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Coping With a Long Engagement

Hi all! This may wind up being more of a "vent" than a call for advice, but I value the opinions if those on this board and thought I'd see if anyone had any input. My FI and I got engaged this past February. Because I've always wanted a summer wedding and because my friends and family are scattered all around the country (and the globe), we decided on a July 2015 wedding. We are in our early 30s, however, and at our stage of life quicker engagements seem to be the norm. At least three other couples we know well have gotten engaged around the same time or after us, and all of them will be married by the end of the year.

I fully realize that we are not in a "race" with our friends. And I am also totally confident that we made the right choice for us--winter travel and/or travel on short notice would have been difficult for my family, and these other couples have made sacrifices (mid week weddings, rushed planning, less-than-ideal venues) that we were just not willing to make. At the same time, I feel like I'm ready to be married NOW, and it's hard sometimes to think about how we have almost another year to go. Those of you with long engagements, any tips on coping with the wait? Was it worth it or do you wish you had done something more simple sooner?

Re: Coping With a Long Engagement

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I never felt like I was "coping" with it. I was glad to have had it.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Oh girl, don't talk to me about a long engagement when you are only waiting 1.5 years!  We got engaged in Sep 2012 and will be married in May 2015.  Initially we were planning on fall 2014 but we had to move it for budget reasons.

    I'm happy we're having a long engagement because it means lots of time to save up.  We've been together for 11 years already so after waiting this long, we wanted a big celebration with all of our friends and family.  The long engagement is the only way we could do that.

    One thing that really helped me though, is that I didn't start to plan too soon.  If you start planning more than a year out, you run the risk of second-guessing yourself.  We booked the venue early and then let everything else sit until the year mark.  Now at about ten months, we are starting to think about decor.  Don't go hog wild early on and then regret your choices later!
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

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  • I had a 21 month engagement and enjoyed having the time to plan.  I didn't feel stressed or pressured to get anything done too quickly and planning in advance allowed me to carefully pick all of my vendors.  A friend of mine planned her wedding in about 9 months and was stressed the entire time. 
    simcal18
  • We got engaged in October 2012, married June 2014. 

    We went to the weddings of 4 friends in between (including one set that got engaged two weeks before we did). I was a BM and he was a GM in one of them. I'll be honest - it sucked balls. I sat there, happy for my friends, but thinking, "Holy shit, I just want to have our wedding and marriage NOW!" I remember celebrating being at the one year out mark and then realizing, "we still have a whole freaking year."

    But, there are huge perks to a long engagement. You have time to save money, you can take your wedding planning process slow and easy, you have more time to weigh options, you get to play wedding planner longer, etc. I appreciated that our planning process wasn't a mad rush. 

    Otherwise, just live your life like normal and dream about your wedding. You'll have a woe is me and my non-marriage days, and then you'll realize you made the right decision for your relationship, so it's fine. 

    And, FWIW, it will go by fast. I thought people were full of shit when they told me that, but around the two month mark I had vendors contacting me for final details and freaked out and wondered where the time went. So it wont feel like it for a while, but eventually, your wedding will smack you in the face. 
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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You're getting married in less than a year. It will go fast - seriously.

  • edited August 2014
    We've been engaged since May of 2013 and are finally going to tie the knot in November.
    We weren't able to get married sooner due to us being new to the church that we wanted to get married at (they want you to be members for at least 6 months). I'm DYING...not really...but I went through a stage where I felt like time was at a stand still. Probably around the 8 months-until the date mark.

    That being said, though, I've really appreciated having a lot of time to plan. Looking back, if we'd only had a year long engagement, I would have been way more stressed over the details and I can't imagine now how people get it done that quickly unless they have a huge budget. I was basically able to take a 4 month or more break from planning. Now that we are finally coming around the corner to the wedding being soon I'm getting super excited and all the stressful parts of planning are far over since we began so long ago.

    ETA: having a longer engagement to me also meant i was much more capable of staying within budget since I had more time to plan and pick vendors
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    simcal18
  • Thanks guys. You all make really good points. I am definitely enjoying having more flexibility with vendor choices and having time to fully think things through so that we're not too pressured/stressed. And I'm definitely a deliberator, so I need that! And good point JC about not getting ahead of ourselves. We're waiting on things like wedding party, color, style, etc. and are just focusing on getting the major vendors booked for now. This was absolutely the right choice for is. I'm just not the world's most patient person, and it's difficult sometimes not to feel like we're getting "lapped" and wonder if we're moving too slowly.
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @JCBride2015 is my life-twin. DH and I dated for over 10 years before we got engaged in March 2012. We were married last month, clocking our engagement at 2 years and 4 months. We're in our 30s as well, and short engagements are not the norm for our social group. Granted, most engagements are shorter than ours was, but 18 months is pretty average.

