Wedding 411: Engagement Announcement Etiquette in a Facebook Era

‘Tis the season. We know how overused this phrase is during this jolly time of year, but we gotta say it, because not only is this the time for Santa, cozy hours around the fireplace, caroling, and massive feasts with your family and friends, but this is a time of year when a lot of couples get engaged. And we know how you guys and gals get with your smartphones these days – it’s like the Old West’s “Who’s the fastest draw?” except instead of revolvers we have iPhones. Slow down, Quickdraw, there are a lot of people in your life – and some of them should hear your exciting news before your announcement is being shared and retweeted. So before you press that “post” button on your phone, you should check out our engagement etiquette guidelines on notifying the important people (and those random folks who are following you on Twitter) about your recent engagement. Here’s the order:

1. Children. If one or both of you have kids, no matter how old they are, make sure they are the first to know. Be sensitive to your children’s feelings surrounding your engagement. Young children and teens lives will dramatically change with a marriage and it’s necessary to discuss with them what those changes will be with having a stepparent, and possibly stepsiblings. Children can have mixed reactions to their family transforming – they can be exited and joyful, but they can also have doubts, hold resentment, and can even be scared. Talk with them about their feelings and reassure them of your love and support. Also, ice cream helps. Your adult children are just as much a priority and should definitely be among the first to know about your engagement.

2. Parents. Clearly, after children, your parents are your next priority. You and your partner may want to tell your parents separately or you may find the occasion to tell them together as a couple. If your parents live far away, call them at an appropriate time, when you know they will be available to speak. Do Not, we repeat, Do Not, just text them the news. We know you are shaking from the excitement and are about to burst, but it’s 1:00AM in Seattle and Mom and Dad are most definitely asleep wherever they are. The morning will come soon enough, and then you can phone them, in the meantime, breathe and try to sleep (we know it’s hard). In the rare occasion that your parents are not reachable by phone, a well-crafted email or letter can give them the whole scoop.

3. Relatives and close friends. Depending on your family, you’ve probably got some siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins you want to tell next. And of course, some of your close friends are getting a phone call immediately, even if it is 1:00AM. BE ADVISED: Don’t make any promises you can’t keep. Now is not the time to be asking all of your relatives and besties to be in your wedding as bridesmaids and groomsmen. You can find yourself in trouble with the unexpected expense of a large wedding party, or risk offending a good friend by having to rescind your offer.  We suggest that you and your partner discuss your wishes about your wedding party and consider the costs that come with it, make a list of who gets to do what, and then you can start making those phone calls.

4. The Internet World. Okay, we know you’ve been so patient for so long, and it was freakin’ worth it, because everyone is happy (we hope). And now that you’ve told the children, parents, close family and friends, engagement etiquette says it is now finally appropriate for you to upload all those Instagrams and put your engagement news on all of your social media outlets. We know you can’t wait to see that “162 people have commented on your status” in your notices. That’s a moment we know you’ll definitely savor.

xoxo, Wonderstruck

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