Wedding World 002: How To Wear an Engagement Ring
Thanks for stopping by again! This is the second segment in the Wedding World volume and I get so excited each time I think about sharing the next phase of wedding planning with you. Sometimes I joke with close family and friends that I need the unwritten rules of life spelled out for me in black and white. I hope that this guide can support others who maybe felt a bit lost in the unknown of navigating this stage in life.
Last time I posted, I described the overwhelming feeling of not wanting to take on others' emotions as we looked at getting engaged through the theme of anticipation.
This time I'm going to tell you about the process I went through of, get this, literally figuring out how to wear a ring. I hope you get as good a chuckle out of this as I do now.
The day TJ proposed was full of so many emotions. After the initial rush of excitement and calling friends and family and stopping in to visit his parents, we went home for the first time as newly engaged fiancés. I wanted to scream and shout it to the walls! I flopped onto the couch and closed my eyes as I hugged a pillow, trying to preserve each and every little memory and detail from the day. I thought about the rush of feelings and pride and excitement I was feeling. I remembered the fizz of the peach cocktail, the wood-fired pizza, and handcrafted ice cream we had eaten before walking down to the pier where he proposed. With a flushed face and pacing heart I sat there with a goofy grin on my face.
And then it caught my eye.
The new sparkling piece of jewelry sitting on my left hand. Not gonna lie, it felt weird. And awkward. And kind of uncomfortable. I felt another rush of excitement come over me, as well as other emotions I couldn't really identify. Is it bad that I think one of them was intense pride for the wonderful piece of jewelry I was now wearing? Okay, fine, maybe there was a bit of vanity there. Maybe it's because this was an heirloom ring that was gifted to me from my mother! Or maybe it was because I rarely wear jewelry and didn't know something could be so sparkly. Yeah, it was probably just a bit of vanity. But I was infatuated with this new symbol of love that I would get to wear forever.
The more I stared at this lovely piece of jewelry, the more I noticed that it was sitting pretty high on my finger.
NO SERIOUSLY... HOW DO I WEAR THIS RING?
I could feel myself falling down the anxiety-rabbit hole. I began twisting it around on my finger.
It felt kind of tight. Not to mention my fingers looked like puffy sausages... but that was totally due to the heat of summer. Should it be sitting so high on my hand? I think that's how you wear rings, right? My finger was looking a little more purple than normal. Let me tell you this, I was suddenly grateful that there is not a WebMD for "tight ring" because in that moment I might have believed my finger needed to be amputated. Cue incessant Googling.
"Where do you wear an engagement ring?" On your left ring finger. Well duh.
"How high should you wear an engagement ring?" It should be between the base of your finger and the knuckle. Duh again.
"How should an engagement ring fit?" It should be loose enough to twist, but tight enough to catch on your knuckle. Well it's doing that right not, but my finger is purpley-blue!
"How much space should be between a ring and the finger?" About a toothpick's worth of space should be visible under the ring when you push up on it. Well, I'm pushing up on it and I could fit a toothpick in there, but how hard should I push? A little push? A lot push?
Big sigh again. Can anyone tell I'm super Type A and a hot mess from time to time? I wasn't kidding when I said I need things spelled out very clear when I'm in new territory. And wearing jewelry was a foreign land.
The next few days were a whirlwind. TJ and I were flirty and fun. He would ask how I liked the ring or if I was getting used to it and I would show it off, smile and thank him with a big smile. But behind the smile was something gnawing in the back of my mind.
Did this thing fit correctly?
After waking up and sleeping with it for a few days, I noticed that my hands felt puffy and swollen in the morning. My ring finger felt even more puffy. And I was starting to develop a weird, red line where it was sitting. Maybe I just needed to build up a callous. I called my Mom and she said that it should be tight but not too tight where air can't get under the ring. She said I should be able to "easily" twist it when my hands were normal and not puffy. Not sure what that was supposed to mean. And then she said that if I was really not sure I should go into the jeweler.
This was a custom made, heirloom ring. They measured me before we even had it made. And then they measured it again! It must be me, right? (Side note = I'm actively working on this self-blame thing).
I went into the jeweler and the store manager was as helpful as ever. She told me it should fit nearest the base of the knuckle so that it's less likely to catch or tug and should sit snuggly under the "meaty" underside of your ring finger. Almost like a cork in a bottle of wine. The way it was fitting right now was about 1/4inch below my knuckle. It should have been 3/4 of and inch below my knuckle.
It was too small, we needed to get it resized.
Then came the questions. Are you cold or hot right now? Do you feel hot or cold? Puffy, bloated or tense? Or light, deflated and hydrated? Let's try this ring-sizer on. Well, it says you're between sizes. Are you hot or cold right now? How you feel could impact how we size the ring and we need to get it right this time.
AH, THE PRESSURE.
