Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
I'm assuming you've already announced your engagement to your family. I know that's the very first thing we did, along with the majority of brides and grooms across the world. Those first few moments happen so quickly it's difficult to plan for them. Unless you have discussed a plan ahead of time, your immediate response will likely be spontaneous.
We both texted each other's moms to let them know the big news immediately, complete with a picture and everything, hoping they would then share the news with everyone else. Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. Apparently we didn't have the right number for his mom and so they ended up finding out on Facebook later that day. What should have been a happy occasion for everyone turned into a disaster. We even had about half of my husband's family members not show up to our wedding because of the way it was announced.
This is why it's so important to have a plan for how to tell the rest of the world about your impending nuptials. I'm most certainly not saying this will happen to you, but weddings are very emotional for everyone involved. It's not likely that you'll get though this process without offending anyone, but I know together we can discover a way to share your exciting news with everyone graciously so that you get the celebration you deserve with your big news.
Telling Your Parents You're Engaged
As exciting as a proposal usually is, with hearts beating and blood pumping, most couples find the desire to tell someone the good news immediately unbearable! When my husband proposed, I wanted to call and tell his mom myself, and he wanted to tell mine. Even though we only had one phone with us, we both took pictures and took turns texting moms (both of our moms live out of state). I didn't even think about anyone else until we got back to the car and I had my phone.
Tim proposed to me on a hike in the mountains. After texting our moms we spent at least another hour hiking, talking about what had just happened, collecting treasures symbolic of the moment we just shared, and enjoying our time together. When we finally got back to the car, we each texted our few closest friends who had been waiting for that moment. Whatever you do, find a way to tell your parents first. They deserve to be the very first on your list. (And make sure they actually get the message. I recommend a phone call. haha)
Telling Everyone Else You're Engaged
When considering telling everyone else, remember that you won't likely invite everyone that finds out about your engagement to your actual wedding. By using a touch of consideration and understanding, you may be able to spare a lot of hurt feelings.
Whether you post your news on Facebook, email everyone, call everyone, or even send out engagement announcements, you will want to be careful to only include those you will definitely be inviting to your wedding. I know it will be tempting to shout it from the rooftops, barely able to contain your excitement, but if you make a huge announcement at work, school, or even your book club, they will likely expect to receive an invitation to the wedding as well. If you don't plan on inviting all of these individuals, you are asking for trouble. Consider taking a more conspicuous route to share the wonderful news.
Beginning with the most public way to announce your engagement respectfully, to the most personal way, let's outline some of the options you have available.
Posting an Announcement in the Newspaper
This is a very traditional way for couples to formally announce their engagements. You may first want to check out the engagement announcements in several newspapers, and make a phone call to each of them to ask for any guidelines, deadlines, fees, or regulations they might have for engagement announcements. This will help you choose the right newspaper for your announcement.
When creating your announcements, take your cues from the many examples you see in the other newspapers. You will want to include your names, and even your careers and educational credentials if your comfortable. There's no need to include your wedding date, your address, your phone numbers, or other specific information that may put you at risk by including it in the newspaper.
This is simply the place to introduce yourselves, maybe share some general details about your upcoming nuptials, and announce your engagement. Anyone that reads the newspaper will be privy to this information.
There are tons of great companies that offer these websites as a free service to brides and grooms, and they can come in really handy for your friends and family being invited to your wedding. Some of the best ones are:
Creating a Wedding Website
I would have to write an entire article strictly based on these websites in order to give them the description they deserve. What a great resource these are for organizing all of your wedding details and keeping all of your guests informed.
These incredible websites allow you to upload pictures, share your stories, upload audio and video files, create maps, set-up events, and even include RSVPs. With a wedding website, not only can your guests access just about any information regarding your wedding that they could possibly want, but they can RSVP for your rehearsal dinner, your wedding, any parties or showers you have planned, or even any activities you have set-up beforehand.
My husband and I even kept all of our guests up to date on exactly where we were in our wedding planning process, including pictures, and were able to create polls and quizzes so our guests could help in the planning as well. This was incredibly handy! You can then email this link out to all of those people you are inviting to your wedding. As your website is updated, your guests will be kept up to date.
