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Congratulations on saying, “Yes!” Now if only shouting from the rooftops was a legitimate option for sharing the good news. Instead, follow these etiquette-approved ways for telling family and friends you and your sweetie are soon to become Mr. and Mrs.
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Even if you veer from tradition, you should tell your parents first and in person if at all possible. Not only is this the most respectful route (and you’ll want to start your marriage off on the right foot with both sides!), but it’s also more fun to see Mom and Dad’s full reactions.
If this is a second marriage for either party and there are children from the first marriage, they, and most often the former spouse, should be the first to hear the news. Then move on to parents, immediate family—particularly siblings and grandparents—and closest friends.
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The next most personal and immediate way to tell the rest of your family and friends is by telephone, but of course it may not be practical to call everyone. To determine whose numbers to dial, ask yourself if the individual in question would be hurt if not contacted.
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Via Snail Mail
In the past, the bride’s mother would send out handwritten notes to formally notify friends and family of her daughter’s engagement. Bring back the tradition, or send save-the-date cards, which can serve the dual purpose of announcing the engagement and informing the recipient of when the wedding will be held. Of course, the latter is really only an option if you’ve decided on a date.
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The quicker, easier way to announce your impending nuptials is to draft an instant message. If you have out-of-town friends with whom you usually communicate via e-mail, then it’s perfectly acceptable to announce your engagement to them this way. Keep in mind, though, that some people prefer to hear big news over the phone, so if there is even the slightest possibility that someone you know will be offended, put him or her on your “to-call” list.
Announcing your engagement digitally is also a great opportunity to share a link to your wedding website, where everyone can stay in the loop on the planning.
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On Social Media
Though times are a-changing, posting your engagement to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram should still be the final move, reserved for informing casual acquaintances. And before you hit “share,” double-check that you have notified everyone who deserves a more formal approach.
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With an Engagement Party
If you prefer to tell friends and family all at once, an engagement party is a great way to go. Many times, a couple’s parents or close friends will host the event where the couple announces the special news.
Some keep the reason for the party a secret, and announce the engagement during a toast at the beginning of the evening. Others send out invitations with the cause for the celebration detailed on the cards.
If throwing an engagement party in disguise, think of a convincing cover-up for the gathering, such as a Christmas fête, Super Bowl party, or a casual summer barbecue. And keep in mind: A guest at your engagement party might expect an invitation to your wedding, so plan this first guest list wisely.
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Though your news will travel quickly by word of mouth, newspaper engagement announcements are a charming way to ensure that more distant acquaintances—colleagues, old classmates, your first babysitter—won’t be left out. Most American newspapers have a space where couples can announce their engagement (sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee).
Newspapers require the information as early as four months before the wedding, so contact the paper by phone or check its website as soon as possible for guidelines as to the length and content of the announcement, possible price, who writes it (you or the paper’s editor), whether photos are permitted, and so on.
Because the staff usually won’t know the exact date the announcement will run, you should count on checking the paper each day to find it. If you and your fiancé come from different cities or if any of your parents live in other states, you might want to print multiple announcements.