Here’s Your Guide for How to Announce Your Engagement


Don't tell Facebook first

by Stephanie Kaloi, Content Manager

woman showing her engagement ring to a camera

If you’ve just gotten engaged, you’re probably bursting: You want to celebrate with each other! You want to tell your mom! You can’t wait to call your BFF and gush! But hold up, excited ones. There a few things you need to think about when it comes to figuring out how to announce your engagement.

As tempting as it might be to rush out and tell the entire world (it’s unfortunate that town criers aren’t really a thing anymore, no?), it may behoove you to slow down, wait twenty-four to forty-eight hours, and make a tiny plan. I don’t mean something ultra-detailed and laid out, step-by-step. And by all means, please go have that very gushy, super excited phone call with your friend or your mom. But before you start snapping a photo of your ring and your excited faces to post it online… make sure that you’ve thought about everyone else you’ll want to tell—and if you’re ready to hear their endless opinions about wedding plans you haven’t even started making yet. As Meg says in the #APWPlanner:

When you get engaged, it can be tempting to run out and break the news to everyone, right away. If you do that, after the first flood of congratulations, you’ll quickly find yourself fielding questions on everything from your wedding date to your colors. (Welcome to other people’s expectations and wedding planning.) No matter when you let the Facebook masses know, try to reserve some time just to celebrate your engagement together and figure out what the hell it is that you want out of this wedding, anyway.

Getting married is exciting and awesome, and it should be celebrated. But here are a few things to think about as you announce your engagement:

how to tell your family that you’re engaged

First and foremost, there’s a two to three step process that will need to be attended to soon after your engagement is official. You don’t need to go big, but something a little more special than an excited text is probably good. A phone call, a meal, etc:

tell your parents first: If your parents are involved in your lives and important to you, make sure they’re the first people to know—the last thing you want is for your mom to find out about your engagement from Facebook, after seeing the photo your BFF shared from the bar where you guys were celebrating.

Unless you have children: If one or both of you has kids from a previous relationship, tell your kids first. After your most immediate people know, you’ll also want to loop in any siblings in your life.

get everyone together: This isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s nice to invite all involved parents, parent-esque figures, and kids in your lives to have dinner together and celebrate, discuss, and generally get to know each other a little better. Maybe you guys hang out all the time, but for a lot of people, getting engaged is what makes both sides of the family realize, “Oh hey, this is real now.”

how to tell everyone else that you’re engaged

After you’ve told your immediately families, you’ll probably want to tell your friends. A lot of us have friends we love but wouldn’t include in the first wave of “OMG I’M ENGAGED!!!” celebrations—and here are a few ideas for telling those people the news:

start making phone calls: I know, I know. Phone calls! I can’t even! But if you are into using your phone for things other than social media and the news, lots of people (think extended family, for starters) would love to hear your voice when you tell them this kind of huge news. It’s a little retro for some, but picking up the phone is still infinitely more effective than a text or blanket Facebook update. If you really can’t deal, or your list of people to call is well into the dozens, email or text is totally fine. Use the confetti emoji wildly.

take it to the web: I see engagement announcements on Facebook and Instagram all the time, and I always love them. That’s probably because the ones I see online (as opposed to hearing about it in person) are the engagements of people I know and love—but who wouldn’t invite me to the wedding, because we’re not that close. So before you snap a photo of the ring(s) and get ready to post it, do a quick double check and make sure that people who are very close to you aren’t getting this news from their phone or tablet screen first.

have an engagement party: Engagement parties are totally optional, but can be fun, particularly if you’re having a long engagement. They can be as chill or as exciting as you want them to be—but they’re usually some version of pizza and drinks, or a barbecue. (We’ll actually be talking about how to host one next week.)

How did you announce your engagement? what worked well—and what didn’t?

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! 😊 🎉 🎉).

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  • Brooke

    We made phone calls/group texts to: Parents first, then siblings, followed closely by close friends. We announced on Facebook the next day, I think later that week (?) I posted a ring photo on Insta. Unfortunately, we live pretty far from family and friends so we didn’t really have the opportunity for a big gathering. We did, however, go out with some friends shortly after our engagement and celebrated then. My brother got engaged just about 2 months prior to us getting engaged, so it wasn’t that my family wasn’t super excited, it just was kind of another kid/sibling getting engaged, i.e. another day.

  • Lisa

    We got engaged while I was visiting my now-husband’s family over the summer. I called my parents and sisters as we were driving back to his house, and then I made a couple of phone calls/group texts to close friends. We were leaving the next day for a week at a lake cabin with the family, and we decided to wait until we got back from the lake to announce on social media. That meant we got to have a week of celebrating with family and friends in real life before getting the Facebook congratulations. It was actually nice because we got to drag the good feelings out longer by spreading out the announcements!

  • Amy March

    Love love love getting phone calls to find out about engagements, even if we’ve literally never spoken on the phone before. And I also love the joyful surprise of just a photo of the ring in a text.

    • Kaitlyn

      My favorite texts that I sent went “Hey guess what” with a pic of us and the ring haha Kinda wish I got to see everyone’s expressions haha

    • Eenie

      I wanted to call everyone, but I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to have the conversation 20 times the day we got engaged. We called parents and sent texts to everyone else!

  • CMT

    “That’s probably because the ones I see online (as opposed to hearing about it in person) are the engagements of people I know and love—but who wouldn’t invite me to the wedding, because we’re not that close.” Stephanie, do you think that anybody that is at the level of getting an invite should get a personal phone/text/in-person announcement? To me that seems like a lot to ask. Besides my family, I have maybe 10-15 people I’d tell before a Facebook announcement if I got engaged. But I’d probably end up inviting a lot more than that to a wedding.

    • stephanie

      Oh, that’s a great point! When I wrote it, I was only thinking about the times I’ve seen someone announce on FB, someone else say “I can’t wait for the wedding!” and then that person actually not being invited, but this is totally a fair point. I agree that it’s not likely you’ll contact 100 people before you post on FB. I’ll add something to the post! Thanks!

    • stephanie

      OK follow up: I reread what I said and the next point—”So before you snap a photo of the ring(s) and get ready to post it, do a quick double check and make sure that people who are very close to you aren’t getting this news from their phone or tablet screen first.” is what I was saying. Just make sure you’ve told the close people BEFORE you tell FB, not that you have to tell all 100 guests first.

      • Lisa

        And you might not even know you are having a 100 person wedding (or 25 or 250 or whatever) when you get engaged! Those priorities might evolve or reveal themselves over time. We chose to contact our immediate families and those circles with which we have regular contact. We didn’t call most of our relatives even though the majority were invited to the wedding.

        • stephanie

          Totally. And this: “We chose to contact our immediate families and those circles with which we have regular contact. ” is what I was getting at—if someone will be hurt because they find out via FB, make sure that person knows before you post. I think it’s different for everyone.

          • Kalë

            Yes, this! I took time to sit down and think about my relationships (which was actually really great) and which people would feel let down to find out any way than from me directly. It actually made me tell a handful more people personally than I planned, just because I wanted to reach out and make sure they know they’re “valuable” to me in the sharing-important-news way. Food for thought :)

        • Not Sarah

          This is also something that requires knowing your family. My husband’s family has a phone tree while mine…doesn’t really. Since mine is small-ish, I chose to call all of my aunts and cousins before we posted on Facebook. (One cousin said I didn’t need to worry about him finding out via Facebook since he never goes on there, but I’m sure he appreciated the call anyway.) My husband, on the other hand, just told his parents and siblings and the rest of his family found out somehow. (I think his parents told their siblings and parents.)

    • Jess

      Yeah, that is way too much for me. I honestly just don’t feel like that many people need to know, personally, from me, in advance? That’s what engagement announcements (actually a thing before FB!) and family gossip is for.

  • Cello

    My partner and I are in a same-sex relationship. We knew that we wanted to be together forever, but the whole wedding thing seemed so unrealistic in the first two years of our relationship that we really didn’t consider it. But then, after marriage was legalized, we decided why not!? Let’s celebrate marriage equality, sign a legally binding document, and share a last name.

    And that was that. Suddenly we were engaged, but without rings and without a formal proposal. I have seen so many social media posts and heard so many stories about couples who immediately call their parents following the proposal. And proposal stories galore. I’m happy with the way we decided to get married, and neither of us wanted or expected a proposal, but once our decision was made, it was hard to tell people.

    Honestly, it wasn’t until we had engagement rings on our fingers for people to recognize and really accept the engagement as a real event in our lives.

    That’s been my experience.