Using Social Media
What quicker way is there to spread the new of your new engagement status than Facebook, Twitter, or other social media?! The only problem with this is that everyone, and I mean everyone, automatically knows you're getting married and the questions will begin flowing in. If you think you're prepared and can resist the temptation to invite all 1200 people in your friend lists, go for it! Otherwise this may not be the right option for you.
I would be negligent if I didn't advise you to keep the details to a minimum and be prepared with what you're going to say when people you didn't intend to invite start asking you for an invitation or your wedding event details.
Emailing, Texting or Calling
If you have loved ones out of state, or even out of country, these may be the only appropriate ways to personally share your news with them. I'm sure they'll love that you took the time to contact them, but this is a special occasion. This is your wedding.
Please don't send out an impersonal mass email or text. An email can be very personal and heartfelt, but probably not when it's sent out in mass duplicate form, and everyone can see the other 594 people you've also sent it to. If you're going to go this route, take the time to send a personal message to each individual in order to allow each one to feel special and celebrate the news with you.
I don't highly suggest text messaging as a way to inform everyone, unless of course it is followed by another form of communication, like a phone call as you saw in my situation above). Text messaging is great for in the moment communication, especially if you are including a picture of the engagement ring along with it. Everyone loves engagement rings! However, I would not use it for your sole source of communication.
Of these three methods of communication, phone calls are definitely the best! Those that you call will be flattered that you took the time to call personally and tell them your good news yourself. Not only will they get to hear the excitement in your voice, but they will get to celebrate with you in the moment.
Send Engagement Announcement Cards
This is a great way to announce your engagement to friends and family! However, be careful not to simply send these out to everyone you can think of in all of your excitement. As these can be easily confused for wedding invitations, it's important that you specify the nature of the announcement, and only send them out to those you intend to invite to the wedding. These should be very similar to a newspaper announcement and can be very personal and elegant if done correctly.
Throw an Engagement Party
Finally, the most personal way to announce your exciting news to friends and family is to tell them in person. It's also the most fun! Throw a party! Tell all of your guests how important it is to you that they are in attendance, but don't tell them what they party is for. Then you and your fiance' can enjoy celebrating with all of those you care about most, and see the look on their faces when you share your news with everyone.
In my experience, this is the best possible solution for sharing this exciting time of your life with everyone you love. I know I've already said this too many times, but it's critical that you are careful about inviting individuals that you don't expect to invite to your wedding. You might want to read my articles on How to Create Your Guest List Easily and Cutting Your Wedding Guest List Down to Size before you begin inviting people.
When it comes to announcing your engagement, if you take anything away from this article, know that those that love you and truly care for you will be really excited to share this part of your life with you. However, there will be many others that will be hurt, jealous, and even angry. There's absolutely nothing you can do to avoid the feelings that will come from others, except to be as considerate and understanding as possible when sharing your big news, and to keep reminding yourself that you're not going to please everyone.
Have fun! You've just gotten engaged and you deserve to enjoy this time in your lives! Before you jump in and announce it to everyone, make sure you think through it and make a plan. Good luck and congratulations!
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on June 04, 2014:
Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!
invity01 on March 23, 2014:
Hey this is wonderful blog.. I like this
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on January 10, 2014:
Funny, I have a mother like that too!
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 10, 2014:
With time I realized that my mother was not an happy person and I had to accept that you couldn't make her happy. It has to come from the inside.
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on January 10, 2014:
Thank you for your wonderful comment!
I'm so sorry to hear that your engagement was not met with unbridled excitement like you deserved. Congratulations on your long marriage! I can only hope to be in that same place with my husband in another 36 years! :)
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 10, 2014:
Great hub... with great suggestions.
When my husband and I decided to get engaged, we told my parents first and all my mother said was "don't announce that you want to get married in one year". So we waited one year and one week to say that we wanted to get married and to that announcement she looked toward my father and said, "we can do nothing, they are 21". It makes me sad to think of the lack of warmth in my family but at least in my family in law, they were happy :-)
We got engage in The Netherlands (my husband is Dutch) and got married in Belgium (my country of origin).
Anyway... my husband and I have been married more that 37 years and we are still very happy!
It's so important to have the support of the family in those special moments. My husband and I made sure to welcome and embrace the choices of our children.
Voted up, useful and interesting!
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on March 11, 2013:
Susan from India on March 08, 2013:
Great hub. very well written. Voted up.