Formal engagement announcements are a tried & true tradition. Engagement announcement etiquette dictates that it's customary that a personal announcement is made to close family (parents, siblings, grandparents) and friends prior to any sort of public announcement.
If you want to strictly follow the rules, the soon-to-be bride's parents are told first. We suspect that this tradition comes from the fact that they needed to get the bride's dowry together and pay for the wedding—boy, have times changed!
Immediately after her parents comes his, and then other close family and friends.
Today, things are much looser but if you really want to stick to proper tradition and protocol for announcing your engagement then that's the way to do it.
Once the personal announcements are out of the way, you have many options for the public one.
An engagement announcement in a newspaper is the most conventional way to make your new commitment public.
Traditionally, the bride-to-be contacts the newspaper to get all the info she needs and she and her parents craft the messaging. If the groom's family doesn't live in the same area, another newspaper announcement needs to be made for his side of the family.
This is again handled by the bride's family since engagement announcement etiquette dictates that it needs to come from her side.
You can also announce your engagement at a party. You can make the announcement a surprise during a gathering of your closest friends and family.
In the past, the parents of the bride would host a party with their closest friends, raise their glass at one point in the evening, and announce their daughter's engagement. This wasn't really considered an engagement party per se, because the guests were unaware of the occasion prior to coming.
You can also have a formal engagement party where everyone is aware of the occasion. The party can be hosted by just about anyone but keep in mind that traditionally, you wouldn't invite anyone to an engagement party who wasn't also going to be invited to the wedding.
If a party isn't your thing or not within your budget, traditional engagement announcement etiquette also allows you to mail (yes... envelope, stamp and all!) formal engagement announcements.
Like the formal party, this means that everyone who gets one needs to also get a wedding invitation. This is usually done with some form of card. It can be professionally printed, or you can make them yourself at home.
Engaging Tip: Engagement announcement etiquette suggest that all those who are closest to you should hear about your engagement from you, so don't delay announcing the good news.
The announcement itself should always be written by someone else other than the bride or groom, preferably her parents. They typically include your names, your parents names, they may include work or education credentials and the intended date of your wedding or something like a "summer wedding is planned".
If you are having a party, whether it's a surprise announcement or not, traditional engagement etiquette stipulates that the announcement is made after the party (preferably the next day). The logic being that your party guests (who are your closest friends and family) should know of your engagement and celebrate it prior to the general public.
On a side note, someone asked us what to do if they eloped after being engaged. To answer them, we found some great eloped wedding announcement wording that we'd like to share. Check it out!
Engagement announcement etiquette is steeped in tradition and comes from a time when Facebook meant a book about faces and tweets were what birds did.
You can post a newspaper announcement or tweet your news. Regardless of what you do or which way you go, the formula is pretty much the same. Check out our samples of engagement announcements if you need a little help with what to say.
And, even though you can tweet, share, and 'like' today, this is a special time in your life and a little tradition to commemorate your engagement (like a card or formal announcement) is a good thing. It creates a keepsake of this happy time in your life and is something that can be shared with future generations.
As we say throughout this site, YOUR engagement is all about you! If you want to go the formal and traditional route, go for it. And if you want to announce you're getting married at a luau in the arctic, do that too. Remember, this is your engagement so understand the rules but in the end, do what feels right for you.
Oh, and by the way. Congratulations!
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