Proper Protocol: Announcing an Engagment

Q: Hello, what’s the current protocol for announcing an engagement… when and how is it done?

A: In addition to calling and writing family members and friends, a couple often decides to submit an engagement announcement to newspapers. Because it is inappropriate to send printed engagement announcements, this is a nice way to spread the news. Most newspaper engagement announcements appear approximately two to three months before the wedding day. But really, there are no set rules: an announcement may appear a year before the wedding date or as little as a week before. The announcement is usually made by the bride’s parents, often using a standard form provided by the newspaper. The bride’s parents should ask the groom’s parents if they would like the announcement in their hometown newspaper as well. Although each newspaper may have its own format, the basic wording is as follows: Mr. and Mrs. William Smith of Burlington, Vermont announce the marriage of their daughter, Miss Lila Anne Smith, to Mr. John Reynolds, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Reynolds of Los Altos, California. A June wedding is planned. Miss Smith was graduated from the University of Vermont and is a nurse practioner at Fletcher Allen Hospital. Mr. Reynolds was graduated from Saint Michael’s College and is a graphic designer at The Design House.

Wedding Woes: What to do with gifts after a wedding goes awry

Q: My sister was left at the altar, literally. What is to be done with the shower/wedding gifts which she may have removed tags from/opened from packaging? Having already purchased a home together, and having no clue this was going to happen, she did open some items and is unsure of what to do about returning those to the people who gave them.

A: If they are returnable, she returns them, with a brief note of explanation – no details necessary. If she had not already written her thank you notes, she must express thanks, as well. If they are not returnable there is little she can do.

Widow Wedding Band: When is the proper time to stop wearing the wedding band?

Q: I have been widowed for two months. I would like to know what is the proper time to stop wearing my wedding ring. I do prefer to wear it at this time but know at some point I should not.

A: No, there are no rules. You may wear it as long as you want to wear it, or remove it if you wish to. Naturally if you were to marry again you would not wear it any longer, but until that time, it is entirely your choice.

I Love You But…:Can I Ask My Fiance to Change my Engagement Ring Setting?

Q: My boyfriend recently proposed to me, and I said yes. However I do not like the ring. Is it proper or ok for me to ask him to change the setting?

A: Rather than saying you don’t like it, you could say there is a setting you have always loved and wonder if he would go with you to help pick that setting and change it – and you would pay the difference, of course.