On getting engaged.

Today is Two Post Tuesday, so remember to pop back at 1pm for something epic, gorgeous and funny from someone we all want to be when we grow up…


We received an e-mail a little while back from reader Crysta, talking about how a family members recent engagement had caused not just joy and excitement, but upset and bad feeling, due to the manner in which other relatives had come to learn of the happy news. There were unavoidable niggles in circumstance, such as time differences and international rate phonecalls, but the main point of contention in the story was Facebook.

Upon getting engaged, a very good friend of mine hopped straight on Facebook to upload a picture of her sparkly ring and then proceeded to call everyone in her phonebook to let them know ‘in voice’, as it were. (I should point out that, as I don’t have Facebook, I didn’t have a flipping clue until she called me-screeching down the phone at a pitch discernible only to dogs…) Another mutual friend, however, was quite far down the alphabet in Engaged Friend’s phonebook and so had found out about the enagagement by Facebook and via several other friends (including me, whoopsies…) before she *actually* found out. She still, nearly 3 years on, hasn’t properly forgiven our friend.

Family too-I know of a couple who got engaged on holiday and wanted to wait until they arrived home to share the lovely news. Upon their return they were told by one set of parents, in no uncertain terms, that the way that gone about it was unfair and hurtful. That they should have told everyone, immediately. Whether on the phone, by email, however. Straight away, that’s all that mattered.

It’s a vey personal thing, the way we share good news. And of course-there’s the possibility that your parents or father will have known about your impending engagement before you do-if your partner has asked for your ‘hand in marriage’. (A whole other cauldron of trouble…to be looked at in detail soon). How did you tell your loved ones that you had ‘officially’ decided to get married? Was it a case of both of you on the phone to your respective families at the same time? Did you work down the list of Very Important People together and trust in the grapevine to inform everyone else? Or was there a tour of the country, complete with banners, bunting and newspaper announcements? (Please, let there be someone who had their engagement in a newspaper….!)

You know me, I’m inclined to be quite laid back about this sort of thing. Let it be, that’s what I tell my friend who still gets upset about the Great Facebook Incident of 2008. To be even more forthright, what gives anyone-no matter who much they love you-the right to dictate how you should share your joy, your precious moments? But that’s just me.

What about you?

Categories: Engagement, Family, Friends and Relationships
33 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted October 25, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Argh, Facebook! It's so important you tell good news to ANYONE who is more important than Kelly who you went to primary school with and haven't seen since 1987 before you start updating statuses. We put a few of our official pictures up on FB and really pissed off some of my in-laws who weren't on there. We need a Facebook AOW post!

    I agree with Crysta though, at the end of the day unless you're a blood relative (or as good as) you need to get over it- it is the way of the world these days. I wouldn't expect to be told about an engagement of anybody other than extremely close friends or family any other way. It is other people's good news, so I suppose they will get to choose their own way of sharing it!


  2. Becca
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    We didn't tell anyone for six weeks (OK so I told MY parents) but we got engaged whilst TBTMMO was in the jungle and we wanted to wait until we had a ring to make it official. Once we had collected the ring, we told everyone over the phone and then flew off to Italy for an engagement-moon (he hates it when I call it that and it was just a planned holiday).

    The only issue was that we got through to his Mum and Sister but couldn't get hold of his Dad. By that time his sister had rang saying 'isn't it great GREAT news', he said 'what' and she had to waffle on about school results. Urrr. When we did contact him (about five minutes later) he was so confused.


    Don't get me started about Facebook. My status still says 'in a relationship'. Just because I am engaged, it doesn't mean I am not 'in a relationship'. Ffft. Grumpy Old Lady Alert (GOLA).

  3. Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    With good friends you expect/deserve personal delivery of big/happy news, in my opinion. Even if it's just a little email. Which is how my friend told everyone. That was probably a good choice as I lost my voice from the number of calls we made over the space of a week… But i loved it, loved telling our nearest and dearest. Didn't love questions about whether we'd set a date yer (whaaaat?!) but ho hum.

    My advice (useless ramblings) for people getting engaged:

    1. Tell as many people IN PERSON as possible. It's priceless.
    We were living far away from our closest friends during the year we got engaged so I could only do this with one group of friends – who went CRAZY when I revealed the news (having had to hide my left hand) So fun.

    2. Stay in your engagement bubble for as long as you can just the two of you without telling anyone. We had a good few hours and then called our Mums! Was so nice having some time before you start ringing people and life goes insane for a few weeks.

