Answers on the subject of engagement and the most important of all questions
When two people can no longer imagine themselves without the other, then sooner or later they usually want to enter into the covenant of marriage. Many couples promise a wedding with a previous engagement. The marriage proposal marks the beginning of the engagement time. That is why this moment is usually designed to be particularly romantic and meaningful in order to remind the couple in love of the day of their engagement forever.
But if you intend to ask the big question, you should not only know your partner well beforehand, but also be informed about the meaning, the preparations, the process and the legal consequences of an engagement. You will then receive the answers to the most important questions about engagement:
Questions about the legal situation and significance of an engagement
We often find an engagement very romantic and less aware of the legal implications. But if you want to make such a promise, you should also know these aspects of a marriage proposal. In the following you will learn everything about the meaning, tradition and legal position of an engagement:
What was the meaning of an engagement in the past?
It used to be common for the man to ask for the bride's hand. Until well into the 19th century, women had little say in who was going to get engaged to them. At that time, the so-called "bride purchase" was practiced, which the future groom or his parents negotiated with the bride's parents. As a result of this tradition, men still often ask their in-laws for the hand of their loved ones, with their consent.
The traditional engagement was thus also a promise to the bride's family to marry her - and vice versa, the woman's consent to this promise (even if at the time sometimes involuntary). That was mainly due to financial reasons. Associated with this was the possibility to sue for "wreath money" if the two fiancés had already slept together and the man broke off the engagement. In a very religious society, where the virginity of the bride mattered, such a story severely damaged the woman's reputation.
But the story of the engagement has changed. Nevertheless, the importance now as then lies in the mutual promise to marry one another. Today women can of course also propose marriage themselves.
What are the legal consequences of an engagement?
First of all, besides all romance, an engagement is a contract: This includes the promise of marriage. With mutual consent, this contract is sealed, even if there are often no witnesses for it. Registration at the registry office is of course easier to prove - from a purely legal point of view, however, the moment you say yes is the start of an engagement. However, you cannot legally enforce this promise from your partner, after all, nobody can be forced to marry if he or she has decided otherwise.
With the engagement, your legal status with regard to your partner changes: From now on, the so-called right to refuse to testify applies in court. This means that you can refuse to testify about an act of your fiancé because you are biased. In terms of inheritance law, nothing changes initially if something should happen to your partner. You are only entitled to inheritance when you marry. It is also important for many couples to know that as a fiancé you do not automatically have a right to information in the hospital. For this you have to issue an extra health care proxy for your partner.
How old do I have to be when I get engaged?
If you are both of legal age, then the "yes" is enough to make your engagement legally valid. Parents must agree to minors. However, you are only allowed to marry when the age of marriage has been reached, namely on your eighteenth birthday. Exceptions apply if one of the two partners is of legal age and the family court approves the marriage.
Can i get engaged if i'm divorced?
Anyone who has already been married has to be divorced by the time the new engagement takes place, everything else is immoral. In Germany it is not legally possible to have several marriages at the same time.
Can I break / withdraw / cancel an engagement?
Yes, either of the partners can break off the engagement. As already mentioned, the other side then has no right to sue for the marriage. However, there may be claims for damages. These mostly concern gifts already received for engagement or joint investments, e.g. a new house. Accordingly, these requirements can also be high. It is not only important who cancels the engagement, but why. If the betrothed person is the trigger for the separation, for example because he has cheated on, he must pay the partner's claim for damages. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the claim is justified.
What is the difference between an engagement and a marriage proposal?
The marriage proposal represents the beginning of the engagement. It is therefore only a prelude to a longer period in which the two partners work towards their joint wedding, for example making preparations for the big celebration. The legal marriage promise is sealed as soon as both partners have agreed to the engagement. It doesn't matter whether a wedding date has already been set or not.
Questions about the preparations for your engagement
Are you sure that you want to spend the happy and the less beautiful days of your life with your partner? Then it is time to think about the concrete planning of your marriage proposal. So that this moment becomes something very special, you should make a few thoughts in advance. We answer the most important questions that may arise as you prepare for your engagement:
When is the right time to get engaged?
There's no rule how long you should be a couple before you get engaged. Some are sure of this very quickly, others get to know each other over many years - some even decades before they take the big step towards marriage. The right time to get engaged is when you know you want to grow old with your partner.
But when should you make the marriage proposal? That too can be very different. Of course, there are holidays in which there is a good mood, e.g. Christmas or birthdays. Your anniversary together can also be a particularly beautiful time for the engagement. The right moment is often defined by the opportunity: For example, when you are on vacation or spending a relaxing weekend together.
How long can you be engaged?
It used to be a social stipulation that the engagement period should not last longer than a year. Today this is handled very variably, depending on how long you as a couple want to take your time. Of course, an engagement is the advance notice of your wedding, but no one stipulates that it should take place within a certain time frame. Strictly speaking, it could only become a reality decades later. However, most couples (80%) opt for a period between three months and a year.
Where can I get engaged?
