Today's Bride

Engagement Etiquette

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Your boyfriend or girlfriend just proposed.  And now that you’ve had a few minutes to take it all in, your mind is spinning as you try to figure out what to do next.  Who do you tell? What do you do? What’s the typical way these things happen? Well, we have it all right here for you!

Engagement-EtiquettePhoto courtesy of Vitaliy Photography.

Who to Tell First

If you have children from a previous marriage/relationship, you should probably tell them first. Sometimes, it may work best to tell them without your fiancé so they can react honestly. Next, tell your family and closest friends, in person if possible.  Tell your parents (preferably in person); however, if they live too far away, a phone call (or Skype!) is your next best option. If your parents are divorced, it’s okay to tell them separately. Just make sure that you tell the second parent right after telling the first to avoid hurt feelings.  You don’t have to keep each conversation long or dramatic, something short and sweet is best. After you’ve told the most important people in your life, then you can change all your social media statuses. Remember to post thank you notes quickly to all the well-wishers.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

Announcing Your Engagement

After you’ve told everyone that is near and dear to your heart (which should be all of your family and close friends) you may want to announce your engagement in your local newspaper. Some newspapers will run engagement announcements three to six months before the wedding; however, some run even a year in advance, so you will want to contact them to find out their specific policy and requirements.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

Saying Thank You

Be prepared to say thank you way more than you ever imagined.  (But, hey, that’s a good thing, right?!)  Most likely, people will be constantly congratulating you and commenting on your ring. It may become tiring to you; yet, it’s still important to let everyone know you appreciate all the well-wishes! Also, if you receive any gifts from now until the wedding, especially from engagement parties or bridal showers, make sure you handwrite your thank you notes; it makes them feel more heartfelt and sincere – plus, it’s proper wedding etiquette.

Photo courtesy of Ken Love Photography.

Photo courtesy of Ken Love Photography.

Asking for Help, Money or Both!

This can be tricky, however if you’re planning on asking your parents to help you out with the wedding, you should indicate that as early as possible. It may not be the easiest conversation to have, but you need to know what your budget is and what you can afford before you dive into your wedding plans. When it comes to asking for help, you should ask people to help with things that fall under their skill levels. Also, if someone offers you help and you want to politely decline their offer, be careful not to hurt their feelings. Instead of just telling them no thanks, tell them that you already have that under control but would love for them to help with a different aspect of the wedding.

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Parties

While engagement parties aren’t a requirement, they tend to be a fun way to celebrate.  They don’t have to be formal, but they can be if that’s what you’d prefer. Engagement parties can be held by anyone: your parents, the groom’s parents, family or friends, or even you and your hubby-to-be! The one thing to keep in mind when sending out invitations is that whoever you invite to your engagement party now should receive an invitation to the wedding later. It’s practically a golden rule: You don’t send out invites for an engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party or a save-the-date card to anyone you don’t plan on inviting to the wedding.

 

Photo courtesy of John Paul Studios.

Photo courtesy of John Paul Studios.

Inviting Your Guests

Deciding who to invite to your wedding depends on the size of the wedding you’re having. It’s definitely important to make a list of the all people you want and need to be there. However, if you’re wedding planning allows you to invite more people, just remember that you don’t have to invite literally everyone you know. It’s okay to invite your best friend from work, but you don’t have to invite the whole office.  Many couples create an A list and a B list:  A list means they must be invited (no questions asked) and a B list is the list of guests you’d like to invite but are not top priority.  After you’ve received a good amount of RSVPs declining attendance, you can then send out more invites to some of the people on your B list.

Photo courtesy of BCR Studios by Brad.

Photo courtesy of BCR Studios by Brad.

Keep in mind that some people who know you are getting married but are not invited may ask about their assumed invite. Honesty is usually the best policy here: If you’re having a small wedding, let them know. If you’re inviting a larger crowd, just let them know that it’s hard to share a list with your in-laws and that you wish everyone could come, but it’s just not possible. Also, as a courtesy, you should minimize the wedding talk and gushing moments around those you are not planning on inviting.

Photo courtesy of Joni Chatman Photography.

Photo courtesy of Joni Chatman Photography.

Don’t Become a Bridezilla!

We all know how exciting yet strenuous planning your wedding can be, but your big day might not be as big of a deal to some family and friends as it is to you. Save the wedding details for someone who has a high wedding tolerance, like your friends who were just recently married or are engaged.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

When it comes to your bridal shower or a bachelorette party, keep in mind that if your bridesmaid or someone else is throwing it for you, give them room to plan that. You don’t want to be the bride who has to have control over every little aspect. Parties like this are thrown for you by your friends because they want to help you have a good time. It’s totally okay to help give ideas of things you’d like to do, like if you’d rather have a small get-together at home than go out to a bar, just try not to dictate the location, plans or anything that involves cost for those who are gracious enough to attend.

This may seem like too many rules to remember, but it really just boils down to a few simple things.  Just remember to be polite, say thank you and enjoy every minute of your engagement. Chances are it will fly right by!

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