Wedding Checklist

The Proposal:
  1. Should I Propose?
  2. When to Propose
  3. The Marriage Talk
  4. Asking Permission
  1. Wedding Budget
  2. Venues & Destination
  3. Design & Decor
  4. Timelines & Checklists
  5. Roles & Responsibilities
  6. Guest List
  7. Invitations
  8. Websites & Registries
  1. Venue
  2. Catering
  3. Entertainment
  4. Photos & Video
  5. Florist
  6. Wedding Cake
  7. Event Rentals
  8. Lighting & Audio
  9. Transportation
  10. Guest Accommodations
  11. Childcare Services
  12. Dance instructor
  13. Hair and makeup
  14. Planners & Coordinators
Wedding Attire:
  1. The Bride
  2. The Groom
  3. Bridal Party
  4. Guest Attire
  5. Special Roles
Pre-Wedding Events:
  1. Bachelor Party
  2. Bachelorette Party
  3. Rehearsal
  4. Rehearsal Dinner
Wedding Ceremony:
  1. The Procession
  2. The Vows
  3. Ring Exchange
  4. Readings & Rituals
  5. The First Kiss
Wedding Reception:
  1. Grand Entrance
  2. First Dance
  3. Speeches & Toasts
  4. Dinner Service
  5. Cake Cutting
  6. Party Time
  7. Bouquet Toss
  8. Farewell
  • Farewell Breakfast
  • The Honeymoon
  • Anniversaries
  • Traditions & Keepsakes
  • Marriage License & Certificates
  • Name Change Process
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Finances & Taxes
  • International Weddings
  • Immigration Issues

15+ Marriage Proposal Traditions You Should Know

Proposing marriage is one of life’s biggest milestones. Throughout time and across cultures, people have found different ways to honor the occasion, shaping a wide variety of traditions and customs around the world.

Determining what traditions your engagement should include, or what customs your families’ may expect, is an essential step in the proposal process. Make sure to thoroughly explore the cultural background and values of your loved ones so that you can create a meaningful and memorable proposal experience. Your attention to detail will illustrate a level of thought and care that comforts everyone involved in your union.

In this article, we’ll familiarize you with the most important proposal traditions, mention some common customs you may share some of the most unique and interesting marriage proposal traditions and customs from around the world. By considering and blending these traditions, you can create a proposal that truly reflects the love and commitment you share.

Proposal Traditions Recognized Universally

  • Asking for the parents’ blessing: In most cultures, it’s considered respectful to seek the parents’ permission or blessing before proposing to their son or daughter.
  • Getting down on one knee: A popular tradition worldwide, getting down on one knee symbolizes humility and devotion to your partner.
  • Presenting an engagement ring: Offering a ring as a symbol of love and commitment is common in many cultures. The ring is typically worn on the left hand’s ring finger (although this varies), as it’s believed to connect directly to the heart.

Popular (but not universal) Proposal Traditions

  • Dowry or bride price: In some cultures, the groom or his family may offer a payment or gift to the bride’s family. This tradition can include money, property, or other valuable items and may serve as a symbol of the groom’s commitment to providing for the bride.
  • Engagement gifts: The exchange of gifts between the families or the couple themselves is a common custom in many cultures. These gifts can range from symbolic items to more practical ones, such as clothing or household items.
  • Engagement ceremonies or parties: In some cultures, the engagement is marked by a formal ceremony or celebration involving both families. This event may involve the exchange of gifts, blessings, or other rituals to signify the couple’s commitment to each other.

World’s Most Unique Marriage Proposal Traditions

Now the fun part! Here’s a collection of some of the world’s most unique and interesting marriage proposal traditions.

  • Armenia: Blessing of the Rings – A ceremony involving godparents or senior family members blessing the engagement rings.
  • Borneo (Malaysia): Tawar Menawar – A negotiation ceremony between both families.
  • Brazil: Engagement rings – Both partners exchange simple gold bands during the proposal, moving them to their left hands after the wedding.
  • China: Bridal price (Pin Jin) and betrothal gifts (Guo Da Li) – Exchanged between families as part of the engagement process.
  • Chile: Vineyard proposal – Proposing in a vineyard, symbolizing the growth and nurturing of love.
  • Ethiopia: Groom’s abduction of the bride – Followed by a negotiation with her family.
  • Fiji: Tabua – Groom presents a whale’s tooth to the bride’s father as part of the engagement process.
  • Germany: Sawing of the log – Couples saw a log in half together after the proposal, symbolizing teamwork and overcoming challenges.
  • Ghana: Knocking ceremony (Kokooko) – Groom’s family asks permission for marriage from the bride’s family.
  • India: Mangala Sutra and Kundali Milan – Groom presents bride with a sacred necklace, and horoscope matching is conducted before the wedding.
  • Ireland: Leap Year proposal and Claddagh Ring – Women may propose on February 29th, and couples often exchange traditional Claddagh Rings.
  • Japan: Yuinou – A formal engagement ceremony with the exchange of symbolic gifts.
  • Kenya (Maasai): Groom’s blessing – Groom spits on the bride’s head and breasts as a blessing.
  • Mongolia: Khada offering – Groom’s family visits the bride’s home, offering a blue silk scarf to seek permission for marriage.
  • Philippines: Pamamanhikan and Bended Knee custom – Groom’s family visits the bride’s family, and proposer seeks approval from the partner’s extended family.
  • Romania: Bride-napping – Friends “kidnap” the bride before the wedding ceremony as a fun tradition.
  • Russia: Buying the bride (Vykup nevesty) – Groom must complete tasks to “win” his bride.
  • South Korea: Hamgiro Chadeon – Couples exchange wild geese or ducks to symbolize a lifelong commitment.
  • Sweden: Kissing party – Guests can kiss the bride or groom if the other leaves the room during the celebration.
  • Switzerland: Engagement watch – Couples exchange watches instead of rings, symbolizing the importance of time and commitment.
  • Tswana (Botswana): Patlo – An engagement ceremony involving the exchange of gifts and negotiations between families.
  • Vietnam: Le Dinh Hon and Offering of betel leaves – An engagement ceremony with ring and gift exchange, family celebrations, and offering betel leaves and areca nuts to join the two families.
  • Wales: Love spoons – Proposers carve wooden love spoons for their partners, symbolizing love and commitment.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in learning more about the marriage proposal customs of different cultures, check out our list of 194 Marriage Proposal Traditions from Around The World. It features highlights from every country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and everything in between!

Which proposal tradition or custom resonates most with you?