Each year, millions of couples around the world tie the knot. But before couples walk down the aisle, the proposal to get married must take place. Many couples mutually agree to get engaged, while the experience may be a surprise for others who have thought about it, but may not have been sure when one partner or another would "pop the question."
Upon getting engaged, couples may ponder how long their engagement should last. There is no perfect answer, and engagement length typically depends on personal preference and the needs of the couple. In fact, according to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, the average length of an engagement is 14.5 months.
A number of factors affect the length of a couple's engagement, and couples should not feel as if they need to hurry down the aisle. For example, couples who will be financing their own weddings may need a longer engagement than those whose parents will be chipping in. In such instances, longer engagements give couples more time to save and may help them ensure their weddings are everything they hoped for.
Others may prefer a shorter engagement if they are financially stable and prepared to tie the knot. Couples in their late 30s may feel the tug of a biological clock and want to ensure there is ample time to get married and have children. A shorter engagement can facilitate that.
Some couples may have little choice in the matter, as the length of their engagements may be dictated by the availability of their favorite venues.
Military deployment, work commitments, medical issues, or travel responsibilities also may affect the length of an engagement.
Some couples may feel that an especially lengthy engagement diminishes their excitement about getting married. That "new engagement shine" can wear off as family and friends wait months or years for the wedding to take place.
Couples generally are advised to stick with what feels right to them regarding the length of their engagements. Just like all aspects of the wedding, couples can weigh the opinions of others but follow through with what works best for them.