    I wish there was some kind of etiquette or guideline for what to do when you are engaged, without an engagement ring, and no proposal story.

    • Amy March

      Call people important to you, tell them you are engaged!!!!! and if they ask about rings or a proposal story say “we are still thinking about rings, maybe later, and we just decided together!!! We are so happy!”

      If you tell people this is happy, we are excited, and this is definite you’ve done your part.

      • Katharine Parker

        Just repeating “we’re so happy!” whenever someone asks an awkward question is a strong move for deflecting. “What’s the wedding date?” “We haven’t gotten that far–we’re just so happy to be engaged!” “Did you get engagement rings?” “We haven’t decided–we’re just so happy to be engaged!” “How big is the wedding?” “We have no idea–we’re just so happy to be engaged!”

    • Katharine Parker

      I think you can still announce, “we’re getting married! We’re so thrilled!” Call whomever you want; text people a selfie of the two of you looking joyful; post a selfie on facebook or instagram if you want to announce it widely. Frame it as, “we decided to do this and we’re so excited about it! We were inspired by marriage equality legalization! Isn’t it amazing?!” if people ask about a proposal.

    • GotMarried!

      YES for the ring issue. We also decided to marry, and didn’t have a ring for half our our 4 week engagement … its harder to share the news without that “symbol” that culture demands.

      • AP

        Same! My husband proposed with a jokey plastic ring, knowing we’d pick one out together at some point. I wore it proudly the night we got engaged (but not after since it wasn’t really meant to be worn and super uncomfortable.) We didn’t end up picking out a ring for a few months, and I was surprised by the number of people who were pretty weird about it and made gendered comments like ‘he didn’t do it right, isn’t he supposed to have the ring first?’ Gross.

        • Jane

          Yeah – those kind of comments are gross.
          People are SO WEIRD about rings. My ring is a sapphire and a bunch of people were like, but why didn’t you want a diamond? Did he know that? I kept feeling like I had to defend him and myself. Yes, we talked about this beforehand, I love blue, I’ve never liked diamonds, he actually knows me/my taste, etc.

          • Katharine Parker

            I would not be able to resist being a little passive-aggressive back. “I’ve always loved sapphires! They’re so regal–Princess Diana had one, and now Kate Middleton wears it. I didn’t want a diamond like everyone else.”

            (I love both sapphires and diamonds, for the record.)

          • Amy March

            “I’ve just always felt diamonds were a bit common.”

          • idkmybffjill

            Pahhahaha

          • Leah

            Savage (I love it).

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            I have a mexican fire opal as my primary stone and I always get weird questions about oh, so is that your birth stone? Because the only way I could possibly not want a diamond is if it was my birth stone.

          • AP

            High five for blue stones! Mine’s an aquamarine:) And yep, I got the same types of questions about that, too. People!

          • laddibugg

            I find myself at times having to defend my diamond lol.

          • idkmybffjill

            Same!

          • GotMarried!

            Blue Diamond here – people do not get it!

          • Leah

            That’s so bizarre! I have a sapphire (never been a diamond girl) and adore it. I’ve never had any weird comments about it though. Stuff those people! Sapphires are beautiful and clearly its what you prefer. I don’t get the commenting negatively on people’s rings. A couple of my friends have rings that aren’t to my taste, but that’s fine because no one is asking me to wear them and I’d NEVER tell them I don’t like their ring. People are the worst.

          • Eenie

            I like that when people scoff at my sapphire ring and ask if I like it I can tell them I designed it myself so yes, it’s exactly what I want to wear.

    • Aubry

      In my experience, every person I know has the engagement conversation, usually followed by the whole ring situation. So, you are not alone! And some decided that conversation was the engagement, and others waiting for the ring. Some planned half their wedding in the interim, others waited. It’s all good, and you just do you. I love the advice to just say “were so happy” whenever anyone asks annoying questions :)

  • GotMarried!

    Added advice: check your people and CLEARLY communicate what is not yet public knowledge.

    my best friend found out I was engaged (actually married) because my mother posted on facebook the day of the (teeny tiny) wedding. I was not aware until hours later and while we eloped-with-parents for good reason … she at least deserved a text or phone call vs. seeing on facebook and having to deal with the resulting questions from everyone-else-we-know who ALSO found out the day of on facebook …. without my knowledge.

    • Amy March

      I’d go a step farther and assume people are incapable of keeping your happy secrets for very long, even if you communicate that you would like them to really clearly. You can’t bank on no one letting your engagement slip for a month while you wait to see your best friend in person.

      • Alyssa

        Yes. That’s why when my fiance and I got engaged, we made our calls like rapid fire (such as calling our parents simultaneously), because we wanted to tell everyone but also didn’t want anyone important to us feel like they were left out.

      • GotMarried!

        Agreed … we made it through the 4 week engagement without it getting out, but i guess the day-of all bets were off.

      • macrain

        I wish this weren’t true, but it kind of is. I got some serious shit from my family for not telling them about my pregnancy until I was through my first trimester and then some. But they are blabbermouths! And I knew it would piss me off to no end when they inevitably spilled to people I wasn’t comfortable with knowing yet. Hence- they didn’t find out until I was good and ready.

        • idkmybffjill

          OMG this will be so real when we’re pregnant. My mom keeps secrets INTENSELY WELL about things I don’t even care about, but my husband’s mom… tell her what you ate for breakfast and a cousin will ask you how you liked it that afternoon on your Facebook wall.

          • macrain

            The backlash wasn’t fun to deal with, TBH. But in the end I was so happy I did it. I felt kind of vindicated when another family member shared news of her pregnancy early on with a few family members and sure enough! It spread farther than she was comfortable with, even with her explicit instructions to not share.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            One of my high school teachers announced in a schoolwide assembly that another teacher was expecting. There were only about 150 kids in my entire high school, so everyone was really close, but the one who was expecting was FURIOUS

          • Kaitlyn

            I’m laughing over the mother and cousin comment hahaha

          • idkmybffjill

            Hahaha I’m only SLIGHTLY exagerrating, it’s still definitely an adjustment for me!

          • LynnK

            My husband’s family is like this as well. Everybody knows everything and I’m still not entirely adjusted. I have to constantly ask if it’s okay I know something, or if I need to pretend I don’t.
            And while my mother-in-law can technically keep a secret, it’s in a very loud “I’M UNCOMFORTABLE AND NERVOUS that so and so told me something I can’t tell.”

          • idkmybffjill

            It’s WEIRD. My mom like…doesn’t like to tell people where she got her shoes. So it’s just totally new for me. I had gastroenteritis once while my MIL was in town that manifested in such a way that all the doctors thought it was appendicitis. OBVI surgery isn’t something I’d expect to be a secret, but my family is more of the, “tell people things once we know what they are” type. When it turned out not to be (but I was still V sick), I got a million messages on facebook from cousins being like, “Don’t worry, once I thought my son had appendicitis and it was just constapation”. I was like… whatisthis.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          My mom can keep a secret for two weeks, tops. She’ll try, if I ask her to…but the best asking does is buy me time.

        • Aubry

          Yeah, I slipped and told my mom that C and I are kinda, maybe, thinking about kids in the next year or two and she literally told everyone in the family she has talked to that “you know aubry and C are going to start trying soon”… like no! OMG I can’t imagine my nosy aunt asking me why I’m not pregnant yet if we end up dealing with infertility. Or just change our mind?? I was just talking about it with a girlfriend group that day (who are all in the same kinda boat, either trying or thinking about it soon) and I didn’t mean to say anything but kinda suggested we might be. It solidified that she must not know things until they are actually happened, and I don’t mind the family knowing.

        • Eh

          The only time my MIL has actually respected my wishes about keeping something off FB was about my pregnancy. She told everyone she saw (including people we probably should have told before they found out from her) but she did not post on FB (unlike when we got engaged, or married, or our daughter was actually born – despite us asking her not to post anything about our lives on FB and reiterating that each of those times).

          I wish I could have kept it from her until I was through the first trimester but it was Christmas and I was very sick. We did not tell people until after the anatomy scan as we have had some friends have second trimester miscarriages.

      • accidental_diva

        OMG this is my mom- to the point where I have told friends that if they want to tell me something DO NOT tell my mom first because I have had 3 friends pregnancy/engagement announcements ruined because my mom can’t keep happy secrets!

      • Sarah Stoneham

        A friend of mine’s parents announced her engagement on FB before the guy had ever even asked! Apparently some miscommunication about the timeline. She thought it was really funny, but I’m sure her now husband was disappointed.

