Today is my eighth wedding anniversary, so I’ve been feeling nostalgic and thinking about all that has changed since Drew and I tied the knot. There are the obvious things, of course. There’s our move to Brooklyn a year after our wedding, where we’ve been happily putting down roots. There are lots of new friends, some sad losses, many happy occasions, and a few challenges along the way, just like with any marriage. There’s also a new engagement ring.
My original engagement ring (pictured above), which I love, belonged to my great-grandmother, who married in 1928, I believe. As the eldest grandchild (though not the first to marry), I was lucky enough to inherit the ring if I wanted it, and I did. I wanted a vintage ring, one that ideally had some special meaning, and its free or inexpensive was a big perk, too. (Drew and I were on a tight budget, and preferred spending more of our money on a great honeymoon than a fancy wedding or pricey rings.) My mother passed along my great-grandmother’s ring when I was home for Christmas in 2008, about a 2-1/2 years after Drew and I started dating and a little more than a year after I moved from Chicago to Manhattan to be with him. I gave the ring to Drew and told him to have it sized and then give it to me when he was ready to propose. A week later he invited me on a snowy walk in Central Park, where he’d written in sidewalk chalk: “Wendy, will you marry me? – Drew.” I said yes, and the rest is history.
But a few weeks after I started wearing my new-to-me engagement ring, I developed a rash around my finger. Over the years, the rash has come and gone, depending on different factors. The ring, which we added a custom-designed wedding band to, often felt heavy on my hand, too. I have pretty small hands and fingers and some sensory issues that have always made wearing big or heavy rings uncomfortable. I mentioned to Drew a few times that I might like a different ring one day — maybe something lighter and made of a different metal that wouldn’t aggravate my skin.
A few months ago we were in Austin, just the two of us, for a weekend away without the kids. We woke up in our cute little AirBnB on our first morning, and Drew surprised me with a gorgeous vintage-style engagement ring that he selected himself and which was perfect. I feel really lucky to have two special rings now — one with a lot of history that will always remind me of my heritage and a window in time when my marriage was brand new and Drew and I were carving a life for ourselves and making dreams for the future–and another ring that symbolizes to me renewal and continued commitment. Of course, the real luck comes from having found a partner who is as loving and generous and well-matched for me as Drew is.
Those of you who are married, or are or have been engaged, how did you go about selecting your ring? Did you leave it up entirely to your partner? Did you pick something out yourself? Use a family ring? And did you, like me, ever get a second ring?