Ms. Married Lady: Announcing an Engagement, Wedding Prep Burn-out, and Getting the Word Out on Your Registry


How should I announce my engagement? And when? Right now it’s just our little secret. I don’t want to hurt any feelings, but I feel insecure about making a big announcement. —Feeling Shy

Illustration by Brittany Christine

Dear shy:
First of all: Your engagement, your rules. Technically, you can announce when and how you please. That said, there are a few things to consider if you want to avoid drama right out of the gate. First up: People. Who’s in your inner circle? Count ’em up, write ’em down if you have to, and place some calls, pay some in-person visits, or write some e-mails before you do anything else. Maybe you’ve even already told some of them by now. Good! These are the folks who might not want to see your life-altering news first on Snapchat. They probably have a point. Next: Venue. Where to announce to the world? Facebook? Totally. Instagram? Sure! Twitter? Bold choice. Newspaper? Probably not anymore (definitely not in the Enquirer). At the moment, social media is where it’s at for the broad announcement. It’s relatively simple and effective, and you can take as much time and space as you want to control the message. If you’re not feeling that, you can send paper announcements. Online companies like Minted and Shutterfly have plenty of options. But if I’m being honest, that feels like a lot of work, and you already have your work cut out for you (see below).

My wedding is still six months away and I’m already kind of sick of planning it. After the fun stuff like buying my dress and tasting cakes, we still have a huge to-do list. I had no idea it would be so much work. How can I feel happy again about being engaged? —Burnt Out

Dear Burnt:
I feel your pain. Wedding planning fatigue is a thing. You’re throwing a big party. Even if it was just a random non-wedding party, that still takes work, time, attention, and money to do correctly, and in a way that you can be proud of. That’s a stress headache waiting to happen. Add an impending marriage and family and strapless bras and stuff, and it gets real, real fast. Indeed, halfway through my own wedding planning, I hit a brick wall and stumbled back seeing stars, hand-written place cards, and trays of mini kebabs. I needed a break, which is exactly what I took. So set the planning aside, full stop, for like a whole weekend. Just walk away. Pretend it’s your job, and you’re on vacation. Don’t worry: It will all be there waiting for you when you’re ready. And don’t spend your break watching, like, Bridesmaids. Go outside. Take a road trip. Do whatever you used to do for a morale boost. You’ll return ready as ever to finish the darn thing. You might even miss it.

Should I include our registry information on our invitations? My mom says no, but I’m worried that people won’t be able to figure it out. —Gift Me

Dear Gift:
The short answer is no. Don’t breathe a word about gifts on your wedding invitation. Don’t even add one of those Target targets. Don’t bring it up. Why not? It’s tacky. It seems greedy. Like Please do come to our wedding and oh, please don’t forget to get us a gift. And please get it from Bed Bath & Beyond. xoxo! It kind of ruins the magic of the invitation and makes it say BUY US STUFF vs. COME WITNESS OUR LOVE PACT. It’s a bummer.
Now you might be saying “But I’m registering for gifts? Why the smoke and mirrors?” Obviously this instinct of mine is antithetical to the whole idea of registries, which are designed to tell people exactly what you want—and more important, what you don’t really want. The gifting imperative is implied. However, there are other, less intrusive ways to communicate the details of your registry that won’t rub your guests the wrong way and or make you look like you’re just getting married for the stuff: 1.) Tell your close friends and family members. Someone will probably ask them. They can spread the information around liberally and even make recommendations. 2.) Take the scattershot approach and register at like five different places, with varying price points (IKEA and Target are regulars on the registry circuit these days). Your guests will find you. 3.) Build a quick little wedding website (we dig Wix). That’s where you can put details like your registry along with maps to your ceremony and engagement photos and things like that. Since the Internet is the Wild West of etiquette rules, no one will blink at a Crate & Barrel logo. It’s win-win: You maintain an image of disinterested graciousness, but you won’t get lame candles.

Ms. Married Lady is Amy Brownlee. She got married once and it was really fun.

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