It used to be that when an Igor and an Igorina got married (or an Igor and an Igor, or an Igorina and an Igorina)[*], the custom was that the two would give each other their hearts.
A marriage ceremony for Igors was open heart surgery, and often went on for hours as the switch was made. Naturally, the most skilled Igor heart surgeons came to be highly in demand as officiants of weddings.
Of course, open heart surgery is a bit risky, even for Igors. And there was always the danger than an unscrupulous officiant – or bride or groom – would make off with one or both of the hearts. After a high-profile case in Überwald where a jealous third party paid off the officiant to switch his (the third party’s) heart with the bride’s and to leave the groom’s in place, the tradition began to fall out of favor.
Instead, with the rise of DIY weddings, Igors and Igorinas took matters into their own hands, so to speak. They cut out the middleman, and began the new tradition of giving their hand in marriage.
Nowadays, an Igor wedding is still a surgery. Each member of the couple removes their left hand. Working together, they will stitch one hand and then the other onto the respective arms of their loved one. While normally neatness of stitches and regularity of spacing are much prized by the Igors, it is considered a mark of passion to be so distracted by one’s partner’s eyes (occasionally but infrequently also exchanged) that the stitching looks like the work of a novice or child. Indeed, sloppy stitching is often the only sign apparent to outsiders that the Igor in question is married.
As many outsiders do not appreciate this custom, they take the irregular stitching as a sign of inferior skills. For this reason, many of the top Igor surgeons find that their non-emergency practice with other races drops off considerably after marriage. Igors consider this well worth the tradeoff. It is the ultimate act of trust to give up the hand that plays such a prominent part in an Igor’s livelihood.
In spite of the occasional passionate lover who continues to make a literal gift of their heart to their partner, everyone agrees that the new tradition of giving their hand in marriage is much preferable. Igors are a practical race, after all. Hearts can break; hearts can stop. A healing hand can start a stopped heart, can restore hope to a despairing soul, can sew up the wounds left by slings and arrows. A loving touch can overcome years of heartbreak and abuse. Igors know that hands are as powerful instruments of love as hearts are. By giving their hand in marriage, an Igor signals that love is more than just something one feels in their heart. Love is something an Igor does, actively: touching and shaping and uniting and sharing, hand to hand and heart to heart.
[*] Natal sex does not always matter to Igors the way it does to humans, especially given the way that physical parts can be easily removed and traded.