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Elisabeth: The Albatross


by Elisabeth, Contributing Editor

Elisabeth: The Albatross | A Practical Wedding

Wedding planning makes it easy to get caught up in the equation that marriage = forever, therefore things pertaining to the wedding = will also be important forever. Particularly when the wedding industry is force-feeding us the trope that one always represents the whole (mostly they use that idea to sell us invitations that match our tablecloths). But the reality is it’s perfectly all right if some things start out with a level of symbolic importance that dwindles as time passes. Because truthfully? It’s a lot of work upholding the symbols of our relationships, and marriage would be a tough row to hoe if all of those symbols carried the same weight all the time. So today, our intern Elisabeth imbues on us perhaps on of the best wedding mantras I’ve read in a while: it’s one thing, but it’s not everything. If there’s one thing you should print out and paste it on your wall leading up to the wedding, let that be it. 

—Maddie

Elisabeth: The Albatross | A Practical Wedding

I lost my engagement ring at the Long Island City YMCA. I lost it somewhere between the rowing machines, the showers, and the pool. I realized I lost my engagement ring later, on the way to work, while I was standing up and swaying as my bus careened down Queens Boulevard. I was humming the chorus of “I Knew You Were Trouble,” wondering if my friend J could learn the drums and if we maybe could become the next Tegan and Sara, the mid- to late-thirties version that only sings pop music covers (I think this idea has real legs), when I glanced down and saw my bare finger. I got off the bus and burst into tears. I was not grieving the loss of a precious ring. No, I was seriously pissed. This ring had been a total freaking albatross, and now it goes and gets itself lost.

As I wrote in my last post, our pre-wedding discussions have been more of a meandering path rather than a clear-cut before and after engagement. Neither of us proposed to the other; rather, we decided to get married together over the course of a couple months. We didn’t put much time into finding engagement rings, but I did want something tangible, some representation that we were a pair who had DTR-ed to that level. I wanted something different, meaningful, something quintessentially us, and pretty soon I was describing in many adjectives something that would remind me of our most beloved places, of our happy picnics, walks, and attempted body surfing. I showed K the ring I’d had bookmarked through my last three girlfriends (at least), a gorgeous beach stone set in silver. “It’s very us,” I said wisely, “being that we both love the ocean.” K took one look and immediately nixed it. She pointed out that last spring that I made her take swimming lessons at the Y since she actually hates the water, and furthermore, she would prefer if we selected something that didn’t have ghosts of girlfriends past all over it. Totally reasonable.

Incidentally, everyone needs to take swimming lessons! You can drown in thirty seconds in two inches of water! Plus, spotting K through the glass in her swim cap at the Dodge Street Y, blowing bubbles and paddling a kickboard, was hilariously endearing.

So we ended up envisioning a ring that would be made out of sand from our favorite beaches up and down the Eastern Seaboard. (This really highlights one of my favorite theories: “If something is simple, make it complicated.”) I scooped up a handful of sand and carried it back to the car during a whipping windstorm on Assateague Island, VA. I climbed over a barricade in Red Hook, Brooklyn and shoved some pebbly grains into a leftover Steve’s Key Lime Swingle wrapper. On a trip back from Maine I pulled off at the closest beach I could find to grab another handful of sand. I stood on the shore and mistily gazed out like I was seeing our future, though it didn’t feel particularly special like I thought it was supposed to, since I was cold, annoyed, and not even on my favorite beach. We sent all this combined sand off to a jeweler who returned a lovely ring with the combined sand set under glass, a little hourglass representing our past and future. I slipped it on and felt satisfied. “Now,” I thought, “we’ve arrived, we are here.”

Except. Soon I realized the ring wasn’t watertight. Between my work in public health and my fear of getting sick, I am all too aware of the frothy underbelly of everyday appliances like computers, doorknobs, and subway poles. You guys, I live in Brooklyn; even the poor oysters in the Gowanus Canal have typhoid and gonorrhea. Danger everywhere. I wash my hands about four hundred times a day, and soon I started to notice patches of the sand slightly darken as my sand ring turned to more like mud. Basically, a moldy cholera colony, right there on my finger.

