He just proposed and you are about to explode! You want to shout out the news to everyone and let them know you are engaged! Engaged!! ENGAGED!!!

Ladies, before you burst, take one minute to think about who to tell first, and how you will tell them. (You wouldn’t want to change your Facebook relationship status before you tell your parents and family, for example.) Here is some etiquette advice on when, how and what order to inform family and friends about your engagement.

Don’t wait another second
The simple rule here is that the people that are closest to you should be the first to know. Here is the ranking. (Don’t like ranking people? Get used to it — you’ll have to make an even more invidious list when it comes time to decide about wedding guests.)

  • Parents: This is a very special and emotional time for both members of the couple, but also their parents. If you can, share the news in person; if parents live far away, then a phone call can suffice. Never email! Traditionally, the bride’s parents are the first to hear the news, followed by the groom’s; but today, as long as they are both told at roughly the same time (strongly recommended: same day), then any order is permissible. Still, be careful: some parents are very traditional and may be hurt if they were not the first to know. (I made sure I told my mom before any other person, as I knew she would always feel closer to me, for being the first person I told.)
  • Kids: If you have kids, be sensitive when sharing this news, and prepare them for it as gently as possible. The main concern here is that they may feel threatened about being replaced. A wedding can be very emotional for kids, and they may need reassurance that nothing will ever change your relationship with them.
  • Other family members: Invite them all over, or have a family get together at a restaurant. Tell everyone at the same time by announcing at dinner, so nobody feels hurt that they were one of the later ones to know. That said: Tell your parents (see above) before this dinner.
  • Your closest friends: This includes your best friend and friends that are near and dear to you or have been in your life for a very long time. You may want to make a mental list of who comes first, and choose special and private moments to tell them — especially if you are asking one of them to be in your wedding party.
  • Everyone else: Similar to the “other family” category, assemble everyone together. Throw a little party at your home, or arrange a get-together on a night-out. Surprise the entire group by announcing your engagement out of the blue. Bonus: You will get to see everyone’s surprised and happy faces. One thing to make sure of, though: don’t invite to this get-together people that will not be invited to the wedding! Also, never steal the thunder from someone else’s event (so, don’t announce your engagement at your best friend’s birthday!).

Share the news online
Create a wedding website to informally share all of your news, starting with the engagement. You can share details of the proposal and also keep visitors updated on details of your upcoming wedding. It’s a great way for everyone to stay connected to you as the wedding looms closer. Do keep in mind that even though this is 2012, there are still some people who do not use or own a computer (or, have a computer but don’t use social media, like Facebook); in conjunction with the website, you should consider more traditional approaches to sharing your updates with the people in your life.

Finally, after all of the above, log onto Facebook and change your relationship status to “Engaged.” Congratulations!

Rita WongRita Wong is a wedding and events planner and owner of Rita Wong Events. Based in Montreal, she also plans many weddings every year for brides living in Toronto and abroad. She is a dedicated follower of new trends and her goal is to give each bride a wedding that is fresh, unique, and a personal reflection of who they are.