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Engagement etiquette

Weddings are complicated rituals, and it's no wonder! After all, you're committing your life to another person and joining two families, so it should come as no surprise that there are complex etiquette rituals surrounding this process. In a world driven by instant gratification, though, it can be tough to know how to act - and, crucially, how not to act. If you're a little rusty on your etiquette, follow these tips for a super-polite engagement.

Announcing Your Engagement

You might want to shout your engagement from the rooftops, but you need to tell your immediate family and closest friends before you post the news on Facebook. This announcement warrants a call, not a text. If you're concerned that a family member might not be happy about your engagement, keep the call short, sweet and upbeat - and avoid getting embroiled in any discussions about your choice of a fiance.

Gratitude, Gratitude, and More Gratitude

During your engagement, you may be showered with gifts, parties, and attention. Gratitude is the attitude you need to carefully cultivate. Send a thank-you note for every gift, party, and favor your receive. Profusely thank anyone who contributes to the cost of your wedding. And never, ever become a demanding bridezilla who loudly proclaims to people what you are owed.

It's Not About the Money

Miss Manners and other etiquette experts say that wedding registries are hopelessly rude. Of course, even if you don't want a registry, your guests may demand that you create one so that they can make gift-buying easier. You have to tread a fine line here to ensure you don't look like you're begging for money and presents. Try these tips:

  • Don't publicize your registry; instead, ask your parents to do it.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, ask for money or register for a honeymoon or wedding fund.
  • If you have multiple engagement parties, let your guests know that they don' have to bring gifts; otherwise your parties can look like money grabs.

Respecting Boundaries and Time

There's nothing wrong with getting excited about your wedding. But while your big day is the center of your world, life goes on for those around you! Don't expect the world to stop just because you're getting married, and avoid making unreasonable demands on friends and family. It's great to solicit your best friend's opinion, but she shouldn't have to spend all her spare time planning your wedding (and she may resent it!). Similarly, if guests have to travel for your wedding, you need to do everything you can to minimize their costs. Your wedding should feel like a day of celebration and relaxation not just for you, but for the people who will support you and your marriage long after the final bottle of Champagne is gone.

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