Fluff - If a Woman Buys Her Own Engagement Ring...

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427
Fluff - If a Woman Buys Her Own Engagement Ring...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I need a small break from grinding my teeth over the shutdown. Smile

Women are buying their own engagement rings. Why not just skip the tradition entirely?

The attempts of Americans to reconcile their infatuation with traditional wedding rituals and the realities of their daily lives are an endlessly amusing exercise in cognitive dissonance. Sure, let your dad give you away, even though you haven't answered to his paternal authority for more than a decade. Why not have a bachelorette party decorated with penises, as if we're teasing a virginal bride who has never seen one in real life? And, yes, the man should be responsible for buying that engagement ring, even though his wife-to-be makes more money.

Oh wait, what's that? Women are buying their own engagement rings, or at least splitting the costs?

Yes, according to the Cut and the Knot, there is an increasing willingness on the part of engaged couples to split the costs of the engagement ring, which comports generally with our 21st-century approach to family finances, in which both parties have jobs and therefore both contribute to the pot. Nearly half the respondents to a Today poll said they would share the costs of an engagement ring?a number I suspect would rise if they were told by their groom-to-be that it's either share the costs or go without a diamond to wave triumphantly under every nose you encounter.

Of course, the entire thing brings up an uncomfortable existential dilemma: Is it really an engagement ring if you bought it yourself? The whole point of the engagement ring is that it's a gift, meant to demonstrate the level of a man's commitment. When you shake your hand meaningfully at people with your ring, you're showing off how invested he is, moneywise, in claiming you for his bride-to-be. (He doesn't need to demonstrate how committed you are to him. It's just assumed women's commitment is assured, and they are indeed slobberingly grateful to be selected for the high honor of being someone's personal sandwich-maker.) Paying for it yourself, even just half of it, renders the entire gesture meaningless. It's not a demonstration of his fealty anymore. Does the engagement ring that isn't a down payment on a future commitment even shine as brightly?

What all this demonstrates is that it's high time to end the tradition of the engagement ring, along with other wedding rituals that are built on the assumption that a bride is dependent and virginal. The entire discourse about women having to "snag" a husband and obtain expensive totems of his commitment to hold him in place before the actual wedding is offensive to both genders. Women provide for themselves now. Instead of hanging onto these sexist, retrograde wedding traditions, why not make up some new ones that reflect our modern era? The new tradition of announcing your engagement through a photo shoot that emphasizes your already-enjoyable life together is a lot more cost-effective and reflects what people's actual romantic lives are like better than an old-fashioned engagement ring. More of that, please.

Debate questions: Is it really an "engagement ring" if you buy it yourself? Are the engagement ring and other wedding traditions outdated and even offensive to modern couples?

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Debate questions: Is it really an "engagement ring" if you buy it yourself? Are the engagement ring and other wedding traditions outdated and even offensive to modern couples?

I would have expected to pay part of my engagement ring, neither of us made a lot of money. As it is, I have my MIL's rings as DH's dad died when he was 3.

There are traditions that I think are outdated and may be offensive to some but I go with whatever the happy couple want to do. We paid for our wedding, my dad did not give me away, Sean and I walked down the aisle together (which really bothered my one sister). Personally I think the big, expensive wedding is offensive as I believe the money could go to much better things but that is not my decision to make.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6545

I am not what many of you would consider a modern couple Smile I loved getting my engagement ring though.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6545

"mom2robbie" wrote:

I would have expected to pay part of my engagement ring, neither of us made a lot of money. As it is, I have my MIL's rings as DH's dad died when he was 3.

There are traditions that I think are outdated and may be offensive to some but I go with whatever the happy couple want to do. We paid for our wedding, my dad did not give me away, Sean and I walked down the aisle together (which really bothered my one sister). Personally I think the big, expensive wedding is offensive as I believe the money could go to much better things but that is not my decision to make.

OT - :wavehello:

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I am not what many of you would consider a modern couple Smile I loved getting my engagement ring though.

I loved getting mine too. It was kind of funny as Sean had not even seen the rings, his mom got them out of the safety deposit box and took us out to dinner. Needless to say, most of my dinner went home in a doggie bag Biggrin

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Debate questions: Is it really an "engagement ring" if you buy it yourself? Are the engagement ring and other wedding traditions outdated and even offensive to modern couples?

Nope, I don't consider a ring you buy yourself to be an 'engagement' ring. Nobody's 'engaging' you to do anything, other than yourself. It's a pretty gift to yourself, nothing more IMO. I don't consider rings bought the traditional way (man buys for woman) to even really be 'gifts'. IMO, they are a symbol of a contract that's been entered into - the contemplation of marriage - and aren't a woman's to keep, UNLESS....she buys it herself Wink

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I'm good for people not getting them at all.

I'm good with buying your spouse to be a ring too as a gift from you.

Buying your own ring seems icky to me. I totally view mine as a gift from dh. I didn't expect one but I wouldn't have bought my own.

