Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chime In: How Long Is/Was Your Engagement?


When I sent out a request for guest posts, you all flooded my inbox with your ideas and insights! It made me realize that I need to figure out ways to capture more of your voice on this site.

Hence this post, called "Chime In." The idea is simple. I'll pose a question, include a quick poll, and then open the comments to further explanation.

So, without further ado, here's the poll:

How Long Is/Was Your Engagement?


And the question to discuss in the comments section:

Would you prefer to have a longer or a shorter engagement? Why?



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37 comments:

Annie said...

My boyfriend and I got engaged mainly to calm down my uber-conservative parents when we decided to move in together. We knew we were in it for the long haul but didn't consider marriage our priority as we were still studying and trying to follow our own independant dreams.
It took us 4 years to get married, the time to settle down and decide we really wanted to face the adventure of life as a team.
I'm so thankful we waited. I'm such a better person for my family now because I had the time to blossom as my own person before that.

Amanda said...

We will have been engaged for 23 1/2 months when we get married - exactly. We were in a long distance relationship when we got engaged, and still in school. I wanted a chance to live together without the structure of school before we got married. Now that we've been on our own for almost a year, I can say that, without a doubt, we are ready to say our vows in January.

While the waiting was frustrating at times, I can say that it was the best thing for us - both individually and as a couple.

Lauren Mc said...

Matt and I got engaged last December and we originally thought about getting married this past summer or this fall. However, I also started grad school this fall and so with applying for that and subsequently moving to a different state this year, I'm glad that I held off wedding planning. We're now planning for next June, and it's definitely nice to have the time to really make it the wedding we want.

A-L, said...

Our engagement will have lasted 9 months (getting married next month!). That is the longest I would have wanted to have waited.

Though I didn't have everything planned beforehand, I was familiar enough with wedding websites/magazines that seemed to indicate that a 1 year engagement was a minimum to planning a fabulous wedding if you didn't want all of your vendors booked up. Our wedding options were severely limited by our teaching schedules, and we didn't feel the need to wait a full year.

But knowing what I do now, I think we could have planned the same wedding in half the time. We didn't get engaged until we were ready to marry, so it almost feels like we're in limbo as having declared our intentions but not fully there.

The good thing though about having it last as long as it did is that I did get a break of several months in the middle where I didn't have to do anything related to the wedding. Perhaps it's helped to conserve my sanity, as I'm not sure how much I'd have had if it was nonstop wedding stuff for the entire engagement.

beautyschooledproject.com said...

We were engaged for about 14 months, and I'd say it was about 3-5 months longer than I needed. We'd been together for ten years (and living together for five), so clearly, marriage was something we really wanted to take our time with — but by the time I was ready to be engaged, I was ready to just be married already. The only reason we took so long to do that was because we all had our hearts set on having the wedding at home, in my parents' garden. We got engaged in April 2008, and just didn't feel confident that we could pull off the wedding in two or three months to do that summer — so the only other option was to wait until June 2009. (In Connecticut, that's your best bet for outdoor wedding-friendly weather!)

The wedding was exactly what we (my now-husband and I and our families) all wanted, I wouldn't have changed a thing — except maybe have been organized enough to get engaged in oh, February 2008 so we could have gotten to the best part more quickly! It was nice to take our time and not feel crazy stressed with planning — but waiting more than a year did feel silly at times, considering how long we'd been together.

Sara said...

We were engaged for about 11 months...and I wanted a really, really short engagement (I was thinking about getting married in the fall, so about 2 months), or a medium-sized engagement (the following March, so about 8 months)! But, my husband's brother was stationed in Kuwait for 14 months, and he didn't return until April. We couldn't imagine getting married without him!

We began thinking about getting married the fall of 2010 (so we'd be getting married this month!), but then I decided to apply to graduate school, so we moved our wedding date up to July. It was perfect - just enough time to DIY/DIT a bunch of fun decor, and all of our wedding stationery!

Princess Christy said...

I was engaged for 2 years and 8 months - and then the wedding got called off. We had only dated for a year when he proposed.

I am grateful for the long engagement, because it allowed us to see a marriage would not work. Next time around though, I definitely want a shorter engagement - I had too much time to plan things!

Nightfall said...

When my now husband proposed I was ready to say yes but I wasn't quite ready to me married again. So I was happy for a 19 month engagement (determined by our venue of choice). I also needed a lot of time to obsess and get over the whole Wedding Industrial Complex thing. So I'm glad we had the time. I did feel a lot of pressure to have everything perfect since I had to long to plan, but the real planning beyond booking venues didn't start until about 3 months out.

