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'We're really getting married!'

By Kirsten Valle

Posted: Wednesday, May. 19, 2010

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Photo by Critsey Rowe

Kirsten Valle is a business reporter for the Observer. She can be reached at kvalle@charlotteobserver.com.

Read more "Getting to 'I do.'"

As the wedding countdown speeds into its final months, every step of the planning process seems to bring with it another we're-really-getting-married moment. As in, "There are our names on the invitations - we're really getting married!" Or, "Guests are starting to make hotel reservations for the wedding weekend - we're really getting married!"

The latest came a few weeks ago, when we dropped by the jewelry store on our lunch breaks for the long-awaited trip to buy wedding bands. This had been a long time coming. We first looked at the rings back in December - a good seven months before the wedding, and ages ago, in wedding-planning time. Excitedly, we told each other and our jeweler we'd buy them within weeks, before the prices of those precious metals climbed any higher.

Then, for whatever reason - lack of time, shortage of cash, that old denial of the fact that the wedding was approaching sooner than we imagined - the rings got stuck on the back burner, and we moved on with other, more pressing, to-dos.

In the last month or so, though, I started getting antsy. I knew we'd have to order the bands, and I knew it would take about four weeks to receive them. So finally, when we had a few minutes and enough money and a spark of motivation, we stopped into the SouthPark-area shop and peered into those familiar glass cases.

There wasn't much to decide: We'd already chosen our styles, months ago. Mine, a delicate pave-set band, made to match my engagement ring. Reese chose a ring by the same designer that's simple on the outside, thin and polished, with an intricate engraved edge on the inside of the band, visible only when the ring is off. I liked this hidden touch. One of my favorite parts of my engagement ring, in fact, is a tiny diamond tucked into the lower edge of the band - normally nestled against my palm and only visible on close inspection. I liked that Reese's ring will have something similar.

As the saleswoman ran the numbers, I kicked myself for waiting so long. As she'd warned the first time we looked, the prices had gone up a good bit. But you can't exactly not buy the wedding band. And I reminded myself that Reese has to buy me two rings - so I didn't grumble too much. I shelled out the credit card and locked in the order. Done and done.

Almost.

What's not actually done, is the ring itself. As I learned that day, the ring designer needs my engagement ring to make the wedding band - to be sure the whole set matches and fits together perfectly. I'm all for high standards, of course, and I love that the band will be made just for me. What I don't love - don't like, not one bit - is the fact that I'll have to ship away my engagement ring. To California. For four weeks.

It's not that I'm afraid of losing it. Jewelers do this all the time, and my diamond is insured. It's just that I haven't been without my ring since the engagement for longer than the eight hours I'm asleep each night, and then it sits carefully on the nightstand beside my bed. In the beginning, especially, I'd wake up and reach for it in the dark, making sure it was still safely in its place. Yes, I realize this is a bit ridiculous, and I probably won't always be this way. But for now, anyway, it's difficult to imagine being without my ring for a month.

We decided to postpone the misery because I have a bridal portrait and a wedding shower coming up, and I'd like to have proof I'm actually getting married for those events. The day after, though, we'll be back to the jeweler to place the order, bid my ring goodbye and wait anxiously for mid-June, when it will return with a new addition - perfectly matched, perfectly polished and ready to make its debut in July.

Beyond all of these superficial worries about the price and the wait, we've been reveling again in what we like best about this purchase: its permanence. We all know rings are a symbol - I'd heard it often, and yet never really stopped to consider it until lately. But there they are, perfect circles, platinum-strong. And in a few short months, ready to wear.

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