What Is Engagement Season? What to Know and How to Prepare

We've got the stats to back it up.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Dec 15, 2023

You might not be aware, but there's such a thing as engagement season. This is the time of year when the majority of marriage proposals take place, but engagement season (also called proposal season) means different things for the proposer and the proposee. One person is dutifully preparing to ask one of the most important life questions to their significant other, while the other is anxiously preparing for that exciting day. With the help of The Knot Real Weddings Study and The Knot Engagement & Jewelry Study, we're sharing the latest engagement season statistics to shed light on exactly when and how real couples are proposing—and how that can influence your own proposal. Here's what we think you should know before you propose, including what engagement season is, the exact time of year that most people get engaged and how to hire proposal vendors. Plus, four tips on what to do if you suspect your partner is about to ask for your hand in marriage this proposal season.

What Is Engagement Season?

Engagement season is the time of year when most couples get engaged (and when you're most likely to see your social media pages filled with engagement announcements). This time frame isn't the same as the wedding season, which is when a majority of engaged couples get married, typically between summer and early fall.

When Is Engagement Season?

Generally, engagement season takes place from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, with Christmas proposals being a popular option for many couples. According to The Knot Engagement & Jewelry study, about 20% of couples get engaged between November and February, and 7% of proposals take place on or near a holiday, like Christmas or the Fourth of July. It makes sense that engagements tend to happen during this time frame, since many couples spend the holidays with family, making it an opportune time to celebrate the engagement with loved ones.

Things to Do Before Proposing

Proposing to the love of your life is a big deal, so you want to make sure you do it right. Read below to learn how to prepare a marriage proposal.

Talk to your partner about the future.

You and your partner should be on the same page for your future together as much as possible. It's important to have conversations throughout your pre-engaged relationship about a myriad of topics, from having kids to living together. According to The Knot Jewelry & Engagement Study, prior to getting engaged, 50% of couples have owned a pet together, 71% of couples lived together, 76% talked about political affiliations and 86% spoke about the possibility of having children together in the future. Discussing finances has become the most important topic overall, with 88% of couples speaking about managing their money before getting engaged.

You should also ensure that your partner is comfortable with getting married and feels ready to take the next step. The Knot Jewelry & Engagement Study found that 88% of couples discussed one aspect of their wedding before getting engaged. Not only does this help reassure you that you're proposing to someone that wants to be married, but it also helps you and your significant other have a foundation for your future wedding planning. So take the time to speak with your partner about what's important to you and listen to their thoughts too, before popping the question. Remember, communication is key.

Ask your S.O. if they want to be involved in the ring selection process.

If you're planning to purchase a ring ahead of engagement season, keep in mind that it's common for couples to discuss engagement ring options in advance. According to The Knot Jewelry & Engagement Study, 78% of proposees say they were involved in selecting or purchasing their engagement ring in some way, with 8 in 10 proposers reporting that their significant other dropped hints about their ring preferences. Shopping for the engagement ring together isn't unheard of either, with 28% of couples saying that they intentionally looked at rings together before the proposal. We suggest asking your partner directly if they want to be involved—and if so, what kind of engagement ring they would like far ahead of when you plan to propose. This way, you'll keep your partner on their toes about the timing of the proposal, but you'll still feel confident that they were able to weigh in on the type of ring they'd ultimately like.

Start saving money.

Once you've figured out what kind of ring your partner wants, you can start saving money to make a purchase. On average, the cost of an engagement ring in 2023 was $5,500, which is slightly lower than recent years (for comparison, the average engagement ring cost was $6,000 in 2021). Setting an engagement ring budget before you start shopping can help you decide what you can reasonably afford. The Knot Jewelry & Engagement Study showed that 77% of proposers had a budget and 94% of propers paid for the engagement ring on their own. Having a budget decreases your chances of overspending, which can take away from your wedding budget.

Plan the proposal.

The most important thing you need to do to prepare for your proposal during engagement season is to plan the proposal. Think about what your partner loves and what their dream proposal would be. The key to pulling off an epic proposal is to make it as unique and personal to your partner as possible. Does your partner love watching movies and spending time outdoors? Set up a projector screen outside with blankets, pillows, their favorite foods and play their favorite movies before popping the question. Remember to keep their likes and desires at heart when deciding how to propose.

Your next step is to decide if you need any wedding vendors for the proposal. This isn't a necessary addition and depends on your budget, but The Knot Jewelry & Engagement Study found that 1 in 4 proposers hired a vendor or vendors to help with the proposal. Not only will enlisting the help of professional vendors help you make the proposal extra-special, but it can also relieve some of the pressure of doing it all by yourself. You can find amazing secret proposal photographers to take engagement photos, florists, musicians and much more on The Knot Vendor Marketplace.

Finally, figure out what you're going to say during the proposal. You can go the traditional route and say, "Will you marry me" at the end of your speech (88% of proposers do) or do your own thing. But no matter what you do, make sure you speak from the heart and practice your speech before the big day. By rehearsing ahead of time, you'll feel less nervous on the proposal day. But don't feel worried about stumbling over your words––it's an emotional moment full of excitement and jitters, it happens.

Talk about possible wedding dates.

If you've already discussed a potential engagement with your partner, a conversation about future wedding plans may have come up once or twice (if not, that's okay too). You might have an idea of when you want the wedding to take place, like a specific season or month, which can help you decide when to propose. According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average engagement length for couples is 15 months. Think about whether you want a long or short engagement, since that impacts how quickly you'll need to choose a wedding date and how much time you'll have to save money and plan the wedding following the proposal.

And just like engagement season, there are certain times of the year when the majority of couples get married. If you choose one of the most popular wedding dates, keep in mind that it's best to get a head-start on wedding planning sooner rather than later to avoid competing for vendor availability.

How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Proposal

Think you're getting proposed to this engagement season? Here's what you need to do before your partner asks for your hand in marriage.

Think about how you want to respond.

Of course, saying yes to the proposal is the obvious response, but we suggest you think of some sentimental things to say to your partner after the big question. You don't need to have anything memorized or practice a speech ahead of time, but it would be a sweet gesture to say how you feel about your future fiancé or fiancée and how excited you are about your new future together.

You'll need to take extra care of your hands.

It's no secret that winter takes a toll on your skin. But your hands tend to get extra roughed up during engagement season. Prepare for ring photos by doing some double-duty moisturizing. Slather up your hands every night before bed with your favorite hand lotion (with gloves to lock in the moisture, if you so choose) to make sure they look perfect for those professional photos and Instagram selfies.

Understand that your ring might not fit properly right away.

Don't get it resized unless it seems too roomy. Your fingers swell in the heat, so if you do decide to size down, it'll be very snug during the hotter months (and you could risk it not fitting at all). And in cold weather, your ring might be looser than normal. To combat this, you might have to adjust it to its proper position every time it swings around your finger. Annoying, yes, but it'll look perfect once spring rolls around.

Consider how you want to announce your engagement.

There are a couple of engagement announcement dos and don'ts, but the most important one is to enjoy the moment with your partner before calling your friends and family and posting on social media (in that order). Bask in pre-nuptial bliss for as long as you can then tell the world the good news. (Check out these creative and cute engagement captions before making your future social media post.)

Samantha Iacia contributed to the reporting of this article.

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