Query: The engagement is off, who keeps the ring?

Dear Etikate,
If an engagement falls through, what is the social convention with the ring?
-via Facebook

Photo from metro.co.uk

Photo from metro.co.uk

Dear Readers

I mentioned in my previous post that engagements involve numerous formalities and rituals. This holds true even in its cancellation.

Contrary to the announcement of the engagement, it is not necessary to announce the cancellation. Tell a few strategic people in your inner circle and the news will circulate through word of mouth.

If invitations have already been sent out, a note must be sent to the guests informing them of the cancellation. The reason for the cancellation does not need to be given.

All gifts should be returned, enclosed with a card thanking them for their generosity. Something along the lines of “Thank you for your generous gift, but the wedding will no longer take place.”

Now ladies, on to the ring.

Ladies, do not wait to be asked before you return the ring. Photo from engagementrings.lovetoknow.com

Ladies, do return the ring before you are asked. Photo from engagementrings.lovetoknow.com

If you decide to call off the wedding, then return the ring to your now ex-fiancé. Do not wait to be asked. This is especially the case if it’s his family heirloom.

There are some schools of thought that believe the bride may keep the ring if the groom breaks off the engagement or is found guilty of infidelity, for instance. I can only interpret this as “reparation” for the bride losing face over the cancellation.

If he insists that you keep the ring, then do so. I would suggest selling it and going on a luxury holiday with the proceeds. After all, nobody wants to keep something that symbolises at best an amicable parting of ways or at worst, a very painful humiliation.

-EtiKate

EtiKate will answer your etiquette related questions. Submit your problems, dilemmas or queries in the Dear EtiKate section.

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