Traditionally, when you hear a friend has gotten engaged, the first thing you say is "Congratulations!" and then do that group squeal-thing we girls are known for. It's supposed to be a crazy-exciting moment and, regardless of how you feel about your friend's fiancé, it's a time for celebration, and nothing else. Rejoice and be happy in the engagement unity of two.
When my ring was sparkly and brand new, and my fiancé took me to his police station (he was the district commander) to tell everybody the good news, and most of the officers were enthusiastic. However, one stupid sergeant looked at the ring and said, "So you're the future ex Mrs. Malone," in reference to the fact that my soon-to-be husband had been married before. It was just a bad joke, but I was horrified and mortified. First, I cried on the way home. Then I took him and his wife off my invitation list.
It's important to celebrate with the couple when they're celebrating and not say anything negative about the big news — even if you have concerns. There's a time to address those worries later if you think it's something you must discuss. But wait till the "honeymoon" period of the engagement is over or nothing you have to say will be well received.
With that said, you still have to be careful how you word things when you talk to a newly engaged woman — especially if there's been any controversy surrounding her engagement. Avoid saying the following five things:
1. "I can't believe you said yes. Seriously?"
This implies there was a really good reason for your friend to say no and will cause your friend to ask why you would say that. Although you might just be expressing surprise over the engagement, it's going to sound like you don't think she should have accepted the proposal.
2. "Are you sure you're ready to marry him?"
Every newly engaged woman questions whether she's ready to get married, but it's not a question for her friends to raise when they first find out about the engagement. As a friend, your job is to be excited and encouraging. If she's uncertain, she's going to tell you that on her own soon enough.
3. "I'm invited, right? Can I be a bridesmaid?"
Nobody knows who is invited beyond immediate family, until they've had time to sit down and really crunch the headcount numbers. Every future bride faces the dilemma about which friends and family to include in her wedding party, so putting her on the spot is rude. It's a decision that should be made in a thoughtful way, not spontaneously because somebody was tacky and asked.
4. "Do you like the ring?"
This implies that you do not, in fact, like her ring, and you're wondering if she does. If she doesn't, she'll tell you later. You don't have to ask.
5. "What did his parents say?"
This question sounds like you expect his parents to object to the union. Unless you've previously discussed this specific issue with the new bride, don't open pandora's box.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.