When the big proposal happens, most brides hit the ground running and begin planning their wedding. However, sometimes it's best not to be in a rush to start the rest of your life. Here, real brides share why they had long engagements—and why pumping the brakes on planning actually turned out to be a good thing.
"I had started planning our wedding for 2016 and then quickly pressed pause. Between friend and family drama I was getting really stressed out and the engagement was turning into a nightmare rather than an exciting time in my life. By stretching out the amount of time to plan, I'm able to take my time to think things over and diffuse tense situations." —Cristy
"I got engaged in September of 2015 and I'm getting married on May 28th 2017. Why such a long engagement? My mom is generously paying for most of the wedding, but I know there are going to be things she doesn't think are necessities that I do—for example, hair extensions, spray tans, regular facials leading up to the big day, accessories for my bridesmaids. So I want time to save my money and pay for these things myself. That way, I keep the peace and everything is smooth sailing." —Glori
"I was unemployed when we got engaged and soon after began a new job. I'd been unemployed since the previous March due to layoffs, and when my fiancé proposed, it really helped me kick my job search into gear. I found a great full-time job soon after, but I wanted to make sure I was giving myself enough time to adjust to the new position before diving into wedding planning." *—Eve *
"We fell in love and became engaged very quickly—in three months! Our families were afraid we were being too hasty, and it made sense to take our time and get to really know one another. Three years in, we're sure it's not infatuation and that we have what it takes to last and we're finally planning the big day!" —Sari
"I'd seen several friends who got engaged and married within a year settle for venues that weren't top of their list, as well as not be able to book the photographer of their dreams. So my fiancé and I set a wedding date two and one-half years out. That way we had no trouble nailing all our first choices!" —Loren
"We felt the engagement period should be a joyful time of life, without the pressure of wedding planning. So my fiancé and I purposely gave ourselves a very long window so we could enjoy one another and the prospect of where we were heading in our lives without actually having to devote all that energy and focus on where Aunt Wilma would sit or which cake toppers to choose." —Amy
"When you know you've found the person you're going to be with for the rest of your life, there's really no rush!" *—Deb *
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.