One of the first questions I often get when asked about my wedding, is
“Why are you waiting so long to get married?”
In the beginning it was because May 2013 would mark an even 10 years since Senior Prom; our first “date”, essentially, even though we didn’t really start going steady until 7 years later.
However, over the course of those 24 months between “Will you marry me” and “I do”, I’ve realized that a two year engagement was one of the best decisions we ever made, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to plan a wedding on a budget. Why?
How a long engagement can help your wedding budget
1) Time to build up your savings = If you’re planning a budget wedding (or a wedding within your means, see here), a large factor is probably that you don’t want to go into your marriage in debt. With a 2 year engagement, you can actively save for a wedding, and even if you do something small ($25 a week) that adds up to $2,400 in 2 years. As I mentioned here (add post), in an ideal scenario, we would use 10% of our total savings. In my final recap, I’ll show how we ended up under budget!
2) Time to find sale items = We got so many items on the cheap; scouring yard sales, using Groupon and Vistaprint, going through newspapers for 60% off coupons at Michaels & AC Moore, and buying post-holiday décor at 70-90% off. If we were planning on a tighter time frame, I know that we’d end up rushing last minute and having to pay full price on items that we easily could get for less.
3) Time to get skinny = Those bridal boot camps to lose unwanted fat on your arms, legs, and abs can end up costing you an arm and leg! I didn’t want to pay those premiums, so I’ve been cutting calories and working out to fitness DVDs that I bought on sale. Down 20 pounds, and didn’t have to pay $50 a session for those results!
4) Ability to negotiate/choose vendors = I might get some slack for this, but I would advise you shop around and negotiate prices when it comes to choosing your vendors. Now, I feel as though trying to ask for 50% off because your wedding is on a Sunday afternoon is just pushing it, but cutting 5-15% from the base cost of each vendor can drastically save you some dollars. The longer your engagement, the more time you have for negotiation.
5) Get your money’s worth with your engagement ring = I planned on wearing my engagement ring only during my engagement, so the idea of a short engagement made me think “what, even if I wear that ring every day for 6 months; it becomes a monthly cost of $100!”, with a 2 year engagement, it ended up being less than a dollar a day!
6) Time to just chill = this isn’t specific to those on a budget, but I can honestly say that being able to relax and just spend time with my favorite gentleman, without having every other conversation be about wedding planning has been really nice.
Remember, you're going to spend the rest of your life married, but you're only going to be engaged for a little while; ENJOY it.
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.