Ariel Desiree McRae married the man of her dreams, and no one is going to bring this woman down — not even a stranger who made a snide remark about her engagement ring. The Tennessee native took to Facebook this week to write an open letter of devotion to her husband and to declare her love for her sterling silver-and-cubic zirconia engagement/wedding ring set.
Ariel felt fired up to write the rant after shopping for the rings with her husband, Quinn McRae. While the couple was making the purchase, an employee at the jewelry store decided to throw in her two cents. “Y’all can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic,” the clerk declared, according to Ariel. It’s unclear whether the remark was intentional or the worker put her foot in her mouth, but Ariel chose to take the high road.
“Old Ariel would have ripped that woman a new one,” she said in her post. “Mature Ariel said, ‘It isn’t the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is.’ We bought the rings and left.” And the newlyweds’ genuine love for each other is evident in the way Ariel describes their love story, which began when they met at age 20. After talking on the phone for more than 12 hours over the course of two days, Quinn drove an hour to take Ariel out on their first date.
“I fell in love with him on the first date. If he had asked me to marry him the first time we met, I probably would have said yes,” she wrote in her post. Ariel admits the pair almost eloped three months into the courtship, but decided to wait. Two years later, the young couple just couldn’t wait any longer to wed, according to Ariel’s post. “I wasn’t even thinking about rings, I just wanted to marry my best friend, but he wouldn’t have it,” Ariel says, noting that neither she nor Quinn has a lot of money. “He scraped up just enough money to buy me two matching rings from Pandora … That’s what sits on my ring finger, and I am so in love with them,” she adds.
Ariel stands by her man, and also sticks up for him, noting that he “felt bad because he couldn’t afford the pear-shaped set that so obviously had my heart and covered my Pinterest page. He already felt like a failure, asking me again and again ‘Are you sure you’ll be happy with these? Are you sure this is okay?’.” That’s why jewelry store employee’s awful remark seemed to sting extra hard for Quinn. “When she said that I watched my now husband’s face fall,” Ariel writes.
Then she proudly declares that she couldn’t care less that she doesn’t have a pricey piece of jewelry, because her man is priceless to her. “Y’all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring,” Ariel writes. “When did our nation fall so far to think the only way a man can truly love a woman is if he buys her $3,000+ jewelry and makes a public decree of his affection with said flashy ring? Sure they are nice, sure the sentiment is wonderful and I’m not trying to cut down any of your experiences, but when did it come to all that? Why do material possessions equate love??”. (Read her entire post here.)
The impassioned post, which includes a photo of Ariel’s baubles, has gone viral and surpassed her wildest hopes. At last check, it’s racked up 49,000 likes and has been shared almost 49,000 times! Ariel herself can’t believe how her far and wide her message has spread, and how strongly it’s resonated with so many people. “So blessed and thankful to be making an impact on your lives,” she writes in an updated post — and even shares her hopes that the couple’s story will land them on the Ellen show.
Hundreds of people have left supportive comments praising Ariel and her integrity, and many have shared images of their own modest engagement and wedding jewelry in solidarity. “Blessed … exactly what I told my husband and when someone mentioned that he could’ve spent more money I said why? That doesn’t define his love and never will,” one person wrote. “Very wise words. The cost of the rings doesn’t matter, it’s the meaning behind them. Your rings are absolutely beautiful by the way. Congrats,” another said.
If it’s any consolation, Ariel isn’t the first woman to be shamed for her wedding jewelry and probably won’t be the last. In April, a Minnesota woman who was tired of being asked when she was going to “upgrade” her 1/4-karat diamond engagement ring took to Facebook to express her frustration. “Yes, I know that my wedding ring is small,”Rachel Pedersen wrote. “I’ve even had one person say “you could wear a bigger ring for important events, so people don’t think you’re not successful.” But Rachel isn’t interested in having a ring as a status symbol; she’s interested in having a ring that represents the love she shares with her soulmate. “My ring symbolizes a whirlwind, storybook, ‘make you sick’ love story.”
One wedding blogger even polled her friends to find out the rudest comments they’d ever received about engagement rings that didn’t stack up for nosy strangers. Some of the offensive remarks included, “is that the engagement ring or just the wedding band?,” “It seemed like yours was bigger than mine in pictures. It’s definitely cute, though,” and “Is that the one you wanted?”. For some, having a diamond that was too big even courted criticism. One person was told, “It makes you look like a trophy wife,” according to the blog.
It seems you can’t always win when it comes pleasing others with your wedding jewelry — but is it really any of their business to begin with? As long as your heart is in the right place, the ring on your finger will always be irreplaceable.