Last Updated on 06/03/2020 by Wit Sudjaiampun
Last Updated on 25/01/2020 by Above Diamond
Who Buys the Man’s Wedding Ring? Etiquette Guide
An engagement ceremony or a betrothal nowadays are often integrated into the wedding ceremony, making many steps and processes change from according to the times. The combination of the proposal of the engagement ceremony, the wedding parade, the barring of the groom from the bride, the bride price negotiation and inspection are all mixed into the engagement ceremony.
This is why some lovers may choose to host “only the engagement ceremony”, and so confusion ensues. There are many questions that require time to find detailed information.
The main questions from the bride, who is often in charge of the ceremonies, will be about the necessities they need to prepare for the engagement ceremony, especially the valuable bride price and engagement ring which needs to be clearly accepted by both sides.
The organizers will lose a lot of time searching for the answers – what are the things that are required only for the engagement ring ceremony, and what things are for a wedding ceremony.
As for the answer to the question above, in an engagement only ceremony – Who buys the man’s wedding ring?
If the ceremony is set according to Thai traditions, the answer is simply “No one”.
Because in Thai traditions, an engagement is when the groom brings gifts to the elders of the bride’s side as an insurance and engagement to the bride. Before the wedding ceremony, there will be an accessory for the bride to wear such as bracelets, breast chains, or other valuable jewelry.
And so, there is no need for a ring to be given to the groom.
As for the exchanging of rings between the bride and the room in general weddings, it is a Western tradition which is popular with the lovers of this present generation. It is an integration of the ring exchange from the Western Churches with the Thai engagement ceremonies.
Then, which traditions should we stick to in an engagement only ceremony?
I think to answer this, we must look at the meaning and importance of setting a Thai engagement party as well as the order of events and the equipment used in an engagement ceremony. Once we understand this, we can then decide which traditions will best suit your engagement party.
Why Must There Be an Engagement Ceremony Before a Wedding?
In ancient Thai traditions, it was the norm for 2 families to match their children before the marrying age. There will be a negotiation from the elders of both families, if their thoughts match – the groom’s elders will organize to build a house to receive the bride.
Because the wait for the house is long, an engagement ceremony is created – as an insurance to the bride’s family that the marriage will happen as agreed upon after the house is finished.
Nowadays, for the convenience of both the hosts and the guests, the engagement ceremony has been merged with the wedding ceremony as mentioned above. Not only does this reduce the costs of organizing the ceremonies, but it also saves time as it is only a morning and evening ceremony.
Read more: A wedding checklist every couple should have
But for lovers who want to host just the engagement ceremony, it may be confusing to which part of the ceremony is the engagement and which is the wedding. Especially if the bride is organizing the ceremony alone. Therefore, in our next section, we will tell you in detail the steps and the necessities you need to prepare.
What Is the Order of Ceremony for an Engagement?
As for an engagement only ceremony, the steps are quite simple. The groom must find the elders to negotiate the proposal, then they must decide an auspicious date to bring over the bride price to the bride’s family. This could be done as a private meeting between two families, or it could be done similarly to a wedding with other guests could be invited as well.
- The elders of the groom will propose to the bride’s family, stating the bride price they have brought.
- The elders of the bride accept the proposal and engagement gifts.
- The groom puts on the engagement ring on the bride. The engagement ceremony is done.
After the ceremony, the bride’s side may have a thank-you feast to welcome the elders of the groom and the guests. Usually, the elders selected will be married partners who have never divorced as they represent good omen and fortune to the engaged couple.
The crucial difference between an engagement only ceremony and a wedding ceremony is that there will be no counting of the bride price. Usually, the bride price will come in the form of gold or diamond jewelry for the bride to wear on her wedding day as well as money or gold as negotiated before the event.
Furthermore, an engagement only ceremony is usually arranged between the families, and so there is no need to count the bride price as they do in a wedding ceremony.
Necessities of an Engagement Ceremony
- The bride price as agreed upon by both families.
- Gold or diamond jewelry, nowadays a diamond ring is the norm.
- 2 bowls of gifts from the groom’s family – the bowl could be silver, gold, or brass. Each bowl will contain different items as follows.