      • Kyle Hutchinson

        Yup. I was on a game show once and told my parents that I had won but that they were explicitly not allowed to tell anyone else before the show aired, per orders of the producers. My mom told EVERYONE. She could have cost me real money!

    • macrain

      Yup.
      My parents knew before it was happening, and my mom told BOTH my sisters! I was definitely bummed I didn’t get to be the one to share the news. In hindsight I would have had my husband be more clear when he shared that information.

    • Hayley

      Yes! People get excited and they want to tell people, or everybody and unfortunately, I think for most people it means you can’t wait too long about announcing it even though that’s what everyone recommends.

    • Not Sarah

      Yes. We eloped and we were VERY clear that nothing was to be on Facebook until we posted something. We made sure that we didn’t take too long to post to help with that problem ;)

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I would actually love to see a whole piece addressing people being blabby about wedding stuff, and what to do about it.

      • Kalë

        Seconded! I’m already concerned about people posting invites on Facebook… sadly justified, since I’VE SEEN MY OWN RELATIVES DO IT BEFORE

        • Eh

          My MIL posted about our engagement, including information about our wedding plans (date and location) on FB before we had our venue contract signed (and before my husband had told some people since he was slow). Luckily for us the information about our actual wedding was wrong (the venue/date didn’t work out – that’s why the contract wasn’t signed yet) so the people who should announced that to on FB didn’t randomly show up at our wedding. I don’t understand why someone would post information like that on FB. People that can see it might not be invited to the wedding but they might think that they can come.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          OMGWTFBBQ

        • Lisa

          Ooooh, that’s awful. One of my dear friends from grad school had a guy from our program who was creepily obsessed with her/borderline stalking, and people overheard him making casual comments about wanting to hurt her then-boyfriend. She was really concerned that he’d find out details of the wedding through mutual Facebook friends and show up. Relatives, there’s a reason you get a private invitation through the mail and not a Facebook invite!

    • laddibugg

      Yeah. I had to tell future SIL to give me a few hours so I could go home and tell my dad. He’s not on Facebook, but other people in my family are and word travels FAST.

  • Lawyerette510

    If you get engaged in front of a group of friends, and while that’s certainly not what everyone does, for those who do, if you want to slow the news spreading, be sure to ask those people to hold off on posting on social media.
    I know from experience. We got engaged when my husband surprised me by asking me at our annual holiday party/ his birthday party. There were probably about 30 people there between when he asked and people who passed through later in the night. It was pretty late (and also drinking and hosting a party), so while it was acceptable for us to drunkenly call/ facetime my family and his brother, his parents and sister wouldn’t have appreciated that. We had to act faster to tell them than we had planned the next morning (we figured we’d call in the afternoon once we got the house put back together and the hangovers lessened) but we ended up having to act quickly because one of the guests from the party the night before posted congratulations to us on Facebook and we didn’t want his sister to find out and spread the word that way.

  • Alyssa

    We got engaged at 11pm on a Sunday night when we both had to work the next day. I had nothing against my coworkers knowing that I was engaged, but I didn’t want them to be the FIRST people to find out and I didn’t have time to field phone calls, so I sent a picture of me wearing my ring to my parents and a couple friends. I did talk to my mom on the phone that morning and I talked to everyone else after work, but even if I didn’t have time to talk about it, I really wanted my family to get the news first, however brief I had to be. We scheduled a lunch with both our families a week or two later to celebrate, and that was that! Neither of us are big social media people (nor are our friends), so we didn’t have to worry on that front — plus we had been together for 6 years at that point, most people’s reaction was “finally!” than anything else!

  • Hayley

    I just got engaged this weekend. And telling everyone did not go exactly to plan. We told my family and then went to dinner with his family and told all of them. Good. And then, apparently, my fiance had told my mother that she needed to wait until his parents knew before posting it on fb. So as soon as we got back, she posted it. And since we share fb, I posted so that everyone would find out from me not from my mom’s weird blurry ring pic. I wish my fi had not told her that because it was really overwhelming dealing with all the texts and comments and I wish we had a little more time to just enjoy it.

    And seriously, my fmil asked what the venue, colors and dress were going to be, 4 hrs after we got engaged. 0_o Never underestimate how soon people will ask you questions about the wedding.

    • Lisa

      And seriously, my fmil asked what the venue, colors and dress were going to be, 4 hrs after we got engaged. 0_o Never underestimate how soon people will ask you questions about the wedding.

      Yup. One of the people I called (either my sister or friend, can’t remember now) asked what our wedding date was when I announced the engagement over the phone on the drive home from the engagement site. I said, “I don’t know??? This literally JUST happened?”

      • Hayley

        I swear, some of it is because we’ve been together “too long” so I think everyone assumes that I have an entire wedding planned in my head. And I definitely don’t.

        I think I’d better just get used to saying “We have no idea about that yet.” which I feel like I’ve said 100 times a day.

        • idkmybffjill

          SO much better than making things up. A friend of mine didn’t have anything planned but felt alot of pressure too, so she spread word about three DISTINCTLY different weddings in the first month that they were engaged and it was very confusing.

          • Her Lindsayship

            LOL! I won’t say I’ve never been tempted to do the same, especially when talking to those *really* inquisitive types!

        • Her Lindsayship

          This doesn’t happen for everybody, but for me, people rarely ask about wedding stuff anymore. I don’t really bring it up either, aside from with my mom and sisters, so maybe that helped? The first few weeks were super stressful with all of that attention, but now it’s out of people’s minds.

          ETA: I’ve been engaged for over six months, but it probably only took like two months for wedding plans to longer be an interesting topic for anyone I hang out with.

          • idkmybffjill

            The weirdest part was that for this particular friend it seemed self imposed. (It was something she sort of struggled with for her whole engagement). So she would just bring up these different plans and all of us would sort of collectively regroup our planning for the coming months (the “we” i’m referring to were her bridesmaids).

          • toomanybooks

            Yup. My coworker used to ask about wedding plans a lot until there were too many times when I told her “umm… it’s going really slowly, it’s hard to make decisions and we’re being lazy about it.” That got boring fast.

      • idkmybffjill

        That’s so weird!!! I feel like there’s shade if you knew about it coming soon and did planning (a coworker of mine had already booked some things before the engagement and got side eye), and shade if you hadn’t planned anything yet.

        • Katharine Parker

          I think the planning before the proposal thing depends on how you did it. I have a friend who had booked a venue before the proposal, only told her family (her parents were paying for the wedding), and claimed they “weren’t really engaged” when his family was upset at being left out of the loop. If they had been honest with both families that they were planning their wedding but were waiting on a ring to be formally engaged, it would have been ok. But lying to his family created some bad blood.

          • idkmybffjill

            Oh FOR SURE. The shade she got was more from strangers/aquaintances who were like, “but wait you’re not engaged?/ oh wow you JUST got engaged and you already know all that?””

          • Katharine Parker

            If someone tried to shade me on that, I would probably have been like, “everything just fell into place so fast!” Who are they to know when you put a deposit down?

            This relates to how everyone has an opinion on how long an engagement should be–you can’t win, so don’t bother trying.

          • idkmybffjill

            Yeah. We were really lucky, no one gave us any shade. I just think it’s remarkable that like… there is literally no way to meet everyone’s expectations.

      • Kaitlyn

        EVERYONE asked me when the wedding was and I got a few “So you getting married next weekend? hardy har har” That is a terrible joke haha

    • macrain

      This type of stuff deeply bothers me when I see it on FB. I guess we need to give people the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t know it’s not appropriate to post on FB before the happy couple has had a chance to… but don’t they know that?
      I’ve also seen it happen several times that when a friend has a baby, some random aunt posts about the arrival of the baby first, with a picture. Let the couple share first!

      • Amy March

        I think many people have no idea that they are doing something inappropriate, and also no understanding of who can see what they post.

        • Not Sarah

          This – my MIL downloads our non-Facebook-shared photos and reposts them with no privacy settings whatsoever. I’ve started prefixing sharing any photos with her to please not re-post on social media.

          • toomanybooks

            Nooooooo, I’m so happy that my parents are not on Facebook (and I don’t know the deal with my fiancée’s parents but they probably aren’t super active there considering they share an email account).

        • macrain

          I think that’s probably true in some cases, but does it excuse the behavior? It still seems rude to me, even if the offender doesn’t completely grasp the particulars. They understand on some level that they are sharing information, right?

