With everyone flashing engagement rings and wedding photos on social media, there is an undue pressure to keep up with the Joneses and the general consensus is: the more expensive, the better.
But one newly-married woman has schooled the internet on what really counts when getting married and it isn’t a hefty price tag.
Ariel Desiree McRae and her husband Quinn don’t have much money, but after two years of dating they were determined to tie the knot, making deliberate choices to keep the cost down.
But when the couple were inadvertently shamed for Ariel’s modest wedding and engagement ring, which cost a total of £100, she took to Facebook to write a heartfelt open letter about materialism and true love.
“My husband doesn’t have a lot, neither of us do. We scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies, but after almost 2 years of dating we decided that we couldn’t wait anymore, so we didn’t,” she wrote on Facebook.
“I wasn’t even thinking about rings, I just wanted to marry my best friend, but he wouldn’t have it. He scraped up just enough money to buy me two matching rings from Pandora. Sterling silver and CZ to be exact. That’s what sits on my ring finger, and I am so in love with them.”
She explained why her rings, which are made from sterling silver cubic zirconia, are “the most beautiful things in the world” to her.
But when choosing the rings, a shop assistant reportedly commented on the ring choices. “Y’all can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic,” the shop assistant said, according to Ariel.
Ariel said the comments made Quinn feel like a “failure”. She added: “He was so upset at the idea of not making me happy enough and of me not wanting to marry him because my rings didn’t cost enough money or weren’t flashy enough.”
Ariel and her husband first met online aged 20. They spent hours talking on the phone and Quinn drove for an hour to take her on their first date. “I fell in love with him on the first date. If he had asked me to marry him the first time we met, I probably would have said yes... I’ve never been this happy in my life and I couldn’t imagine spending it with anyone else ever.”
“Y’all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring,” Ariel added. “When did our nation fall so far to think the only way a man can truly love a woman is if he buys her $3,000+ jewelry and makes a public decree of his affection with said flashy ring? Sure they are nice, sure the sentiment is wonderful and I’m not trying to cut down any of your experiences, but when did it come to all that? Why do material possessions equate love??”
She wrote: “It isn’t the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is.”
Her post, which went viral after being posted on the Love What Matters Facebook page, has prompted other women to speak out about their own engagement rings.
“My rings are from Walmart, I didn’t care about the cost, I just wanted to marry the love of my life,” wrote one user.
The Huffington Post UK has reached out to Pandora for comment and will update the piece with its response.