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Rings | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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I Hadn’t Really Thought About It That Way

via Cristiano Ronaldo (WARNING: Many images NSFW… or the faint of heart about boobies and other ladybits)

So. I was watching Four Weddings the other night (Fridays, 10:00, 9:00 Central on TLC) and was quite intrigued with one couple: Rachel and Brad. They were actors who put together a rather gloriously OTT wedding. There were bagpipes and air horns at least one acrobat, and handfasting done with sparkly ribbons, and the groom vowing never to smoke another cigarette. In fact, Mr. Twistie and I both agreed it was one we wished we could have gone to… and when Mr. Twistie gets as enthusiastic about a wedding as to want to be there, well, you know it’s a party.

Anyway, one of the less than conventional decisions that Rachel and Brad made was to have their wedding rings tattooed on rather than going the more common route of buying metal bands. Fair enough. Not my thing, but then needles wig me out on an epic level. Mr. Twistie, too. We would happily live in a universe where needles never, ever, ever get inserted into human flesh. But it wasn’t our decision to make. It was Brad and Rachel’s decision, and they chose to have ink on their hands.

In the opening interview, Rachel talked about how much more practical this is because you can’t accidently lose your ring. After all, a marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. She called it ‘more functional.’

Okay. Of course I know a lot more couples who have gotten divorced than have lost their wedding rings, but I can see where she’s coming from and have no beef with her reasoning or her reasons. It’s her finger. She gets to determine whether it bears a ring, a tattoo, or nothing at all.

When I started getting it as a cool thing was during the ceremony. The happy couple was asked to explain their choice to their guests. So what did Brad say?

It’s a blood oath, and the only tattoo that will ever adorn my body.

Dayum! Now that’s the sound of a committed groom!

How could Rachel top that? One simple declarative sentence:

You’re in my flesh forever.

Will Rachel and Brad live happily ever after? Will they always be happy with their decision to opt for ink over gold? Those are questions I cannot answer. All I know is they’re going in expecting forever and refusing to be anyone but themselves.

And you know what? I think that gives them at least two and a half legs up on people who don’t enter marriage precisely that way.

DIY Wedding Rings, Really!

There’s no shortage of information out there concerned with shopping for wedding rings, custom made wedding rings, or choosing the right wedding rings. And there’s no shortage of wedding rings! How about photo wedding rings or profile wedding rings? Then you have skinny wedding rings, engraved wedding rings, silver wedding rings, and wedding rings made out of everything you can imagine, from wood to bone. And meteorites and tattoo ink and techie stuff! It would be easy to say that there’s a wedding ring out there for everyone, but maybe you’ve just read over my little list and there is nothing on it that speaks to you.

Okay, then how about a wedding ring you make yourself, using whatever metals – all recycled – and techniques you want? That’s what the Wedding Ring Workshop is all about. In their classes, over the course of six hours or so, you and your intended make each other’s wedding rings by hand, from scratch, under the tutelage of experienced jewelers. Unless you want stones mounted in your bands (which the jeweler will do for you) you’ll walk away from the Wedding Ring Workshop with your rings in hand, ready for your wedding day.

Interested? While the Wedding Ring Workshop seems like a good bet – they’re in the U.S. and the U.K. and have a lot of participating jewelers – there are other DIY wedding rings opportunities out there. New York Wedding Ring comes to mind, as does The Devil’s Workshop in Toronto. Googling around will help you find one close-ish to you that has the range of service you’re looking for. Keep in mind that some DIY wedding ring classes don’t allow for a lot of customization, while others allow you design custom wedding rings as long as your design can be created in the allotted time.

William and Kate Set a Date

It’s probably old news to you by now, but Prince William, son of Charles, Prince of Wales, has set a day to marry longtime lady Kate Middleton.

They’ve also set a place, Westminster Abbey, and had about a bazillion photos shot of her wearing his mother’s famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring. A bank holiday has been declared, as well, for the royal wedding on April 29, 2011.

What is less popularly noted at this point is the conflict for so much of American political and punditical glitterati: it seems that April 29 is also the day before the annual White House Press Conference dinner.

The organizers of the Press Conference dinner have decided to go ahead with the date they have already been planning around.

And the Daily Mail has weighed in with plenty of questions about whether having a full-on royal wedding right now is in any way appropriate… though even they do admit William and Kate are stuck in a kind of damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation as far as publicity goes. After all, if they throw a lavish do, they’ll get flak for being wasteful and grossly out of touch with the masses of unemployed. On the other hand, if they have a quiet wedding in private, at least as many people will raise a ruckus for having been given no royal spectacle, and start to speculate on why they hid away on such an important occasion for the state.

The sad part is that in the end, this particular happy couple have less say in their own wedding plans than the average couple. Many of the decisions are based on tradition, protocol, and upholding the dignity of the monarchy.

Me? I’m not going to rag on them for decisions largely made by a phalanx of major domos and political advisors. I’m just going to hope that William and Kate have a long, happy life together.

It’s no more and no less than I would wish for any couple as they embark on the journey of marriage.

Eight Carats Not Enough?

I’m sure everyone here wishes the greatest possible joy to tennis star Maria Sharapova and her fiance, basketball player Sasha Vujicic. I know I do. I wish that to all couples in love.

And I certainly hope that she loves the purportedly eight-carat diamond ring she’s been sporting in honor of the engagement.

