Starting a New Tradition: The Intention Ring vs the Engagement Ring

intention ringTo all Ring Givers!  I would love to start the tradition of an Intention Ring and/or Rock.  The Intention Ring will cause less fights over the style of the engagement ring, but will provide the service that the intents and purpose that an engagement ring has.  So if you have NO idea what ring to get your loved one, please read on!

I was never one of those girls that from the age of 5 I knew what what my engagement ring would look like.  Seriously,  I wouldn’t know 5 carats from 5 carrots or a princess cut from a cut princess!  I was just of the mind that I figured if the guy wanted to marry me he was going to pick it out himself, get down on one knee, I’d be surprised and cry, say “Yes” and there it would be, my engagement ring.

However, as everything in my life goes, random chaos that slowly started to fit together.  I met my fiance late in life when all the jaded idea of men was tough on a modern woman.  After many failed dates with other men, I met this man who turned my life on it’s head and made me think outside of my comfort zone.  He was very intriguing and my total opposite.  I’m an extrovert, he is not…definitely not.  But somehow we get along and we want to see where our lives together take us.

So my engagement story does not really involve my fiance at all…well perhaps a bit part in the play.  Him and I had just moved into a house we just bought in November 2012 after four years of dating with the intention of settling in, then getting married.  However, like all good Chinese families, it just wasn’t soon enough.  Life was moving in that direction albeit taking the scenic route.

After all of the holidays, we finally had some time to relax and enjoy the house and talk about marriage (he brought it up first, whew!).  Mind you this is March/April 2013.  Picking apart the year 2013 whilst giving leeway time to plan and save for a wedding (no winter wedding, he hates the month of September, no way I can plan a wedding in time for this summer)  we decided on Summer 2014.  July 4th, 2014.  It landed on a Friday, three day weekend, gave people plenty of time to plan and make it to the wedding.  Bonus: We’d have fireworks every year, he’d never forget, it would make the 4th of July more meaningful, and we’d never have to take time off for our anniversary.  Perfect.

One day, after having a wonderful dinner at my parent’s house minus my boyfriend, I was helping my father with some technical issues and talking about him about coming to the house when it got nicer  to take the canoe out to go fishing.  All of a sudden like a bat out of hell my lovely mother comes charging into the room and asking…no yelling, at me about why we haven’t gotten engaged yet and why weren’t we already married since we have the house??!!   And why were we being so selfish?  Mind you my mother is an awesome person.  When she is not on her one track mind of marriage, her and I get along fantastically.  Regardless of her actions she only has my best interests in mind and does not want me getting taken advantage of.  I love her to pieces.  However, that night it was one of her marriage moments.  It was like a hurricane and I had no shelter from the battering wind and rain.  My boyfriend was not there to block the onslaught as she usually behaves well in front of guests. LOL  This went on and on, when I finally had to tell her to shut her face (seriously I was trying to maintain calm, but I was losing myself a little mentally…literally gripping onto wet slippery rocks. Otherwise respect your parents.) I threw out the life preserver…what I wanted to do was wait until he proposed to me officially AND then tell everyone, but desperate times called for desperate measures and I was drowning here. I told her that if I gave her a date would she leave me alone? And she said yes, give me a date. ANY date. Just give me a date so I have something.  I told her July 4th of next year.  She replies, “Why so late?”  LOL  Mom.  You make me laugh.   However, appeased, the storm died down to a trickling rain and even though it was night time the sun shone in her face.

My grandmother was staying at my parent’s house due to health issues, so when I told her the good news she was elated! However, seeing her in such poor health and knowing that the health of my partner’s dad was also seesawing it made me realize that if I wanted to make sure that they were both there for our wedding we’d have to move up the wedding date! Aagh. I discussed this with my partner when I got home and after some deliberation and consultation of the Chinese almanac for auspicious dates, we decided on the month of August 2013.  Remember, no winter wedding and September was out.  Close, not enough time to save, but enough to plan.  Most important I had my mom check the Chinese restaurant where we would have the banquet and make sure the date we wanted was even available.  Turned out every Saturday but the last was booked.  So that left August 31st.

