MAKING THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
Bragging and tooting you own horn is probably the first most enjoyable part of getting married, showing off your beautiful ring to all your friends and colleagues, or going out to party with your friends because your bachelorhood is coming to an end. But before you carry on with telling everybody, think of how your parents would feel if they were not the first people to hear this amazing news and heard it from some other than you. You should call them together as a couple right away. If they live in close proximity to you, visit them and inform them in person. If you are unsure of which set of parents to inform first, it is most often than others the bride’s parents that are informed first. But that is a personal decision, and it is up to you as to whom you want to inform first. You could even invite both sets of parents out for dinner, if that is possible.
Are in the situation where your significant other has not met your parents prior to this? If you have watched the movie ‘Father of the Bride’, then you may recall the scene where Annie informs her family that she is engaged and that she is going to get married. Her fiancé was the most wonderful person she ever met and loved him dearly. The face that her father wore was all that was needed to show how he felt. If you too plan on dropping such an emotional shock bomb on your parents, the whole situation can turn out to be very chaotic and dangerous. There will be heated arguments, misunderstandings, and unnecessary quarrels and grudges, when all they actually feel is sadness that their child is leaving to live their own life. Hence it would be best if the parents were given a buffer where they can slowly adjust and accept the fact that their child is getting married or wants to get married and then introduce them to your beloved. All this adjusting and need to accept is very prominent in closely knit families.
After you inform your parents you could then go around informing your immediate family members and your close friends. Be advised, you must not let any of these people hear of the announcement through your social media posts or somebody other than you. If you have grandparents, visit them and inform them, they will be overjoyed to see their grandkids settle down.
If you have children from a previous marriage or a relationship in the past, think of informing them too if they are old enough to keep the news a secret and not tell anyone else. You could gather all three generations together and make the big announcement at the exact the same time, but this depends on the dynamics of your family.
‘SNAPPPING’ THE FIRST SHOT
The moment your beloved bent down on one knee, asked you that life altering question, you nodded in consent changing both your lives forever, and he placed the mesmerising diamond ring on your finger sealing the deal. Wouldn’t you want to have a picture of that beautiful moment?
That one snap is such an iconic picture of one of the most special moments in your life, that picture embodies the frozen time when you and you fiancé took the first step towards a lifetime together. It is a trend today where couples use this photograph to announce their engagement on social media. Couples often opt for professional photographers to shoot their engagement, which is just as popular. This could generally cost anywhere between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 60,000 which is usually combined with the photography fees included in the wedding package. Getting an engagement photoshoot is worth the effort and money as you this can serve as a test run with the photographer to see how your idea and personalities gel. These photos can also be used for invitations and save the date mentions, apart from sharing them on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
The excitement that you get while choosing your location for a photoshoot is not one that you can contain, you may want to go down nostalgia street and have the shoot at the place of your first date, or where you first got engaged. Or you go to a location you have never been before, get those perfect candid shots, with breath taking backgrounds. But you could always go the simple route too where they can get the most out of their photographer, and shoot for a more unified look planning for a location other than the reception venue. Goa is a great place to get your gorgeous snapshots, its beaches and hilltops make for scenic backgrounds which are perennial.
For many, marriage is a once in lifetime occasion and nobody would want it not to be perfect, but you get only one shot at it. What if you get the color scheme wrong? It may make the bride look stellar but the groom might loo washed out. What if the hair and make-up you thought of an expected does not match your expectations? Or the photographer was not able to deliver on his word? Therefore for this reason many couples use this photoshoot to test out the different color schemes, different styles of hair and make-up, the photos that the photographer has clicked, and many more.
A predominating culture for wedding shoots are clicking pictures where the groom is down on one knee, and the bride is so surprised. That is beginning to change, photographers are starting to get more liberal and creative, working together with the couple to shoot amazing pictures. Some grooms are even willing to hire a photographer to capture the moment when he pops the question for the first time. But the risks are big, she may reply negatively, the photographer might miss the moment, or may even ruin the surprise.
GO TO SOCIAL OR NOT?
I bet you have heard of the phrase ‘Great things happen to those who wait’. So by all means take your time to tell the world about the big news. Double, eve triple check to see if you have missed out any close friend or family member before making it public. Although you will be more excited than any other time, try keep the news in few circles for as long as you can.
