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Yeah, I asked the same question. “What is a wedding crawl?”

Simply put, it’s a tour of potential wedding venues and an offering of wedding services for to-be-marrieds. More colorfully stated, it’s a let-the-madness-begin tour for maniac women who are just getting used to having a ring on their left hand. Have you ever pondered the power of a ring on the marriage finger in our culture?

I am honored to be the maid of honor – a role we’ve retitled the “Wedding Duchess” – for a woman who is a priceless gem to me. And, I’m pleased to announce that she did not become a wild maniac at the wedding crawl. She didn’t make a big deal of her pain when she threw her shoulder out from hoisting her vintage heirloom diamond around. And, she didn’t boast of her remarkable fiancé. She just calmly chose a beautiful little place to have a lovely little ceremony in the Colorado mountains. Yeah, that’s my friend and I love her.

Back to the power of the ring. Are you one of those people who looks for evidence of marriage by the presence of a ring when you meet a new person? If so, what changes do you make in your approach to that person based on what you see? Do you become more flirtatious, more conservative, or do you ask questions to validate the signal?

I never used to notice wedding rings. Then, I was advised that I might be single forever if I didn’t learn to gather basic facts such as evidence of singleness in men. When I begin to take note, I realized that the presence of a ring only tells about half the story. I’ve got friends who are happily married who choose not to wear rings. I know people who aren’t married but wear a ring anyway. Still others are wearing rings, but behave as if they are on a spring break booz cruise and whose only strings are attached to their bikinis. I don’t trust that people advertise their marital status by their jewelry. I’ve been asked out by people wearing wedding rings, so clearly the ring doesn’t always mean very much, even to its host. There are even some married people who will stick with their marriage about as long as they wore leg warmers in the 80s. That is, until it’s got snags and the bright colors are faded and out of fashion. Sadly, marriage could nearly be considered a fad these days.

I’ve heard relationship “scholars” claim that humans were never intended for monogamy. Some claim that it’s impossible to remain faithful to one person for an entire lifetime, and yet there are some amazing stories of people who spend 60 years together happily with one person. I refuse to give up on the idea that love is real and therefore marriage, too, may  last a lifetime as a social expression of undying love.

As for the ring, I’m not sure it matters as much whether a person wears one or not as it does how she conducts herself, the choices she makes to honor the person she’s committed to, and how she demonstrates love and respect for her partner and the shared relationship. Signing a legal marriage certificate guarantees a happily-ever-after-life in the same way that having a college degree guarantees a person will be a millionaire.

This is frosting on an award-winning cake with hand-painted detail, retails for $500-600

The wedding crawl was teeming with vendors selling flowers, cakes, hairdos, mini cakes, wedding mints, condos, vacations, photography services, and even marriage counseling and vows. I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t have similar venues for single people, a place for people to learn what questions to ask before becoming engaged. Why don’t we spend more time in our culture talking about how to choose wisely, to seek objective and well-meaning advice to make the most discerning decisions about relationships that can last a lifetime? I fear that many single people spend less time choosing a person to whom they will be tethered than they do in choosing the color of cake frosting for the wedding reception that follows the tethering.

I had a good time at the wedding crawl. The finger foods were delectable and I like visiting event venues for purposes of comparison and idea gathering. I like being around diamonds, too, and happy women. I particularly love celebrating wonderful moments in the lives of my friends. It’s my prayer that the least memorable thing about my friend’s wedding is her cake frosting or maybe even her glistening rock. All that in exchange for a relationship that feeds her soul, a partner who cherishes her for qualities that aren’t visible to the eye, and a shared commitment that grows strong enough to withstand the storms of life is what I wish for my friend.

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