We went with a full 3/4 size bigger. From a 6.75 to a 7.5. Sounds good I'll stop in to pick it up next week! For about a week I remember feeling a bit naked and a bit ashamed that I couldn't wear the ring TJ had so wonderfully gifted to me. About a week later, the jeweler called. I slightly-but-barely-sped to the store and got the ring. This time, I was sure. My hands are not hot. They do not feel warm. They're not puffy, just normal. The ring fits, and is slightly snug but not as snug as last time. It can twist easily. Great! Thanks so much, I can't wait to take this home and wear it forever. I walked in the house and proudly showed off the ring to TJ. What a great fit! It was near my knuckle, where it should be (obviously) and I could fit a toothpick under it when I pushed up. I went through the rest of the day in a happy daze. I woke up the next morning after sleeping through the night in our cool, air conditioned rental and walked to the bathroom. I scratched my head and yawned.
My ring moved.
That's weird. I looked at it. The ring had completely turned around, so that the diamond was on the underside of my hand. What the heck? Did I wake up this way and just not notice it? Or maybe it got caught in my hair when I scratched my oh-so-lovely-sleeping-bun. Hmmm... I went about the rest of my getting ready routine and looked at my fingers.
They were cold. They felt cold. I was dehydrated from fasting for over 10 hours, and was in an air conditioned environment with little humidity. I raised my hand up to inspect it closer.
OH MY GOD IT ROTATED 180 DEGREES.
I could feel the panic setting in. And I tried to calm myself, but couldn't help thinking "did I get this wrong?! Did we go up too many sizes?!" No, no, no... I just need to give myself time to adjust to the climate. Once I get up and moving and get the blood pumping I'm sure it will be a perfect fit.
I had been on the phone with my mom, talking excitedly and moving my hands as I paced the room, and my ring flopped from the base of my knuckle to my actual knuckle. I gasped. "WHAT?!" My mom asked, sensing the change in tone.
It was too big.
Sensing the urgency and impending tears, my mom suggested that I find a glove to see if the ring was indeed too big before overreacting: it would pull off with the glove if that was the case. I ran to the closet and rummaged through the back buckets, shoved a glove on, and pulled it off with my teeth.
Clang. The ring fell to the floor.
Cue melodramatic tears. Through the sobs, my mom guided me through calling TJ, as well as calling the jeweler and telling them the product was not yet a good fit, and how to kindly negotiate. She firmly told me how to get this solved ("but what if I just leave it like it is -- " "No, it needs to be a better fit. Call the jeweler.") so that this heirloom would be safe and secure on my hand. Bless this woman.
A few minutes later I remember calling TJ (while he was out on the river with his crew, mind you) in a fit of tears. "IT'S TOO BIG, IT GOT RESIZED INCORRECTLY. IT FALLS OFF WHEN I FLOP MY HANDS. THERE'S NO WAY IT WILL STAY ON. HOW DID I GET THIS WRONG. AGAIN?! AM I A HORRIBLE FIANCEE? WHAT GIRL DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO WEAR A RING? HOW CAN I NOT GET MY SIZE RIGHT, IT IS AN OBJECTIVE, DATA-BASED DECISION WITH AN ACTUAL MEASUREMENT WHY IS THIS WRONG?!"
Again, I'm working on internalized self-blame. Small shrug.
WHEN SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT, SAY SOMETHING
After sensing that he should take me off of speaker phone, TJ calmly walked me through the situation (bless. this. man).
"Hey hey hey. It's not you, babe. It's a ring. Something people wear. And just like clothes, some days they fit and others they don't. It's not your fault, it's not you. YOU are not a failure because of your fat, puffy hands," (I could tell he was smirking and trying to get a smile out of me. It worked). "Go to the jeweler and get it sized right. It's their job to help make sure it's a good fit so that it stays on your hand. No big deal."
Did I say bless this man?
Seriously. What person the time to talk down a hysterical fiancee while running a training drill out on the water? A patient one. And one who, whether he knows it or not, can calm my fears and anxiety with a firm and gentle tone.
So that day I walked into the jeweler, standing tall as I held back tears, and told them the ring was too big. They agreed. Were my hands hots, cold, or neutral? Did they feel hot, cold or neutral? My hands were neutral-to-warm, I knew it. They were slightly achy and puffy from waking up about an hour earlier. They measured my ring size again. This time, I was a 7.00. They agreed. The ring was too big. And you know what? They were happy to size it correctly.
You bet. They wanted to make sure it was a great fit so that it fit securely and it was on them to make sure it was a great fit. Bless this jeweler. Sigh. So what did I learn about this whole process? Several things:
- Not knowing right away is okay (notice a theme from the last post?)
- Take the time to test things out, it's necessary.
- Stop blaming yourself for things out of your control, and try not to overreact.
- If something isn't right the first (or second) time, speak up.
- Go thank the people in your life who help you in moments of melodramatic crisis. Seriously. Now.
I hope that by reading this story, you don't have to go through the process of uncertainty that I did. And if you do, I hope that you know someone else has been through it too. And that person doesn't think any of your worries or ring questions are dumb. Because I've been there. And while some may think that these worries are trivial in the grand scheme of things, it's okay to acknowledge our blessings and also acknowledge the phases we're currently in. Because being in between the phases and little moments of life, especially as a newly engaged fiancee, is part of your journey and it matters to.
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