When news broke of Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton last week, questions began to fly immediately. What did the ring look like? Where would the ceremony be held? And when was the big day? The answers came fast: it was Diana's sapphire and diamond engagement ring, chosen by William so that his mother could be involved in his happiness. The ceremony would be held at Westminster Abbey, and the wedding would take place on April 29th, 2011.
The answer to the last in particular has raised a few eyebrows. Six months? It's a challenge to plan a regular wedding in six months, much less a lavish royal affair. It seems William and Kate are confident they can, and they're joined by a small but growing army of brides who've scrapped the traditional year or longer engagement in favor of a six-month quickie.
The decision may be unusual, but short engagements have some significant benefits that can make them worth considering.
1) Short engagements keep you realistic and focused. When you're engaged for a short period, the prep process is less about "planning the best wedding ever" and more about "getting married soon." This can be very helpful for both procrastinators and nervous brides, because the necessity of quick action prevents the wedding from turning into The Wedding.
A short engagement requires a bit of flexibility, so if you're the girl who's had her church, deejay and bouquet picked out for years, you might struggle with not getting everything you want. But if you're ready to be wedded already, and willing to work with what you've got, a short engagement can an be incredibly gratifying approach to tying the knot. Decisions get made (because they have to!), things get booked, and you avoid the "ugh, am I still planning this?" feeling that brides-to-be often complain about. Second-Hand Wedding Dresses: Sad or Savvy?
2) Short engagements set expectations for friends and family members. A six-month engagement sends a clear message that the wedding is about your loving union, not outspending the Prince of Wales or impressing the neighbors. It sets hard limits, and the people who love you will have to abide them. A short engagement leaves little time for planning to spiral out of control, and when you don't want to do something, you can always say that you're committed to keeping things simple because your engagement is so short. This can be handy if you have an overbearing mom who wants to live Barbie's Dream Wedding vicariously through you or proud but pushy grandparents who will insist on inviting their entire church choir to sing at the wedding.
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