Pick a very special place for your marriage proposal. You should feel comfortable there or have shared memories that your partner immediately thinks of. Is there a place where you met? Or maybe a romantic passage that you both particularly like? Then this is the perfect place for your big question. Many applications also take place at home, because there you have the opportunity to prepare everything perfectly. Otherwise, for example, the relaxed atmosphere of a vacation is very popular as a way to get engaged.
Should I give an engagement present?
You can give your partner something for engagement. However, this is not a must, but rather additional attention. Popular gifts are, for example, trips together such as a romantic weekend or small personal items. These can be handcrafted, consist of old memorabilia or get a personal touch with a card. This little encore will remind your partner of this beautiful moment forever. It is not about material value, but about symbolism. However, many fiancés see this symbolic moment in exchanging engagement rings that seals their promise.
Can you get engaged in church?
The engagement of two people is already discussed in the Bible. In both the Old and the New Testament there are those preliminary stages to marriage, the binding nature of which is particularly important in Christianity. Those who want to get engaged in church can have their rings blessed during a church service. The pastor performs this ceremony after consultation with the fiancé and thus obtains God's blessing for the couple.
For those who live their faith, the church engagement ceremony offers the opportunity to express their love before God. Most of the time, the ceremony takes place a few days after the marriage proposal. You can ask your local pastor about the exact process. There are differences depending on the Christian denomination, but the blessing of the rings is part of the engagement ceremony in both Catholic and Protestant services.
What is the right engagement ring?
The first question you should ask yourself when getting engaged is: do you want one ring for the bride or two rings for both of you? Both are possible and also have to do with whether you might want to wear your engagement rings later as wedding rings. Classically, the engagement ring is set with a diamond, which stands for eternal love as well as unity, strength and purity. Whether you choose a solitaire according to tradition, i.e. a single diamond with a brilliant cut, or whether you choose several stones or a simpler variant without stones, is up to your personal taste.
The next big question for the engagement ring is: what material should it be? From yellow gold, white gold, rose or red gold, to platinum or palladium to silver, everything is possible.
At AURONIA you will find a large selection of engagement rings , which you can marvel at from all sides thanks to our ring configurator and even design them yourself. This is how you can choose the perfect engagement ring for your loved one. Then you have to think about whether you want to have your rings engraved. A mutual promise, the date you got to know each other or your engagement, the name of your partner - there are numerous ideas for romantic engravings. In this way your engagement rings become even more personal and testify to your very own love story.
Who will buy the engagement rings?
You can of course choose the rings together - but the best surprise is when the person proposing has already bought the rings. Traditionally, that was the groom's job - nowadays women can also choose the rings. Accordingly, you should either agree among yourself on the payment of the rings or they should be your engagement gift to your partner. It is important to know the other person's tastes well.
Can I get engaged as a same-sex couple?
Of course, you can also get engaged as a homosexual couple. Since marriage was opened to everyone in 2017, marriage has also been possible before the legislature - previously there was only a registered partnership. Thus, same-sex couples are subject to the same legal provisions in relation to engagement - it is the promise of a future marriage.
Questions about the process of an engagement
Everything is planned and you can hardly hold back the nervousness before the big engagement day. In order not to go wrong, you need more information about the process of an engagement. Here are the answers to the most important question in your life:
How do I get engaged properly?
You already know where, but the how is still a headache. The easiest way to answer the question of how to get engaged properly can be as follows: The way you feel most comfortable. Of course there are some societal ideas about how a marriage proposal should work, but ultimately everything is your individual decision. It starts with the question of whether you have to ask the bride's parents or father for permission beforehand. No, you don't have to do that anymore. But: Of course, it can still be a nice gesture that will please most in-laws. So you can't go wrong with that.
So how do you ask the right question about engagement? One tip is: if you're very excited, just keep it simple. The specific question "Do you want to marry me?" should not be missing, otherwise your request can be a declaration of love to your partner, in which you explain why you want to spend your life with him / her. You can find more tips on the perfect marriage proposal in our guide .
The classic knee-fall is still very popular with marriage proposals - but you can also do without it. The same applies to everything to do with an engagement: roses, champagne or decorations are always a matter of taste. Of course, these things are romantic symbols, but the main thing is that they suit you. If you design your engagement place in such a way that you both like it and make your proposal as authentic as possible, then the best way to show your partner how much you love them and how well you know them. So that nothing goes wrong, we give you tips in our guide on what you should definitely avoid .
What does a typical engagement look like in other countries or cultures?
Andere Länder, andere Sitten - auch bei Verlobungen haben unterschiedliche Kulturen und Religionen unterschiedliche Traditionen.
Verlobung auf Türkisch
For example, if you have a Turkish partner, you should know exactly which rituals belong to the engagement there. In Turkey, the permit visit to the parents is even more important than it is to us. In the so-called "Kiz isteme", the groom's family visits the bride's. Small, nasty customs (like adding salt, spices or lemon to the fiance's coffee) are part of it. For the "Söz kesme", the promise, another family reunion takes place, at which the rings are put on the fingers of the fiancé. These are connected with a red silk cord, which is symbolically cut for the engagement. Finally, an engagement party ("Nisan") takes place in Turkey, to which the bride's family invites. At the exuberant celebration there is usually a big cake.
