I had a plan — I had a modest ring that I could afford bookmarked and budgeted. That part was done. Then my fiancé convinced me that we HAD to go try on rings at a big box jewelry store. I knew better. There were so many GOOD REASONS not to but he was so excited about doing something “normal people do” that I gave in. I'm a lot more offbeat than he is and he's been seriously craving his “normal” wedding planning. I told myself we would just be learning some lingo, and maybe appreciate the reasonable plan and budget when comparing to these prices.
The good news is I did not let myself or him get swept up into any finance agreements. The bad news is the men's band and wedding set we found and fell in love with costs $8,000! And my reasonable little ring looks shabby and drab by comparison. I thought I could walk away, and I can. I just did not anticipate the other cascade of feelings.
Tl;dr I went window shopping for rings and now regret it because everything is a pale comparison. Suggestions? – Kitty
The Wedding Industrial Complex is as monolithic and all-encompassing as ever, as you've experienced. It's definitely easier to make affordable offbeat choices when you're not confronted full-on with pricey, traditional alternatives. Unfortunately, you were and I'm so sorry you're feeling those emotions because of it. Here are some ways to recover from leaving the offbeat bubble…
Re-learn to love your ring
Now that you've seen what else is out there, your ring has a shadow on it. But it can be redeemed in your eyes (and that's who matters here!). I'd suggest spending some quality time on the internet re-appreciating what you originally loved about your ring. Was it simple and elegant? Was it edgier and more interesting? Find alcoves on the web where non-bling-y rings are adored. It'll take some time, but re-adjusting your expectations and ideals sometimes just takes some perspective.
Head back to offbeat alternatives
Look at offbeat-friendly retailers to find a similar wedding band and wedding set for less cash. Using diamond alternatives like moissanite, semi-precious stones, vintage/used rings, and less fancy metals can cut the cost of your rings without sacrificing the shmancy looks. Unless the $8k set was seriously unique, you'll likely find something similar with smaller or local retailers.
Think of it as a first ring
If you just can't make peace with your original ring, think of it as a starter ring. You can always save up and upgrade it on a special anniversary. And, in all likelihood, you may learn to love it again and not want to upgrade it at all by that time.
Plus, you'll have gotten through the wedding planning stages where everything's importance is heightened and you'll likely have bigger fish to fry later on.
Apply the lesson to other parts of the wedding
You've probably already learned this lesson, but don't forget to apply it to other areas of the wedding. Don't feel pressured to go look at rentals you can't afford, marked up designer dresses, or other pricey outlets for money because it feels like the “way it's done.” It may be traditional, but you'll surely be much happier sticking with more affordable and offbeat vendors. Plus, you'll be supporting smaller companies who are usually awesome about making custom changes. Because custom-to-you > cookie-cutter. Hopefully that will help make the case to your more traditional partner, too.
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