So, you have it all planned out…the perfect engagement, but depending on where your bride to be is from, your idea of a perfect of engagement might not quite be hers. We've put together a short guide to engagement traditions from a few places around the world that may just get you the answer you’re looking for…
Let start with...
Ireland - Cooking His Goose
Traditionally, an Irish engagement would begin with an invitation to the groom to attend a special meal at the bride’s home where his future mother-in-law would serve goose for dinner. While the guests waited for the goose to cook, the terms of the marriage, also called the “Aitin” or the Gander, would be negotiated and could become quite elaborate.
This feast, called The Binding, dealt with a range of important details including how the groom to be intended to care for his bride and her parents and as goose takes quite a while to cook, he might find himself in a rather tricky predicament by the end of the discussion which is why we now have the term “His goose is cooked.”
So, if you’d like to follow traditional Irish Engagement, then perhaps a lavish feast with the in-laws is the way to go, accompanied by the perfect ring from of course.
Russia - Stolen Brides and Ransom Fun
Now if your bride to be is from colder climes such as Russia, there is a great deal of fun to be had in both the engagement and the pre-wedding ceremony. Russian betrothal traditions include a ring set with gems given by the groom to his bride to be in the presence of a priest and family. After the engagement, but before the wedding, there is “The Ransom”. This Russian engagement tradition includes the bride’s family “stealing” her away and leaving a series of challenges and clues for the groom to complete before he can have her back. Whatever he is unable to complete, he must “pay” for with flowers, chocolates, or trinkets of affection for his bride to be.
China - Mystical Matchmaking
Engagement traditions from the Orient are a fascinating mixture of romance and marriage business and include fortune tellers and astrologers before a couple were introduced. These days, however, if the stars have already aligned, then following these traditions for a Chinese proposal will set you on the right road of long-term family bliss with your in-laws.
Consulting a fortune teller who is adept at reading birth dates, birth years and birth times to determine the harmony of a future home is one of the Chinese traditions to take into account. Once the fortune teller gives the OK, traditionalists seal the engagement with “3 matchmakers and 6 proofs” which include an abacus, a measuring vessel, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a set of scales and a mirror.
Include a traditional double happiness cake in the invitation to your wedding and you will have fulfilled many of the Chinese engagement traditions required. We also think throwing in some gorgeous oriental jewellery is a great idea.
India - A Glittering Spectacle
With so many religions making up the vibrant culture of India, planning an Indian engagement can be a bit of mine field. Across all the cultures, though, family plays a large role, with both the bride and groom’s family providing sweets, jewellery, clothing, and cash gifts as a pledge to the upcoming nuptials.
We are very excited about the traditional jewellery exchanged as part of the Indian engagement. In Hindu culture, one of the more iconic bridal pieces is Maang Tikka, a beautifully elegant piece that adorns the forehead and is designed to elevate the sophistication and royalty of the bride. Nose rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, finger rings, waistbands, anklets, and toe rings all make for an exquisitely extravagant celebration of love.
Africa - A Feast for the Eyes
Modern Africa follows many Western traditions when it comes to engagement, however, these Western traditions are married (excuse the pun) with the old ways. African engagements are a vibrant celebration that includes weeks or even months of family courting. The groom gifts the bride with gorgeous jewellery (often gold) as well as beaded necklaces and clothing. Unlike many other engagement traditions, African grooms are also required to “court” the bride’s family during the engagement. The groom gifts the family as well as offering his services to help the family with skills around their home or in their business.
South America - A Tradition of Rings
Our final cultural engagement in the Martin Gear around the world engagement traditions guide is South America. Some of the lovely engagement traditions in South America include both bride and groom wearing silver rings during their engagement and then adding a gold ring or replacing the silver ring entirely. In Brazil, the bride’s name is engraved in the groom’s ring and vice versa. In Chile, the couple wear wedding rings on their right hand while they are engaged and then switch these rings to their left hand at the wedding.
Regardless of which wedding traditions you’d like to incorporate in your engagement plans, make sure you pay us a visit, or contact us, for us to set you up with the perfect engagement ring with which to pop the big question.