Engagement in American
An American engagement is very similar to our European one. However, it is still customary here for the groom to secretly obtain the consent of his future in-laws beforehand. The custom of two engagement rings is less common in the USA - most of the time, the bride is given a diamond ring on her engagement. Otherwise, the engagement party is rather small - the big party only takes place on the wedding day.
Engagement in Judaism
According to the Torah, a Jewish wedding consists of two parts: the engagement, "Kiddushin", and the actual marriage, "Nisu'in". Religious Jews celebrate both ceremonies under the chuppah, the traditional wedding canopy. The engagement period begins as soon as the groom has put the ring on his bride's finger. Here, too, the engagement is seen as a promise. Originally the Torah spoke of a money transaction to the bride with which the engagement should be sealed. Today the ring is a symbol of a common marriage wish.
Engagement in Islam
Islam also has an engagement period that follows the groom's proposal. In this, the two weddings should get to know each other better and are allowed to meet publicly. Here the consent of the parents is still an important part of the tradition. The betrothed do not exchange rings, as is customary in Christian tradition, but rather sign a marriage contract. This engagement, called "Kateb Kteb", excludes sexual contact between the partners - both still live with their parents. Only after marriage is sexual intercourse with strict Muslims allowed. Similar to Christianity, however, this tradition is interpreted in different ways.
Questions about the time after the engagement
You prepared everything perfectly and then asked the big question - now you are engaged. But after the marriage proposal is before the wedding, new questions arise about the engagement party, the announcement and wearing of the ring. We know the answers about the time after the engagement:
On which finger is the engagement ring worn?
In Germany, the engagement ring is usually worn on the left hand to distinguish it from the wedding ring on the ring finger of the right hand. However, this is not an obligation, just a Central European custom. In other countries it is very different: See also The perfect ring for your marriage proposal .
It is best if you make the decision on which hand you want to wear the engagement ring together. Different questions can play a role, such as: Are you left-handed? Do you plan to keep wearing the engagement ring after the wedding? Do you want others to recognize you as "engaged"? And much more. But one thing should be clear to you: You have to clarify the question of the finger before you buy a ring, because it should fit perfectly.
What does a perfect engagement party look like?
If you want to share the big moment with your loved one, you can hold an engagement party. This can either take place on a small scale, for example at a meal with your parents, or you can celebrate a big party and invite other relatives and friends to join. Then everything is conceivable, from a barbecue party in the garden to a chic meal in the restaurant to a real celebration in the hotel.
After the wedding proposal, you can send out the invitations for the engagement party - or you can personally announce the good news to your closest relatives. You should have taken care of a location beforehand. Flowers and decorations naturally also play a major role at an engagement party. But don't forget that the actual wedding is still ahead. How lavishly you want to make the celebration is entirely up to you. The costs should be included in the calculation for your wedding. Perhaps you can have your parents sponsor the engagement party, or you would like it as a preferred wedding present. Either way, an engagement is the best reason to celebrate.
How do we announce our engagement?
When announcing an engagement, it should always be clear to whom you are telling the good news: When it comes to your family and closest friends, it is best to deliver the good news in person. This is how they can best rejoice with you. You can do that right after the engagement.
If you like it more official, you can post a newspaper advertisement afterwards. Today, however, this medium is largely being replaced by social networks. The same applies here: Always remember who can see your mail. If you don't want everyone to know about the engagement, posting online is difficult. Another way to announce your engagement is by mailing out cards.
Or do you love surprises? Then wait until your engagement party with the news and don't tell the guests why they are invited. Certainly many will speculate beforehand why the celebration is taking place, but if you keep your silence the surprise effect is still great.
Do I have to inform my employer about the engagement?
Fiancées keep asking themselves if you need to tell your employer about it. You have no legal obligation to do so. However, such a notification can be necessary for two reasons: First, if you are planning your honeymoon and want to take a vacation for it. Second, if you change your name or dates at the wedding and you have to tell your employer's HR department. Accordingly, your colleagues and the boss shouldn't be the first to inform you of your engagement - but they shouldn't be completely forgotten either. The exact timing is your free decision.
Can I keep our engagement a secret?
Of course, you can also keep your engagement a secret. This can be difficult, but it can be done until the actual marriage. In this case you should consider whether it is appropriate to wear a ring. In addition to the legal aspect of a mutual promise, an engagement always has an official part: The engaged couple announces to society that they will get married. It is therefore rather unusual to keep the engagement a secret. Should you decide to do this for private reasons, then it is important to coordinate well with your partner. Also, keep in mind that getting engaged to someone who is still married is not legally possible.
No matter how long your engagement period lasts, you have now made a promise to each other. Even in times when it is no longer a problem to break off an engagement, you should not underestimate this. Perhaps the romance of the question of whether you want to spend your life with someone in our time lies precisely in the fact that we do not have to get married for social or financial reasons. So the only reason to be engaged is love. semi formal dress