Is it necessary to get down on one knee during a marriage proposal?
By Nicolas | December 27, 2023
The marriage proposal signifies a major milestone in the lives of numerous couples, often deemed the most enchanting moment in their shared history. This event transcends cultural and temporal boundaries, heralding the commencement of a new phase in the relationship. At the core of this crucial and emotionally charged stage is an enduring ritualistic gesture: kneeling. This gesture prompts questions, initiates debates, and at times, evokes apprehensions. Should one kneel during this pivotal proposal? And if so, why?
The historical origins of the kneeling tradition
The origin of the kneeling gesture dates back to medieval times, an era where rituals and symbolic gestures held significant importance. During the Middle Ages, knights were dubbed by kings or queens, expressing their respect and devotion to their sovereign by kneeling. This act symbolized loyalty and submission to higher authority.
To comprehend the significance of kneeling during a marriage proposal, it is essential to journey back to a time when marriages were less romantic and more pragmatic. In the past, unions were not based on love but rather on political, economic, social, and familial considerations. Young individuals often had little decision-making power, leaving families to negotiate and determine their marital future.
Marriages were frequently arranged, solidifying alliances between two families, uniting their strengths, assets, territories, or preserving financial interests. Women, while occasionally having some freedom, often had no say in choosing their life partner. The decision rested with the patriarch of the family, who negotiated with other families to ensure the financial and social stability of his descendants.
The marriage proposal was a matrimonial transaction based on the concept of "manus" (hand), symbolizing the legal power of the father over his daughter. By asking for the young woman's hand, the prospective husband transferred this power to himself. This represented a significant shift in the woman's life, transitioning from a member of her father's family to a member of her husband's family. The father officially transferred the legal authority he held over his daughter to his future son-in-law. This symbolic transfer came with broader involvement in the life of the young woman, now considered a full-fledged member of her husband's family.
The kneeling act, a gesture of submission to the king or queen in medieval times, became integrated into this "manus" ritual. By kneeling before his beloved, the man expressed his respect, devotion, and commitment to her, reclaiming a gesture that carried connotations of loyalty to higher authority.
An evolution towards romance and deep love
Over time, fortunately, marriages have evolved towards more romantic expressions of love. The marriage proposal has transitioned from a commercial and utilitarian transaction to a celebration of profound love between two individuals.
The enduring tradition of kneeling during a marriage proposal persists not only due to its historical legacy but also because of its timeless symbolism. Once a symbol of submission, kneeling has transformed into a gesture that transcends words, showcasing respect, deep devotion, and sincere commitment to one's partner.
A survey conducted by The Knot reveals that, despite changing attitudes, 87% of marriage proposals in 2022 retained the tradition of kneeling. This statistic underscores the enduring popularity of this practice in modern society.
The act of getting down on one knee, rich with profound symbolism and capable of evoking indescribable emotions, stands out as a gesture that we highly recommend considering. When a man kneels, the emotions overwhelming his beloved reach unparalleled heights. You may have observed on social media or in movies a nearly universal reaction: in the face of this kneeling gesture, the young woman is overwhelmed, often placing one or both hands in front of her mouth in a state of astonishment. She is aware that the most poignant moment of her life has arrived and eagerly anticipates the magical words from her partner. Do not deny yourselves this unforgettable moment that will leave an indelible imprint on your hearts!
In this regard, we invite you to explore the numerous testimonials from couples who entrusted us with organizing their marriage proposals in Paris. It's worth noting that they all chose to kneel during their proposals!
Left knee or right knee?
As previously discussed, the tradition of the kneeling proposal dates back to the Middle Ages, a period infused with chivalrous rituals. The act of kneeling originally symbolized submission to the king or queen. When a man was knighted by higher authority, he would kneel as a gesture of respect, obedience, and loyalty to the royal figure, specifically using the left knee. The choice of the left knee had religious roots; the right knee, reserved exclusively for God during religious ceremonies, made kneeling with the left knee before the king a distinct display of loyalty separate from religious devotion. In an era where religion held a prominent place, kneeling with the right knee outside of religious contexts was considered blasphemous.
Over time, this practice transitioned into marriage proposals. Kneeling before one's beloved with the left knee became a way of expressing that this act was dedicated to love and devotion to the future spouse, not to a divine entity.
Kneeling with the left knee has thus become a means of conveying deep respect, total devotion, and loyalty to the loved one. It's a gesture infused with nobility, inherited from chivalrous customs that endure through the centuries.
On the other hand, kneeling with the right knee may still be perceived today as retaining its religious connotations. The right knee on the ground is associated with prayer, humility, and submission to something greater than oneself. This symbolic dimension reinforces the idea that a marriage proposal is not merely a commitment to another human being but also to broader values.
Whether you choose the left knee or the right knee during your marriage proposal, let yourself be guided by improvisation. The intense and unprecedented emotion that will permeate this moment will undoubtedly shatter any plans you may have thought of beforehand!
Presenting the ring with care
It is when you have one knee on the ground that you will take out from your pocket the box containing the engagement ring. Once again, feel free to leave room for improvisation.
The engagement ring, a shining symbol of a future commitment, remains the central element of any marriage proposal. Choosing the perfect ring is a crucial step, blending aesthetics, symbolism, and personality. Knowing your partner's preferred size and style is essential. Opt for a ring that reflects her personality and your mutual commitment.
The engagement ring is not just an accessory; it is a declaration of love and a promise. The choice of the ring holds particular significance as it will be worn daily, serving as a tangible reminder of your union.
Every woman has a unique style. Observe her fashion sense, existing jewelry, and aesthetic preferences. Choose a ring that harmonizes with her personal taste.
Whether it's white gold, yellow gold, platinum, or even rose gold, the choice of precious metal determines the overall appearance of the ring. Consider the metals your partner prefers to wear daily.
Regarding the stone, while the diamond is a classic choice, the options are vast. Colored gemstones like sapphires or emeralds add an individual touch. Take into consideration the personal significance of the stones.
The size and shape of the diamond or precious stone are also key aspects. Choose a size that aligns with your sweetheart's lifestyle while emphasizing the elegance and shape of her hand.
In terms of budget, set a realistic limit. It is not essential to compromise quality for size. A well-designed and quality piece of jewelry often offers more appreciable value than an imposing carat.
Delving into the world of marriage proposals, exploring their traditions and symbolism, is akin to being swept away by the thrill of a captivating story. Taking a knee, a millennia-old gesture transcending epochs, emerges as a powerful symbol of devotion and profound love. Paris, the city of love, provides an idyllic backdrop to seal your commitment. Explore our exclusive tips and romantic ideas by perusing the other articles in our "ultimate guide to the perfect marriage proposal in Paris". We have many more treasures in store to help you make your marriage proposal the most beautiful moment of your life!