A fashionable liberal cultural dictum states that congratulating a newly engaged couple should be avoided, because it draws attention to the failure of others to snag a spouse.
“I absolutely hate wishing people congratulations on their engagement, and I won’t do it anymore,” writes Ashley Mateo at Redbook, adding that the word “congratulations” is associated with an achievement, not a “grown-up decision made between two people who have discussed their relationship and decided that, hey, they’re clearly better together than not, so why not make it official?”
“Landing a husband” is not something you “achieve,” Mateo reasons. What’s more, if you consider getting engaged an achievement, then clearly you view “not being engaged” as a failure of sorts.
“[F]or the sake of this argument, that you’re the marital equivalent of someone sleeping in their parents’ basement at 30,” she explains further. “It implies failure on the part of the un-engaged, and that’s uncool.”
To justify her point, Mateo observes, “It’s not even proper etiquette to offer congratulations to a bride (or bride-to-be),” and cites a tradition that only a groom is congratulated for his achievement of a “great catch” in a bride, while a bride receives only “best wishes” on the big day.
Since she’s not sexist, however, Mateo says she won’t congratulate either member of the engaged couple.
“[I]t’s OK for someone to react to your news in a way that differs from everyone else,” she continues to defend her decision.
“So, if you get engaged, I will send you my best wishes, I will tell you how happy I am for you, I will exclaim “HOLY SH*T I’M BLINDED BY THIS!” when I see your beautiful ring… I just won’t say congratulations anymore,” Mateo asserts. “When you get through twenty years of marriage together unscathed? Then I’ll tell you congratulations. Now, that’s an achievement.”