Now that you’ve got your Weddiquette, it’s time to brush up on your Engagement Etiquette! If you’re a recent Bride-to-be, you probably have a 10 page list of things you want to do with your fiancé as an engaged couple – maybe throw an engagement party, plan a Bridal shower, buy a house to name a few. Those tasks are obviously one of the many enjoyable parts of getting married, but they come with a lot of responsibility. Who do you invite? Do you register? When do all of these events take place? And since every situation varies from Bride to Bride, it’s tough to know exactly how and when to execute these tasks! So instead of giving you a generic list of engagement etiquette, we interviewed our recently married Shannon and our currently engaged Bridget and got to the bottom of all things engagement etiquette.
When and how to announce your engagement…
Shannon Gail: Lt’s be honest, you are going to want to announce your engagement the second it happens! My advice is – stay off your phone for a bit and enjoy the aftermath of the moment with your fiance. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to craft the perfect ring photo with just the right filter, and go to your social media outlets to post! Lauren Conrad posted her ring with the caption “Best Surprise Ever.” I personally went with “Does anyone know a great wedding planner?” Make sure to get ahold of your family and closest friends to notify them before you take to Facebook!
Bridget Allen: agree with Shannon about taking a minute to enjoy your huge moment! I will admit I sent a few group texts to my friends and family immediately after the proposal. Prior to announcing to the entire social media world, as there may be some close friends and family who are upset to learn about your big news on Facebook or Instagram! I did eventually post the following day on Instagram with a caption featuring the wise words of Beyonce… “he finally put a ring on it!” At the time of our engagement we had been together for over 8 years, so it was a FINALLY moment! Even if you go the understated route of simply changing your status, the word is out. Because as they say, “it’s not official until it’s Facebook official”!
When to have an engagement party…
SG: I didn’t have one, but I’ve certainly attended my fair share! The weekend following our engagement, we did a great dinner with my immediate family, which was perfect in my book. My advice would be not to throw your own engagement party. If a family member or friend wants to throw one, that’s lovely and more appropriate. I would try to throw the party as close to your engagement as possible. Once a couple months pass, it’s time to be planning showers and of course, a wedding, and the engagement party kind of loses it’s place.
BA: I have currently been engaged for over two years, so with an extended engagement, we had an engagement party four months after our engagement for family and friends. Since we were not getting married for a couple of years, the thought behind the party was to have a halfway to the wedding party! I think it all comes down to timing of the wedding, if you are going to have a long engagement a party is a great way to kick off the upcoming celebrations. However if you can’t wait any longer to start your new life together, a simple dinner out with close friends and family is a great way to share the joy and to jump right into the planning process.
Who to invite to your engagement party…
SG: This would be an adorable time to ask your bridal party if they will stand up! I would keep the engagement party to immediate family and your closest friends. Through the course of wedding planning, we promise you your guest list will change. You don’t want to invite someone to the engagement party and not the wedding, so play it safe and celebrate with a smaller group.
BA: This is the perfect time to take a moment to recognize your friends and family who will be by your side throughout the entire process. As Shannon mentioned, this is a great time to ask your bridal party if they would do you the honor of standing with you on your big day. The guest list will change a great deal, you may fall in love with a venue that has a smaller capacity for your wedding, so keep that in mind while planning the engagement party of who to invite, as it is understood that they will be included in the wedding plans.
Do you register for your engagement party?
SG: I would say no. The most common gift for an engagement party is champagne, and who doesn’t want to expand on their bubbly collection? I always like to tell my friends and family not to bring gifts to things. I didn’t even register for my own wedding! This way, if they choose to buy a gift they can do so on their own terms, but you’re not blatantly asking.
BA: I don’t think this is the occasion in which to register. Friends and family want to gather and celebrate your engagement and not feel obligated to have to stay within a list provided. Everyone loves a reason to pop the champagne and toast and most of your guests will ensure that you have bubbly for months to come! Registering is also a big process and you will be grateful to have the extra time to seriously consider your registry options and not have to rush to put something together right after your engagement.
Who to invite to your bridal shower…
SG: You’ll see a common theme in my answers here – less is more! Invite your closest lady family members and friends. Your bridesmaids, aunts, cousins, etc. You don’t need to invite every woman that will be in attendance at your wedding. Keep it intimate and you’ll be happy to spend quality time with your guests!
BA: I love an intimate bridal shower with all the special ladies in your life! As a bride, it’s very exciting for me to be on the other side of the planning process and experiences all these great moments with my closest friends and family members. I’ve also come to realize as being a Bride and on the other side of things for a change, that the shower is also very much a special day for the mothers, a chance where they can have their friends that they don’t get to see too often, who may have been at their own showers years ago, get together and celebrate their children.
When to have a housewarming party…
SG: This is a great question. In my opinion, parties need to be as close to the event as possible. Try to host the party within 1 month of moving into your house! If you are doing some work, you can plan on 1 month after the work is finished. Too much later than this, and the house really is no longer new and all of your friends will have already stopped by to see it! I will never forget one time I was invited to two housewarming parties for the same couple two consecutive weeks in a row and I had thought it was so distasteful! Do I bring a gift both time? Do I go to both? Am I supposed to pick one? Moral of the story – one big party as soon as you close on your house!
BA: I also agree that you should host the housewarming shortly after you move and are settled in. Don’t worry about the place being complete or perfect, people understand what you just went through, we’ve all been there, it’s never any fun. So now is the time to show off your new digs and take a breather. The only time in which I would advise holding off on throwing a housewarming party, if it is very close to your wedding date or other wedding related activities such as showers or bachelorette parties. In that case, wait until the wedding has passed and you are truly settled then have everyone over and make use of all those great wedding presents!
Who to invite…
SG: To me, housewarming parties can be a huge bash and much more informal than any of your wedding gatherings. Feel free to invite family, friends, coworkers, and even your new neighbors! Make it an open house style so that guests can come and go as they please and let everyone mix and mingle with people they don’t know!
BA: As a Chicago transplant, half of my family and friends are all over the country, so I would keep the guest list to those who live local. That way you are not sending an invitation to your friend in Denver knowing they won’t be able to make it, but then having them feel as if they are obligated to send a gift. A fun, casual get together with your group of friends and families close by is the best way to break in the new place!
Biggest engagement etiquette faux pas?
SG: I would say posting your engagement on social media before personally contacting your family and friends. Your Mom should not see your ring for the first time on Facebook!
BA: Jumping right into planning mode within 12 hours of the engagement. We all have those “secret” wedding Pinterest boards that suddenly are unlocked after the engagement! But, take the time to enjoy each other and one of the biggest moments of your life. As well as taking it all in, start thinking about how you envision your day and what you hope to achieve, that will help immensely when you begin the search.