I took my engagement ring into the jeweler’s to see about getting a wedding band made. And my ring? Because it is custom-made and oddly shaped? Well, in order to get the band — a plain band, I might add — to match precisely, it would cost a pretty penny. And by pretty I mean “horribly prohibitive,” and by penny I mean “many thousands of them.”
Since going the route of the matching band is completely, thoroughly out of the question, I’m stuck. I’m stuck on what to do during and after the wedding ceremony. I could get a regular band with a standard shape, but when worn on the same finger as the engagement ring, there will be strange gaps between the rings. I know this because I tried it with a ring I already have. I didn’t like it. The mismatched shapes just won’t work when worn together. So at this point, my options seem to be as follows:
- During the ceremony, move the engagement ring over to my right hand (where, I must note, said ring does not fit any fingers). Wear the non-matching band on my left hand after the wedding.
- Forget about the wedding band entirely. Just use the engagement ring during our ceremony’s ring exchange and continue to wear it on my left hand after we’re married — aren’t multiple rings just the wedding industry’s attempt to get us to plunk down more of our hard-earned dough, anyway?
But then the more I reflected on these options, the more questions I had. Why did I think the engagement ring and wedding band had to go together? Why was I slightly miffed that mine couldn’t? Why did I expect us to wear rings, anyway? Was it just because that’s what I’ve always seen done? And most importantly: Why even do this thing? Why exchange rings in the first place?
I don’t know. My best guest is that wearing a physical symbol of a bond, an agreement, can be a powerful thing. That’s certainly what it’s grown to mean to me. I’ve come to appreciate having a tangible reminder of the connection my partner and I share, and the commitments we’ve made to each other. I look at my engagement ring and I see my beau.*
Which is, um, not what others see at all. Since I’ve gotten engaged, I have become painfully aware that a ring broadcasts messages about your taste, class, status, and ethical stance. Even if you don’t want it to. The very experience of wearing an e-ring has thrust me into a confusing labyrinth of bizarre situations and conflicting emotions. Witness those times I’ve:
- Smiled, nodded, and tucked my hand in my pocket while others vociferate at length on their hatred of diamonds and tradition.
- Anxiously doubted the size and flashiness quotient of my ring.
- Been flabbergasted to find that my ring isn’t nearly big enough for some, as if being engaged is about some kind of carat pissing contest.
- Fumed because random strangers wanted to grab my hand and coo over my ring, like WTF, can’t they understand that I’m not shallow like that?
- Gotten my dander up because random strangers did not seem the least bit interested in grabbing my hand and cooing over my ring, like WTF, aren’t they aware that I’m ENGAGED over here?
- Felt confused and wounded because some of my friends didn’t seem to be all that smitten with my ring, as if that even matters.**
So, that’s fun.
In summary, rings, the tradition of wearing them, their inherent meaning, and the way others judge them is fraught with, um, issues. A lot of them. Which frankly I am just too tired to enumerate here any further. Ah well. Somehow we’ll all stagger on. And while I’m working on figuring out the wedding band thing, tell me: Have you selected a band? Do you plan to wear it with your engagement ring after the wedding, or without? What do you think of about the whole ring exchange tradition, anyway?
Oh, and in case you are interested in further evaluation my lifestyle, but mostly at the behest of Robin, I shall leave you with a picture of my engagement ring. And part of my hand. Don’t worry, I have more fingers than those pictured.
* I also see SPARKLIES, but this is beside the point.
** Hi, I’m a toolbag.