          • Amy March

            I don’t think there’s a universal consensus it is rude at all. Random uncle a) thinks you told him so it’s obvi not a secret, and b) thinks only you can see what he posts anyway. There’s no baseline assumption to rely on that engagements are secret news absent express authorization. Pre-FB, random uncle would have just happily told every single person he came in contact with and it wouldn’t have spread to every person you know nearly as quickly.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        We planned who we told first strategically, so that the most important were first. That way, if someone blabbed, at least it was to people that weren’t *as* important to tell in person.

      • Aubry

        It especially bothers me if these exact people are the ones who would be offended at finding out via facebook…

  • Jane

    We got engaged at sunset (which at that time of year in my city meant like 4) and so we figured we’d drop by his parents and then mine, then go do a dinner by ourselves. We ended up spending so long with parents that it was about 10 before we went to get dinner.

    Everything was amazing, but I wish we had made a pact on the drive over not to discuss any actual wedding details with anyone that night. My mom instantly went into wedding planning mode and started asking questions that we hadn’t had a chance to talk about just the two of us.

    • Hayley

      I had the same thing happen. I did not have a venue booked already. It was pretty overwhelming. Just wanted to say, I feel you.

      • Jane

        Yeah – solidarity!
        I had to walk back my aethiest fiancé agreeing to have a priest perform the ceremony. He was just so excited about everything and didn’t want to say no to my mom. But neither of us is religious, so it would be very weird for us.

        My mom was fine. She didn’t really remember or hold us to any wedding-specific commitments we made that night. But it could have gone badly.

  • Ashlah

    I’m pretty sure our parents are the only people we told before Facebook. Whoops? Symptom/cause of not being super duper close to many people, but also we were just excited to get it all out there and celebrate! We called our parents, went out to dinner, then posted on Facebook. I know a lot of people here extol the benefits and fun of keeping it a shared secret for a few days, but we really enjoyed reveling in the excitement of others. I did get a phone call after posting from a cousin who happened to be with a bunch of our family, which was fun! It made me feel a little bad I didn’t call first, but my family is huge and I wouldn’t have known where to draw the line!

    • Jess

      I dunno, in my family it would have been terrible if I didn’t call my parents, but nobody else would have even expected a call at all. We’re just not that kind of family. We let big news trickle down the gossip lines and leave it at that.

      • Ashlah

        That’s the how I felt too, but it was sort of the first big event like that in our family, so it was somewhat new territory. Since then, two other cousins announced on Facebook (or at least I wasn’t on the call list, ha!), so I think we’re good :)

  • sofar

    My husband proposed to me on a vacation in another country, so we had two blissful weeks of not telling ANYONE. Both sets of parents knew he was proposing on the trip, but we waited until our vacation was over before we told them that I said yes.

    Highly recommended. We spent two weeks enjoying fancy celebratory dinners and alone time without having to hear, “So… have you picked a date yet?”

    • idkmybffjill

      Oh man, GREAT advice. I wish we’d done that.

    • macrain

      That sounds so romantic. <3

    • Jess

      We were also on vacation without reception, and the time where we weren’t hearing from people was wonderful.

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      We were on a cruise with my family when he proposed, so all of the people that I COULD tell knew before I did. I felt like I was going to burst. I’m definitely not very patient!

    • Alexandra

      We got engaged two months ago in a foreign country, and it felt like we were on cloud nine. We had this secret we kept while we were there (because it’s not like anyone there knew that we JUST got engaged). I kept thinking how amazing it feels to be engaged…until I came home. Then reality (aka my mom) set in. :)

      Even if it’s not a foreign country, I highly recommend people going away, or just keeping it to themselves for a few days!

      • sofar

        Oh I feel you. My mom started picking fights over boutonnieres literally the MOMENT she could. Having some privacy to deal with a momentous decision that lots of people think is their business was so wonderful.

        • idkmybffjill

          Over BOUTONNIERES. Face palm.

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    • Kyle Hutchinson

      We also got engaged on vacation abroad but we felt like we needed to tell people right away, and the time difference and the fact that we couldn’t get international texting to work on our phones made it a bit stressful. Lots of FaceTime. In retrospect, yeah, I guess we could have just sat on it until we got home! But I didn’t want have to carefully inspect every vacation instagram for ring visibility.

  • emilyg25

    We told our parents and I told them we were waiting 24 hours to post to Facebook so they could tell family. But then I got super excited and posted about it anyway. Ah well. Patience has never been my strong suit.

    • macrain

      I think that’s still a smart way to buy you some time, even if you didn’t abide by your own timeframe!

    • Kalë

      We did the same! Asked everyone not to post anything… indefinitely, until we did, haha. Since it was only immediate family/closest friends, it worked, but I think his mom was dying after 48 hours.

  • C

    Not for everyone: we told our parents in person because we were visiting for a holiday and we told the other guests as they arrived. In the next day or so, we changed our Facebook cover photos to an image that was a puzzle. When solved, the solution revealed that we were engaged. Only people I had dated solved the puzzle (which made me feel good about my taste). We changed our FB status to “engaged” a week or so after we put the puzzle up.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I kind of love that your exes were the only people who did the puzzle.

  • Emily

    We got engaged on the walk to what was supposed to be my 25th birthday party hosted by dear friends. Of course all of my friends jumped on social media that they were at my ENGAGEMENT party. My family that lives about 4 hours away was v upset to not be included even though I had no idea we were getting engaged and just wanted to eat birthday cake.
    TL;DR: be careful how you phrase things surrounding your engagement, particularly if you family is sensitive about parties

    • Hayley

      Ouch, sorry you had to deal with so much drama.

  • Kaitlyn

    Omg I found telling people EXHAUSTING. I immediately Facetimed my BFF and my parents and J called his parents. No one knew he was going to propose that day so those reactions were a lot of fun. Then I called both sets of grandparents and one set was on the way to a family party so my grandma told my entire mom’s side of the family. I never talk on the phone, so talking to all those simultaneously was so tiring. So I decided to take a break and wait till the next day to tell my larger groups of friends and dad’s side of the family.

    I was also PMSing and overwhelmed by being engaged in general so I didn’t want to post it on social media immediately (the expectations that come flying at you immediately was insane). Then my uncle posted about it before I did and it became this big drama when I asked that it be taken down ay yi yi haha We posted it on social media on a Sunday night, but before we did that, I think I told 40 people via phone and text (lots of group messages hahaha). I think I enjoyed posting it on social media the most because I didn’t have to interact back with people if I didn’t want to hahaha

    • idkmybffjill

      Man. Millenials get a bad rap but the only people I know who’ve really blown it in terms of social media posting and/or having obnoxious technology moments at weddings are uncles :).

      • Kaitlyn

        SERIOUSLY haha I’m not even remotely close to this uncle so I called my mom and was like “Can you have him take it down? I don’t want it posted anywhere yet” which she couldn’t understand, but my fiance and friends could when I polled if I was being unreasonable. And then he got mad and posted MORE about it and my brother called me in a tizzy like “Did you want this posted yet?!” and called my aunt to intervene which resulted in my uncle calling my brother like “Wtf I can post what I want”. Like jeez, I just don’t want it up yet, I’m still processing and it’s my news to share not yours *insert eye rolling emoji* haha

        • idkmybffjill

          The NERVE. Good lord, I’m sorry you had to deal with that.
          I LOVED our wedding, wouldn’t change it for the world – but shied away from issuing any warnings about photography during the ceremony. In my head, I thought the only people who would be tempted would be my peers, and all of us have collectively discussed the phones in photos issue, so I was like – I’ll trust my people to practice good etiquette about that.

          My DEAR uncle who I love, held an IPAD in front of his face during there ceremony. He was in the second row so when I looked out into the crowd he was the only thing I saw at first. SO unexpected. My family is not typically… tech friendly (same uncle couldnt’ figure out email for a really long time). I’d have laughed in your face if you told me he’d be randomly obsessed with an ipad on my wedding day.

          • Lisa

            LOL, this reminded me of my dad, who did literally the same thing in the same seat at my cousin’s wedding a few years ago. I wanted to tell him to take it down but worried that would make more of a scene that letting him carry on with the filming.

          • idkmybffjill

            It really wasn’t a big deal, and is kind of hilarious now – I just was SO confident it wouldn’t be a problem. AND it was an IPAD. hahahahah I wouldn’t have cared with a little phone, but I looked out and there was a man with no face, just a giant black square. Ha!

            To boot, he’s not shared ANY of those pictures with me. Our kissing picture has his ipad in it, which doesn’t bother me, it blends it’s fine. But I’m like, hey man share that with me!

