He proposed. She accepted. She proposed. He accepted. Now you want to shout from the roof tops and let everyone share in your joy. As with almost everything surrounding engagements and weddings, there is a proper procedure and guidelines to follow.

If they don’t already know, because someone couldn’t wait to tell, this is the time to share the good news with your immediate families. We suggest that, as a couple, you let each family know individually, but, in order not to hurt anyone’s feelings, you do the telling one right on the heels of the other. If you prefer and logistics permit, you might tell your families when they’re together. The former method works best when you are unsure as to the reaction you may receive and the latter works best if the respective parents already know one another.

The announcement of your wedding is your first “official” wedding act, so it is a perfect time to establish a positive, working, wedding-relationship with your parents. Once you have shared the news, talk to them about their preference and tell them about yours. After the announcement to your families, if they have not already done so, it’s common practice for the families to meet. Traditionally, the prospective bride’s parents invite the prospective grooms parents to visit or take them out for a meal. Once you have shared the news with your respective families, you may then contact your relatives and close friends. You may choose one of several ways to do this. If you prefer the informal approach, you may call people by phone or even drop them an E-mail note. If you like the formal approach, mailed engagement announcement and/or a party to mark the event are appropriate. Click Here for several suggestions of announcement wording. Once your families have been told, you may write and submit a formal announcement to the newspapers.

Individual newspapers each have their own guidelines for announcement submissions. If you look at the wedding/engagement announcement page, the rules of submission are often printed there. If not, call the newspaper and get the information, which they will be happy to give you. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

1. Most announcement have an accompanying photograph, but text only is acceptable.
2. Should you decide to include a photo, a 2″ by 3″ black and white glossy is best. Use a post-it note or write the following information on the back of the photo: bride’s name, address and telephone number. Color photographs reproduce poorly in a black and white media, so they should not be submitted unless you have no other option.
3. Send a copy of your information with the photo.
4. Include the following typed information in the text:
a. all names should be written out in full . . . no nicknames.
b. If your parents are deceased or divorced, include that in your text information
c. If your name is different from your parents’ name, include an explanation
d. Include the home address (city & state) of each member of the wedding party
5. “Clear” the information in the text you have written with all the parents. Ask them to double check for content, style and spelling. That will help to avoid hard feelings, errors and omissions.
6. Sign your submission to cover the newspaper legally.
7. Include your phone number, for contact purposes.

The newspaper announcement serves several purposes. It is a way for you to share your happy occasion with your community. You may decide to make copies of the announcement and send them to people who will not be able to attend your wedding. The announcement also is oftentimes saved as memorabilia to show your children and grandchildren. Take care to make certain that the information you supply to the papers is accurate. Be particularly careful to check the spelling of names.

Keep in mind that most newspapers will not be able to tell you exactly when the announcement will be published, but they may be able to give you a rough idea. When the announcement finally does print (it often takes several weeks) buy several copies of the paper.

Send a copy to each set of parents, along with a personalized note. Remember that wedding planning is not only about etiquette and rules it’s about feelings and caring and relationships.