  4. Fee
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I agree that if it's your good news, it's up to you how you share it- it's such an exciting and crazy moment when it happens that personally, the last thing to enter my head was the order in which I should tell people/how we should tell them.

    I may however just be being uncharacteristically grumpy as at 2 weeks before my own wedding, am ready to garrott the next person who gets their grump on because they feel slighted in some way : )

    Happy Tuesday!

  5. Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    We got engaged in Paris so, for the sake of our phone bills, we only immediately told our respective parents and siblings. Then, on the last day I couldn't wait anymore and called my three best friends to tell them over the phone.

    Then… we got stuck on the Eurostar for NINE HOURS. I was planning to phone all of my friends to tell them. But I would have felt bad screaming down the phone for hours (poor everyone else in our carriage) and I was too excited not to tell people, so I sent a huge group text to everyone who I felt needed to be told by me directly. Not until I'd text everyone did I change my Facebook. I wanted to tell people myself and get their responses myself.

    All that said, one of the people I text the news to recently told me of her engagement via Facebook and I couldn't have been happier for me however she told me, so in the end I don't think it matters!

    K x

  6. Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    *couldn't have been happier for HER…. sorry, morning brain!! x

  7. Mahj
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    We got engaged on holiday whilst away with our best friends (both of whom knew it was coming) so we obviously shared our news (and celebrated liberally) with them whilst away. We then decided to wait until we had gotten home to tell our parents, but in the meantime I had to tell my big sister and brother, both of whom were sworn to secrecy.

    When we got home we told my parents, then Martin's parents and then phoned certain close family members and friends and THEN put it on FB for the rest of the world!

    I really wasnt arsed if certain people got in a grump about how they found out, s'long as we had told specific friends and family our way, then everyone else could sod off!


  8. Christie
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    We got engaged on holiday as well, the boy had rang my Mom (not my Dad which is a whole other story) just before he did it so she was waiting for a phone call.

    We had spent a lovely day drinking and eating so I was in relaxed merry mode and I really didn't think about protocol, looking back the wine was probably a good thing! We immediately called my Mom, Dad and his wife, his parents and my two best friends who would be bridesmaids. I called a couple of girls from work who I was close with as well, the boy's phone bill was awful!

    I then put it on Facebook. My family are scattered all over the country and to be honest, I was just so excited I needed everyone in the world to know immediately because obviously they would all stop what they were doing to celebrate the joyous news! (there were parties in my head!)

    I think like everything wedding related, it comes down to personal choice. You should be able to tell who you want, when you want in whichever way you feel comfortable.

    Announcing on Facebook that one of your friends has given birth before they've had chance to tell the family however, is a step too far in my eyes!

  9. Mahj
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Ooo Christie, that actually happened to one of my friends! She had her first baby and her husband sent round a group text to all the friends and one friend then decided to post it as her status on FB! She completely took sharing the news away from our friends who had just had the actual baby and they hadnt even managed to tell everyone yet! The new Mum was deeply unimpressed, as I would've been too.


  10. Posted October 25, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Andy did not ask my Dad's permission. My Dad tells my mum everything, who then proceeds to tell her sisters everything…. No secrets in our family. My Dad also asked me once, to instruct Andy not to ask his permission, as he'd find it embarrassing after Andy had been sleeping with his daughter for last seven years!! Followed by "I never asked your Grandad. Your mums her own person." My Dad knows that Andy's family are a lot more old-fashioned than us, so had reason to be concerned.

    We got engaged on holiday. We did not tell anybody on holiday. We got home at about 10pm on the Thursday evening, and kept it to ourselves. Andy and I took the next day off work. Both us and our parents work from home. We drove to my parent's for breakfast, and told them first. We then went on to visit both my Granny's, who live in the same village as my parents. After this, we visited Andy's parents, and told them. We then drove to Andy's Grandma's and shared the news with her. Once all parents and grandparents had been told, which was mid afternoon by this point, we text all our friends and family (most family had already heard by this point from our mums). Some of our friends telephoned back. They were all at work, and we didn't consider telephoning them.

    That evening we went out for a meal with Andy's parents and his sisters and their husbands. Many of our friends put comments on facebook congratulating us, before we got around to it. I think we updated our Facebook status a couple of days after we told everyone.

    I liked how we did it, and nobody close to us heard the news off Facebook.


