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5 Victorian Engagement Traditions đź’Ś

5 Victorian Engagement Traditions đź’Ś

A time of elegance, grace, and strict social codes: the Victorian era, spanning from 1837 to 1901, was a period where love and romance were both an art and a science. So, grab a cup of tea, settle into your favorite reading nook, and let's dive into the world of Victorian romance.

Though customs may have varied among classes and cultures, the Victorians were known for their particular social expectations — especially when it came to love and romance. Courtship was nothing short of a carefully choreographed dance, where every glance, every gesture, carried meaning.

With countless variations and some truly extravagant examples from the royal family, here are 5 unique Victorian period engagement traditions:

1. The Language of Fans and Flowers

In the Victorian era, fans were instruments of flirtation and secret communication. Women used fans to convey a variety of messages to their suitors. These subtle gestures allowed women to communicate their feelings discreetly, adding an element of mystery and intrigue to the courtship process.

During this time, flowers were used to communicate, known as floriography. Each flower had a specific meaning, and bouquets were carefully arranged to convey complex messages. For example, red roses symbolize deep love and passion while violets symbolize faithfulness and modesty. Receiving a bouquet was like receiving a coded love letter.

2. The Role of Chaperones

Balls, tea parties, and church events were prime opportunities for young people to meet under the watchful eyes of chaperones. Yes, you heard that right—chaperones! Privacy was a luxury not afforded to young lovers.

Victorians placed a great deal of importance on modesty which made for rather structured social relationships. The idea of "dating for fun" didn't quite exist, and it wasn't just the bride-to-be that suitors had to win over.

Court Ball in Vienna by Wilhelm Gause, 1900; Source - Wikimedia Commons

3. Courtship Letters

In an era without instant messaging and social media, letters were the primary means of private communication between lovers. These handwritten missives were cherished tokens, often kept for a lifetime.

Imagine waiting days, even weeks, for a letter from your beloved, the anticipation building with each passing day. When the letter finally arrived, it was so special, lover's thoughts and feelings poured onto paper.

Sealing wax was used to close letters, and each seal bore a unique design, often a family crest or personal insignia. Some lovers even pressed their lips to the seal, leaving an imprint of a kiss.

4. Elaborate Proposals and Engagement Rings

Proposals in the Victorian era were grand affairs, often involving elaborate preparations. The tradition of asking a young woman's father for his approval before proposing to her was alive and well during this time as was that of presenting a diamond engagement ring.

Diamonds were popular, but so were other gemstones like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. Victorian rings were often intricate and ornate, featuring detailed metalwork and delicate settings. Nature-inspired designs were particularly popular.

Marriage of Victoria and Albert by George Hayter, 1842

5. Wedding Gifts and Preparations

Victorian weddings were community events, involving not just the couple and their families but also friends, neighbors, and sometimes entire villages. The preparations were extensive, with every detail planned.

The bride's attire was one of the most anticipated aspects of the wedding. Queen Victoria herself set the trend for wearing white when she married Prince Albert in 1840. Gowns were elaborate creations, often featuring lace, silk, and intricate beadwork.

Tokens of Love

Unlike modern wedding day gifts exchanged between the bride and groom, love tokens were often exchanged throughout a couple's engagement in Victorian times. Lockets, brooches, and birthstone jewelry for the bride were especially popular.

As Victorian brides were showered with love tokens, they were often expected to prepare their wedding trousseau of things that would be vital in the  ir marriage, home, and family. This, of course, included finding a wedding band for her husband as well.

 

If you're looking for an engagement ring with a touch of history and elegance, consider choosing a Victorian design or Victorian-inspired. We offer a range of rings that capture the essence of this enchanting era. Whether you prefer intricate filigree work, colorful gemstones, or classic diamond solitaires, we have something to suit every taste.