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.

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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!

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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. I love what you wrote about bridal parties, and I COMPLETELY agree. They are standing up with you, witnessing, and agreeing to hold you accountable to your vows, so why would you choose people who you won’t truly know in the future?!?

    My engagement was only 3 months due to Sean starting his 6 year PhD program, and I definitely envy you! Way to go Rachel!

    1. Haha thanks Harvey! I feel like I would either want it to be really short or nice and long. Like get it done in 3 months or take 2 years. Like in 3 months you dont really have time to waffle, you just get it done.

  2. This is such an interesting perspective! I never really "looked down" on anyone who had a long engagement but I always wondered what the point was of waiting so long. But now that I’ve read this, I’m thinking that a long engagement is something I want, too! I’m starting grad school next year and I definitely want to be finished with that before I get married, but I’ve told my boyfriend that I wouldn’t mind being engaged while still in grad school. I think having some time before the wedding is definitely a good thing, I’d feel way less stressed than if I had to plan a wedding in, say, 6 months! Great post!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    1. Thanks Kayla! Totally! I knew I wanted to be engaged, because my fiancee (then boyfriend) meant so much more to me than the word "boyfriend" – but I knew we both wanted sometime before the wedding bells and questions about kids! haha

      Good luck with grad school!

  3. Girl, I am all for this! I am no where near engaged, but whenever it happens I want it to be quite a while. Not only does this give a ton of time to get things done, but it gives you time to enjoy "being engaged" without spending all of your engagement simply planning a wedding.

    <a href="http://www.sarakatestyling.blogspot.com">Sara Kate Styling</a>

    1. Totally! We decided right away to not even think about wedding stuff for the first 6 months of being engaged and just wanted to enjoy that time before thinking about venues and dates and everything!

  4. We had an 18 month engagement and I always tell people it was the best decision the Army ever made for us. When we began wedding planning, we set a date and then my now-husband deployed to Afghanistan. I was SUPER PISSED, but in the end, it all worked out! I loved your take (and honesty) on this πŸ™‚

  5. Petite Heartbeat

    A long engagement is a great idea. My husband and I were engaged for 2 years before we were married and we are going on 15 years married and over 17 together in January. I think a long engagement really helped with this. Great post.

  6. Stephanie Boyd

    These are really good points! I’ve known people who have had like 3-month engagements and I just cannot even imagine trying to plan a wedding in that short of a time! There seem to be a lot of benefits to having a longer engagement!

  7. I always thought I wanted a long engagement, but when it came down to it, having a shorter engagement just worked better for us! We got engaged in late December and married August 1st, so it was a pretty quick turn around and a crazy blur of planning. As a teacher, getting married in the summer made the most sense, and our choices were to either wait until August 2016 or just go for it in 2015. I’m so glad we got married when we did! It really just depends on the couple and what makes the most sense to them!

    xo Ashley

    1. Haha yeah totally! The above isn’t saying that one is better than the other, it’s more of an "in defense of the long engagement" since it seems to just get crapped on all the time. Most people I know had a quick engagement and loved it! Congratulations on getting married! πŸ™‚

  8. Bella Bucchiotti

    It sounds like a great plan. I am never one to be comfortable with just jumping at things. I love to plan and overplan! Congratulations!

  9. Kristin Thompson

    I think having a long engagement is a great idea! I love all of your tips and it sounds like waiting has been the best thing for you, which is all that matters! Good luck with the rest of your planning – I can’t wait to see pictures from it!

    <a href="http://www.theblushblonde.com">The Blush Blonde</a>

    1. Totally! I think every couple has different needs and wants and this just suited us best. I think as long as you are a match and doing it together no length of engagement is necessarily better than the other. Thanks Kristin!

  10. Jordyn Sifferman

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a long engagement. I think it is pretty strange when people have super short engagements because a rushed wedding seems weird to me but honestly to each their own! Your engagement photos are lovely and I am sure your wedding will be wonderful too <3

  11. I LOVE this!!! Your wedding photographer is amazing btw! There is so nothing wrong with long engagements – I think it’s definitely worth while! Congrats on your upcoming marriage!! xoxo

  12. Taylor Anne Mobley

    I had a 6-month engagement so I had the opposite situation. My husband and I were still hardcore judged (we got a lot of questions asking if we were rushing because we were pregnant…we were NOT pregnant!!!). I think it really depends on the couple. Once we decided to get married, we didn’t see the point in waiting. We just wanted to be married! Moral of the story? Everyone is different.

  13. We had a long engagement, too! My husband proposed to me in October 2011, and we didn’t get married until December 2013! He was still serving the US Army at the time, hence we had to wait a little longer. I don’t know about you, but two years of wedding preparations actually went by so fast!

  14. My fiancee and I got engaged Christmas Eve 2015, and are getting married this August 2017. Shorter than yours by about a year, but still longer. She said she felt as if she needed the long engagement, and I’m fine with that. Plus, we didn’t feel pressured to get all the planning done super quick – although we’re getting to crunch time!

    – Joe @ http://hendrixjoseph.github.io/

  15. I feel like this post was written for me haha. We our engagement will be 2 years and 3 months by the time we get married, and we have had so many comments on why it’s so long. To the point of a friend at church h asked us if we’d consider moving it forward. Well no, not after we’ve pretty much booked everything! And we are in a transition of real change right now so we need that breathing space before we settle down into married life. Everyone is different and I honestly couldn’t imagine have a short one – the stress haha! But I’ll be ready when the time comes πŸ™‚

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