Wedding proposals have changed much over the years. In the times of gentlemen and ladies, a gentleman that was interested in marriage would send his intended a pair of gloves. He would know if his proposal had been accepted if the young lady wore the gloves to church on the following Sunday.
Today, most couples choose to show their engagement with a diamond wedding ring. It was in the 1400s in Italy that diamond rings first became the norm for wedding proposals. In the 1700s and 1800s rings with other gemstones were popular, and often the names of the stones had a special meaning, like they had the same initials as the groom-to-be.
One interesting type of engagement ring was the Gimmal Ring. This ring was actually made in three parts. During the engagement, the couple each wore one part and a witness wore the third. It was during the wedding ceremony that all three parts were reunited and placed on the bride’s finger. This ring served as the wedding ring.
Perhaps the tradition of an expensive engagement ring goes back to earlier times, when grooms had to pay for their brides. The engagement ring was a portion of the bride price. Today, the diamond is considered standard for engagement rings, as it is a clear and brilliant stone, which is supposed to symbolize purity.
Besides customary purposes, the modern day engagement ring is also given as a benchmark of social status where the value of the diamond ring is used to show off the couple’s financial status. Based on this report, the average carat size of an engagement ring is 1 carat and costs around $6,000.
Also, the strength of the stone symbolizes the strength of the love between the couple. The ancient Greeks actually believed that the diamond was a tear from one of their gods. The circular shape of the ring symbolizes the unending love between the couple.
The ring is always worn on the third finger of the left hand. This finger was once believed to have a vein in it that went directly to the heart, thus ensuring that the ring was always in line with the woman’s heart. Today the left ring finger is an easy way to identify when a woman has been “taken.”
Engagement parties today are simply a time to enjoy family and friends and celebrate the coming union. In ancient times, engagement, or betrothal parties, served as the time that the formal contract between the engaged pair was finalized. Once the betrothal party was complete, the couple was no longer free to see other suitors. This party was also a time for well-wishers to give gifts to the happy couple.
The bridal shower originated in Holland. It stems from the time of dowries, when the bride’s family would provide the new couple with the supplies they needed to start their new life together. When a father withheld his approval of a potential husband, he would withhold his dowry.
This was often enough to discourage the young couple from marrying. When this happened in Holland, the bride’s friends would collect presents, and “shower” her with the things she needed to keep house, and thus be able to marry her intended.
The bachelor party also has deep roots. Men have always wanted to have one last party to say goodbye to their bachelor days. In the time of the Spartans, new husbands would have a feast with their male friends the night before their wedding. After this, the husband was no longer free to be a carefree bachelor, but had to become a husband and provider.