May 27th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Whether you’ve been waiting for what feels like a lifetime for a proposal, or been whisked off your feet in a whirlwind romance, once that engagement ring is firmly on your finger exactly how long should you wait before getting hitched?
There is of course, no wrong or right answer to this, it’s a case of personal preference, but there are various planning elements that a couple should take into account when setting a date.
We see our creative readers planning their dream weddings over the course of a number of years, months and, in some cases, just weeks, and all do a fabulous job. But if you’re not sure how long to wait between saying “I will” and “I do” then today’s Big Debate could help you decide on the ideal time planning scale, as we discuss the possible pros and cons of a short engagement vs a long engagement.
Image by Alyssa Nikole Photography
rachel says: don’t feel the need for speed
I’m certainly not getting any younger and so can’t quite believe that I’m in favour of a longer engagement. However, one of my main reasons for taking such a stance is having seen first-hand the pressure planning a wedding in a matter of months can cause the bride and groom-to-be. Nobody wants a pre-wedding meltdown.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that the engagement be drawn out over the course of five or more, or even three or more years, really (or I might never get my man down the aisle!). But what I am advising is that couples take their time to ensure they are making the right decisions (weddings are a pricey business so nobody wants regrets) and that they also take the time to enjoy the planning process. As I see it the wedding day is just that – a day – so the run up to the event should be made memorable too – enjoy viewing venues, going to open days and tastings, and include your friends and family in the excitement also!
In most cases I’d say spend at least a year planning, though I think for me, 18 months to two years may be closer to the mark (sorry mum). Not only to save up (with a house move next on our agenda), but also to ensure we can secure the venue and suppliers that we want. Talented photographers in particular tend to get booked up a year or more in advance, especially if you are planning to wed on a popular date or in ‘peak season’, but florists, caterers and bands can also have super packed diaries.
The key is to make sure that you don’t go the other way and have an engagement that’s too long or you can run the risk of losing a little momentum on the way and you also face the danger of changing your mind about things as you have too much time to think things over.
So I say once he’s put a ring on it, set a date that’s achievable and that gives you enough time to think about what you want, secure your first choice suppliers and to enjoy the build-up. Just don’t take too long about it so that couples around you start to steal your thunder, or even worse, your ideas!
Image by Chris Rowland Photography
julia says: take your marks, get wed
It took me 18 months from proposal to “I Do” to get down that aisle. Factors such as cost (like, duh!), other close friends’ wedding dates and a general desire to enjoy every moment of the planning process contributed to this decision. However, if I was to do it all over again I’d give myself a year -max – or even go for a shorter still planning process.
Ok, in my line of work it’s easy for me to say, I know. I have bridal contacts coming out of my ears, and would know my go-to professionals to pull off my dream day almost immediately. In fact, I honestly reckon that I could plan a knock your socks off wedding in just a week (sample gowns at the ready of course)! Anyone dare me to try?
However, I know that most people aren’t in the same position and in any case, might like to deliberate and enjoy the bride-to-be spotlight for just a teeny bit longer than that. But come on girls, let’s keep our foot on the ignition.
To me, a shorter engagement is just that bit more lovely. It says whirlwind, romance and “Sod the timescales for a bespoke gown, I just can’t wait to be married to you”! It takes the pressure off decision making (no time to deliberate for months about just the right shade of eau-de-nil), sorts out your true friends from the crowd (they’d be at your hen party at an hour’s notice, let alone a few weeks) and keeps the adrenalin pumping.
It might also save you a little bit of money if you are prepared – or forced – to be flexible and can take advantage of last minute deals. I’ll caveat this by advising that if there’s a very particular something – the venue and frock are usually the biggest deal breakers – or someone – like a band, photographer or officiant – that your wedding day will just be ruined without, book them as early as humanely possible and work the rest of the planning around that decision.
So I say, what’s the delay? You put a ring on it, now just go get hitched already!
Image by India Earl Photography
what you said on social
Diane says: “Having waited eight years for a proposal I didn’t want to waste any time so chose a date that has given us just six months to plan the wedding. It’s been hectic but enjoyable, plus I find I work better under pressure.”
Lisa says: “We had our hearts set on a wedding during August Bank Holiday as it’s the month that we first met and thought we could spread the celebrations over the long weekend. Unfortunately our dream venue didn’t have availability for the date until 2018, which will mean that we will have had a three year engagement. I don’t mind though, gives us plenty of time to get all elements spot on – and some things are worth waiting for!”
Isabelle says: “We got engaged five years ago after having our first child together – we couldn’t afford the wedding that we wanted at that point but wanted to show that we were committed to each other. I’m just in the early stages of planning now and it will be another 18 months until we actually tie the knot but I’ve got lots of inspiration over the past few years and we are now in a position to have the wedding we’ve been dreaming of.”
May 26th, 2016 | Julia Braime
This afternoon on the blog we’re sharing the beautiful pre-wedding shoot and love story of newlyweds Yasmin and Jordan.
Captured within autumnal leafy surroundings and beautiful gardens in Liverpool, these images literally pop of the page and the true, natural feelings that these two have for each other simply beam through. Just stunning!
With images by Amy & Omid Photography.
yasmin says: We got engaged in April last year, we had a beautiful weekend with both of our families in Norfolk. It was characterised by lots of singing and good food! We both felt ready to get married and once we consulted our parents and had their approval, we were engaged!
Our wedding was at Northbrook Park in January 2016, on a beautiful, bright day. Our families contributed in every aspect and helped us to create an unforgettable atmosphere of love.
