Engagement Customs - Part II

by Jackie 7. September 2011 16:57

One of the more interesting historical engagement customs was termed “flouncing”. It originated in England and was basically an early betrothal party. It was held for the couple to meet each other’s friends and the friends of both families.

At the “flouncing” a formal contract was established and after this contract was sealed, neither the bride nor the groom could be seen with or talking to other suitors. Once this formal declaration was made, if either the bride or the groom to be changed his or her mind about the marriage, the other could claim half of his or her property.

In China, a betrothal was a serious family obligation. If an engaged man died before the wedding, his intended bride was “treated like a widow”. (Source: The Bride’s Book of Etiquette)

Before there were department stores, jewelry and gift stores, and before the advent of bridal showers, brides went “collecting”. In fact, Finnish brides-to-be were considered “snobbish” if they didn’t go from door-to-door collecting their gifts in a large bag. The bride-to-be was accompanied by an older married man (the symbol of a long-lasting marriage). He wore a top hat and carried an umbrella, which symbolized shelter. The bride received her gift and her “escort” received a drink at each stop. Today’s version of this gift collecting is handled for Gift Registries at many stores and by bridal showers. However, the symbol of long lasting marriage – the old married man and his umbrella – hasn’t survived into the 21st century.

For the background on more wedding traditions, talk with one of the team members at FAO Events by calling 703.222.5912. Our experienced consultants can help you find a way to incorporate history into your contemporary ceremony and/or reception.

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