How to Make Your Own Engagement Ring Traditions

One real-life bride shares her story

Updated 11/09/18

Photo by Graham Pollack

It was my birthday, and all she said was “Pack a bag.”

After two flights, a drive, and a ferry ride, we arrived on Mackinac Island just in time for sunset. My now-wife, Robin, suggested we take in the view from the porch of the Grand Hotel nearby, and the hotel’s photographer asked if we wanted our picture taken.

“Just her,” Robin said, as she got down on one knee and proposed. I was floored. When I could finally manage a “Yes!” she slipped her mother’s ring on my finger.

“A placeholder,” she said.

When we returned home, I picked out a cushion-cut diamond. Three months later, on a river cruise in France, I proposed back to her with a simple silver band, engraved on the inside with the geographic coordinates of Mackinac Island.

She wore it until our wedding day, when she moved it to her right hand and I gave her a wide band with a solitaire diamond—a cross between an engagement ring and a wedding band. I paired my own ring with a diamond infinity band.

There’s something magical about being able to make our own rules—from our relationship to our engagement (and rings!) to our wedding. The only things written in stone for me and Robin are our love and commitment.

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