Today Turtle and I spent two hours looking at wedding ring options. It was a beautiful day and we had an entire afternoon to play, so we went to several stores to look at what they had. In the very first store, a very stuffy – ahem, traditional – jewelry shop, one ring caught the eye of both of us.
“Psst, what about that top one on the left?”
“I was just looking at that!”
Just as the stuffy, I mean, kindly gentleman came over to assist us, we both realized that the amazing ring with the simple band and the interesting texture was not, in fact, a ring, but a nickel stuffed into the tray to fill the space of a previously purchased ring. Okay, so at least we have similar taste, right? We both like the idea of using a nickel for our wedding bands?
On what may seem like a side note but is in fact completely related, I was talking to a friend of mine tonight who said, “If I were getting married, I would take my fiance and both of our sets of parents and we would go to the courthouse and that would be that.”
I admit that this has crossed my mind. There are lots of very sweet courthouse weddings! There are aspects of it that appeal to me: the simplicity, the intimacy, the importance of the marriage rather than the flowers (or tablecloths or food or whatever).
But the celebration feels important to me, and to us. The ritual of it is important. And what I keep understanding as we continue the planning process is that it’s not just the celebration and the support of our community of family and friends that is important, but it is also important for us to get through this planning process *together*, and to have a wedding that is *ours* and no one elses.
Back to the rings: We found this lovely little shop in a nearby town and found two styles of rings that we loved. We spent a long time trying them on and looking at similar rings in different materials and styles and widths, and then we left and came back and spent even more time talking to the jeweler about what we could and couldn’t change about each one and how much they would cost in different materials, etc.
Having this conversation with a complete stranger meant that first we had to have this conversation with each other. We had to say, “Here’s what I’m thinking about spending, and here’s why that seems reasonable. Here’s what the ring means to me. What do you think?” And it turns out that we both had different budgets, we had different aspects of the wedding bands that are important to us, and the rings have different meaning for both of us. Something as simple as buying a piece of jewelry (or as complicated as buying a wedding band, depending on how you look at it) turned into a few really intense, interesting conversations about money and marriage and celebration. And this is just one step in the process of putting together our wedding.
Planning a wedding together means checking in with each other a lot. It means trying to find something that represents *both* of us, and that means sometimes letting go of something that represents just one of us if the other one doesn’t feel that it fits. It means trying to be ourselves in the most honest way possible while making space for the other person, and I think that this is one of the parts of getting married that is often overlooked, and it is something that I am currently so, so grateful for.
I feel like planning this wedding is not just about one day, but about the life we are creating together. We are learning how to talk about money more and more, and we are practicing doing it. We are talking about our beliefs and the writing that we like and the decorations we think are pretty. We are shopping for shoes. We are discussing food and drink and music. It’s really quite wonderful.