3 Engagement Customs You Probably Don't Know About

Etiquette, Proposals
Engagement etiquette customs

Photo: Getty Images

What do you do right after you get engaged? Every situation is different, but certain customs are universal: Call your family, toast with champagne, and nail down basic details such as when you want to get married. Other traditions are not only less known, but have almost completely fallen to the wayside. We investigated some etiquette expert-approved engagement customs that are so sweet, they might just make a comeback!

Love Tokens
Welsh and Pennsylvania Dutch couples often gave each other handcrafted gifts for their future home. Such things as cake molds, butter prints, and carved spoons were covered with symbols and statements of love. In Wales, a young man carved a wooden spoon for his lady to wear as a "locket" around her neck, signifying engagement (the origin of the term spooning). Today's versions are equally romantic.

A Hope Chest
In Europe and later in America, the bride's family began preparing for her marriage when she was born. They collected, embroidered, and crafted items to store in a striking piece of furniture, called a marriage chest. Today, the bride's family might purchase a hope chest, which can be used as a place for her to store gifts and purchases before the wedding, and, later, in the couple's home.

Plus, the Meaning Behind the Phrase "Tying the Knot"
This phrase, associated with getting married, refers to an ancient Babylonian custom. Threads were taken from the clothes of both the bride and the bridegroom and tied together in a knot to symbolize the union of the couple. In some cultures today, the couple's hands are loosely bound during the ceremony (with plaited grass in Africa, and a rosary in Mexico).

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