I was having a conversation with the mister the other day, and we were talking about how our engagement feels like it’s going by at a snail’s pace and, coincidentally, speeding along at the same time. Anyway, it got me thinking about the lengths of couples’ engagements, and the pros and cons that come along with each.
Being from the southern part of the United States, I can tell you from experience that many engagements in the South tend to be on the short side–like six months or shorter. Obviously, this is effected by the ages of the engaged and how long they’ve been together and a slew of other factors, but generally speaking, in my own personal circle of friends and acquaintances, engagements in the South tend to end in the blink of an eye.
On the flip side of that, what’s considered to be a “long engagement”? Two years? Five years? How would we classify Mr. A’s and my engagement of 18 months?
Personally, I feel like our engagement is on the long-ish side, particularly for where we come from and comparing ours to that of our married friends and family. Obviously, there are good things that come with a long engagement, but the flip side is that there are also some negative aspects to a long-ish engagement, too.
1. Availability of vendors: One of the biggest and most obvious “pros” to having a longer engagement is being able to book your first pick vendors and venues for the wedding. So far, we haven’t run into any booking issues and we’ve been able to secure our top picks for everything from the reception space to the photographer. Booking early definitely gives you an edge in the “first come first serve” policy.
2. TIME: This one also seems kind of obvious, but simply having time on our side gives us an advantage to being able to make the wedding exactly how we want it to be, down to the little details. If you’re a DIY maven, a long engagement is ideal.
3. Better on the budget (in some ways): Having a longer engagement means you have time to do your research and make choices that save you money. Also, sometimes vendors will give a bride a discount if they book early for things. On the flip side of that, if you have to book your photographer one month from the wedding date because the duration of your engagement is something like four months, they might slap a big ol’ fee on your bill for booking so close to the event date.
4. Being able to enjoy your engagement: I’ve got to be honest–it feels SO NICE being able call Mr. A my fiance and to walk around with my beautiful bling on my left hand. You’re only able to call your significant other your “fiance/fiancee” for the duration of the engagement, and then that odd, euphoric period in your relationship is over and you’re on to the marriage part. Being able to relish in your engagement is something I feel like a lot of brides overlook. Embrace the feeling of being an engaged woman! You only get to have that feeling once, after all.
1. Relationship “limbo”: As fun and exciting as being engaged can be, having a long-ish engagement sometimes leaves the couple in relationship “limbo,” especially when you’re in that weird phase in the middle of the wedding planning where you’ve booked all the venues but can’t start working on other things until closer to the wedding date. The energy at the brink of the engagement is contagious and thrilling, but then there’s this weird sort of dip in emotions that occurs until the wedding planning picks up again towards the end of the journey. I’d imagine that a short engagement would be full of excitement and energy the entire way through.
2. Wanting to “be married already”: I’ve felt this a few times already in our engagement, mostly because Mr. and I have made the conscious decision to not co-habitate prior to the wedding day. Honestly, there are some days when I just want to run down to the courthouse with him and make things official because I really just CAN’T WAIT to make this guy my husband. It’s kind of ridiculous.
3. Wedding planning hiccups: Sometimes, when you have a whole lot of time to plan a wedding, its kind of hard to keep your focus. You want to keep adding little projects in here and there, you keep changing your mind about a theme and/or wedding colors, and sometimes, your friends and social circles change in a year. What you liked and the people you spent time with when you were first engaged are sometimes not the same things you like and people you’re hanging out with by the time the wedding rolls around. Before you know it, the massive, 250-guest urban chic party of the year you initially invisioned has turned into an intimate 50-guest vintage inspired soiree. Sometimes, its hard to keep your vision in tact when time is on your side.
Overall, these are just things I’ve personally noticed or observed about long-ish engagements, particularly when reflecting back on how mine and Mr. A’s has gone. There are also obviously pros and cons to short engagements and engagements even longer than ours will be (which, if there are any of you out there who’ve been engaged for two years or more, I applaud you! I think I’d go crazy with that much time on my hands.)
In the end, I know that the length of our engagement has been the perfect amount of time for us, and I certainly don’t mind waiting a few more months if it means that in the end of all this crazy wedding stuff, I get to marry my best friend. Everything always seems to find a way of working itself out, and I’m confident that these 18 months will have given Mr. A and I the perfect amount of time to plan and celebrate our future together as husband and wife.
What pros and cons have you observed with long-ish engagements? Short engagements? Super long engagements?