GET ORDAINED

AMERICAN WEDDINGS BLOG

Stay up to date with the latest wedding ceremony trends, script writing inspiration, tips and advice for first-time officiants, and news that matters to couples and wedding ministers.

Wedding Ring Alternatives: 5 Gifts to Exchange Instead of Rings at Your Ceremony

Published Monday, Jun. 27th, 2022


Want a 'no ring' wedding ceremony? Exchange these gifts instead!

Want to exchange meaningful or symbolic wedding gifts instead of rings at your ceremony? You’re not alone! 

 

 

Listen now: 

AMM Audio Articles · Wedding Ring Alternatives: 5 Gifts to Exchange Instead of Rings at Your Ceremony

 

 

 

Wedding rings are a traditional gift to symbolize marital love and commitment, but they certainly aren’t the right fit for everyone. Many couples choose to exchange other types of gifts during their wedding ceremonies instead. 

 

Some people don’t like to wear jewelry everyday, while others want to spend their money on items or experiences that feel more personal, and that really represents the things they value most about their relationship. And according to the experts, exchanging gifts in place of rings is increasing in popularity. 

 

Below we’ve included 5 of our favorite wedding ring alternatives, for a sweet no-ring ceremony! 

 

Let the examples below inspire you: Think about the types of gifts your soon-to-be-spouse enjoys most. Then, consider which object or shared experience best symbolizes your commitment, love, and the future you hope to build together.

 

You and your partner can exchange these special gifts in place of rings. This gift exchange can happen at any point in the ceremony, but usually feels most natural during your exchange of vows, or right after the vows, before the wedding officiant’s closing words and pronouncement of marriage. 

 

(Learn more about the parts of a wedding ceremony here.)

 

 

Next, ask a friend or relative to get ordained to officiate your wedding.

 

Then, visit our Ceremony Script Library for sample wedding scripts to get started.

 

 

 

5 Gifts to Exchange Instead of Wedding Rings at Your Ceremony 

 


1. Matching Wedding Tattoos 

 

You may not be able to exchange tattoos during your ceremony (unless you’re both tattoo artists), but many couples choose to get matching tattoos instead of exchanging traditional jewelry. Think tattooed rings, bracelets, or other coordinated tattoo ideas. 

 

If tattoos are your style, you can exchange decorative gift certificates during the ceremony and redeem them the following day at a shared tattoo appointment. Or get tattooed before the ceremony and hold them up for guests to see as you exchange your vows. 

 

 

Couple tattoos say 'I love you forever!'

 

 

2. Engraved Watch 

 

Show your partner that every minute you spend together matters with an engraved timepiece. Like wedding bands, pocket watches and wrist watches come in many different designs, metals, and price points, making them a great choice for any budget. 

 

To personalize this timeless gift, engrave a special message on the case backing. You might choose to include your initials, your wedding date, or a quote or short phrase that’s meaningful to you both. 

 

 

Close up photo: A groom holds a pocket watch out to the camera as a wedding gift to his partner

Pocket watches and wrist watches make timeless wedding gifts

 


3. Love Letter Exchange

 

Put your love and promises down on paper to read again and again during your many happy years together! Decorative stationary, colorful inks, drawings, and customized envelopes all add a personal touch to love letters. Or ‘lock’ your letters using an intricate folding tradition from the Renaissance called letter-locking.

 

Handwritten love letters can be framed and displayed in your home following the ceremony, printed in a book along with your favorite photos, or placed inside a decorative box as a keepsake. Couples who exchange letters during their wedding ceremony often revisit them on anniversaries or during vow renewal ceremonies. 

 

 

A close up photo: A piece of paper tucked into a vintage typewriter with the beginning of a love letter, "Hello Love"

Love letters can be framed and displayed or stored in decorative boxes 

 


4. Symbol of a Shared Hobby 

 

If you and your partner have a shared hobby that keeps you close, choose gifts that will encourage you to spend this time together no matter how busy you both get in the future. 

 

Depending on your interests, you might exchange custom bicycles, specialty cameras, engraved kitchen knives or utensils, painting easels, climbing helmets, fountain pens, pickleball or tennis rackets, compasses, or custom game boards or dice… Anything that symbolizes your ‘happy place’ as a couple! 

 

 

A bride smiles with her tongue stuck out while wearing a white wedding dress and sitting on a bicycle during the wedding ceremony

Wedding gifts should reflect your values and unique interests as a couple!

 


5. Meaningful Artwork

 

This is a fun one! If you and your sweetheart are artistic, consider exchanging heartfelt crafts or artworks in your mediums of choice – such as a painting, short film, animated work, sculpture, photograph, quilt, engraving, or song. 

 

You can also exchange artwork created by someone else. You might exchange commissioned portraits from a favorite artist (or artists), purchase a replica of your partner’s favorite piece, or choose something special from a gallery you know they’d love to display in your home.  

 

 

The Kiss, by Klimt

Reproductions and original artwork make beautiful gifts that can be treasured for years

(Painting: The Kiss, Der Kuss, by Gustav Klimt)

 

 

 

 

Real world example:

This bride and groom exchanged baby pygmy goats instead of rings! 

 

Two hard-working farmers in South Georgia exchanged pygmy goats in place of traditional wedding bands during their custom ceremony, with the help of AMM Minister Patricia Burgess. 


Illustration of two baby pygmy goats by Jessica Levey

 

“With This… Goat? I Thee Wed” : A wedding with baby pygmy goats!

 

 

READ MORE

 


 

 

Don’t have a wedding officiant yet? 

 

Ask a friend or family member to get ordained online to perform your ceremony. 


 


 

You might also like: 

 

 

 


 

 

Love this article? Pin it! 

 

 


 


How To Officiate By State

Who Will Officiate Your Wedding?

Choose Your Officiant with our "Will You Marry Us?" Gift Package.

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Our premiere package contains everyting you need to officiate like a pro.

Professional Wedding Officiant Certification Course

Learn from the Pros to Officiate with Confidence!

Wedding Officiant Training

Wedding Officiant Training

Everything you need to know to officiate.

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Need inspiration? Check out our free ceremony scripts!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

GET ORDAINED
WITH AMM

Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!