I tried to save the ring, I really did. I tried to remember to take the ring off when I did the dishes, when I showered, and during all 407 daily hand washings. I forgot at least half the time, furthering the progress of the mini drip castle on my finger, and when I did remember to take it off, of course I would forget where I’d put it and tearful step retracing would ensue. I would finally turn up the ring nestled near the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour or sitting in the soap dish. “This is a disaster,” I would think as I sullenly looked at it. I suspected this ring maintenance wasn’t normal, and that most people who decide to mark a commitment with a ring don’t feel resentful about germs when they look at them, but what do I know? The handbook for mid-thirties lesbians with cats doesn’t provide this sort of guidance.

So when I realized it was gone, I wasn’t too sorry to lose it. I was just so disappointed. Instead of reminding me of the profound, joyous decision we’d made, this dorky, sweet idea, and my efforts to do “something different” had tanked. I want to get married, but I feel uncomfortable slipping on a visibly heteronormative tradition. (Obviously, this is only my experience—I have queer friends who feel just the opposite and wear gorgeous cupcakes on their finger because they want to be as out as possible.) I don’t want to emulate every tradition. Planning a wedding that is as close to a traditional wedding as I can make it is not going to be the tipping point that makes my relationship authentic. And queer or no, isn’t this sort of reenvisioning the point of planning a practical wedding and relationship?

It’s been a few months since my ring sailed off to bigger things. I do have a stand-in, but now, I sort of love the idea of getting a new ring every few years, as my tastes shift. Ultimately the ring fiasco reminded me of what I’ve been saying more and more as we get closer to our wedding: this is one thing, but it’s not everything. Besides, it is damn near impossible for a piece of jewelry to symbolize every summer vacation ever.

Epilogue: Incidentally, K didn’t want a ring. She is much less interested in wedding traditions than I am for both personal and political reasons (she calls our wedding a legally binding clambake), and she’s also allergic to some metals. But after the meticulous hoopla leading up to the selection of my mold colony, she decided she did want a present, because who doesn’t want a present? So we researched for weeks and settled on an antique gold watch. I ordered it hoping to surprise her, not realizing it was being shipped media mail from an antiques dealer in Kazakhstan. With any luck, it’ll make it here for our golden anniversary.

Photo by Leah Verwey for Favor Jewelry (APW Sponsor)

Elisabeth

Elisabeth is an MPH working in public health in New York City. Her old okcupid profile said she’s really good at: fixing socially awkward situations at parties, return trips to Ikea, whipping up excellent mac and cheese on camping trips, leaping into the ocean, being chronically late, and having Friday night adventures all over Brooklyn. In September 2013, she married her introverted, punctual K.

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  • sarahtoo

    Thanks for this hilarious, and poignant post. It’s a great reminder of how we can get so obsessed over a THING that we forget what’s really important is not the thing itself, but what it symbolizes. I confess to being an overly sentimental packrat, and for the past 15 years I’ve been lugging boxes of THINGS around with me every time I move (and I tend to move at least every couple of years), because I can’t bear to chuck them/ recycle them/ donate them to the thrift shop due to their sentimental and symbolic value. Our wedding rings make me think of your ring fiasco a little. I designed them myself, and they’re made from recycled gold from my Mom’s wedding ring (failed marriage), as well as a ring from my deceased grandmother, and from a great-aunt. Conceptually these are awesome rings, with layers and layers of deep and meaningful symbolism, but in reality they’re a bit impractical and uncomfortable. The jeweler who made them for us is a family friend, and he knew we were on a tight budget, so he kindly suggested that he could save time (and money) by applying the wavy lines of a different metal colour to the surface of the band instead of inlaying them. We happily agreed (saving money!) and the result was a pair of rings that look great, but are a bit uncomfortable to wear (wavy ridge of metal chafes against adjacent fingers) and easily gets gunked up (groove between the wavy ridges collects dirt and is hard to clean). Not the comfortable, practical rings I’d envisioned when designing them! So I have an ambivalent relationship with these rings…on the one hand, they’re pretty, and they have lots of cool symbolism. On the other hand, they’re not super comfy or practical. If I ever lost my ring, I’d probably feel a stab of sadness, but might be able to get over it pretty quickly just by thinking of all the other cool rings that could replace it. After all, the ring is just a pretty piece of metal to go on my finger. What it symbolizes (our awesome relationship) can’t get dropped down a crack, forgotten in a hotel room bathroom, or fall off my finger and sink to the bottom of the lake.

