Today is July 13th and Tetsu and I are celebrating our 29th anniversary.
Tetsu and I decided to become engaged sometime in February, 29 years ago, and we simply announced our intent to marry to friends and family. We'd dated about two years and my Japanese had improved (but not enough in most people's opinions!) We were without money or possessions which didn't deter us a bit but we had to schedule our wedding day for AFTER Tetsu's summer bonus.
Tetsu and I weren't able to buy an engagement ring but we visited a small jewelry shop and bought a simple gold and glass cross pendant with a tiny almost invisible chip of a diamond in it. My engagement necklace, and Tetsu presented it to me at a formal engagement ceremony at our church a few months before our wedding day.
Some people didn't think this was really a proper engagement gift. One set of older friends wanted us to have a traditional betrothal ceremony complete with gifts of dried cuttlefish, and seaweed and fans and kimono material. The Japanese names depict fortune, long life and many children etc. and usually money will be included with the gifts in a commitment ceremony between the two families. Obviously no one in my American family would know what to do with cuttlefish and seaweed so we zilched the traditional ceremony idea fairly easily.
When my mother came to our wedding in July, she presented Tetsu with a ring to give me that was her mother's engagement ring. My grandmother wore it rarely if ever (many Japanese women only wear their rings when they are going to a special event) and it had languished in a box for over 60 years. I've worn my grandmother's ring faithfully for 29 years and jewelers have told me that though it isn't very valuable it is an interesting simple cut of diamond that isn't done these days.
Well, all things considered (language differences, culture differences, background differences) Tetsu and I have done pretty well the past 29 years. Congratulations to us!