The right words to an engaged lady

Question: What is the proper way to congratulate a female who has become engaged? I have always been told that is incorrect to offer ‘congratulations’ to the female.

Answer: Hello Stephen. You’re right! It’s incorrect to say “congratulations” to the newly engaged female–and also to the male, although a few may beg to differ on this last point, including some greeting card companies for obvious reasons. Congrats is the wrong expression. It implies that they’ve “won” a prize or achieved some kind of unexpected victory.  The appropriate and better words, whether spoken or written,  are “Best Wishes”, along with a short comment about how happy you are for the couple (if indeed you are delighted for them). Sincere expressions of interest and sharing in another’s person’s joy are always appropriate. “How nice, do you have a wedding date yet?” or simply “Great!” expresses your happiness for them. Simple questions like “This is nice news: when (or where) did you become engaged?” also show your good will and interest.

Thank you for sharing your question. Small words, finely tuned, make a difference in our lives. Protocol matters!

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