Most people know how a marriage proposal is "supposed" to go: ask the future father-in-law for permission, tuck the ring in a coat pocket, and get down on bended knee. In the age of stadium scoreboards, sky writing, and flash mobs, it's fair to say not everyone is wedded to the traditional engagement concept. There is, however, one thing all proposals have in common: the ring!
As the object at the center of the proposal's defining moment, the ring has a lot of hype to live up to. It's the last thing a person sees before they answer "yes" or "no." It either fits or it doesn't. Symbolically, it can have many meanings. For millennia, the wedding ring's origin has been attributed to a circle representing no beginning or end -- or infinity. Today, it's more often regarded as a symbol of commitment, protection, and love.
So where does one even begin looking for their ring? For Chris and EJ, the search began and ended at Shane Co. Like many same-sex couples, they were apprehensive about the shopping for rings, and unsure whether a jeweler would know how to make it a comfortable experience for them. While Chris had a fairly simple idea in mind for his wedding band, EJ quickly discovered that finding the right ring can require some help. That's where Shane Co. came in. They are dedicated to helping all shoppers find the ring, no matter who they love, and quickly became Chris and EJ's friend in the jewelry business.
We chatted with EJ about his engagement, his experience at Shane Co., and his and Chris' upcoming wedding:
OUT: How long have you and Chris been together?
EJ: We met through mutual friends about 7 years ago now, probably even further back.
What made you choose Shane Co.?
A friend from work, her name is Jessica, recommended Shane Co., where her husband found her engagement ring. I was immediately sold after she told me about Shane Co.'s lifetime warranty.
How long did it take for you to find the perfect rings, and what was that process like?
It took about two weeks just to make sure I got the right ring. Chris is pretty simple and knows what he wants, so getting the ring for him was a pretty easy process. For me it was a little bit more challenging, because initially I wanted to match him and go with a titanium ring. But the sales associate informed me diamonds cannot be placed in the titanium ring--his name is Cameron and he was really helpful by the way--so I went with a 14 karat white gold.
So you wanted them to match, but your differences led you to chose different rings that eventually together came in harmony, right?
Yes. Chris got the plain titanium band with the beveled edge, and I got the 14 karat step-down edge white gold ring. Together, they look great.
What was the most memorable aspect of shopping at Shane Co.?
A couple days before our trip to Maui, which is where we both proposed, I went to Shane Co. to finalize and purchase the rings, but forgot it would take a few days to have mine resized. So I kind of panicked a little bit, but Cameron was very helpful and reassured me I could buy the rings that day and bring them back after the vacation to resize them. He made sure to remind me: "Make sure you don't lose the ring," and after that I really was like, "Oh crap, I better not lose this ring.
How did you decide which was the ring?
Because I wanted a diamond and needed to resize my ring, I looked through the entire Shane Co. selection and had Cameron explain to me the types of metals, and describe what you can and cannot do with them. He provided me with a lot more insight on what I really wanted, and ultimately, he found the right ring for me. When I saw it, I knew it was exactly what I wanted and just fell in love with it.
Were you nervous about shopping for the wedding rings as a same-sex couple?
For sure, yeah. I was actually extremely nervous to shop for a wedding ring as a gay person. I had to ask my best friend Sarah to come along with me for support, because I didn't really feel like it was 'normal' yet for any guy to walk in and purchase a ring for another guy. I felt like I was going to be judged or looked at in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, but that was not the case at all. It was a really great experience. Shane Co. really made me feel like a valued customer.
You proposed to Chris in Maui. What made you choose Hawaii?
So, Hawaii is our paradise. We try to go every year, and like it so much that this year we've been twice already, and are already planning another visit in December. It's our home away from home, and we never get sick of it.
Have you set a date for the wedding?
Yes we did. May 29th, 2018. Next year.
That's very exciting. And where are you getting married?
We're getting married where I proposed to him, in Maui. Of course!