Etiquette debacle: announcing an engagement

Etiquette Debacle: Announcing An Engagement


Etiquette debacle: announcing an engagement


Artist Group Photography

A few days ago, I heard about a mom who’d just announced her daughter and future son-in-law’s very recent engagement in her Christmas letter. Even the happy couple hadn’t yet shared their good news, beyond their immediate families and closest friends.

I have to admit, I was fairly upset on their behalf. But it’s not as if most of us still follow traditional engagement-announcement etiquette, anyway. Gone are the days when most couples published a blurb and a pretty photo in the local paper—with a simple tweet, Facebook status change or mass text or email, friends and family can find out instantaneously, for free. (Etiquette experts still advise, it’s proper to tell your parents and children, if you have them, first.)

But maybe a social media blast isn’t your style and you’ve been dreaming up something that takes more planning—perhaps posing for a sweet photo keepsake (like the adorable one here, shared by Artist Group Photography), producing a proposal video or throwing a dinner to announce to your closest friends. It’s the potential for plans like these that made me cringe at the words of the enthusiastic mother-in-law-to-be.

As someone who’s been known to overreact now and then, I wanted to see how other women responded. Turns out, I’m not the only person who felt this way.

Brittany backed me up: “Honestly, I would be very upset. There are very few truly remarkable things you get to share in life and get great pleasure from doing so, such as your engagement or first pregnancy,” she says. “It spoils the excitement of your news when someone takes the joy of being the first to share it from you.”

Other responses were a little more tempered. Jessica said she’d be hurt and disappointed. “I know for myself, it took a while sharing our news with our loved ones, as we wanted it to be personal, especially with close friends and each family,” she explains. “I think each bride deserves to share her news the way she wants to without others doing it for her.”

Both Elise and Ruth would also be quite disappointed in a similar situation. But Ruth had an interesting exception. “I would be very disappointed if someone told any of my family members or close friends before I got the chance to,” Ruth says. “I wouldn’t care one way or the other if someone told co-workers, acquaintances, etc. Actually, it would probably be better that way.”

As for the couple whose situation started it all, they’re OK, and I admire their grace. It bodes well for the wedding planning to come!

So, would you be angry, disappointed or grateful that someone shared your engagement news for you? How did you make your own news public? Tell us below!

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Ellie Martin Cliffe (104 Posts)

By the end of high school, Ellie Martin Cliffe was completely enamored of journalism, so she chose the most logical college major possible: anthropology. Disappointed by the minimal emphasis on writing and editing, she changed tracks and earned a comm degree from Carroll College. Ellie has since tackled many facets of the field including books, magazines and the Web at places like The Knot and Reader's Digest. She now works full time in book publishing, and is thrilled to get her wedding fix with When she isn’t wielding her (red) pen, Ellie can be found in the garden, at any concert that showcases a fiddle, playing pub trivia or in the kitchen. She and her husband live in Riverwest with their hedgehog, Guinness, and grapefruit tree, Sprout.

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