Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Q & A: How to Announce Your Wedding Engagement

Reader Question: Hi Sara! The reason I'm writing you today is because I've found myself in a quandary about engagements. If I remember correctly, you and Matt didn't go through the whole engagement rigmarole and just started planning your wedding. My question is this: without the traditional engagement, how did you and Matt tell your friends and family that you were planning to get hitched? Did you just start telling people that you were planning your wedding and let it spread by word of mouth, did you send out Save the Dates or did you just wait and send out the invitations? I'd love some suggestions on meaningful ways to tell people that we are planning on getting married (and I couldn't be more excited!).

It’s funny how friends tend to get married in clusters. While Matt and I were engaged, for example, we went to four weddings in the span of four months. It was fun to be able to compare wedding planning notes with our good friends during the process.

Camella was the first in the group to get married. She called to let us know she and Kevin were tying the knot. Then she sent out a more formal (but still very casual) engagement announcement. It featured a photo of the happy couple in a gorilla costume and a French maid’s outfit—with an accordion. The postcard read: “We don’t yet know where or when, but we know to whom.”

Although we loved their announcement and kept it posted on our fridge for several months, Matt and I decided to take a more budget- and eco-friendly route. We simply called our family and closest friends and e-mailed everyone else. We did attach a cute picture of ourselves dressed up for Halloween (me as a picnic and Matt in a child’s dinosaur costume), but we decided not to turn the engagement process into a big deal. With the Save-the-Dates and formal invitations on the horizon, we figured we would conserve our energy for bigger projects to come.

Different couples need to figure out what works best for them. I would love to hear from 2000dollarwedding kindred spirits about how you handled the wedding engagement announcement situation. Please chime in!

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megan said...

I called and texted my family and friends, although they apparently all knew it was gonna happen.

Facebook helped, too, since relationship statuses are posted for all to see.

In a couple of weeks we are sending Save the Date postcards that I designed to look vintage. I got 100 for $30 from vistaprint. They turned out lovely and the company were great to work with.

Anonymous said...

I did phone calls, texts, emails, the works! I loved doing save the date cards, because those can be fun and not as classy as the invitation. I made my own even!

Anonymous said...

We did a combination of things, one of which was having a very casual engagement party. We sent out invites for this, but made sure that anyone who was invited to the engagement party would ultimately be part of our wedding guest list.

Anonymous said...

We are having an engagement party, so I made postcards invitations on the computer to give everyone the specifics. Before that, we just told our friends and family when we saw them.

Kaitlin Wainwright said...

We had a very, very long engagement (2 years) so, we had lots of time to tell people in person, and we didn't have an engagement party or save the dates.

I know. So. Boring. Right? Well...it also meant that we got to spend more money on what counted for us.

Rachel said...

In person visits or phone calls to close family and friends and a change of Facebook status!

Anonymous said...

We also skipped the engagement rigamarole, and just told my parents in person that we were planning to get married, then called his family and our closest friends. I sent a link to our wedding website to a larger group of friends, and then the word just spread from there... We'll be sending electronic save-the-dates soon. I was a little hesitant at first about how to "announce" that we were getting married, since we didn't like the formality of an "engagement" per se, but it turned out to be really fun to share the news with different people over time.

Elizabeth said...

We sent out an email to our closest friends & family (after telling our moms & siblings in person & calling our dads), then changed our status on Facebook. Facebook makes for an incredibly cheap & effective tool for announcing important things like an engagement!

prairiegirl said...

I have been struggling with this just this week! We have been talking about getting married for a long time, and I think most everyone knows by now, so we wanted to do something fun to make it official. Last week we told our parents and when T. gets back from a business trip later this week, we're going to call some of our family to tell them (grandparents, etc.). For or friends though, we think we are just going to invite everyone out to a pub next week (where a friend was lucky enough to get a coupon for a free round of beer and nachos for up to 40 - 40! I couldn't believe it! - people.) I think everyone will know (or at least suspect), but we'll probably announce it anyway. It'll be nice to be able to see everyone before they head back out across the province/country to school for the year!

Since we've known for almost a year though, we have already had the chance to share the news with many of our friends and family already. I agree with Sarah M. - I think gradually sharing the news with people was really alot of fun. I am glad I did!

Anonymous said...

We got engaged on Christmas Day, so the family that we spent the day with found out in person. Other parents, grandparents and close friends got a phone call (as they would have anyhow on Christmas).

Then our parents spread the news to the rest of our relatives and we told the rest of our friends through facebook or in person the next time we saw them.

We considered an engagement party at one time, but our friends and family are spread all over Canada, so it wouldn't have been much more than dinner with a half dozen of our closest friends - and we see them all the time anyway!

