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: Honeymoons...travel 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.
3 hours ago