Newsletter: Wedding Rings

My latest newsletter is out and the subject is wedding rings. I tell the story of how I got my wedding rings, and why I almost never wear them. The essay has received so many amazing responses — via comments, emails, and Instagram DMs. I’ve shared a bunch of the responses in my Instagram Stories (I saved them as a highlight if you’d like to see).

Here’s an excerpt of the newsletter:

I didn’t start out married life planning not to wear my wedding rings. At the time, I was quite young and hadn’t formed any official thoughts about wedding rings, though even then, wedding ring commercials and people who showed off their engagement rings made me uneasy. I didn’t like that couples felt pressure to buy a big diamond even if they couldn’t afford it; that the size of the ring was somehow supposed to prove the amount of love.

Some of my uneasiness was just aesthetics. I wasn’t into the look of 1990s diamond engagement rings at all, so the idea that someone would go into debt for a ring I thought was unappealing was hard for my brain to comprehend. Related to that, I couldn’t imagine liking a piece of jewelry so much that I would want to wear it every day for my whole life — and the idea of someone else picking out that piece of jewelry for me (I don’t even get to choose it???), was about as stressful a thought I could have come up with at the time.

Back then, even with the uneasiness, I assumed I would wear a wedding ring when I was married. But it turns out I don’t.

Click here to keep reading the essay (it’s free to read!).

13 thoughts on “Newsletter: Wedding Rings”

  1. I don’t wear mine, either! Many of your points are beliefs we share–among them a lack of daily utility in needing to hover over something precious. Ironically, my grandparents were fine jewelers, and I grew up around sparkly things, but am not at all attracted to diamonds. I married (too) young with a simple ruby inset band, which is now in safety deposit box along with other overly fancy keepsakes. But I ADORE my little trio of thin, inexpensive, handcrafted sterling twig-inspired bands. They represent my two grown kids and I, united in strength–worn when the mood arrives.

  2. Love your thoughts, as always. Neither my husband nor I are fans of diamonds and I always wanted something unique. We moved to Costa Rica a couple days after our wedding and I was also worried about losing a nice piece of jewelry as we traveled. So we opted to go to a local artisan and he made us copper rings. My husband’s was a band etched with lines that looked like tree bark and mine was a delicate ring with a piece of green sea glass. They were so unique and didn’t cost us a fortune–we loved them so much. And then sadly, after about a year my sea glass piece fell out and shattered and after taking his ring off to do the dishes, his somehow got ground up in the disposal. And since then we’ve never really replaced them (we’ve been married 4 years this July). I think someday I’d like to have a simple gold band, but I’m expecting twins in a few months (our 2nd and 3rd babies) and I’m also less interested in wearing jewelry with babies. But I think for me, I don’t see the ring as a sign that I belong to somebody else, but that I have chosen to commit myself to somebody. I love my marriage and sometimes I wish that I was wearing a ring because I feel like my relationship with my husband is one of my greatest treasures.

  3. I try to wear a ring when going out but at home I usually don’t. Many of the reasons are the same as mentioned. I like to create and do things with my hands alot and I don’t want to be washing a piece of jewelry constantly. I do love jewelry though and design and make pieces myself so I am inspired by and love many different types of styles. One of my favorite is art deco which was not widely available or affordable when I got married in the early 2000’s. My husband was still finishing college with a huge college debt and I did not want to add to that number. The compromise we reached was I got a beautiful sterling and cz ring. Every year (or honestly if I find something I like) I get a new ring. He often gets me a new one for our anniversary, and in 2019 we went and made rings together in a class to celebrate. I had made him a hammered sterling ring for a wedding gift when we were married.The most expensive ring I have is $100 by this beautiful designer in new York with a real diamond chip in brushed sterling silver ( the only diamond I have). But my favorite is an art deco replica that we bought at the titanic traveling exhibit. I love trading out what I wear and no one has ever questioned if they are “real”. And now after 50+ years of marriage my mom had bought herself some fun new rings as well. It’s been the best!

  4. Hear, hear! Think you’ve brilliantly written about something that should be considered more instead of taken as a given. My Austrian groom-to-be was sooo confused about the ring expectations of his American bride-to-be. A small light bulb went off for me through trying to explain it all to him; I changed my mind and twenty plus years later, it feels silly to think about. Relatedly, think so many of the grandiosities of a typical wedding ceremony should be recognized as optional (way more than they are) and the extent to which so many of these expectations are put upon couples by parents or grandparents is unfortunate. Wondering if the smaller, scaled down ceremonies and elopements of this past year will change the wedding culture in good way.

  5. I stopped wearing mine about 10 years ago (married 25 years). The ring is sort of dated, mid-90s looking (hate to say that) – it isn’t something I would choose today. Also, I started having an allergic reaction to it so I put them in our safe. I actually am not a big fan of rings (had never worn one prior to getting married).

