Lizzie Post’s Advice for the Newly Engaged


Are you newly engaged? Congrats — you’re getting married! While you’re probably starting to daydream about the big day, there are some key things you should check off your to-do list, first. We sat down with Lizzie Post, etiquette expert, co-author of Wedding Etiquette and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post to chat about the rules of engagement. Read on and learn the best way for sharing the good news with family and friends, announcing on social media, hosting an engagement party and more.


Q: So you’re engaged. What’s the best way to share the news?

A: Take a real moment to think about the most important people to you. Think about your parents, siblings, grandparents, and for those that have them, godparents and best friends. When you start thinking about who would find out about your engagement ask yourself: “Will they be upset if they don’t hear about it from me first?” It’s going to be dicey with some friends, aunts and uncles and cousins. Be sure to consider who they are! Maybe you have a cousin who’s sensitive and will be hurt if you don’t tell them personally. Then just do it. It won’t hurt to make that call!

Q: How do you handle social media when it comes to sharing the big news?

A: The best thing to do, when you call the people on your call list, is to ask them to hold off on posting anything to social media. Ask family and friends to wait until a certain date or until they’ve heard from you again before posting anything.

Q: It’s time to get the family together. Does this need be a formal affair?

A: This can be anything you want it to be! Some couple’s families don’t get to meet until the actual wedding. If it’s possible, it can be really great to get together for a nice brunch or dinner. It also gives you a chance to get together and talk about expectations, budgets and so on. If you’re planning to throw an engagement party, that can be a great time for them to meet too.

Q: Although we love throwing big cocktail parties, does an engagement party have to be a big get together?

An engagement party could be a brunch, a luncheon or a clambake. It is whatever suits your style and will be fun for you, your friends and family. You don’t have to invite everybody, but remember that the people who you do invite should also be invited to the wedding.

Q: Are your guests expected to bring gifts?

A: Gifts at engagement parties tend to be a bit more of a regional thing. I usually call the host with the RSVP and then ask if they plan to do gifts or a gift opening. If they say no, you don’t need to bring anything.

Q: Any recommendations if you’d like to bring one anyway?

If you do want to give them a gift, I recommend sending it separately. You don’t want to show up with a gift and make people feel bad. My go to is a Pottery Barn silver-plated frame engraved with the words “Oh Happy Day” and the wedding date. A nice set of glasses, a special bottle of wine or champagne to save and open years down the road.  You want it to be something the couple can share. Another fun gift idea? Since the coming months will add some stress — a couple’s massage gift certificate to the spa is perfect.


Need more advice? Pick up the 6th Edition of Wedding Etiquette by Anna Post and Lizzie Post.

Be sure to check back in with us for more etiquette tips from Anna and Lizzie, too!

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