The Endless Debate: Are Short or Long Engagements Better?

couple getting engaged

Photo: Getty Images

Long or short, there's no one right answer for how long a person should be engaged. But if you're trying to determine how long you should wait before you tie the knot, the opinions of these real women might help. Here, real brides share their thoughts and experiences on the best amount of time for an engagement.

Shorter is Better

"I think an engagement lasting less than a year is ideal. It forces you to make decisions, since you don't have time to hem and haw over which photographer or caterer you want to use. Wait too long, and the good vendors may be booked up. Plus, a shorter engagements prevents you from second-guessing yourself. Let's say you have a two-year engagement. Once you've booked your venue and major vendors, you then spend a year on Pinterest and ultimately decide to go in a different direction design-wise and now your venue doesn't match your vision. Having a shorter engagement cuts down on the amount of time you have to change your mind once you've committed to something." — Leigh, engaged seven-and-a-half months

"I think a short engagement is better. Why wait? If you aren't sure you want to marry that person, you shouldn't have said 'yes' to the proposal. After we officially got married, I felt a shift in our relationship — we were more solid and secure with each other than ever. I love that feeling of knowing someone has your back no matter what — I wouldn't have wanted to wait any longer to feel it!" — Laurie-Anne, engaged one year

"I have worked in the wedding industry before and I feel that a shorter engagement is the best options for most couples. By having a short engagement, the excitement on the upcoming nuptials remains in the forefront. You are able to make decisions easier and quicker as you don't have time to waste. Long engagements tend to make the wedding more stressful. The long drawn out process leads couples to deliberate more about various details that they might not focus on with a short engagement." — Ashley, engaged six-and-a-half months

See More: What the Length of Your Engagement Says About You

Longer Is Better

"Long engagements are amazing. My husband and I were engaged for 22 months, and it was the best decision. When you're dating you can talk hypothetically about what you want when you get married. Once you are engaged, the hypothetical scenarios become real. We had a full year to cultivate a working dialogue about what we really wanted without worrying that we were talking outside of the dating boundaries. We had the opportunity to make sure we were on the same page on everything before we started getting into wedding planning. The first year of the engagement we didn't do a single item of wedding planning, living in that blissful state of engagement without any stress of planning a big event was really desirable." — Brooke, engaged 22 months

"I had a two-year-long engagement, and I wouldn't change a thing. Admittedly, that's mostly because we were planning our wedding from a distance, which meant that every time we wanted to scope out a venue or hire a florist, we had to hop a plane. Giving ourselves two years to plan meant that we were able to take those trips and feel confident with our decisions, rather than doing everything by phone or Skype." — Annemarie, engaged two years

"I think the idea of a short engagement is very sweet, but the reality is that there is way too much planning to cram into less than a year. I remember being so overwhelmed by our to-do list, and I don't know how we would have accomplished it in any less time than we gave ourselves. If you've got a planner, then maybe a shorter engagement works. But otherwise, why put more stress on yourself by only giving yourself a short time to get so much done?" —Chelsea, engaged 18 months


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