  11. Esme
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    We were similar to you guys. We told our parents asap (remind me to tell you the story of T telling his parents one day, it is a classic), siblings and close family that week, making them promise not to write anything on Facebook. My sister did write something like 'I'm so happy about some news' but we got away with it. We then got the ring later that week and phoned all the friends we wanted to let know in person over the next few days.

    It was lovely being engaged and not having many people know about it and I wish I could have been able to tell some people in person, but I agree that putting it on Facebook is fine once the most important people know. We only got 1 'I can't believe you didn't tell me!' (er, how about you answer your phone occassionally??!).

    And I love reading not-so-close friends news on Facebook! Engagements, babies etc – it's nice to share their news.


  12. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    We didn't need to tell my parents, seeing as how they watched the whole thing happen from the kitchen window, but as soon as we had recovered enough from the TRAUMA of getting engaged (both of us thought we were going to spew the entire time) we phoned all the important people – family, extended family and close friends. Then I texted some other friends who I wanted to find out from me personally, and only then did I put it on facebook. I don't think anyone was annoyed with the way we did it – everyone just seemed really, really happy for us.

    In a sort-of-related-but-not-really facebook story, someone I know of got a link from her photographer to the online protected gallery of her professional wedding photos. She sent it to her immediate family in an email. Her brother's girlfriend then took it upon herself to immediately screenshot every single wedding photo, upload them to her own facebook and tag the bride and groom in them!! WTF?? Who would do that??

  13. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Mr M asked my mum the week or two before so she knew it was coming but didn't know when.
    And then I ran and told her about five minutes after, then went to my sisters and told her and rang my other sister.

    Then I text my bezzlers and then put it on facebook. And then went away for a weekend and acted like we were actually the only people in the world to be in on some big secret. Even though we weren't.

    The thing is when your so euphoric you do just wanna share with everyone in the world how happy you are. That said, I have a complete love hate relationship with Facef**k and a lot of the time hate what it represents. But then also want to put on good news.


  14. Anonymous
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I'm going to show my bias here…
    Facebook is bullsh*t.

    And anyone who gets upset for finding out news on Facebook is a ridiculous human being. Full. Stop.

  15. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Becca – what does TBTMMO mean?! I'm so not up with the lingo.

  16. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    After three weeks of no internet at home, a few more of not having time to go on the internet (accommodation problems and new job being one of the many reasons) I see my name on AOW! Its made all the stresses and such of the past few weeks so much better!

    Unfortunately, such is the way with my family that someone, somewhere will hear engagement news from facebook. I've always said I'll tell everyone close in the UK and certain people in South Africa (grandmother, godmother) and an email to the rest. Its just not possible with my enormous family to let everyone know personally. But I know someone, somewhere, will get offended when the time comes. I would wait a couple of weeks after all this before putting it on facebook.

    I, personally, was not offended when I found out my relatives news on facebook. I was incredibly happy for them and understood that when you have probably more than 50 people related to you, who are close relatives (what can I say, we're Catholic. Its taken a few generations for people to understand you can stop at 2 children…) its just not possible to call everyone, or, indeed, email!

    It just makes me sad that, instead of just being happy for them, someone in my family got offended. Right at the begining, before my poor relative even begins to plan a wedding with the diplomatic minefield that is my family.

    I agree wholehearedly with Aisling: people tell good news in different ways. I'm sure they do it with the best of intentions, in the way they feel is best. So it'd be nice if people could (even if initially offended/dissapointed) share in their joy with them.

    Ok, after long and rambly post, I'd better get back to interning!

  17. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    @ Kirsty – WHAAAAAT?! Who WOULD do that?!

  18. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Last thing, I promise!

    As for facebook: I only have friends who actually are friends on there, and relatives. I genuinely use it just for keeping in contact with all the people I love who are scattered across the globe. I think if all my friend and relatives were within driving distance, I would have deleted my account by now!

  19. Posted October 25, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    when we got engaged, i text my brother and sister, phoned my mum and dad then phoned my gran (waking her up, but she didn't mind.) all our close friends got a text from either me or boyfriend, THEN it went on facebook.

    A girl i know just put her wedding photos on facebook, but the tagline for each is her photographers email address and mobile number. i'm passionate about credit where it's due, but it seems a little excessive to me. like she's not really got ownership of the pictures or something. anyone else have an opinion?

  20. Posted October 25, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I have a question girls – those of you with divorced parents – how did you approach that? It's a long story, but I caused quite a bit of trouble by telling one side before the other… any thoughts?

