Your new fiancé (or fiancée) plus holiday gatherings, plus distant aunts, great-greats, half and twice-removed cousins equals the perfect opportunity to announce your engagement. It also equals a huge potential for awkward moments. But you can shake off any awkwardness and make the announcement a highlight of the holiday season if you set a plan with your partner in life. Here is our strategy for announcing your engagement over holiday dinner.
Before the holiday gathering
You know your family best, so get your partner up to speed. Even if you think your family traditions are run-of-the-mill or your partner has already celebrated with you before, it never hurts to review. Think about your family’s etiquette and traditions and consider the location of the gathering.
Should you bring gifts? What kind of gifts are appropriate and which are not appropriate? Are there any songs or dances that you should help your partner memorize beforehand? What happens when you run out of houses in Monopoly? Do you cook or order in? Maybe binging Binging with Babish is your family’s Boxing Day tradition. Every family is different, so these are just the first of many important questions to consider.
The expected flow of activity during the gathering should help to inform when you plan your announcement. You should know whether or not holiday gatherings are kid-centric, roughly when everyone will arrive, and when you should expect someone to ask, “When are you two going to get married?” Feel free to show off the ring.
During the festivities
Try to find a quiet time to make your announcement where the focus will be entirely on you and your partner. I recommend making the announcement shortly after arrival. If the gathering is large enough, you will have to announce more than once but if you announce early the news is sure to spread to everyone before the festivities are over.
Remember the rush of excitement, joy and love you felt when you first got engaged? Now you get to share that feeling with everyone. Be overjoyed and be creative! You can hire a skywriter to fly over the house, sneakily spell out “we’re getting married” on the Scrabble board or write it in frosting on a dessert (a fruitcake if you want a forever keepsake).
Time your holiday announcement with your Instagram announcement for maximum reach. You can even get featured on PartySpace and share your story.
It is best to invite your family to be involved from the early stages of wedding planning. This is the perfect opportunity for your family to get to know your partner better. If you can, bring save the dates with you to the family gathering. Of course, schoolyard rules apply— do not bring them unless you are going to invite everyone.
After the party is over
Announcing your engagement starts the process of joining your families as one. If you only celebrate with your family this year, you should still try to announce to your partner’s family in person and now, you will have had some practice.
Send out greeting cards shortly after the holidays are over featuring you and your soon-to-be spouse to forever capture the joy of your engagement.