Marriage Proposal on Bended Knee
There is no more immediately recognizable romantic gesture than when a man proposes marriage down on one bent knee. This custom has been around for centuries and remains popular today.
History Behind Proposing on a Bended Knee
There is no clear historical origin of the idea of proposing on a bent knee, but the gesture bears striking resemblance to many other ceremonial situations, including:
- Religion: Kneeling is appropriate during prayers and other religious ceremonies, including wedding vows for some faiths. Kneeling is also done to genuflect when entering a church or temple. When proposing, kneeling can have the same spiritual connotation and can be seen as a sign of respect.
- Royalty: Knights kneel while being awarded honors from kings and queens. This can hold true for a proposal of marriage and can be seen as a honor.
- Surrender: Bowing in supplication before a victorious enemy is typically seen as a gesture of surrender. When proposing, a couple commits to one another and surrenders oneself to being part of a couple.
Regardless of the origin, the idea of asking for a loved one’s hand in marriage while partially kneeling is a highly symbolic gesture embodying the very essence of committing one’s life to another. The ideas of goodwill, honor, and trust in that one person is opening themselves completely to another without shame or any physical defenses.
The practical reason behind a bent knee proposal is that it puts the engagement ring in an elevated position between the couple, letting the light hit it clearly without being blocked by both individuals. This highlights the glitter of the ring as well as emphasizing the strength of the commitment.
Modern Bended Knee Marriage Proposals
According to a study done by The Knot and Men’s Health, 76 percent of men believe they should go down on a bent knee to propose. Many women find it appealing for a man to propose on one knee. The message behind the gesture can be that the man is offering himself wholeheartedly to the woman, without reservations, elevating her to an exalted position in their relationship, and offering her the choice to determine the course of their relationship.
For some couples, the woman may be the one to propose, and it is just as appropriate for her to bend her knee to the prospective groom, though such a gesture may make many men uncomfortable.
How to Carry Out the Proposal
Choose the Place
The classic bent knee proposal is frequently carried out in a romantic location such as:
- On the beach
- Outdoors under the stars
- At sunset
- At a special restaurant
Consider Ring Placement
The ring can be placed in a velvet box elevated to the man’s chest or eye level between the couple. While waiting for the perfect moment, keep the ring in your pocket but be sure that the bulge is not suspicious or noticeable if the proposal is meant as a surprise.
The duration of the proposal is another concern: some men choose to express their intentions with a small speech or poem, and if the entire discourse is relayed while on bended knee it can become tedious and drawn-out, particularly if the woman’s attention is diverted by the ring.
On the other hand, a quick question while dropping to one knee may be too brief and catch the woman unnecessarily off-guard, though that type of spontaneous gesture can be just as romantic.
Make the Proposal
Follow these simple steps when proposing:
- Get ready to kneel: Just before kneeling, it is important to check the surrounding area for problematic landscaping. If proposing on the beach, for example, it would not be pleasant to kneel in a puddle of water, and sharp or other unpleasant objects can spoil what was otherwise a perfectly planned moment.
- Take her hand: Taking the woman’s hand while presenting the ring is a way to convey that this is a gift for her, as well as to create a physical connection between the couple through the ring, the ultimate symbol of their relationship.
- Rise from bended knee: When rising after the question is answered, hopefully in the affirmative, the ring should be placed on the bride-to-be’s finger, and the next step is a kiss to seal the commitment, just as a kiss traditionally seals wedding vows.
Deciding If It’s Right for You
For some couples, the idea of a traditional marriage proposal on bended knee is predictable and undesirable. In that case, more creative options are available, and even if the classic pose of honor and respect is lacking, a thoughtful and romantic proposal will convey those same feelings while keeping both feet flat on the ground and both knees straight.
Convey Your Comitment
Whether you choose to propose on bended knee or in a more creative, unique fashion, the key is that the traditional symbolism and connotations remain the same. Any proposal should convey respect, honor, and commitment to one another. When planning a proposal, make sure that it is something you feel comfortable with and your soon-to-be bride will as well.
Proposing on Vacation
Proposing on vacation is a romantic, exotic option for many couples who enjoy traveling together and experiencing new destinations and activities. Engineering a getaway proposal is more difficult than simply popping the question, however, and gentlemen contemplating this option need to be aware of how to keep the proposal from becoming just another vacation nightmare.
Destinations for Proposing on Vacation
Traveling together is an exciting time for any committed couple: they are experiencing new destinations, trying new activities, and creating memories that will last long into a potential marriage. Not every new location is suitable for a proposal, however. Some of the most popular choices include:
- On a cruise; Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean are the most romantic options.
- While visiting Paris, perhaps by a romantic fountain, on the steps of Notre Dame, or atop the Eiffel Tower.