  6. Before my husband and I were dating, a mutual friend got engaged with a giant diamond ring and I mentioned that I didn’t want a stone in my engagement ring. Months later when we were talking about getting engaged, my husband remembered that moment and asked if I was serious and I was! My ring is a thin platinum band that matches his thicker one. It’s my engagement and wedding ring. I’ve been married almost 3 years and haven’t regretted it. It was awkward/funny when we first got engaged and people asked to “see the ring” and then didn’t know what to say about a plain band.

  7. I feel the same way about wedding and engagement rings. The wedding industrial complex really pushes hard for those things. My husband and I never exchanged rings at all. While I can admire the pretty rings of others, it is not something I have ever needed to have for myself. I remember the recently engaged friend of a friend of ours being shocked when he found out and said “you can do that?!” Yes. You can choose to do whatever you want for your wedding. Or anything else for that matter. We have been married for over 25 years and the lack of rings has never affected our happiness. I like your Grandmas rings, too. So pretty and unique and much more meaningful because she made them herself. I hope the trend of smaller, more thoughtful weddings of the past year continues, too. Great essay.

  8. I loved reading people’s stories! What a fun newsletter. My engagement ring was a family heirloom from my husband’s family. Beautiful but I lose things or break things all the time and always felt like it was a guilt trip waiting to happen. I will pull it out for fancy events. I loved my wedding band ($150 off the internet) but I’ve gained weight and the ring doesn’t fit like it used to so I pulled it off. it recently fell off the bedside behind the bed and I still haven’t retrieved it (ha!) My husband lost his and we sometimes talk about replacing them but are by no means compelled to. I think, when we were younger we might have attached different meanings to what the rings did or did not signify but as we age and our life gets richer with our ups and downs, those earlier meanings have lost their power over us.

    A whole other newsletter could be around women wearing their rings so people wouldn’t think they were a single mom! I heard that in a few of the stories shared and it really struck a cord with me! Single women out in the world, with kids in tow, are bad ass and not to be reckoned with! What is the fear of being assumed as single? or a single mother?

  9. Neither my husband or I wear our wedding rings.
    We were married almost 25 years ago, still babies. Our rings were lovely but simple. Within a few years, neither of us wore our rings much. I had stopped wearing them through 2 pregnancies and swollen hands. He had joined the military and it was unsafe for him to wear them in his hands-on work. Fast forward to our 15th anniversary, and we decided to get new rings. We bought his new, but mine was a ring from my great grandmother. We only wore them for special occasions though and then slowly never! haha! I can’t remember the last time either of us wore them. We’ve talked about ring tattoos, but we probably won’t do that either:)

  10. Great essay, I always love your writing and thoughts.

    I’m lucky enough to have a lot of beautiful jewelry … a diamond engagement ring and a 10-year anniversary diamond eternity band from my husband … plus a lot of other jewelry gifted to me by my loving husband, my mother (who adored jewelry), and even my generous mother-in-law. But over the years, I’ve gravitated to only ever wearing two rings on my hand: my original plain sturdy platinum wedding band, topped by a plain gold band that belonged to my grandmother, my role model.

    I like that these two simple bands match my lifestyle and my values. They’re practically indestructible (I too work with my hands a lot, and these are sturdy enough that I never take them off). And they represent two of my most loved ones. But I could just as easily do without wearing them, because I’ve come to feel that while jewelry can be sparkly, eye-catching and status-staking, it’s just not something that contributes to my life happiness and contentedness. Every individual is unique of course, but for me, living simply is the best life.

  11. Much like you, I never liked the engagement rings that were popular in the 90s and never wanted to wear one. My husband and I were married in a civil ceremony overseas with plain bands, and when we got back to the US, we chose my “engagement” ring together. I was thrilled to find a unique white gold vintage-looking ring, which for many years was very unusual (white gold or platinum seem to have become the norm). I wear the “engagement” ring on my left ring finger, and the plain white gold band on my right ring finger (in the Orthodox religion wedding rings are worn on the right hand). I never take them off unless I’m making meatloaf or something.

  12. Marie-Christine

    J’adore vous lire , pour moi, je ne quitte pas mon alliance une seule seconde depuis 26 ans. Elle fait partie de moi et de mon couple depuis notre engagement devant Dieu. Pas de fioriture sur nos alliances identiques et assez simples alliant 3 ors . Cette année, nous avons renouvelé nos alliance plutôt que de les faire agrandir en gardant le même esprit! Avec mon alliance je porte ma bague de fiançailles cote à cote. A la main droite, je porte l’alliance de ma grand mère!

  13. I chose my own diamond engagement ring set like a flower and loved it but don’t wear it or my sapphire eternity ring. Working in the garden, cleaning etc was worried they would be lost. My wedding band is plain gold and when I broke my wrist in 2017 it had to be cut off. I was devastated as it had not been off my finger since Jim put it on in 1971. My hand felt naked so I wore and old one from my mother and still do as well as my own band. I have tried my engagement and eternity rings but they won’t go over the knuckle so I’m quite happy with my two bands as I feel closer to my mum too.

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