The Engagement Ring

My brother got married a few weeks ago to a woman he met at work. They dated for about a year until he proposed. The wedding date was set just a year and two months after the engagement.  Planning a wedding is a long and tiresome process for everyone involved. They say little girls dream about their big day and their husband-to-be, of their family and friends there to watch them walk down the isle in a white gown, of the life-long happiness that marriage is supposed to bring, right?

Admittedly, my adolescent daydreams were rarely ever about my future wedding. At 22 I have thought very little about the kind of wedding I would want to have, what kind of wedding gown to wear, the location of the ceremony, or what centerpieces would look like..etc. ¬†In some parts of the U.S., 22 is considered an average year to get married. I am thankful to live in the northeast where “early-marriages” are not necessarily coveted as first-jobs are more valued more than getting married.

When I sat down to think about interesting cultural practices in this country and others, I thought about the traditional wedding and how different aspects of getting married can be given different meaning. My brother’s year-long engagement reminded me how much of a financial investment a wedding is. Everything is expected to be high quality, or at-least look that way, with tons of guests and in fancy dresses, fine wine and gourmet food.

I am interested in focusing on the cultural practice of the engagement and the engagement ring, and the hype that surrounds it. For the purpose of the case-study paper, I will use cultural theorists to dissect the meaning and understand where it came from. I will address gender and societal roles, the influence of religion, and symbolism of a wedding.

I am looking forward to dong some research on the history of weddings and how culture can be represented through the wedding ceremony and practices.

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