Friday, November 8, 2013

Man-gagement Ring

Believe it or not, I didn't see a man wearing an engagement ring until only about two years ago. Of 
course, I'm sure I had seen engagement rings and assumed they were wedding bands, but I didn't encounter one for certain until about two years ago. I came home and told John that one of my engaged male classmates was wearing an engagement ring, which I thought very novel. He said he'd seen it before and liked the idea. 

When we began talking about getting engaged, I asked John if he wanted an engagement ring and he said yes, so as we were having my rings sized, we picked one out for him, too. He enjoys wearing it; we bought an inexpensive ring from Amazon (comparable to some $200 rings we saw in local stores... Seriously guys, check out Amazon) with the understanding that he could pick out another one later if he wants. He was nervous about getting used to wearing a ring, and I think he liked that by the time we get married it will be second nature to him. 

We've gotten some criticism for his choice to wear an engagement ring. I'm learning that it is impossible for people to keep their opinions to themselves when it comes to engagements, weddings, and marriage, so being questioned on this decision should come as no surprise. It's non-traditional in our part of the world, and John and I both understand that, but I love the decision. It makes me feel less like I am being purchased with a ring, less like my ring is a symbol of becoming someone else's property. In a less extreme way, it makes it feel more "fair"; we are both promised to one another, and we both wear an outward symbol of that commitment. 

I think my favorite part about John wearing a ring is that it is something that brings us together. We often talk about how exciting it has been to wear our rings, and how much we've enjoyed showing them to curious friends and family. I love that this is an experience we've been able to share. 

What do you guys think about engagement rings for men? Do you like the idea? 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Ring(s)

I have two engagement rings. I'm not ashamed to say this, although I know it is non-traditional. Eventually, I hope to have three: my current two rings as well as one that I picked out myself. I've gotten some pretty unpleasant reactions to my ring; people who don't understand why I'd accept something that wasn't brand new and 100% what I would choose if I had all the freedom in the world, and people who think it's ridiculous that I have an heirloom ring from BOTH sides of the family, instead of just using one or the other. You can't please all the people all the time.

My mom's set
When John and I started talking about getting engaged, we realized one of the factors that kept us from moving forward with it sooner was the fear of the expense. It seemed so frivolous to put money towards a piece of jewelry when we are a young couple starting out on our lives. And, as backwards as this may sound, we would rather put the money towards the experience of a wedding right now than a rock. I've never been fixated on nice jewelry, although I do wear a lot of costume jewelry, and the idea of putting a small car on my hand was overwhelming. John told me he had his great aunt's ring that he had been thinking of proposing with, but wanted to make sure I was ok with not having "my own" ring. I realized I could probably use my late mom's ring as well, and we decided that using a family ring was the way to go. When both families wanted us to have the rings, it became really hard for me to decide between the two; my mom's ring had so much meaning to me, but could not be un-soldered from her wedding band without being re-set, and John's great aunt's ring was more my taste, so we had both sets resized and I switch between the two.

John's family ring
Sometimes I wish that I had the opportunity to pick out something that I felt suited my (very large) hand better or reflected my personality, and I won't lie, as someone working in the wedding industry I see a ton of HUGE rocks and wonder if people (especially clients) look at my ring negatively because it is smaller. It's not even that I prefer the look of a larger stone; I don't even particularly care for diamonds in general. But it's hard not to get sucked into that way of thinking; I see huge diamonds surrounded by more diamonds every day at work or on Facebook, and those rings always get more oohs and aaahs than mine. I have to remind myself that my rings are valued on a different, more personal scale that near-strangers can't understand; they represent family history, and the loved ones who can't be with us to celebrate this moment. The rings represent two families coming together and supporting our decision to get married. They do not represent a man "purchasing" me with a piece of jewelry that he put his life savings towards. More importantly, they represent our shared values; choosing a solution with more meaning behind it than money, something that John and I are already struggling to uphold with our wedding planning. John and I decided that at some point in the future when the money isn't quite so dear to us, we might pick out a new "engagement" ring (and even then I can almost guarantee that it won't be the monetary equivalent of a new car!), but for now I love looking down at either of my rings and knowing they symbolize our families' love and support, and our desire to start our lives together sooner rather than later.

I respect all couples' decisions when it comes to rings, whether they choose to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a ring or to not exchange rings at all. If a couple has the money for a large diamond ring, then more power to them! My problem is with a society that tells couples their engagement or marriage isn't worthwhile unless they are willing to drain their bank account for a ring, or that tells women it is ok to demand something beyond their partner's means.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Little About Me

Hello Everyone! Welcome to Otherwise Engaged, my wedding planning blog. I've been blogging in some form or another for years now, so when I became engaged it felt only natural to document the journey on a blog! I am hoping that this will end up being a good way for me to keep track of my thoughts and share my ideas with my friends and family, but I also hope that I will get some great ideas and feedback from the blogging community as well!

About Me: 
I'm a grad student studying English Literature, and I'm working as a bridal consultant right now. What do I do as a bridal consultant? Mostly, I help brides pick out their wedding gowns. I also help guide women in their tuxedo and bridesmaid dress choices, as well as coordinating rental orders, so I end up helping put together place settings and table linens as well. My store works with a lot of vendors and hosts an expo, so I am really lucky in that I already know a lot of great vendors and have an idea of what planning a wedding will be like. Of course, having an idea and doing are very different things! A few of my hobbies are represented on my other blogs, but I love to read, sew costumes, and play with makeup.

About My Fiance: 
My fiance's name is John! We met in a thoroughly modern fashion- we are a product of online dating. We met about three and a half years ago online and, as they say, the rest is history. John owns his own video production business and also does some I.T. consulting. His hobbies include finding new ways to brew coffee, building PCs, playing video games, and film. He spends hours each week staying caught up in what's happening with technology.

As A Couple: 
We have some really fun (to us) shared interests! We are both total nerds; John loved Star Wars for years before I met him, but I opened him up to Star Trek and now we are both pretty passionate about that; we even went to a Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas together about a year after we met! We also love Disney theme parks; our first trip together was to Disneyland, which we planned after just four dates. I think we were testing each other- luckily we both passed. We are both really big into space and history, and love nothing better than cuddling and watching a good documentary together. Another overlap of our interests is our curiosity with Art Deco style and architecture. It is this interest that became the catalyst for the style of our wedding, since it's the perfect overlap of our aesthetics and reflects both of our personalities.

So far we don't have any firm plans, but we are hoping to set a date for June 2015 just as soon as we decide on a venue. We have a few more venues we'd like to explore, but we're not quite there yet.

Thanks for reading!