This is the wedding ring that I wanted.
Hand-crafted by a bearded artisan, it’s made from dinosaur fossils and deer antlers and meteorites. Is there anything cooler? A lot of people like diamonds because they represent eternity, but this strange mishmash of textures represented it much more clearly to me. The bones of things long dead. The pieces of ourselves that die and renew each year. Starstuff from dark, unknown, unknowable places our species will die without ever setting eyes upon.
This is the wedding ring that I got.
It was available on Amazon Prime for $25.
Why a ring doesn’t matter at all
Before getting engaged, my partner and I had many deep discussions about what we wanted out of life. I aired my most private and embarrassing dreams to him. I wanted to write a bad young adult novel. I wanted to one day live in a house with secret passages. I wanted the horse my parents never got me. These were (and are) my truest heart’s desires—the stuff I’d dreamed of doing since I was a kid—the stuff that I would regret not doing on my deathbed.
My partner shared his list with me, and we decided to make these goals the stars by which we would steer our common ship.
So when it came time to purchase a pair of wedding rings, we looked really hard at our initial choice. We loved them. We adored them. We felt that they represented our love. We felt they reflected our tastes and our values. We knew when people saw them, they would cry “these are so cool, these are so you!” And that would’ve made us feel smart and right and smug.
But with a purchase price of $1,900, we decided to walk away.
There was so much we could do with $1,900 that would get us closer to the goals that really mattered to us. So we let our budget dictate our ultimate choice. And I have no regrets. In fact, I have negative regrets.
Why a ring matters a lot
I wanted the original ring as a signaling device. I wanted to let people know that I was gritty and boyish and smart and cool and unconventional. I wanted them to know that mere diamonds were beneath me. No, I am a woman who deserves dinosaur bones and fallen stars!
I was being shallow. I was underestimating what a ring can actually mean.
The cheap-ass hunk of metal around my finger means more to me than my original choice ever could. This ring is a symbol of my willingness to compromise. It’s a reminder of what actually matters to me. It’s a little titanium compass, pointing me toward the future I want to build for myself and my partner.
If you have dreamed your whole life of having a great big diamond on your finger, fucking go for it. I can list out all the reasons it’s a dumb thing to want, but everyone’s dreams are probably dumb. That’s no reason not to do it, if there’s absolutely nothing that you want more. (Did you miss the part where I admitted I have never gotten over the fact that my goddamn parents wouldn’t get me a goddamn pony?!) But if it’s not something you care a lot about, don’t let the cultural trappings trick you into giving it a greater slice of your paycheck than it deserves.
More bitchable advice on how to keep that wedding budget in check:
- The Only Advice You’ll Ever Need for a Cheap-Ass Wedding
- Other People’s Weddings Don’t Have to Make You Broke
- Traditional Wedding Gifts Can Burn in Hell Where They Belong
- Take Pride in Being a Cheap Date
My partner and I have left open the option to “upgrade” our rings later. When I first got married and people asked to see the ring, I always made a point to mention this. As if I were apologizing for myself, or for him. It was weird. It wasn’t like me. But I didn’t want anyone to think that he loved me less because we made a pragmatic choice together. Weddings are cultural touchstones, and they can bring out strange and unexpected emotions in even the most practical of people.
If you’re not married or engaged, or even close, I suggest taking a moment to think about it now while your head is clear. Before you make this or any other purchase—large or small— ask yourself if you actually want it. Does it align with your goals? Is it symbolic of something important? Does it remind you of something you always need to remember? Or are you trying to signal your partner’s commitment, or your worth as a human person? Those things cannot be quantified by objects, no matter how shiny. And anyone who would use them as a basis for making such a judgement is a garbage person who should maybe go pound sand.
I read a draft of this article aloud to my husband to see what he thought of it. His response was: “I liked it! And it certainly rings true for me!”
… We’re getting a divorce.