You Aren't Imagining Things—Everyone Really Does Get Engaged During the Holiday Season

Country-wide data, leading wedding planners, and a neuropsychologist affirm this.

close up of bride and groom with large wedding ring
Photo: Orange Photographie

During the month of December, your Instagram feed might as well be the engagement announcement section of the newspaper. But it's not just your feed: The torrent of holiday-time proposals is a real phenomenon. According to The Wedding Report's Complete Wedding Market Report for the United States, 15.5 percent of all engagements take place within the final month of the year (for context, no other month surpasses nine percent!). Let's break that down: On average, 1,825,743 couples become engaged each year, and that means 282,900 of those proposals happen in December. The proof is also in the Pinterest: According to data from the visual discovery engine, terms like "engagement party at home" and "proposal set up ideas" spike during this season, which is also when users most frequently pin their engagement rings of choice.

This isn't just true on paper: The wedding industry's leading planners and event designers head into the new year ready to sort through a flurry of messages from just-engaged duos. "We see the majority of inquiries in the first quarter, although they are often more in February and March," explains Vanessa Vierra, who helms Vanessa Noel Events; most couples prefer to bask in the afterglow of the proposal, she notes, instead of rocketing into the preparation process come January 1.

As for why the majority of engagements happen over the holiday season? Convenience and proximity to family is part of the answer, notes planner and event designer Jacqueline Hallgarth. "Logistically speaking, engagements are ideal during this time. Couples are already with their families and closest friends, ready to celebrate," she shares. "Also, families from both sides can potentially meet and begin those wedding-planning conversations." There's an emotional component, too, of course, says Chanda Daniels of her eponymous planning and event firm. "It is just that time of year when people are connected to starting a new chapter," she says.

According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D, a New York City neuropsychologist and the director of Comprehend the Mind, it's this symbolism that truly strikes a chord with future marriers. "The holiday season is the time of the year that is the most symbolically rich, and when people begin to take stock of their lives," she says. "This can lead to making pivotal decisions, proposing to your partner being one of them." Plus, she adds, you can't beat the ambience: "Many couples get engaged in December simply because that's when love seems to be in the air the most! The cold brings along cozy nights—and all the festive decorations make everything more romantic."

During a season when so many "traditions and rituals come into play," continues Dr. Hafeez, it makes sense, then, that so many people propose; after all, the act of purchasing a ring, dropping to one knee, and professing a forever commitment is one of life's most exciting rituals. "With a ring in the picture, it's the perfect time to create new ones," she says.

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