Your first responsibility is to inform your families of your decision.
Traditionally, the bride's parents are informed first and the groom may or may not go through the formality of asking her father's permission.
If either of you has children, they should be the first to know.
A get-together can be arranged by the groom's parents to meet the bride's parents.
Wedding announcements may be sent after a family ceremony. They are not obligatory and serve only to spread the happy news.
If you want to announce your wedding in the newspapers, it should be done at least three weeks ahead of your wedding date. Inquire about deadlines with the newspaper.
Generally you should provide the newspaper with the following:
Each paper will use as much of the information as it wishes, and in its own words. The announcement will generally be published the day after the ceremony.
Other announcements can be sent to business associates, guests or friends not receiving invitations, which does not oblige the receivers to send gifts.
These announcements should be mailed immediately after the ceremony. Use the same style as your invitations (you should order them at the same time).
For a double wedding, announcements can be done separately if the brides are not sisters.
If an engagement is broken, a notice should appear announcing that the marriage will not take place.
The bride's parents, the groom's parents or the couple may find it appropriate to give an engagement party to celebrate and make the wedding official.
Any style of party is appropriate: a meal at a restaurant, buffet, cocktail party, picnic, barbecue, an evening at a reception hall, etc.
You can send invitations for the occasion on behalf of the host. It is also acceptable to invite people by an informal note or telephone.
Gifts are optional and should not be expected. However, since some guests will want to mark the occasion with a gift, it is wise to list your gift choices soon and set up a registry. Remember to send a thank-you note for each gift received.
Toasts may be proposed by the bride's father, followed by the fiancé toasting you and your parents. You may also toast your fiancé and both sets of parents.
You may prefer to hold a regular party during which you can surprise your guests with the engagement announcement.
The engagement ring is usually given to the future bride. If the engagement is broken, the bride must immediately return the ring and all other presents of any value her fiancé has given her, as well as those given by family and friends.
In addition to the ring, the fiancés may give each other another gift, such as a piece of jewelry, in honor of the engagement or for the wedding.
Family and friends may organize many other parties before the wedding such as a bridal shower and bachelor party.