By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
CRYSTAL, unlike many other brides, is planning a wedding – deciding on a venue, the style of bridal gown dress, the bouquet, etcetera – all without the formal promise of marriage symbolised by an engagement ring.
The young woman, who is looking to wed in 2022, said her unconventional approach to engagements has raised eyebrows among family and friends, who believe she is putting “the cart before the horse” and should not make any further investments into a wedding without first having a ring on her finger.
An engagement ring has long since signified a major commitment to a couple’s relationship, but in Crystal’s case the lack of one is not something that will stop her from moving forward with her wedding plans.
“Though we have not been formally engaged in the traditional sense, I do have a fiancé and I introduce him as such,” she told Tribune Woman.
Despite the pandemic, engagement season is in full swing, and with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many couples will be celebrating the start of their journey to the altar with over-the-top proposals and lavish rings perfect for presentation (and bragging) on Instagram and other social media.
On the other end of spectrum are those who have been financially challenged by the ongoing pandemic. Some men are putting off popping the question until they can secure a sizeable enough ring, delaying the promise of a committed life together with the woman they love.
But Crystal said maybe those couples should take a page out of her and her fiancé’s book, because she is of the firm view that an engagement is just as valid even if there is no ring.
“I know many women may have a hard time accepting their man’s proposal without a ring. I do not think that should delay them making the commitment of marrying one another,” she said.
In her particular case,
“Lack of money is not our issue. We had discussions, we know we want to be together for the rest of our lives and we have been making plans to do that. A ring is only a formality. The lack of a ring does not make my engagement any less of an engagement, even though some would say otherwise,” she said.
However, fellow Tribune reader Indera disagrees. For her “no ring means not a ting”.
“I’m a very traditional kind of woman and for me to believe in my man’s seriousness he must propose to me first. A ring is supposed to be symbolic of the commitment and is an indication of this man’s intent, so unless he gives me a ring I will not consider myself a fiancée, let alone plan an entire wedding. What if what he is saying is just all talk?”
Meanwhile, Tanya and her husband will celebrate their second anniversary in March and she said their union was preceded by an engagement without a ring.
“We did not have a formal engagement where he proposed with a ring. He asked me if I would marry him and I told him yes. It may not have been the most romantic proposal that would go viral on social media, but it was a proposal and an engagement,” she said.
Tanya said she was not concerned that her fiancé would go back on his word, because his actions were speaking loud and clear.
“After he proposed we went immediately into counselling. He was putting his money where his mouth was. He told me to go ahead and plan the wedding and that was what I did. In a matter of months we were married,” she said.
Tanya had been engaged previously to another man, with a ring, only to have her former lover not follow through on his end.
“I had the diamond engagement ring. And even though I had what is considered the symbol of commitment, my ex was not at all committed. So here comes my now husband with some words and a promise without a ring and he follows through,” she said.
Opal said while she knows people who have made it to the altar without a ring, it’s not a risk she is willing to take.
“I just can’t do it. I require my partner to prove their love and commitment to me so I can know that they are ready and willing to make the jump. My feeling is planning a wedding without a formal engagement seems to be a bit out of order for me. Ring first, then wedding planning, but that’s just my take,” she said.