Engagement Etiquette for Parents

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Announcing an engagement is an exciting and emotional time for all involved. Sadly, it can become stressful when things don't go as planned or when conflict arises between different parties. To have a stress-free engagement, it's important that everybody knows their responsibilities. The parents of the bride and the groom should be aware of engagement etiquette so as not to step on anyone's toes.

Making the Announcement

  • Traditionally, the engagement of the couples intent to marry is announced by the bride's parents with a small excerpt published in the local newspaper. It should read: "Mr. & Mrs. John Smith announce the engagement of their daughter, Lisa Smith, to Tim Brown the son of Mr. & Mrs. James Brown of Dallas," and may also include the wedding date, if known. Alternatively, an email with a similar message can be sent to family and friends. It's not uncommon, or frowned on, for the couple or the groom's parents to tell their own friends.

Meeting the In-Laws

  • Once the engagement has been announced by the bride's parents, it's time for the future in-laws to meet. Traditionally, the groom's parents will get in contact with the bride's parents to introduce themselves and arrange a meeting. The etiquette on this has changed over the years and is more relaxed, so it's acceptable for the couple or the bride's parents to organize a time to meet as well.

Creating the Guest List

  • One of the most stressful aspects of planning a wedding is determining who to invite. After consulting the couple to find out the number of seats allocated, both sets of parents should draw up a list of guests they'd like to invite. They should include their immediate and extended family as well as any close family friends, and give their lists to the couple.

Planning The Wedding

  • Traditionally, the bride's parents plan and finance the wedding, but etiquette no longer dictates this. Nevertheless, it's important to confer with the couple during the engagement period to determine how the wedding costs will be covered. The mother of the bride should also consult with the groom's parents if there are any cultural or religious aspects they'd like to include in the ceremony or reception.

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