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Wedding rings on a budget: 'It's the love that matters'

Ariel McRae Image copyright Instagram / Ariel McRae

When Ariel McRae and husband-to-be Quinn went shopping for wedding rings, they didn't give a thought to what people would think about the price.

The couple, both 22, from Tennessee, in the US, met online in 2014 and love blossomed soon afterwards.

"If we had our way, we would have got married three months after we met," Ariel told the BBC.

Full-time student Ariel and car service adviser Quinn decided to get married on 18 November, exactly two years after their first date.

But there was the small matter of buying the engagement and wedding rings.

Image copyright Facebook / Ariel McRae

It was just under a week before their big day and so the couple decided to go shopping.

"We went to the mall and knew we could afford to buy the rings from Pandora," says Ariel.

"One lady who worked there was very nice and helpful. I saw engagement and wedding rings that I loved for $130 (£103)."

But when another shop assistant saw what the couple were buying, it prompted her to make some unusual comments to the customers.

Image copyright AFP

Ariel said: "The woman came over and said to me in front of my fiance: 'Can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic. My boyfriend has already saved up $30,000 (£23,565) for my rings and he has just started'.

"I was speechless. My fiance's face fell, and he was already worried about not being able to afford nice rings."

In response to the shop assistant's remarks, Ariel said: "It's not the size of the ring but the love that matters.

"She stared at me and then walked away."

Social media storm

Ariel's story took off after she wrote a Facebook post about her experience.

"I remember reading a blogpost last year about how a woman's family and friends kept putting down her rings. So I felt inspired to write something."

Ariel wrote on her Facebook post: "I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25 cent gum ball machine ring.

"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+ jewellery?"

Ariel's post went from 100 shares after the first day it was published to 45,000 shares on the third day.

"I was shocked - I usually struggle to get 30 likes on a Facebook post," she says.

"I had so many alerts that the app kept crashing."

Her story has now been shared more than 53,000 times and has received 63,000 likes on Facebook.

It has attracted interest around the world and people have even been posting their own budget rings in solidarity.

Image copyright Facebook / Hannah Sharpe
Image copyright Facebook / Rebecca Cook

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Future plans

So what's next for the young couple?

"We're planning to move into a townhouse in Jackson. We just want to spend time together in our first year of marriage."

Ariel said other people have since commented on the rings - some have said that she could upgrade them when she could afford to do so.

But even if Ariel and Quinn could afford more expensive rings in the future they would not change them.

"The rings explain our love," says Ariel.

"We started non-conventionally and spontaneously and these rings express who we are as a couple."

Interview by Andree Massiah, UGC Hub & Social News team

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