  • Rachel Wilkerson

    Ohhh this post had me laughing out loud! Also, I love the idea of getting a new ring every few years as your tastes change. It’s so easy to get caught up in “forever” when wedding planning, but I wonder if we’d do better to think about evolution. There’s something so romantic to me about looking back on your four rings (or whatever) some day and thinking about where you were as an individual and a couple when you bought each one. Making a wedding more about who you are at this moment than trying to figure out who you’ll be in several years seems like a wonderful approach.

    • One More Sara

      And, if you wanted to pass down your wedding ring to your child(ren), you would have enough to go around!

  • Liz B.

    When we got engaged, I picked out a beautiful, vintage-inspired sterling silver cubic zirconia ring set. I felt good about not spending a huge chuck of change. I felt good about not buying a diamond that might have cost lives (human or otherwise). Little did I know that a year after our engagement I wouldn’t be wearing this set of rings. After a few months of wearing my wedding band, I started getting little bumps on my ring finger- they were itchy, flaky and raw. After doing research I found that the setting of the little stones in my band could be a breeding ground for bacteria (or soap deposits) which was likely irritating my poor, sensitive skin. At first I was mad- I mean, this is the ring I slipped on my finger when we said I do! This is the ring that perfectly compliments my engagement ring, which did not cause the same problem! I tried to make it work- dousing my ring in hydrogen peroxide (bad idea- if I’d left it longer it could have caused the ring to tarnish) and then later in rubbing alcohol. Doing this once a week wasn’t going to cut it however, it would need to be done every night. So I cut my losses and ordered a small plain sterling silver band with no stones. It looks silly with my engagement ring, so I only wear the new plain band. My husband got a band to match- and that solidarity symbolizes our love and support of each other better than any ring ever could.

  • http://www.karinajean.com karinajean

    oh, this is so great!
    I lost my wedding ring ONE WEEK AFTER BEING MARRIED. my sweetheart had made it himself in our basement the morning of the ceremony, and then we ran off to the beach for our annual vacation and I held on to that slippery thing through rain storms, sand castles, body surfing, and all you can eat crabs. And then the beastie flew off my finger as I was rushing around closing car doors at a stop light in the rain somewhere in Delaware on my way home.

    And I felt SO BAD! it was THE WEDDING RING! Aaaah!
    (this from a girl who didn’t know if she would even be able to commit to wearing a ring full time anyway!)

    But my sweet husband said: don’t worry, I’ll make a new one – which he did, the night we got home. And it turned out he’d made the first one a half size too big in his haste to get it done before the ceremony. And when my mother-in-law kind of blanched when she heard the story, I was able to firmly say: “So I am choosing to believe that all that bad luck stuff is just UGLY SUPERSTITION.” And she recovered nicely and agreed with me. YAY.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00388929873803169413 Kristen

    I spent months obsessively searching for a non-traditional wedding ring to wear on days I didn’t wear my non-traditional engagement ring. Months. Obsessive.

    Thankfully we ran out of time and I made do with a simple gold band made from an heirloom ring of my fiance’s. Both our rings are made from the same family ring and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I honestly cherish my plain gold band and knowing our rings are two parts of a whole makes us feel connected.

    • E

      I love my simple gold band as well! I also spent months looking for a non-traditional band to go with my very traditional diamond solitaire, but could never make up my mind on what exactly I wanted (well, ok I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in our budget….).So instead, my husband and I got matching gold bands with milgrain edges, and I absolutely love them. I love that they match, I love that they are simple and traditional, and I love love love that it isn’t attached to my engagement ring so I can just wear the band when I don’t want to be fancy.

  • Granola

    hahahahahaha – that’s all I can say first.

    I can empathize with your ambivalence over your ring. I thought I would really like mine and it would be all meaningful and now it’s just mostly “meh.” But I think that perhaps in five years or so, it will have acquired some of that meaning I thought it would magically get.

    Also, as an aside, my cousin (she’s 12) grew up in Amsterdam, and they make every little kid learn how to swim with all their clothes on, just in case they ever fall in a canal. Rad.

    • One More Sara

      I live outside Amsterdam now, and when I read that part I immediately thought about all the kids earning their swim-diplomas. It’s a pretty big childhood milestone… parents videotape it and there are special “Congratulations on your swim-diploma!!!” greeting cards.

