How Long is Engagement Before Marriage?

With a sparkling ring on your finger and a smile that just won’t quit, your wedding engagement is a special time to enjoy your relationship while dreaming and planning your future together. Now that you’ve said yes, it’s time to start thinking about wedding plans.

While you probably wish you were married yesterday, one of the biggest questions that comes up is how long to be engaged before you and your partner step into the next phase of your life together. Below, we’ll lay out all the facts to guide you through the process of deciding the length of your engagement.

What is the purpose of an engagement?

While you might have known your spouse was “the one” from the moment you first laid eyes on them, an engagement is an official way to show the world your intention to marry. While wedding planning takes up a big portion of the engagement period, it’s also the time to prepare for joining your lives together.

Depending on where you are relationship-wise, your engagement could be the time to become closer to each other’s families, make sure your future goals are in alignment, and make the necessary steps to combine households for a smooth transition to life as newlyweds.

What is the average engagement length?

According to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average engagement time is 15 months for couples in the United States. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to wait exactly that long before you get married, or that you can’t be engaged for a few years or more. 15 months is just an average, meaning a large number of couples take more or less time between the ring and the vows (and you can, too).

A couple sitting together on a rug

Long vs. short engagement: which is right for you?

Average engagement length aside, what’s the best way to determine the right engagement period for you and your partner? While circumstances are unique for every couple’s experience, consider the potential benefits and downsides of a long vs. short wedding engagement:

Why have a long engagement?

While a couple of years might seem like an eternity when you’re in love, a long engagement is not uncommon. If you’re someone who likes to be on top of every detail and have things in order far in advance, you might prefer a long engagement.

What are the benefits of a long engagement period?

For elaborate weddings or celebrations with lots of moving parts, long engagements give you some breathing room when it comes to covering all your wedding planning bases. Some long engagement benefits include: 

  • Better chance of securing your must-have vendors
  • More time to budget and save money
  • Less stress from time crunches
  • Ability to take time to ensure compatibility


The most obvious downside of a lengthy engagement is the extra waiting time before you get to marry your best friend! Other potential negatives to consider include: 

  • Pressure from family and friends to pick a date 
  • Possible life and career changes 
  • Passing trends
  • Too much time for re-thinking planning decisions

Overall, a long engagement gives you the chance to dot every “I” and cross every “T.” However, consider your personality and planning style, because overplanning can be a problem, too. 

Is it OK to have a short engagement?

Absolutely! When the time is right, go for it --, even if it means your wedding date is just around the bend. If you’re on the fence about keeping your engagement period quick, here are some pros and cons to consider:

What makes a short engagement a good choice?

First and foremost, a short engagement means you get to marry your partner sooner, speeding up the next step in your life together. Other benefits include:

  • Less influence from opinionated family members
  • Ability to hone in on what’s most important for your wedding day
  • No need to overthink decisions 

You can also find ways to simplify the planning process for a fast-approaching wedding, like opting for premade floral arrangements and decor to save time and money without sacrificing quality or style.

A bride holding a flower bouquet

Photo by @keziah.renee

What are the challenges of a short engagement time?

The biggest hurdle you’ll find in a short engagement is fitting all of your planning and preparation into a condensed time frame. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done — you just need to be flexible and creative with covering all the details.

Other potential negatives of a short engagement include:

  • Having to settle for vendors that aren’t your first choice
  • Limited availability of venues
  • Not giving guests enough time to be able to attend 

If you decide you just don’t want to wait, the only thing determining your engagement length is securing a time at the courthouse to make it official. Grab yourself a Ling’s premade bridal bouquet and a couple of witnesses to sign the papers and you’ll be enjoying married bliss in a jiffy! 

Communication is key when deciding how long to be engaged

Even though the average engagement time is a little over a year, that doesn’t mean yours has to be, as well. The biggest thing to remember when preparing to plan a wedding is to talk to your partner. Weigh the pros and cons, consider other key factors, and ultimately, decide on a length that works best for you both. 

Other considerations for deciding on engagement length

Even though you and your partner may agree on a certain engagement period, other factors can ultimately influence how long your engagement will last. While the end goal is the same whether you have a long or short engagement, keep some of these things in mind as you lay out your wedding day Pinterest board: 

Wedding budget

Your budget plays a big role in the planning process and deciding on your wedding date. Booking your vendors and locking down all the tiny details can be time-consuming, and when you’re working with a limited budget you may need extra time to save up additional funds and explore different creative avenues for bringing your dream wedding to life.

A couple hugging each other while holding a bouquet


Consider the group of people you want to be a part of your nuptials. For smaller, intimate weddings with guests who are all local, short engagements can be easy to maneuver. If you want a lengthy guest list, a longer engagement will give you and your guests plenty of time to clear their calendars and secure travel and accommodations.

Remember, also, you’ll likely need to allow enough time for save-the-dates, invitations, and RSVPs to get a finalized guest list. 

Seasonal preferences

Do you picture your wedding on a crisp, fall day with warm, rustic accents in Russet Orange & Denim Blue? Or perhaps you envision a Garden Blush spring soiree with soft pastels and delicate decor. If you’ve got a specific season in mind, that will help determine the length of your engagement.

Two brides each holding a flower bouquet

For example, if you’re one of the many couples with December engagements, a spring wedding might come up too quickly to pull all the details together in a few short months. Instead, you’ll minimize planning stress by opting for an April wedding in the next calendar year. 

Wedding venue

For some couples, the wedding location is the first thing to check off the list, and the rest of the wedding planning revolves around the venue. If you have a must-have venue in mind, the date availability might be the deciding factor for how long to be engaged.

Ling’s couple Emily and Jackson, for example, had a specific venue in mind when they started wedding planning and lucked out with open dates in the same year. While a fast-approaching wedding date meant moving quickly on the planning process, they pulled off a perfect day with just six months to bring it all together. 

A couple cutting a red ribbon together

Some high-demand venues book up years in advance, which means you could be leaning toward the longer side of the average engagement length. Sometimes you can luck out with cancellations, too, and get into a venue much earlier than planned or expected. Either way, if the venue is a be-all-end-all, it will play a huge role in your engagement length.

Wedding theme

Consider how simple or lavish you want your wedding theme and decor to be when thinking about the length of your engagement. Endless personalized details can mean lots of extra time assembling, designing, and styling. The shorter the timeframe to bring your vision together the higher the potential stress levels leading up to your wedding day.

DIY decor

For some brides, taking wedding details into their own hands is an essential way to put a personal touch on the day. If you want to be a DIY bride, be sure to factor in the time it takes to plan, source, make, and create your individualized decor touches. 

And if you do go down the DIY path, you’ll find everything you need, from flowers to tools for creating gorgeous floral arrangements with Ling’s designer wedding color collections.

A few brides holding flower bouquets of different colors

Milestones and life goals

Some couples plan their wedding around milestones, like waiting until graduating or having finances to pay for their dream wedding comfortably. Just because a ring is on your finger doesn’t mean the engagement clock is ticking — you can think of it as a pledge to join your lives together when the time is absolutely right for you both.

A bride holding a flower bouquet

Make Your Wedding Planning a Breeze with Ling’s Moment

Whether it’s 90 days, nine months, or a few years, your engagement is a special time for you and your fiancee as you plan an official commitment to your life together. Short, long, or in-between, only you and your future spouse can determine the right timeframe for how long an engagement should be. 

After all those months you spent wedding planning for your perfect day, don’t forget to show us how you used your Ling’s decor to bring your vision to life. Give us a tag on Instagram @lingsmoment and show off your wedding day designs!

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