We’re in the thick of “proposal season” with Christmas and New Year’s Eve so close behind… and Valentine’s Day is on its way! First and foremost – congratulations to those of you who are recently engaged! Several members of Team Rue are also in the midst of wedding planning, so we’ve been having many discussions about flowers and family plans lately. The engagement period is a fantastic point in a relationship, but let’s be honest – it does come with a few important points of etiquette to keep in mind.

Give yourself time to think. No, not about your answer to the proposal. About the wedding itself. While some have been planning their wedding for years, others haven’t given it much thought. No matter which camp you are in, once it’s official your feelings may start to change. Suddenly, the huge wedding may feel overwhelming to plan or the intimate gathering may be missing too many loved ones.

Be partners. Early on, talk about what aspects of the wedding are most important to each of you. You may have different priorities so come to a consensus about where you will spend your money and planning effort (which is just as valuable!). And don’t just have this conversation once. As you get into planning your priorities may shift. That’s okay, as long as you communicate!

Wait to extend invitations. Be sure you know your guest list and have your venue selected before you start asking folks to hold a date. You’ll want to avoid awkward retractions later.

Be a friend, not a bride. Remember to ask your friends about them. We know you’d never really forget this, but maybe just need a little reminder. And when chatting wedding plans, a quick double check to make sure they actually want to see a picture of the cake or dress never hurts.

On the other side of the equation, what do you do when it’s your friend who was just engaged?

Hold off on “when’s the date?” Especially when the engagement is only a few weeks old. When the couple is ready to share, they will. And with more brides eschewing a ring or going nontraditional, only ask to see it once you’ve caught a glimpse of shine on that finger. And the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” well, find something nice to say. “Lovely! Best of luck” is really all you need.

Ask only if you are interested. You aren’t a bad friend if weddings aren’t your thing. Skip the “So, how’s wedding planning going?” for a more generic “How are you doing?” If you are interested, feel free to ask but realize a short “oh fine” is likely to mean, “my venue isn’t calling me back and I’m so so stressed.” If so, change the topic and give your friend a break from the wedding. If she gushes about finding the dress, then you are good to wedding gossip away.

In other words, an engagement doesn’t have to change everything about your relationship with your friends – even if being engaged feels like a full time job! Let’s all support each other: what advice do you wish you had gotten as a bride?

Image originally from the Ooh La La, Shangri-La inspiration shoot in our June 2013 wedding issue.