          • toomanybooks

            Dads! *theatrical shrug*

          • Kaitlyn

            I’m on the fence about issuing photography warnings. Our chapel is unique in that the pews face inward (Georgian style) rather than towards the altar so I don’t think it’d be ruining any pictures. BUT at my cousin’s wedding, my aunt used her giant ass Canon to takes pictures with the flash ON. She told me after that her son was like, “Mom don’t do that, that’s so rude” and he response was “But the pictures don’t come out without the flash”. They had a very expensive photographer, save some of her pictures! Grrrr haha At friend’s wedding, the ushers kindly told everyone not to take pictures and it was on the program. Naturally everyone was still taking pictures (including an uncle and her college roommate! I yelled at her hahaha)

          • macrain

            We issued a request about it, and it worked out perfectly.
            One consequence of that I wasn’t thinking about at all was that I didn’t see a single picture from our ceremony until months later when we got our professional pics. I was like oh right- we asked them not to!

          • Danielle

            If you don’t want guests taking pictures, I would say so explicitly either verbally or with a sign.

            Before the ceremony our officiant requested everyone put away their phones, and yet somehow many guests (of all ages) kept snapping away. It was distracting and just looks bad in the (professional!) pictures we paid for!

            People just think it’s their right or responsibility to always have their phone available and be able to take pictures whenever they want, regardless of the situation. If you want something different than that, I believe in this day and age you will need to explicitly state that.

          • idkmybffjill

            See I think I’d have been madder if it happened AFTER an explicit ask like that. Maybe it’s just a “people will have devices out” sort of world.

          • Danielle

            I felt pretty sad actually, like, “Why couldn’t they have listened to a serious request that was made?” Was it a lack of understanding, or just a belief that phones are the most important thing in the world now, more than actual in-person experiences? I’m not sure but it did strengthen my feelings about privacy, which are already pretty firm.

          • idkmybffjill

            Yeah – I was pretty unexpectedly weirded out by my uncle’s ipad moment. And we didn’t have any sort of warning or anything. I just had assumed he’d have wanted to be present? I looked out in this incredibly joyously happy moment in my life, made eye contact with my loved ones, and then was met with an ipad instead of a face.

            I’ve always had mixed feelings about photos in general – for example, we chose not to video our ceremony because we didn’t want to overanalyze it later, just wanted the memory. And lots of other people have very different priorities. Oh, weddings.

          • Amy March

            Se, those are the statements that get me. You “assumed he’d have wanted to be present.” He was present! He was present, with his iPad, recording your experience because it was important to him. I get that everyone has different preferences, but I think judging him as not wanting to be present is really unfair. And besides, even people without their phones are aren’t necessarily fully “present.”

          • idkmybffjill

            Ouch – fair enough!

          • Amy March

            I didn’t mean it to be too ouchy! And I really like your point above about connection versus presence.

          • idkmybffjill

            No worries! It actually helped me reframe it in my mind too. I wasn’t able to connect with him, but hopefully he was enjoying the moment in the way that meant the most to him – and that’s pretty much all I wanted for my guests anyway. :)

            ETA: Not that guests are required to enjoy my wedding. Whatever you see where I’m going here. I feel better, thanks for helping me reframe!

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            We used that phrase in our request for electronics silence, and while it’s very true that even guests without phones/cameras/tablets may not be fully present, it’s hard to feel like someone is truly enjoying your day if they’re enjoying it through a screen. It’s like recording your favorite song at a concert, it’s great to have the video later, but you miss out on some of the joy of the live event. We wanted our guests to be solely focused on us, not on their frame/focus/lighting.

          • idkmybffjill

            To be honest, maybe being present is the wrong way to put it. The way I felt was that I wanted to be able to connect with him. I was able to look out during readings/certain parts of our ceremonies and make eye contact with my loved ones and it was so special, and when I looked at him I couldn’t see his face and it took me a little out of the moment and also made me sad for this missed opportunity for connection. I wanted to look at my beloved uncle. Not an ipad.

            I obviously have no way to know how present/not present anyone is in any given situation. Maybe one day they’ll be clear. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          • lamarsh

            I have been to weddings where people explicitly announced in the wedding ceremony that they didn’t want pictures taken by guests, weddings with signs / words in the program that pictures weren’t allowed, and weddings where nothing was said. And people took pictures in ALL of them. This has led me to reason that it really doesn’t matter, unless you’re checking people’s phones at the door, people are going to take pictures during your ceremony.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            We knew people would take photos either way, but asked that none be posted to social media until we posted our professional pics. Our photographer promised a fast turnaround, and I’m so glad I got to see my wedding from his perspective first!

          • Amy March

            It’s also possible they heard that request and thought “absolutely! My phone is on mute, I won’t be texting, I am good to go!” And then carried on using it as a camera, because in that moment they aren’t think of it as a phone.

            I just don’t think people are always being malicious about this, and over enthusiasm and love about your happiness isn’t really the worst problem to have.

          • idkmybffjill

            This is totally how I felt about it before we got married. I was really surprised at the blip of rage I felt when I saw my uncle with his face behind an ipad for our whole ceremony.

            For the record, I loved the discreet photos others took – it was really nice to get to see them before our professional ones came back!

          • Danielle

            Nah, they’re not malicious, just clueless. The officiant said something about putting all technology away so we could be present during a sacred moment. Guests just didn’t listen or didn’t care or (and maybe this is the saddest of all) didn’t understand.

          • idkmybffjill

            Something I learned during our engagement was how expectations about weddings have shifted in just a generation. My parents/their siblings didn’t really see our ceremony as a sacred thing until after they saw OUR (very personal) ceremony. Whereas my friends have all had very intimate personal weddings, my parents and their contemporaries didn’t really. It was definitely eye opening, especially in how our wedding has been received afterwards. Tons of people from that generation saying things like, “I can’t believe you included us, we are so honored, we’ve never seen a ceremony like that.” I think when they got married weddings were sort of seen as sort of boring or something.

          • Danielle

            That’s a good point. I guess nowadays we are able to be more intentional about our choices, including how the wedding is organized, what happens during the ceremony, etc. My parents got married really young (20/21) and I think most things were arranged by their mothers in accordance with traditions/norms of the time and the families.

            By contrast, my husband and I were 36/37 when we got married, had strong opinions and preferences, plus a lot more life experience that had helped shape our values, priorities and our wedding as well. We put a lot of thought into our choices and were doing it for ourselves!

          • toomanybooks

            My parents got married at an older age (I think my dad was about 40, my mom’s age is in a fog of Things Ladies Don’t Mention), and have been fairly uninvolved in my wedding planning (I’m 26). Maybe that’s why. They definitely planned their own. They didn’t have to worry about writing their ceremony, though, because it was a Greek Orthodox ceremony where the bride and groom don’t have to say a thing! (Still kind of jealous that I can’t do that.)

          • Danielle

            I went to my first Greek/Eastern Orthodox wedding this summer, and had a great time! I like the circling tradition – where the bride and groom hold hands and walk in a circle. It’s funny, we have something similar in the Jewish tradition, and Indian friends there (from India) mentioned a similar tradition in their weddings as well.

          • Katharine Parker

            When my parents got married in the 1970s, the ceremony was always public. It was normal for neighbors or acquaintances to go to the church to witness the wedding, without having been invited and not expecting any reception. A private, intimate ceremony would have been completely foreign to them.

          • JC

            I wonder if this also relates to the length of time for engagements now. I know plenty of people who have been engaged for close to two years, which was unheard of during my parents’ time. They’re constantly asking, of my friends, “Why would they wait so long? If they’re going to do it, just do it.” Well first, because wedding venues book up very quickly around here, so no, getting engaged in November will not get you a June wedding at a church. And second, because even a small ceremony is a ceremony, for those who choose to see it that way, and it can warrant a lot of thought and attention. There’s a lot more variation in weddings now, in scope and scale, and I know my folks have a hard time with that.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            Our engagement was a little over a year because we were engaged in July and I dreamed of a fall wedding (no thank you to a 3 month engagement). But that aside, my mom was constantly in awe at all of the things that we accounted for that were never a thing during “her day.” Everything from not getting married in a church to a s’mores bar, to writing our vows, to the love letter box we did, and on and on. I think everything was just more cookie cutter back then.

          • JC

            I suppose it comes with the territory of wedding planning, that people will even question your wedding timeline. But don’t people think that with all the random strangers questioning all their decisions, the couple should have some time to sort out everyone’s opinions? ;-)

          • Katharine Parker

            There is so much more information on weddings available to us now, and so many more examples of weddings and possible things to do at them. Thanks, internet! It is a blessing and a curse.

