When I was in high school, my 1oth grade health teacher proposed to his girlfriend. But being a young man on a teacher’s salary, he didn’t have the funds to cough up for a diamond ring. His solution? When he proposed, he tied a piece of string around her ring finger, promising her that he’d buy her a ring as soon as he could. Apparently, she wore his engagement string even past their wedding day, when she had a proper engagement and wedding ring.
How. Freakin. Adorable.
Besides winning an obvious cutest-proposal-of-the-year award, I love this story because it emphasized the couple’s love in their engagement. A huge diamond ring (and the oooh-ing and aaah-ing over the rock that usually ensues) wasn’t in the picture at all, and thus couldn’t distract from the more important and amazing fact that the couple was engaged. In fact, I think it kind of makes their proposal even more special.
Which brings up the question that I want to talk about: is having a huge, expensive ring (or even a ring at all) that important in a proposal?
My thoughts? No. Here’s some reasons why I think that proposing without a ring is absolutely fine, and maybe even better:
1. If you said no to a proposal only because your significant other did so sans ring, then a potential marriage with that person might not be right for you. Marriage is about love and not diamonds, right?
2. It puts a lot of pressure on the guy to get that one “perfect” ring, and to spend an entire month’s salary on a sparkly stone (or so tradition says). Maybe for some guys that would be cool, but I’m sure it’s more of a stressful process than a fun one. When I casually mentioned to my boyfriend the engagement ring spending standard, he balked. (We’re definitely not getting married soon anytime, by the way). His question, an incredulous “WHY?!”, was a good one. Why does it matter how much someone spends? If you think about it, an engagement is not about the ring, which brings us back to point 1.
3. Having a huge, expensive ring after you get engaged immediately opens you up to criticism and ring snark from other friends, or even family. Of course everyone will be excited for you, but you will probably have friends who think your ring is too big, too small, too retro, too hollywood-iceberg compared to theirs. Let’s just say that girls comparing engagement ring sizes kind of reminds me of guys comparing sizes of…ahem…other things. In a word, it’s silly. And not having a ring right off the bat saves you from most of that.
4. There’s a ton of adorable, but still affordable, engagement ring options out there. Refer to the amazingly unique love-letter ring (above), and the ever-popular infinity knot ring (below).
5. Um, you’re about to plan a wedding. If you’re a couple grand out on an engagement ring, that’s money you can’t spend towards your open bar or live band. It’s all about your priorities in this case, though.
6. Did you not read that heart-meltingly sweet engagement story with the engagement string? C’mon.
Ultimately, I think it’s important to have some sort of symbol to show your new status as a future bride. I don’t think we need to completely kick the tradition of engagement rings at all! But maybe our society has been putting too much emphasis lately on the tangible “things” in an engagement, and less on the actual relationship.
So what do you think, readers? Is the tradition of getting engaged with an expensive diamond (or other precious gem) totally ridiculous? Or is it something that you think is/was necessary to your proposal?
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