The Subtle Impact of Ceremony
Changing the Look of Marital Status: How Ceremony is Subtly Impacting the Wedding Ring Market
By Erna Adelson
When my now-husband and I decided to get married, we made the arrangements quickly and quietly. At the time, we didn’t have rings, since he insisted that I choose my own. (I had been pretty vocal about the fact that I found most engagement rings impractical). It turned out to be harder to find something that than I had anticipated: In the spirit of our egalitarian relationship, I wanted our rings to be complementary, cut from the same cloth but not identical.
Finally, after a few attempts both at trendy boutiques and e-commerce startups, I reached out to jewelry designer and LA local Jess Hannah, who I had been following on Instagram, about designing a set of custom rings for the two of us. It turns out that I was one of Jess’ many admirers to make this request, and the timing was fortuitous. She was in the process of launching Ceremony, a line of rings referred to simply as “symbols of love” with co-founder Chelsea Nicholson.
I was immediately drawn to the simple, timeless aesthetic of each piece, but more importantly, what they represented. In presentation, design and attitude, Ceremony felt like a revelation. The brand and the products reflected my perception of my choice to marry: commitment as opposed to status. Ceremony marks a subtle but impactful shift in the way that wedding rings, and thus, the larger idea of marriage is described and marketed.
I reached out to Jess and Chelsea to chat about Ceremony and how they set out to impact the bridal and jewelry industry.
EA: What’s the Ceremony Origin Story?
Jess and I met a few years ago over coffee in DTLA — both entrepreneurs, working in jewelry, we often crossed paths. Fast forward several years, I had decided to start a new company centered around commitment rings, and Jess was the first person who came to mind as a designer and collaborator. It turns out she was serendipitously already designing some rings, and we began the conversation around what’s missing in the traditional engagement ring space today.
EA: You purposely don’t call Ceremony rings “engagement rings.” I love that, because I was somehow put off by an “engagement” ring myself, even though I was very excited to commit to my husband. Tell me about how you came to that choice in language.
We saw there’s a shift that's been happening in relationships for a long time, and the pace of that is quickening - yet we don’t see brands speaking to that evolution. Relationships are becoming less concerned with the traditional and we feel strongly about moving away from the idea that an “engagement” ring company needs to signify a specific lifestyle. Instead we simply wanted to create rings that signify love - whatever that means to you. We want to celebrate that each couple defines their own love, and we create rings to celebrate whatever that may look like.
To that end, we wanted to question every aspect of the picture that’s been painted of a “traditional” relationship. We want to get to the core of what a ring should symbolize - love - and the word “engagement” comes with a limiting predisposition. We aren’t excluding traditional engagements, but chose our verbiage to be more encompassing - celebrating love of all kinds.
EA: How else do you convey the Ceremony message?
Inclusivity, quality and equality guide every decision point in our brand - from the materials we source to our collection of designs. For example, our color palette is neither specifically feminine nor masculine, and we strive to create an inviting sentiment with all of our imagery. As a new brand, we have a multitude of ideas of how we plan to express our message, and this past month we have started by sharing pieces from the unique stories of selected couples on our Instagram, in a series called “Love Looks Like.”
EA: When you created Ceremony, did you set out to impact the industry?
Absolutely. On two accounts - as advocates for inclusivity as mentioned above, well as setting a new standard for what “ethical sourcing” really means. From this regard it’s an extremely difficult industry to navigate, and we are continuously learning. Overall, the terms that are tossed around to make the materials sound responsibly sourced are often misleading and corrupt. We are working to find ways of sourcing that - regardless of the term or certificate the material comes with - have improved someone’s life, over hurting them or the environment.
EA: Do you think that others will follow your lead?
We are seeing other brands step up to embracing inclusivity in their messaging, but it is hard to say in the long run what others will do. We are focused on how to embody our tightly knit values in every aspect of the company, and hope that our messaging can at least lend a new perspective to others.
EA: What does success look like for Ceremony?
That's a great question, and a hard one to define. Success for Ceremony is seeing people break away from what they're "supposed" to do, to embrace what feels right for them, while being supported every step of the way.