Collette Cameron here: I’m chatting about engagement customs, my newest release, and fabulous contests offering thousands in prizes!!
I just finished a Highlander novel where my hero gifted his sweetheart a Luckenbooth Brooch to mark their betrothal. The historical Scottish custom of presenting a heart-shaped pin rather than a ring isn’t as popular as it once was.
Today, the most common proposal physical symbol given around the world is a ring, quite often, a sparkly diamond.
The Archduke Maximillian of Austria is generally credited with the first diamond engagement ring when the romantic chap proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. Of course, back then, the rings weren’t called engagement rings, but rather betrothal rings.
However, the custom of a man claiming a female as his mate with a token of some sort dates much farther back than that, and around the world, some customs are … er, shall we say, quite unusual.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Cavemen tied braided grass around their sweeties’, wrists, ankles and waist. Clever fellows.
- The Romans gave their brides-to-be an iron band to wear on the 4th finger of her left hand, because they believed the vein in that finger connected directly with the
- In the 1700s, those staid Puritans gave their wife-to-be a thimble. After all a ring was a silly, useless thing. But those industrious women cut the top off and used the base as a ring anyway.
- Also during the 1700, posy rings were popular. These silver rings had poems engraved on them, and a during the wedding ceremony, a gold ring replaced them.
- The Victorians used human hair to spell out endearments, then embellished them with gems. Hmm, a little creepy.
- In the UK, an engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand, as opposed to the fourth finger in the US. I had no idea. Can anyone from the United Kingdom verify that for me?
- Both the bride and groom wear a ring on their left hands during the engagement period in Germany and Sweden. I didn’t know that either.
- The average cost of an engagement ring is … $5000. Hmm, I’ve been cheated.
I have a new release today too!
This is Book Baby #15!
Brette: Intentions Gone Astray, Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper, #3
He thought his adventures were over…
A rogue reluctantly turned rector, Alexander Hawksworth, prefers soirées to sermons and parties to prayers. Though impoverished, he seizes every opportunity to escape parish duties, preferring to hob nob with London’s finest–especially after the precocious and petite Brette Culpepper arrives in Town. Alex secretly fantasizing about claiming the breathtaking beauty as his very own, and when he unexpectedly inherits an earldom, he’s determined to make her his countess… Until he’s accused of murdering the previous earl.
Then she burst headlong into his life…
New to Society, Brette adores the whirlwind social scene, the stream of invitations… the slightly-sensual verbal sparring with the devilishly attractive, much too witty, and oh so unsuitable Mr. Hawksworth. But her fairy tale existence crashes to a halt when rumors circulate she’s a peer’s illegitimate granddaughter. Even though he’s left her a tidy inheritance, formerly hospitable doors slam in her face as a newly appointed guardian emerges, intent on stealing her wealth and forcing her to wed an elderly despot.
Time is against them as Alex struggles to clear his name and deliver the woman he loves from an unthinkable fate.
Here’s the proposal scene!
A half an hour later, having collected the ring from his chamber and carefully displayed the flowers and sweets on the tea table, Alex checked the clock near his head for the sixth or seventh time.
One arm braced against the mantel, he stared into the fire, the flames, almost hypnotic.
What delayed Brette?
She’d been the one to suggest fifteen minutes.
Had she changed her mind?
Maybe this was too overwhelming, too rushed.
If she regretted her impetuous proposal and didn’t come down, he’d forgive her. How could he not? His bruised heart wouldn’t soon recover, though, and he closed his eyes, mouthing a silent prayer that something else delayed her. Nevertheless, her happiness mattered above everything, and no matter what the future held, whether their paths intertwined or separated, Brette would forever be branded upon his spirit and heart.
Slowly, hesitant to face her, to hear what she might say, he raised his head.
A vision of loveliness stood silhouetted in the doorway, and his breathing stalled. She’d changed into a stunning periwinkle gown. A delicate blue rose garland encircled her hair, and dainty earrings hung from her shell-like ears.
“I’m sorry I’m late. I decided to change.” After closing the door, she floated further into the room.
Surly a positive sign. No chaperone and a firmly closed door
He held his arms wide. “Come here.”
She flew into his embrace, where she was meant to be, the sweetest of homecomings.
In his arms, for eternity.
He tilted her chin, and she closed her eyes. Their lips met in a kiss penetrating his inner-most being, fusing her soul with his. From the first moment he’d seen her, his spirit had recognized its mate.
Nuzzling her neck, relishing her little passionate sighs and gasps, he teased her. “So, minx, do you want my answer?”
She laughed and pointed at the crimson roses and sweetmeat assortment. “There’s my answer, I think.”
“No, not entirely.” Alex removed the ring from his little finger and folded to one knee. Holding one of her hands in his, he slipped the diamond onto her finger.
Holding up her hand, she admired the jewel. “It’s utterly breathtaking. Thank you.”
“Let me finish, darling, else I muck this up and ruin the moment.” He drew in a deep breath. Ought to have rehearsed this part more, but he’d give it a go, nevertheless.
“Brette Anastasia Wiliminia Culpepper, will you grant me a lifetime of overwhelming joy, happiness I don’t deserve—yet covet with my whole heart—and agree to take this humble, flawed man who loves you more than he loves his own life as your husband?”
She cupped his cheek, giving him a tender smile. “Are you going poetic on me, Alex? The effects of having been a cleric or a would-be actor?”
“Is it working?” Weren’t women supposed to get teary-eyed and say yes straightaway? Not tease and ask cheeky questions?
Brette kneeled before him and, cradling his face, pressed her soft, sweet mouth to his. “I never needed anything but to know you love me as much as I adore you. And that was why you wanted to marry me, not because you felt obligated. I’ve loved you since you descended from the carriage at Esherton Green, and I couldn’t tear my eyes from you. I intended to tell you that last night.”
“Ah, and I assumed you invited me to your bed.”
“Well, I was, rather, in a roundabout way.” Her throaty chuckle, more of a tantalizing purr, had him reconsidering his scruples.
Alex helped her stand then gathered her tempting form into his embrace. Contentment flooded him, warm and secure. He could remain like this for eternity. “Believe me, I’ve never wanted anything more, except to make you my wife, which I was determined to do before accepting so irresistible an invitation.”
“You haven’t answered my question, darling.” He nipped her lower lip. Could a clergyman be persuaded to perform the ceremony this afternoon?
“How’s this for an answer?” She stood on her toes, wrapped her slender arms about his neck, and kissed him with such tender reverence that tears stung behind his eyes. “Will that answer do, my dearest love?”
He swallowed and squeezed her tight. “That’ll do. Indeed. That’ll do.”
Don’t miss the 3rd installment of this witty and whimsical Regency series—purchase your copy of Brette: Intentions Gone Astray today!
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