We first met back in August 2012. We had both volunteered to help facilitate a week-long Bahai workshop for young people striving to better their communities through service to others.
We then started a beautiful process of getting to know each other and finding out about each other’s characters, on both an emotional and spiritual level. For a year we were apart when I lived in Zambia, but we used the time to establish a deep lasting friendship, which became the foundation of our love.
May 24th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Sometimes things are just meant to be – and judging by how today’s couple got together we’d say it was written in the stars for these two.
Taking place in the urban surroundings of Leeds city centre, husband and wife-to-be Dave and Sarah, wanted their pre-wedding shoot, which they are sharing with us today, to be cool, edgy and fun. Given all the giggles, smiles and laughter, it looks like their photographer Jenny, nailed the brief.
With images by Jenny Maden Photography.
sarah says: Dave proposed while we were in Ibiza at a beautiful restaurant called Sa Capella, which we return to each year! It was a complete surprise to me, and very emotional, as I’d always said after losing my dad I couldn’t do it without him walking me down the aisle.
We plan to marry on my dad’s birthday this year at Leeds Town Hall and will then move onto The Liquorist for the reception. We don’t want lots of fuss – just a cool event to round together everyone we love and who has had a positive impact on our time together.
We first met 16 years ago in a club that neither of us have ever been back to! I was with the girls, hitting the dancefloor – and that’s where I met Dave. We laughed and chatted most of the night – my first words to him were “Ooo you’re a mover”! We never kissed or exchanged numbers. However, after that night he had a work placement in Leeds (the only time he’s ever worked in Leeds city centre) and he walked past Toni & Guy where I worked at the time, hoping to catch me. He saw me through the window, laughing with a client and sent me a calla lily with a note asking to see me again.
May 10th, 2016 | Julia Braime
This morning we have a super fun pre-wedding shoot to share with you all that we absolutely love!
Husband and wife-to-be Tim and Natalie, chose a vintage railway in Cheshire as the backdrop to the shoot which they wanted to have a transport/travel feel to fit in with the theme they have planned for their upcoming wedding.
As well as providing the perfect opportunity for them to get comfortable in front of the camera, Tim and Natalie also used the shoot to secure some gorgeous and natural shots for their save the dates to send out to guests, getting them all excited for the big day to come!
With images by Emma Hillier Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged in London 2014, we were there for the Winter Wonderland with Christmas being our favourite time of year since our first holiday in New York together.
Now not that Tim knew this, but I’d actually found a picture of a ring on his iPad early 2014. We had holidayed in Dubai in the May and Barbados in July. In anticipation of a proposal I had bought a whole new wardrobe for each and thought ‘this is it’ every time he asked me to go for a walk along the beach. By the December, the picture of the ring had disappeared and so had my hope of getting engaged. Little did I know Tim had invited my dad round for a curry and beers to ask if he could marry me.
Off we set of to London on the train, where in hindsight the signs were there, not leaving his holdall out of arms reach, insisting that he got the fizz we had packed out of holdall when I was closer, and constantly asking me when I was ready to go out for dinner. Then as I was putting on my necklace in the mirror, I hadn’t noticed he was hovering behind me until I turned around and he had disappeared down onto one knee. I was so surprised when I saw the ring, it wasn’t the one in the picture, it was even more gorgeous!
We have set the date for 31st March 2017 and picked Colshaw Hall in Knutsford, as our venue.
May 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
This morning we meet husband and wife-to-be Ian and Leah, as they share with us their love story and the results of their stunning engagement shoot. Set to tie the knot in the Lake District later this month (how exciting!), Ian and Leah used their pre-wedding shoot as an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera.
We love the varied backdrops that the pretty Yorkshire town of Whitby provided for this shoot – from rugged countryside and coastal shots to sweet cobbled streets and passageways!
With images by Nicola Helen Photography.
leah says: We got engaged at The Great Langdales, in the Lake District. It was Valentine’s Day last year, which is our anniversary, and Ian had booked a surprise weekend away. He took me to our favourite place to walk ‘Blea Tarn’ in the Langdales. I had no clue he was going to pop the question so when he did, he picked his moment well! The spot where he proposed was perfect and secluded. It was the first time I was lost for words!
We will be returning to The Great Langdales in May for our wedding, which will be held at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.
Ian and I first met when we were set up on a blind date! We met for a drink in the Dickens Inn, Middlesborough, then went to a place called Alfornos for food. It was a little awkward as it was a blind date with no back up to escape if we didn’t like each other! Thankfully we really hit it off and met for a coffee a few days later. The rest is history!
April 27th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon we’re sharing the stunning engagement shoot of newlyweds Joel and Layla, which took place in the historic city of York. Before their recent wedding in Swansea, Joel and Layla made the trip to Yorkshire for their pre-wed shoot with the hope of gaining some beautiful images that would remind them of the earlier years of their relationship
Looking at these super sweet pics we think it’s safe to say that they accomplished their goal!
With images by Ronnie & Rose Photography.
joel says: We got engaged after I returned from a trip to Vanuatu. I was meant to be there for three months but ended up needing to cut my time there short and when I got back to the UK I surprised Layla by proposing to her with a ring carved out of a special nut that is grown in Vanuatu!
Our wedding day was on September 7th 2015, back in Layla’s hometown in Swansea, South Wales, by the beach.
We first met at a conference in London in August 2013. The conference was about how young people can contribute to society and become involved in community building initiatives.
Our first date was at a little pizza place on Southbank. We had never actually called it a ‘date’ but I think inside we both knew that it was! We ended up sitting on a bench along the river until the early hours of the morning when we realised the time and had to rush home.
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