I picked out my own ring. Well, sort of. I picked out the setting. The husband picked out the stone. It was the only compromise we could come up with.
He wanted to pick out the ring in its entirety. I vehemently refused on the grounds that he has the worst tasted in jewelry of any human being ever. I’m not kidding. When we went ring shopping months before we got engaged, every ring he picked up was horrifying; I secretly think that designers were either high or asleep when they designed those settings. Anyway, I refused to wear them which he couldn’t understand. He would say “But you should love it because I gave it to you”. I would say “They’re horrible and I’m the one who has to look at it every day for the rest of my life”. His reply “I guess you have a point but still…I’m giving it to you”. Me? “But it’s ugly and I’ll never put it on”. Him? “Fine.”
Fortunately for him, the setting I fell in love with was relatively inexpensive, especially for a platinum setting. It was actually the first one that I saw and although we kept shopping, I kept comparing every other setting to that one. I loved that it was not showy and had sapphires in the setting as well as the fact that it had a matching wedding band. I also liked that there was not a single ring that looked like it in any store we browsed in. And we went to A LOT of stores (including several that pretended like we didn’t exist. That was fun).
I also had rules for the stone. I didn’t want one that was too large for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was cost. Since he was in grad school, I knew he didn’t have a lot of money to spend and I didn’t want to be the reason that he went further into debt. Had I known that he was going to take out a loan to pay for my ring, I probably would have relaxed that particular rule.
I think it goes without saying that I was pretty pissed when I found out he took out a loan to pay for my ring. He tried to hide it from me for quite a while but there was just something that made me ask. Probably one of those discussions where we talked about money because I wanted him to understand that if we were going to be married we couldn’t have financial secrets and he wanted to run out of the room (my husband and I used to fight about money all the time. The fact that now we don’t is nothing short of a miracle). I think I was pissed mainly for two reasons: one, he took on more debt and two, he tried to hide it from me. I understand that he didn’t want me to know how he paid for my ring but really? A loan? That I was going to have to help pay back because he was making almost no money and we were living on my salary as a social worker at a nonprofit?
Paying for your own ring really isn’t romantic at all.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t love my rings and appreciate that he did the best he could. I just wished he had talked to me more openly about the finances behind it beforehand.
For those who are wondering, I paid for his wedding ring in cash. I had to save the money over 4 or 5 paychecks but I paid cash. No credit, no loans, no financing. Just cash. Granted, his ring was a lot less expensive but it still didn’t come easy to save that money. And I felt so proud of myself when I walked into the store, plunked down the money and walked out with a fully paid for ring.
Looking back, there is a lot I would have done differently when it came to my wedding and even parts of my engagement. But since I can’t change it, I can only ask that you learn from my mistakes (which, for reasons that I can’t discuss, I can’t talk about here. I really wish I could. Maybe I’ll guest post somewhere and discuss it then…). For those of you currently planning weddings, I suggest focusing on spending your money on the things that are really important and scrimping or going frugal on the things that aren’t. Don’t take out loans. Don’t use credit if you can avoid it. Don’t allow other people’s opinions to influence your decisions (this may be unavoidable, particularly if those people are paying for the wedding). And if you want to do something nontraditional, do it. It’s your wedding.