Friday, June 20, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - First Date, the Proposal and Engagement Ring

Do you remember where you and your mate first met and where you went on your first date? Where did the proposal take place? Who picked out the engagement rings?

There are millions of stories told everyday about these topics. But where are the stories about the memories? In your head? In pictures? And where are the things you saved from these times? Most likely, the mementos and souvenirs have gone by the wayside, put in a box and long forgotten. How sad. However, many marriages end and the things that represented that union are gone, too. But for those who did keep some of those treasures, where are they now? Hopefully, this blog post will encourage you to seek the answer to those questions. And when and if you find any vestige, please put it in your family museum.

“Practice what you preach,” they say. I am just as guilty of not keeping a lot of things from those times. The one item that seemed to weather time-past storms is the top of our wedding cake. (I will address this feature of the bride blog later). As for the things that did get saved, it is truly beyond me how they were saved in the first place and long forgotten long ago. When I finally got around to gathering the family heirlooms to put in our museum did I come across that box that held those now few precious items. Of course, photographs always seem to be saved, probably because they are in some kind of album that has been sitting on a shelf or maybe a box. The two pictures here are from our first date. Keith picked me up in his Mustang and we went to the local A&W Root beer drive-in. Living in the country there was little to do for excitement. But we didn't care. We were free, single, and falling in love. It didn't matter where we went as long as we were together. 
Then came the Proposal.
It is unclear where the idea of proposing down on one knee originated. The ones noted are during religious ceremonies, entering a church, or kneel in reflection. No matter where the origin, a request for marriage while on bended knee is symbolic of the commitment of one’s own life to another person. The meaning is the symbolism of respect, commitment and honor for both people. Expected or surprised, the proposal is a revered event in marriage and life.

My proposal of marriage took place in my parent’s kitchen. How romantic. I was sitting down and Keith got down on his one knee and proposed. I think I started to cry. There was much weighing on this proposal because “we” were with child. As time was not available, the wedding plans began before the engagement ring was slipped onto my finger. With all our fears mingling together, we agreed to pick out the rings together when time allowed. And the waiting was worth every minute! We shopped together for our rings. I was working in Chicago and on a Friday evening after work, we went shopping. Keith bought our rings and while waiting for our dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant, Keith proposed again and put the ring on my finger. Now that’s romantic!  
Wow! The next day I felt like a Bride-to-be. What a powerful symbol is the Engagement Ring. I couldn’t believe my eyes every time I looked down at my left hand. And even more so when I showed it off.
Engagement rings date back to Roman times or further. But what many people probably do not realize is that the notion of a diamond ring was initially marketed to the masses in an advertising campaign in the late 1930s. In the United States, the popularity of diamond engagement rings declined after World War I, even more so after the onset of the Great Depression when the price of diamonds collapsed. At the same time, market research indicated that engagement rings were going out of style with the younger generation. In 1947 the slogan, "A Diamond is Forever," was introduced as a De Beers campaign that sought to persuade the consumer that an engagement ring is indispensable, and that a diamond is the only acceptable stone for an engagement ring. The campaign was very successful.

What is interesting is that given how much has changed over the decades — men now snoop on their girlfriends’ Pinterest boards for clues about what they really like and couples often shop together, because it is a purchase loaded with expectations persists. Mostly men admitted that they were concerned about appearances. Yet the most popular refrain is still going strong: She is going to wear it for the rest of her life.

No matter where, when or how, when a marriage is meant to be, it is meant to be. Those words were spoken by a wise woman, my mom. It was hard to believe her when my heart was breaking, but after I met Keith, I knew she spoke the truth.  

Next Post: Wedding Plans

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