Tips for Placing a Newspaper Wedding Announcement
Question for Steven: My partner and I are planning a civil union ceremony next summer and we’re wondering how to get our local newspaper to print it. Do you have any suggestions?
A: First of all, congratulations! In fact, many newspapers have renamed their traditional “Weddings” section as “Celebrations/Weddings” specifically to accommodate the growing number of LGBT committed relationships. Since the New York Times first started accepting same-sex couple announcements in 2002, more than 1,000 U.S. newspapers (nearly three-quarters of all dailies) now take them, too and include gay couples who legally marry, become partners though a civil union ceremony, or affirm their relationship by other means (i.e., domestic partnerships or commitment ceremonies).
Some newspapers run free weddings/celebration announcements on their style news pages and consider them editorial in nature (papers such as The Washington Post and the New York Times), while others like the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle consider these announcements paid advertising.
Still, there are papers that refuse to print our announcements. Only last month, The New Hampshire Union-Leader, one of the state’s largest newspapers, declined to print a wedding announcement for a local gay couple – even though same-sex marriage is legal in the granite state. The couple was told that this has been the “policy of the newspaper” and that the editor has the right to print whatever he’d like. Which is true (first amendment and all that).
Still, the couple has publicized the situation, much like
the parents of a lesbian-bride-to-be did in Omaha after the World-Herald turned back their efforts to purchase a wedding announcement. They launched a Facebook group, writing: “[P]lease understand that this effort is for ALL same-gender couples seeking this right — not just our family. ” Taking on the paper in the court of public opinion seems to have been a smart move; their efforts paid off and the World-Herald now takes same-sex announcements.
But back to the question at hand. Since having an announcement published clearly appeals to you, it’s best to follow the paper’s guidelines tediously (usually located on its
website), which involve filling out a form with information about each of you. You’ll be
asked a number of questions, including:
• Where you went to school and what degrees you earned
• Your current employer and job title
• About your parents and their work
• Any awards or volunteer activities
• When and where you plan to have your ceremony
• The story of how you met
• And who will be officiating, your honeymoon destination, and where you plan to reside after the ceremony.
In the case of a marriage, a civil union or a partnership registration, you’ll be asked to provide the name, title, and affiliation of the person who will legally sign the official certificate.
Finally, provide a photo exactly as the newspaper specifies. For instance, here’s what the New York Times requires: “Couples posing for pictures should arrange themselves with their eyebrows on exactly the same level and with their heads fairly close together.” Not all papers are as exacting as the Times, but it’s definitely worth the effort to follow their guidelines to a “T.”
Steven Petrow is the go-to source on contemporary etiquette, as cited by The New York Times, People, Time, and NPR. His sometimes gentle, sometimes snarky, always insightful advice has made him a nationally recognized expert on modern manners. In addition to his three prize-winning etiquette books, Steven writes the “Civil Behavior” column for The New York Times and is a sought-after speaker on all matters of civilized living in the 21st century.