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Getting Engaged: Cultural Traditions

Getting engaged is the first step in a lifelong journey. From rings and dowries to proposals and parties, explore these engagement traditions from around the world.

History of the Engagement Ring
Despite having dozens of shapes and cuts to choose from, most American brides continue to choose classic styles of engagement rings.

Mangagement Rings on the Rise
Although the practice is rare in the U.S., men around the world proudly wear engagement rings.

Should She Propose?
Despite the historic precedents, only 10 percent of American women have boldly taken the lead in the engagement ritual.

The Ideal Engagement Period
One of the first choices an engaged couple makes together is whether to postpone their nuptials or jump on the fast track to wedded bliss.

10 Perfect Places to Propose in South Africa
Since Wills proposed to Kate during a Kenyan safari, South Africa has become a popular destination for popping the question.

Jewish Engagement Customs
Rabbi Hyim Shafner discusses various Jewish engagement traditions, including the custom of the groom giving the bride a gift of jewelry.

Chinese Engagement Traditions
From betrothal gifts and dowries to fortune-teller consultations, Chinese couples have many engagement rituals to choose among.

The Ten Most Important Questions to Ask Before You Get Married
Discuss these thoughtful questions, assembled by About Marriage Guides Sheri & Bob Stritof, with your future spouse to ensure you hold the same values.

Who Throws a Lesbian Engagement Party?
Traditionally, the bride's family throws the engagement party. One or both of the mothers of a lesbian couple can host the engagement party.

Leap Year Proposals
When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day -- February 29 -- every four years.

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