Announcing Your Engagement

Who to tell first

Congratulations! Now that you’re engaged there are lots of people you’ll want to share your big news with. Get ready to start flashing your ring and break out the bubbly - people will want to celebrate! When it comes to announcing your weddings, there are rules of etiquette that apply to everything - including who you tell first about your engagement. Our list below will help you determine who to tell when.

1. Your children
If you have children from a previous relationship, they’re the ones who will need to hear first. Your engagement is going to affect them the most so tell them in a place where they’re comfortable and encourage them to ask questions and express concerns.

2. Your parents
Traditionally, the bride’s parents are told first, then the groom’s. Find out who your groom might have told before he popped the question and decide where to go from there. If your parents are divorced tell one as soon as you’ve finished telling the other to avoid hurt feelings. Your parents may also want to publish an announcement in the newspaper to help spread the great news.

3. Your siblings, grandparents and other close relatives
You’ve got options when it comes to sharing your news with the rest of your family. If you live close to your family, delivering the news face-to-face is great, although you’ll have to further narrow down the order you tell people. A surprise phone call with the news works too. For a big family that lives close together, why not throw an impromptu dinner party or barbecue and tell your family all at once?

4. Your close friends
We’re living in an electronic world, baby, so spreading the news to friends who live farther away via e-mail is perfectly acceptable. Think about how close you are with the friends you’re telling and that will help you decide if an e-mail, phone call or in-person visit is the way to go.

5. Exes with whom you have children
This is the one that’s going to be the most awkward - sharing the news with your ex. It’s not easy, but it’s important to get this out of the way so that your children don’t feel they have to keep it a secret. If you don’t have a great relationship with your ex, get it out of the way - like ripping off a bandage - But be sure to do it yourself. It’s not fair to ask your kids to spread the news for you. For a case like this, a handwritten note can work well, but drop it off yourself or send it through the mail rather than having your children deliver it.

If you’re a widow or widower
If your previous spouse passed away, you’ll need to be very sensitive when sharing the news with his or her family. You should let them know in person, especially if you have children by your deceased spouse and still keep in touch with the family. If you’ve grown distant from that family and aren’t in regular contact, you can opt to send the news in a hand-written letter.

Important Dos and Don’ts of announcing your wedding

  1. Do start out as a gracious and lovely bride. Sincerely thank everyone who congratulates you and be ready to share details!

  2. Do keep an ear open for friends with connections to great photographers, bakers, DJs, etc.

  3. Do keep in mind the feelings of those who have recently gone through a divorce or major breakup. Eventually they’ll be very excited for you, but for now, be sensitive when you share the news.

  4. Don’t announce your engagement during someone else’s party, or worse, someone else’s wedding! Even though there are lots of people present, you don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder.

  5. Don’t let negative people get you down. There may be a few people who aren’t ecstatic about your engagement or who feel the need to share horror stories about failed marriages. Don’t let their attitude bring you down from Cloud Nine.

Sharing your big news is an exciting first step towards married life. You’ll quickly learn how to tell your proposal story in two minutes or less and get the hang of smiling and nodding to all the advice you’re going to get. Let people share in your excitement and you’ll enjoy it all the more.

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