CupcakeKay's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘family

Not the horror movie that you die if you watch (or whatever, I never actually saw it or its Japanese original). My engagement ring.

When last we spoke–or rather, I typed and you read–I had bought myself a giant fake ring that was turning my finger green. That was fun, and I really enjoyed that ring, but Mr. Cake was stressing about getting the “real” ring. I had sent him lots of ideas…too many ideas, it turns out. I confused him mightily. And all those rings I sent him were super cheap. Maybe not as cheap as the cheesy fake ring, but not heirloom quality, either. I just didn’t want him to stress out about the money. Which he was anyway. Because that’s what he does.

Then at Thanksgiving, my mom pulled him aside and gave him a family heirloom ring that had belonged to my great aunt. Apparently, it was my great aunt’s engagement ring from her first marriage (my parents think; everyone is pretty hazy on the story), and she gave it to me when I was a little girl. My parents took it away from me, believing (and rightly so, I realize now) that a seven-year-old doesn’t need a diamond ring and would probably lose it. I had forgotten all about this, but when my mom mentioned it, I vaguely recalled being pissed that my parents had taken something away from me.

Anyhow, they gave it to Mr. Cake to give to me, although they gave him the choice of whether to use it as our engagement ring or not. I was thrilled by it. I am incredibly sentimental, and I love antique jewelry, so it was perfect.

The ring is probably from the 1930’s, definitely pre-World War II. The band is filigreed rose and yellow gold, and it has a square, white diamond. I’m not sure how many carats, but probably a half or less. I don’t mind that it’s small, because my fingers are small, and huge, honking rings tend to look especially gaudy on me. It even fit perfectly without being sized.

I told Mr. Cake that I don’t need a wedding band. Just this simple little gold ring that holds all the love of my aunt’s marriage and all the hope she held for me.

Meanwhile, we got Mr. Cake a tungsten ring with red and black carbon fiber inlay. It couldn’t be more perfect for him, and more opposite of my ring. What a nice little metaphor.

And he’s so funny; he keeps asking if he can wear it. Here’s a typical conversation:

Mr. C: Can I wear my wedding ring?

Me: Nope. Not til we get married.

Mr. C: But…it’s mine!

Me: I bought it. It’s not yours until I give it to you.

Mr. C: Can I just wear it for a little while?

Me: No.

It’s fun. 😀

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Mr. Cake and I ended up getting our way on the wedding venue, but only after some major discussions, compromises, and a few tears.

Turns out that Mom Cake was not the major objector, but that Dad Cake felt strongly that we should get married in a church. This made absolutely no sense to us. Not only do Mr. Cake and I not attend church, but also my dad has never been a religious person. He will accompany my mom and me to church on Christmas Eve, but that’s only to make Mom happy, and we haven’t even gone the past few years.

Mom thought that he just had the idea that that’s how weddings were done. I pointed out that they hadn’t gotten married in a church.

Mom said she thought he was afraid, since our venue is a cabin on a lake, that the atmosphere was going to be “all-night lake-side rager” rather than “wedding celebration.” I assured her that that was not what we had in mind, and we compromised by setting an end-time for the reception.

Finally, I think what won them over was my rational explanation that since neither Mr. Cake nor I is religious, we don’t attend a church together, and we don’t have a personal relationship with any pastors, pretending that we do on our wedding day would feel fake. It is important to Mr. Cake and me that our wedding be an authentic representation of ourselves as individuals and as a couple, and we didn’t want to start our marriage by pretending to be something we’re not.

Once my parents realized that we were making conscious choices that were honest reflections of our values, not just acting like bratty teenagers rebelling for rebellion’s sake, they suddenly were a lot more ok with doing things our way.

We still have a few disagreements on aesthetics. For example, my mother hates, hates, HATES our plastic cups from the taco place that’s catering the wedding that we were planning to give out as favors. If you pictured her stamping her foot as she said it, you wouldn’t be far wrong. But stuff like that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

We had the appointment set up to go fill out the paperwork and pay for the venue on Sunday. The day before, Mom Cake called and said that the venue we had picked wasn’t “special” enough, and she thought we should keep looking. Since we needed her to write the check, that was pretty much that.

Rather than reiterate my frustrations with the amount of control my mother insists on exerting over this entire affair, I will vent my frustrations on a completely different topic: the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC).

If this term is confusing to you, I highly suggest you check out Meg’s excellent explanation on her blog:

As I (begrudgingly) continue my venue search, I am shocked an appalled at what some places charge for what is essentially a big, empty room. OK, some of them will set up the tables and chairs for you. If you estimate two minimum-wage custodial persons take a whole hour to do this, that should add, at most, $15 to the amount they charge. Seriously. And some have events coordinators who work with you. Sure, tack on another couple hundred for that. But still.

Is there any reason for the Harn Homestead, a mostly-outdoor museum on original Oklahoma Land Run property with an un-air-conditioned “Event Barn”, to charge $3500 to rent the place?

Yes, you heard me right: $3500.

That’s before we even start thinking about food, booze, and all that.  It’s also startlingly close to my entire wedding budget. Argh!

In light of that, the rustic lake cabin is looking PLENTY special. Heck, it’s air-conditioned!

Not only are the excesses of the WIC frustrating from a budgetary stand-point, but they also point to how seriously effed up our society’s attitudes toward weddings are. The average American wedding costs $20,000 these days.

To put that in perspective, that’s a) about what I make in an entire year (yeah, I know I’m poor), and b) as much as two years’ tuition at the private liberal arts college where I got my B.A.

(Those two facts placed side by side are really making me wonder at the cost-effectiveness of my degree, but that’s a different blog…)

This means that a) I could live for a year on what the average wedding costs. Food, rent, bills, etc. for an entire year, or a party for one night. Or b) you could get half a college degree from a fairly prestigious university, or a party for one night.

Those are some effed up priorities right there.

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