Wednesday, 4 January 2012
How Long Should An Engagement Be?
I'M sipping a latte waiting to go on Fred MacAulay's BBC Radio Scotland show to discuss the ideal length of engagement.
I hope you don't mind me running a few thoughts past you in preparation.
A year to 18 months I'd say is a perfect time from proposal to big day, while anything less than six months is folly. The average period has fallen from 18 to 15 months.
You need time to prepare for your wedding; also to enjoy being a fiancee.
Seriously, milk it. People treat you like royalty.
It was December 2010. Jamie had got down on bended knee the night before and we decided to celebrate with an impromptu visit to Scott's restaurant in Mayfair.
The door man was polite but couldn't help laugh when I said we hadn't booked. "It's the last Friday before Christmas - one of the busiest days of the year. I don't fancy your chances."
"But I just got engaged," I proffered with best Bambi eyes.
Bang. He was a romantic Irishman with a twinkle in his eye. "On you go, tell the man on the desk, see what he says."
A flash of the rock later and we were seated at the bar, drinking a silver tankard of Black Velvet and went on to have a magical time.
On this note, if you venture to Scott's I'd recommend a stool at the bar which is the centrepiece of the room if you like informality - a later pre-booked visit seated at a table wasn't nearly as much fun.
If only I'd known the power of "please let me in, I just got engaged" I'd have used it ad nauseam when I was showbiz reporter, at all those parties at which I was persona non grata.
Being engaged for under six months is also also advised against by wedding planners, unless your organising is minimal.
As for being engaged too long, what's the point?
Unless there's a stellar reason - saving up for the average wedding cost alone is estimated to set you back £20,248 in 2012 - anything over three years is ominous.
Young couples may not be in a rush but hurray for romance and him saying you're the only woman for him; that he can't wait to be your husband. If he was sure enough to propose, why wait around?
Actually, this brings me to one male pal who got engaged "to buy time" and "get her off my back."
Three years later, she tired of asking for a date and left for his older cousin who was far more amenable to settling down.
If you don't set a date int he first year of engagement - perhaps six months even - I reckon the chances are far higher you'll never make it down the aisle.
I give you welsh beauty Katherine Jenkins who last week split with her presenter fiance Gethin Jones. Or Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding who ended her engagement to DJ Tom Crane last year.
Both couples were betrothed but there was no ink in the diary.
A possible cause could be that after initial celebrations many couples report increased bickering.
This could be the manifestation of fear and realisation this is for life; or arguing over wedding plans.
If no date is set, the doubt may increase that either or both of you actually want to go ahead.
Relationship experts advise sharing thoughts with your other half, for engagement could mean very different things to each party.
They say women envisage their wedding dress if the first date goes well. Clearly a sweeping statement given I still have trouble picturing the day.
But it's logical to think about the future - being a bride, having a family, growing old together - when he proposes. Conversely, he might be broody as hell but you can't stand the thought of having children.
I've had a few discussions and concessions to make myself. We both have. But I'll save that for another time.