    • Tess

      children lean to swim in all their clothes in Australia too – one of the assessments is removing the clothes in the water (in case you have to swim for any length of time – clothes are heavy!).

      • KH_Tas

        A worryingly large number of us forget though – I got mine, then had to re-learn at 22.

    • Crayfish Kate

      That, is awesome! I live on the Lake Michigan shore, and swimming lessons were part of the elementary school curriculum. We never had to swim with clothes on, though. That’s such a good idea, I don’t think many people realize how HARD it is to swim with clothes on!

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        I haven’t done it much, but I do know you probably want to ditch your shoes first thing.

      • Kara

        Swimming with your clothes on used to be part of the Red Cross swimming curriculum in the states (though I haven’t taught in 10+ years!).

        • Crayfish Kate

          Yeah, I swam with clothes on when I took a Junior Lifesaving course in 5th grade, so I think it may still be part of the whole thing. ‘Course that was….well over 10 years ago too, so who knows, haha. I remember it was funny b/c they wanted us to wear a long-sleeve button down shirt and jeans, so we could learn how to turn the clothes into floaties in case we ever fell off a boat. Because people totally go boating in jeans and long-sleeve shirts :-P Good times.

    • Cleo

      I come from the land-locked Midwestern U.S. and part of my 7th grade gym curriculum was swimming with clothes on and taking them off in the water. Haha.

      Granted, a lot of people in the area go to the Lake for the weekend or go tubing / rafting, so it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. I do remember being surprised at how heavy the clothes were.

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    Love it! Our dog ate my beautiful teakwood and silver ring about 1 month into the engagement. (And wood does not a canine stomach endure.) It was an amazing ring, but a little bulky and I had to remove it to play guitar. Totally my fault that I set it on a coffeetable at my hungryhungrypuppy’s height, but like you, we moved past it quickly. I wore a simple $10 band from my favorite jewelry store up until the wedding, but I had never intended to wear two rings, so it barely matters now. It may have made it to a necklace if it was still here, but I have faith that part of it is still in the stomach of our beloved mutt, where it’s probably safer than my jewelry box.

    Lost engagement rings for the win!

  • alicia

    So true.

    Rings are beautfiul, but not the end all of everything. My husband and I recently moved to a new country for my job and I don’t wear my engagement ring or wedding ring because I’m afraid they’ll get stolen.

    My husband and I both wear rings with a prayer on them that together cost $6. These rings are already sentimental too.

  • http://cloverandlace.com Helen

    Yes! What a wonderful post. I’m actually on my third engagement ring (after being engaged for 18 months and then married for nearly three years.) I still have all three, but the first one got too tight, so I got another one to stand in while I got the first resized. I never got around to it, and really loved the second ring, so I wore that for a while instead… until my wife’s corrosive protein-deposit (and ring)-destroying contact cleaner spilled on it and it sat on the bathroom counter overnight, where I had put it while we were painting the bathroom. I still have it, but it’s a hot mess, and not too wearable. So! I got a third one (all of these are inexpensive) and wore that for a while, and currently I’ve just been wearing my wedding band.

    I completely understand and support people who love and want to stick with one engagement ring, because I feel that way about my wedding band– but it’s been fun to mix it up and wear different “pretty” rings with it. I keep my original (the one she proposed with) in my jewelry box, and with each of the two newer rings, she jokingly proposed “again” (and I, of course, accepted.)

    I think everyone should do what feels right to them– and that it shouldn’t have to be a huge deal, even with tradition and all, if you want to wear something different– either by choice or circumstance (such as losing it at the YMCA!)

  • Shiri

    I really, really like you. And your writing. And your understanding of the danger of subway poles. Finally, someone else gets it!

    • Maddie

      This is sort of exactly how I feel about Elisabeth.

  • carrie

    “The handbook for mid-thirties lesbians with cats doesn’t provide this sort of guidance.”

    I may have snorted out loud in my office on this one. Well done.

  • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

    This post had me nodding and laughing all along. My first engagement ring setting was flawed – to the point where I would get anxious every time I looked at my finger, wondering when the next issue would pop up. After three repairs in three weeks, I burst into tears at the jeweler and asked for it to be reset into a newly-cast replica of the same setting. It came back in an entirely different, but still solitaire, setting, one that I hadn’t liked when we picked out rings. This made me really sad, but when I put it on that day at the jeweler, I realized that I loved it as much, if not more, than my original setting, and it’s true.

