So you popped the question - or someone popped the question to you - and bam! now you're engaged! When my husband asked me to marry him is in my top best 5 moments of my life (so far). Once I got over the initial "oh my God oh my God oh my God" moment, I instantly wanted to plan the wedding. But then the question remains, how long should you be engaged before getting married?
The average engagement is just under 15 months,
and there's good reason for that! If you are looking at classic wedding venues, wait times came be upwards of 2 years to get a date booked. If you need to have your wedding at a specific church or venue at a specific time of year, there is a good chance you will need to wait. If you are more flexible with location and date, you can definitely book something much sooner. Warning: wedding season has extended recently and now takes up April through October. So "off season" specials will only be during the coldest months of the year.
There is also so much to plan!
We decided to forgo the wedding planner (I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning), but both my husband and I worked full time. That means we could only spend at best 5-10 hours a week on wedding things. Between venues, caterers, vendors, seating charts, decorations, favors, cake, dresses, transportation...the list goes on...there just simply wasn't enough time to do everything. If you are looking to have a sizable wedding with multiple locations, you need time to plan it all.
Weddings are expensive,
and a longer engagement means more time to save up money. Ultimately this was our deciding factor when planning our wedding. We paid for 75% of all the costs, so we wanted to ensure we had enough to pay it off right away (pro-tip: do NOT get out a wedding loan). We thankfully reached our goal early, which meant we had time to save up for the honeymoon as well! We then took all of the money we got from the wedding and put it into saving for a house.
So how long is right for you?
Well that depends. My husband and I had a 20 month engagement, and I can tell you right now that it was too long. It didn't start feeling real to me until we had less than a year left before the wedding. And once we got to 18 months I was ready to get it over with. I felt like a pregnant woman at 39 weeks - just get this thing out! But with an engagement that long, we were never rushed to get anything done. And with our guest list at right over 100, we had plenty of things to do. If we had a simpler wedding - and if i wasn't quite a control freak - it probably would have taken less time plan.
For the average wedding, anything less than a year will be hard.
It will be difficult to find a venue you like at the time of year you want. If you want the traditional bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties, it will be short notice for your bridal party to plan everything. Calling vendors, organizing, creating decorations, and just checking everything off of the endless to-do list in the wedding planning stages will leave you incredibly stressed. Most importantly, you only get a short time to be engaged! You want time to enjoy using the word "finance" before you forever switch over to husband/wife. Love this exciting time of your life!