Just Engaged and Proposals

No proposal or ring -- how to explain to family? how to compensate?

We're not traditional, so we decided mutually to get married. There was no proposal and neither of us have engagement rings. We're not sure we're getting wedding bands either, since we're not big on jewelry. My family, especially my parents, are confused about this, and take it as a sign that my fiancé is cheap, or doesn't care about me enough. How do I explain to them that it's not the case? It doesn't help that their friends' kids have been getting engaged recently with elaborate romantic proposals. 

Perhaps it's the influence of extended conversations with my mom, but this feels a bit too low-key to me as well, even though it was my choice to have a simple engagement. Any ideas on romantic, non-traditional things I can do with my fiancé to celebrate the engagement?

Re: No proposal or ring -- how to explain to family? how to compensate?

  • Congrats! 

    I think a mutual proposal is extremely sweet and romantic. It's a nice way to start a life together that will presumably be filled with moments of mutual decision-making as equals.

    Honestly your family is... kind of sexist, at least in this arena. I can't believe they're getting in the way of you enjoying yourself here! It's like, so many people think all men have to fall into line and do the same big-ring-big-proposal thing or there's something wrong with them (and all women have to be Good Enough to extract a certain type of jewelry and moment from men, or there's something wrong with them). Don't listen to your parents, seriously. 

    On the other hand, an engagement is a big deal and I do think you should do something to celebrate with your fiance... you deserve it! It might be nice to do mutual "surprises." Like he can set up a dinner date and surprise you with the location, and you can surprise him with a gift, or vice versa. Or you could do a day trip somewhere awesome. Please don't think of it as compensating for a not-good-enough proposal, though. I mean, if finding the love of your life isn't good enough, nothing is, you know? You're shortchanging yourself if you let your parents get in the way of remembering that.
  • Congratulations on your engagement! It sounds very understated and sweet. I'm sorry your family is being judgmental. There's not really a way to explain your choice other than to say, "This is what's right for Partner and me. I hope you can understand."

    You don't need to justify your choices. Also, wedding planning (and life in general) is going to be a hell of a lot easier if you try to stop comparing yourself to other people. Do what's right for you and then move on.
    JennyColadambross3chibiyui[Deleted User]
  • ohmrs2014ohmrs2014 Dirty Jerz mod
    Moderator 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    You don't need a fancy proposal or ring to signify your engaged and getting married so CONGRATS!!!  DH and I decided before he proposed that we were going to get married.  Our families knew our intentions and just like yourself, they didn't take it seriously until I had a ring on my finger, but that didn't discourage us.  He did give me a ring with a really sweet proposal, but not from pressure from our families, but because we had been through so much (with him not working for an extended period of time) that he felt I "deserved" it.

    Enjoy the planning process and don't let your families discourage you.  And if you guys aren't big jewelry wearers, think about a simple plain gold band.

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  • Congratulations!! I think your proposal sounds incredibly sweet. Getting married is about bringing two people together on a, hopefully, equal footing and it sounds like that's exactly where you both are. You are two adults who have agreed to commit to a lifetime together--nothing, not a ring or fancy proposal, is going to make that "more serious". 

    I'm sorry your family is being judgmental, but honestly they need to respect you as an adult. I would be seriously offended if my family told me that they didn't take my engagement seriously because my partner and I decided together, instead of him on one knee. I think your best bet is to tell them that this is what works for both of you and that they need to respect that. And then move on. Your relationship is yours-they don't get a say in how you and your FI make your life decisions.

    Congrats again! Good luck on the wedding planning process! :)
  • tortoisebridetortoisebride member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited April 2014
    Tell them the only kind of ring you'll consider is ring tattoos. Or nose-rings. That'll shut em up :)

    (eta: I have no problem with either of these things. I suspect that OP's family might though.)
    This is me reading threads on TK
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    PPs have covered it, but I just wanted to say congrats and happy planning!
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  •     I'll add my voice to those who say you don't need rings or a proposal to be engaged. You also don't need a wedding ring if you don't want to wear one. 
        I've known couple who haven't had rings and big proposals who have been together for 20+ years and other couples that all of the traditional trappings and divorced within the first two years so those things aren't what make a marriage. 
  • Congratulations! 

    Your family might just need time to adjust to your non-traditional route. My mom harrumphed about my ring for a while until I finally asked her specifically what she didn't like about it. The reasons all boiled down to "well it's not what I would want", so I laughed and replied that it was a good thing that FI proposed to me, not her. She's still a little grumpy that the stone is "too small", but she ultimately came around to the fact that since it's exactly what I wanted, it's "okay". 

    It might behoove you to remember that you might have always known that you wanted to go non-traditional, but your family members always envisioned something different. Neither option is better or worse, but it always takes a little extra time and patience (and humor) when you're asking someone to change their perspective on something. Practice being nice but firm and eventually, if they're reasonable people, they'll come around and acknowledge that you're both happy, and that's what really matters. 

    Also, I have no experience on this whatsoever, but if you still want to do an exchange of something to signify the decision, maybe you can look into low-key alternatives to an engagement ring? Limited edition print of a favorite book that you can write in and exchange? Personalized cell phone cases (for klutzes like me)? Album record from the band that sings "your song"? 

  • Thanks everyone. Makes me feel more a lot more confident about our decision. Thank you for the suggestions as well.
  •  We got engaged in a similar way... mutually decided we should get married. Then we did actually go ring shopping and I got to pick out a ring. But that was because we also mutually decided that I get an engagement ring.

     No big hoopla, no big proposal. But we were still just as over the moon excited.

     Anyway, I know all the PPs have covered that already. Just wanted to let you know you definitely aren't alone :) 


  • PPs covered it already but just wanted to add that in some countries, having an engagement ring is rare. My family came from a country where this was the case and none had one until recent engagements (mine and an aunt or 2). No ring doesn't make it any less official. Just wanted to let you know that it isn't all that rare. :)

    Congrats on the engagement!

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  • kitty8403kitty8403 member
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited May 2014
    FIs parents are very married. They didn't have a large traditional wedding. They do physical jobs. Neither wears a ring. Their choice. You don't have to get rings at all if you don't want to. The money you don't spend on rings is money you have freed up for other things.
    There is no reason you HAVE to have an e-ring and a wedding ring. Maybe you just get one ring when you get married. Check out some of the new, nontraditional ring designs jewelry artists are putting out. Not everybody has a diamond now.
    As for the rest, what about an engagement party? Or a private trip, just the two of you?
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