    Some of the most important things I learned from watching all of my other friends get married before me was that money always comes with strings and weddings can bring out the absolute worst in people. Knowing these things, DH and I wanted to pay for our entire wedding ourselves. In cash. Having the longer engagement allowed us to have all the money saved for the wedding without changing our standard of living. Granted, we cut going out to eat from 4 times a month to 3 times a month (more for fitness purposes than financial ones, tho), but we didn't have to make any big sacrifices or become hermits to have a wonderful, well-hosted, etiquette-approved Saturday evening wedding with our nearest and dearest.

    I say enjoy this extra time you've given yourselves. Take the time to enjoy just being engaged instead of trying to rush to the next step. This is a joyous and happy time for you and your FI to daydream a little bit about what you want your wedding and the rest of your lives to look like.
    ~*~*~*~*~

    JCbride2015simcal18
  • 2.5 year engagement here.  We were happy to have the long engagement, because it meant that we got to do everything we wanted, exactly the way we wanted.  It gave us time to save and plan, and instead of feeling rushed and stressed about wedding planning, we got to really take our time and enjoy it. 
    My sister got engaged and married in that 2.5 years we were engaged, and she was stressed about the timetable they set for themselves.  We had none of that.
  • I don't see that as a long engagement but then again I've been engaged for almost 6 years. I can't say we have felt like we coping. We're just happy to be together.
  • I am 31 and short engagements aren't normal for my social group either.  

    My engagement will be March 10 2013 to November 2 2014.  It is flying by.  You gotta do what is best for you!

    Pros:
    - Better on the budget
    - Get the vendors you want (and maybe even get some discounts!)
    - You can do plenty of research
    - You will feel less rushed if you space out your planning.

    Cons:
    - You'll have everything done in advance so the homestretch will be agonizing (I have done all I can do right now so I am forced to wait and I hate it)
    - Sometimes vendors won't want to talk to you if you book too far out
    - Sometimes circumstances change, and booking too early can throw a wrench into things.

    You are right.  It isn't a race.  Everyone is different.  Could I have planned an April 2014 wedding?  Sure.  I would be a bit more discombobulated, but I would have got it done.  I appreciate the extra 6 months or so to plan though because I like to take my time with things and so does FI.
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  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
    Moderator 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    FI's sister will have been engaged 6 years by the time she gets married this October. She said that she enjoyed it because she was able to save and also explore many options in planning. She had time to look at EVERY detail and also compare vendors and pricing. Her and her FI had dated for a little over a year when she got engaged and she wanted to finish school first and also to be with him longer. Don't get me wrong she is glad it is finally here, but she did enjoy it for the most part.

  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I've been engaged for over two years. It kind of feels like it was just yesterday. I am still really excited that it's finally so close but I needed all that time to get everything done!
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  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Everyone else has been spot-on with advice. Engaged March 2013, to be married September 2014. Currently 31 years old and FI will be 35 right after the wedding. I'm really glad to have the time to save the extra money and be disciplined about it. Having a goal is helpful. Plus, I feel like many things aren't even coming out of a "wedding budget" simply because I'm buying things in a month where my level of disposable income is good (for example, bridesmaid gifts). The long engagement is great for breathing time. I haven't felt much stress at all because we haven't rushed anything. Now that it's close, I feel like the days are crawling and I just want the event over with... but that's such a first-world problem. :)
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  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    We got engaged at Christmas and are getting married in October. We had 2 deaths on my side right as we got engaged and FI's mom was very ill so we decided to hurry things up.

    I regret that. I'm excited to be married quickly but I'd love to have more time for planning and enjoying the process more. It seems like work trying to get everything done and I can see myself having a lot more fun if it was less of a race.

    Enjoy the time you have.
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  • falsarafalsara Northside of Chicago member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    Got engaged March 2013 - getting Married May 2016.  It's over three years but we have some other life events that have happened/ are coming up.  I'm booking my venue in September but other than the big things like, photographers and DJs we're taking our sweet time.  The time has helped us really weigh our options and plan the wedding around our regular lives.  It also means that we have more time to save money and because we're planning from out of state it really helps us look at all our options before we meet with vendors in person.  I didn't do ANY planning or looking at ANY wedding stuff until just this summer.  The only reason I started this soon is because of the fact that our date is non-negotiable (my birthday), and we want to make sure we lock in our vendors before they're taken. Enjoy being engaged!!!!!

                                               

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  • raissyraisraissyrais London member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I'm sorry but your wedding is in May? Upcoming May? Engaged earlier this year? I admit it might be a little longer than "classic" engagement time but it hardly qualifies as a "long engagement". I got engaged Sept 1st 2012 and will be married January 10th 2015 (finally!!!) and that was long and still feels long cause there's 5 months more to go.

