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Friday, September 10, 2010

#83: "Umm. Wow, how...unique." (And other responses to our non-traditional wedding rings)

                                    Our wedding rings!

The rumors are true: the wedding band that I chose is a teeny tiny brushed gold heart ring that looks like it could be purchased for 25 cents from a vending machine that also sells stickers and temporary tattoos of Miley Cyrus. Brian's is an official gold replica of the "One Ring" from Lord of the Rings, right down to the Elvish inscription along the outside and inside of the band. And we're damn proud of it.

One liberating lesson I've learned from wedding planning is that you don't need to have a traditional approach to traditions. Wearing rings to symbolize our commitment was a meaningful tradition for us, but we also saw the rings as everyday accessories that would be worn when working, when shopping for dandruff shampoo, when tickling our niece and nephew's tiny butts off, when Brian is playing laser tag with friends (yes, some 30-year-olds play laser tag), and when I'm chillin' with nuns at silent retreats (yes, some 30-year-olds chill with nuns in contemplative silence for 3 days - by choice!).

Therefore, we wanted rings that suited our lifestyle, reflected our values, and didn't clash with our everyday wardrobes. (We had a similar approach to our wedding reception - we wanted the party to be "us" not a fancy version of us.)

My wedding ring choice was affected by the fact that I didn't receive a typical engagement ring. I do not own the latter because:
  • I didn't want a diamond
  • I couldn't afford a high quality synthetic diamond (like moissanite)
  • I couldn't find an antique non-diamond ring that I liked or that we could afford
  • Brian has known for years that he would give his wife-to-be the 50th anniversary band he inherited from his late grandmother as an engagement ring.
So my wedding ring had high standards to live up to. It was to be the one ring I got to choose - not one that was given to me based on someone else's preference or budget (although I do love Grandma's ring for sentimental reasons). I was looking for a piece of jewelry that moved me to quietly squeal a little bit when no one was around.

Back when I was deciding between my gold heart ring and a more traditional one, I put up a survey on Facebook to get my friends' opinions. The question was: Should I get the ring that's very "me" as I am now, or should I get a pretty but less exciting one that I can grow into as I age? The votes were even, but the comment that pushed me toward my unconventional choice was this: "Go with the traditional ring because you might want to leave it to a daughter or granddaughter as part of your inheritance."

I've got no problem with friends talking about my own impending death on Facebook. But I DO have a problem with buying jewelry with the intention of making someone else's happiness a priority over mine. Especially if this person is a mere glimmer in my husband's eye (or a swimmer in my husband's gene pool). Wedding planning involves taking other's happiness into some consideration because you're a host, after all. But the wedding ring? Ain't nobody gotta love it but me.

I want to wear a piece of jewelry that I love NOW, not something that I might potentially love when I'm 65. Because if I truly love it now for all the right reasons (it's cute 'n casual, it's made by a very ethically kick-ass local artisan who has an eco-friendly and spiritual approach to jewelry making, it's under $300, and it matches pretty much ALL of my outfits), then I will love it when I'm my grandkids' favorite wrinkly little Bingo player. Why? Because you never regret choices that are a true reflection of your values. It's called shopping with integrity, which never goes out of style (even when/ if my wedding ring does).

                                It doesn't get more "me" than this, folks.


  1. Yes! It's *your* ring, damn it!

    Plus, if you ever decide you want another one, you guys can just renew your vows/have it blessed/whatever. Who says you only have to one your entire life? Maybe it works for some people, but not always.

  2. Yup, I have no problem buying a second ring in the future, perhaps for our anniversary. Especially since this one was so affordable. Thinking of it that way took the pressure off, too, because you don't have to rely on one item satisfying all your needs forever and ever.

  3. i love that little heart ring.

    i had the same idea going on with my engagement ring. i really could have just rolled up a piece of tin foil and called it a day. but josh and i talked about it and i wanted something classic to pass down.

    but when it came time to find a wedding band, i decided i wanted something more "me." so the simple, gold band route i went.

    good for you in following that gut.

    and yes, when we're old and our taste has changed, we can totally buy a second ring.... if we want to ;)

  4. Have you watched the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on HBO? There is an episode where Precious chooses her engagement ring and picks a tiny heart with an itty bitty diamond and then has to defend it to everyone. It's a fantastic episode that you might want to check out.

