Why a Wedding is a Popular Place to Announce Your Pregnancy
It's been reported that Meghan Markle announced her pregnancy at Princess Eugenie's wedding. And she's not alone in her announcement style—it turns out weddings are a top stop for new moms-to-be to share the news. Is this appropriate? Etiquette experts weigh in.
With a new royal baby on the way courtesy of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, there's a ton of excited chatter surrounding the pregnancy. Wellwishers are curious about everything, including where Markle will choose to give birth, where they'll raise their growing family, and how things might be different for the first royal born who will possibly have citizenship in both Great Britain and the United States.
But one of the most gossip-inducing aspects of the pregnancy are the rumors surrounding how the couple decided to tell family and friends that they're expecting. A report from the BBC said The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cornwall first learned Markle has a bun in the oven at Princess Eugenie's wedding on October 5. But contradicting reports say the newlyweds were desperate to keep their announcement under wraps until well after Princess Eugenie walked down the aisle.
Either way, it raises an interesting question: Is a wedding a good place to announce a pregnancy?
Traditionally, it's thought of as a faux pas of epic proportions, with the expecting couple looked upon as stealing the spotlight away from the bride and groom. But there are some obvious reasons why parents-to-be may want to spill the beans at a gracious affair like a wedding.
Why It Works
In a day and age where everything is shared on social media and we rarely have the opportunity to tell our loved ones big news in person, a wedding may seem like the prime time to tell family and friends about a pregnancy. It's one piece of news that feels deserving of more than a Facebook post to spread the word to the masses. And how often do you have the closest people in your life in one place? With the exception of your own wedding, hardly ever.
If the people closest to you are either hoping or expecting that you're expecting, they are likely already keeping a keen eye on any suspicious behavior during a wedding weekend. For example, if you're a wine lover and choose not to drink, Aunt Ruth is going to pick up on that in a second. Nipping speculation in the bud with the big news before folks start sleuthing and conspiring could actually help turn the attention back towards the bride and groom, taking the heat off of the mother-to-be.
There are also the tactical obstacles involved in trying to cover up a pregnancy at a big affair. Markle, for example, kept her navy coat on during Princess Eugenie's nuptials far longer than one would deem typical. If you're in the wedding and trying to shimmy into a bridesmaids dress or trying to dress around a small bump, it could be in your best interest to start spreading the news. Loved ones will be delighted for you and it's just another dose of cheerfulness added to an already joy-fueled weekend.
Etiquette Experts Weigh In
Although wedding traditions and etiquette have changed over the years with modern times, experts in the area still discourage the idea of making a pregnancy announcement at someone else's wedding.
"In point of fact, it is inappropriate to announce a pregnancy at a funeral, baptism, christening, or any other event where the focus is on others and not on you," says Sharon Schweitzer, a cross-cultural business expert, trainer, and founder of Access to Culture. "I strongly urge new parents to invite family to dinner or telephone them to make the announcement of the pregnancy. Be intentional about sharing the news."
Etiquette expert Elaine Swann echoes this sentiment, with the belief that it's unacceptable to share such a big announcement at a wedding.
"If a couple does decide to take the plunge and make an announcement, I would recommend that they do so at a more intimate occasion during the wedding weekend," says Swann. "For example, maybe at the end of a rehearsal dinner, or at the home of the bride when everyone has gathered, or if there is some sort of after-soiree. Timing in this instance is key, and you should keep in mind that your announcement should not take place during any time where the main focus should be on the bride and groom."
She also suggests being covert in your attempts to share the news if it must be during a wedding weekend, like telling individuals one-on-one as opposed to shouting it from the mountaintops.
"Allow your special announcement to be a topic of conversation that could flitter throughout the room," says Swann. "This way you can engage in private conversations as opposed to a big open display."