Announcing Your Engagement

Whether your hubby proposed on a scenic mountaintop at the end of a four-mile hike, on your tropical vacation, or over microwave dinners at the end of a Lost marathon, he’s popped the question and you’ve said, “Yes.”

Sometime before you start planning–but after you’ve gotten in a good hour or so practicing your future signature–you may have considered how you’d like to share this happy news.

From going with the classic newspaper announcement to announcing it the world online, how you announce your engagement is a perfect way to express yourselves and can be as outrageous as you can imagine.

Couples may choose to tell their closest friends and family members before the formal announcement is made, but as with every step in the planning process, this decision is entirely up to you.

In Western culture, the earliest forms of engagement announcements were made by the church as a way to give the public an opportunity to present any impediments to the upcoming union.

While these varied by region, and even institution, they could include previous marriages, the degree of familial relation, lack of consent, age, and other factors. If an obstruction was brought to light, the engagement could be postponed or ultimately annulled.

In more recent years, the bride’s parents would often host a party for friends and family. At the celebration, the father of the bride would announce the engagement. My, how the world has changed. These days, couples can opt for their own announcement–in virtually any format they choose–to an intimate, local, regional, or even global audience.

Depending on the medium you’re using to make your announcement, a full engagement announcement should include your names, the occupational information for you both, both sets of parents’ names and their cities or regions of residence, the expected wedding date, and a photo if you’d like.

If you don’t want to give an exact date (maybe you don’t want to let potential burglars know the exact date you’ll be gone all day) you can include just the season or the month you’ve chosen. (For example: “A fall wedding is expected.”)

With that said, if you’re posting your own announcement, it is truly yours to make, and can be as formal or as offbeat as you’d dare. Want to include your avid love of cats and your betrothed’s undying obsession for all things vintage? Why not? Want it to read like a dog-eared copy of a Raymond Chandler novel? Dig deep for some hardboiled verbiage and go for it. Even add a little humor if you wish–but feel free to make it your own.

Traditionally, the bride’s parents often handle the announcement. The language of formal engagement announcements can be as tricky, as the wedding invitations themselves as they often establish parental ties. This can get quite difficult if parents are divorced or remarried.

Newspaper Announcements

Before the world was privy to names like Mark Zuckerberg, when “tweeting” was restricted to our feathered friends, and the only “tube” we knew about was our trusty boob tube, newspapers and magazines reigned supreme. As the primary source of information sharing, these ancient manuscripts would disperse the news of the day in physical formats.

Sure, they were difficult to navigate on crowded subways, you could tell an avid newspaper reader by those unmistakable black markings on their thumbs and forefingers, and you had to–gasp!–physically turn each and every page; but newspapers continue to be a staple in every major U.S. city.

While the individual specifications of posting your engagement announcement will vary from newspaper to newspaper–such as word counts, submission deadlines, and picture inclusions–the newspaper announcement remains a tried-and-true engagement announcement forum. Not only can it make for a fun keepsake, but it is also a great way to let less tech-savvy friends and family members in on the joyous news.

Engagement announcements can be published in local or even national newspapers but should be available to both couple’s parents, meaning you may have to make the announcement in two different local papers. 

Online Announcements

With the ubiquitous nature of social networking, the world can know about your engagement within minutes of the proposal–along with a picture of the ring and a video of your teary eyed acceptance. If you happen to be a technology maven, you can have a wedding website up, complete with a fully stocked registry, before you even get your first “like.” So, go ahead, switch your relationship status to “Engaged,” and don’t forget to tweet the sweet news.

A YouTube announcement can also be a fun way to spread the word. These can be as creative as you can dream. Consider creating a slideshow story of your relationship paired with “your song” and finish it off with a final slide that breaks the news. If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, sit down together to tell friends and family exactly how it happened. Make sure to wear waterproof mascara and have a few tissues on hand, just in case.

Whether you want to tell the world, or just your nearest and dearest, get ready for a very excited audience. Congratulations!