Now, with that out of the way, I clearly need to send a copy of Miss Manners to writer Chris Chase for penning this ‘whimsical’ piece on how Mr. Vujacic has cheaped out on the ring by not spending Chase’s estimate of Vujacic’s two-month salary. Chase estimates that two months worth of Vujacic’s salary comes out to $912,000.00, making the mere $250,000.00 he’s reported to have spent a pittance.*


We’ve been over and over and over this point here at Manolo for the Brides. Two months’ salary for an engagement ring is not etiquette. It was an advertising slogan for DeBeers. You know, the people who sell diamonds. Etiquette considers it painfully rude to even enquire as to the price of someone’s jewelry, let alone a piece so imbued with symbolism. Etiquette would also be appalled at estimating someone’s salary, even when it’s a matter of public record, for the purpose of shaming them into spending more of it. Seriously, these are things over which etiquette has a painful attack of the vapors.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when choosing an engagement ring, the gentleman should consider the taste of his lady and the state of his bank account (and credit rating). The lady, given the choice, should be thoughtful of his wallet. Everyone else in the universe should just butt out. Er… with the possible exception of the jeweler who is sort of required if the ring is being bought new or adapted from a not-so-new source.

Besides, if Mr. Twistie had followed the two months salary ‘rule’ I would never have gotten the engagement ring I wanted. It didn’t cost nearly that much.

*(I know the article is meant to be humorous, but it’s still based on a crass assumption that needs to be deflated at every possible opportunity. Way too many people think that ‘rule’ is a real one, so I continue to tilt at this particular windmill.)

Ring Around the Groom

Once upon a time, when marriage was more likely to be a financial arrangement than the joining of two hearts desperately in love, rings were pretty much only for the bride. She might or might not get a betrothal ring, and she wore the wedding ring. After all, he was the one with earthly goods to endow people with. Hers were… not hers. They were her father’s and the groom had probably already gotten that milk cow, interest in the family shipping business, or strategically important tract of land.

Of course, times change and symbols with them. Marriage became a more equitable and less businesslike proposition. Around World War Two, wedding rings for men became popular. Since then, the majority of men do wear wedding rings.

In fact, there are some parts of the world where men wear engagement rings, too. For instance, last month singer Michael Buble announced that he was wearing a ‘man-gagement’ ring, as is the custom in his bride-to-be’s native Argentina.

But neither an engagement nor a wedding ring is actually required on anyone. There are some professions where wearing a ring could be dangerous on the job. There are some men – and even some women, but it appears to be more common among men – who just plain don’t wear jewelry of any sort.

For instance, Mr. Twistie doesn’t have a wedding ring. When I asked him if he wanted one, he look about as though I’d just suggested he expose himself to my grandmother. For the record, I never suggested any such thing. Still, one look at that face and I told him not to worry about it. If he didn’t want a ring, that was fine by me. One less thing to buy suited me fine. And considering he doesn’t even wear a watch, it wasn’t a huge surprise to me.

But different people obviously feel differently on the subject. What are your thoughts on rings (engagement and wedding) for guys? Does your man wear a ring? Will he? Voluntarily? Whose choice was it? Does it matter if they match?

Picture-Perfect Wedding Rings

How sweet is this custom wedding ring that artist Luke Jerram designed for his wife? Along with local jeweler Tamrakar, he created the Portrait Projector ring, which contains a tiny photographic slide paired with a lens. Hod it up to a wee light source – like a mini flashlight or a candle flame – and the images contained within the ring are projected onto whatever is nearby.

Jerram made an equally fascinating engagement ring for his wife, which you can read about here. I’m like Jerram’s other works, too – particularly all of the neat gifts he’s made for people!

LOVE/HATE: The “Mine, All Mine!” Edition

calling off a wedding

Here’s a little something from Slate’s DoubleX that talks about engagement rings – specifically what is to be done with them in the event that the wedding is called off.

Christopher Reinhold of Staten Island says the diamond ring he gave to Collette DiPierro, who broke off their engagement in September 2009 after four months and growing doubts, is rightfully his. He has sued her to get it back. In his New York state-court suit, Reinhold says that he gave DiPierro the ring upon her promise to marry him. Since she broke off the engagement and the marriage did not take place, the deal, he says, is off. But DiPierro says that because Reinhold proposed on her birthday, the $17,500 ring was a gift, not a token symbolizing a promise to marry. So she can keep it. Or, actually, spend it: Neither Reinhold nor DiPierro claims sentimental attachment; both would be happy with the ring’s cash value.

I know that an engagement ring ought to be a gift, not a contract or a payment in advance of future “services,” but in court contract law usually wins out and apparently agreeing to marry someone means entering into a verbal contract of which the ring is a part. Tres unromantic! Etiquette, of course, agrees that giving it back is the thing to do, but bad blood sometimes wins out over good manners.

What I’ve always wondered about the never-bride who keeps the ring is what she is going to do with it. Wear it? That could be awkward. Keep it at the bottom of her jewelry box? Again, awkward – I don’t like having old jewelry given to me by exes around. Sell it? Maybe I’m alone in thinking this, but that seems rather mean spirited – though if the giver of the ring was very abusive I might just say hock the thing for plane tix to somewhere awesome.

Calling off a wedding is such an emotionally charged thing to do, so do you really want a piece of bling (or the cash equivalent) reminding you that you or your once spouse-to-be said “I don’t” before anyone had a chance to say “I do”?

I HATE the idea that it’s even an issue. What does it matter if the ring was a gift or a way to seal the deal or something else? My idea of good manners does not include trying to profit off of a failed relationship (unless, as I mentioned above, there are some serious issues involved). Now you tell me: Is there any situation you can think of in which keeping the ring would be a love, not a hate?

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