So yesterday I went wedding ring shopping. Before you get excited, I am an old(ish!) married lady of 13 years last week. I have had the same functional band since that sunny October day, and it has been a good, sturdy little band. However its luster has gone, its scratches and tarnish show its age. I'm not one to need a big, blingy show off-y Kardashian ring, but I can't be bothered wearing my engagement ring much of the time, so it would be nice to have a band I'm not mildly embarrassed about. Anyway, the husband has approximately a 5-10 minute patience level for shopping of any kind, so I knew I was going to have to find something on my own. My original ring was purchased in haste, a necessity as we decided to get married within a few weeks - our engagement was brief, although my husband did declare his marital intentions in true Jane Austen gallant style the first time I came over to visit. (Hey, I'm a Capricorn, we have a thing about being seen as in any way gauche).

Our getting married was romantic, a transatlantic love story and all those starry moments I won't bore you with here, but also a necessity. So I experienced none of the usual bridal freak outs over seating plans, cuff links, tulle volume, or whatever it is brides stress about. I needed a dress, I bought one off the rack, I needed flowers, I picked out a small bouquet a few days beforehand (red roses with ivy in case you are embroidered halterneck sorry, the minute you dip the toe in bridal waters you get sucked in). It was all very straightforward and non-bride-ish.

Which leads me to yesterday. I had been very practically looking online for the best band for my buck, a nice subtle ring with a few small diamonds inlaid perhaps. I know the trend is for eternity style dazzlers but they didn't seem practical - and most wedding bands seem to have a bit of sparkle in them nowadays anyway. After leaving a dentist appointment I happened to stroll past a small, independent jeweler on one of the side lanes in our town. It had a small but inviting window display of sparkly rings - like a magpie I drifted towards the door (doorbell entry, red alert!). A pleasant woman greeted me and I inquired about wedding bands. She courteously began to pull out approximately a hundred rings to tempt me with. No obvious price tags, always a red flag, but it was too late. I had somehow magically transformed into a bride again - not the actual minimalist bride I was, but a very special bride with very unique needs that demanded extra attention.

Something about the rings, the low light bringing out their sparkle, each one looking unique and unlike most of the rings I had seen in the chain stores, comforted and entranced me. I like a slightly chunkier round band, which lends itself to more elaborate, inlaid styles. Though a baguette and brilliant cut band made my heart go pitter patter, it did not sit perfectly with my engagement ring. The kindly, patient saleswoman let me try on just about every ring in the shop. We debated the merits of approximately a dozen, narrowing it down to a final few. I fell head over heels for a ring so pretty I don't even know how to describe it. You simply would not get this kind of attention on the high street, and the longer you are surrounded by the comforting warmth of overpriced jewelry, the longer you begin to feel you deserve a little something extra, the longer you begin to feel what I must imagine it feels like to be a bride planning a wedding for months on end, creating a whole world of accoutrements for your special day. 

I began to feel emotionally invested in a couple of the rings. I had, in as subtle a fashion as is required in fancy jewelers, inquired about the price, with each ring costing in the same ballpark, i.e. approximately twice what I had initially planned on spending. Oy. However with no voice of reason (cough Scottish husband), I participated in this ring ballet like I was the white swan in Swan Lake. Nothing was outwith my reach, I was a bride, I was special, and my fingers deserved only the finest cut and clarity of diamond known to man! I placed requests for quotes and a ring was set aside as it was the last one they could get.

Sadly this dream ring shopping experience would not end in a romantic haze. I am not a blushing bride, I am a married lady with financial constraints, and when I as subtly as possible mentioned the price to the hubby he said we might have to wait a couple of months until our holiday is paid off. My blood quietly boiled. How dare he pour dirt on my shiny ring dream! I internally huffed. Feeling very Cinderella after the ball, I went into quiet sulkitude, on the verge of tears. I knew I was being a brat, but I was a bride, I was the White Swan and I deserved the very best! Woe is me, my white feathers and cloud carpet slowly dissipated beneath me. I felt how I imagine every bride who allows the bridezilla to creep in feels when the honeymoon is over. I am a little bit ashamed of myself, but I would be lying if I didn't admit it was fun to feel that way for a few hours -however, I am glad the comedown wasn't after several months of self elevation. My ego and desire for self gratification is clearly willing to expand at a frighteningly disproportionate rate to reality given a whiff of bridal fairy dust, god only knows what I would have been like as a "real" bride. Ah well, maybe the ring will happen someday...

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