    But what is also true is that as much as I love my ring, I love my fiance more.

  • LifeSheWrote

    I have a very traditional diamond solitaire but I TOTALLY GET the ring-as-albatross feeling. It’s hard to explain to my SO (who I totally love and want and am very careful to remind that he is separate from the symbol on my finger). The symbol which mostly I love. But oftentimes I worry that I’ll lose it or it gets caught on things like pockets and gloves and puppy faces. Getting it re-sized to fit me helped a lot – part of my constant awareness that first month was that the ring was too big and so slipping off really was a legitimate concern. And I do think the ring is beautiful – both physically and for what it represents. But I’m still getting used to this physical symbol reminding me (and everyone I interact with) that I’m now engaged when my dear SO doesn’t have that physical reminder (and presumably when he does have a wedding ring it won’t get CAUGHT on stuff all the time).

    • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

      I have large knuckles, so my ring is just a wee bit big for the base of my finger or I couldn’t get it off. I ended up having it resized to a bit smaller so it wouldn’t spin constantly and yes, having the awareness of it being there greatly reduced was a big thing for me.

  • Katelyn

    Loved this post! I will try to make “this is one thing, but it’s not everything” my mantra as I continue with my wedding planning. I have a bad habit of placing all of my wedding decisions on a pedestal (currently up there is THE dress), and I need to bring them back down to earth.

    • http://thevanillabride@blogspot.com Sonarisa

      Yes! I get way to attached to making everything super meaningful. The dress, the cake, the flowers, the music- I feel like everything has to have this deep significance to who we are as a couple. I think weddings are getting to me…

  • LM

    I hear ya!

    My husband’s unique and special wooden wedding ring was broken the day after our wedding! We went to the hardware store to buy wood glue and the shop keeper said, “Ooo I hope this isn’t a bad sign!” I wanted to punch him, but oh well! Anyway, the wood glue did not hold anything and we bought another regular titanium ring that arrived while when we got back from our honeymoon. It’s just a thing – not at all as worthy of cherishing as my husband.

  • http://Brokensaucer.blogspot.com Sera

    Oh rings. I never wanted an engagement style solitaire because I had a feeling I would just snag all my sweaters, so I went with a silver place holder ring and held out for the simple wedding ring we had custom ordered. I received the most lackluster looks when I explained this to people before the wedding day. But, now that I’m married and I have a practical and beautiful etched platinum band set with tiny saffires, I don’t regret my decision at all.
    Also, I had ordered my husbands titanium ring from etsy. And while the designer sent it, the USPS misplaced it so we didn’t have it for the wedding. He married me with a ring from a bicycle. Naturally, when I returned to work after my honeymoon, the package was lying on my desk, opened by a nosy coworker.
    A ring is a ring. Sure you want it to be beautiful and timeless and always you, but that’s ignoring the sentiment behind it. When I look at my ring, it reminds me of my husband because it is the symbol of our wedding, not because he did something special with it. And when I see his ring on his finger I feel that much more connected to him, even though that wasn’t the ring of metal that I married him with. That ring rusted while we waited to order a new one that we didn’t end up needing to.

    • Kayl

      Since I got it, my ring has caught on/ruined at least one pair of tights every month. You were so right about snagging potential.

      Also, whoa! Going ahead and opening someone else’s package is totally a federal offense. Not cool, nosy coworkers.

  • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

    You are so hilarious, that whole interlude about the bacteria colony on your finger had me in stitches.

    Incidentally I understand engagement ring as an albatross, turns out mine is being a bit of a bugger too (my preyonce is having quite a bit of difficulty getting it engraved and he really wants to put an engraving in it).

    I am hoping that SCOTUS makes some major strides this week so that your legally binding clambake will be recognized all over the country (maybe your partner will call it a wedding then, ha).

    Thanks for sharing, looking forward to the next one!

  • Jennie

    In the months leading up to my engagement, I was spending a lot of time ogling ring options on the internet. When my (now) fiance proposed with a ring he had made by hand with meaningful details and symbolism, it was fantastic, but I only wear it sometimes as a necklace as it neither fits nor is comfortable. After proposing, he suggested we pick out a ring together, but the strange thing was, I no longer felt the need for something fancy and every ring I tried on just didn’t feel like me. So instead I requested that we wear plain gold bands as our wedding rings and buy ourselves a gift to celebrate our engagement.

