How to Announce Your Engagement

Etiquette on Your Engagement Announcement

Women at gathering, smiling at woman wearing engagement ring
Barry Austin Photography/Getty Images

You're engaged and you want the whole world to know! Rather than just shouting it from rooftops, here are some more effective ways to announce your engagement, and the etiquette of whom to tell first.

Who To Tell About Your Engagement First

Start off by telling those closest to you.

  1. Your Children:
    If you have any children from a previous relationship, they should be the first to know. Hopefully, you've prepared them for this possibility. Consider that this may be hard news for them, and reassure them that your new spouse won't replace them in your heart.
  1. Your Parents:
    Typically, the bride's parents are told first, then the groom's immediately afterward. While a visit in person is nice, if your parents live far away, over the phone is fine. Both of you should be present.
  2. Grandparents, Siblings, and Other Close Relatives:
    Even if you want to surprise many of your loved ones at once, consider who would be hurt to not know immediately. You can tell them all at once at a family dinner, or simply tell them by phone.
  3. Your Close Friends:
    A few phone calls will do, unless you want to surprise everyone at once.

When to Make Your Engagement Public

Decide if you want to mail announcements to your friends and family, publish an announcement in your local newspaper, or announce it as a surprise at an engagement party.

  • Publish an Announcement in Your Local Newspaper:
    Start off by calling to ask if they have any guidelines, deadlines, fees, or regulations about announcements. See if they accept pictures, if that's something that interests you, and ask if pictures must be black & white or color. (Make sure you put your name on the back and include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the photo can be returned.).

    If they don't give you strict guidelines, follow etiquette's lead. Typically, announcements include information on the two of you, including career and education credentials, and your parents' names. If your parents live in a different town, you should also include their hometowns. There's no need to include the wedding date, and some purposefully omit it, as they don't want to be targeted by burglars who will thus know when they'll be out of the house. You might choose to say instead something like "A fall wedding is planned," which helps diffuse the millions of "So, when's the wedding?" questions you inevitably get. Read the sample wordings below.
  • Announce Your Engagement at a Party:
    One of the most fun ways to spread the news! You and your fiancé will get the joy of seeing everyone's faces when they learn you are engaged, and the fun of an engagement party without the awkwardness of asking for gifts. Make sure that you don't invite anyone to the party who won't be invited to the wedding, and don't do it at a someone else's event (such as a birthday party) where they might feel upstaged.
  • Create a Wedding Website:
    The most modern way to do it! Many companies offer easy-to-create personal websites that will help you keep guests updated on the details of your wedding. Once you've created a site, you can send an email letting friends and family know the URL. This is a very informal way to announce your engagement, and has many of the same limitations that a printed announcement does, plus the added disadvantage that it will omit guests who don't use the internet. I suggest that if you create a wedding website, you also announce it in a more traditional way.
  • Mailing Formal Engagement Announcements:
    This is a very traditional way of announcing your engagement, but it's one that should be used cautiously. You'll need to be sure that anyone who receives an engagement announcement will also be invited to the wedding, and that it won't be mistaken for an invitation. Still, if the idea of beautiful cards sharing your good news is too delicious to resist, go to your local stationery store. You can word them however you wish, but typically wording is similar to what appears in a newspaper announcement. If you include your wedding date, it can double as a save-the-date card.

How to Word Your Engagement Announcement

Like many other aspects of wedding planning, choosing how exactly to word your engagement announcement can be an etiquette minefield.

Many publications may give you a general template to follow, but some let the bride and groom choose their own language. 

If your newspaper doesn't give you strict guidelines, here are some sample wordings for engagement announcements. Note that etiquette stipulates that the groom's family shouldn't be the ones to announce the engagement, and it should be someone other than the bride and groom if at all possible.

Of course, etiquette rules are made to be broken! If your family doesn't follow traditional etiquette in other social situations, there's no need to suddenly adhere to these standards. 

Engagement Announcement from The Bride's Family

Mr. and Mrs. George Diaz of Brooklyn announce the engagement of their daughter, Lisa Alice to William McGuire, son of Lewis and Mary McGuire of Freeport, New York.

Ms. Diaz graduated summa cum laude from Smith  College, and is a real estate agent with the Towne Home Realty in Brooklyn. Mr. McGuire graduated from St. Johns University and is a freelance writer. A June wedding is planned.

Engagement Announcement from a Single Parent

Ms. Alice Smith announces the engagement of her daughter, Wilhelmina Smith to Peter Hightower, the son of A.J. and Margaret Hightower of Houston….(Follow the rest of the wording above. You may choose to include "Ms. Smith is also the daughter of Casey Smith of Newport Village" as the closing line, but this is not mandatory.)

Engagement Announcement that Includes a Deceased Parent

Ms. Jennifer Miner announces the engagement of her daughter, Maria Miner to Ezra Goldblatt. Ms. Miner, also the daughter of the late Jonathan Miner, graduated from the University of Maine and is the manager of the Four Winds restaurant. Mr. Goldblatt, the son of Micah and Linda Goldblatt, graduated from Colby College and is a teacher at Union Academy in Portland.

Engagement Announcement that Includes a Remarried Parent

Ms. Carol Johnson and Mr. Timothy Afume announce the engagement of Ms. Johnson's daughter...

Engagement Announcement from Divorced Parents

Mr. William George, of Suffern, and Ms. Martha George, of Malvern, announce the engagement of their daughter, Angela Renee...

Engagement Announced by the Bride and Groom

Lisa Winter, a graduate of Geneseo College, is to be married to Mark Maroon, a graduate of Syracuse University. Ms. Winter, the daughter of the late William and Sophia Winter, is a professor at Rochester Community College. Mr. Maroon is a systems analyst at Bloomsday, Mothersbaugh.