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January 26th, 2009
Engagements: Long or short?

I have a quick question for you today, brought on by a family drama. I’m feeling all “Carrie Bradshaw” as I type this:

Do you favor long or short engagements?
How long is it before an engagement becomes simply living together?
And as for a party celebrating the event – do you think an engagement party should be held shortly after the announcement or is a large time lapse okay?

My own experience is this: Hubby and I had a short engagement of just under five months, and to be honest, if I remember it all in my next life, I’m going to elope. I found the entire experience very stressful because of all the family baggage I had to juggle. Yep, if I had the time over I wouldn’t bother with the hoopla and would head straight for the honeymoon.

What was your experience?

19 comments to “Engagements: Long or short?”

  1. Hmm, not sure my experience counts since it was 31 years ago and the world and its expectations of a couple have changed dramatically. We were engaged for 6 1/2 months before our ‘first wedding.’ You see, we took our vows again for our 15th anniversary. Just hubby and me, our two boys, my parents, his mother and sister. But nowadays? I don’t know if I would have gotten married at all. I may have just said ‘let’s live together’. And if he insisted we get married – yeah, probably just the two of us on a beach in the Virgin Islands.

  2. My husband and I went together a few short months before getting married. We had no honeymoon. He was in the army and shipped to Germany. We have been married 54 years this July. We didn’t have an engagement party but I should think it wouldn’t matter when you had it.

  3. Here’s mine. LOL.

    We dated for about 4 months and were engaged. We married the next year, but I lived with him for 5 months before I was married.

    If I could do it again I would’ve eloped. The wedding was for my mother as I’m her only daughter and it was important to her.

    I often thought of renewing my vows on my tenth anniversary, but that would be an elopement type of thing for sure. Maybe on a cruise somewhere. Ah one can dream.

  4. I’m with Leah. Times have changed. If I had kids, I’d tell them to live with their significant other until they’re ready to start a family, then get married. As for engagement parties, they seem like an outdated custom.

  5. We were engaged for six months–that was just long enough to plan the wedding. I’d say, keep the engagement just long enough to plan the wedding, and keep the wedding relatively simple (keeping in mind that it often isn’t just for you and your spouse–it’s often for both families, too).

  6. Times have definitely changed. I always think of an engagement as the time to have a closer look at the relationship, and to make sure that it’s right. These days the living together thing takes care of that step, making engagements unnecessary.

  7. My husband and I were engaged for a little less than a year and we planned a wedding/honeymoon on Maui. It was wonderful. If I could do it over again I would’ve made the engagement shorter…

  8. We decided to get married and exactly one week later to the day we got married. I would have loved to have eloped entirely but by waiting a week, family could attend. But even that week was stressful. I’ve already told my kids I’d pay for their elopement. :-)


  9. See now, I think engagement parties should take place within 3 months of becoming engaged. Anything after that and you’re just looking for a reason to party or get gifts. Any engagement that’s longer than 18 months is just living together unless there’s extenuating circumstances. (ie- he’s overseas in the military, studying abroad, etc.) I think the best part of our wedding was the rehearsal dinner. It was just close family and those that we loved enough to have in our wedding party- fabulous! Our honeymoon wasn’t all that great, well other than the you know. I’d probably either elope or invite everyone we loved to join us on a vaca or something. throw a big BBQ in the back yard. My great Uncle had his second wedding at the 10 year family reunion- that was a blast and he surprised us with it. Hubby and I were engaged for 5 months, but we had lived together for 3 years prior to. Also our “wedding” took place on our 1 year anniversary because he went overseas about a month after our wedding. So I guess we eloped then had a vow renewal 1 year later. Whatever, it was my wedding!

  10. Interesting. You’re all saying what I’m thinking. Add living together and a coming baby to the mix and I say, just get married already and forget about engagements and presents and all that stuff.

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who stressed during the months and weeks heading to the wedding. The rest of the family seem to like weddings, and I thought I might be a bit unnatural. :grin:

  11. I would have to agree things have changed. I remember when i was a teenager that i had dreams of getting married with an engagement party and the whole shinding. Now? No way! I have seen first hand by being a bridesmaid just how much work and drama goes into it and i want no part of that. Do i want to still get married? Maybe, but we would have to elope.
    I have been with my bf for 10 years on and off. Honestly, i do not see us getting married or living together. We simply enjoy each other as best of friends in a monogamus relationship. I would like to think that if i were to fall in love then i would get married, but for now i would rather be a single mother than a wife.
    I think an engagement is different for everyone, but it should last for as long as it takes to plan the wedding. If people are already living together, then just sign the papers and have it done so that you are married.

  12. I was engaged for a year and a half, solely to save up for the wedding. No money + a flair for the dramatic = long engagement, but a beautiful dream-come-true wedding day. I lived with my husband before we got married, so we already knew we were a good fit. But our special day surrounded by everyone most dear to us? I’d never give that up.

  13. Hi Shelley!!

    Mr. C and I seem to do everything in 5 year incriments. lol We met and lived together for 5 years before getting married, then waited another 5 years before the babies came.

    We had that 1 year engagement and got married on the same day of our first date, but five years later. :) I was so sick of wedding planning!! :eek: But I wouldn’t trade that special day for anything!!


  14. I moved in with a boyfriend where the relationship was open-ended and I always thought it was a mistake. Of course, it could have just been us, but the relationship stagnated. No reason to move foreward.

    I was engaged for just over a year, which was mostly a function of wanting to get married at a certain time of year, but we also didn’t want to rush things. It seemed about right, but we didn’t move in without an understanding, and we set a date pretty quickly.

    Every couple is different though. There are a lot of different reasons to live together, and they don’t all end in a poufy white dress with a poufy white cake.

  15. My husband and I got engaged in June and then eloped in August – largely to avoid the stress of trying to plan a wedding to please both families who happened to live a country apart. Much much easier!

  16. I was engaged for seven months. A church wedding with all the trimmings usually takes that long to plan.

  17. I prefer short engagements… just long enough to put together a nice wedding. Mine was 6 months, but I needed that to coordinate people from 3 countries!

  18. It does take a lot to plan a wedding, especially a large one. That’s the part that I found so stressful, but I’m glad some of you enjoyed your day. That’s great!!

  19. I’m late to the party – as usual – but here’s my two bits’ worth:

    The hubby and I met online and talked on the phone for about three months before we met face-to-face (he came to the US to meet me).

    He was in the US for just shy of three weeks.

    I came to Italy six months after we started talking online/on the phone.

    He asked if I would marry him after I’d been in Italy for about two weeks.

    We got married less than six weeks after that.

    Pretty short engagement, eh?

    My first marriage – we got engaged after a month, lived together for a year, first and were divorced a year-and-a-half later.

    I prefer the second method. ;)