  21. Posted October 25, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    When we decided we were getting married I told my best friend the next day then waited a couple of weeks till we'd decided on a venue before we told our parents so that they couldn't try and influence our decisions about where to get married. In the interim I'd told a few other friends too but sworn them to secrecy until the parents had been told

  22. Heather
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    This can be so tricky. We phoned all close family, and text the more distant relations. I'm not on facebook so that got me out of that one!

    I did actually have an announcement in the newspaper :) my Mum is old school.. it made me feel famous!

  23. Christie
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Mahj, it's unreal isn't it! My friend had gone into labour early and the whole thing was over so fast I knew nothing about it until baby was here. I got a text along with another friend at about midnight and about 2 mins after that it was on Facebook. You know when you see something and cringe? I went all hot and desperately tried to think of ways to hack her Facebook and take it off!

    Caused quite a bit of tension for a while because family members found out through that before they'd had chance to let them know, I'd be seriously annoyed if I was a new Mom!

    Clare, I don't understand why people can't just be happy enough at your news that they feel the need to make you feel guilty about who told who first. I come from a divorced family and I told my Mom first because she's the closest one to me. At the end of the day it's impossible to call everyone simultaneously and that's the end of it. Hope it didn't take the shine off beinf newly engaged for you!

  24. Posted October 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Interesting reading the comments. We never gave it much thought, other than telling my family before Andy's, and immediate family being told before friends.

    I have heard close friend's baby news on Facebook before being told personally. It has never bothered me too hoots, that I found out on Facebook. I don't think reading about friends and familys engagements on Facebook would bother me either. I love hearing the good news, but I have more important things to worry about than whether its by facebook, text or phonecall.

    I did not want to put engagement on Facebook, as I wanted to share the news personally first. It just felt the right way to do it. Not sure how personal a mass text is though.


  25. L
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Right hopefully blogger won't eat my comment this time grrrrr.
    We got engaged on holiday. I wanted to wait until we got home (3 days later) to tell anyone but boyfriend said we had to tell our parents. Mine then told my family and I received texts from Facebook to let me know that my cousins had put congratulations messages up. I was a bit annoyed, especially considering a)I hadn't wanted to tell anyone right away in the first place; b)I hadn't actually told them and c)The news of my engagment went out on Facebook so I couldn't tell people face to face.
    I ended up just quickly going online in the hotel and putting up a message saying 'sorry was going to wait until I got home but…'
    A friend did take the huff a bit because she found out via someone else via Facebook (of course) and she thought she hadn't been told. But I reassured her the only people we told were our parents but it still got out very quickly.

  26. Posted October 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Ladies, ladies, ladies.

    As ever, your stories are fascinating and it's so reassuring to hear that so many of you are comfortable with the way you did things.

    I'm not a fan of Facebook, it's blurred so many lines as to what's acceptable with sharing news. It sounds like most of us have it under some sort of control though!

    And as far as famililes who get upset when one side 'finds out first'…really, what do they expect you to do? Convene an international video-conference call? Pfft.
    I think a lot of it is down to how your parents/great aunties/friends feel in *that* precise moment, I'm sure that they are all just delighted in the end.

    Ah, family. And friends. And social media.


  27. Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    We got engaged, and told everyone that we could in person. My sister lived up the street, so we told her first, and the guy who helped my husband design the ring, but then we decided to keep it a secret until we could see our families in person. So we arranged a brunch and invited his parents down from New Jersey and sat down and then spilled the good news. Everyone was so excited and it was SO WORTH IT to wait and tell people in person. I can't imagine people getting angry that you didn't immediately tell people – it was so nice to take some time to ourselves – we took two weeks! And a trip to Chicago! We also arranged that after we told our families, we would tell as many friends, etc., in person, so I arranged dinner parties, lunch meetings, and other meetups over a whirlwind two days to tell people. The squealing and the hugs and the giggles and happy dances and everything was totally worth it (also watching part of a burrito fall out of my friend's mouth). We waited to announce it on Facebook for another couple of weeks, and eventually word got around.

    The other thing I've seen people find out on facebook though, is when somebody has passed away (like my cousin with my grandma), which we all thought was pretty terrible. That deserves a phone call.

  28. Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    We got engaged on holiday (on the first night) and I decided to leave it a couple of days before I told anyone so we could enjoy just being newly engaged together. So I told my Dad and Sister whilst we were away then told other relatives, friends, work colleagues once we got back. My husband's family all knew so he just had to let them know that I'd said yes. Also a worker in JJB Sports knew before me that we were getting engaged, from husband's Mum! (something that still gets my goat a little to this day!)

