Etiquette for Engagement Announcements

Getting married is always among the biggest events in any individual’s life.  And it’s news that is exciting to almost everyone who has ever spent time with the individual.couple-laptop

Sharing that news in the age of the Internet is easier than ever. But it still makes sense to do it with care. People need to consider just how much information they wish to share. They need to think about the best way to share it.

It has long been traditional for couples to make public announcements of their formal relationship, because engagement or marriage is a significant change in the way they are viewed by their broader community.

Couples should think of their announcement as a way to introduce each other to distant family members and friends they have made through the years. They should include at least a couple of pictures of themselves together. They should include background on hometowns, high schools, colleges, graduate schools and career paths. Simply changing status on Facebook to “engaged” or “married” doesn’t provide friends the kind of information they crave.

Traditionally, society families mailed out printed engagement announcements listing the prospective bride and groom and their parents. The announcement was usually made by the bride’s parents. That was fine when the two families knew each other and lived in the same community.

Today, however, couples make the decision to get engaged and married. Even if the bride’s family is paying for the wedding, it is perfectly acceptable for the couple to make the announcement.

Local newspapers have long been the standard way for most couples to announce their weddings. Today, though, most newspapers treat wedding and engagement announcements as classified advertisements. Some even charge couples to run the announcements online. However, most friends and even family members don’t regularly read the local newspapers, since many couples have gone to college or started careers far from their hometowns.

selfieWith a formal announcement online, it’s easy to share it. Couples can include the link in their Facebook timelines, send it to any email groups at work or church, and email it directly to other people. Their parents, wedding party and friends can also share the link.

Newspaper style provides a good basis for writing an engagement or marriage announcement.  It is concise. It is factual. And following the model of a newspaper like the New York Times assures that all relevant information is included.

A couple might wonder if mentioning a college-leadership post or a reality-television show appearance might sound boastful. If it’s something that other people include in a newspaper’s style, then it’s fine.

It’s customary to include the names and towns of the parents of both the man and woman making the announcement. That’s because a marriage is more than the joining of two people. It’s a recognition of a relationship to new in-laws.  The accomplishments and work of the parents often provide interesting insights to the background of the engaged couple. Sometimes it’s even interesting to include information on famous relatives or ancestors.

In cases where parents are divorced or deceased, it’s up to the bride and groom to decide who should be mentioned. It might read: “Ms. Smith is the daughter of Jane Doe of Wayne, Georgia, who is married to Herman Doe of Wayne, Georgia. She is also the daughter of Jack Smith of Atlanta, Georgia.”

Couples need to create a public announcement that provides enough information without oversharing.  Stories about proposals or first meetings can be interesting, but they need to be presented concisely. Having an announcement checked by a professional editor can help make sure that information included in an announcement is appropriate. has been created to provide newspaper style announcements, free, to any recently engaged or married couples. By using standard templates and experienced human editors, the site assures an appropriate but informative announcement that couples can share.


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