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How Long Should a Wedding Engagement Be?

There is no hard and fast rule regarding how long a wedding engagement should be. Traditionally the point of a wedding engagement was to allow the couple plenty of time to get to know one another. Dating and relationships have changed dramatically over the years and today people tend to become both physically and emotionally more intimate with one another quicker than they did many years ago. Regardless of the situation any couple that intend to marry can benefit from taking the time to spend together and learn as much about the other person as possible.

There is a great deal that happens between the time that a couple announces their engagement and the day of the wedding. After the big announcement family members from both sides must meet each other and there is plenty of discussions to be had about money, goals, children (childbearing and childrearing), and what is sometimes referred to as “household-blending.” These events tend to be stressful and can put added strain on a relationship so a period of engagement tests each individual and lets both individuals see for themselves how the other handles this type of pressure. Another reason that an engagement is important is that it takes a certain amount of time to plan a wedding. This also invites stress, as other family members often want to be a part of the wedding planning.

A wedding engagement should last long enough that those closest to you, such as your immediate family and closest friends can have time to get to know the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. This also works for the other person as well. Keep in mind that by merging together as a married couple you are also merging two families together to be come in-laws of each others.

If this is your second marriage and you have children who still live at home then you may need to set aside even more time for your children to get to know the other person. Trust takes time after all and in wanting your children to see how much you love your future spouse you also want them to welcome this person into the home that they share with you.

Studies have shown that people who marry in their 40s, 50s and 60s, whether it be their first or second marriage, tend to have the shortest engagement while those in their 20s and 30s take more time. Younger people need more time to save for their weddings and also are involved in building their careers. As well there tends to be more feelings of doubt and uncertainty with twenty and thirty-something's. Younger people often have engagements that last anywhere from one to three years while for those older it is common for weddings to take place after a three to six month engagement. After all is said and done the length of a wedding engagement is dependent on the unique situation of the two people involved.

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