- At a tropical resort; Jamaica, Hawaii, and other all-inclusive choices are the most luxurious.
- While floating along the canals of Venice, Italy.
- On the observation deck of a significant skyscraper in any beautiful city: Chicago, New York, and San Francisco are great choices for sunrise, sunset, or starlight proposals.
- While visiting a European castle; Germany and Austria have some of the most architecturally elegant castles in the world.
- At a Disney resort or theme park for that magical moment; carriage rides, secluded lagoons, and flower gardens are all available.
- At sunset on a deserted tropical beach or other outdoor venue with a stunning view.
While these may be favorite travel proposal options for many couples, a unique bride-to-be may appreciate a more unusual venue, such as:
- The proposal location of a favorite celebrity.
- On a roller coaster, while snorkeling, at the top of a glacier, or in another thrilling location.
- In the hotel as she unpacks her luggage so the couple can celebrate her answer throughout the vacation.
Whatever the destination, the key is that it is a significant choice for the couple. The proposal is the start of a new stage of a couple’s relationship, and asking to join together while visiting a new location is highly symbolic of the new paths marriage will lead to.
Foreign Requirements and Customs
If the couple is traveling abroad for the proposal (whether it is a surprise or not), extra precautions need to be taken with the engagement ring. The ring’s certificate and appraisal as well as the purchase paperwork (receipts, guarantees, etc.) should be taken along, particularly if the ring is of significant value and may be questioned by customs officials as to whether or not it was purchased abroad. If the couple is concerned about losing the ring – perhaps if the getaway is an adventure tour or other hectic venue – it may be best to bring a surrogate ring of lesser value or topropose without a ring, presenting the real ring after returning home. If the ring will be purchased abroad, be sure to keep all the associated paperwork for customs forms and inspections.
To keep the ring safe while traveling, be sure to pack it with carry-on luggage, preferably in an interior, zippered pocket. Avoid putting it in with other jewelry that could potentially damage the stone or metal, and be sure to keep it in a dust-free, lint-free bag or box to keep it looking its best until the critical moment.
Planning the Perfect Vacation Proposal
Surprise proposals are more difficult to plan while on vacation, but it is possible to catch the bride-to-be completely unawares no matter where the question is asked. To plan the perfect vacation proposal, consider the following:
- Do not pack the ring where the bride-to-be is likely to find it. If necessary, keep it in a small bag in your pocket, shaving kit, or other location she is unlikely to investigate.
- Research the destination beforehand so the experience is as smooth as possible. If, for example, you want to propose at sunset in a specific location, learn whether there are crowds, lines, or other potential delays.
- Have alternatives available. Your first choice may not be possible once you arrive, and it is best to know what other options exist instead of abandoning the idea altogether.
- Take extra care choosing the ring to be sure it matches her preferences, is the correct size, and will delight her with every sparkle.
- Be subtle with suggestions and plans so she will not suspect an ulterior motive. If the entire vacation is on-the-fly, having one rigorously structured evening is a dead giveaway.
When the Answer is No
Unfortunately, even the most well-planned marriage proposals are not accepted every time. If the answer is no while on vacation, the couple may be faced with an awkward period of time when they are still exploring new sights together but with the knowledge that their relationship will not progress. If that is the case, keep the sightseeing lighthearted and save any personal animosity for another time. In fact, by continuing to enjoy the getaway together, the couple lays the foundation for a continued relationship as friends, even if becoming spouses is not an option.
Proposing on vacation is an exotic, luxurious option for many couples. Whether it is in a well-known romantic destination or simply a quiet, secluded getaway special to the two individuals involved, a vacation marriage proposal will be only the first of a lifetime of shared experiences.
From breaking up with the groom to renting flowers for the wedding, you won’t believe some of the wild and crazy things these wedding planners have been asked to do by their clients.
Two for the Price of One
“A father of the bride ask if he and his wife (the mother of the bride) could go ahead and renew their vowsduring the wedding ceremony before the daughter walked down the aisle. His excuse? Well, the wedding was already costing him so much he figured why not get more bang for his buck. I put a stop to that request real quick.” — a Texas-based planner
Don’t Kill the Messenger …
“I had a bride ask me to tell her spouse that she didn’t want to get married anymore! Then they both wanted me to cancel everything with the vendors. It was a hot mess!” — an Ohio-based planner
See More: 75 Ways to Make Your Wedding Unique
To the Moon And Back
“A bride and groom requested an outer space-themed wedding complete with a wedding cake that featured revolving planets. Ultimately, I was able to talk the bride into a four-tiered cake with a hand-painted depiction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night instead — a true win-win for everyone, especially the mother of the bride.” — a Florida-based planner
Flowers for Rent
“One client inquired about renting her wedding flowers. Because, after all, what would she do with them the next day?” — a New York-based planner