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Traditions: The History of Kneeling

Pop the champagne! Someone’s getting married.

Engagement season is here!!! While many are planning weddings for this season, some plan proposals and I wanted to make our Traditions series about something very special and exciting this week, as one of my very own good friends recently took the leap! (Eeek!)

If you stop to think about it, many wedding traditions (and honestly traditions in general) are strange in nature. Presenting a diamond? Throwing a bouquet? Wearing something blue? Throwing rice at the happy couple? These are topics I have or may cover in the future, but today I want to start at the beginning – in honor of engagement season. Here we go!

Why in the world do men (and modern ladies) kneel when they propose?! Well…honestly, it’s unclear. Basically, we’ve been kneeling for decades with no real guidelines here. From what I can tell from my research, history tells a different tale – with most of the engagements we know about coming from the wealthy noblemen and courted ladies. Paintings of these courtships depict a different scene entirely with both parties either standing or sitting.

According to a bustle.com article, “kneeling in European history has been a sign of supplication, humility, and servitude.” Taken in the context of religion, many cultures and religions kneel for prayer to express servitude. In medieval culture, kneeling was a sign of respect and status. Knights knelt to receive honors. In the Middle Ages of courtship, a man would devote himself to a woman and woo her with poems, chivalry, and gifts.

Kneeling before a woman with the intent to marry her is probably just one of those long passed on traditions that we don’t even think about. (Until you read my blog then wonder why you never thought about it.) Oops! Today kneeling is more about the romance of the moment and the trust it takes to kneel before your partner, showing them you’re completely committed to joining your lives together. Ask anyone that has been proposed to and they will probably remember it as one of their best memories. It just makes the moment special. It also conveniently gives you a great view of that sparkling ring he/she is about to adorn your hand with!

If you or someone you know is getting married or planning on proposing this holiday season, let’s talk weddings! From engagements to weddings and all of life in between, I am always ready for a party to plan. Contact me today and let’s get busy planning!

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