During the Victorian Era (1837-1901), romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courting became even more formal - almost an art form among the upper classes.
An interested gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation.
They cordially greet the young man then retreat through the door, leaving it slightly ajar.
The young lady seats herself and the young man picks up the bouquet, clears his throat and … As he reaches to pick up the box, he remembers that his tie is still askew and he tries to fix it, dropping the bouquet in the process. Testing his slapstick comedy act for the local drama club?
One of the early writers to date this way was Dionysius Exiguus, a monk who, in 525 A. Terms referring to this "before" varied all the way through the 18th century.