• Tinukè Olatunbosun

How Long Is Too Long To Wait Between Engagement And Marriage?

Let’s face it, a lot of females in particular picture their wedding day from a very young age. We sometimes put scrap books together or even find ourselves "screen shotting" images of ideas that can be in the future incorporated into our big day when it finally comes around. So when that engagement finally comes, just how long will it be till you actually get to walk down the aisle?

Society has formed its idea of the average length of an engagement, which is 14.5 months according to the 2015 Real Wedding Study suggest. Although reports such as this and other social influences should not have any significance on engaged couples it definitely does. Societies image of what a wedding should look like and the cost of it also plays a part in how long a couple is engaged as they spend years trying to save and even end up in debt trying to afford a wedding that is way above their means.

Whilst many women are okay with the idea of a long engagement others aren’t, a large majority want to set a date from the jump and begin with the planning process. However this varies from person to person as a prolonged engagement could be due to various reasons such as:


One of the factors that could lead to a prolonged engagement is the financial element. One could argue that if you and your partner want a short engagement you should be in a financial position to get married almost immediately. Weddings are not usually cheap, well depending on how big the wedding is. There is also the cost of the honey moon to think about and living arrangements. Should a couple wait till their finances are in tact before they get engaged? I am sure a fair amount of people would answer no, as they believe that an individuals finances shouldn’t be a barrier that stops them from proposing. If someone feels they are ready to show their commitment by buying the engagement ring in the first instance it is not a problem. The actual funds for the wedding itself does not need to be available in order for a proposal to take place. If everyone waited till they had the full cost of the wedding before asking for someone’s hand it would never happen.


Age is definitely a contributing factor to how long an individual may want to be engaged. A younger couple for instance may want to get engaged to show commitment to one and other but might not be necessarily ready to get married as they feel they still have a lot to achieve both education wise and financially. Whereas a more mature individual may not want to be engaged for as long as they feel they don't want to waste time and basically want to get it over and done with. An older person may also not see finances as a barrier as they are more likely to go for a smaller wedding in comparison to that of a younger person might. (This is what I have noticed from watching older people around me, not all!)

Child bearing years

A woman’s biological clock does not tick forever lets be honest, so an older woman for example who wants to be married before having children due to religion or preference may want a shorter engagement so she can begin extending her family.

The engagement ring could have been a shut up ring

Although there are genuine reasons why an engagement may be prolonged, many have formed the concept of the shut up ring, which in short is an engagement ring that is solely given with the intentions of shutting an individual up.If you have reached a stage in your relationship where you are ready for the next stage of commitment but your partner may not be, and you find yourself constantly nagging, you may think you have hit the jackpot when you get the engagement ring, but have you? or is it a shut up ring. Which will ultimately result in you walking down the aisle a very long time down the line. Let's hope not.

My personal opinion

Personally I'm one of those females that have a wedding album saved in my phone with possible dress ideas and colour schemes the lot, so I am halfway with the planning already and I am not even engaged, crazy right? Not really because I know I'm not alone with this. The marriage itself is so exciting but the engagement is also a major part which I want to enjoy and celebrate, so I don't want it to be over too quickly. On the other hand I don't want an engagement that last so long people forget it even happened.

As a preference I would want to be engaged for a year to 2 years maximum. Although this is how I envisioned it, if my engagement lasted longer than this time it wouldn’t be the end of the world, saying that anything over three years is a no no. The engagement will probably be used for planning the big day itself in regards to booking a venue which sometimes requires advance booking. However more importantly the engagement period will be used to save.

To be honest to save for a wedding is likely to take longer than 2 years as getting married is more than just the day itself, life after marriage also has to be part of the plans. A good idea is to have savings before an engagement even happens, an account where you simply put money away for the future. This means when the engagement does come you wont be starting from zero. 

It’s really difficult to conclude what too long to  be engaged is, as everyone’s decision on how long to wait differs and is influenced by different elements. Society does often give the time frame of which they think the wedding should follow after the proposal. However, in reality it's down to the two individuals getting married. Is society paying for your wedding? No, you and your partner are, I'm guessing, so you make the rules.

I would love to know your views on this topic. How long would you ideally be engaged for, before walking down the aisle?


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