How Soon to Set a Date After the Engagement?

Man proposing to girl in park

Right after I got engaged, I walked around our city with my new fiancee, dazed; we ended up going to get slushies to revive us from being so stunned that we were now going to become man and wife. Many people find themselves in this middle-state for quite a while after getting engaged, because, after all, the possibility of being married can be enough for quite some time!

As soon as you make your engagement public, you are likely to get questions about when the wedding will be. Not only is it okay to not know the answer, but it is important to not rush it! At the same time, it is worth starting a conversation about wedding time frame soon after engagement, if only to know when you will revisit your wedding plan again. It’s okay to have a long engagement with no specific date in sight for quite some time.

However, depending on when each person expects to get married, the time to set a date is different. While no one can tell you the perfect time for you, here are some important things to consider.

Couple going over wedding planning checklist

Getting Married in 2 or More Years

Long time couples often decide that they know they are ready for a forever commitment, but they also feel no rush on throwing the big party to celebrate that commitment. In some cases, one or both members of the couple are still in school, or there isn’t money in the budget right now to do a wedding the way they like. There are many other reasons to put that decision off, but one smart thing to do is to manage everyone’s expectations fairly early: when people hear you are engaged, let them know that you aren’t setting a date yet and that it will be at least two years till you tie the knot. That way, no one is waiting on pins and needles, and you all are free to take your time enjoying this stage of being engaged without turning directly to wedding planning.

One perk is that if you have a dream wedding venue that books up early, you have the opportunity to look into the future and set your date with a ton of lead time. This would mean choosing to set that date fairly quickly, but setting the date for two years away and then forgetting the rest of the planning for many months is definitely an option.

1.5 to 2 Years

If you know you want to get married fairly soon but you know that a little lead time will help you prepare emotionally and financially, getting married in about a year and a half can be a nice compromise. You can take three to six months after your engagement to get accustomed and still have more than enough time to put together a great wedding. While this amount of time might seem like not much, it can actually be the perfect quantity to set up a plan for saving to pay for the wedding. Even if you will also get parental help with the costs, it is a great move of independence to save some money toward your wedding fund and feel even more creative control over the process.

Another perk to taking substantial engagement time is that you don’t have to go with the first vendors that catch your eye; by working ahead on the wedding, you can often find deals that others would have to pass up for a more quick and easy solution.

Two grooms sitting on steps

1 to 1.5 Years

This amount of time is a fairly traditional length, but if you plan to do a wedding this soon after your engagement, it would probably be good to discuss setting a date within a month or two. That being said, not everyone will want a huge wedding or a particularly lavish experience, so by having the conversation about what you want in a wedding, you actually change when you need to discuss getting started on the planning. If a small and simple wedding is on your mind, you can wait longer to have the in-depth, set-a-date conversation.

6 Months to a Year

It is nice to have a little time to get ready, but many engaged couples are just ready to be married! That is completely fine, but it does mean that, with only six months to a year to plan your wedding, you may want to set a date sooner rather than later. As with many other wedding advice ideas, it can be helpful to narrow down where and in what venue rather than just thinking of times, since you can then figure out what is available. Given that lots of venues receive bookings more than a year in advance, there is no guarantee that every place will have availability. That being said, you are not in a rush! Only the big ticket items – venue, caterer, photographer – need be discussed this far in advance, and once you get that conversation rolling, there will be intermediate time before you have to get ready for the big day in earnest.

Bride and groom holding completed poster of wedding plan

0-6 Months

Short engagements can be a whirlwind and there are tons of reasons to go ahead and get married quickly: one piece of advice I once received said that a short engagement gives you less time to second guess yourself! There is a limit to just how lavish a wedding can be in less than six months, but if you are comfortable working with what is available and getting creative when necessary, a beautiful, personalized, and family-oriented ceremony is more than possible! That being said, most people getting hitched in just a couple of months will set a date almost immediately. For instance, when I got engaged, we had already batted around the idea of a right-after-Thanksgiving wedding. The thought of when to set a date actually happened before the official proposal, so we were able to begin planning immediately.

 

There are so many individual circumstances that influence these choices, but regardless of what you want from your engagement and your wedding, the important factor is the person you are engaged to. If they have great reasons to wait on the date or to talk it out now, give them a fair hearing! Chances are you can come to a compromise that, like all the above scenarios, ends in a lovely day of celebration and begins the rest of your lives together.

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