“You are getting married. Your lover and you talked, and you decided not to get rings. Whether it is because you do not like the feeling or look of a ring on your hand, or you cannot afford rings, or you simply do not like the idea that this little thing is telling the world about your marital status, you start wondering… What are the alternatives to wedding rings?”
Be resolute in your decision. Be sure both of you feel the same way.
While rings are symbolic as a sign of unity, they are also bedecked in traditions that may or may not be applicable to you. Not everyone appreciates the symbolism of rings, nor even using symbolism as part of their wedding ceremony. If you are not a traditionalist, if you have thought carefully about the purpose and intent behind your marriage, rings may not not feature highly as an outward display of your commitment. Bear in mind:
Rings don’t make the commitment, you do. There is nothing to say you have to have rings.
Rings can be annoying to some people, who will accept them as part of the ceremony but then rarely wear them again. This can be the case with people who don’t much like jewelry, who do a lot of sport or outdoor activities or who don’t like the look of wedding rings. In some cases, it concerns modesty, about not wearing jewelry for faith or environmental reasons. Whatever reason, there is no point getting something that will never be appreciated afterward.
Temporary rings might work for some couples. For example, a ring woven from flax or other plant material could be used during the wedding as a token gesture that does not need to be worn after the wedding. This might be nice if the plant has some meaning (cultural or personal), if you’re both nature lovers or if you simply love plants!
Face any commitment issues you may fear.
In some cases, it may seem like wearing a ring turns into publicly displaying a binding object. If your reason for not wearing a ring has anything to do with being afraid of commitment or feeling as if you’re going to look like someone you don’t feel you are, perhaps you have commitment issues that go to the heart of the marriage. If so, ask yourself:
Are you ready for marriage and the long-term commitment it entails? Be honest with yourself!
Is the ring a tangible sign of deeper concerns? If so, consider talking all of your concerns through with your partner and/or someone you trust to divulge such confidences with.
Be sure about getting married. You need to push past your commitment issues before making a commitment.
Find Other Commitment Signs
Consider what other cultures do. There are some cultures that do not value the use of wedding rings. Read up on other alternatives offered through various cultures. A simple online search using a term such as “Which cultures do not use wedding rings” will give you quite a few returns.
In some cases in India, a bride and groom will put the emphasis on having a big wedding rather than on having rings––then the whole town, and more, know that you are married. In these conditions, why do you need a ring? (That said, wealthier Indians do tend to make the ring part of the wedding commitment, as part of adopting Western wedding traditions.)
The Amish receive a clasped hand blessing as part of their ceremony but do not wear an outward symbol of their union, especially not jewelry. Some communities do use different dresses or colors, or long beards, to symbolize married couples though.
Give each other a special, unique love token instead of a ring. Make something using your own creativity that expresses your commitment. For example, it might be a small booklet of the 10 Reasons I Love You, or a heart shaped craft item or a photo album of the two of you having good times together. Really, the sky is the limit on how to personalize this aspect and it’s entirely up to you as to how to turn it into a marriage commitment token.
Have your wedding license or contract document framed. Display it proudly in your home where people visiting will see it.
If the original license is not so flash, in some countries, you can upgrade to a prettier official document than the regular signed ones for a small fee; whether or not this is needed or can be done depends on where you get married.
Reaffirm your love regularly. Rings are not the marriage. Marriage is about the effort of maintaining an intimate relationship and being there for one another through thick and thin. One way you can make a commitment statement is to promise one another to reaffirm your love for each other on each anniversary of your wedding, using words, poetry, images, or some other self-created way that requires personal effort to restate what you love about your partner. You could even make this reaffirmation public by throwing a small party at home or simply having a few friends and/or family over to witness your reaffirmation. Some couples even like to renew vows as if they’re having a wedding all over again, perhaps at long intervals such as each decade or on specific long-term anniversaries.
Be prepared to put an immediate stop to people flirting with you once you’re married by simply letting them know quickly and gently that you’re married. You might feel flattered but if your commitment is sound, there is no need to let the flirting continue. The other person will think all the more highly of you for the quick intervention and clarification.
Ask your friends for more ideas. Involving them in the discussion might stop them from pressuring you to use rings!
Your marriage celebrant or priest might have alternative suggestions too. Talk to them for more ideas.
Don’t overthink this. If you don’t want rings, you don’t want them. It’s that simple. Let other people carry around their own connotations and traditionalist justifications.
HERE is another article about this subject.