The Rules of the Holiday Engagement
By Devorah Isenberg , Wednesday, December 21, 2011 3:58 AM
The holidays are the perfect time to get engaged. The cold weather means its the perfect time for all kinds of cozy, romantic activities, the lit-up houses and snowy nights make the perfect backdrop to your big moment, and all those family get-togethers are the ideal time to make the big announcement to family and friends. In fact, sales of engagement rings spike over the holidays, as the sentimental mood and celebratory feelings inspire many couples to make that ultimate commitment during this “most wonderful time of the year.”
If you plan to get engaged over the holidays, here are a few rules and guidelines to keep in mind to make the season and this special time in your life as wonderful and stress-free as possible. Whether you are the one planning the proposal, or you have just been proposed to by that special someone, use these rules to help you navigate the social obligations of life as a newly engaged couple.
- Holiday parties and family get-togethers are the perfect time to announce your engagement. If you get engaged a few days or a week before a big event, hold yourself back from announcing the big news on Facebook or Twitter so you can make a dramatic entrance with an engagement ring IRL (in real life). Older relatives and friends who may not be as connected to social media will appreciate the sentiment of an in-person announcement.
- When making your big announcement, have some sensitivity for friends or family members who may not be as fortunate as you. The holidays can be an especially lonely or painful time for the newly widowed or divorced, or for those who wish they were married but haven’t found the right guy or girl yet. Don’t hide your own excitement, which can be seen as patronizing, but make a point to seek out that friend or relative and engage him or her in conversation. Ask about his new job, her recent travels, or anything interesting going in his life that he can be genuinely excited about, and don’t lay on the engagement talk too thick.
- If you get engaged in December, consider waiting until mid-January for your big engagement party. You can get together with a few close friends for drinks and to show off your engagement ring now, but with all the holiday parties and social obligations people are expected to attend all through December, your big moment might get lost in the shuffle. Waiting until the second week of January will mean that people will have recovered from New Year’s Eve festivities and will be ready to party with you!
- A newly engaged couple is going to want some time alone to celebrate their new status, and hopefully your friends and family will understand that. If you’ve been invited to the third ugly-sweater party this season, don’t feel bad to politely decline and use your engagement as an excuse. On the other hand, now that you’re engaged, people will be excited to see you and congratulate you in person (and to get a closer look at that diamond ring!) so indulge them by showing up whenever you can (new fiancée in tow, of course) to accept their congratulations gracefully.
- Now that you’re engaged, there are going to be a number of big expenses looming on your horizon. In addition to the diamond ring now sparkling on your finger, you are going to be planning an engagement party, a wedding, and then a honeymoon in short order. So when it comes to holiday gifts this season, don’t feel bad to scale back a little. Send a warm, heartfelt card and a small, thoughtful gift, and friends and family will understand why there is no iPad or new bike under the Christmas tree this year.
For more specific questions ask our experts