The Pros and Cons of an Extended Engagement
(Photo: Joey Wallace Photography)

You've asked and we've answered! Welcome to your weekly column 'Planning Your Happily Ever After' with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds.

Some couples are quite content with (and capable of) planning their dream wedding in just a few short weeks, whilst other couples want to save money for a while or are simply in no rush to take that trip down the aisle.

What are the pros and cons of a short vs long engagement? Here are a few things to ponder.

Pros:

“When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” — When Harry Met Sally

1. A long(er) engagement affords more time to save the requisite funds for the wedding.

2. More time to plan the wedding. Less pressure! You are better able to enjoy the engagement and planning process while having time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

3. The ability to reserve your dream vendors. Several popular vendors have tight schedules, and limited availability; they have been reserved a year prior. It is a wonderful feeling when you can collaborate with your dream vendor on your special day by booking them way earlier.

4. You’ll be better able to prepare for “life after the wedding”. After the wedding, the marriage life starts. House and other new needs can be planned without a hurry because you have more time to work on them. You can really start to cultivate a dialogue about your marriage and goals. An engagement is a great opportunity before a big life change to prepare and settle into the idea of your upcoming new life.

5. You will be able to make faster and perhaps wiser decisions related to the wedding.

Cons:

1. Family and friends tend to drive couples nuts asking when you’re getting married. If they were asking you about your wedding date the moment that ring landed on your finger, you can bet they’ll be knocking at your door wondering when you’re saying “I do,” especially if more than a year has passed since the proposal.

2. It’s difficult to make decisions regarding the wedding. Too many options or hearing different opinions can be overwhelming. Being confused will complicate your ability to make wedding-related decisions.

3. Wedding trends change. What maybe your wedding style or is trending when you get engaged may no longer be all the rage when you are ready to walk down the aisle.

4. You may experience wedding burnout. If wedding planning goes on for many months, you might get tired of thinking about flowers, cakes, and where to seat your family members who don’t get along. A shorter engagement can get those things out of the way more quickly and keep your excitement levels high for your big day.

5. Friends get married before you. Sometimes friends get engaged around the same time as you, but then tie the knot way earlier than you. Having others wed in such a short time period can make you second-guess your decision to prolong the wedding. But it’s important to keep in mind that you and your spouse-to-be are simply on your own timeline, and that’s OK.

Regardless of whether you and your partner decide on a short or long engagement, you should reflect on your readiness and willingness to spend a life together.

Shikima Hinds

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