Archive for the ‘Rings’ Category

When we first got engaged, Mike and I determined our budget to be $2,000. My dad and stepmom provided all of the beverages and most of the food, and a few others contributed food as well. We borrowed as much as we could, and bought cheap on everything else. We also decided to include our Family Meet and Greet Slash Shower in that budget, so we had to get creative about how to keep our estimated budget at $2,000. In the end, our total estimated budget was $1,985 but our total expenditures were only $1,488.63. Pretty damn good I’d say!

Throughout the last year we’ve detailed how we saved money on everything from my dress to decorations to invitations. But here’s how the budget actually broke down:

Item                          Proposed      Actual
White Knot donation       10                   10
Gifts                               40                  41

Save-the-date                  0                    0              (electronic)
Invitations (+postage)   75                  56.3         (design & printing by friend)
Marriage license             20                  23

Dress                             50                   50             (vintage from Etsy)
Alterations                     0                      0             (fixed a small tear myself)
Shoes                           40                    40             (vintage from Etsy)
Hair piece                      25                      0              (gift from friend)
Jewelry                          0                      0              (borrowed from mom)
Makeup                         0                      0              (did it myself)
Hair                               0                      0              (done by my sister)
Mani/pedi                     0                     0               (did it myself)
Bra/underwear              0                     25             (bought slip)

Something to carry      30                     0              (decided against it)

Pants                              0                     0              (wore pre-owned pants)
Shirt                             50                   25              (JCPenney)
Shoes                             0                     0               (wore pre-owned shoes)
Jacket                         100                 100             (JCPenney)

Chairs                            0                     0             (borrowed folding chairs)
Location                        0                     0             (at my dad’s)
Officiant                        0                     0             (my sister officiated)
Photographer               375                 375             (hired a friend)
Wedding bands            350                355             (Rogers & Hollands)
Love Letter Box               0                    0             (hand made by my dad)
Unity Quilt                    30                  34.53        (for back fabric and tie string)

Decorations                 150                133.11
Food                            100                 20              (we had a lot donated)
Beverages                     20                   0               (for water we didn’t buy)
Tables                          150                   0               (borrowed instead of rented)
Chairs                             0                   0
Plates/cups/cutlery        75                 41.25          (all plastic and paper)
Music                              0                   0               (used an iPod and iHome)
Favors                          75                  91
Photo booth                 50                   0

Room rental                 50                  0                (used Mike’s mom’s work)
Food                           50                36.35           (had a lot donated)
Decorations                 20                20.85
Invitations (+postage) 30               25.84            (Snapfish)
Thank you cards            0                 0                  (used some I had on hand)
Postage                        10                 7.84

Thank you cards            0                 0                   (used some I had on hand)
Postage                       20               15.4

TOTAL                    1,985       1,488.63

(Sorry if that’s a big effing mess – I’m too lazy to figure out how to make a table.)

We kept track of all of this in a Google Doc. On one sheet, everytime we bought something we wrote it in and categorized it (decorations, food, favors, etc). Then when everything was purchased in a category, we added up the total and put it in the second sheet that had our master budget. Using some Excel-like magic, Google added everything up for us as we went.

A wedding for under $2,000? Actually, under $1,500! I can live with that. Especially because it was an incredibly awesome wedding!

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My friend Lindsay suggested that we break down the wedding traditions we’ve been detailing in our Wedding Traditions Explained series from our own point of view. We thought it was a good idea, too. So here it is:

Tossing the bouquet and garter
We will not be doing either. In fact, we won’t even be having a bouquet or garter. I might carry something down the aisle, but it will likely not be flowers. So no tossing.

Including bridesmaids and groomsmen
We’re not having either. We decided it was unnecessary and it would save us some time, stress and money to forgo a wedding party altogether.

Giving away the bride
For awhile I thought if anyone was going to walk me down the aisle, it would be both of my parents, not just my dad. But then I decided the whole escorting down the aisle thing was silly. At least for me. Mike and I will be walking in solo and leaving together. Symbolic eh?

Bridal veil
Skipping it. I’ll wear the pretty lace hair adornment that my friend Katie bought me, and that’s it.

Wedding rings
We will have wedding rings. I like the symbolism here. We both had engagement rings, and we’ll both have wedding bands. And we both split the cost on all four.

