Engagement - The Long and Short of It

(September 2017)

What's the perfect length for an engagement? There's a lot of leeway. More than ten days, less than ten years; I think we can all agree on that. But if the extremes are obvious, there are certainly grey areas at either end.

The age of the bride and groom can come into play. High school sweethearts who find each other early but recognize the benefit of gaining some life experience and easing into adulthood before taking the plunge might be applauded for waiting half a decade between rings 1 and 2. But a forty year old lifelong singleton with a broody partner can expect to have their motives questioned if they push their wedding day back by more than the gap between Leap Years.

A short engagement of, say, six months or less, could indicate that you are one kick-ass party organiser, utterly undaunted by the pressures of wedding planning. And if your relationship has lasted a decade without talk of marriage, nobody's going to bat an eyelid if your engagement period is little more than a formality.

But if a six months of betrothal doubles the entire length of your love affair, eyebrows will be raised, and a little well-intentioned teasing is to be expected. After all, marriage is a big decision, and friends should be looking out for each other. So if one of you comes back from a weekend in Vegas with a new wife called Mindy, it's not just the feathers on her stage costume that'll fly.

If you're the Best Man or the Father of the Bride with a speech to give, things don't have to be so black and white. There's a lot of fun to be had teasing the bride and groom about the length of their engagement, and almost any duration can be spun to sound either recklessly short or absurdly long with the right turn of phrase. You don't even need to be specific, as the examples below show. Just remember the golden rule - target the groom, not his new wife. Paint him as subservient, by all means, but never make the bride look shrewish, or you can kiss goodbye to boys' nights out after the honeymoon's over.

Longer Jokes For Long Engagements

  1. Paul and Linda have been engaged for years! Too long, some people might think. But Linda knew what she was doing. When you're looking at a lifetime with someone like Paul, it's important to make absolutely sure you can't do any better!

  1. When Linda brought Paul home, her mother and father could quickly see that they were perfect for each other. In fact, over the years, they often wondered how long it would take for them to realise that themselves and get married. I suppose, now that they have their answer, one thing is for certain; Linda will never leave Paul. I mean, why spend seven years training a dog, then hand him over to another shepherd? Not when he's such a good boy! Who's a good boy? You are! Yes you are! Good Paul. Sit! And stay!

  1. Did you know, it's been a full eight years since Paul put an engagement ring on Linda's finger. Since then, there've been 316 number ones, 3 general elections, 3 Olympics and 8 series of Britain's Got Talent. And if Linda had paid attention to any of those things, she might have realised in time that there was more for her out there! Too late now, Linda. Too late.

And Short Jokes For Short Engagements

  1. It wasn't a long engagement. They could have boiled the eggs for today's buffet on the day they met, and they'd still be fresh.

  1. I know Paul and Linda haven't been engaged for that long, but I'd like to take a moment to quash a rumour that's going around, and reassure everyone in the room that this marriage isn't just an Uber ride-share from last Saturday night that got out of hand.

  1. Much like their engagement, Paul and Linda's very first night together was fast and furious… Paul was fast, and Linda was furious!