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Genuflection: The Art Of The Marriage Proposal


Genuflection: The Art of The Marriage Proposal Bending down on one knee is a romantic and instantly recognizable gesture that has become a time-honored tradition. But did you ever wonder how the tradition started in the first place? The origin of this tradition has an interesting history. For some, this may make the idea of bending down on one knee even more appealing than before.

The act of bending at least one knee to the ground is known as genuflection. The custom of genuflection dates back to the 3rd century BC. It originated as a sign of respect and servitude towards a superior, common as a form of court etiquette. Many believe that the act of genuflection was introduced as a form of court etiquette by Alexander the Great around 300 BC.  


Throughout Medieval Europe, bending down on one knee before an individual of significant power or status was a sign of respect. Typically the person kneeling would remain in this position until told otherwise. Genuflection has and still plays a significant role in many religious practices.  

The word genuflection is derived from the Latin word ‘genuflectio’ which simply translates as ‘kneeling.’ Today, kneeling or bending down on one knee is commonly seen as a gesture symbolizing a marriage proposal. No one knows who the first man was to use this gesture in the form of a marriage proposal, but the act itself is undoubtedly romantic.

Genuflection or kneeling down on one knee before your significant other puts the person who is proposing in a vulnerable state. Being vulnerable is a reflection of the trusting relationship built between two people. Proposing on one knee is also romantic because of the level of respect and graciousness it symbolizes.

So before you choose to opt out of what you may initially consider cliché or too traditional, consider the meaning behind it and what it may mean to your significant other. If your future bride-to-be is fond of engagement and marriage traditions, then consider incorporating some traditional elements and making it ‘your own.’

Incorporating traditions does not necessarily mean you have to sacrifice creativity or modernity. It’s all about finding balance between traditions and personality.

The tradition behind bending down on one knee to propose is of course, accentuated and perfected with the right diamond engagement ring. Still searching for the perfect ring to suit the love of your life? Find your nearest Fletcher’s Jewelers location to see our selection of traditional and contemporary engagement rings, bridal sets and wedding bands. Our knowledgeable sales staff is always happy to help make your special occasion a memorable one! 


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