The Sacrament of Marriage consists of two parts. The first part is the engagement in which a pledge is taken by mutual agreement of the marrying couple before marriage. According to that pledge, the future bride and groom promise to love each other, be faithful to one another and marry in the future.
The meaning of engagement is described in the "Book of Rituals" (Mashtots) as follows: "The engagement is the beginning of marriage. Like the tree that blossoms and gives fruit, the bride and the groom blossom by the engagement and then give fruit by marriage".
First the priest investigates the bride and the groom according to church canons to make sure that they have no spiritual or blood relationship. Then the symbols of the engagement - a ring, a bracelet, an earring, a red dress and a veil are put on a tray in front of the groom. In the Book of Rituals the meaning of these items is defined in the following way: "Putting the ring on the left ring finger which has a heart vein means that the bride loves the groom with her heart; the bracelet is fastened to her wrist which symbolizes that she is faithfully tied to her husband by the hand; the earrings mean that she listened with her ears and liked him with her heart". The round shape of the earring and ring symbolize unending agreement of the will and the heart. The red dress and the veil mean that the girl becomes a true bride for the groom she is being engaged to", Book of Rituals page 229.
Usually the ceremony of engagement is performed at the bride’s home but according to the Book of Rituals, it is to be conducted in the church. This tradition is observed in some areas.
The priest sings the hymn "With the most powerful sign", which is followed by the readings from Proverbs 9:12-18, Hosea 14:6-10, Galatians 4:27-31, Luke 1:26-38 and the prayer "God, Bless the marrying couple". Then the priest blesses the ring and puts it on the right ring finger of the bride. He also blesses the bride’s bracelet and earrings placing them on her wrist and ears. Then the priest recites the final prayer and blesses the couple and their family and friends.
9:12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it. 9:13 The foolish woman is loud; she is ignorant and knows nothing. 9:14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the high places of the town, 9:15 calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, 9:16 "You who are simple, turn in here!" And to those without sense she says, 9:17 "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." 9:18 But they do not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
14:6His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. 14:7 They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon. 14:8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your faithfulness comes from me. 14:9 Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.
4:27For it is written, "Rejoice, you childless one, you who bear no children, burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than the children of the one who is married."
4:28 Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. 4:29 But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 4:30 But what does the scripture say? "Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman." 4:31 So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.
1:26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 1:27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 1:28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 1:29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 1:30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 1:31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 1:33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." 1:34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 1:35 The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 1:36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God." 1:38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.