Proposal Traditions Explained

Western marriage proposals have a number of key features: asking permission from the father of the bride, getting down on one knee and, of course, a dazzling diamond ring – but have you ever stopped to wonder why we perform these customs? The brains behind Hatton Garden have the answers …

Why do men ask permission?

The tradition of asking the bride’s father for permission to marry his daughter dates back to a time when women were considered to be the ‘property’ of men, as they could not enter any legal contracts of their own. Nowadays, this notion is seen as outdated and sexist, but asking permission is still acceptable as a sign of respect and commitment to the family you’ll be joining.

Why do men get down on one knee?

Getting down on one knee is said to be a ceremonial yet vulnerable gesture that represents the significance of the engagement. However, on a practical level, it also allows the ring to be presented in a particularly flattering light!

Why do women receive engagement rings?

Traditionally, only women receive engagement rings, as they used to be given as a betrothal gift, and a sign of wealth (poorer couples exchanged thimbles!) However, times are changing, and nowadays sales of ‘engagement rings are on the rise.

If you’re looking for a perfect engagement ring (for a man or a woman) pay a visit to London’s Hatton Garden. With more than 50 stores, you’re bound to find your dream diamond!