It is only normal and expected to receive a crazy amount of attention from people whom you do not even know, tons of messages, comments, questions, and wishes across all of your social media platforms, which you will feel obligated to reply and thank. But in the haze of all this you will miss out on spending this time with your fiancé and later wonder where the time disappeared. All the replies, messages, and comments will not reduce if you publicize the news on a later date, but what will happen is that you will have more time to let your hair down and bask with your fiancé in the fact that you are getting married. You will have a stress free joy of being engaged which is just utter bliss.
There are also those couples who refrain from taking the news to social media, allowing for the news to spread slowly and naturally to their extended circles, and announcing it just days before the big day arrives.
ANNOUNCING THE ENGAGEMENT FORMALLY
Traditionally, the parents of the bride to be would often send out written announcements to everyone to formally announce that their child is engaged. But today that tradition is rarely followed and is a lot more informal, sharing the news through social media, through emails, or even over the phone are acceptable ways to spread the word. The main objective of sending out announcements is to break the new to family and friends. This is soon followed by save-the-date cards which are mailed and are usually meant to be the formal announcement.
Some couples often opt for their engagement to be for longer periods, in such cases it is often advised to limit formal announcements only to people whom you plan on inviting to the wedding. Generally, as mentioned above, the bride’s parents do the formal announcements, however it is quite common for the couple to go ahead and so on their own. Usually the announcements have very little words, with a large size image that takes up most space without mentioning the date or any mention of the venue.
ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE MEDIA
A mention in the local newspaper about the announcement will make your parents or grandparents nostalgic and bring back fond memories about the time of their wedding. They will agree to this as a way of formally announcing the news and it will make for a lovely keepsake. Typically the engagement announcement is sent out well in advance and then followed by the announcement of the day of marriage. If your folks really insist on this method of formal announcement, make them happy and let them do so, save the arguing for something else. You do not even have to do much, just send a photograph of the two of you to the parents who requested to do so, and allow them to manage it in your stead.
If you no longer live in your hometown and have spent years away from home, you could make a placement in the local paper there. But before you do so, make sure to look up the guidelines of the newspapers for announcements of this nature that are easily available on their websites. The guidelines generally include, the minimum size of the photograph, details of your names, and occupation and similar in nature.
The photos to be sent for the newspapers can be however you want them to be, they can be as casual as you like for both the engagement and wedding announcements, as long as both of your heads are in the line of sight it should be fine. Local papers often have separate sections that are meant just for such announcements which are available without any charge or have a huge discount which they will be more than happy to let you know once you inquire about it. Bear in mind that if the newspaper treats the announcements as news bite they are not obligated to publish it. And in national publications the selection process is extremely competitive.
The ideal time to make a formal announcement is somewhere in between three to eight months before D-day. But if you would want to have a more intimate gathering without a medium to large size guest list, you can skip the announcements all together.
One thing to be wary about announcements in the newspapers is that the publication of said announcements are completely dependent on the newspapers stance on it. A few may run them months before while others may run it after the wedding day.
RESPONSES THAT ARE COMPLEX
More often than others you expect everyone to jump with joy upon hearing the announcement of the big news. But that is hardly the reality, that reaction may be their last reaction let alone their first. You will be bombarded with a million questions like; ‘when, where, how, who all, how many and the infamous – how much will it cost?’. Following this, the differences may be interrogated upon, such as cultural background, religion, plan post marriage, and how you intend on resolving these.
Brace yourself because these are all normal reactions, and you will need to decide whether you need to answer them because you want to or just because people are demanding it. A person with whom you are not that close may ask you something super intimate, and you can treat it as one of those emails that you do not need to respond to all the time. Or there might be certain doubts that people will most definitely have and if you wish to clear them, make sure to put some thought into what you are going to say, to whom you are going to say, why and when you are going to say.
Now suppose you have been asked by a relative about how you are going to go about planning everything and you hastily respond to it, meanwhile your fiancé is saying something completely different. This later builds up and turns into arguments, misunderstandings, and fights. For this exact reason you and your fiancé need to take some time and discuss in detail the questions that you will face and how to respond to them. This will help you not to respond without thinking and unintentionally back yourself into a corner. You can have pre-planned responses that will help you get your point of view across without ruffling any feathers, like – ‘We understand what you are saying but we are not lazy, we just want to enjoy this time we have together.’