My partner was still stuck on having a July 4th wedding if we could have it this year (although he’ll deny it to this day).  That would take away an extra month and a half for me to plan.  So I told him if our friends and family had not already made plans for the summer as normal people are apt to do then we may have to nix the July 4th and go for August.  He agreed.  However, I should have known since my family is not normal, everyone was able to make July 4th!  Even the Chinese Banquet hall was wide open.  August was bad as school was going to start and only one of my friends already made July 4th plans with her family so she could not come.  So July 4th, 2013 it was.

(To stay inclusive of all marriages, opposite and same-sex, I will use the terms Ring Giver and Ring Receiver.)

Ok so all of that to get to the point of this article: the Intention Ring.  This is FAR different from a Promise Ring.  A Promise Ring to me is a promise that one day you will get engaged and married, etc, etc.  The Intention Ring, however, is the placeholder for the ACTUAL Engagement Ring, while the Ring Receiver (and the Ring Giver) design or choose their own together.   This being, as the Ring Giver you’ve finally decided that you have found your ONE and ONLY and you want to propose an ever-lasting life together.  Great.  So there may be many instances where you know your partner very well, their taste and style.  However, unless the Ring Receiver has told you exact specifications of what they picture their engagement ring to look like, your style of an engagement ring may be far different from what your intended has in mind.  I have heard many a fight have broken out over the engagement ring.  Pity to the petty.  So I am proposing this alternative to lessen the chances of fighting during what should be a happy time as there are so many engagement ring styles to chose from.  So many it made my head hurt.  It is very important to remember that the Ring Receiver will be the one wearing this every day.  What you think is nice, may not be the same for them.  The Ring Receiver should have a say in the design or style.

As there was no official down-on-one-knee proposal since things were moving so quickly for us and there was no time to save money after just putting it all down on the house, I used as an Intention Ring one (pictured above) that my fiance found while we were scuba diving in the Bahamas.  He actually found a 2 carat single solitaire engagement ring, with wedding band, at the bottom of the water.  At the time we had just started dating so I did not take the gift seriously.  But now it was perfect until I could find the style and setting that I wanted to have.  It turns out that my scuba Intention Ring was CZ, but we already figured that out! I still wore it because it is a beautiful ring.

For the Ring Giver:

Rule #1: Don’t splurge on the Intention Ring.  Save your money for the real thing.  Go to Kohl’s or other department store and buy a fake ring.  Keep it cheap and cheerful.  If you don’t like any of the rings available, then you can opt for buying the center stone that can be used for the engagement ring.  But be careful when treading here.  Again, your idea of a good size stone may not be the ideal for the Ring Receiver.  Keep the receipt, just. in. case.

Rule # 2:  At this point, I hope the Ring Receiver has said “Yes!” Just politely inform them that this is the Intention Ring (or Rock if went that route) and you would like the Ring Receiver to choose or design the Engagement Ring of their choice.  Keep to a certain budget for the engagement ring and inform the Ring Receiver of this budget.  They should keep this in mind when choosing or designing their ring and be respectful of it.  Most settings are NOT priced with the center stone.  Read the descriptions carefully before placing an order if you decide to purchase online.

For the Ring Receiver:

Rule #1:  Try not to get overwhelmed by your choices of ring styles.  There are so many out there.  You’ll have a quick education of Cut, Color and Clarity in no time. If you start feeling overwhelmed, step away, take some time and just let what you have seen percolate in your head and see what designs you find yourself veering more towards.

Rule #2: If you decide to design your own ring, have fun! Designing your own ring makes the ring more special because you’ve put in the time to create this ring that you love and represents you and your partner.  You will wear it proudly.

Rule #3: Be respectful of the Ring Giver’s budget.

Once the Ring Receiver has found and/or designed what they like, shop around for the best price, especially retail can be a bit expensive.  Keep in mind to also shop custom jewelry makers.  See my review on Serenade Diamonds who I had design my engagement ring.

Another good use for the Intention Ring is it is also a good stand-in while your Engagement Ring is out being cleaned or sized.  You will still have something nice to wear and your finger won’t feel empty.

Congratulations on taking that next step!  I would love to see what your Intention Ring looks like and if the idea went over well or badly with the Ring Receiver! Please share in the Comments section.








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