No final decisions, but I don’t think there will be flowers. Other decorations, yes. Flowers, probably not. No real reason, except we want our decorations to be fun, simple and sort of whimsical, and other ideas seem to work better than flowers.

Bride on groom’s left
We’re not sure yet what we’re doing with placement. We’re not having “sides” because my family is so much bigger than his, so we just want people to sit wherever. I think which side we stand on will depend on what looks and feels right. When we were in the backyard once, getting an idea of how things would be, it seemed like one side was sloped a little more than the other. Being 15 inches shorter than Mike, it makes sense for me to not stand downhill from him.

Wedding cake
No cake. But we will have an ice cream bar and a cupcake bar! Aw yeah.

Something Old…
I will have something old (dress, shoes), and something new (hair piece, rings), and something borrowed (earrings), and maybe even something blue by then, who knows. But none of it is to fulfill the ‘requirements’ of this old saying.

The “wedding”
Yes we’re having a wedding, but there is no purchasing of brides or whatever.

White dress
Nope. It’s green and ivory.

First kiss
Yes we will be having a first kiss. Except we’re trying to think of a good alternative to “you may kiss the bride.” Maybe something like, “You may now take your first kiss as a married couple.” Or something. Thoughts?

Carrying the bride across threshold
Um no. There will be no carrying of the bride over anything.

The honeymoon
Yes yes yes! We’re on a serious budget for the wedding so that we can have enough money for a honeymoon. Nothing fancy though. We’re thinking maybe a short cruise or something. But we definitely want to get away after the wedding.

Bridal shower and bachelor party
Rather than a shower for the women only (god I hate that!), we’re going to host a family meet n’ greet slash shower. Basically we want our families to meet before the wedding, so we’re going to host our own big get-together, and instead of having separate showers, the meet n’ greet can second as one. Then I guess it will be up to our friends if there are any other showers or bachelor(ette) parties. No expectations there.

Wedding march
This relates to our aisle walk above. No wedding march. And as we explained awhile ago, there will be no music either.

Taking hands during the ceremony
I’m sure we’ll hold hands at some point. Right hand to right hand though? That seems a lot like a handshake…

We haven’t given this much thought actually. Maybe? But our reception is going to be more like a casual backyard party, and formal toasts might seem awkward. Or not. I’m not really sure. I have a feeling unless someone speaks up strongly about wanting to do a toast, we’ll probably skip this tradition.

Throwing rice
Definitely not. We won’t be departing in any big fashion, and in fact we’ll probably be staying later than most of the guests in order to clean up. So rice throwing or bubbles or sparklers… pretty obsolete.

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Mike’s wedding ring

Mike’s ring came in this weekend, and it came with all the same excessive packing that mine did.

I think our rings look nice togther even though he is Tungsten and mine is white gold.

Mine is a dainty size 5.25 while he is a 12. I was kind of hoping I’d wear a 6 because then our sizes would be 6 and 12, and our wedding date is 6/12. Oh well.

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Shannon’s wedding band

I got the call yesterday that my ring was ready, so Mike and I went to pick it up when he was out of work. It’s a tiny little band, but it came with some extensive (and superfluous) packaging. First the bag:

Then a box:

Then a box inside the box:

Then finally the ring:

I love it! I love how small and dainty and simple it is. It’s exactly what I wanted. Because of the setting of my engagement ring, it’s doesn’t exactly work naturally with a band. Looks a little awkward in fact.

Not terrible, but I like them individually better than together. Which is fine because my plan all along was to have the engagement ring as a special, beautiful ring, and the wedding band for everyday wear. Like this:

I love love love it. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s the perfect look for me. And I was actually thinking, because I love my engagement ring so much too, I could wear it on my ring hand if I feel like it. I don’t know, so many options! I’m just happy that I love both of my rings.

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We bought wedding rings!

It wasn’t on our To Do list to accomplish until March, but I had the brilliant idea to take advantage of the holiday sales instead. We revisited the jeweler that sold us my engagement ring, thinking it’d be nice to have both of my rings from the same place. Convenience for cleaning, etc.

