Wedding Engagement Etiquette

Deb Ng
Celebrate your engagement tastefully.

The time when a couple becomes engaged to be married is generally a happy time. For some though, it can also be overwhelming, especially when they're not well versed in matters of etiquette surrounding an engagement and wedding. The happy couple probably has many questions. Who do we tell first? What do we do first? When do we pick out the ring? How do we announce our engagement to the world? No one wants to do the wrong thing or hurt any feelings, but without knowing the proper etiquette, hurt feelings can happen.

The Ring

If the bride-to-be doesn't already have an engagement ring on her finger, now would be the time to pick one out. It should be noted though, that an engagement ring is not necessary, nor is it required. All that's required for a couple to be engaged is for one half of the couple to pop the question and the other half to say, "Yes." Diamonds are a nice perk, but they're not mandatory.

Announcing the Engagement

It's a good idea for the happy couple to advise their parents of the engagement as soon as possible. Keeping this information to themselves, or only telling one set of parents can lead to hurt or angry feelings. Proper etiquette usually requires the parents of the bride be told the news first, with the groom's parents following soon after. If this arrangement causes one set of parents to feel slighted, the bride and groom-to-be can always tell both sets of parents together over a nice dinner. Never keep the news from parents, as this will only start things off on the wrong foot. Close family and friends can follow soon after. Again, it's not a good idea to keep this news from those close to you for too long or hurt feelings can ensue.

Once those close to the happy couple are aware of the engagement, it's time for the rest of the world to know. This announcement can be made by placing a wedding announcement in the local newspaper's society page. In most cases, the parents of the bride and groom announce the engagement together, but it's more common nowadays for the happy couple themselves to do the announcing. Also listed in the announcement is information on where the bride and groom went to school, where they are employed, where they currently reside and information on the bride and groom's parents' residence. If a wedding date has been set, this information will also be announced to the public.

Now is also the correct time for the parents of the bride and groom to call each other to offer congratulations. There's no hard and fast rule as to which set of parents should do the calling, but one couple should take it upon themselves to do so.

An Engagement Party

Like the ring, an engagement party isn't necessary but it's a nice perk. If an engagement party is something that interests the future bride and groom, they should by all means throw a party. There are a few things to keep in mind, however. The first rule is not to invite anyone to the party who won't be invited to the wedding.

If one is throwing a traditional wedding engagement party, the news will be a surprise to most who attend. The parents of the bride will most likely host this event. Once all of the guests arrive, the happy announcement can be made. Toasts and congratulations will ensue. Because this is a surprise announcement, gifts are not expected.

Calling off an Engagement

No one enters into a wedding engagement expecting it to fall through. If the wedding is called off, family and friends should be informed. If the news is too painful for the former betrothed, their parents can call to break the sad news to wedding guests. One ingenuis former bride-to-be penned a catchy poem and mailed out un-invitations to everybody on her guest list. It's good manners to let everyone know as soon as possible to prevent them from purchasing gifts and wedding attire and making further plans.

Planning the Wedding

The happy couple may want to hire a wedding planner at this point. The wedding planner will help make preparations a bit easier by handling all of the details from the reception to the cake. Though this arrangement is more common nowadays, it's by no means the rule. The happy couple is perfectly capable of planning their own wedding themselves.

A date should be set as soon as possible so the bride and groom, their families, members of the bridal party and invited guests can also make the appropriate preparations.

Remember a couple's engagement should be a fun, exciting, happy time. Though there is often a minor setback to contend with, for the most part it should be stress free. Knowing the proper etiquette can help to alleviate some of the issues that may arise. Relax and enjoy this time.


For more on engagement rings and engagement etiquette, visit LoveToKnow Engagement Rings.

Wedding Engagement Etiquette