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Are these proposal traditions still relevant?


the blog:

While it can feel like the world is changing quickly, some traditions still remain. With the number of married couples in the United States standing at 62.34 million in 2020, it’s clear that marriage is one of these. However, while weddings remain firmly on the agenda, proposals are often changing to accommodate the wishes of the couple, rather than sticking to tradition.

When proposing, it’s important to consider how you want the experience to feel for you and your partner. Are they traditional, or do you think they’d prefer to ditch some of the old fashioned ideas for a more modern twist? While their family might have certain expectations, it’s important that this is a moment for you two. Here, we look at some proposal traditions that you might want to consider switching up.

Asking their father’s permission

Historically, a groom was required to ask a woman’s father, or her oldest male family member for permission to propose. This was intended to allow her father to ensure that the groom could provide for his bride, as well as discuss functional considerations like a dowry. In a time where women were dependent on men financially, getting married meant the woman became dependent on her husband, rather than her father.

Thankfully, in the Western world, most women work, and dowries have become a thing of the past. However, this tradition has stuck around. Some people may feel that they want to ask for permission. But a more modern take would be to ask for their blessing after you’ve proposed, or simply inform your partner’s family that you are going to propose, letting them know out of respect, rather than asking for permission. It’s also important to remember that not everyone feels that their father is the person they would look to in their life for approval, or have separated parents, so if you do decide to have the proposal conversation, consider other family members or close friends as well.

Spending three months wages on the ring

This is a tradition that is now fading into history, but it’s a relatively new idea. In the 1930’s, De Beers diamonds launched a marketing campaign that showed a man spending one month’s wages on a diamond engagement ring. Gradually, this increased in society until the expectation became three months.

Considering that the median yearly income in the US was $41,535 in 2020, this would mean spending around $10,383 on a ring. Clearly, while that is feasible for some people, most cannot afford to spend that much money on one piece of jewelry. Instead, you should decide what you can afford, and look at what you think your partner would like. An engagement ring is meant to be a symbol of love and commitment, not a symbol of wealth.

The man proposing

With men and women pushing for equality, a woman waiting for a man to propose can feel a little outdated. While it might feel right in some relationships, there is absolutely no reason that a woman can’t be the one to propose, apart from preference. With men’s engagement rings appearing on the jewelry market too, women can even pop the question with a ring, just the same as men can.

Alternatively, you could simply agree as a couple to get married, with or without a surprise proposal afterwards. If you’re not one for big moments or would rather talk it over with your partner first, then this could be a good option for you.

To sum up

Remember, a proposal is meant to be a special moment between you and your partner. Consider their needs and yours, and don’t forget that weddings are a big expense, so spend your money wisely to show your partner just how much they mean to you.

** on a side note, surprise proposals have become so prevalent. we always enjoy being part of such a romantic new proposal tradition.

Click here to view a surprise proposal at the Desert Botanical Gardens