How long do most couples wait before getting married?

When you’re in a relationship, it can be hard to know how long you should wait before taking the next step—especially when it comes to something as monumental as getting married. Some people rush in, while others never even have a ceremony.

If you’re anything like the young couples featured in one new survey this year, you’re likely waiting longer to get hitched than did couples from past generations.

The people behind wedding planning app surveyed 4,000 recently married couples in the United Kingdom to get its results, and it turns out that today’s young couples are waiting longer to get married, living together longer before marriage and getting married at a later age.

Most couples, the survey found, waited nearly five years before saying, “I do.” On average, they dated for nearly a year and a half before moving in together—with a whopping 89 percent living under the same roof before getting hitched—then lived together for nearly two years (22 months) before getting engaged. Couples were usually engaged for about 20 months before proceeding to nuptials.

With dating timelines like that, it’s no wonder divorce rates are falling. Past studies have found that couples who date for at least 24 months before tying the knot tend to be happier and less likely to get divorced than their more quickly married counterparts.

wedding photo
Getty Images | Gareth Cattermole

It sounds like people are getting married for the right reasons, too. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed by did so to demonstrate commitment, and 83 percent felt zero pressure to get hitched. And with longer dating timelines, couples are getting married when they’re older. The average woman is nearly 31 years old when she gets married, while the average man is nearly 33.

Every relationship is different, of course, and what works for some might not work for others. But overall, it seems like couples today are taking the time to figure out if marriage is the right move for them, and then getting married for all the right reasons.