When do most people propose?

Getting engaged and proposing marriage is an exciting time in any relationship. As you and your partner discuss taking this big next step, one of the questions that may come up is when the best time to get engaged is. While there’s no one right answer, there are some common trends that indicate when most couples tend to get engaged.

Most popular times of year to propose

While proposals can happen any time of year, there are certain seasons and months that see more engagements than others. Here are some of the most popular times for proposals:


December sees the most proposals of any month, accounting for 16-17% of all marriage proposals in the U.S. There are a few reasons December is so popular:

  • Holiday season – The magic and romance of the holidays sparks many proposals.
  • Time off work – Time off from work and school enables couples to travel and spend quality time together.
  • Gathering with family – Couples often spend time with extended family over the holidays, providing the opportunity for family to celebrate with them after a proposal.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve are especially popular days for proposals, with New Year’s Eve being the most common of all. An estimated 5% of all proposals happen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, while 7-10% happen on New Year’s Eve. There’s something romantic about getting engaged over the holidays or right at the start of a new year.


Spring is the second most popular season for proposals. April sees the most in this season, accounting for 5% of proposals. Spring engagements may be inspired by:

  • Romantic atmosphere – The season of new beginnings and rebirth creates a romantic vibe.
  • Better weather – Warmer weather enables outdoor proposals in scenic locations.
  • Vacation plans – Many people use a spring break vacation as an opportunity to propose.

Popular spring proposal spots include scenic gardens, parks, beaches, and other outdoor locations that showcase spring blooms and warmer weather.


Summertime sees a dip in proposals, perhaps because vacations and holidays make it harder to plan a proposal. However, many still choose to propose in the summertime. July and August account for around 7% of proposals, with Independence Day proposals being most popular in July. Summer proposals often utilize the season for:

  • Outdoor locations – The warm weather makes scenic outdoor spots ideal for proposing.
  • Vacation proposals – Couples may plan a destination proposal in conjunction with a summer vacation.
  • Beach proposals – The summer season is perfect for proposing at the beach.


Autumn proposals account for around 13% of the yearly total. October sees the most proposals in the fall season, due to a few factors:

  • Cozy weather – Cooler weather sets a romantic mood.
  • Fall foliage – The beautiful colors of fall make for scenic proposal backdrops.
  • Halloween – Some choose Halloween or haunted houses as fun, unique places to propose.

September and November are also popular for proposals. September kicks off fall while November leads into the winter holiday season, making them both prime proposal months.

Most popular days of the week to propose

When it comes to days of the week, the most popular time to propose is on the weekend:

  • Saturday – By far the most popular proposal day, with around 27% of engagements.
  • Friday – The second most popular at around 15% of proposals.
  • Sunday – Around 14% of proposals happen on Sundays.

Weekends allow couples to spend quality time together. They provide opportunities to travel, go on dates, or spend a weekend away where proposing is easier to plan. Weekends also enable families and friends to gather to celebrate afterwards.

Weekdays see fewer proposals, but Mondays, Wednesdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays each still account for 10-12% of proposals.

Most popular times of day to propose

When popping the question, the specific time of day also comes into play:

  • Evenings – By far the most popular time, accounting for around 33% of proposals.
  • Late afternoons – Second most popular at around 22% of proposals.
  • Early mornings – Around 15% happen early in the day.
  • Afternoon – Around 14% of proposals happen between noon and 5 pm.
  • Right before midnight – For New Year’s Eve or other occasions, around 4% of proposals happen right before midnight.

Evenings and late afternoons allow couples to spend the day together before capping it off with a proposal. Low lighting also sets a romantic ambiance. Early morning proposals can also be romantic, starting the day off with an exciting surprise.

Demographics that affect proposal timing

While the most popular times and seasons to propose are relatively consistent across demographics, a few factors impact exactly when someone is most likely to propose:


The average ages for first-time proposals are:

  • Women – 28 years old
  • Men – 30 years old

However, millennials are getting engaged slightly later than previous generations, often proposing in their late 20s to early 30s.


Where couples live can impact proposal timing based on weather. For example:

  • Southern states see more winter and spring proposals to avoid hot summers.
  • Northern states see more summer and fall proposals when the weather is milder.

Beach proposals are more common in coastal areas, while mountain and ski lodge proposals are popular in colder climates.

Spending habits

Higher earners who are more financially stable tend to propose later in life than lower income couples. The more disposable income a couple has, the more likely they are to have a destination proposal, elaborate event, or custom ring.

Dating timeline

Average dating timelines before proposing include:

  • Shorter dating period – 1-2 years of dating
  • Average dating period – 2-4 years of dating
  • Longer dating period – 4+ years of dating

Couples who have been together longer tend to be older and more financially stable when proposing. Shorter courtships are often seen among high school and college sweethearts.

Do men or women propose more often?

While traditions have long dictated that men propose to women, women proposing to men is becoming more mainstream. Some estimates say around 5% of all proposals are from women, although experts admit this number is hard to pinpoint. It’s likely higher than surveys show, as some women may be hesitant to share they proposed.

Female proposals are steadily rising as relationship dynamics become more progressive. Many women feel empowered to take charge and pop the question first. Same sex couples are also more likely to have proposals from either partner, regardless of gender norms.

How long do couples date before getting engaged?