- 4 or 8 raw betel nuts with the bottom sliced off and smeared with red lime.
- 4 or 8 betel leaves with the stems cut off. Red lime is dotted on each leaf. It is placed around the bowl.
- Silver, gold, bride price, and the engagement jewelry are placed in this bowl.
- The bowl is cushioned with 3 sacred plant leaves.
- Separate green beans, unmilled rice, black sesame seeds and popped rice into separate gold and silver pouches.
After that find laced or see-through cloth to cover both bowls, as a symbol of insurance. If any sides withdraw and break the engagement, the other can take these bowls as their own.
Take notice of how the bowls used for this ceremony will have no parade, no bowl of sweets, no banana tree plant, no sugar cane, and no barring the groom from the bride as they usually appear at a wedding ceremony.
The Meaning of Each Item in the Bowl
If you pay attention to the details, you could guess that every tradition in Thailand has its origins and meanings. From the proposal and the negotiation that came with the values and culture of ancient Thais to the things which are brought to the ceremony – nothing is brought in “just to make it look pretty”.
This goes for the things put into the engagement bowls as well. Every aspect of it has meaning and is filled with the belief that they will bring good fortune to the engaged couple. They mainly symbolize growth, ease of life, and happiness in love. If they were to be explained one by one, they would be as follows:
Raw Betel Nuts and Betel Leaves
Betel nuts and leaves were used as welcoming refreshments, similar to tea, for ancient Thais. They are beautifully decorated to show the skills of the women of that family.
But in the case that the betel nuts and leaves are brought in an engagement bowl to the bride, it is an act to show humility and respect towards the parents of the bride. They are used as a tribute to show that they want to propose to the bride.
The red lime that is applied onto the betel nut and leaves is a special symbol unique to the engagement bowl because in the wedding bowl the contents will be made up of raw betel nut and the beautiful philodendron which are not applied with red lime.
As for the number of the betel nuts and leaves, they are usually organized to be the number 4 or 8 as they symbolize an act of growth – they are used as a sign for newly engaged couples who are on their way to build a family according to Thai traditions.
3 Sacred Leaves
In the second engagement bowl, a layer of cushion is made up of the 3 sacred leaves as a symbol of the protection of the family. These three sacred leaves are often used in a sacred ceremony, especially Buddhist ceremonies such as the making of the Buddhist sacred water and the housewarming ceremony.
This is how the belief of planting these three sacred plants came to be. These leaves will bring good fortune, wealth, and many treasures as well as the sacred property to drive away bad spirits and bring peace and happiness to those under the household.
Green Beans, Unmilled Rice, Black Sesame Seeds, and Popped Rice
Because in the past, Thailand was made up of agricultural societies and so rice became the symbol of status, growth, and wealth. This is why they are often used to perform sacred ceremonies.
The same goes for these grains – they all refer to abundance. It is a wish that insinuates that the newly engaged couple who are on their way to build a family will have many offsprings, similar to the grains inside the bowl.
Engagement Rings – From Thai Culture To Western Values
As for the importance of the engagement ceremony that caused me to write this article – if you have read the meaning of the engagement ceremony to this point of the article, you will probably have an understanding of how the engagement ring in Thai culture differs from Western traditions.
Eastern cultures often give more privilege to the men because of their duty to lead the family, bring in wealth, and protect the household. The engagement ring in Thai traditions acts as a mark that the bride is his.
Whilst in Western cultures, the engagement ring is used to lay claim to the bride as well with the difference being that the ceremony is held under the presence of a brief as a promise that they will love only each other until the day they pass.
The bride and the groom will both have to prepare rings to exchange with their vows to be said in front of all the guests of the ceremony.
And so, if you choose to merge the Thai engagement only ceremony with the Western tradition of exchanging rings which is highly popular nowadays – the bride will also have to bring an engagement ring to be exchanged with the groom’s ring.
As you may have guessed, in your engagement ceremony you could either choose to organize a purely Thai ceremony or you could mix in Western values as well. If you have any questions regarding the selection of an engagement ring, or if you want to order a custom wedding ring – we will gratefully welcome you to consult our diamond experts right now.
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