We just got engaged and I already feel behind. Everything I read says my engagement needs to be at least 12 months or more. Is this true?
Oh lady, I feel you on this one. Choosing a wedding date, and thus an engagement length, is likely one of the first hard decisions you and your partner will have to make. At risk of sounding like a broken-record, you really do have to make the choice that’s best for you and try as much as you can to ignore all the outside chatter happening around you right now.
Here are three really practical things to think about as you’re considering how long of an engagement is right for you:
Finances - Weddings cost money and the shorter your engagement, the larger sums of money you’ll need to be able to produce on a shortened time frame. If you’ve already been saving for this, or you have family contributing, then your timing may be less influenced by money. You’ll have to put some large sums down for deposits at the beginning, and then again closer to your wedding day for final balances. Consider how long of a period you need to collect the necessary funds for your day without throwing yourself into complete poverty or making your life in the meantime so crippled with financial stress that your engagement doesn't seem worth it at all. If the money is the most stressful aspect for you, consider if giving yourself 6-12 additional months of breathing room would take some of that stress off. If you need a year to enjoy this engagement, take it!
Schedules - How much time off would you like to take for the wedding, and how does that compare to both of your work schedules? Taking an extended time period away from work sometimes needs some advanced planning. And increasingly, getting two work schedules to align can seem nearly impossible. So many of my couples have opted for mini-moons this year, taking just a few days to rest after the wedding with plans for a longer honeymoon within the next year. A good compromise if a two week honeymoon isn’t in the cards this year. The Anniversary Caveat: I also like to take into consideration when you would like your anniversary to fall in future years. I think this often gets overlooked when trying to wrangle a wedding date as quickly as possible. Your wedding is one day, but your anniversary is one day every year. When is the best season for your life to celebrate the way you want to?
Stress Level - The most practical question of them all. Which one is stressing you out more? Trying to pull everything together so quickly, or agonizing over waiting 18 months to be married? Choose the path of least resistance. Sometimes, big decisions really are as simple as that and you make everything else fit in around your choice.
For most people 12-18 months is the sweet spot where all of these factors come together. I think that’s why every planning checklist in the history of the world seems to begin at the 12 month mark (my personal pet peeve).
But guess what: This doesn't have to be you! That's the hidden beauty in all of this! YOU get to decide. If you’re newly engaged and this all just feels wrong to you, let me be to one to give you permission that you CAN plan a wedding on a shorter engagement timeframe. Not every vendor, venue and dress may be an option for you in a limited time frame, but a beautiful meaningful wedding is totally doable.
Want to chat about this more? I’d love to hear your thoughts and help you make the decisions that’s right for you. Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org