How one husband-to-be took Beyonce’s challenge to heart — and raised the bar.
Our proposal was a modern day fairy tale.
Which means there is no tale to tell. Wrapped in each other’s arms, feeling the thrill of this day and many more stretching in front of us, we talked about how we should fill our deliciously empty Saturday.
“What about looking at engagement rings?,” one of us asked.
“Sounds good.,” the other replied.
That was that.
As newlyweds, people would ask to hear our engagement story hoping for a hike or helicopter-ride, a ring baked into a cake, or a my tearful surprise as he knelt down as we stood atop a skyscraper.
We had none of that drama.
Instead of sharing our engagement story, we would shift the topic by offering a description of our wedding. In the finest humble brag style, we detailed how twenty of our favorite people gathered in our lakefront living room. Dressed in sweaters to fight Vermont’s November chill, we read together our top ten list of joint vows, after which Steve, my newly minted husband, stomped on a wineglass in Jewish tradition despite a foot fast asleep from our 115-pound dog having spend our entire ceremony lying on it.
We celebrated with bagels and mimosas and called it a day. Or a morning. From start to finish the event cost us less than $3,500, a number which dwarfed that cost of our engagement rings.
Yes, you read that correctly. Rings.
As we walked to the jeweler holding steaming mugs of coffee, we talked about the double standard of the engagement ring, and how the moment he placed one on my finger I would be marked as his property, while his hands would continue to imply that he was on the market.
Historically, engagement rings were given as a promise to, and an insurance policy for, the future bride. If she was left jilted at the altar, the ring stayed with her as a consolation prize. Given the burden of her extra X chromosome, she would obviously never be able to support herself, so the man she had expected to provide for her could in the very least provide her with the value of the ring to live on for a while.
Despite my disgust, my politics did not outweigh my materialism, and we continued down the brick road towards the ring store.
It took less than 10 minutes to select my locally-made platinum ring with a channel-set, square-cut diamond.
The shank, which tapered from thick to thin, matched the wedding band I selected to nestled alongside it once our vows were exchanged. I loved the metaphor of partnership.
Since we still had a day to fill, we decided to shop for Steve’s wedding ring at the same time. He found himself drawn to a simple platinum band. As the jeweler slipped a sizing circle onto Steve’s ring finger, my almost-fiance used his middle and pinkie fingers to twirl it around, the sizing band spinning as quickly as the thoughts in his head.
“Can I keep this?,” he asked the jeweler. “What?,” the jeweler answered in surprise. “I’d like to keep this. I want an engagement ring too.”
“It’s on me.” I added, generously.
Of the four rings we purchased that day, mine were certainly the most expensive, but Steve’s engagement ring was the most valuable to us both.
As we left the shop, I hid my thrill with an apology.
“I’m sorry I didn’t offer you much of an insurance policy. I don’t know what you’ll be able get for it if I stand you up and you need to use it to support yourself.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Steve answered brusquely, “I’m pretty sure we don’t need an insurance policy.”
So we have an ending to befit the modern fairy tale that was our courtship.
We do live happily. We will see about ever after. Each night as Steve turns out his bedside light, I look over and see his engagement ring sitting on his bedside table. Although we didn’t need an insurance policy, we had one all along.
Photo credit: Flickr/8Rucoi