An engagement is a promise to marriage, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, betrothed, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and bridegrooms are often referred to as fiancées or fiancés respectively (from the French word fiancé). The duration of the courtship varies vastly. As a sample we can see Malay traditional engagement ceremony actually crystallizes the verbal agreement made during the previous Merisik process. The highlight of this traditional engagement ceremony will be the putting of the engagement ring on the fiance’s finger by the future mother-in law.
Long engagements were once common in formal arranged marriages and it was not uncommon for parents betrothing children to arrange such many years before the engaged couple were old enough to marry. In 2007, the average engagement time in Malay customs normally was 12 months and in the United States was 17 months, but the figure around the world would vary greatly depending on culture and customs.
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