Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Engagement Without the Ring

Whenever I mention anything dealing with “our wedding plans,” I see people flash to my left-hand “ring finger” and say, “But you don’t have a ring.” I even had one friend ask, “Aren’t you moving a little fast?” Which just made me laugh out loud because Funk and I have a four month old and we have been together for a year and four months. Moving fast? Well…
                This, of course, led me to ponder what makes a fiancée. Apparently, in our culture, an engagement ring makes a fiancée. Or maybe, a facebook ‘relationship status update’ and a ring make a fiancée. For me, I’m engaged without an engagement ring. However, when I was younger, I had envisioned the traditional scene. Girl meets boy. They fall in love. Boy gets down on one knee. Girl squeels, pops her foot, cries, says “yes.” Wedding bells ring. Make babies. As I got older, some variations got put in. Girl meets boy or girl. They fall in love. One or the other pops the question, on or not on, one knee. Both are happy, maybe cry, says “yes.” Time to party. Make a baby (through biology or IVF) or adopt.  And now I find myself in a different situation.
                Funk and I have decided we are getting married. We have even decided that it will be in June 2012 on the CSUCI campus in the morning. We’ve had late night, or during Droidlet feedings, discussions about how we want the décor to be both Steampunk and Dungeons and Dragons inspired. We’ve asked Funk’s brother in law to officiate and I’ve already been gathering ideas about how we want to write the ceremony with him. But I don’t have an engagement ring.
                I almost wish I had some awesome philosophy behind why I don’t have an engagement ring – like, I was the one who proposed to Funk so we forewent the ring, or that I don’t follow the tradition of having a symbol of betrothement to someone else, or that I think engagement rings a lucrative waste of money – but, I don’t. I’ve joked about “officially proposing” to Funk (he loooooves the idea and wishes I would) because I do think that it’s awesome but I guess there is a little bit of old-fashioned romanticism left inside of me. What it boils down to is that we found the perfect ring/wedding band. It’s from Jewelry by Da'Oud, who we met at the Renaissance Faire last year. He uses wax mold castings, recycled metals, and second-hand diamonds from conflict-free areas. FOR THE WIN. And the ringset is amazing. And we just don’t have the funds for it right now. But when we do, we’re going to buy it, along with Funk’s matching band, and have some sort of “official” askance awesomeness.
                Does this mean we’re not engaged yet? No way. I am in the beginning stages of wedding planning and child-raising and at the ending stages of my Master’s program and dating days. Just because I don’t have a ring on my left hand doesn’t make me any less entitled to planning my wedding than anyone else. So, all of you ladies, and men, out there rockin’ the no engagement ring or even no wedding band, more power to you. It’s not a ring that makes a wedding and it’s not a wedding that makes a relationship. Here’s to rising above the signifiers.


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  2. The ring is a symbol. Marriage is a tax break. Your future wedding sounds awesome. Great Post BTW.

  3. you can always get one out of the quarter machines in the meantime, maybe it'll have a whistle on it! :^)

  4. Ryan, thank you! It's very interesting figuring out what all of these different traditional objects (the ring, the ceremony, etc.) mean for us.

    JR. Brilliant. Hah. Or maybe we can pull a Simpsons and use an onion ring?

  5. If I recall, six years ago when writing letters back and forth in class we used to talk about boy drama and what we were going to do when we graduate. There was a lot of talk of travel, more schooling, what our future jobs were going to be....however no where in any of those letters did you ever mention planning a wedding or having a baby before you were a college professor and famous writer. However, now that we are here six years later, it all seems like this was part of your master plan all along. Being a mother comes natural to you and you know while you are supposed to be lesson planning you are secretly figuring out how the wedding party is going to stand, what you are going to say and how everyone is going to walk down the aisle. In the six years that I've known you I can proudly say that you have never been "traditional" and that is what makes you, well, you. You are Rachael by not being like everyone else. Having backwards and upside down thoughts that could only come from your brilliant mind. Your wedding may not be in a Catholic Church, but it will be "Traditional" in the Rachael sense of the word. There will be people of all shapes, sizes, races, religions, gender, sex, etc at your wedding and that is how your wedding will be traditional to you. That is your life. Everything that you do at your wedding will be exactly the same as what others do at theirs. They are vowing to be faithful and loving to one another until death do you part. Who cares where it is located and who is marrying you. The ring will still be a symbol of your ties to one another, however, with or without the ring you are still the same two people who love and adore each other.

    The way everything is falling into place is just the way I would imagine it for you. I don't picture a guy getting down on one knee at a romantic spot with a ring in a pretty box to propose. I would think you would laugh at the cheesiness of the ordeal instead of crying and saying yes. What I see is the guy looking at you straight in the eyes telling you that you are his nerdy, overachiever, beautiful, etc etc, soulmate and how he wants to spend the rest of his life with you by his side. And I see this happening at either a renaissance faire, star wars convention, disneyland...you get the idea.

    Your wedding will be perfect and fitting for the two of you since that is who the day is for. For everyone else it is just a time for everyone to get together and celebrate the joining of two loved ones.

    And now I am starting to write my own blog instead of a comment. I guess what I am trying to say is that I can not wait to be apart of your special day. I will be standing there, bawling my eyes out as my best friend and other half becomes a wife of the man that she loves.

    And on a side note, your wedding will be during our 7 year anniversary so it is another reason to celebrate :)

    I love you and your amazing partner and little Chubmonster!


  6. Thank you, Steph. You're totally right. I think sometimes I need the reminder that my friends, and others closest to me, are completely supportive of everything that Funk and I are doing. That there is a reason we surround ourselves with the people that we call friends. Love you, too.

  7. I heart you and your blog. Keep writing!