How the world asks “Will you marry me?”

Proposals are often depicted as elaborately romantic affairs, with the groom-to-be planning an epic (and sometimes over-the-top) way to pop the question. This is a fairly Westernized view of the marriage proposal. In reality, there are almost as many ways of becoming engaged as there are countries and cultures around the world.
Here’s a peek at how men ask their beloveds to marry them. You thought tuxedo and suit rental were going to be daunting? Just read on to learn what some couples will do in the name of love.

ITALY

Italian tradition dictates that the prospective groom first ask the permission of his intended’s father for her hand in marriage. This custom is no longer practiced regularly, except in some areas of Southern Italy. The solitary diamond engagement ring used to be the standard but has given way to the popular diamond “veretta,” a ring that is completely encircled in small diamonds to represent eternal love. Depending on the region, engagement parties may be giant affairs or none is thrown at all.

JAPAN

Traditional Japanese marriage proposal customs differ a bit from those found in the Western hemisphere. When a man decides he will ask a woman to marry him, a “yunio” (Japanese engagement ceremony) must be planned and attended before the couple are officially engaged. At the yunio, the two families meet, often for the first time. Nine gifts carefully wrapped in rice paper are exchanged, symbolizing their hopes for the union, such as wealth and prosperity; strong, healthy children; happiness; and longevity.

EGYPT

Egypt has a rich and colorful history and its traditions show this, all the way down to the engagement of two people. When a match is made (it used to be that arranged marriages were standard, but that has started to change) and both families agree on the union, a small engagement ceremony is planned. In the case of a Muslim family, only the immediate members of both families are present. The bride-to-be sits on the floor next to her father, and the groom sits across from him. The groom places his hand atop her father’s while they recite the “Fatha,” the first Surah in the Qur’an. Rings may be exchanged, and a lavish party (often including DJs and belly dancers) is planned for friends and family to celebrate the union.

CHILE

While Chilean marriage proposals aren’t much different from those found in much of the Western world, they do have a tradition that stands out — both parties exchange engagement rings. To signify their upcoming nuptials, both the man and woman wear engagement rings on the third finger of their right hands. Once married, they will move the rings to the third fingers of their left hands to indicate they are now wedded.

SCOTLAND

Scotland’s engagement traditions are a culmination of both traditional and modern. The groom will ask his bride to marry him, but then comes the hard part — impressing her father! The groom is sometimes expected to participate in what’s called a “Speerin” or “Beukin,” where the father of the bride puts him through his paces with a set of tasks that truly test the groom’s mettle.

GREECE

The Greeks take marriage proposals seriously. Once a man has decided he’d like to ask a woman to marry him, he must first ask her father’s permission. If permission is granted, the couple are required to attend three counseling sessions with a priest to be apprised of their duties within the structure of their marriage. If all goes well, a giant engagement party is thrown in honor of the engaged couple. Dancing, drinking, and merriment ensue with the couple surrounded by their family and friends.
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