The moment is finally here—you and your SO are planning to say “I do!” and the world needs to know! Before you start shouting the happy news from your rooftop, your social media pages, and possibly the front page of your local paper, there are a few things to keep in mind about engagement announcements.
This marvelous milestone requires an announcement that celebrates your joy and invites your community to celebrate with you. In this crash course on engagement announcements, you’ll learn how to announce engagement in person, online, and by mail.
To help you guide you through your engagement announcement, we’ll cover:
Getting engaged can be exciting, overwhelming, and flat-out exhilarating. Of course it’s tempting to immediately tell your family, your friends, your coworkers, your mailman, your food delivery person, (etc) about the happy news.
But first, take a breath—your engagement is, at its core, an intimate experience between you and your partner. It’s an important step towards a lifetime of highs and lows spent with the one you love. From this moment on, everything you face, you’ll face together, their heart in your hand and your heart in theirs.
So try to savor the moment before all your friends and family are in the know. Pretty soon, you’ll be wrapped up in well-wishes, wedding planning, rehearsal dinners, showers, receptions, and more. Take some one-on-one time with your SO to privately celebrate each other and how far you’ve come to reach this incredible moment.
So... how do you celebrate?
These days, a popular trend among newly engaged couples is to go on an engagement-moon. Like a pre-marriage honeymoon, an engagement-moon is an opportunity to get away and enjoy quality time together before the madness of wedding planning takes over your to-do lists.
Whether you take a major vacation jet-setting around the world or simply take a long weekend at a nice spot outside of town, your engagement-moon should be an experience that helps you celebrate this moment in your love story.
Once you and your SO feel that you’ve spent enough time intimately celebrating your engagement, it’s time to consider how you’ll share the news with your loved ones. Of course, everyone’s going to know about your engagement eventually, but with certain people, you just can’t skip the in-person announcement.
A good place to start is with your immediate family on both sides. If it’s possible, try getting everyone together for some kind of outing like:
These are just a few examples, but any kind of outing will do. If it’s not possible to get together with your immediate family in person, be sure to call them on the phone or see them via video chat. They will absolutely appreciate that you chose to share the news with them personally.
Once you’ve told your immediate family, you can decide if you want to extend the circle of in-the-know folks to other relatives and close friends.
Hint: Chances are, the people who you’ll be telling in person will also be on your guest list. As you’re making your list of “People we need to tell face-to-face that we’re engaged,” you can also get a jumpstart on invitations, Save the Dates, and more with Zola’s Wedding Guest List Manager. This digital tool will help you keep track of everything from RSVP’s to meal choices. It’s never too early to start planning ahead, your future-selves will thank you!
It can be tricky when you feel like you should tell some people in person, but aren’t exactly sure where to make the cutoff. One rule of thumb you can follow is to consider the friends and family in your life whose engagement you would definitely want to learn about in person.
If you’re still struggling to define your list of people who you should personally inform, it’s okay! After all, no one really needs to learn about your engagement in person. As long as you and your partner go with your guts and reach out to the people you care about the most, you’re doing great. Don’t bend over backward or postpone your public engagement announcement if your hearts are telling you to share with everyone right away.
Now that you’ve figured out when and how to tell your loved ones, it’s time to think about how you’ll share your engagement with everybody else! Here are just a few ways you can do that:
It’s still common for couples in smaller towns to publish their engagement news in a local newspaper. Whether you live in a small town or you just like the tradition of this announcement style, it’s not hard to find a local paper that would be willing to print your happy news!
Even if this isn’t the most effective way to spread the word, it can be really cool to have your name as a couple in print for the first time. Plus, you can save that newspaper, frame it, and have it as a keepsake of your engagement forever.
A much more popular way to publicly celebrate your union, posting on social media has become a staple of the engagement experience. But there’s more to it than just shooting off an errant thought or sharing a silly meme. Your engagement post is likely the very first experience that most people will have of you and your SO as a to-be-married couple. You’ll want your personalities, happiness, and unique love story to shine through the screen!
One of the best parts of your engagement post on social media is that—when paired with a perfect engagement photoshoot—it can make everyone in your network feel like they were there. Your friends and family want to celebrate your joy, and being able to like and comment on a beautiful engagement post lets them do that, even if they live far away.