    So I asked for a canoe since we had wanted one for ages! Now, when I tell people I’m engaged and they ask to see the ring, I reply, “I have an engagement canoe, because hey, you can’t float on a diamond.”

    • http://www.sarahhoppes.wordpress.com SarahHoppes

      “I have an engagement canoe, because hey, you can’t float on a diamond.” Amazing.

    • Catherine B

      My parents got an engagement canoe! And they still have it (and are happy) 39 years later.

    • Theodora

      A lovely elderly couple of my acquaintance got married several years ago, after each having been widowed. The “engagement present” for the woman was a lovely pin with a green enameled peapod on it, with earrings to match, as the now-husband said they were “two peas in a pod.”

      I laughingly called this their “engagement vegetables.” They loved that! :)

  • Courtney K

    First: HAHAHA. This post had me cracking up. So, so funny.

    But also: yeah, I can relate. My fiance surprised me with a super sentimental engagement ring: A diamond from his grandmother, two sapphires from his great-grandmother, and a brand new setting that he picked out himself. A perfect combination of old and new, lots of family history – super symbolic. And then one of the sapphires fell out three weeks after we were engaged. Three weeks! I was devastated, and also completely convinced that this MEANT SOMETHING. Maybe I’m just not fancy enough to deserve nice jewelry. Maybe this was a sign of trouble to come. Maybe the spirits of his relatives were stepping in to reject me from the family (!). It took months for everyone to convince me that, actually? It just meant that sapphires are tough like that and maybe the jeweler didn’t set it as tightly as he could have and maybe shit just happens.

    So thank you for providing me with my new mantra: It’s one thing, but it’s not everything.

  • Cass

    Like a lot of brides, I went out on a weight-loss campaign. And steadily, after a year of marriage, I had lost so much weight that my engagement ring no longer fit, and we did not have any money to resize my bling. I had to mentally assure myself of this same “the one is not the whole” philosophy.
    So now, we still haven’t resized my ring, but I am living happily with just a plain wedding band. Few people ask why I am not wearing a huge rock, and many more compliment the simplicity of wearing a plain wedding band.

    And this story says nothing for my partner’s wedding ring, which has been lost more times than I can count, and has been replaced 2 or 3 times.

  • dawn

    Awesome. It’s great to hear from others with ring sagas. I started our engagement without a ring, then wore a little gold ring my mother’s high school boyfriend (not my father) gave her, while I tried to find a jeweler who could resize my family heirloom ring. At this point, I was neutral about wearing an engagement ring, but I found that it was so nice to just hold up my hand as a way to tell people that we were getting married. Plus, the difficulty of getting the family heirloom sized–jeweler after jeweler wouldn’t touch it because of its age/design/material–made me really want to wear that ring.

    And I got to — very carefully — for less than a month, before one of the tiny sapphires popped out. I have been too busy (don’t hassle me about this…It’s on the calendar for next week :) to take it back to the jeweler, so I went back to the high school boy friend ring until a cousin pulled out a jewelry box and offered me family rings from her side of the family. I’m wearing one of those-not an engagement ring but with a diamond. At a glance, it “reads” as an engagement ring, but its design makes it completely impossible to wear with a wedding band. So– the saga is not over.

    Is it weird that FH has not come up in this story? He is so much a part of it. We’re not stressed, we’re not worried about the strange looks people give us when I show up with a different ring or when they hear that he/ we didn’t exactly pick out the current ring…This whole story is so us. We love family, we want something ethical and environmentally sound, we are practical, I care a lot about the beauty and quality of this symbol but the spending of $$$ on the symbol is not what is important.

    Some great things have come out of the ridiculousness of the ring saga. My cousin’s offer means so much to FH and me. It was a tangible welcome into the family–which is especially nice for us as an interracial couple– and it sort of prepares people for the name issue: we’re keeping our own names, with the option of future change as we see fit.

  • http://WWW.IMAGERYBYMARIANNE.COM MARIANNE

    Loved this story! The sand ring is so me too! I looked and looked for the most different ring I could find for my engagement. It is just a ring though!

