Congratulations! That’s what we say when we hear the big news that someone is engaged to be married. It is the proper and right thing to say. It means we are acknowledging joy and wishing them happiness.
Newly engaged couples get bombarded with questions. Let them have some time to simply enjoy this special time. For some of us, myself included, it’s hard to keep our mouths shut! So here are some suggestions for things not to say to the newly engaged.
If they haven’t known one another long, please don’t ask them ‘what’s the rush’ or ‘are you pregnant?’ This is none of your business. Neither are their future childbearing plans.
Less obvious however is don’t ask if they’ve picked a date yet. If they have, they’ll tell you, but their family is probably already hounding them on this one.
Do not inquire about their wedding budget. Because the cost of weddings is discussed so often in the media, it begins to feel ok to ask. But it’s not. Don’t tell them what they should do for their wedding. Don’t suggest venues, themes or anything at all, unless asked. Don’t start talking about your own wedding experiences, especially anything that went wrong. Weddings are not a competition.
And don’t ask about the size or cost of the ring.
Am I invited? You’ll have to wait to find out, won’t you?
If they are a same-sex couple don’t start telling them how much you support ‘their’ rights, and try to engage them in a discussion about their ‘gay’ marriage. At this point in time, it is no longer ‘gay’ marriage, its just marriage.
Don’t ask if they are sure their fiancé is ‘the one’? Unless there are abusive or controlling behaviors you are picking up on (aka: domestic violence) don’t question their decision. Please know that in relationship abuse, most partners will come to the defense of the abuser any way, usually out of shame or as a means of self-protection. If you do feel that could be happening, simply make a positive statement in support of equality in relationships, sharing of decision-making and the hope that the person’s future spouse will treat them well. It could get them thinking about what a good relationship should actually look like. But this is another discussion entirely!
It is completely normal for engaged couples to feel nervous, don’t add to that stress. Emotions are running high – joy, anxiety, happiness, confusion, its all part of this big moment in life. A newly engaged person may not be quite clear themselves about how they feel. Cut them a break!
Don’t tell them they are lucky – luck is winning the lottery. People work hard to make relationships work.
So what’s left besides ‘congratulations?’ Just that you are happy for them and wish the all the best. Offer to take them out for a drink or dinner, enjoy time together and do something that is NOT wedding planning. That may not seem like a lot, but it is!
Thank you Garth Woods for the beautiful photos