Plus, how awesome will it be to read all of those loving messages of excitement from your extended communities? So awesome.
Your photo is the centerpiece of your engagement post. Some people choose to hire a professional photographer to capture the essence of the moment, while other people opt for a more authentic and individual touch by taking the photo themselves. Either way, you can’t go wrong, as long as your engagement photo speaks to you and your partner’s personalities.
Here are some inspirations for your own engagement photo that you can achieve with the help of a professional photographer:
Lightbox at night – For a super romantic and dramatic look, you can take your engagement photo at night while holding a lightbox that displays a cute message like “He Said Yes” or “Love You To The Moon And Back.” Your silhouettes behind the bright message of love will definitely make an eye-catching post.
Candid portrait – A professional photographer can help you capture a real-life tender moment between you and your SO. Instead of a very obviously staged portrait, your engagement photo will be fun, spontaneous, and true to life.
Popping champagne – A timeless marker of celebration, popping champagne in your photo makes it instantly recognizable as a big deal to everyone scrolling by. A professional photographer will get amazing coverage of the moment when the cork pops and the sparkling champagne shoots out of the bottle, something that can be super hard to do on your own. Spice up your photo by popping champagne in a scenic locale.
Idyllic outdoor picnic – Although it’s a more subdued look, the outdoor picnic engagement photo is a fabulous opportunity to craft a truly special image. Picnics are an especially popular setting for summer and spring engagement photos. You can put a lot of thought into your wardrobe, the location, as well as the accouterments around you. Show off your personalities and your happiness with a few props for a truly unique engagement picture
Do you and your partner share a love of comic books? You can arrange a few of your favorites on the picnic blanket! Are you both football fanatics? Dress up in your favorite team’s jerseys!
No matter how you choose to pose your professional shoot, get creative and so long as the additions are meaningful to you and your partner and make you smile, you can’t go wrong.
If you need help finding the perfect photographer to capture you and your SO’s special moment, take a peek through Zola’s photographer list. Our pre-screened photographer list gives you a look into each photographer’s price list, portfolio, and specialties. Plus, you can favorite the ones you like, compare and contrast, and book the perfect match!
Not hiring a photographer? No worries! Here are some inspirations for engagement photos that you can take without hiring a professional photographer:
Hand-written messages – Nothing adds a personal touch more than a hand-written message, especially if it’s written on the palm of your hand! You and your SO can write small messages like “Now” and “& Forever” on one palm each. Then, point them to the camera (making sure to highlight the new sparkling rock on your finger). This is a totally adorable and totally easy way to announce your engagement online.
Canine close-up – If you and your partner are parents to an adorable dog, why not include them in your engagement photo? Presenting your pup front and center is a surefire way to draw attention to your post. You can take a shot of the whole family, and even get a little chalkboard sign for your dog to wear. Write a cute message like, “My humans are getting married!” for all the likes.
Coffee cups – They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this kind of picture only needs a couple of words to work wonders. You and your SO can go to a Starbucks (or any other coffee shop where they write customer names on each to-go cup) and capture a low-key engagement photo that still shines. When you order your drinks, ask them to write “fiancé” on each cup, and snap a pic of you two cheering your union.
Four hands around the waist – For a more traditional and elegant engagement photo that you can perfect on your own, go for a body shot that highlights the ring. One person stands with their hands folded over their waist. Then, whoever’s wearing the ring hugs them from behind, also folding their hands over their waist. Your photo should focus on the midsection, really showing off the engagement ring and the joined hands.
Save the date for sports fans – If you and your partner connected over your mutual sports fandom, you can show your love of the game and your love for each other at the same time! This engagement photo works best if you already have a date saved for your wedding, but if you haven’t gotten that far in your planning, even just the wedding year will do. Get dressed in your favorite jerseys and write the date on a football, basketball, or whichever kind of sports equipment makes sense for you.
Although lots of engagement photos seem to have been taken at the actual moment of the proposal, most are taken at a later date. For many couples, it’s best to keep the proposal a totally intimate and private affair.