          • Katharine Parker

            My parents also didn’t live together until they were married, nor did their friends or siblings. Today, I don’t personally know anyone who didn’t live with their partner before proposing. A quicker engagement probably made more sense when there was such a distinct change in lifestyle post-wedding.

          • JC

            That definitely makes sense. And my folks had a lot more disposable income when they got married too, so there wasn’t as much question of financing everything.

          • idkmybffjill

            I honestly thought they were sort of rude and presumptuous before our wedding, but post – while I’m still not sure I would have a sign or something, I’d probably ask our officiant to ask folks to put down devices for the ceremony.

          • toomanybooks

            My dad kept taking pictures during my cousin’s ceremony and even stepped in the aisle to get a better shot. The actual hired photographer for the event had to tap him in the shoulder and ask him to get out of the way so *he* could take pictures. My dad did not respond agreeably to this.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            I was on the fence about an explicit statement, as we posted it on our website and spoke to friends about it, but I’m so glad we did. Our friends were so respectful, and even asked before posting anything about the wedding before we did.

          • Leah

            Omg I am so worried about a particular aunt (actually my mum’s cousin) doing this at our wedding. Our friends and younger family members I’ve no worries about respecting the no phones rule. We’re going to let our photographers know that they’re permitted to tell her to put her phone/camera down and make up some weird copyright/legal excuse. It’s a bit crap that your uncle couldn’t just keep the iPad at home for that day.

        • macrain

          Ugh. That sounds awful.

  • Her Lindsayship

    We got engaged in our apartment in the evening, ate dinner together, then had a google hangout with my mom and sisters to announce it to them. (That was pretty funny – they definitely knew what was coming as soon as I texted them that we should vidchat that night, but when we called them all set up in our living room with flowers and ring in view, they just acted like, “so what’s new with you guys?” They wanted us to say it before they got all excited.) Anyway, so my fam knew immediately, but it ended up taking us over a week to get in touch with my fiancé’s parents. Everyone we told in the meantime got the “BUT IT’S A SECRET” warning.

    We didn’t get to tell too many people in person because we live far away from both of our families and we left town a couple of days after the engagement, so we didn’t see our friends in the meantime. I really enjoyed calling some of my close family – we don’t talk on the phone that often (does anyone these days?) so they all expressed how much it meant to them that I took the time to tell them personally on the phone. Cue warm fuzzies. <333

  • toomanybooks

    After we got engaged, we went right to my parents’ house because I knew (from conversations about the ring my mom would be passing down to me) that they wanted to be formally told, in person, right away. We were visiting my fiancée’s family in a week or two so we told them in person too, and waited until we had done that and gotten engagement photos back from our friend before announcing it on Facebook. Our families still haven’t met (they don’t live in the same town) and my extended family found out through my parents because I previously hadn’t been allowed to come out as gay to them.

    After the dinner with my parents, I called my sister and we also called our closest friends. I’m glad I waited until after seeing my parents to call my sister because they totally texted her to see what was up when we said we wanted to come by for dinner.

    My friend recently found out her little sister was engaged while scrolling through Instagram at our apartment. Don’t let your siblings find out on social media! Definitely tell people who are close to you before you post!

    • Kaitlyn

      My brother didn’t tell anyone he was engaged and we all (including my parents) found out on Facebook. Granted, he was pretty young at the time (21? 22?) so I’ll give him a pass for not fully forming that thought, but my congratulatory phone call started with a “Wtf you couldn’t call me first” haha

    • Lisa

      Don’t let your siblings find out on social media!

      I think this could be extrapolated into a larger idea of “don’t let important people find out about important life events through social media.” I had a friend in college who learned of his parents’ divorce during a finals week Facebook study break at 1:00 AM.

      • idkmybffjill

        My god. How awful.

        • Lisa

          I ran into him that morning at the deli counter, and he was a mess with a final to take. It was not a good situation. Apparently the parents hadn’t communicated well (hence the divorce), and each thought it was the other’s responsibility to tell him.

          • Katharine Parker

            If I had a student tell me that happened and if it were possible to do a make-up or extend a deadline (which it always is, in my experience), I would give it to him. That’s just cruel.

          • laddibugg

            That’s terrible. i mean finals is the end of the semester. They couldn’t want until he came home and told him together (or go out to where he was). Sure, you’re separating, but you’re always going to be joined by your child.

          • laddibugg

            (my dad decided that the day before I left for college was a great time to tell me he was thinking of divorcing my mom. They’re still together (20 years later), and to this day I have no idea if she ever knew what he was thinking).

          • Lisa

            My parents talk about divorcing occasionally like they talk about selling their house. It comes up once every 5 or so years, but they haven’t actually done it yet. They’ve been married 35+ years now so I have a hard time imaging that they’ll actually follow through.

          • Lisa

            He was a townie so it’s not like he even had far to go from our dorm to get home! I guess one of his parents changed his/her relationship status on Facebook to single, and he called the parent in the middle of the night to ask what was going on.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        I found out that my baby brother was leaving for the Marines two weeks earlier than originally scheduled, and would be missing Thanksgiving, on Facebook. He assumed that our mom would have told me, but I would have much rather have heard it from him.

        • Lisa

          That’s really rough. He should have told you himself!

      • toomanybooks

        Extra rule: don’t let important people find out about non-happy important life events *when they are studying for finals*

  • Not Sarah

    Our engagement was less a week, no rings involved. I called one friend to tell her I was getting married that week and texted another one which quickly resulted in a phone call. Our parents, we both called. We texted our siblings. Other friends, I texted a picture of my white dress. Some people were pretty confused by the random photo of me wearing a white dress, lol.

    • Lawyerette510

      Congrats on your engagement!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    Some of our friends were present for the proposal, and bless them all to pieces for not telling the world. A couple of them made Facebook comments about friends getting engaged, but they politely refused to say who, even when asked. A short list of immediate family and a couple key friends received phone calls. (One actually called me, prompted by one of the people who was present.) There was a somewhat larger group of friends to whom I sent a ring pic via text. No, I don’t regret notifying people by text. Everyone else found out when we updated our relationship status online, which took a couple days because PADude took a couple days to get to all of his phone calls.

  • Jess

    Our engagement roll out plan was this:

    1) Tell the lady behind the liquor store counter where we bought champagne for dinner that night (because we were justsoexcited)
    2) Enjoy a night of being engaged
    3) Drive to someplace with cell reception the next day
    4) Call parents, siblings. Ask them not to post anything until they see it from us (R’s family is very social-media-y)
    5) When normal business hours were over that day, I called my very close friends. The ones that I spent every night with in college and the ones that I invite over when my house is a disaster. R texted, because that’s what they do.
    6) Continue vacation in a bubble of happy engagement
    7) On final day of vacation, be someplace with wi-fi, make FB post.
    8) Wait for word to spread, leading to people at work finding out you’re engaged two weeks after your wedding.

    Since I’m much more in love with my friends than my family of origin, I can very much recommend this.

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      We told random strangers on our cruise ship because I was justsoexcited! So I can relate!

  • Nell

    My mom was abroad and mostly unreachable when we got engaged, which meant we didn’t officially announce on social media for almost a full week. That was such a good thing, in retrospect.

    We were also coincidentally hosting a party the weekend after, which meant that it turned into a surprise engagement announcement party. Let me tell you, it is SO much more fun to tell people in person than it is to tell them over the internet.

    • idkmybffjill

      I love the idea of a surprise engagement announcement party!
      Our wedding party threw us a really lovely engagement party, but due to schedules it was like 5 months after we got engaged (18 month engagement), it was pretty anticlimactic because we’d already celebrated it with folks individually.

  • ZOO

    I proposed literally two hours before a New Year’s Eve party with all our friends. So we quickly called our families, got dressed, and announced it within 5 minutes of walking in the door. Not for everyone, surely, but for us it was great to just go for it.

  • lamarsh

    After Thanksgiving last year, we went away for a three day weekend to relax. My fiance proposed the first night we were there (he was planning on waiting till a fancy dinner the second night, but got too excited/nervous). It was perfect. We called my parents right away since I am very close to them (and they knew it was coming), and then we made dinner, drank champagne, and just generally basked in our excitement. Over the next two days, I called all my closest people and emailed and texted others who we knew we would invite to the wedding. We left it to our parents to tell their families (my mom is from a family of 8 and that was just. too. many. calls.). Then on Sunday night, we posted it on Facebook.