Miss Lissy said...

Well, we started off with shooting for a 3 year engagement and then we realized that for us, that was way tooooo long and we wanted to be married sooner than that. So with all the rearranging, it will turn out to be a year and three months and right now that's seeming too long. But we weren't pleased with waiting because our parents told us too, so we rearranged our lives so that we could get married when we wanted.

Kristen said...

We got engaged in late April. I want a summer wedding so we can have it outdoors, and for sanity's sake, we did not want to do it that summer, so by the time we get married (July 16, 2011) we'll have had about a 15 month long engagement. We've lived together for a while (3 years) so it feels funny to have such a long engagement, but it has given us time to have pre-marital counseling and talk about the kind of life we want to have together. I am also trying to use the time to do some DIY projects and take my time planning so that I can have fun with it all and not get crazy. I am sure I will get a little crazy in the last two months, but so far it has been a lot of fun and I have been glad to have the time to get ideas and take on some projects.

-Kristen

Haley said...

We were engaged for 18 months, which seemed just about right for us. It gave us about 6 months to just revel in being engaged, discuss our priorities and look at options before we had to make real decisions about a year out. Actually we had discussed marriage for years, and decided that a year and a half was probably a good amount of time to be engaged - that's why it happened this way! haha, totally unromantic, I know.

Heather said...

We will have been engaged 26 months when we get married next June. Like many that have already commented, the wait was due to an intensive graduate program for me. So, while we've been engaged for 18 months at this point, we only started planning the wedding in the last 2 months or so. Prior to that, it has been a very passive process, much to his family's dismay.

In some ways, I wish we had pushed the timeline earlier. We dated for over 5 years before the engagement. But since I can't change that, I would say my "planning" time sounds like it will be just right. I couldn't imagine waiting until next fall, which is why we are giving ourselves a month between me finishing the program and the wedding.

Sara said...

We got engaged this past June, and were married just last month in September, so our engagement was about 3.5 months. I can't imagine having a longer engagement. We had been living together for almost 6 years and knew what we wanted. We also had a small 9 person wedding/reception which didn't require a ton of time to plan. I think waiting a whole year in our circumstance would have been really difficult!

SaraS said...

We had already been living together for four years when we got engaged - and waited another three to get married. We didn't see the big rush, and just kept living life until the perfect timing arrived - when both our parents were celebrating 60th birthdays. We live in Idaho, needed to get married in New Hampshire, and it seemed to make sense to get married in the midst of other celebrations.

Then again, neither of us were really chomping at the bit. We were securely attached to each other - that wasn't going to change - and so the ceremony didn't seem to gnaw away at us.

Megilon said...

To be honest we were never officially engaged in the traditional sense of a ring, etc. We had been dating for about a year in the summer of 2009 when we learned he would be deploying to Japan in 2010.

We were going to his family reunion in September so we talked and he talked to my Dad and we decided to get married in September of 2009 at his family reunion. Then we had a second wedding in 2010 for my family and our local friends.

A lot of people were surprised when we got married because we hadn't been "engaged." But I made the decision that I didn't want an engagement ring at this point for many reasons. So our engagement was never formal.

This worked well for us. We've been married for a year. :-)

Sarah said...

I would love to have a shorter engagement. We made ours long for two primary reasons: (1) we wanted to save up the money to pay for the wedding in its entirety (including a honeymoon) and also pay off all of our pre-engagement debt and (2) we wanted a nice long engagement so that my young kids would be ready and adjusted to the idea before the wedding (also, so their dad would be adjusted to the idea).

They're both good reasons, but I am ready to be done with the engagement.

em said...

We got engaged in February with the intention of getting married January 2011 but that didn't work out for a lot of reasons. Still haven't set a date yet but I expect we will have been engaged for nearly 2 years before we can save up enough to have the wedding we want. I would have liked a much shorter engagement, as dragging it out has made talking about weddings/marriage tougher simply because it feels so far away now and out of reach. The other day, my fiance joked that we need a do-over engagement because this one has been such a mess. On the other hand, we've had a lot of issues come up in the last few months that are really testing the relationship and making us consider stuff well before we'll be official. I'd rather have these problems and doubts now than after the wedding.

Elizabeth said...

We got engaged in July, planning to wait two years before getting married, but I got anxious in December, so we decided on the following August, making i exactly a 13 month engagement. I only planned for 7 months though, which was plenty. I couldn't have handled planning for any longer, and it was plenty of time for our backyard DIY wedding.

