Once the initial shock and excitement of the proposal dies down—a.k.a. once your soon-to-be spouse if off his or her knee and you’ve said “yes”—your next thought might be how to share the news with those you love, and what appropriate engagement etiquette should be. While you should absolutely do so, especially with close friends and family, you’ll want to tread lightly with how you handle sharing the news on social media. There are a few hidden drawbacks that you might not initially consider when posting in the heat of the moment, according to Jacquelyn Youst, president and founder of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. “Not only do you open yourself up to everyone's comments and confusing emojis, but you lose yourself in the moment and the situation becomes more about the post and less about the engagement.”
If you’re considering posting about your wedding—and you should!—here are seven pieces of social media engagement etiquette you need to know.
Don’t announce your engagement immediately
While it’s tempting to share the big news with your entire social network, resist the urge to post within the first few hours, or even the first day that you get engaged. Good engagement etiquette dictates that you make sure that you’ve contacted all your close family members and friends personally before posting. “The best way is via a short phone call or personal email,” says Rachel Wagner, licensed corporate etiquette consultant. “A personal contact to share the exciting news alleviates the potential for hurt feelings and offense if someone close to you learns of your engagement via social media.”
Don’t make your post on social media more important than the engagement itself
“A proposal should be one of the happiest moments in two people’s lives, but if you are worried that the photographer might not get your best angle, or that background noise might ruin the scene, you are not enjoying the moment, says Wagner. “Hopefully you only get engaged once, and that you have a lifetime to remember that special moment, instead of worrying about how the engagement is going to look on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.” She points out that these platforms may not exist in the future (remember MySpace and Vine?) so you shouldn’t focus too much on how your post comes out.
Don’t post an up-close image of the ring
It’s probably nothing short of breathtaking, and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to share it with the world. After all, your soon-to-be spouse did an amazing job picking it out and it’s just what you wanted! But it’s poor engagement etiquette to overshare, especially when it comes to the diamond. “Every person proposing has a different budget for the ring, so this is not the time to flaunt your bling or mention how many carats it is,” says Wagner. “It is however, perfectly fine to show a full-length view of you and your future spouse together where the ring can be seen at a distance.”
Don’t post who’s in your wedding party
You might be excited to let your friends and family members know that you’ve selected them to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, but keep it between those involved—don’t share on social media. “You will certainly have friends on these social media platforms, who like all your posts and pictures and who think they should have been included in your bridal party even though you haven't hung out with then since elementary school,” says Youst. “Even though they are no longer part of your inner circle, this will only cause hurt feelings.”
Don’t post specific details about your wedding
Every detail—big and small—about your big day aside from the date should be kept off social media, experts say. This includes your venue. “Announcing where your big event will take place seems harmless, but keep in mind that people will always judge and question your decision,” says Youst. “Do you really want a distant relative to question why you aren't keeping up tradition and holding your ceremony where family has held weddings for the past several decades?” She also recommends keeping minor details, like your color scheme, private. “You might have a friend who thinks your colors are fabulous and use them for her pending wedding.”
Don’t post too many engagement photos
Yes, it’s exciting. And, yes, you should feel free to share the footage of the big moment on social media if you choose to do so, but be careful not to go overboard. Wagner recommends holding back and instead posting more of the actual wedding. “Posting only several special shots of the engagement makes a simple but still celebratory statement.”
Don’t post anything overly mushy
“You might think your sweet and overly lovey-dovey stuff about your partner is inspiring and romantic,” says Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor, relationship coach and business owner in Columbus, Ohio. “However, most people will just think it’s sappy and even gross—and poor engagement etiquette.” Instead, he suggests keeping the sappiest of your material for private consumption. “The same goes with engagement photos that might be a little too much (like deep kissing).”