    So we basically told close family ourselves then put it on Facebook. I don't have a huge group of friends so it wasn't like I had to ring round loads and worry about who I had and hadn't told. I did wait a few weeks until we'd got home until I changed my status but that was mainly out of laziness.

    I don't remember putting that much thought into how we told anyone really, but I think I felt differently about it than most. I was incredibly happy to be engaged but being the first of my friends and family to get engaged I felt a little shy/embarrassed telling everyone like I was boasting. My Dad had to tell me to let my aunts/uncles know – I was kinda hoping he'd do it for me! :)

    I agree that FB can get you in trouble and I can't believe the stories of babies and photos being put up/announced before the parents/bride and groom have a chance to say 'hold on'! Wtf! But on the other hand, I agree with Esme, I like learning of other people's happy news over Facebook, and I'd be a lot less in touch with so many old friends (like Esme) if it wasn't for Facebook.

    I don't like how something so happy like news of an engagement has to be so political. I agree with Aisling, can't we just be happy for each other?


  29. Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Ladies, how funny….. I've just seen a (male) friend announce his engagement on Facebook THIS VERY MORNING. And his flat mate has replied "I can't believe I live with you yet this is how I find out about this news!"

    Hilarious, no?!

    PS Aisling what you said about having Facebook under control is def. right. I'm not one for over-sharing on either there or Twitter and I think it's great that we can all respect each others decisions when it comes to it. I've only ever put one photo of our wedding on Facebook as I didn't want to share the entire wedding album with everyone I'm friends with on there as, as, unlike some people, i do have quite a lot of people on there who are old work colleagues etc so I do limit what people can see. X

  30. Posted October 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I got engaged at my home at about midnight. We immediately went and woke up both sets of parents to tell them, i was so excited. I was going on a night out with all my girlfriends the very next day so thought i would wait and tell them all in person.

    The next morning i had to go to the shops and ran into an old schoolfriend. When she asked how i was i couldnt help it and blurted out how i had got engaged just the previous day.

    I came home from the shopping trip to a lot of confused texts (and some angry ones) from friends. Turned out the old schoolfriend had gone on fb and said 'it was lovely seeing you today, congrats again on the engagement' and thats how all my friends found out!

  31. KatyBobs
    Posted October 25, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    We also got engaged on holiday but still rang both sets of parents and text our close friends before doing the facebook announcement when we got home.

    However… this was made pretty much null and void by the fact that soon after hubby first told his mum he was planning to propose, his mum saw my dad in the street and proceeded to run up to him shouting "Isn't it great news about the wedding!!!" D'oh! Classic foot in mouth moment there I think!

  32. E
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I heard from a friend the other day that she found out via 'the book' that her housemates had gotten MARRIED!

    They fell pregnant after being together for about a year and became engaged during the pregnancy. Once baby came along my friend was still house sharing with them (big house, separate area for baby to live in etc!) and they went off with their parents to the local register office and got hitched.

    She had absolutely no issue at all with them going off and doing it on their own, after all, their W day is their W day, but she said she just felt a bit daft when mutual friends commented on it to her, she had no idea what they were talking about and it turned out they had put it on Facebook but not told their friend who lives just upstairs…

  33. Posted November 1, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Oh crikey! It's such a minefield!!!

    We had an odd situation. He asked in October, I said maybe; I didn't tell anyone except my wisest friend who advised me in a calm and helpful way. I said let's do it in January and we ordered a ring. We wanted to wait to tell people until we had it on my finger.

    We knew we'd tell my mum first as she lives close by, but my brother and his gf threw a spanner in the works by inviting us all round for dinner the night before my ring arrived and announcing their engagement!!! They got engaged at Christmas and had told loads of friends and my dad's family and waited until her ring had been resized to tell us.

    It was a double whammy for me. I was really upset that they'd waited more than a month to tell us – and my mum – and felt our announcement had just become a rather feeble 'us too'! Not mature I know but it's how I felt.

    In the end we went home that night and rang my dad and my fiance's parents to tell them the news as well as other close family members and friends from Uni. We told my friends in person on a night out that I had to make up an excuse to get them all to without spilling the beans. We tried to tell everyone else personally too and then we put it on facebook.

    I'm not a big fan of facebook, I'm only friends with people I see "in real life" but I can't be bothered with the drama some people bring up about hearing/not hearing things through it.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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