Can We Tell You Now?

Weddings are all about celebrations — and who doesn’t like to celebrate when hearing news of an impending marriage? For the bride who chooses to “play by the rules,” there are etiquette guidelines about everything wedding-related — even including when to announce the wedding itself!

A bride asks: “My future in-laws have very generously offered to host a party honoring our engagement. Mine is a question about timing such an event: We became engaged in December, but our wedding isn’t until the spring, So when is it appropriate to hold the party?”

Dear bride: Traditionally, the engagement party should occur as close as possible to the engagement date, irrelevant of when the wedding date is scheduled. (The purpose of an engagement party is for the parents of the bride to “announce” their daughter’s engagement to their friends and families.) At the time of the party, it’s assumed that the guests wouldn’t already know about your engagement — something that today, due mostly to e-mail, isn’t necessarily true.

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Since tradition isn’t always the guiding factor nowadays, thank your in-laws, apprize them of the “custom,” and ask them to host the party whenever it’s convenient for them.

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at

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