Friday, December 18, 2009

The long and short of it...engagements that is

The topic has come up several times on the blogs and it appears that most of the brides bios I read have wedding dates that are several months and even years down the road. So what is a good length for an engagement period? In today's economy, many a couple find themselves needing to postpone wedding plans or draw out engagement periods in order to get a job, save money, pay down bills, etc. No one wants to go into debt just to have a wedding and it is certainly not a great way to start off a marriage.  Yet once that ring hits the finger, most couples are dying to get the marriage license next week!

A girlfriend of mine just got engaged a few months ago. I asked her if she had an idea of when the big day would be and she said they're hoping for November.  That meant she would have been planning her entire wedding in less than 3 months...probably more like 2. It's doable but I don't recommend it. And of course, being that I'd been engaged for 8 months at that point and my big day was still over 7 months away (now it's only 4 months!), I have to admit, I had a slight twinge of jealousy that she was going to get married before me. And I hate to also admit that I am a bit reluctant to share any of my ideas with her for fear that she will implement them all and by the time my wedding rolls around the guests we had in common will have seen it all before and think I stole my ideas from her! :)

So what are the pros and cons? Long or short? What's your opinion and what is your reasoning behind your decision?

Long: You get to take all the time in the world to come up with ideas, research them, fine tune them and feel confident that you didn't have to make any rushed decisions.

Short: You don't have to stress for a year worrying about little details and obsessing about colors and favors while driving your family and friends nuts with all your wedding chatter. You make your decision/purchase and it's done.

Long: You can bargain hunt, scan for sales and negotiate. You have the luxury of time on your side so if you don't like a price, you can walk away and know that you can take your time looking for another option. And, no rush charges!

Short: You can sometimes get last minute deals because vendors and venues want to fill in unbooked spots. They'd much rather take a deal where they are not getting full price than let a date go empty and not get anything at all.

Long: You can save money for what you really want and not have to settle because you can't afford things right now. And you have the luxury of taking the next year (or two) to look for discounted items throughout seasonal times of the year. I found flip flops as favors for my guests on sale because I was able to wait and buy them at the very end of the summer for our wedding the following spring.

Short: Your fiance will be much happier because he doesn't have to deal with wedding appointments, decisions and details for that long. Most grooms are not-into-details and will repeatedly say "It's your day." They are looking forward to the honeymoon more than anything so the sooner it comes, the better!

Long: Plenty of time for things like alterations, dress shipping times, custom orders for invitations to be filled, invitations to go out, etc. And if you are a DIY kinda gal, you can make just about everything you want to for the big day.

Short: You will be spending every waking free moment handling all the little things you never knew went into planning a wedding. But if you are a fly by the seat of your pants, get it done now, multi-tasking wizard who can rush out and pick up 5 different things in less than 2 hours, then you will probably enjoy the hurriedness of these precious few months. Also helps to have a large family or bridal party who you can delegate to.

Long/Short: is fickle, sometimes it's good to book way in advance and get deals...but other times they offer last minute deals for those who can throw everything in a suitcase and jump on a plane in a day. If you don't know where you want to go yet and you have no idea what these things cost, you might want to lengthen your engagement.

Ultimately, there's no right or wrong choice and it truly is dependent upon each couple's needs and desires. I know I have thrown a wedding in 3 months in the past, helped throw my best friend's and sisters in 6 months each, and am now taking almost 16 months hosting our own big event. I am enjoying it much more and feel so relaxed. My girlfriend who got married in less than 6 months mentioned that she wished she would have taken more time to think things through and enjoy it during her own planning process. I always say: You are only engaged for a short period of time so milk it for everything it's worth...the marriage will last a lifetime.


Jenn said...

I need some help and your the first person I thought of to go to...

What is a fun/creative/cute (whichever) way to announce to your close friends and family that you are engaged through technology... Like email a poem? Send an ecard? etc etfc

very married said...

my engagement was a year and a half and two of my friends got engage and married within that time span. i felt the same jealousy!

i think i would have liked to make it shorter but now it's right around the corner. FIVE DAYS!!!!

Bicoastal Bride said...