The dude tried to sell us some diamond bands because wow! Look at these great deals! But I only wanted a simple, petite white gold band. We found one I really liked for $130. And then the dude tried to sell us the match to that ring for Mike, but it was like $400. On sale! So I asked what other metals we could consider. Turns out tungsten is much less expensive and much more durable, which is perfect for us because a) we’re cheap bastards, and b) Mike needs a durable ring. When I said we might prefer that, the dude was all, “But then you won’t match!” to which I replied, “We don’t really care about that. I want the ring I like, and he wants the ring he likes. If they don’t match, fine.”

The most simply-designed tungsten ring was only $199, so we walked out with two rings we loved for a grand total of $355. We’re getting some help from family with food, so we were able to move some money out of that budget line and into the ring budget line without disturbing the overall budget. We still went $5 over our ring budget, but I think we did pretty good.

This isn’t the actual ring, but mine looks somewhat similar to this:

Except even thinner, I can’t find anything quite right. And Mike’s is sort of like this:

Except a little thicker actually. So neither of these is really right, but we don’t get the real rings for a few weeks. Well, 1-2 weeks for mine and 5-6 for Mike’s. But rings are done!

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Wedding traditions are traditions for a reason: they’ve been around a long time. But where did they originate? Our Wedding Traditions Explained series attempts to find out. We have no real evidence to back up these claims, but they were gathered from various online sources. Take them for what they’re worth, and if you’ve heard differing explanations, please share.

The Wedding Ring

The best known meaning of the wedding ring is as a symbol of eternal and everlasting love. It was placed on the fourth finger on the left hand because it was believed that this finger has a direct connection to the heart.

Primitive brides wore rings of hemp and had to replace them often. Romans used iron to symbolize permanence. In ancient times, husbands often tied up their bride’s ankles and wrists to hold her spirit within her. This symbolic binding has evolved to only include binding the finger in metal, and grooms have adapted the custom for themselves, as well.

Today the ring is a symbol of fidelity, commitment and love between a couple.

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We’re off to another wedding this weekend, but here are some pretties to keep you occupied:


I love this dress Allyson Hannigan wore to some event or another. I saved this image years ago, and if I was wealthy and could have a wedding dress custom-made, I think it would look rather similar to this.

paper flowers

How great are these flowers? Pretty great because they’re NOT REAL FLOWERS! Made out of paper, I think they’re reminiscent of pinwheels. I love this idea for a bouquet or other decor.

bike photos 2

What is it with bikes in wedding photos? That seems to be a thing right now. I do have a pretty cool old bike at my dad’s house that we could probably incorporate into some pictures. Hmm… I was sort of mocking the idea at first, but now I’m reconsidering.

wedding band

See that wedding band on the right? I want that. Where can I find that, and can I get it for $150 or less? Please?

green shoe j crew

Oh how I want to nuzzle and cuddle and kiss this shoe. But it’s J. Crew and therefore far more than I’d ever pay for a shoe, even a wedding shoe. Plus I think it’s long gone. But wow, it’s practically lickable.
lace head piece

A great alternative to the usual flower in the hair. Even feathers are becoming pretty common. But these intricate lace pieces are different, yet so very classic. Could this work with the updated retro hairstyle I’m hoping to pull off?

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There are four sisters in my family (actually five, but one is only 8 years old, so I can’t really include her in this post). As of Saturday, two of us are recently married (Andrea in August, Kelli in September) and two of us are engaged to be married next year. Within 12 months, all four of us will have gotten married. And all four of us have very different rings and engagement stories:

Clockwise, from top left:

Kelli’s ring: Kelli proposed to Kevin one day over dinner. Rumor has it she had salad all over her face when she asked the big question. She gave Kevin a ring, and then Kevin quickly got a ring cleaned and sized to give to Kel. It’s an antique family ring, Kevin’s grandmother’s. White gold with a diamond and lots of intricate metal detailing. She is not wearing an additional wedding band.

Emily’s ring: For a long time, Emily wanted a pearl engagement ring, and wasn’t shy about telling Drew as much. But he had other ideas in mind. This is an antique family ring, Drew’s great-grandmother’s. It’s gold with a solitary diamond in a unique starburst-esque setting. He surprised her one day by telling her he was having it cleaned, and a few days later he proposed. I’m not sure if Em is getting a band.

Andrea’s ring: Andrea and Blake never officially got engaged. They think it’s lame. They just started planning a wedding, and eventually Ann started wearing a simple silver-colored band. At the wedding she received the second, smaller, band and now wears both.