    It was nice to be away for the weekend because we could tell people on our own time, but also just relax and enjoy ourselves. If you can scheme a way to do this, I highly recommend it.

    I should add that one of my lifelong best friends married another lifelong friend, and they let our entire group of friends know by posting an off-center picture of a hand with a ring on social media and writing “and then this happened.” I didn’t even realize it was an engagement announcement until another friend texted me. Please avoid this route!

  • Nicole

    We rolled it out — we only called our parents the night it happened, and then made them keep quiet until we could tell siblings and other important friends and relatives the following night (it was a weeknight). The next night, we cancelled our plans, and made SO MANY PHONE CALLS! It was truly wonderful to hear how excited everyone was. I must’ve called 15 people that night. And then after those calls did we finally put it on Facebook.

    We explicitly told my Facebook-crazy mother to not put it on social media, and shockingly, she listened. (Of course she has been crazy during wedding planning, but that’s another story for another day….)

  • Jenn

    I got engaged the day before his grandmother’s wake on the way to a dinner with my family. It was so emotionally exhausting. My family got to find out since we were on the way there. Mom saw me get out my phone and insisted i couldn’t tell any of my friends until I told his parents in person. His mom ends up finding out before i saw her and told everyone, so as soon as I walk into the wake his cousin runs over to me and grabs my hand. In the meantime, I’m just like “can we not do the whole engagement thing in the middle of a wake” and fielding wedding questions of all sorts. I texted my friends after the wake and then was even more emotionally confused trying to answer excited phone calls the next morning right before going to the funeral. My friends probably thought I wasn’t very excited about being engaged since they didn’t know I was on my way to a funeral. Maybe I should’ve waited until after the funeral but I was really excited and wanted to tell my best friends so even with hindsight I don’t know if I could have waited. He waited to see his friends in person to tell them so it might have been a couple months before even his best friends knew.

  • Kalë

    Oof, about 3 weeks too late! Where is my time machine when I need it…

    We were/still are on vacation in South America (he proposed in Patagonia, currently in Sao Paulo), so we had no choice but to call our peeps – Facetime, actually. I called my sister and my best friend, and texted my other closest friends in our group text. I waited until the next day to tell my parents, mostly because I anticipated them not being very excited – maybe even angry or whatever (we have an interesting relationship). But when I worked up the nerve to call them, they were actually happy, and didn’t say anything hurtful! I was especially thankful that my mom took the reins (my dad was in the shower) and set the “happy” tone – we have a much better relationship than my dad and I do. The worst it got was my dad saying “this is very… interesting news”, which is tame for him, and he waited until after the congratulations to do so.

    We took a couple days to keep the news to just us and our closest, then posted on Facebook and Instagram. But since we are still traveling for a couple more weeks, we have really enjoyed keeping our contact with “the world” (well, our world) minimal, and just staying pretty blissed out about our engagement without fielding a world of questions or expectations. Highly recommended.

    • Lisa

      My dad is also not great with this type of stuff. (On the wedding day, I asked my dad how I looked in my dress, and my DOC had to prompt him to tell me that I looked beautiful because my dad kept going on about logistic stuff.) I completely feel you on that. Enjoy the rest of your time in the engagement bubble! :)

  • Gaby

    I facetimed my parents because even though they live in town it was much faster than driving over and I was too excited. Then I texted my cousin/MOH and asked her if she was ready… for the job of her lifetime with a picture of The Wedding Planner. It was one of her favorite movies as a teen and we both knew she’d be helping me plan the wedding so it was oddly perfect. She immediately facetimed me and we were giddy together. Called the siblings the next day and announced online two days later.

  • This is very timely for me, because we’re in between calling parents and putting it on facebook. We had four days of just us, because we proposed to each other on holiday (surprise mutual proposal! Neither of us knew the other was planning to). I told my sister over whatsapp because I’d discussed proposing with her before, and she’d messaged to find out if I’d done it. It’s a medium that worked for us because I could send her pics, rather than describing things over the phone.

    My mum just emailed to say “I told one of your aunts. Did you want to tell your aunts yourself?” and it’s like, well, fortunately, no! This is kind of why we’ve left a gap between telling immediate family and putting it on social media, because I know there’s going to be some parent sharing on both sides that will fill the gap between “people who’ll want to find out off line” and “people we don’t have a telephone relationship with”. I feel like both my mum and his will get more out of telling their siblings than we would.

    And then there’s spaces like this, where I’m perfectly comfortable telling complete strangers online before we’ve told our friends, because it’s an anonymous space! Promise you won’t spill our beans? ;)

  • Leah

    We were on holiday in Croatia with his family when he proposed (and they were involved in the location selection as they live there). He’d spoken to my parents and my siblings knew pre-proposal so basically all the close people knew what was going down!

    I called my parents (and siblings), my aunts and uncles (and cousins – our family is tight-knit) and a couple of my close girlfriends who had been heavily involved in proposal speculation. I also messaged a bunch of people (my other close girlfriends and people I couldn’t get a hold of due to the time difference). Then I posted two photos on Instagram (one with the magical place he proposed and the second with the ring and “he put a ring on it” cringe I know but I was out of my mind excited and shared them on Facebook). We weren’t private about the actual engagement but were with the actual proposal until we got back from holiday and still only told people who asked and we were actually close to. Others we vagued it up for. For me, the being engaged was a public thing but the actual proposal was something intimate between the two of us (we were alone at a very secluded spot).

    I don’t regret not waiting longer because being on the other side of the world meant that we just turned off the internet on our phones when we were done announcing and the only people who could reach us were those with our phone numbers (people close to us). It was nice to turn it back on and have a read and respond and then turn it off again when it got overwhelming!

  • Eenie

    We did not post anything on social media. Most of my Facebook friends discovered it when I shared our photographer’s post of engagement pictures 8 months later. They were just too good not to share! So some people actually first found out with our save the dates. It was nice to spread the joy out :)

  • Hannah

    We told our closest local friends in person, which took some sneaky plotting, but was 100% worth it! We baked a bunch of cookies and texted various friends saying we’d made too many and asking if we could drop some off with them. Over the course of a weekend, we visited half a dozen or so households. We beat around the bush a while before informing our friends that they were, in fact, enjoying our “engagement cookies”. Their joy and surprise was unforgettable! And it was awesome to connect with so many friends in that short span of time.

  • Alexandra

    How did people announce it at work? Little backstory:

    I work at ~120 person office. I got engaged two months ago, about the time that I was transitioning to a new position at work. I am a pretty private person, especially at work, so I wasn’t planning on announcing it for a while. I had to tell my new manager about it, though, since I was going to be planning it around some work travel. She promised not to share with anyone, but I feel like I should tell people eventually.

    Did you all just announce it to co-workers on an individual basis? Did anyone wait until after they were married?

    • Lisa

      I feel like it would be pretty awkward to wait until you are married to announce it. It’s a major life event, and people are going to assume there was something wrong if you don’t tell them until afterwards. I would probably tell your team or anyone with whom you have a close working relationship about the engagement sooner rather than later. Depending on the way your team usually communicates, you could either send out an e-mail or tell people in person during general chitchat. You can say that you were letting some of the dust settle before breaking the news to everyone and (taking the advice below) that you are just so excited for the big event.

    • Leah

      My manager had me on social media so she messaged me when she saw the announcement (we were still away for another fortnight). She told people at work and then they threw me a little welcome back/engagement celebration one afternoon (it was really sweet).

      It sounds like you have a different relationship with your colleagues though. If you’re wearing a ring, people might just notice and ask. When I moved to my new company (I didn’t wear my ring on the left hand when I interviewed which is another issue in and of itself) I mentioned my fiance when it was relevant in conversation and just wore my ring and people just found out that way. I work with mostly men now so it’s not exactly the environment for gushing over a sparkly ring.

      I would just subtly start referring to your partner as your fiance/e if it’s relevant in conversation – work Christmas parties coming up, plans for the holidays etc?

    • sage

      I’m not that close with any of my coworkers, and I’m also a pretty private person at work… what worked for me (and my fiance) was sort of a slow and organic reveal. Like when a coworker asked about my plans for the weekend I said “oh, I’m traveling to such and such place with my fiance”, coworker said “oh, I didn’t know you were engaged. Congratulations!”… Do this a few times and once a more gossipy coworker hears they will let everyone else know.

  • Alanna Cartier

    My now-husband and I took a weekend before we told anyone but our parents. It was awesome.

