4 Tips To Planning a Wedding With a Long Engagement

Every 4 years we get a leap year. Which means our year becomes just a little bit longer.

We have one more day to get things done.

One more day to plan your wedding.

But, what if you had a whole extra year to plan your wedding? Or an extra 6 months? Or an extra 3 months?

How would you use that time?

Bride and groom relaxing at their garden wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy the online wedding planning course for couples
(Photo credit: Deborah Laver Photo)

Every couple’s planning timeframe is different.

Some couples want a short engagement because they can’t wait to be married. Or some procrastinate and planning ends up becoming a much shorter timeframe.

Other couples take their time and can be engaged for years before getting married. Or some purposely have a long engagement so they can save money for the wedding.

There’s no right or wrong answer.

But if you have a long engagement, you do have more time.

And while that can seem like a good thing, it isn’t always a good thing.

There are both up sides and down sides to having a long engagement and a longer planning timeframe.

And you have to plan accordingly so that you don’t end up screwing yourself, working harder than you should or… going crazy.

So, if you’re planning for 2 or more years or even 18 months, utilize these tips to help make it easier.

4 Tips to Planning A Wedding With a Long Engagement


Because you have more time to plan your wedding, it means you have the opportunity to really utilize your time well. So instead of rushing into everything, start with the first few steps and take your time with it.

Use the extra time you have to make sure you build that solid foundation and vision for your wedding.

This means having those big discussions with your partner and your parents. And making sure you’re all on the same page.

It means getting clear on who’s invited, what your budget is and how you plan on planning your wedding.

And it also means doing your research and nailing down when and where you’re getting married.

Lanikuhonua private estate wedding venue on Oahu Hawaii with planning by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy the online wedding planning course for couples
(Photo credit: What A Day! Photography)

What you’re doing is using this extra time to really focus on the foundation for your wedding so that once you move on you know exactly what your plan is.

The foundation is always important. But when you have time to really work through it and make it super duper solid, it will only help you down the road.


Once you’re ready for it, you can start looking into both venues and vendors. But you want to focus on just doing the initial research.

You don’t want to book vendors too early because things change over the course of a year. And businesses can close. Trust me, I’ve seen it.

And that can really bite you in the butt.

So, while you don’t want to book your vendors too early (a little over a year out at most), you can start doing your research.

What you’re doing now is taking the time to understand what you like and don’t like.

This makes it easy for you down the road so you have a short list to reach out to and have conversations with when you’re ready.

Rustic wedding reception setup for a Russian River wedding in California by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy the online wedding planning course for couples
(Photo credit: Bustle and Twine)

Simultaneously while you’re doing your research, you can work on your design and the concepts, ideas and experiences you want to incorporate.

They won’t be solid things right now, but starting the process means you’ll be much more ready to make decisions when the time comes. And this will help with your vendor research as well.

Bonus Tip: While you don’t want to book vendors too early, if the timing works and there is a vendor you have to have, booking early can allow you to save some money. Wedding vendors typically adjust pricing yearly, so if you can book them right before they adjust it, you’ll get the previous year’s pricing instead.


More time to plan your wedding also means more time to obsess. And more time to debate over this or that.

One of the greatest things about a short engagement is that you’re forced to make quick decisions. But the opposite is true for a long engagement.

And decision making can be the hardest part about wedding planning.

So, to ensure you don’t drive yourself crazy, you need to not over plan. Which means not over thinking things.

Groom making an unsure funny face at a wedding in San Francisco by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy
(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)

So first, plan your wedding in chunks of time. Don’t make it an every day or every week thing, especially in the beginning.

And then pick a day or a weekend to work on some things, make decisions and then move on. And tackle each item similarly so that you’re actually moving forward.

Just because you have the time doesn’t mean you should stretch your decision making out. Instead set some deadlines, work towards those and then keep moving forward.

Creating a customized timeline for yourself will really help with this as well.

Because you don’t want to do more work with more time. You want to do the same amount of work, just spread out.


One of the biggest mistakes couples with a long engagement make is sending out save the dates too early.

Don’t do it!

You don’t want to send your save the dates until after you hit the year mark. Anytime before that is too early to let people know.

No one thinks more than a year ahead. And if you send it before the year mark, your guests may get confused thinking it’s the current year, not the upcoming one.

So do yourself a favor and just hold those save the dates. You can certainly order them early and have them ready, just don’t send them out until it’s time.

Save the date for a wedding in Hawaii by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy, the online wedding planning program for couples
(Photo credit: Day 7 Photography)

Having a long engagement is both a good thing and a bad thing. But, you can use it to your advantage if you use your time well and plan accordingly.

Follow these tips to help you and it will make it much easier.

Want to know how to make planning your wedding even easier?

Become a Passport to Joy member! We’ll guide you through the entire wedding planning process so you’ll know exactly what to do during your long engagement. Click here and join today!

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