BREAKING THE NEWS TO FRIENDS
Announcing such news to friends is undoubtedly the only place where you can get the reaction you been dying to get. They will definitely jump with joy, scream, hug, squeal, cry, and just be happy for you. There will be some who would not partake in your joy but they are niche in number, so do not worry about it.
There could be a number of reasons for why they would not be happy for you, the most common is jealousy. There is always that one friend who just obsessed with being married but just cannot seem to catch a break, either her boyfriend is non-committal or does not even have a boyfriend. Or one that is already married and is envious of the bliss that you are in.
To be honest, there will always be people who would not the best for you, and always sulk about everything. But cut them a bit of slack because who knows, they may be going through something that they do not want to share with anybody. All you can do is zone out the negative vibes that they are giving off and focus on the more positive things happening in your life, like the fact that you are getting married? If you let their reaction get to you things can escalate quite rapidly from it being a snarky comment or a scoff to a heated angry argument that will result in it just disappointing you and leaving you upset. It would just ruin the whole atmosphere and stress you out when you are supposed to be at your happiest. They may try to deface your beloved just out of spite or genuinely, but that means nothing unless they have substantial proof stating otherwise. One way to deal with such grumpy grouches is to leave them be and give them some time, like couple of weeks to let the news really sink in and plan stuff with them, go out for some drinks, brunch, dinner, anything will do. This is just to assure them that you will still be good friends and nothing is going to change, if they do not accept it let them be, they will come around eventually.
DEALING WITH AN UNPLEASANT SITUATION
Although it is an unpleasant situation that nobody would willingly want, but negative reactions from parents are always a possibility. Discussing this in private with your parents where your fiancé would not be able to hear you would be ideal so that you do not subject them to all the ‘nice’ thing your parents have to say and have them being upset and force them to walk on eggshells around your parents.
You will hear your parents scream things like “Do you even know what you are doing? This is no joke or toy for you to play with.” Or “What were you even thinking?” or something a lot more revolting and as much as your ego tells you to fight back and say mean things back to them, you have to keep your calm and state that your plans of getting married are not negotiable. Tell them in the nicest way possible that you would love for them to be a part of the happiest day of your life and how important it is for you to have them present there to share it with you. They may not be reasonable at that particular moment, yelling random stuff, cursing your fiancé, and just pleading you to reconsider but it is detrimental that you stand your ground and hold you calm, they still are your parents after all.
This could happen the other way around too, where it is your fiancé’s parents or your soon to be in-laws that react negatively to the announcement. The fuel to their fire may be from separation anxiety, being caught off guard, or control issues of sorts, basically it has nothing to do with you. It is just that they were not expecting this news and were taken by surprise, which is why they lost their composure and reacted emotionally and without any judgement. So the best course of action for you would be not to react to any of their cries because they are not thinking straight. You just need to remain calm.
If the reaction is prolonging more than it should, it best to not place that party as a source of funding in the long run. Be polite and well-mannered when you tell them that you respect them as your in-laws and would love for them to be a part of the occasion but refrain from asking them for any financial support and do not feel obligated to have them involved in the planning process for the big day. If you do ask for monetary support especially when it is something that they are against, it would only lad to petty arguments and a lot of awkwardness. Taking the high road will always help in such situations as it helps in preserving the relationship. And this is something that you will have to do regardless of how offended and angry you are, because they will become your in-laws and your life would not be happy and have a peaceful life if there is bad blood or there are a few grudges being held.
This of course would be in just extreme situations, furthermore let us always hope that your big announcement is received well and therefore be prepared for an overwhelming response. This is usually the case when you have been dating for quite some time and getting engaged is the predictable next step. Although you have been dating for a while, from your parents point of view this is still a huge leap and so would the announcement. Because they would now be a part of the extended family and you would be making your own way into creating a family of your own.
BEEN MARRIED BEFORE
If this is not your first marriage, then you will have to break the news of your engagement to your ex-spouse. Now the manner in which you plan to execute this is entirely dependent on how relaxed or on how complex your current relationship with your ex is and whether you have children. If you think that your children will be perfect to break the news, then you are highly mistaken. It may not be the best fit as there could be questions about the physical and geographical shift in the family that would have happened sooner or later. The best course of action would be discussing this with a pre-scheduled time to meet and discuss the living arrangements. A discussion about alimony too needs to be held either in person or with your lawyer. Do not beat around the bush with your children, be upfront and straightforward with them. This will help them understand better how their life is going to change and it would the best option for you to tell them rather than have them bombard your ex to find out.