Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)
Question: The proposal couldn’t have been more romantic, except for one thing: The ring isn’t my style. My preference has long been white gold, but for some reason, my fiance picked yellow gold. Vintage makes me squeal, but the contemporary-style Princess cut now on my finger is leaving me a bit forlorn. What do I do?
Answer: Obviously, this is a tricky situation. If handled poorly, this generous, heartfelt gift could turn into a hurtful point of contention for the duration of your marriage. Often, couples shop together to pick out a ring or at least so the receiver can offer up suggestions and preferences. In fact, according to the Emily Post Institute, only 30 percent of men select the ring on their own. For same sex engagements, it’s difficult to find data, because “some gay couples exchange engagement rings and then, during the ceremony, wedding bands. Others wear none at all,” writes Steven Petrow journalist and author of The New York Times’ “Civil Behavior” column and founder and writer of GayManners.Com, the digital etiquette resource for all things gay and lesbian. When there is a ring in play however and the giver hasn’t consulted the receiver for favorite styles, the potential to strike out comes into play.
First, be gentle and honest in your approach. Simply state that you appreciate the effort and that it’s a beautiful ring, but that it’s just not your style. Next, from the Emily Post Institute, “…stress how important the ring is to you, as you will be wearing it for the rest of your life.” Finally, Post continues, recognize you realize since it was meant to be a surprise, which you appreciate and were delighted by, that there may not have been an opportunity to find out your preferences. Our New Orleans Bride Magazine etiquette columnist Dee Lane adds, “Be mindful of your facial expressions, body language and mannerisms. Like many conversations you’ll have through your life together, being honest can be painful, but will curb resentment down the road and promote trust and respect in your marriage.”
As with all difficult conversations, honesty and tact are imperative, as is bringing to the situation kind and loving intentions.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.