In total, our engagement will have been 14 months long by the time June rolls around. I think it is the perfect amount of time for us – it’s long enough to enjoy the planning process, research and work in everything that we want to, without being too long. Plus, since we’re doing everything long-distance, there’s no way I could have rushed it. Overall, as excited as I am for the day to come, I'm so glad I’ve had this time to just take it all in and enjoy being engaged. It’s going by so quickly as it is!

PartyPlannerGal said...

Our engagement will be 15 months by the time we are married. I'm really glad that we had the time to nail down some of the basics with our families before all the "rush stress" set in . . . but we still had a hard time booking a venue for 400 people that allowed outside catering, even though we did it 13 months ahead of time! I actually don't mind when people get married before me because I still get to plan my wedding and they don't! I am jealous of their honeymoons though . . . could really use some time off from work right about now.

thehickbride said...

Our total engagement time will be one year and three days! Lol. Once we're married our dating anniversary, engagement anniversary and wedding anniversary will all fall within five days of each other!

I do sometimes think I could have gone shorter, but that's in part because we're having such a simple wedding. But it's still fun being engaged, so I'm glad we didn't rush it. You've got a lot of valid points there!

We really set a date after thinking about it for some time, so it wasn't just a rush and pick with all the excitement going on! Some days we're still tempted to go down to city hall and just get married ;)

Anonymous said...

Our engagement will be 20 months by the time our big day comes. The reason we're waiting so long is because my dad passed away when I was young, and my parents' anniversary falls on a Saturday in 2010, so we're holding off so we can have our wedding on their anniversary.

The earliest we could have been married was April of 2010 because my beau is going through Catholic RCIA classes until then. So, what's 6 more months!? :)

I truly enjoy having a long engagement. Some people think we're crazy but I have so much time to do lots of DIY projects and plan everything perfectly. I can do lots of research and find exactly what I want and find it for the cheapest price. Plus, since we have so much time to pay for things, my parents haven't been very strict with the budget, which is a plus.

I guess a short engagement also has its pros, but I wouldn't have mine any other way!

Happy Friday!

buhdoop said...

Ours is a few weeks short of a year. I like it that length.

I think it all depends on how big you want your wedding to be. If you are looking for a small simple intimate wedding then I think short engagements are the way to go.

Long engagements are great for enjoying the engagement part :)

I also think it depends on whether you are in a long distance relationship or not. The longer the distance the more you want to be together, so a shorter engagement, but also the more things you need to get straight so a longer engagement.

SG said...

Our engagement will be 15 months long by the time we get married. Main reason being that he proposed in Feb. and I've always wanted a May wedding but knew I couldn't plan/pay for one in only 3 months so we had to do May of the next year which was fine.

I like it b/c it's giving us more time to save money and research vendors. Plus I've been able to take short breaks where I didn't do any planning and could just enjoy being engaged.

However being 5 months out I'm ready for the planning to be OVER! haha.

Ghenet said...

Our engagement will be 19 months by the time we get married. We chose a long engagement because I'm in grad school and wanted to wait until I finished (in May 2010) so I wouldn't be too stressed out. I didn't want a summer wedding, and Fall is my favorite season, so Fall 2010 seemed like it made the most sense. It's allowed us to take our time planning (now that the big stuff is out the way) and I can finish up school without worrying too much about planning. Even once I'm done in May, we'll still have 4 months to finish up everything. We've also been able to save up for the things we're paying for out of our own pockets (wedding bands, honeymoon, etc.) I'm impressed by those with short engagements but I don't think I could do it!

Anonymous said...

I cannot get over how COOL that wedding trailer was!!! :) I wish I was that creative.

Our engagement will be 13 months total and I really wish we had done it shorter. I think I would have loved having the extra time if we were getting married at home, but since we are going away and have a coordinator to do much of the work for us, I just feel like it's dragging out. I am so ready to be married already!

Nicole-Lynn said...

We will be engaged for 14 months, so a year and 1/2. We are fine with this timeline as it gives us plenty of time to save and plan. I'm OCD and Type A so I really feel the need to have a lot of time to see what our options are, DIY things, save, enjoy being engaged! We've been together for 8 years already so really there's no rush to be married..tomorrow :) I also think it's great when couples get married quickly... It all depends on the couple!

Miss T said...

We have been engaged since May 2008. Seems like forever ago now. I've changed my mind a million times on most details - maybe short would force you to stick to task! We originally had July 4th 2009, but $$$ made us push the date out.

Will be glad to finally be married!

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