3 Reasons to Have a Long Engagement


brooke images rachel ritlop eric dresdale
Photo cred: BrookeImages.com

I had a long engagement…

I got engaged on (November 9, 2014) and we tied the knot in mid-October 2016.

E and I know a long engagement was in our future, even before putting a ring on. What I didn't know was how much society judged others for having a long engagement. Seriously, I turned on the TV one day and Wendy Williams was talking so much trash about people with two-year engagements!

Apparently, it's a common stereotype a couple is having “issues” when engaged longer than a year (year and a half max). Throughout our long engagement, countless people asked, “are you guys still even getting married?” or “is everything okay with you two?”

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I think it's so wrong to judge and assume that you know what's going on in a persons life based on their wedding timeline.

The truth is, our engagement was long, not because my fiance and I were having issues, but because my mother and I were. We'd been on rocky terrain for years. I spent the first year of my engagement emotionally preparing myself that she wouldn't come to my wedding. While all of the juicy details of that is probably an entirely different post… a blessing actually came from drawing out the wedding planning process: It was relatively stress-free!

That's right! I have found wedding planning overall to be totally stress free.

[RELATED] 5 Ways My Wedding Was Different Than I Imagined

3 Reasons to Have a Long Engagement

Benefit of a long engagement #1: Narrows your guest list

Seriously, having a longer engagement narrows your guest list! So many people came out of the woodwork trying to reconnect after we got engaged; I was shocked. They wanted to “hear all about wedding planning.” Only there was nothing to report other than we had no idea what was happening and we're enjoying being engaged. I started hanging out with old friends who I had lost touch with and found myself thinking, “well we used to be great friends, maybe she will be in my wedding party!”

brooke images rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused mom

Before inviting all my long lost girlfriends to be bridesmaids, I decided to wait. I wanted to see if we stayed re-connected. I saw this story on the Today Show about a study which found most couples were no longer in contact with their wedding party 15-20 years later. All of the anchors said they do not talk to almost anyone who was in their wedding party anymore either. I held onto that segment.

Maybe I'm idealistic, but I want to stay life long friends with my wedding party. I didn't want to pay a ton of money to have people at my wedding who I don't think will be there for the long haul.

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Sure enough, the people I lost touch with were only interested in wedding conversations and not actual rekindling a friendship. I started to feel like people were only interested in coming to the wedding rather than being a dependable friend. Needless to say, when we first got engaged we thought our wedding would be around 150 people… and by the time we got married it was less than 65 people.

brooke images rachel ritlop eric dresdale the confused mom

Benefit of a long engagement #2: Less money

That's right, a longer engagement has meant a lower cost wedding! Aside from the smaller guest list, it really allowed us to not make impulsive or emotional decisions. We've had time to let “wedding fever” pass. Thereby letting go of trends or what other people are doing. We've really had the chance to decide, “Is this adding to our guests experience and representing us as a couple?” If the answer isn't “HELL YES!” to both questions, it's cut from the budget. This includes spending $200 on my wedding dress instead of $5,000!

[RELATED] The Ultimate List Of 57 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding


Benefit of a long engagement #3: No expectations

With longer engagements, family and friends begin to lose excitement. For so long we had “nothing to report.” When there was something to report, it's so small and spread out from the next small thing, that it's created a lot of space and distance from opinions and emotions (thankfully!). This has given space for the process to be about my fiance and I and our wants, wishes, and needs as a couple.

What do you think? Are you planning on a long engagement?



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This post was originally published on 5/31/16 and last updated on 2/12/2020

71 thoughts on “3 Reasons to Have a Long Engagement”

  1. These are benefits I hadn’t considered before — so insightful! I love the idea of letting wedding fever pass before making huge decisions. I tried to take this approach even with a shorter engagement and it was a huge stress-reducer and money-saver.

  2. I think long engagements are great! It is sometimes better to have that time to plan and really organize so there is no rush and stress for the big day!

  3. I’m not really even sure why people think that its their business as to how long you are/arent engaged for before getting married! Unless they are paying for the wedding, or one of the people that are actually getting married they shouldn’t feel like their opinion really even matters.

  4. I think everyone should do what is right for them, and I love that a long engagement is right for you! I’ve been dating the same guy for four years, but getting engaged just hasn’t been a priority for us yet and that’s right for us.

  5. Theresa Bailey

    Great tips! There is no need to rush. The engagement time in your life is wonderful and should be celebrated.

  6. These are all really great insights that I didn’t think of before! It makes so much more sense to have a longer engagement now that I read this!

  7. I loved this the first time I read it, and love it now! It is totally unique to each couple

  8. These are very true! I know exactly how I want my wedding and I will be working as a wedding planner when all that comes around so I am all about saving. I love the guest list idea

  9. My fiance and I have been together now for almost 8 years, engaged for almost 2, and still have another year before our wedding. Which sounds crazy – but for one of those years we were engaged, I was in school abroad for a year and it didn’t make sense to plan a wedding remotely. But our wedding date is finally set – it’s on an absolutely perfect date (our dating anniversary), that happens to be on a Friday in 2018. So we went with it haha. We’ve been together for so long at this point, we knew we were getting married – but we’re both broke so there wasn’t a big rush. It definitely makes planning so much easier and my guest list is much shorter!

  10. My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 1/2 years and we get the whole “when are you getting engaged?!” question all the time! So I feel your pain on the whole judgement thing! We both have our own priorities before we want to start planning a wedding. Mine is to pay off my student loans and his is to finish his masters but we get judgement for it all the time!! I honestly would prefer a longer engagement too, anything to keep the stress levels down! Also, how did you get your dress for $200?! Please share!!

  11. Great post! My fiance and I have been together for 10 years and engaged for 8 years and people ask us all the time why we’re waiting but it didn’t make sense to get married right after we got engaged since we were so young and were broke. Now we’ve saved up the whole wedding and have worked on building our careers.

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