that timeline.
Since there are plenty of benefits to both long and short engagements, we thought we’d help you plan the best route for you and your spouse-to-be. We surveyed over 500 people to get an idea of what the ideal engagement length is, and put together a list of reasons to go for one or the other.
We also included some tips on how and when to announce your wedding depending on your timeline and what you can expect when planning your wedding. Don’t forget to browse through our engagement photo ideas for inspiration and get ready for a beautiful engagement.
Average Engagement Length
When we surveyed over 500 recently married women, 36% of them had a six to 12-month engagement while 23% chose to marry in less than six months. However, the vast majority of women, the remaining 41%, opted for an engagement of 13 months or longer.
The average engagement length for the women in our survey was about 13 months, which can give you a reasonable amount of time to prepare for your wedding, fill out the paperwork and handle the most tedious tasks, like merging your finances.
Why Do Couples Go For A Long Engagement?
There are plenty of reasons why you’d want to take it slow during your engagement. Below are some of the most common reasons couples opt to tie the knot later on:
More Time To Plan
Having plenty of time to plan your wedding can make the process a bit less stressful for busy couples.
More Time To Save Money
Whether you have an extensive guest list or want to splurge on various details, having more time could allow you to put together a larger budget and start saving for your dream wedding.
Planning A Destination Wedding
A destination wedding not only takes a lot of extra planning for the couple but for the guests as well. Going for a more prolonged engagement will give you more time to establish the details and gives your guests the chance to make travel arrangements.
Considering Out Of Town Guests
If you and your partner live far from the majority of your wedding guests, giving them that extra time to plan their trip and look for deals on flights and hotels will be much appreciated.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Some couples prefer to settle certain personal or financial matters before getting married. Whether your goal is to significantly lower your debt or save up for a down payment on a house, a long engagement can work in your favor.
Lastly, couples may choose a longer engagement to enjoy their time together before tying the knot. If this is the case for you, have some fun by putting together a bucket list to complete before the wedding.
What To Expect: Longer Engagement
Having over a year to plan your wedding can help facilitate many aspects of your planning process. You also won’t feel as rushed as you go through your wedding timeline and checklist and selection of the venue, vendors, and your wedding color scheme. Here are some of the things—both useful and not so desirable—you can expect with an extended timeline:
- Having a long time to plan
- Potentially having to add to your guest list constantly
- Receiving plenty of unwanted feedback from friends and family
- Having a hard time making decisions
- Booking your dream venue, vendors and band
- Getting more RSVPs
- Getting your ideal decor and having time to personalize your wedding
Why Do Couples Go For A Short Engagement?
Many couples get engaged and want to make it official right away. We’ve put together some of the reasons couples choose a short engagement:
Although having a long engagement gives couples plenty of time to save up, a quick engagement can help them spend less in general. For instance, many venues and vendors offer last-minute deals and discounts on days they haven’t booked or after cancelations.
Prefer Simplicity And Decisiveness
The more time you have, the more you can overthink your decisions. By having a shorter planning period, it forces couples to make quick and assertive decisions which, in turn, can help relieve some stress.
Planning A Small Or Intimate Wedding
If you’re planning an intimate wedding, dinner, or backyard wedding, why wait? Couples who choose to marry in three to six months after their engagement usually do so because they have a short guest list, which makes it easier to put together a wedding on short notice.
Filing Joint Taxes
This may be one of the least romantic reasons couples choose to marry quickly, but if tax season is near and you’d like to take advantage of certain tax breaks by filing jointly, then a short engagement might be a good option.
Prefer To Focus On Other Things
When couples are career-oriented or have other goals in mind like buying a house or starting a business together, getting married as soon as possible allows them to focus their energy on those tasks.
Can’t Wait For Marriage
Just like wanting to enjoy their engagement, many couples can’t wait for married life. Whether you and your partner have been together for a long time or want to make it official as soon as possible, a quick engagement can be the ideal option for you.
What To Expect: Shorter Engagement
When short on time, wedding planning can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s essential to keep a detailed checklist and an open mind. Here are some things to expect and prepare for in the few months leading up to your wedding.
- Potentially having a stressful or rushed wedding planning experience
- Not getting your first choice in venue, vendors or band
- Receiving fewer RSVPs due to the short notice
- Having limited options in decor, attire and personalized items
- You won’t have time to sweat the small stuff
- Expect little to no change on your guest list
- Quicker return to your regular work/life balance
How To Announce Your Wedding
The appropriate time to announce your wedding will depend on how long you plan to be engaged. For an engagement of 12 months or longer, we recommend sending your save the dates about eight to 12 months before the wedding. When it comes to a destination wedding, 10 to 12 months will give your guests plenty of time to make travel arrangements.
For a three to six month engagement, we recommend sending your invites as soon as possible––preferably the month you get engaged. This will be followed by your invitations, which should be sent out about one to two months before your wedding.
Begin to brainstorm some engagement photo ideas shortly after you get engaged. Thinking of a few locations, poses and some fun items like cute photo props or your furry best friend will make for a successful photo session.
If you’re interested in a specific wedding photographer, your engagement photos are a great way to test out their work and see how much you enjoy working with them. If you loved the results and felt comfortable with their work style, ask them about their packages and confirm their availability for your wedding date.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose to get married in a year or three months, as long as you decide what’s best for you as a couple. Keeping the style of your wedding, your budget and lifestyle in mind, you’re sure to settle on the perfect amount of time to plan your dream wedding.