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The average duration of courtship varies considerably throughout the world. Furthermore, there is vast individual variation between couples. Courtship may be completely omitted, as in cases of some arranged marriages where the couple do not meet before the wedding.

In the United Kingdom , a poll of 3,000 [1] engaged or married couples resulted in an average duration between first meeting and accepted proposal of marriage of 2 years and 11 months, [1] [2] with the women feeling ready to accept at an average of 2 years and 7 months. [1] Regarding duration between proposal and wedding, the UK poll above gave an average of 2 years and 3 months. [2]

While the date is fairly casual in most European-influenced cultures, in some traditional societies, courtship is a highly structured activity, with very specific formal rules.