From buying the rings to asking permission from her dad: Proposals are changing

03 Feb 2016

Would you wear an engagement ring you didn’t like? A surprising number of women do…

Are you a firm believer in marriage traditions? Or do you hold more contemporary beliefs when it comes to tying the knot? 

Research from vintage jewellery specialists William May shows some of the oldest marriage proposal traditions are being left behind as couples take a more practical approach to getting engaged.

Surveying more than 5,000 people, the company asked the following questions:

•        Do women still want to be surprised with an engagement ring?

•        Would a woman wear a ring she wasn’t happy with?

•        Would a man exchange a ring if their partner wasn’t happy with it?

•        Do men still ask for the father’s permission before proposing?

The results showed:

•        With many couples discussing the question long before it’s popped, the conventional element of surprise seems to be drifting out of fashion. Only 1 in 3 women we asked would rather not have any input when their partner chooses the ring, allowing them to surprise them out of the blue.

•        However, 42 per cent of women would wear an engagement ring they weren’t completely happy with. Perhaps they simply didn’t hint hard enough…

•        The fact that so many women would spend the rest of their life wearing something they don’t like is baffling, especially when you consider that 74 per cent of men we spoke to would be happy to exchange the ring.

Nick Withington, managing director at William May, says communication is a key component of a perfect marriage proposal: “It seems that tradition can often hold up the process of your perfect proposal. Being practical doesn’t ruin the magic and these days it’s totally normal for couples to go shopping for a ring together.

“Just because your future fiancée knows she’s getting a ring doesn’t mean that she knows when or where you will pop the question. You can still add that element of surprise with a perfectly planned moment together.”

So is anyone keeping up with tradition at all?

William May found that it’s actually the younger generation who tend to stick to convention, 36 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds asked their partner’s father for his blessing before getting engaged. This is possibly one of the oldest traditions surrounding those four little words, yet many of us would assume it belongs in the past. However, these findings showed that the older generations are far less likely to follow this old-fashioned protocol, so what could have caused this tradition to re-emerge among younger men?

Times certainly have changed when it comes to marriage proposal traditions, and this handy infographic features a breakdown of all the statistics.


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