Despite the fact that I'm still very far away from even venturing into a bridal shop to try on dresses (my sister booked me in for some appointments, but I conveniently came down with the vomiting bug that weekend), we already have the rings sorted out. I'm actually quite surprised by that - and not just because my organisational skills have so far been less than good. I'm surprised because I'm actually really uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a wedding ring at all. I've tried to psycho-analyse myself to work out what the problem is, but I think I just have an issue with wearing a badge to tell people something that is ultimately just my and my other half's business. I always feel a bit odd going into a business meeting with people and spotting their wedding rings. Suddenly I'm party to their private business and can start speculating on what their other halves are like and how they might behave at home.
My relationship with Al is something that feels very special and personal to us (obviously, everyone thinks this about their relationship of course!) and somehow fitting it in with all the trappings of official "marital bliss" just seems a bit of a shame. As if we've ticked all the boxes and now get to wear badges that say "we're happy!" This is all my stupid brain, of course, and I'm sure most of you are currently reading this and thinking "this woman is insane". But there we are.
But then I saw a post on Bridalwave about wooden rings and I thought "hey, that's pretty neat". I've got a ring made out of some sort of nut that I really love and would have no problem wearing it every day, so why not a wooden wedding ring? After a little scouting around I found some wedding rings by Stephen Einhorn (who we've written about on Bridalwave a couple of times thanks to his lovely tattoo rings and his Civil Partnership rings).
The rings we picked are embedded with fossilised Roman oak found floating around in the Thames, which means that every ring is unique thanks to the variations in the wood grain. Stephen uses ethically sourced diamonds and gold in his creations, and all the rings are made locally in his workshop in Islington, London.
Obviously, the most eco-friendly ring would be a vintage one, which also has the benefit of offering a feeling of history and age. Although I rarely wear it, my engagement ring is a second-hand Victorian half hoop (sometimes called a London Bridge ring) with rubies and diamonds, which makes it a far more interesting and personal engagement ring than the identikit white gold/platinum diamond rings that everyone seems to be wearing at the moment.
I'm sure that I could have found an even more eco-friendly ring out there, but the fact that I found a really unusual ring I can actually imagine wearing for the rest of my life (and passing down through the family) meant that my Stephen Einhorn ring was the perfect choice. If you would like to source something that's both personal and ethical, have a look at the excellent resource on Green Union.
Do you have an ethical wedding and engagement ring? Tell me where you got it from! And if you have any ideas for green weddings, send me your tips (shinykatie[at]gmail.com) or leave a comment below this column!
Read Part 1: The Venue
Katie Lee is co-founder and editorial director of Shiny Media. She's getting married in the summer after 12 years of being happily unmarried.