Couples have been confirming their love for each other by getting engaged and married for centuries, and everything starts with the perfect marriage proposal. Some look for inspiration for an original marriage proposal. Others prefer to keep things traditional by going down on one knee and sliding that engagement ring on her finger from this position. But was this always the traditional way to propose? And why do men actually go down on one knee?

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How People Used to Get Engaged

Marriages used to be somewhat of a business transaction between two families. The woman didn’t have many rights and was seen as the man’s possession. Not particularly romantic! Fortunately, Maximillian from Austria brought about some welcome changes in 1477. He was officially seen as the first man in history to give his beloved, Maria of Burgundy, a diamond engagement ring.

The higher class adopted this custom and a new tradition was born. Of course, the engagement ring first had to complete quite a lengthy journey. The engagement ring with a diamond didn’t become popular amongst all layers of the population until man discovered  diamond in Africa in 1870.

Why the Man Goes Down on One Knee

Going down on one knee originally had very little to do with the marriage proposal and engagement ring. The custom first came about during the time of the knights as a sign of respect for their master. It’s also the position the knight assumes when he is recieve his knighthood. Going down on one knee was also very common during religious ceremonies. Kneeling was thought to show respect and loyalty, which are two absolutely essential factors in a good marriage. It was, therefore, very logical for this custom to be adopted for the marriage proposal.

Another Possible Explanation for This Tradition

Another possible explanation for going down on one knee during a marriage proposal is that a man will appear a great deal less dominant when in this position. Many men are much taller than their partners and popping the question whilst standing up could look quite intimidating. Or it could also symbolise surrender or submission.

After all, people also used to take on this stance when they were ready to surrender to the enemy on the battlefield. Although, on a more romantic note, it’s likely that kneeling became a proposal tradition to represent the groom surrendering his heart to his future bride.

Are you going for an original or a traditional marriage proposal? Make sure you start with choosing the perfect engagement ring or contact BAUNAT for extra advice.
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GERD VAN DE VEL