Engagements have always been about a time of preparation for
the bride and the groom. There is much to be decided – where to live, meet the
families and what to select to furnish a new home. While the needs are similar,
there are many different cultural customs to help couples make those decisions.
The engagement ring, or betrothal ring, dates back to the
dates of marriage by purchase. It served as both a down payment on the bride
and a symbol of the honorable intentions of the groom-to-be. In some cultures,
the ring came in three parts. The bride-to-be wore one, the groom-to-be wore
one and a witness wore the third piece until the wedding day. At the ceremony
all three pieces were reassembled on the bride’s finger as her wedding ring.
The bridal shower traces its history back to Holland where –
legend has it – a young maiden fell in love with a poor miller. Her father
forbade the marriage, thereby denying her the traditional bride’s dowry. So the
miller’s friends “showered” her with gifts to help the young couple set up
In many cultures, a matchmaker arranged most weddings. For
example, in China, the matchmaker determined if the astrological signs were
compatible. In Uganda, the bride’s elder brother and paternal uncle usually
spoke to prospective groom and negotiated for the family. While those customs
seem strange in America, it might be fun to find a way to honor someone who
introduced the couple, or someone who was a very supportive friend with a
special place at the wedding, a small gift, corsage, or a thank you toast at
Need help coming up with a special touch on your wedding? The team at FAO Events - 703.222.5912
- is ready to give you ideas to honor those who have supported you and your fiance!