  • Kate

    So, how do you tell your parents when you’re pretty sure they’re not going to be thrilled? I’m thinking sit them down for dinner, just me and them, but ugh, I’m so not looking forward to it.

    My girlfriend and I just bought rings, but since the first thing my dad told me when I came out to him was not to expect him at the wedding… I’m not looking forward to this. :

    • Lisa

      Ouch. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with that. I don’t have any great advice, but you deserve better.

    • Leah

      That’s really, really shitty. No advice to offer sorry, but maybe make sure that you have a fun, joyous something planned for after if you can? Tell your parents at dinner then go out with friends or just the two of you and do something really celebratory?

      Congratulations to you and your girlfriend!

    • TrueGrit

      So sorry that you’re having to face a negative reaction. Perhaps some self-care after the awkward encounter will help. But congratulations to you and your partner! This internet stranger is happy for you. :)

  • I cannot recommend the in person/phone call/Skyping to announce the engagement enough!

    My partner and I had very different approaches to announcing our engagement to people. He proposed this past June on a trip to Iceland, and almost immediately afterward he wanted to call parents and text friends. I, however, decided to just enjoy it and sort of wish he would have done the same. I get that he had been keeping this a secret for much longer (he’d saved for about a year whereas I was completely surprised), but I got to see people’s faces and hear their voices as I broke the news to them instead.

    While in Iceland, I Skyped with my parents and best friend—all of whom were already aware of the proposal plan and my partner really wanted to share the news with them. About a week later my family was all in town so I got to share it with siblings in person. Then when it came to letting friends know, I either planned to meet them in person and tell them or Skype/phone call.

    It is *so* wonderful to hear people you love express genuine, sincere happiness for you, not in text form. Seriously. I don’t doubt that I’ll get lots of likes if I were to announce on social media and plenty of ring emojis if I’d announced via text, but I feel like anyone in my life who should really know isn’t just a Facebook friend or group chat. I understand that not everyone feels this way and would prefer to make FB posts or text right after it happens, but it’s a pretty magical feeling to keep that secret and spill in person. ;)

  • Allison

    My partner and I decided together to get married, and since I’m in grad school we waited until my semester was over, then days of consecutive dinner parties with our nearest and dearest and a raging house party for the extended friend group at the end of the week. After that we had a mini-vacation in a city a couple hours away. It was amazing.

  • jspe

    We were backpacking when we got engaged, which was the best thing – it meant we had some time before anyone knew. Then as soon as we got to the car we called our parents but explained that we weren’t telling anyone yet. Then we got burgers and called a bunch of our closest friends. Then, that evening, I felt pressure to call a bunch of family members, that in retrospect, I should have just told my parents to communicate with (who could foretell a wedding planning process where I struggled to identify boundaries with my parents with a start like that?). It made for a long afternoon of phone calls.

    But my favorite part was that we didn’t put it on social media for a while – over a month. It gave us more time to tell people in person, and also, in some ways, calmed down the process for us. I think wedding planning was pretty overwhelming – there’s so much attention on you, all of the time – and being able to be forced (because of family stuff) to keep it offline for a while just meant we were less focused on that random attention from people you don’t actually know or care about suddenly up in our business. After the first day or two we had no delusions of anyone keeping it a secret, but keeping it off of social media just prevented extra noise we didn’t need.

  • Courtney

    My fiance proposed to me outdoors at night with my family and our close friends hiding in the shadows (we had spoken about getting married in detail and he knows what I like, so there wasn’t any weird public pressure). Once I said yes they emerged and we had a great party. His parents and siblings live in different cities so we phoned his parents once the excitement had died down a little and then Skyped them, as well as his siblings, when the party was over. We then waited about a day before we made the official public (read: Facebook) announcement.

    10/10 would recommend having your close ones nearby for the proposal (if you’re into that sort of thing). It cut down on so much frantic communication. Even as it was I was in a frantic rush to tell all the close friends that DIDN’T manage to be there so that no-one felt hurt, so I can imagine how much more frantic it would have been if a huge chunk of them hadn’t been around to witness the whole thing.

  • cpostrophe

    I realize that this post is a little old, but I just wanted to put in a note saying that this helped us think about when we “really” got engaged, which is really about a year before I got her the ring. Basically, in October 2014, my wife and I were in a long distance relationship and making the decision for one of us to move cities to be with the other. She asked for a marriage commitment before moving in together. So, I asked her to marry me but also asked for time to get a ring and make the official announcement until after she moved and we settled in together. I just didn’t want the expectations train to leave the station until then. She said yes to everything. I mentioned it to my mom when I was visiting family for the holidays, and she advised me to wait until my dad met her before telling her. She told her parents and after I met them, I was slightly upset that they quickly posted their excitement about “their future son-in-law” to social media. I mean, yay, for having a great relationship with in-laws, but, again, expectations train. And I hadn’t told my dad yet, either. So we asked them to keep it quiet with the FB updates and they gracefully understood.

    I kept asking her to marry me anyway. It was a nice habit.

    Anyway, fast forward 9 months — we get a new apartment, my partner moves up to Boston, she lands a couple of new teaching jobs like it’s no big deal and we’re settled. I talk to a goldsmith back in my old hometown of Vancouver (which we visited when she met my dad) and we start talking about dates in Summer 2016. We also start talking to our prospective wedding party about “so, hypothetically speaking … if H and I were going to get married in Summer 2016 …”

    On a Monday in November, I caught a cold, stayed home and started browsing venue websites. In, like, three hours, I had a spreadsheet and a new bookmark folder and a google doc. We started calling places and lining up site visits for the weekend. I also got an email from the goldsmith saying that the ring was shipped. I casually mentioned to my partner that we’ve been really good about eating in for the entire month, and maybe we should treat ourselves to a nice dinner on Friday. I wanted to introduce her to one of my favorite restaurants in Harvard Square.

    So, we go and have a really nice early dinner. A friend was having a house party later that evening and we want to show our faces there and then nip out early to sleep before a full day of driving around at wedding venues. As we finish our main course and order our dessert, we’re going over the schedule again and I casually mention, “oh, btw, you should have this so that we look legit when we talk to these places about being engaged.”

    So I gave her the ring and asked her to marry me one more time. And she said yes again.

    We both still talk about that dinner as ‘when we got engaged’ but it really was that October a year before when we talked about moving in together and she asserted her agency of wanting a commitment of marriage before saying yes to living with me, and my asking her. And I liked that your post was about how to communicate and manage those intentions and expectations with your larger community once the commitment is established. The ring and all of the other trappings are symbols but aren’t replacements for the commitment.

    Anyway, the maitre’d of the restaurant, astute as ever, came by and asked, “hey, uh … so, did a thing happen? Oh! A thing did happen! I took the liberty of bringing up a demi-bottle of champagne. Congratulations!”

    We sent photos of the rings to our parents then posted to social media, then went to this house party and were terrible guests because all of our friends wanted to see her ring. We didn’t explicitly overtake it as our engagement party, but that’s sort of what happened and I’m not proud of it — but that’s another cautionary tale about why you may want to be mindful of when you post to social media. In retrospect, we should’ve waited until the Saturday morning to post so it wouldn’t have overshadowed that party.

    We did have a big lunch with both of our families a month later when we both flew out to CA to visit them (my folks are in the Bay Area, her brother is in LA and her folks went out there for the holidays, we got lunch in Santa Monica) and that was a nice way to make it all real and get people introduced as the planning stages got underway.

    It is easy to just tie the engagement as being when the ring appeared and “made it all real”, but the real thing is the commitment. It’s nice to have a substantial gesture to mark that moment, but so long as you’re both honest enough to know that it’s a genuine moment when that question is asked and the answer is given then that’s enough to say that’s when the engagement happened.

    (oh, minor addendum that my wife reminded me to add: we did tell my parents of our commitment about two months before the ring arrived, because they were visiting the East Coast and we met up with them for dinner in a restaurant in NY. I basically said, “oh, so we have a ring ordered and it’s not here yet, but since we’re having dinner now, we just want to tell you that we’re engaged.”

    And after all of my mom’s cautions about waiting and letting my dad meet her first and not get excited, my dad just nodded and said, “oh, that’s nice! by the way, I was thinking of ordering this wine …”)

  • CoCo Anti-Conformity Young

    Just note that if you announce it on any social media, don’t be surprised if people try to invite themselves or assume they’ll be invited. Social media has a way of creating this pseudo-relationship that makes people think that just because you’ve commented and liked a lot of each other’s posts, you are friends.

    So…just be prepared. I’ve recently had to jump that hurdle.