We get asked this question all the time; what’s the proper way and time frame to announce the engagement? Obviously there’s no one right way, but traditionally some guidelines should be followed.
First, and most important for the majority of couples, tell the parents. Don’t forget you’re marrying the family too and the last thing everyone wants is to upset the in-laws right off the bat. So have a nice meal with each set of parents (or all together) and tell them first. If they’re told separately, plan on another meal when both sets of parents can meet and get acquainted. According to tradition, the groom’s mother should contact the bride’s mother to organize such a date.
Depending on the level of involvement they wish to take, I also recommend giving them the option to host an engagement party. Parents love bragging, so let them brag about you and your new fiancée… you might also save a buck by letting them host! Watch out for our future Engagement Party post for more details.
After the parental units are taken care of, it’s time to send out formal announcements. This is traditionally done as early as one year in advance. Make sure you include names of the bride, groom and both sets of parents, as well as the location and date of the wedding. If the exact date isn’t known, include as much information as possible and consider sending an additional "Save the Date" later. The engagement announcement should either be made by the couple or by the bride’s parents, not the groom’s.
Crucial tip: no matter how tech savvy you and your families may be, do NOT make your announcement via email! There’s a possibility that day will come in the future, but it’s not here yet. Cough up the extra dollars and send a classy, high-quality engagement announcement. Your relatives will be more inclined to come and you won’t look back with a single shred of regret on one of the most important days of your life.