Engagement etiquette tips everyone should know
Who should I tell first about my engagement?
Your parents and his should be the first people you tell about your engagement. You don't want them hearing about it from another person—even if that other person is a grandparent, sibling, or aunt. If you can't tell them in person, call them. Sending an email is fine to announce your engagement to your friends, but your parents—especially if you are expecting them to help pay for the wedding—deserve a phone call.
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After you tell both sets of parents, you can see, call, or email anyone you are close to and share your exciting news: grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends.
Does my boyfriend have to ask my father for permission to marry me?
While it's more of a tradition than a requirement, many dads appreciate the gesture of being asked for their daughter's hand in marriage. However, since you can marry whomever you like, regardless of your father's wishes, nowadays most men ask for a father's blessing, not permission. If you think your dad may be upset if your future groom doesn't consult him ahead of time, tell your boyfriend to make sure to talk to him before proposing. If you're not sure what your dad would like and don't want to ask him, talk to your mom. She'll be able to tell you if your father expects to be asked.
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If the wedding is cancelled, who keeps the engagement ring?
Even though technically the bride isn't required to return the ring (at least in most states), it's the best thing to do, regardless of who called off the wedding. While the ring was a gift, it was more importantly a symbol of a commitment to marry. Since there will no longer be a marriage, do you really want to keep a reminder of a future that won't happen? After all, the ring isn't a consolation prize. The emphasis here should be on appreciating the relationship you once had, not on cashing out any material value. Returning the ring gives everyone a fresh start. In the end, you will need to let your conscience be your guide.
If, however, the ring was a family heirloom of the groom's family, there's no question: It should be returned. If you and your fiance purchased the ring together, one solution would be to sell it and split the proceeds proportionately.
—Anna Post, The Emily Post Institute
My family invited several people to my engagement party that I'm not planning on inviting to the wedding. What should I do?
If the invitations have gone out there's nothing much you can do. You can't call them up and un-invite them to the party. You need to schedule a time to talk with both set of parents about the size and style of wedding you and your fiance want. Based on the size of wedding you want and the amount of people that your reception site can hold, you need to let both sets of parents know how many guests they can each invite—including relatives and friends. If the space allows more people, you may now have to invite these extra guests, or ask your parents to spread the word that the bride and groom have decided to hold a more intimate wedding with only immediate family and close friends.
Here's a general rule to follow: If you send an engagement party or bridal shower invitation or a save-the-date card to anyone, you will also have to send them a wedding invitation.
Can I propose to my boyfriend?
Of course you can! You can make your proposal of marriage to him as traditional or as fun and informal as you want. And don't be afraid to get down on one knee either. While we're not suggesting you buy him a diamond ring, you could buy him another accessory he can wear every day—a watch, necklace, bracelet, or another style ring. Some brides-to-be who decide to propose to their boyfriends have bought themselves an engagement ring, and when the groom-to-be says yes she asks him to slip it onto her ring finger.
I hate my engagement ring. Can I tell my fiancé?
You must absolutely tell him how you feel! And together you can pick out an engagement ring of equal or lesser value. Most guys will understand that your opinion counts for a lot, since YOU are the one who will be wearing the ring—and literally wearing it every day! And guys are cautioned all the time to discuss ring styles with their partner before making a purchase, so you have good reason to speak up. If you think his feelings will be really hurt or if you think voicing your thoughts will make him angry and resentful (and take away from the joy you are both feeling upon getting engaged) wait a year before saying anything.
In general, a new ring is in order if you dislike the color of metal, you dislike the shape or cut of the diamond (round vs. square, emerald-cut vs. cushion, etc.), the ring is too modern/too glitzy/too old-fashioned-looking/too plain, and your style is just the opposite.
However, it is NOT okay to say you want a different ring because you think the stone is too small or of poor quality. Because that's like saying, "You didn't spend enough money." You would never want him to feel that his choice was inadequate in that regard—surely he bought you the most beautiful ring he could afford, so if everything else about the ring works (metal, stone shape, style) then hold your tongue. Five years from now you can discuss upgrading to a diamond of better quality.
I'm planning on having a very long engagement. By the time I get married, I will have been engaged for over three years. Is this appropriate?
You can plan to be engaged as long as you want but you may not want to book any vendors or buy your wedding dress so far away from your wedding day. Styles and your own personal taste will change over the course of three years, so enjoy being engaged and start getting ideas from wedding Web sites and bridal magazines. Don't start signing contracts with vendors until about 12 to 18 months from your wedding date.