Special Report

How Weddings Have Changed Over the Last Century

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1. Asking the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage

It was once not only a sign of respect to ask the intended bride’s father permission to marry his daughter, but also a necessity as fathers often made that decision. Times have changed considerably since women were “passed on” from the father to the husband. Still, even today, the tradition is considered respectful and is expected in some more traditional families and cultures.

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2. Diamond engagement rings

Before the 1940s, diamonds were not a popular engagement ring. A copywriter changed that with the De Beers slogan, “A Diamond Is Forever,” linking the stone with romance and increasing its value. Now, it’s hard to imagine that special moment without a diamond. But recently, with modern budgets and big carat trends, diamonds are not every girl’s best friend. It’s not uncommon for guys to propose with rings with other stones.

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3. Bride’s parents pay for the wedding

Traditionally, the bride’s parents were not only responsible for paying for the wedding, but also as the hosts of the reception they had a say in planning the celebration. The groom’s parents may have also paid for the reception of a larger ceremony in the past, but today, it’s more common for the couple to foot all or most of the bill. If parents from either side still want to help out, there are plenty of etiquette guides to help couples figure out who should pay for what.

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4. Save-the-date cards

With today’s hectic schedules and destination weddings, save-the-date cards are a rather new trend in weddings. Though they aren’t as formal as the actual wedding invitation, there are etiquette rules that must be followed with them — including sending them for any wedding that’s not a short engagement. Also, experts discourage sending only electronic versions, in case of spam filters and older relatives.

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5. Wedding planner

Weddings were once planned with the help of family, friends, or neighbors, but today, wedding planning has become a real business and job. The idea of a wedding planner came about when modern weddings turned into more extravagant events that needed a professional consultant. Today’s couples are willing to pay big bucks to hire one.