Five big mistakes couples make when they get engaged

Verbal invites and hastily chosen diamond rings are among the most notorious blunders

Karen Birney

Just engaged? Congratulations, you've probably already made several mistakes that are going to haunt you for the next 18 months.

Just kidding.

But if you have just popped the question or said yes, and have yet to tell anyone about your upcoming nuptials, there are a few things that you might want to keep in mind.

An engagement is a happy occasion, one that you should enjoy to the max, but once the excitement has settled a bit, you may find that you've verbally invited old friends you have no intention of paying a three-course meal for, you've promised the maid of honour position to your most unreliable friend, or chosen an engagement ring that you don't really love just to get it on your finger.

Here are 5 mistakes couples make immediately after a proposal, and how to avoid making them.

1. A hasty, ill-timed announcement

While you may be bursting at the seams to share your news with everyone on social media, do a little thinking before you announce your engagement. Consider who you want to know first - remember friends, colleagues, bosses, old flames, work acquaintances and extend family members could all potentially see the news if your social channels are open (and sometimes even when they're private!), so make sure you're happy for everyone to know your news before posting. Consider telling close family members and friends first, and waiting a day or two until you share with everyone else, so that you've had time to remember the people you might not have first considered.

2. Inviting randomers out of politeness

A notoriously popular mistake most couples make is inviting people to the wedding out of excitement or politeness. Speak to each other before you tell people you're engaged, and if you're not set on a concrete guest list (you won't be) both agree to keep schtum when it comes to verbal invites. A Christmas engagement is one of the worst times for this, as the season gives us all a touch of nostalgia. You will meet old friends and neighbours and before you know it you've asked the girl you used to always see at the bus stop near your family home to be your maid of honour or told your soccer team that you couldn't imagine the day without them as your groomsman's party.  Speaking of which, don't start promising jobs to friends just yet, take your time choosing your bridal party, or you might regret those hasty assignements.

3. Choosing an expensive diamond under pressure

Unless you've had yours picked for years, choosing an engagement ring is a tough task. With so many options available nowadays, you should take your time before diving into an expensive purchase. Consider the options and do plenty of research - and remember that it isn't necessary to go for a diamond, there are other stones available! Consider using old jewellery and integrating the stones or metal into your new piece, and shop around for a good price. Beyond that, ensure it's sommething you love, and try not to get caught up in the moment or become impatient. Bespoke rings may take months to create, and in the meantime if you're feeling naked or are sick of people asking, pick up a joke ring, a 'fake' ring (say from Claire's Accessories or similar) or if you're really into your jewellery, a 'token' or 'promise' ring you'll have forever.

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4. Telling people what type of wedding you've always wanted

Even if you're only engaged five minutes, the second question you're guaranteed to be asked (after can I see/try on the ring) is if you've set a date. Engagement to wedding in one simple step. If only. Don't get stressed out if people ask you when or what type of wedding you'll be having, but try to refrain from giving too many details, even if you've been Monica-like scrapping booking your big day since you were ten years old. Fact is, things change as time goes on, and you might be very surprised at what you end up actually doing on the day. You might have your heart set on a big local wedding, and six months down the line you could end up running off to Vegas and coming back as a married couple. As little detail as possible initially will help you keep your sanity for longer, and help you to avoid annoying questions when/if things don't work out as planned. People will give you advice on your wedding when you don't want it, but don't invite it by giving them an insight into your thinking.

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5. Not throwing an engagement party

With all that said, not getting excited about such a big step is a sin, so make sure you enjoy every minute of being a bride or groom-to-be. Have family and friends over to the house for dinner or drinks, blow up a couple of balloons and toast your upcoming nuptials, whatever form the wedding will take. While it's important to consider friends and family members' feelings or try to shield yourself from unsolicited advice or criticism, you have to allow yourself to be happy and truly enjoy the moment, so pop on your Sunday best and shout 'I'm getting married' to your heart's content.