Engagement Traditions: Then and Now

Traditions tend to evolve with the times, and the process of getting engaged is no exception. The engagement process as a whole has changed in a major way over the past few decades. Here are some engagement traditions that have changed over the years:

Uniting Families

The union of two families used to be primarily for economic reasons. Fathers would choose whom their children would marry, and a bride's family would pay the groom money or goods in the form of a dowry.

These days, the groom typically asks the bride's parents for their blessings, but the idea of asking for permission is a bit antiquated. These requests also often involve the bride's mom in the process as well.

Diamond Sizes

In the fifties and sixties, rings began to grow bigger and bigger. In terms of carat sizes, the larger your ring was, the more beautiful it was considered. In 1968, Elizabeth Taylor received a 33-carat ring. Now that's a big diamond!

Now, the size of the ring is only one factor when assessing a ring's beauty. There are lots of gorgeous rings featuring smaller diamonds. And, of course, the cut is the most important indicator of a diamond's beauty.

Engagement Parties

Engagement parties were typically held by the bride's parents, and they would make a surprise announcement about the engagement. Today, engagement parties are completely optional. If couples do choose to have them, they're often a few weeks or months after the announcement, and they're more of a gift-giving occasion.

Buying the Ring

Buying the ring used to be an intricate process that involved meeting with a jeweler. It was also common for families to hand down rings from one generation to the next.

These days, a lot of people are choosing to buy rings online. The process has never been easier, and there's a lot of educational material available for shopping grooms-to-be. According to E! News, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis bought their wedding rings on Etsy! If it's good enough for Kelso and Jackie, it's good enough for us.

As you can see, things are a bit different today than they were 100 years ago, or even 10 years ago. The main difference is that where people once had steadfast traditions, they now have options. Engagement traditions are a bit like a potluck dinner. You can take what you want and skip over what doesn't work for you. That's what will make your proposal unique—that, and the woman you're asking to marry you!