Belinda C said...

We've been engaged for about 4 years already, and the date is set for next year. We told our closest friends and family when we got engaged and the word spread.
Now that we are planning our wedding (as of April this year)we decided to send out our own DIY save the date cards ($4.50 for 50)for people we will be inviting to the wedding, and only told our closest family and friends that we've actually set the date.
We are on a very tight budget and will not be able to invite everyone we would like to have there, so we didn't want to spread the news too soon until we've narrowed down our guest list. It's not easy picking and choosing who will come and who won't.....

tatgeer said...

We told closer family via phone, and extended family and friends via email.

For save the dates, Reid designed postcards we had printed at vistaprint.

For invites, he designed simple cards at vistaprint (technically postcards, but we had them printed on just one side on nicer paper) that we then sent out in envelopes with a couple of 8.5x11 sheets - one with FAQs, the website to RSVP at, and a map of the area; one with a map and driving directions from the location that we knew or suspected people were staying at. I *think* people liked the maps, although I didn't get as much feedback about them as I'd hoped/expected.

Becca said...

We're not really formal announcement types, so we've been slowly telling friends, as it comes up, in conversation. We're waiting to tell our parents formally until there's a ring (long story), at which point we'll post on facebook and probably be done with it. We've been committed for a while, so to me it's really the wedding plan that deserves an announcement and not the engagement. Since we have a long engagement (1.5-2 years) we'll probably use email and phone call save the dates at about the one-year mark, so people can think about travel plans.

Mandyrosy said...

I didn't even know there was an "engagement rigamorole." (We keep things pretty casual in Montana!) We made a few phone calls to close family and encouraged them to spread the word. Works like magic. :) Since I work at the local paper, we did (eventually) put in an announcement. Other than that, we just sent out our Save the Dates.

Marina said...

Although we'd been talking vaguely about "when we get married" for years, we didn't consider ourselves engaged until we set at least a vague date--not a specific day, but at least a year and a season. At that point, it made sense to tell the people who were closest to us from a purely logistical standpoint, so they could let us know if they had something unavoidable that season (having a baby, in several cases) and we could try and work around that.

We told our closest friends and family over the phone, our extended families at the next holiday get together, and everyone else (about six months after the fact) on facebook and livejournal.

Honestly I don't see why most people need to know that you're engaged, except in a "here's what's going on in my life lately" sort of way. Maybe it's just that I'm a fairly private person, but it felt like a private decision to me. Once we set a date and wanted to invite people to come party, that was public information, but the engagement itself mostly felt like it was between me and my beau.

Anonymous said...

I've been with my partner for five years, so we knew an engagement was coming, but after hearing news that my grandma was terminally ill, we decided to push up the engagement and design/buy an affordable ring and plan to be engaged before we went home (we live on the east cost and they live in the midwest). Although I knew it was coming, he proposed on Tuesday and now we're 'officially engaged'.

There were less than five people who knew this was going on in our lives, so of course I called them right away, but everyone else we are waiting to tell in person. We have been on facebook since it's birth in 2004 and have decided NOT to post the news online until we've told everyone we want to be at the wedding in person (or at least on the phone) and have our real 'social networks' find out from word of mouth versus the internet.

Our wedding date is a good 18 months off, so we're working on creative save the dates that also announce our engagement, (ex. We're engaged! Save the Date!)

Shatkicky said...

My fiance went ring shopping with his mom so his side of the family knew we were going to be engaged. Since we were living in two different states, he was able to show the ring to everyone and 1) tell them he was planning to propose and 2) get ideas for the proposal!

By the time he proposed, most of the people(except me) already knew about it! We didn't really have to announce it.

stee said...

wait, how else do you tell people you are getting engaged if not by phone or in person?

what rigamarole is there to be had?

I've always just gotten a excited calls from friends and family saying "we're getting married!!!!" and that takes care of everything

we've been lucky - I told about 5 people and they went on to tell everyone else we know! it's like the old shampoo ad "I told two friends, and they told two friends..."

Miss Blur said...

I did it wrong I guess, I felt sort of odd just yelling it out there to people so I didn't say anything unless it came up. My best friends got a text that night but everyone else we just kinda slipped it into conversation.

But I did update my facebook status right away and I guess that was a big no no because thats how his dad found out(and he doesn't even have facebook) and wasn't very happy that we didn't call ourselves, but we don't talk to them often and we're not getting married right away so I figured it wasn't a big deal..

Unknown said...

Between Facebook, calling our close friends and family, and mentioning it as we saw people word just sort of got around. We weren't worried about engagement announcements, and we're actually not even doing official StD, though we might send out an email at 6 months. We have a large guest list, and postage ads up quick.

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