If you just became engaged, your first instinct is probably to shout it from the rooftops! This is a natural way to feel at such a thrilling moment, but it may not be the best way to proceed. This is what you need to know about how to best announce your engagement.
The first tip is to be very careful to personally inform your immediate family and best friends before making the news of your engagement public knowledge. It may be necessary to have a progressive timeline that you use to spread the happy news, starting with your nearest and dearest, and working your way out from there in an ever widening circle. This may sound a bit dull, but if you think about how hurt your sister would be to learn of your engagement second hand, you will understand why it is best to share the news in a more orderly fashion.
The very first people who are normally told of an engagement are the parents of the happy couple. Ideally, you will go together to tell each set of parents. If this is not possible, a group phone call is the next best option.This can be a very special and emotional time for the bride and her mother. If you have always dreamed of walking down the aisle in the same pearl bridal jewelry that your mom wore to marry your dad, you can mention it at this time. Not only will it make your mom even happier to think of you wearing her pearl bridal jewelry for your own wedding day, it will give her ample notice to have it repaired or restrung, if necessary. His little girl's engagement can also be an emotional time for the father of the bride, so try to be sensitive to his feelings about losing his daughter to another man (as well as to his fear that your vision of a dream wedding might put him in the poorhouse!).
As soon as the bride and groom have informed their parents of their engagement, they should get on the phone to their siblings. You don't want your mom to steal your thunder by breaking the big news to your sister before you get the chance, after all! If the bride and groom have a close relationship with any extended family members like grandparents or aunts and uncles, these would be the next people on your call list. If there is not such an immediate need to share the news, a brief letter is a nice alternative to a phone call.
There is no need to issue formal engagement announcements. The word will eventually trickle out to your wider circle of acquaintances. If you prefer something a bit more formal, you can place an engagement announcement in your hometown newspaper. Many couples will also choose to share the news as part of some other large mailing; I once received a Christmas card with a picture of two of my friends holding up a sign saying, "We're engaged!". It was cute, fun, and memorable.
While we are on the subject of how to let people know about your engagement, let's touch on how not to do it. To be avoided are things like the group e-mail, the Twitter message, or the Facebook update. Sure, the fact that you are planning a wedding is bound to end up on your Facebook page, but you should avoid all mention of your big news until you have personally informed all of your close family and friends. It would be unbelievably insulting for your best friend to hear about your upcoming nuptials via such a public and impersonal forum.
Your engagement is such exciting news that surely you cannot wait to let the world know. As long as you spread the good news with a bit of consideration for others, all that learn of your engagement are certain to be just as delighted as you are about it.