Shannon’s ring: You know the story. Mike and I mutually and simultaneously decided to get married, and shortly thereafter both bought rings. Mine is white gold with a cushion cut green amethyst, set with tiny diamonds. I plan to get a wedding band, but I doubt I’ll wear both rings together. On fancy-feeling days I’ll wear the amethyst, on casual days I’ll wear the band. And on days when my fingers are sick of rings (as often happens), I’ll probably wear neither.

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Ring around the canyon

Cheesy, we know, but we did it anyway.

Dang my ring looks huge here. I don’t think it seems so giant in real life, which for me is good. Also Mike’s ring looks huge ON him, but that’s because he has to get it over his giant manly knuckles.

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That is an intentional emphasis on the S. Plural. That’s because Mike and I both have engagement rings. This wasn’t a big feminist In Your Face to the outdated tradition of women-only engagement rings (ok maybe a little); it was just something we both felt strongly about. For us an engagement ring shows the intention to get married, and since we are both intending to marry, we both wear these symbolic rings.

Personally, I’m not a big ring person. I usually find a cute ring, wear it for a month or two, then get sick of it, go ringless for a long time, find another cute ring, wear it, etc. And once I’m married I imagine I’ll wear my wedding band solo most of the time. So the engagement ring was a chance for me to get a gorgeous piece of jewelry that I could wear when I feel like it. All this to say that I wanted to pick my own ring out. None of this Surprise Me! stuff. I wanted something I could love not just for it’s symbolism but also because it’s frickin’ awesome.

Mike, on the other hand, was willing to let me surprise him. He’ll be getting a new ring when we marry, one that he’ll pick out, so this was a chance for him to see what I could come up with. After the wedding, he’ll have two rings to pick from each day, and options are nice, right?

Mike’s Ring:

It’s a titanium ring with black walnut inlay, hand-crafted by robandlean on etsy. I picked titanium because it’s light-weight and figured that would be good for someone who has never worn a ring before. I picked black walnut because it’s native to Michigan and has a darker coloring. We measured his finger using a sizer from robandlean, and I ordered him a 12. But when the ring came in, it was a bit snug. It fit the base of his finger fine, but it was very difficult to get over his knuckle. Though robandlean can’t resize these inlay rings, they were able to expand it by about half a size (at no extra charge), which means it now fits great. Unfortunately it meant sending the ring back and waiting for a couple weeks, which is only bad because by that point we were eager to show off our new accessories!

Mike’s ring: $150.

Shan’s ring:

I had several ideas about what I might want this ring to look like, but most importantly I didn’t want it to cost a lot. At some point before we were engaged, I decided I wanted a pale green gemstone, and I was leaning toward a green sapphire or peridot. Then one day I discovered the green amethyst and fell in love. There was no turning back, I knew that’s what I wanted. Then it was a matter of the setting. One day while doing research for a friend’s wedding, I found my perfect ring. Unfortunately the image had zero information attached to it. I had no idea where this ring came from or how to find it.

My inspiration ring:

When Mike and I started shopping, we wanted to buy local. We visited two local jewelers and walked out appalled from both. The prices! Even for a non-diamond ring! We just couldn’t do it. So we visited the mall. Ech. We found a ring very similar to what I had in mind, green amethyst and all, for only $200, but the stone was way too huge for my taste. We asked about custom making something similar, and their quote was over $1200. Uh, no thanks.

Next we found a setting I loved, but it was only available in every single gemstone known to man EXCEPT green amethyst. But it was on sale that week so we asked about replacing the stone. No problem, they’ll do it for free. I loved the ring, it was on sale, and I could get the gemstone replaced for free. We took a stroll around the mall to discuss and quickly went back to buy my engagement ring! Then we had to wait four weeks for it come in. Longest. Month. Ever.

Shan’s ring: $430 (with protection plan)

Payment Plan

We didn’t actually need a payment plan for these rings. The total cost was $600 and between the two of us, we had enough saved up to purchase right away. And it really was between the two of us. I would not have been comfortable with Mike unevenly spending a lot of money on a ring for me, and his ring was significantly cheaper. But before we even started shopping, we agreed to split the cost. We anticipated that mine would cost more, but they were equally symbolic and important. So we split the cost down the middle. It’s something that worked and made sense for us.

In the end, for two engagement rings that we both love, we spent $580.

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