2019 Trends on the Decline: Short Engagements

Advice & Etiquette

Did you know that the average length of an engagement is 14.5 months?

According to The Knot, the average length of an engagement is 14.5 months—but that’s just an average. Some engagements are super short (like a month!) and some can last for years and years. We say there’s no “wrong” or “right” length of time to be engaged—everyone’s relationship is different, and you and your partner have to decide what’s best for you.

As we wrap up the 2018 wedding season and start preparing for 2019, we are noticing the rise and falling of certain trends for the upcoming season. One of rising trends happens to be longer engagements. After talking to several other local wedding vendors, the amount of couples who are booking vendors for late 2019 and 2020 weddings has definitely spiked.

Photo Credit: Jes Noelle Photography

We know it’s exciting to be engaged and that excitement pushes couples to want to tie the knot as soon as possible. But here lately, there has been a shift in mindset for engaged couples. So what’s the deal with long engagements? Why are couples opting to wait? Here are some reasons why:

  • Time to Build the Life You Want and Prepare for Marriage
    One of the best parts of having a long engagement is that it gives you breathing room to focus on your career, get a sense of what your partner will be like as a spouse and decide what you both want for your marriage (living plans, when to have children, etc). It’s a commitment towards a future together—one worth waiting for. 

  • Avoid Wedding-Planning Stress—and Fatigue
    Let’s face it—planning a wedding isn’t easy. After basking in the newly-engaged bliss for a few days, I started thinking about the nitty-gritty details of planning a wedding. I instantly felt overwhelmed—even for a wedding planner (Y’all think wedding planning is hard, try being a wedding planner, planning 20 other people’s wedding AND planning your own). But, if you give yourself sufficient time to plan, you can avoid that stressful, panicky feeling that you’re behind schedule. You can tackle a few projects—say, booking the venue, finding your photographer, choosing a DJ—and then take a break for a few months. Since my husband and I started so early (we knew a majority of who we wanted to hire for our small wedding from being in the wedding business), it was okay for us to shut down wedding-planning mode for a few months when the fatigue threatened to hit us. We worked out a timeline—and gave ourselves plenty of down time and breathing room. 

  • More Time to Save Money
    When we first started researching venues and vendors, we didn’t experience the major sticker shock that normal couples get to go through since I’m work with venues and vendors on a daily basis and knew their prices. It did take a while for my husband to understand why certain vendors price the way they do (i.e. Stationery. You’re not just paying for words on card-stock. You’re paying for someone’s time and creativity. You’re helping a small business keep their lights on. They don’t just hop on Word and copy everything from your inspo picture.)  Our parents didn’t contribute anything towards our budget so everything was coming from our paychecks. With our target budget in mind, my husband and I were able to set reasonable monthly savings goals. At times, we really worried that we weren’t going to have enough money. But, by the day of the wedding, we had reached our goal with less than $80 to spare. We truthfully could not have pulled off the wedding of our dreams with less time. 

  • Spend Less by Booking Vendors Early
    A lot of my couples book their venues so early that they are able to lock into previous year pricing, even though their wedding isn’t until a year or two later. This turns out to be a godsend, since venues raise the price each year. (*Some venues and vendors do not book events more than 12 months out.) Long engagements also allows couples to research vendors more thoroughly than if they were getting married in a shorter time frame, so they are able to negotiate lower prices and take the time to truly find the perfect planning team for their needs. 

In the end, long engagements are helpful when couples are at significantly different place in their lives. If you or your partner are still finishing school or in the middle of making big career moves at the moment, it might be better to start thinking about the wedding once you’ve completed those chapters in your lives. Then your marriage can signify the start of a brand new one. A prolonged engagement also gets couples an opportunity to engage in premarital education, so that they can learn the skills that help improve marriage. Whether you choose a short or long engagement, the end result is the same: you travel the planning journey together and stand before each other on your big day and say, “I do!”

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