It is important to note that many of these mainstream rituals were strictly confined to heterosexual dating.
In the early days of dating, many LGBT couples had to keep their relationships a secret for fear of being public stigmatized.
For this reason, the history of dating tends to be quite different for the LGBT population.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, men "called upon" young women whom they fancied by (with the permission of her parents) visiting her home.
Back then, a woman literally belonged to her father or husband. Marriage was a business arrangement that two men would make, their bargaining chips being their sons' inheritance and their daughters' dowries. Also, bigger towns and more spacious settlements meant it was harder to keep track of people's private affairs with their privates. Society wasn't really upset that the girls were pregnant, as long as they got married to the father.
They had something called "laws of coverture" which prohibited a married woman from owning property, even if it was hers before the marriage. The goal was to marry wealth and property together; the people were incidental. So now that neither parents nor fear of death were choosing spouses, young people began to do it themselves. But not all men were that honorable, especially since the towns were now drawing in unsupervised, strange men to work in seaports and industry.
The man plowed things and kept threats of attack at bay.
The two would spend time together, usually with the supervision of her parents so that they may get to know each other on an intellectual and emotional level.
The couple was rarely left alone, making sexual intimacy (and physical contact in general) nearly impossible.
However, as mass media became more prevalent, modern courtship rituals changed from local customs to widespread norms. Burzmato put it, the "higher authority" of dating advice columnists in newspapers and magazines changed the way young people perceived courtship.
Birth control was another factor that changed the process of marriage.