Get it over with, or stretch out your engagement? A longer engagement can have some hidden downsides. Learn the pros and cons.
How long should your engagement last? If it’s less than four months then she looks knocked up. If it’s more than two years then people will smile and nod…and behind your backs they’ll roll their eyes, gossip, place bets on your dissolution, and think twice about sending gifts.
The sweet spot is between twelve and eighteen months. And unlike much of wedding planning, you actually have some input in this decision. So carefully consider the Pros and Cons of a longer engagement. Form an opinion.
Pro: It’s cooler to say you’re engaged than to say you’re married. You're still a free man. And, as with most everything, the best part is the build-up, the anticipation, the hype. (Think The Phantom Menace.)
Con: You’re kidding yourself. Face it. There's no change in "freedom." You’re just as monogamous now as you’ll be when married. You’ve already committed. The time for cold feet has passed. Since you’ve already decided to get married, you might as well, you know, get married. And don’t worry: marriage doesn’t have Jar-Jar.
Pro: You have more options. This is the classic reason for pushing things out. If you have a two-year engagement, you’ll have first dibs on your ideal weekend, time of year, reception hall, band, and cake-baker.
Con: You have more options. By taking this long you will think, rethink, overthink, and change your mind every step of the way. If you target a weekend in 2014, then your bride will have time to contemplate a wedding in Puerto Vallarta, at the White House, or her grandmother’s eggplant garden.
Pro: Less stress. This is actually true…to a point. If you only have 1-4 months, then yes, you’ll be under the gun, sweating vendors, and flummoxed by scheduling conflicts. But far more likely…
Con: More stress for a looooonng time. Wedding planning is like democracy and gas molecules: it will gobble up whatever time and space you give it. Think back to when your college professor would assign you an essay. If your professor gives you two days, then you’ll crack a Red Bull and bang the sucker out; if he gives you two months then you’ll procrastinate, stress, blow it off, feel guilty, start writing, rewatch The Departed, stress, get pissed drunk with Chucky, procrastinate, panic, think about asking your professor for an extension, stress, then you’ll crack a Red Bull and bang the sucker out. Two months doesn’t yield a better essay; it yields a bigger headache.
Pro: You can save money. Fair point. If times are lean and you’re shouldering the bill, then a long engagement will let you squirrel away some cash.
Con: Your money’s tied up. If your wedding isn’t for another two years, then that could delay, potentially, any big-ticket investments.
Pro: You still have time to call it off.
Con: Bullshit. Let’s just debunk this myth right here, right now. Just in case you were confused before, we’ll be more explicit: the die has been cast. Guys always say, “Oh, I’ll just have a longer engagement, because then I still have time to back out.” It never happens. If you want to push things off, the time to do that is before she forces you to pop the question. (Click here for how to delay an ultimatum.)
In a nutshell? More time being engaged doesn’t give you any more freedom; it means you waste more time planning a wedding. Think about it.
Regardless of when you plan your wedding, you'll need to start interacting more with her parents. Joy. Learn how to fool them.
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