Christmas is a truly romantic time for couples in love wanting to take the next step in to marriage. It’s a really popular time for proposals and it got me thinking about different traditions there are for engagements, and also what kind of ceremonies we can hold for these lovely romantic events!
I love hearing about the couple’s marriage proposal story as part of my preparation when, as their Celebrant, I begin to write their wedding ceremony. It gives me a real insight into how they want their own ceremony to be -whether it’s traditional, quirky, romantic, fun, or just simple and sweet. Every story, like every ceremony, is unique.
It’s fun to look at a few of the traditions and how these are changing.
Although it is seen as perhaps a little old fashioned and even maybe a bit misogynistic, asking for the parent’s permission to marry is can still be a really lovely gesture and will certainly mean a great deal to the family, who will be part of the intimate planning for the proposal itself! It shows that the proposer is really sincere about the next stage in the relationship and wants to make that commitment. Marriage also means deeper ties within both families, and the “request to marry” provides a really loving foundation as two families blend and grow together over the course of the engagement and into the marriage itself.
Whilst a proposal can be held anywhere and often has an element of surprise around it – traditional proposals require the proposer to consider some fairly intense questions – the planning is very important and the execution must be nigh on perfect! There is usually quite a lot of behind the scenes work to do, and every couple I have worked with have shared their lovely proposals with me, which I weave into their wedding ceremony.
Some are of course traditional; planned for a special anniversary perhaps, private and cosy at home after a lovely meal and just sitting by the fireside together….. others can be more elaborate, such as one couple shared with me recently where her partner created a paper trail to motivate her to go on a training run with him on a very cold and rainy morning, with clues along the way…finishing with the last 4 trees each displaying one word, which together read “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” and tied to a branch was his grandmother’s engagement ring! She was stunned! But of course, she said YES!
The Engagement Ring:
A Betrothal or Engagement was historically seen as a promise to marry, and during the celebrations the couple would exchange rings as a seal of their unity. A ring made of precious metal was something not everyone could afford, in fact the diamond engagement ring is a fairly modern concept, with it’s roots less in history and romance and more in a famous gemstone company’s clever marketing ploy!
Nevertheless, rings have ancient and modern symbolism, not only in their precious metals but also the jewels used to adorn them. A ring is also a continuous circle, without beginning or ending, and symbolises qualities such as fidelity, unity, partnership, commitment and unending love.
Diamonds – the most frequently chosen jewel for an Engagement ring – have long been associated with durability, strength and consistency because it takes thousands of years to create this wonderful jewel.
A symbol of strength, the world’s hardest and most durable stone was used to embellish the armor, shields and swords of European kings and knights from England to France to Hungary. Ancient romantic legends from Indian Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and medieval Italians also told of the diamond’s ability to reflect the eternal flame of true love.
The cut of the diamond emphasises it’s purity and brilliance, and although there are many different styles and cuts to choose from, the Princess Cut is still a firm favourite for modern couples, with 78 facets that create that gleaming shimmer and sparkle!
Wishing everyone a very happy and loving Christmas, and looking forward to talking to newly engaged couples in 2017 and helping them to plan the wedding ceremony of their dreams! Contact me on 07800 543 426 to chat about weddings, vow renewals or other ceremonies to mark life’s major milestones!
with my warmest wishes