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could any of you help me on this q please?

can you use the word "congratulations" on your FEMALE friend's marriage or engagement? one of my dictionaries says it's rarely used in a message to a bride. is this usage explanation true?

thanks in advance,
bamboo
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I've also read the "rule" about never congratulating the bride, supposedly because it implies she has "won" her new husband in some kind of contest. However, it's considered correct to congratulate the groom. One of those slightly sexist points of etiquette.

And like Mr. Micawber, I've also done it myself, many times. And I cannot remember any bride ever "bowing up" as we say in the South, or exclaiming, "How dare you! I've never been so insulted!"
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To avoid all problems of possible sexism (when I was in college in the medieval ages, it was strictly taboo to 'congratulate' the female), you can simply say "best wishes to" or "I'm so happy for" both of you.
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Hi Bamboo-- welcome to English Forums.

Some say that congratulating a bride on catching a man is gauche-- but I don't know any good alternative, and I have probably said it dozens of times.

You might try something like I was delighted to hear about your engagement/marriage; I am sure you will both be very happy!

yes
 Delmobile's reply was promoted to an answer.
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my class freind waw married last week. i have no words how congatulate.