That being said, you should try to take your engagement photo within a couple of months of getting engaged. One reason for this is that you’ll probably be dying to share your exciting news with the world, and you’ll want to put your best foot forward when you do. A more practical reason for taking care of your engagement photo early on is that you don’t want to worry about it while planning your wedding.
Your engagement photo should be fun and exciting, not stressful or taxing. Your wedding is an incredible moment, but the planning can definitely be a handful! You don’t want to rush your engagement photo just because you’re dealing with your normal life and your wedding plans, too. If you want to take an engagement photo with a professional photographer, be sure to hire one within a few days of your engagement, because their schedules can be busy.
Once you’ve landed on an engagement photo you love, you’ll probably feel the urge to share it as soon as possible. However, you and your SO should take a step back and talk through any potential conflicts that could come up if you posted your engagement photo right away. Ask yourselves if any of your friends or family:
If they have, it’s probably best to refrain from posting your engagement photo for a few days.
Another benefit to taking engagement photos? They can be the first photos in your wedding album! Your wedding album is a collection of photos that tell the story of your special day—and your engagement photos can be the first chapter. Zola’s innovative Wedding Album features helps you arrange and curate the images from engagement to the honeymoon so your wedding story can come to life every time you open up the album.
After the more modern announcement on social media, lots of couples choose to follow up with a formal engagement announcement by mail. A formal announcement on cardstock is a tradition that demonstrates all of the love, compassion, and value you put into your future union.
Engagement announcement cards are typically written (or at least voiced) by someone other than the couple themselves. Often, a wedding is said to be “hosted” by someone close to the couple. Engagement announcements are customarily written from the perspective of the hosts. In other words, it’s the hosts (not the couple) who invite all the guests to the wedding.
There are many variations of wording that can be used to suit any particular hosting situation, such as:
The bride’s parents are hosting – “Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Hayes of Brooklyn, New York announce the engagement of their daughter Cynthia to Kevin Park, son of Lee and Ellie Park of Morris Plains, New Jersey.”
A widowed parent is hosting – “Ms. Janette Li announces the engagement of her daughter Kimberly Peters to Leila Farzaneh, daughter of Ibrahim and Azita Farzaneh of Portland, Oregon. Ms. Peters is also the daughter of the late Jerome Peters of Sacramento, California.”
A remarried parent is hosting – “Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Friedland of Boston, Massachusetts announce the engagement of Mr. Friedland’s son Adam to Madison Chiera of Denver, Colorado. Mr. Adam Friedland is also the son of Dr. Marissa Delios of Boston, Massachusetts.”
A close friend is hosting – “Mr. Parker Long of Austin, Texas announces the engagement of his friend Maria Torrico to Rigoberto Yanes, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cristóbal Yanes of Lubbock, Texas.”
You’re hosting the wedding yourselves – “Colin Kilpatrick, a civil rights attorney in Los Angeles, is to be married to Javier Formosa, a professor of comparative literature at UCLA. Mr. Kilpatrick is the son of Jack and Molly Kilpatrick of Woodlawn, New York. Mr. Formosa is the son of Carlos and Consuela Formosa of Phoenix, Arizona.”
Zola is the home of all things weddings. Starting from the engagement announcement all the way until you say “I do,” Zola has got you covered. Once you’ve got a date picked out, Zola can help you deliver stunning save the date cards. There are tons of premium designs to choose from that will capture the spirit of your love. Plus, you can enjoy free shipping, free guest addressing, free envelopes, and free change the dates if your plans are altered.
If you’re curious about sending your formal engagement announcements and/or save the dates with Zola, you can test them out with free samples! Simply select up to five designs on the free wedding website, upload a photo and add in your personal details, then get your free samples (with free shipping!)
After your announcements are in the mail and it’s time to start the real wedding planning, Zola will be your go-to wedding expert. All in one place, you can discover top wedding vendors for food, drinks, florals, and more. Zola makes signing up for your wedding registry easy as your delicious cake. Do you plan to set up a wedding website and hashtag? It only takes a few clicks with Zola.
Manage your guest list, create a custom photo album, and make your dream wedding a reality by letting Zola be your guide.