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5 Creative Engagement Ring Alternatives

Published Friday, Jul. 9th, 2021


Why settle for a regular engagement ring when there are so many other creative alternatives out there? 


Engagement rings can be an expensive purchase, creating yet another financial hurdle between you and your wedding day. And for folks who aren’t that into jewelry, or who would rather invest their money into another passion instead, rings might not matter that much. 


In fact, we suspect a lot of people purchase engagement rings simply because it’s “always been done that way” and they feel pressured into the custom. 


Guess what? It hasn’t always been done this way, and you should choose something that will make the two of you genuinely happy! It’s your love, your proposal, and your marriage! 


Here are 5 thoughtful alternatives to engagement rings. 



1. Custom engraving


Anything with a solid metal surface can be engraved! Pendants, mirror or picture frames, model airplanes, cast iron skillets, hand tools… if it’s meaningful and metal, it will work. Give yourself permission to think outside the (ring) box. 


Want an example? One couple’s cute alternative to a traditional ring was a beautiful new Leica M6 camera, with a custom engraved baseplate. The camera perfectly captured their shared love of photography, adventure, and a desire to explore the world together.  As the happy bride (now married 12 years!) said, “A gorgeous piece of glass beats a diamond any day for this girl!” 




Image is a black and white photo of a young couple holding an engraved camera that reads "Will You Marry Me?"

Image courtesy of @adventuresinfiber




2. Charitable donation


If you’re proposing to someone with an especially generous heart, or who has a passion for a specific region or cause, give a donation in their honor in place of buying a ring. There are charitable organizations doing good work in every area of the world -- from environmental research, to social justice causes, disaster relief, mental health advocacy, education initiatives, and more.



image is a photograph of a forest, with someone hugging one of the trees from behind

A gift that keeps on giving!




3. A downpayment


Many couples choose to put money toward a mortgage instead of an elaborate one-day wedding, and this can apply to the cost of an engagement ring, too. 


In fact, you can put a downpayment toward any big purchase you want to own or pay off together: a car, a sailboat, a business, existing debts, or any other dream purchase. If you and your sweetheart talk about owning a home or investing in something big together one day, this is a perfect way to show them you're ready to make that dream a reality -- as a married couple. 




photo is of a young couple in love on a sailboat, with a beautiful blue ocean behind them, just cruising along.

Living the dream, together!




4. Artwork


If you’re proposing to an art lover, meaningful artwork might be the best way to say ‘Marry me!’ Commission a custom sculpture, ask a favorite local artist to paint a portrait from a photo, or purchase a framed print or faithful reproduction of a well-loved classic. 


For those who can gaze into the dappled shadows of a Monet for hours, or lose themselves in the frenetic colors of a Mehretu and curves of a Rodin, artwork truly is its own love language. 



Image is a screenshot from The Met store, featuring a replica of Rodin's sculpture, Eternal Spring

A marble reproduction of Rodin's Eternal Spring.

Screenshot courtesy the Metropolitan Museum store.



5. Travel


Who says you have to wait for the honeymoon to take that big trip together? Propose with plane tickets! Ask your sweetheart to skip town with you, and head to whatever beautiful destination the two of you have always wanted to visit. Whether you’re in the mood for excitement or relaxation (or both), travel gives you the opportunity to truly connect as a couple. 


And if you have children, a family getaway in place of an engagement ring gives everyone a chance to celebrate your decision to marry, with memories that will last a lifetime. 



image is a photograph of a young couple on vacation, taking photos in front of famous buildings and views

Set the tone for the rest of your marriage with a romantic vacation.



Did you know?


Diamond engagement rings didn’t become a ‘thing’ until around 1477, when a very unpleasant ruler named Maximilian I commissioned one for his fiancee, Mary of Burgundy. Around that time, posey (or posy) rings were also popular -- simple gold rings exchanged between lovers, with poems engraved into the surface. 


The “Diamonds are Forever” marketing slogan wasn’t created until 1947, as a way for De Beers jewelers to increase sales. 



Will You Marry Us? Gift Box






The Will You Marry Us? Gift Box helps couples ask friends and family members to officiate their wedding in style, and includes everything they'll need to perform your ceremony! 



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