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the day of her dreams, the groom has the heavy task of planning an unforgettable proposal. No matter how extravagant or understated the proposal, it is traditional for the man to get down on one knee and offer his true love a ring while he asks for her hand in marriage. The ring is circular, having no end and no beginning. It is therefore a perfect symbol of infinite love. It is to be worn on the third finger of the left hand. This stems from ancient Rome where they believed that the vein in that particular finger ran directly to the heart.


The tradition of kneeling has been


around for centuries and can be traced back to signs of respect. From kneeling in prayer to kneeling before royalty, getting down on one knee shows humility and surrender. Centuries ago, surrender at the end of a battle was signified by the losing party kneeling to the victors. To this day, a man kneeling before the woman he loves is a sign of respect, honor, and total sur- render.


The kneeling approach is much more loving and endearing than the ancient practice of “marriage by capture.” While we may think that this practice is wildly barbaric, it is shocking how many tradi- tions we include in our wedding plans that are rooted in this very practice. Before we had bridesmaids and maids of honor, there were only groomsmen. Sadly, they were not gentleman like we expect. They were a brute squad of men that would accompany a man who wanted to steal a woman from a neighboring village. The groom would see a woman he want- ed, sneak in, and steal her away from her family. Of course, this did not always go as smoothly as one would hope, so the brute squad was there to fight off angry friends and relatives as the groom rode away with his bride. The groom would hold his bride with his left arm and fight off others with his right. Therefore, the bride traditionally stands on the left during a ceremony. Considering the kidnapping, or “pro- posal,” it shouldn’t be a surprise that get- ting his new bride into the wedding cham- ber was also not very easy, so he would carry or drag her across the threshold. As the practice of stealing a woman became highly frowned upon by society, the act of being carried across the threshold trans- formed into a much more romantic tradi- tion. At one time, it was considered lady- like for the new bride to be a bit hesitant


36 March/April 2017


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