There’s no definitive rule for how long to date before getting engaged, but here are some common timelines:

  • Less than 1 year – Often seen as very quick to propose. Recommended to date at least 1 year before proposing.
  • 1-2 years – Fairly common timeline to propose after dating for a year or two.
  • 2-4 years – Average dating time before a proposal.
  • 4+ years – Considered a long courtship by some before getting engaged.

Around 2-4 years of dating prior to proposing is typical for most couples. However, there are many exceptions:

  • High school sweethearts may propose after shorter dating timelines.
  • Older couples who dated other people prior to meeting often progress faster.
  • Couples who knew each other as friends first also date for shorter periods.

The right timeline ultimately depends on your relationship and when you’re both ready to make a lifelong commitment. Some couples know very quickly they are meant to be, while others prefer to wait a few years before proposing.

What season has the most weddings?

After getting engaged, setting a wedding date is the next step. The most popular seasons for weddings are:

  1. Summer – Around 42% of weddings happen in June, July, and August. June has the most weddings overall.
  2. Fall – September, October, and November account for around 40% of weddings.
  3. Spring – Around 15% of weddings happen March through May.
  4. Winter – Only around 3% of weddings take place in winter, with the exception of New Year’s Eve.

Late spring to early fall tend to be the most ideal weather for wedding ceremonies and outdoor receptions. Couples also take advantage of summer vacation time for destination weddings and honeymoons.

What factors influence the length of engagements?

Couples often have engagements lasting anywhere from a few months to a couple years. What determines the length of engagements includes:

  • Wedding date availability – Popular venues and vendors book up quickly, so couples who want a specific date may have longer engagements.
  • Budget – Longer engagements give more time to save up for the wedding.
  • School schedules – Couples planning weddings around school year calendars often have longer engagements.
  • Extensive wedding planning – Couples wanting an elaborate, large wedding often have longer engagements to plan all the details.
  • Short engagements – Some couples prefer to get married quickly after becoming engaged so they have less time to change their minds.

There are many ways to plan different engagement timelines based on your wedding plans and preferences as a couple.

How long is too long to be engaged?

There are no official rules dictating how long is too long to be engaged. Some couples are happy being engaged indefinitely and never getting officially married. However, here are some considerations regarding very long engagements:

  • Over 2 years – Many couples feel ready to be married within 2 years of getting engaged and start questioning longer timelines.
  • No wedding planning – Couples who are engaged but don’t make wedding plans after several years may have concerns about commitment.
  • Relationship issues – A long engagement period with no wedding date can be a sign of problems getting along.
  • Excuses for delay – Partners who keep making excuses to postpone wedding planning may have doubts or feel pressure from others.

There are always unique circumstances that contribute to engagement timelines. The most important factor is that both people feel comfortable with the pace at which they are approaching marriage.

How do couples select a wedding date?

Setting a wedding date involves weighing several factors:

  • Significant dates – Couples often choose to get married on meaningful days like anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc.
  • Seasonal preferences – Most pick a season they enjoy or suits their ideal wedding vision.
  • Venue/vendor availability – Date choice is limited by what venues and vendors have open.
  • Guest schedules – Couples accommodate when close family and friends can attend.
  • Budget factors – Off-peak days like Sundays and Fridays are often cheaper.
  • Honeymoon plans – Some schedule their wedding date strategically right before leaving for a honeymoon trip.

The right date balances meaningful timing with practical necessity. Most venues book 1-2 years in advance, so couples start planning early.

What’s the average age for first marriage?

Gender Average Age
Women 28 years old
Men 30 years old

However, the average age for first marriage has been steadily rising over the past few decades. In the 1960s, the average first marriage age was in the early 20s. Some contributing factors to getting married older include:

  • Longer education – More people pursuing graduate degrees.
  • Establishing careers – Couples want financial stability.
  • Divorce rates – Individuals who divorced tend to remarry later.
  • More long-term dating – Couples date longer before marrying.

While the average age has increased, there are still many exceptions with couples getting married both younger and older.

How long should you be engaged before getting married?

There are a few guidelines regarding optimal engagement length:

  • Minimum 6 months – Gives time to plan a wedding and finalize details.
  • 1-2 years – Typical engagement length for most couples.
  • 2+ years – Provides ample planning time but some may start to question the long timeline.

The most important factors are to allow enough time to plan the type of wedding you want without dragging out the engagement unnecessarily long. Setting a definitive wedding plan helps give an engagement a sense of urgency.

How long should you date before proposing?

While there are no perfect rules for deciding when to propose, some general guidelines include:

  • 1 year minimum – Gives time to really get to know each other before making a lifelong commitment.
  • 1-3 years – Fairly standard dating period before proposing for most couples.
  • 3+ years – Provides time to be sure of the relationship and make a carefully considered decision.

It also depends on factors like age, values, relationship history, and whether you plan to have children. There are exceptions where some couples feel ready sooner. But 1-3 years of dating first is advisable for making an informed choice.


Getting engaged is an exciting milestone in a romantic relationship. While there are general trends regarding when most couples propose, there are no set rules. The most important factors are understanding each other’s values, communicating about the future, and feeling confident you are ready for marriage.

Being thoughtful about the proposal timing and wedding planning timeline allows couples to really cherish this special time in their lives. With compromise and patience, you can find the engagement and wedding timing that fits your relationship best.

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