Announcing your engagement is your chance to share thrilling news with friends. After you've told immediate family members, you may want to send out formal engagement announcements. How to word engagement announcements may become confusing depending on your circumstances, but don't let that stop you from spreading the happy news. Nowadays, there are several ways to announce your engagement in writing.
Mailing Formal Engagement Announcements
Many couples have moved away from the traditional mailed engagement announcement cards. Back in the days where letters and notes were just about the only way to communicate, the concept was popular, but today there is just not the need.
Taking the place of mailed engagement announcements are the increasingly popular save-the-date cards. As they are a relatively modern invention, there are not many hard and fast rules concerning the wording or the timing of when to send these out. With the rise in destination weddings and friends and family spread across the globe, they have rapidly grown to be included in the list of things to do for your wedding. If you've already decided on your wedding date, a save the date card is essentially a formal mailed engagement announcement.
Announcing Your Engagement in the Newspaper
Many communities print engagement announcements. While not every couple chooses to do this, it is an option, particularly if your family or your sweetheart's family have been residents of an area for a long time. Begin the process by calling the paper and asking for submission guidelines for engagement announcements. Make sure that you find out about the word count and requirements for pictures (black and white versus color). Also ask about rates and any deadlines for when the announcement will appear as well.
Many newspaper engagement announcements follow a traditional format:
Begin with the parents of the bride-to-be, their hometown and their daughter's name.
Next, include the groom-to-be's name, his parents and hometown.
Let people know when the wedding will be. Many couples choose to be vague on this, as they either don't know exactly or they wish to avoid being targets for burglars who can learn when they are out of town. It's perfectly acceptable to say, "They will marry in August," or "The happy couple will exchange vows in the spring."
A subsequent paragraph, if allowed, should include education and employment details of the happy couple.
Here is an example of a traditional engagement announcement:
Mr. and Mrs. James Dunn of Atlanta, Georgia, are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Natalie Jane to Matthew Clark Jones, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clark Jones of Knoxville, Tennessee. They will marry in the spring.
Miss Dunn is a 1999 graduate of the University of Tennessee and is an engineer with Johnson Technology, Inc. Mr. Jones is a 1998 graduate of the University of Tennessee and is employed with the Tennessee Valley Authority as a public relations liaison.
Depending on family circumstances, such as children from a previous marriage, divorced or deceased parents and other situations, wording can and should be adjusted.
Divorced parents who have not remarried: The bride's mother's name should go first to read, "Ms. Jane Smith and Mr. John Doe are pleased to announce…"
Divorced parents who have both remarried: The bride's mother's new married name appears first, then her father's name. If the parents are hosting with their new spouse, it's appropriate to list them as Mr. and Mrs.
Deceased parent: List the surviving parent first and then mention the deceased parent. For example, "Miss X is also the daughter of the late Mr. X."
Remember that the bride's family is responsible for placing the announcement in their local paper as well as asking the groom's family if they would like it to appear in their paper. If the groom's family agrees, it's up to the bride's family to make the arrangements for the printing.
Modern-Day Engagement Announcements
Thanks to technology, two trends are on the rise when it comes to engagement announcements: online announcements and Web pages. The rise in electronic invitations also includes engagement announcements, and, when faced with the cost of postage for traditional mailed announcements, plus the ease and convenience of electronic mail, e-nouncements are a fun and logical choice. Wording for the electronic announcements is generally the same as a newspaper announcement. The wording may be more flexible, but don't be tempted to be too casual, as it is likely that you will be announcing your engagement to people who have many different opinions about wedding etiquette.
Many wedding-related websites can help you create a personalized Web page with the appropriate wording and photographs. Then you can e-mail the link to friends and family, and they can view the Web page for themselves.
There are instances where such high-tech announcements are not appropriate. Close friends and family should always find out the news in person or via a telephone call. Also, consider that not all family members may have access to e-mail. Finally, electronic announcements are a fun and casual way to spread the news, but, if you are set on a traditional formal wedding, you should stick to more traditional methods.
If you're looking for guidelines on engagement party etiquette, learn what to expect and how to make the event work.
If you feel like you can wake up next to your loved one for the rest of your life and have been together long enough to know the best and worst parts of one another, then a marriage proposal just might be the next step.