We'll help spread the news of your special occasion

October 30, 2005|By Jake Womer

A child is born, vows are exchanged, a marriage reaches its 25th year - all occasions to be shared with family and friends.

At The Herald-Mail, we're happy to help Tri-State readers share these memorable moments. Engagement, anniversary, birth and wedding announcements are printed free of charge in The Herald-Mail on Saturdays.

Announcement policies have changed as the newspaper has evolved in an effort to provide options and ensure accuracy. Old policies worked for the time, but technology or other changes have helped us offer new options. We now offer - for a fee - expanded wedding announcements that allow couples to describe their weddings down to the type of flowers carried by the bride. More on that later.

For now, we're still trying to shake the echoes of past policies. Once or twice a month, we hear from a reader who believes that if they submit a photograph with an engagement announcement that they cannot submit one with the impending wedding announcement.


I've worked here for about three years, and I thought that was just an odd rumor or misunderstanding. But I recently spoke with a couple of my predecessors. It turns out, we once had such a policy. At the time, there just wasn't room in the announcement pages for everything that was submitted. Limits were set.

But it's been roughly a decade since that policy has been in effect. We will publish photos that accompany wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements, regardless of what else has been published.

Send in photos with wedding and engagement notices, and we'll publish them.

Please send a sharp, clear photo, 3 inches by 5 inches or larger. Computer-printed images on photo paper are acceptable; do not use bond paper. We cannot accept photocopied photos. By the time such a photo would appear in the paper, it would be a muddy reproduction of a reproduction of a reproduction.

We do have other guidelines.

All submitted announcements must be legible and include the signature and phone number of the person making the announcement. In addition, engagement announcements require signatures from both fiancs (and parents who formally make the announcement). Birth announcements require a signature from a parent (from both parents if last names are different).

Signatures ensure that all parties want an announcement made.

Notices must be published within a year of the event. This seems like a gimme, but we've received notices about 18 months after an event. We had to cap it somewhere.

The Herald-Mail reserves the right to edit submitted copy. With the free announcements, we give everyone with a solid local connection the same opportunity to share the same information.

As mentioned above, we also offer newlyweds a chance to say more about their nuptials. They can list everyone in the wedding party, details about her dress, notes about parties and showers preceding the big day. And we offer a chance to include a larger picture. Check out the front page of Lifestyle on Nov. 12 for an example of such an announcement.

Announcements may be delivered to The Herald-Mail office at 100 Summit Ave. in Hagerstown; mailed to P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741; faxed to 301-714-0245; or e-mailed to

Hopefully, the options and guidelines simplify the process for couples who already have enough to coordinate.

Jake Womer is Lifestyle editor at The Herald-Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2340, or by e-mail at

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