I am just going to go ahead and say it. I when I started running H&H Weddings, I really didn't like wedding rings. I am still not 100% sold on them; I dislike what they can stand for, I dislike the shrieks of women when they ask to see the other's ring (as if a huge diamond means you love each other more) and I dislike that notion of "if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it." I think, often, it feels possessive. Even to this day, sometimes, I have an issue with them. However, today, we're talking rings and they have certainly grown on me since I have seen and heard hundreds of proposal/engagement stories in which the rings were meaningful and the proposal was egalitarian.
If you are a queer person thinking about getting engaged, there is a lot to think about. Does one person propose to the other? Do we each take our turn proposing? Do we even bother with rings? Are there rings that will suit us as people and our values and beliefs? My favorite thing about LGBTQ+ folks and the institution of marriage is how creative it can get. I love that couples decide to ring shop together, to chose meaningful jewelry instead of stick to traditional diamonds. I love hearing about how the decisions get made. I love that couples have found unique and special and heartfelt ways to say "we do."
The vast majority of weddings include some sort of proposal. Often it's one where each member of the couple proposes to the other person. Sometimes someone gets down on one knee and sometimes, it is decided over morning coffee one day. What I love is that it always seems like a mutual decision, with each person having equal say in how the proposal happens. It feels fair and loving and well thought out and yes, sometimes I tear up reading about all of this.
Four years ago, when I started blogging about LGBTQ+ weddings, I didn't see as many options for rings as I do now. It felt more binary (as did everything else). Today, I am pleased to say, I truly feel that jewelers are open to making pieces for every type of person. That even includes (gasp) engagement rings for men!
I wanted to round up a few companies who I think are doing great work, who are ethical and socially conscious (and who actually make me like the idea of rings!).
Rings are a tricky thing because many people wear them daily, which means they have to work with your life and style.
So, when I first heard of masculine engagement rings, I was pretty pumped about it, I'm not going to lie. Finally, this felt like a step in the right direction. I love this aide-mémoire band with a tiny diamond, which is a nod to the traditional engagement ring. It's masculine, it's chic. I love it for anyone who wants to spice up the traditional "men's" wedding band!
Black stones are gorgeous and modern and literally work with anything. That's why I am obsessed with this gold Blue Nile band with black diamonds. It amps things up without being over-the-top.
What about a more femme option without too much bling action? I adore Bario Neal. If you haven't heard of them, check 'em out! They are a Philly based woman-owned, feminist company and they do amazing things! Bario Neal offers custom work, but their preexisting designs basically blow my mind. This sapphire number is perfection. It's not too wedding-y, but it is a stunning statement piece.
For those of you who love vintage, do yourself a favor and look at Brilliant Earth's vintage section. They have curated a beautiful selection of vintage rings and they will resize them for you as needed. I chose this Victorian emerald ring because is the shape. It's different, but not too elaborate.
Old rings, new rings, or no rings at all, whatever you do should be a meaningful commitment to the love of your life. You and your partner should decide what reflects your personalities best!
Kate Schaefer, EIC