It’s Ask Team Practical Friday, and also Good Friday, if you’re into that. So a meaningful Good Friday to some of you, happy Passover to others of you, and for the rest of y’all, let’s talk about engagement rings with hilarious Alyssa! She wrote up a little something for your partner, to help him with his ring quest. If you want to buy her a gift to thank her, she really wants a pony (but shhhhh…. don’t tell her I told you). Now, let’s get cracking!
My boyfriend and I have been together for almost four years, and we have talked about getting engaged this year. I’ve told my boyfriend that I really just want a simple, inexpensive ring, but he feels like people will judge him if he doesn’t spend a certain amount. Especially in the age of Facebook photos of rings that are met with “OMG AMAZEBALLS” comments. Most of our friends and co-workers who have recently gotten married have big, expensive rings, but I keep trying to tell him that LOTS of people do it differently.
It’s not about the money. We both have good paying jobs. I would rather spend our money on our upcoming trip to Europe and on the wedding itself. I almost never wear jewelry, and I don’t want an extravagant ring. I’m kind of a type A, bossy person, and my friends have told me to back off and let my boyfriend plan the proposal and ring. To trust him to do it on his own.
We have the same values, and he usually doesn’t care about societal pressure. I feel like the wedding industrial complex is already influencing him.
Oh, Penelope. Your friends are right, to a point. Let your boyfriend plan the proposal, but if you feel strongly about your engagement ring, then you should give some input. Which you’re giving, but he might not be hearing. Here, let me talk to him…
Dear Penelope’s Honey,
Hey you! I hear you might be ring shopping soon, and that is awesome and amazing and congratulations in advance!
However, I also hear that maybe you might think that you need to buy a giant and/or expensive engagement ring. And that’s totally not your fault. With commercials coming at you and telling you how much to spend and how IMPORTANT the ring is, friends flashing their giant rocks on the internet and all but showing the price tag, and then the general pressure of just being someone who is about to propose…it can be overwhelming.
And I am here, on behalf of Penelope, to tell you to stop, drop and roll your butt away from all that mess. It can lead to no good.
But I’m not going to tell you not to buy a giant ring because of the looming pressure of WIC. Nope, giant rings are pretty and lots of people like them. Nothing wrong with that. My idea of what constitutes a “giant ring” might be completely different than Penelope’s, so that designation is between the two of you.
I am also not going to tell you to not buy an extravagant ring because it’s expensive. The amount you spend has to do with your finances and those are none of my business.
I’m not even going to tell you to not buy a giant ring because of peer pressure. Some people enjoy the status symbol of a large diamond ring and if that’s your thing, that’s your thing. I really wish you wouldn’t care what those people think, but again, none of my business.
What I am going to tell you is to not buy a giant ring for the pure and simple fact that your girlfriend does not want one, and she would be uncomfortable wearing it if she did get one.
If Penelope came after you with a god-awful shirt done in sequins and tassels and blinking lights that said, “PENELOPE’S” would you wear it every day (erm, assuming that’s not your style)? Of course not. But if it was the symbol of your upcoming marriage and she got down on one knee to give it to you, you might. But you’d secretly hate it, even though you loved her. And that’s how Penelope would feel about a ring with a large diamond. (Also? Know what they call large diamond rings in not-so-savory areas? Mug-me-rings. Consider it a safety issue.)
So how DO you go about getting a ring that Penelope will love?
Well, you could ask her.
Sure, complete surprise is romantic, but getting her input on what she likes takes the pressure off of you. A lot of people choose the ring together and keep the proposal the surprise. (My husband and I did.) Penelope doesn’t need to see the end product if surprise is important to you, but some input on material and style upfront will help you go a long way in the ring buying process. Plus, you’re going to have to find out her ring size and you don’t happen to have a jeweler’s tool to do that lying around the house now, do you? Hit up a jewelry store, find her size, look around together and discuss what you like and do not like. (Look for yourself too, mister. You’ll be wearing a ring, eventually.)
Still wanna make those AMAZEBALLS Facebook friends go nuts? Tell them how you shrugged off conformity and had a custom designed ring. Go on Etsy or find a jeweler that does work that is similar to something she might like (enlist a friend of hers to help if the thought of this gives you hives) and commission something. You can also just look on the internet for artists in your area who can make an engagement ring for you if a face-to-face meeting or brick and mortar store would make you feel more comfortable. If you’ve got a university or art school nearby, speak to a professor or head of the art department and see if they have any advanced students that you might be able to commission. This can be tricky; you won’t be assured of the quality and durability unless it’s from an established artist, and even then it’s not always guaranteed. Also, this can be a long process. But it will be significantly unique. Like your little Penny-Bunny.
How about a vintage ring? Meg has one. It’s best to do this together, but check out estate sales and antique shops for rings that you might adore. They’ll more than likely need to be sized, but that’s usually fairly easy and you’ll have a ring with beauty and history.
You can also try to find a ring that is not only thoughtful but politically and environmentally friendly. (Oh look, I just happen to have one right here.) You can bask in your good karma, which totally beats giant diamonds any day.
OR…you can just go to a jewelry store and buy something in her style that she’ll love. What makes the ring truly special is the fact that it is her engagement ring. It’s a symbol of your intent to commit to one another and that’s what makes it amazing, not its size. Hell, it doesn’t have to be a standard ring. I know people who’ve gotten engaged with rings from bubblegum machines or had an engagement puppy. My sister-in-law bought her ring off of Ebay. Find something pretty that you can afford. And consider new friends if they make you feel bad about your choice, because that’s just crappy. Seriously.
Still not convinced? Still have a deep-seated notion that Penelope really DOES want a ring that costs three months salary and she’s just trying to make you feel better? Dude. SHE WROTE TO STRANGERS TO FIND WAYS TO CONVINCE YOU THAT SHE DOESN’T. She just wants something pretty that she has some say in and that you are both financially comfortable with. And you. She wants you most of all. The ring is just icing on the big beautiful cake that is your relationship.
Take care and get off Facebook,
Alyssa and Team Practical.
Alright ladies. We know y’all love talking about your rings. Help Penelope and her partner out; how did you make the choice you did for your ring and avoid the Ring Olympics?