    I like your ring.

  5. You are you. I especially love your last two sentences. Very well said. A mantra we should all live by.

  6. Because you never regret choices that are a true reflection of your values. It's called shopping with integrity, which never goes out of style (even when/ if my wedding ring does).

    YES!!! Exactly!

    I went with sapphires in a celtic setting (for engagement and wedding ring), and when people see my engagement ring I constantly feel like I have to explain myself because it's not the traditional diamond.

  7. My husband and I also chose less-traditional rings. I have a sterling-silver infinity band that I had to order (for less than $100) from Ireland, and he has a titanium band that has the infinity symbol inscribed on the outside. Both of us have heard snarky/rude/clueless questions about why our rings aren't gold/platinum (because I don't have the money to spend on jewelry for two forgetful, clumsy people!), or why I don't have some bling on mine, or whatevs. But I love our rings SO MUCH, and when we found them even the hubs gave a double-thumbs-up. I love wearing it, looking at it and knowing that that symbol of infinity is what it's all about.

    Props to you for going with your gut and finding something that screams YOU without succumbing to peer pressure. Sometimes it's so hard to separate what you want from what others imply you *must* want. :)

  8. Thanks for the support, ladies.

    And yay! to all of us who LOVE our unique choices.

    @ irisa and Tree- Your rings sound amazing. You know what you like, and you know what feels right for your lifestyle.

    When my parents first saw my ring they laughed. Yup, I said laughed. Mostly because my ring is even tinier and more subtle in person than in the photos above. But what ended up happening was that it only took a few moments for them to see it on my hand and realize that it's very "Kim". They started laughing (again) because they got a kick out of how unique and perfect it was for me.

    People express shock and disapproval with unique wedding choices simply because they've never encountered such a thing before. So I tried not to fly off the handle when people reacted to my plans. But I think that the more we all *proudly* and *happily* and display our uniqueness (lovingly gazing out our Lord of the Rings wedding band while others chuckle, for example), the more people will come around to diversity in wedding world.

  9. That ring is adorable! It's a little creepy to buy things to be inherited. But, as someone who has recently inherited family jewelry, I can tell you that your progeny may love it because it is so _you_ and they loved you. Or they might clip off the gold heart and make it into a necklace. Who knows?

    Also, just wanted to say that my husband _very badly_ wanted a "one ring to bind them" ring. We compromised with a ring from Etsy from NZ that looks like a detail from a 1960s Tolkien book cover.

  10. @ fangsandclause - Perhaps we should start a support group for women who love men that like to wear Lord of the Rings paraphernalia. ;)

  11. Your ring is beautiful! I *almost* went with something similar. I just love the tiny, delicate heart (ended up going with a silver band with some floral etching for my engagement/wedding ring. Am used to the "oh, it's so... unique" response. People just can't seem to understand not wanting a stone :P).

  12. Thanks, Margaret! Your ring sounds lovely.

    PS. Checked out your blog and amazing wedding pics. Because I'm a stalker like that. Your wedding looked fabulous! Congrats!

  13. I notice Bowie Bride has a post on her site about a friend who keeps getting told off for wearing her ring on her right hand. So it gets sillier people!

  14. Definitely -- you're absolutely right to chose a ring that suits you not some putative descendent. But also, even if you do end up bequeathing your ring, your descendents will appreciate it even more because it's personal to you. That's the point of that kind of bequest, isn't it? They'll be proud their granny knew her own mind.

  15. @ Moz - I saw that! Yeah, it's interesting how when you make non-traditional choices people perceive it as "wrong" as opposed to an intentional and thoughtful decision. I understand their initial reactions and try not to be offended by them. (Unless they make a condescending comment that warrants a drop kick to the throat.) Although I think my primary reason for not being offended by raised eyebrows is that I actually LIKE explaining the reasons behind my choices.

    @ Anonymous - Very true! Never thought if it that way.


Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

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