Texans who have found their soulmates after years of hunting can now seal the deal in a unique way. Thacker Jewelry in Lubbock, Texas, is offering a promotion called the “shotgun wedding sale,” which offers a free shotgun or rifle with the purchase of an engagement ring from Oct. 27 to 29, according to local news station KXAN.
This is actually the third year that the limited-time promotion has been in effect. It started when store owner Joe Thacker had the idea to partner with a nearby gun dealer, LSG Tactical Arms, according to the Houston Chronicle. He felt the two traditions — nuptials and firearms activities — were core to the values of many Texans, and the connection was obvious for him. “Most guys grew up hunting or at least exposed to hunting, if not by their family by their friends or social groups,” said Tactical Arms manager Steve Burns to KXAN. “So it’s something that’s pretty natural for all of us. Farming, hunting, ranching is all intertwined. So it’s just a natural fit for Texas.”
Of course, the perfectly apt pun “shotgun wedding” makes the promotion particularly memorable. But Thacker wants people to understand that he is just being playful with the name of the sale and not making light of actual “shotgun weddings,” which refer to weddings that take place under duress, often after the couple learns they’re expecting a child. According to the Chronicle, Thacker told KLBK-TV in Lubbock, “The idea, of course, is the wordplay and the old shotgun wedding. Not going back to the negative connotation, playing off of that.” For Thacker, it’s all in good gun — er, we mean fun.
But you won’t exactly be handed a firearm as soon as you purchase a diamond. According to the article, Thacker Jewelry will give consumers who are aiming to take their relationships to the next level a gift certificate for “either a shotgun or a bolt-action rifle” when they purchase an engagement ring valued at $2,000 or more, as the jewelry store’s website states.
Though Thacker’s promotion may be clever, he isn’t the only jeweler to offer it. According to the International Business Times, a store in Iowa called Jewelry by Harold began offering the exact sale — under the same name — back in 2012. The deal was identical right down to the $2,000-and-above diamond-ring value and the gun voucher/gift certificate detail. Store owner Harold van Beek tried a bit too hard in the pun department when he told the publication at the time, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend … So say: ‘I’m hunting deer, and here is a diamond ring, dear.'” Sigh.
He added, “Fun is more important than anything else; we try to put some fun in it. Hunting season is coming up. I thought, this is cool, so let’s do something for the boy who doesn’t like to hunt for diamonds but likes to hunt for deer.”
Van Beek noted that he was inspired to launch the promotion by yet another jeweler — one in Georgia. So perhaps it’s safe to say “shotgun wedding” is just too irresistible of a play on words for many gun-loving jewelers to resist.
Of course, the very idea of the engagement ring is rooted in marketing, so it’s no surprise that marketing ploys continue to evolve around this gem-encrusted tradition. A piece in the Atlantic brings clarity to a tradition that was cooked up by diamond dealer De Beers and advertising agency N.W. Ayer circa 1938, in the wake of the Great Depression.
The agency, which coined the now-famous catchphrase “A Diamond is Forever,” also came up with the idea that “even though diamonds can in fact be shattered, chipped, discolored, or incinerated to ash, the concept of ‘eternity’ perfectly captured the magical qualities that the advertising agency wanted to attribute to diamonds,” according to the article. “A diamond that’s forever promises endless romance and companionship.”
The marketing ploy worked. And so, it seems, has Thacker’s modern-day take on marketing diamonds to gun lovers. Thacker reasons, according to the Chronicle, “Who doesn’t want to get a shotgun or a rifle and in the process capture the love of their lives?” Three years in, the tradition is going strong. We’ve yet to see if it’s forever.