Anonymous said...

We were engaged for right around 18 months. We got engaged April 1st of 2009 and got married September 25th 2010.

Hollyanne said...

My fiance and I were engaged in November 2009, and are planning our wedding for June 2011. Admittedly there have been times where I've been antsy for the day to just finally get here, I definitely see the benefits of a long engagement. We have really been able to enjoy being engaged, something you only get to do once (we hope) in your life. We've been able to talk about what we want and don't want for our marriage. And we've been able to NOT stress about the planning of our wedding; minus a few minor breakdowns, wedding planning has been a ton of fun, and the extended engagement has allowed us to make a lot of our wedding decor, etc. ourselves, which is less expensive AND more personal.

Carrie said...

My husband and I were engaged for a year and a half (after having been together 8 years). This was longer than I needed to get emotionally ready to get married. But it was the exact right amount of time for us to plan and save up for a celebration with all of our friends and family, without getting super-stressed out. If that celebration hadn't been a priority for us, our engagement would have been much shorter and we wouldn't have had a weddingy-wedding, just gotten hitched at the courthouse and had a nice dinner.

Katie Mae said...

We got engaged in December 2009 and got married at the end of July 2010. I wish we had been engaged a little longer because I had to start planning the wedding before I quite knew what I wanted. By the time I found this blog, Offbeat Bride, and A Practical Wedding to tell me that there was another way, many things were already booked and paid for. But in the end, everything turned out fine and I'm glad to finally be married to my partner!

Emily said...

My fiance and I just recently made the engagement official. (September 21st) We started dating in August of 2009 and knew pretty quickly that we wanted to get married. I believe we started to look at rings just a few months into the relationship and spent almost a year saving up for the perfect one that we had picked out together.

On one of our first dates together we jokingly picked out our wedding date (New Years Eve 2011) and it has stuck. We actually booked our ceremony/reception site the week before we made our engagement official (the day he gave me my ring). So I guess the length of our engagement is a result of the wedding date we had in mind and how long it took us to pay off my ring. If I didn't have that date in mind I think I would have picked a date that was sooner. I've been thinking about my wedding for the last year and I'm excited to get things rolling!

Alia said...

We were engaged for just over 7 months, and I think that was a good length of time for us. We'd been talking about getting married for well over a year before he proposed, and so I'd had plenty of time to get used to the idea and start emotionally preparing. We also decided to have a very small, intimate wedding of only 11 people (including us), so there really wasn't too much for us to plan. We had enough time to plan the things we needed to, and time to worry about the other stuff in our lives, too.

Katie said...

16 months is pretty good for my hyper-planning mother, but I'd prefer a shorter engagement--FH and I have already been together for 7 years. We want to get this show on the road!

Autumn said...

We had to save and pay for our wedding, so the 11 months was useful in that regard. However, by about month 5 I was tired of planning and ready to have the fun party and be married. My husband was even more ready, and he was the one who really wanted the spring wedding that set our timeline. I'm sure I obsessed over details and overthought everything because I had time to do so. On the other hand, I was never very stressed because we had plenty of time. I recommend short engagements to all of my friends now (if funding is not an issue).

lmb said...

We got engaged on February 7th, 2010, and on May 1st of this year we were married. So that puts us at... just under three months? Originally we were thinking about later in the summer, but when an opportunity came up for us to head to Indonesia from May to August, we bumped the wedding up to May 1st! Our flight to Indonesia left two days later. I think I could have used about 1 month more to get a little bit more organized, but honestly, I'm glad we didn't extend the engagement too long. A short timeline forced us to make decisions quickly and hope for the best (ex: booking flights for our wedding on the other end of the country before actually having a venue confirmed!). Sounds crazy, but it worked for us!

Ruthie said...

Our long engagement was due to practical reasons. We wanted a summer wedding, and wedding plus grad school, plus only 9months to save and plan wasn't in the cards, so we added another year.

If I were to do it again, I would may shorten it a little bit. We'd been planning SO LONG that there wasn't so much excitement during the wedding as there was just... doing what we'd planned. Which in some ways was cool, but I was sort of hoping I'd feel nervous or something...

Anonymous said...