    That aside, a longer engagement is great because you will have extra time to save and pay for everything wedding and it'll feel delectable when you'll be the only one married that summer! Like you said, it is not a race, and nobody should be telling you to get married before your ready time. Enjoy being engaged to one another :)
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  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We were on a similar timeline.  Engaged Dec 2010, married March 2012, in our 30/40's.  We originally looked at March 2011, over spring break in Hawaii.  We waited a year to give our guests time to plan if they wanted to join us.  

    I just enjoyed being engaged.  I only plan on doing it once, so I used the excuse to buy useless wedding magazines, shop for dresses, plan stuff and show off my ring.  By the end, I was done and ready to be married, but I'm glad I didn't feel like I missed on any of the engaged things people get to do.  
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  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    We are hardcore procrastinators so we have a long engagement and it's awesome. 
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  • FH and I got engaged November 2013 and are getting married January 2016, so I know all about long engagements. I think I may be one of the only 2016 brides around the boards. We wanted our wedding in January and Jan 2015 seemed too close for us.

    From experience, I know that it sucks feeling impatient and wanting to get married sooner. It's also kind of frustrating when everyone else is getting married before you, and especially when people constantly comment on the long engagement (I've gotten some particularly snarky comments about it). But think about it this way: You have a long time to plan your wedding with your FI and hopefully lower some of the stress that comes with planning because you can plan little by little. Plus, the two of you can relax and really enjoy your engagement. 

    You are absolutely right, being engaged is not some race that you and FH play against everyone in your social circle. It's not easy but it will indeed be worth it, I'm sure.

    Best of luck :)


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  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited August 2014

    I haven't read all the response yet, but we got engaged September 2009 and married October 2012.  We actually really enjoyed having the long time to plan.

    We were able to save, not feel rushed and have the wedding we wanted.  It also meant that we got a lot of stuff out of the way early.  Guessing by your username - we are also in the Boston area and a very touristy area.  It made it possible to have the venue and locations we wanted.

    Trust me, not feeling "OMG all these details!" in the few months leading up to the wedding were wonderful.  We could truly enjoy the planning and not stress.  Everything came together perfectly.

     ETA - we were 37/38 when we got married.

     

  • I had a long engagement so all wedding vendors would be paid in full. Do what y'all are comfortable with.
  • I have huge respect for all of you that have been engaged so long - i would have driven myself crazy with the waiting!!!  We were engaged Dec 2013 and got married last month.  6.5 months was MORE than enough time to do everything we needed!  That said though, it's definitely not the norm for shorter engagements and most of our friend have been really glad that they had more time and flexibility with a long engagement.  I'm sure you're engagement and wedding will be great!
  • I had an 18 month engagement. Honestly, once you hit the 1 year mark it flies by. it'll be Christmas before you know it and suddenly it will be the year you get married! try not to be too bummed out, it'll go quick and all of a sudden you'll be like "oh crap...It's over!"
  • I also had a 18 month engagement that at the time we booked felt like it was a lifetime away, but it went by FAST! Also - being engaged is fun and exciting! Random people will congratulate you and are happy and excited, as soon as you are married no one really cares. I am not the type that likes a lot of attention (I am not shy at all but like being a part of groups vs standing out) but the engagement attention was fun!
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  • DH and I had a year and a half engagement. Sometimes it felt like it was too long, but for the first 9 months that we were engaged we were living long distance and it wasn't really feasible to do too much planning in LA for a Michigan wedding.

    On the other hand, my cousin got engaged about a year ago, and has almost 2 years to go until their wedding. It works for them because she's in PA school and life and all that business. It's been hard on her this summer though, going to so many weddings, including mine. She has seen so many close friends and family getting married and she's ready for it to be her turn. Her and her FI have been together for at least 7 years, so they're on the 'nice and easy track' anyway. (Although after our wedding, I heard from my mom that looked into upping their wedding date because our wedding made her want to get married, like, now.)
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  • I can definitely relate with you on long engagements. My FI and I have been engaged since July 2012, and our wedding date is December 20th, 2015. I never thought I would be engaged this long, but know that in the end we will be getting married. 
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  • FI and I got engaged in February, won't be married until Oct 2015. We did this because we wanted a fall wedding, we wanted a big wedding, and we wanted to be skinny(er) for our wedding. Right now we're both sort of over 'being engaged' and want to be married. But we know, 10 years down the road, all this extra time won't matter. We'll be more happy about having taken the time to make sure we could host all of our friends and family on our special day.

    Note: This is not to say that smaller weddings are bad, in my opinion. We've talked about going to the courthouse and just doing it. But we want to have our families there, and our friends, and this is the route we found to do it.

    You'll get there before you know it.

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