Worldwide, it is accepted that one of the most romantic ways that someone can portray their love for their partner is to get down on one knee and propose. Which knee you get down on seems a little insignificant considering the grandeur of what you are about to do. However, it is an important detail nonetheless, and it is worth considering.
Marriage and getting engaged are very intense parts of our lives, and you may find yourself having envisioned it for a very long time, you may even have a whole fantasy played out. For many people, the art of engagement is a beautiful thing, and it is very important that it goes to plan, or at least mostly… you know, the important part.
We all know about the whole act of getting down on one knee, but we would bet that you have absolutely no idea which knee you are actually meant to get down on. So, which one is it, and why?
Why do we get on one knee to propose?
Before we tell you which knee you should be getting down on before proposing to the love of your life, let’s tell you why we do this, and where this tradition originated from. Some time ago proposals were business transactions, love just was not involved, and it was more of a negotiation between family representatives.
The odds are that if your ancestors got engaged before 1960, there was probably no bended knee, and the proposals were much more casual, maybe even while seated in a car. The whole act of getting down on one knee is actually more of a modern development.
The gesture of this act is actually associated with a few things; prayer, submission, deference, respect, and more. Although it means all these things, we would put a big wager on the fact that most people don’t react to a bended-knee proposal with these things but more ‘Dear god, finally!’
In gesture, you could probably relate the bended knee proposal to a medieval knight, getting on one knee to pledge allegiance, or when being knighted. Some would certainly view it as this, and this is why it does hold the connotations of respect and submission.
Which knee do you propose on?
So, let’s set the scene, you are looking forward to starting a new chapter in your life, you have the ring, you have built up the courage, now you need to declare your love for your partner.
Now, you propose, but which knee do you get down on? Well, … you get down on the left knee. Meaning, your left knee should be on the ground, and the right should be up. You should have the ring box in your left hand, and you should open it with your right.
Some people may get down on both knees to propose, but we aren’t quite sure how we feel about this. It looks a bit unusual, and it surely cannot be comfortable, also if your partner jumps on you out of joy, that could hurt. So, it’s better to keep it traditional, to look traditional and also save your knees.
With the tradition of holding the ring in the left hand, it is key to remember why we also wear wedding rings on the left hand too.
The vein in our left-hand ring finger goes straight to the heart unlike other fingers, so our left hand has a direct connection to our heart biologically. The left side of the body is often associated with love, and this finger in particular.
The Do’s and Don’t of a proposal
So, you are ready to propose, huh? Great! You now know which knee to get down on, and which hand you should hold the ring box in. While we are here, we should also give you a few tips on what to do and not to do before you propose to your dream partner.
- Get down on one knee.
- Make sure the proposal is a surprise.
- Talk to the parents of your partner, they may be able to help. (Although this is not always necessary, in some cultures it is mandatory though.)
- Ensure the engagement ring size is acceptable for you both.
- Choose the perfect place- if they like privacy or romance go with that, some people may perfect public settings. Talk to your partner’s friends, they might have an idea of what they would want if you are stuck for ideas.
- Don’t rush into things, do it when it feels right, and you feel ready.
- Don’t propose in a place that will cause a situation, unless they would prefer a busy place, it is best to steer clear of this.
- Avoid hiding the ring in food or drinks. There is nothing worse than finding out your partner was so hungry / thirsty that they accidentally swallowed the ring. Good luck explaining that one.
Alternatives to the Bended-knee proposal
We do not always have to get down on one knee to propose, sometimes couples can choose to take their proposal a whole new route. Not everyone has the equal access to being the subject of admiration, love, and romance, and those who can choose to accept or reject today’s social norms.
LGBTQIA+ couples are some of the most inventive when it comes to breaking the norms and proposing in creative ways. However, heterosexual couples are also taking things into their own hands and breaking away from tradition.
If a couple are avid fans of Disney, you could take a trip to Disneyland and propose on a ride (maybe not a rollercoaster, though). If a couple loves scuba-diving, what about an underwater proposal? The sky’s the limit (an astronaut proposal maybe?) so you have every right to be as creative as you want to be.
You don’t need to get down on one knee if you don’t feel it works for you, as long as you are both ready and the proposal is something that will make you both happy, choose your style and setting, the possibilities are endless!