To each his own though.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Apple Crisp

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4107

It isn't just an engagement ring it turns into a wedding ring. In fact most of the time they are sold as a set. For many women it is a ring that they wear for the majority of their life and is very symbolic. So I don't think its that big of a deal for a woman to contribute to the cost if she wants to, she may think it is worth it to get something nice that he maybe couldn't afford on his own. Unless you keep separate bank accounts it all eventually comes out of the same pooled resources anyway. I think many people these days pick it out together.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

I see engagement rings as an outdated, paternalistic, patriarchal tradition. I didn't need a symbol to show the world that I was off the market and I didn't need my guy to prove how much he loved me by how big a rock he could put on my finger. If an engagement ring is what you want to do, I'm OK with it because it's your life & I love looking at bling as much as anyone else. But IMHO if your guy needs your financial help to get the ring of your dreams, then maybe you should be getting something smaller, or maybe a faux rock instead of real, and start your married life on a good financial footing instead of having years of payments or no savings.

For our wedding, if it had happened, we were each going to walk in with our parents, DH first, and then me. And I cringe every time I hear the "who gives this woman" thing. I can't believe anyone still does that. The only person who can give a woman to her marriage is herself.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3179

"Spacers" wrote:

I see engagement rings as an outdated, paternalistic, patriarchal tradition. I didn't need a symbol to show the world that I was off the market and I didn't need my guy to prove how much he loved me by how big a rock he could put on my finger. If an engagement ring is what you want to do, I'm OK with it because it's your life & I love looking at bling as much as anyone else. But IMHO if your guy needs your financial help to get the ring of your dreams, then maybe you should be getting something smaller, or maybe a faux rock instead of real, and start your married life on a good financial footing instead of having years of payments or no savings.

For our wedding, if it had happened, we were each going to walk in with our parents, DH first, and then me. And I cringe every time I hear the "who gives this woman" thing. I can't believe anyone still does that. The only person who can give a woman to her marriage is herself.

I have to say I mostly agree with this. We had a non-traditional wedding outside and there was no aisle or walking, so that was a non-issue. But giving someone away feels super weird to me.

And I agree that if you're paying for a ring that's a big financial strain, you might be better off re-thinking your priorities. Does it have to be expensive? If you really love the idea of an engagement ring, can't it be just as special without being a financial burden to either one of you? I'm not particularly into jewelry so I know that's easy for me to say...I actually prefer fun costume jewelry and sentimental hand-me-downs. So it's also personal taste.

For me personally, it's an outdated tradition I didn't relate to even when I was a little girl. For others, if they love it or find it romantic, go enjoy. But if it's something that's going to compromise your finances or stop you from having a great honeymoon or a home, then maybe it's time to reconsider.

So if a woman shares the cost, that doesn't make her any less engaged in my book, but it makes both of them a little more foolish.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

To me it is still a gift. I don't like the idea of financially contributing to my own gift.

I don't think it is an out-dated tradition. I have a wedding band that belonged to my great-great-great grandmother on my mother's side. It is just a simple silver band. My grandmother's set was platinum; my mother's white gold. My sister's set is a family heirloom from his side of the family. Wedding ring styles change over time so rings can also reflect the times. Wedding rings, more than any other jewelry, can tell so much about a couple. It's that one thing that is passed down from generation to generation and tells a story of all the women who wore it before.

When my daughter gets a little older I will give her the ring her dad proposed to me with. It's a very simple 22KT gold band that he bought in Qatar when he was sent there for 30 days. I could pass down my entire jewelry collection to her but it's that wedding band that will mean the most.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3179

A wedding ring is different from an engagement ring, to me.

Wedding bands are worn by both people, and often are simple bands. An engagement ring is just for the woman, and usually features some sort of expensive stone.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

I think it is weird to buy your own engagement ring, it is a gift and a promise of marriage, not sure how buying your own fulfills more than a gift to yourself. Mine was a surprise, kind off (the jeweler slipped up and asked if I wanted to see my ring when I dropped off some stones for him hubby had cut) and was more than a ring for me. Then again i had the traditional wedding as well where my Dad gave me away and I believe that is a sweet tradition and this is from someone who has a poor relationship with her Dad.

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

I might just HAVE to buy my own! *sighs*

lol.

xx

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

I might just HAVE to buy my own! *sighs*

lol.

xx

I proposed to Sean. Later I gave him a candy ring LOL

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4087

I didn't propose but I did go get a calendar and tell him to pick a wedding day. Blum 3 We had already talked about getting married because some things had happened to make us realize we wanted to make our relationship legal, but whenever the conversation turned to, do we elope or have family, when do we want to do it, etc. he'd clam up. So one night after another go-round over it, I accused him of not wanting to get married at all and lying to me about how commited he was, and when he said he really did want to marry me, I said , then pick a day right now. And he did.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3179

I proposed!

We'd already talked about it and agreed it was something we both ultimately wanted, but one day we were sitting in this gorgeous park looking out over the water and I proposed. We got married in that same park. Smile

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I love that story, Laurie.

And very shallowly, I do not care if my engagement ring is an outdated custom from the patriarchy, I love it.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3179

I also think that if an engagement ring makes everybody happy, then by all means, go get one!

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1530

I love the idea of an engagement ring too, outdated practice or not. DH is so cute when he tells the story of going to pick out my ring, how much he really looked at every ring and even had my mom come in and try it on. It is just a really cute story. My girls love to hear about it, and he loves telling them about how much he loves me.

I dont understand people that go into debt over their rings though, that is mind boggling to me

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