What's the Right Amount of Time for a Couple to Be Engaged?

What's the Right Amount of Time for a Couple to Be Engaged?

Vanderpump Rules' Stassi Schroeder says she's already planning her wedding to Beau Clark.

By Marianne Garvey
Stassi Schroeder, Beau Clark engaged

Stassi Schroeder and Beau Clark are officially engaged, and Stassi's been planning her wedding in her head since the moment it happened. Probably before, actually.

Beau popped the question to the Vanderpump Rules podcaster on July 31 — and she's already thinking babies.

Following the proposal, Stassi gushed to The Daily Dish, "We are freaking engaged! This was the perfect proposal. I got engaged in a cemetery, in a graveyard. This literally couldn't be more romantic. I'm so happy!"

So ... now what? When is a wedding "supposed" to take place? How long is too long (or short) to be engaged?

Personal Space asked relationship expert Fran Greene, author of Dating Again With Courage and Confidence, what the rule is. And even though there really is no perfect rule, Greene gave us a guideline. 

"Engagement lets the world know that the two of you are soon to be wed. It’s a very special time for the couple because it’s the beginning of planning your life together. Couples have asked me, 'How long should we be engaged?' The typical range of engagement is six to 24 months," Greene said, adding, "Ideally, 12 to 15 months is optimum."

She explained that's plenty of time to plan a wedding and process the idea that the two of you will be spending the rest of your life together.

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I made it out past midnight.

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"The most important variable is that both of you have the same goal as to when to get married. If the discrepancy is a huge one, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart talk. It’s essential that you have an honest conversation about what is holding one of you back. Perhaps there are underlying issues that have not been addressed which has caused the stalling."

Greene said there are drawbacks to having a long engagement period, like two years.

"The wedding planning process can become so over the top because there is just too much time to plan. On rare occasions, the bride or groom gets cold feet and backs out. One could argue that having a long engagement prevented a divorce or, if the engagement was shorter, the marriage would have happened. Long engagements can take away the thrill and excitement because it goes on too long. Since wedding planning is inherently stressful, a long engagement could exacerbate the stress."

Reasons a wedding may come much later?

"Wedding dates are often scheduled around work schedules, graduating from college or professional schools, other family members getting married, financial considerations, health issues, being deployed in the military. For older couples, some may postpone their wedding if one of their children is getting married," Greene said.

"During the engagement period, the highlight is planning the wedding, bachelor/bachelorette party, shower, honeymoon, rehearsal dinner. Some couples pick out all the essentials they want for starting a home and register their wishes online or at their favorite stores. It’s the perfect time to share your dreams, hopes, and expectations for your life together. Since two families will be blended it’s the perfect time for the immediate family to meet each other and get to know each other before the wedding. If you are not living together, finding a place to live and decorating is often a big part of the engagement period," she added.

"Most importantly, remember to cherish the one you love and know that there will be some differences in opinion during the wedding planning process. This is the perfect time to compromise and and blend your needs as an individual and as a couple," Greene concluded.

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