  • kyley

    I want to scream every time someone takes the T somewhere, wraps their hands all over the poles on the train, and then goes out to eat without washing their hands

    • Itsy Bitsy

      The T! Hello, fellow Bostonian. :) (and I totally agree)

    • Elisabeth

      Kyley, that would totes send me into panic mode. THE FOMITES!!

  • Meg'sMom

    “If something is simple, make it complicated.” LOVE IT! I have been doing this since I was a kid. I’ve spent the last several years trying to simplify my life, with some degree of success. However changing one’s *approach* to life is definitely harder. I should paste this sentence of Elisabeth’s on my mirror so I can see it every morning and remind myself how ridiculous this mind-set of mine is! Thanks, Elisabeth.

  • http://fatcarriesflavor.wordpress.com MadGastronomer

    Our rings have been a series of compromises. When I proposed, we were both out of work and very broke, and we picked out together little silver bands with a sapphire for her and an amethyst for me. Not showy, but cheap, and meaningful for us. Most of a year latter, this past December, our state legalized SSM. We were (and still are) planning a big family-and-friends ceremony for this year, but we already had a domestic partnership, and the state was going to convert all of those to marriages anyway, so the ceremony wasn’t ever going to be the legal wedding. But it would take a little time to do that, so we picked a day, got a friend who was an officiant and a couple more friends to witness, and eloped in the park where I’d proposed and we’d had our first date. My partner had been working so we had a little more money for rings, and we picked some handmade titanium rings off of Etsy. Still pretty cheap, though, about $200 for the pair, since we were trying to save up for the ceremony. But she does want new bands for that ceremony, too, and she told me so sheepishly, thinking it was foolish. I laughed, and told her that as far as I was concerned, we could have new bands every year or every few years if that was what she wanted, and when there were enough of them, I’d link them together in a necklace for her.

    Our current rings are comfortable to wear, and yet we don’t wear them most of the time. I keep mine on a little silver wire keeper on my necklace, where it hangs beside whatever pendant I have on, and she tends to walk off and leave hers on her nightstand. That’s ok with both of us. We make sure to wear them for dates and things, and it’s sort of random the rest of the time. The abstract having of rings is more important to both of us than having the same rings forever or wearing them all the time. We may end up with a whole case of them apiece, of different designs and colors and costs, that we can pick and choose from on any day. I don’t know. But I have a wedding ring, and I’m happy.

    • Eenie

      I really like that idea. Also as my number one fear: losing one of the rings wouldn’t sting quite as much if you had others as well. I just can’t imagine spending a whole lot of money on a ring. I would just stress about losing it.

      • http://fatcarriesflavor.wordpress.com MadGastronomer

        Drat. Did not mean to hit the Report button! Ignore that, please!

        But yes, that, too. My Mom lost her original wedding ring AND the next one she got (and asked me to make her a ring keeper like mine so she doesn’t lose the new one, too), and Dad lost his very early on and never replaced it. Mom was pretty upset both times.

  • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

    A few months after getting engaged, my band broke, with a portion of it flying off. In a very crowded football stadium. I was devastated that I would have to replace my “real” ring and thought it wasn’t good that I’d have a replacement the rest of my life.

    And then it happened again 6 weeks before the wedding. This time I went with an entirely different band style. And I was much less relaxed about it – it’s just a ring, not everything. It’s not REALLY symbolic of our relationship.

    Fast forward a few years to a couple months ago, and by the time I thought I’d lost it for good (found in the fridge produce drawer a week later), I really was over it. I was all, oh whatever, we’ll just call the insurance company and get the payout for it – and maybe we can just get a cheap replacement or I’ll just wear the wedding band and instead use the cash for another awesome vacation?!?

    My husband wouldn’t go for that, but it definitely shows me how my views on things have changed over the last 5-6 years. Happy to have pretty things, yes, but realizing how little it means in the grand scheme of our relationship and life.

  • Emily

    On an almost completely unrelated note… I totally work out at the LIC YMCA!

    • Elisabeth

      Emily! If you see a dirty muddy ring floating around….well, better just leave it.

  • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

    I just want to say that you are hilarious, and I loved everything about this piece. Also, I kind of wish my fiance and I were having a legally-binding clambake because that sounds amazing.

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  • Lindsey d.

    Over the course of her 50 year marriage, my grandmother had three wedding rings… Mostly because she wanted a new one to match new styles, changing tastes, improved economic conditions and what have you… Seems perfectly reasonable.