Meg Keene is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of A Practical Wedding, a sane resource for wedding (and marriage) planning. Her book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, has been a top three bestseller on the wedding shelf since it came out in January 2012.
Engagement rings get a lot of airplay, and no wonder. No matter how we feel about zillions of carats, or ethical sourcing of stones, or engagement rings and gender roles, I’m pretty sure most of us will agree: engagement rings are pretty. They’re pretty, sparkly and excellent forms of self expression. Show me your pink diamond sparkler, and I’ll show you my black diamond ring designed by a hot indie designer.
Except I won’t. Because my engagement ring was stolen a few months ago. It wasn’t anything as exciting as a pink or black diamond, but it was a little vintage square set ring, picked at the moment we decided to make our relationship forever. And now it’s gone, taking its sparkly memories of that happy moment with it.
But as sad as I am about my missing engagement ring (and trust me, that’s really sad), I’m equally grateful that it’s not my wedding ring that went missing. (Well, wedding rings, plural. I have a plain one, as per Jewish tradition, and a sparkly one, as per my personal tradition). Because it’s my wedding rings that connect me to that moment where I made enormous vows on that hot August day. It’s those rings that tie me to the moment I chose to build this particular life.
Today, I’m offering a love song to the too-often-ignored wedding band, with all its creative and emotional potential. When I polled the staff and writers of APW, many of them said that they thought the engagement ring was the thing, and that the wedding ring was nothing more than a check box. For that I blame their feisty and non-traditional ways, but also US Weekly. We grow up hearing about who got what as an engagement ring, but not much about the moment where you swore your life to someone forever, and left a simple unending circle as the symbol of that hope for eternity.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated
Which brings me to my first piece of advice. With all the exhausting and expensive hullabaloo around weddings, let your wedding band be a simple choice. When buying an engagement ring, there is a tendency to think about others. What will people say when they see the ring? What engagement story will you tell when people look at it? Will the ring end up as a heirloom? But the wedding band is just for you, and the story it tells is as simple as the moment you said your vows.
What do you love?
By simple, I obviously don’t mean that you need to have an unadorned piece of metal on your hand, if that’s not how you roll. I mean ask yourself what you love, and stick with that. Do you just want a $20 marker of the moment? Go for it. Do you want sparkle, sparkle, sparkle? Don’t apologize. Do you want to tattoo the sucker on? Ink it up. The wedding band is personal, and it’s a way to mark an important moment between you and your partner. Figure out what you love and don’t second-guess yourself. Chances are that no one will think to ask about your wedding band until after the ceremony is over. It’s better that way.
Make it yours.
And finally, consider doing something to make your wedding band feel more personal to you. I engraved my husband’s ring with a line from our vows. Most days we forget about it, but when the going gets hard, sometimes it’s nice to pull the ring off remember what we said that day. Brent & Jess offer rings with your partner’s fingerprint inside them, as a way to carry them with you always. I have a vintage band bought on the same day as that ill-fated engagement ring. And one of APW’s contributing writers Elizabeth told me, “I asked (told) K to engrave mine with something meaningful, and she picked ‘I love you, E.’ No sonnets or sweet quotes, just the damn truth.”
Read all of A Practical Wedding’s stories of engagements and rings right here.