In the age of social media giving us all instant access to the same information, it can be tempting — and let's face it, downright easier — to throw up an engagement announcement post on Facebook rather than to spread any news individually over the phone, let alone in person. But when it comes to announcing your engagement, letting everyone know at the same time online just won't do.
Why? As national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas Diane Gottsman explains, "The simple fact is that you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Your closest family and friends deserve to hear it from you before they read it on a social media post."
But luckily, the list of people you to whom you must deliver this special news in person or via the phone can be whittled down to just five people. Here are the first people you must tell — and why — before you can put up that public post.
1. You mom and dad.
You and your new fiancé(e) should each approach your respective parents with the good news, in person if your geographical living situation allows, before you let the news slip to anyone else. If you have siblings, Gottsman says, they should be told at the same time, or immediately following. "It’s a matter of respect," she explains, "for your immediate family."
2. Your grandparents.
Next up are the patriarchs of your family, your grandparents. Even if you're not very close with your grandparents, you should tell them next as a courtesy, "and because you want them to feel included in the festivities along the way," Gottsman says.
3. Your best friend.
You should both approach your BFFs next, "especially if you plan to ask [him or her] to be [in the wedding party]," Gottsman says. Sure, they could find out on Facebook with your other friends, but "you don’t want to hurt their feelings and make them feel like they didn’t deserve the respect of a personal call," Gottsman explains.
4. Your boss.
You might think now you can move on to the rest of the world, but not quite yet. Your boss needs to know next, Gottsman says, because he or she will need to help you plan for the future — including that time off you'll need for the honeymoon. "Even if they don’t ask," she says, "they are wondering if you will be moving, staying, changing situations, and more."
5. Your old childhood friend.
You know, the one you don't see that much anymore, but when you do, you pick up right when you left off. Tell him or her next, "or someone sentimental to you that you have shared good and bad news, life milestones and you know they would want to hear it from you," advises Gottsman.
Now you're ready to tell the rest of the world — basically. "Leaving out anyone is a risk when they read it on social media, so make a list of people you know who will appreciate a call and take the time to share your good news," advises Gottsman.