Oh, my, I am with all the other women here with realizing that a shorter engagement would have been nice. We were engaged for 12 months -- but I could have done everything in six weeks and saved myself a lot of stress and headache! I had also read that you needed at least a year to plan a wedding -- but when you plan a wedding for 2K or less, you aren't booking the same vendors and can have more flexibility. For me, saying yes to the proposal was the huge commitment -- and then I was just excited and anxious to make it legal! Being married is the great part. The wedding planning part was okay for a little while too....

Lea said...

After dating for almost 4 years, my husband proposed to me two months before had to move across the country for the Air Force and five months before my contract was up with the university I was working at. We planned our whole wedding before he moved, flew back a couple of days before the wedding (3 months after he left and I was done with my job). The day after our wedding our friends all came over and helped pack up my apartment into the moving van and then we started our 34 hour drive across the country from Northern California to Mississippi! It was (and continues to be) a wonderful adventure. People are constantly telling you that you "can't" do something in a certain amount of time... but you can! A short engagement did result in one interesting wedding present: a baby blanket.

Lizzie said...

Our engagement will have been three years by the time we get married...and it was perfect for us. However, if things had been different, I wish we hadn't had so much time to mull over the crazy inspirational weddings out there. We've got some weird collage of wedding ideas in our brain now...

Mary said...

My fiancee Wes and I got engaged last December for a wedding in August 2011, which will make our engagement a healthy 20 months. There have been some pro's and con's to the lengthy engagement without a doubt. For starters, the reason why we had to wait so long was because we are both active duty officers in the Navy and this pesky little thing called deployment got in the way. Over the twenty months we will be engaged, we will be separated for 11 of them because of duty. That being said, I would have loved to be married by now and "just get it over with". But I realize thats not how I would like it in the end. I have really loved having as much time as I've liked deciding on details. (I'm not a very decisive person under pressure anyways!) The distance and the time has certainly caused some stress for us both, but its a great motivator that once we come back home we have an incredible wedding to look forward to.

Amy said...

We got engaged just over a week ago, and are roughly planning a 1.5-year engagement. At the moment, part of me is feeling like I can't wait that long, and I also don't want this to take over our lives for 1.5 years... on the other hand, we've only been dating for a year, and we're crazy busy right now with work and school and I can't imagine getting it together sooner. We also have the added complexity that we are in Argentina (my fiancé is Argentine) and we will likely get married here but also have some event in the States as well... Practically like planning TWO weddings. Eek!

Lynn said...

We were engaged for five and a half months, and I thought it was way too long! Ha ha :) My husband and I found, during that time, that by having such a short time frame, a lot of the things traditionally deemed as "necessary" in a wedding simply didn't matter to us. We were able to make decisions about what was important and we made sure to accomplish those things. It was also a wonderful way to prevent stress, because there was so little time to worry about anything. Our wedding turned out beautifully! And it was no small affair (Our guest list was 325+). Pulling things together quickly wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done, but I sure wouldn't trade it for the world!

Anonymous said...

We dated for 5 months before getting engaged and were engaged for 5 more before our wedding!

We knew our wedding and reception would only last but for a few hours while our marriage would last forever. The short engagement kept us from worrying about details that no one (us included) would ever notice or remember. Our desire was for the perfect wedding and do you know what happened: my husband and I had a wedding surrounded by our dearest family and friends who love us very much. It was in a word, perfect.

If we had to do it all again, we wouldn't change a thing. Ok, that isn't true. We would have made our engagement shorter! :) I love being married and spending the rest of my life with the man I love, which has proven even more joyful and fulfilling than one special day...

Because each ordinary day with him is better than an the most extraordinary wedding

Madison said...

I've helped plan hundred of weddings and I've had brides that had just gotten engaged three days before our meeting and I've had brides that have been engaged for over a year. From experience, I will say that the planning process is more enjoyable and less stressful if you give yourself about a year of engagement/planning. Granted, I have put a wedding together in six days, but everyone's hair turns gray in the process. With a longer engagement, brides can search around for the exact details that will make their wedding day as special as it should be. Also, for the financial side of a wedding, brides are far-less stressed if they don't have to pay a huge chunk of money at once. Spending money over time will allow brides and fathers of brides to actually enjoy the wedding planning process.

In summary, I understand there are circumstances where a quick engagement is necessary, but I encourage people to take their time and enjoy planning the biggest day of their lives.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Anonymous said...

My sweetheart and I have been privately planning our wedding for 9 months or so, we will announce our engagement publicly about 8 weeks before the date we have chosen. When we are married, we will have been together for just over three years. Keeping our engagement private (but not secret) has allowed us to plan the wedding and marriage we want, without having the input of many other voices.

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