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July 9, 2020 6:49 PM   Subscribe

What are some fun alternatives to an engagement ring, and even traditional wedding band?

Hi mefites, asking this question for a friend!

The context: A pair of our friends will soon/ish be engaged. Friend A- let's call him Larry- has been saving up for an engagement ring. The idea of marriage and having a physical symbol of it are important to our friends, especially Friend B who we will call Betsy.

The issue: Betsy can be scatterbrained, and has a lot of trouble with misplacing and losing things. She works swing shifts, and this really does a number on her sleep and mental focus pre/post work. An expensive and sentimental jewelry gift from Larry was recently lost, which has led them to rethink the idea of a traditional engagement ring. She wouldn't be able to wear the ring at work, so the potential for misplacing or losing it would be high.

The question: What are some fun alternatives to an engagement ring, and even traditional wedding band, that my friends could consider?

Additional details:
-both Larry and Betsy like the idea of forgoing the traditional engagement ring/band, there is not angst around that choice
-The issue of lost $$$ is an important part of this, so less expensive options are ideal.
-Betsy loves all things Celtic
-alternative options do not need to be wearable/jewelry
-really looking for cool alternatives here, not suggestions on how to not lose rings

Thanks all!
posted by DTMFA to Shopping (14 answers total)
You might be able to find an artist, craftsperson, or even a rigger, to create an ornamental knot—it's hard to get more Celtic than that. I've seen them used as framed artworks, necklaces, as parts of clothing (shirts, dresses), as mats, as tableware.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:59 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

I think sterling is very pretty, and rings made of it are really cheap at your local head shop. If I tended to lose things and my sweetie gave me a dozen simple rings (and a promise of another dozen any time) instead of a single fancy expensive one, I'd feel very loved and accepted.
posted by fritley at 7:00 PM on July 9 [8 favorites]

The first thing that popped into my head is a lovespoon. I think it would be cool to commission one or buy one ready made that includes symbols that are important to the couple. I checked on Etsy and they have some samples.
posted by angiep at 7:00 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

Are they attached to the idea of a physical object? How about ring tattoos?
posted by btfreek at 7:01 PM on July 9 [14 favorites]

I was thinking ring tattoos too but also other body modification alternatives like a uv tattoo (so a wedding ring tattoo that glows in the dark). Other options include a getting branded on your ring finger- with maybe a meaningful symbol. They could also plant two trees that could grow intertwined.
posted by Jubey at 9:50 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

A finger tattoo is hard to lose. A very simple Celtic knot maybe?
posted by DarlingBri at 12:40 AM on July 10

My husband commissioned a painting by a local artist to propose with. It's absolutely lovely and hangs on our living room wall.
posted by abeja bicicleta at 4:19 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

My stepfather proposed to my mother with a personalized music box.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:59 AM on July 10

I have friends who both wear lovely chainmail bracelets instead of wedding bands. And other friends who wear necklaces with their rings as pendants.
posted by spindrifter at 6:26 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

Yeah, no ring tattoos. Sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes one person outlives the other and remarries. Same thing about getting a tattoo with your SO's name or face.
How about silicon wedding rings? A somewhat safer alternative and easier to replace.
Seconding a wedding portrait or other couple's painting at a place that has special significance. Use a photo that can be stored in a secure area in case of fire or flood damage.
posted by TrishaU at 9:34 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

These are really neat suggestions so far, thanks all!
posted by DTMFA at 9:36 AM on July 10

necklaces are easier. Buy a *bunch* of these, add a split ring and wear on a silver chain, silk cord, add to a watchband, etc.

Make a substantial donation to any aid group in S. Africa where diamonds = blood.

Get a bunch of silicon https://www.imore.com/best-silicone-rings-men-and-women, in lots of colors.
posted by theora55 at 12:24 PM on July 10

My sister handed her husband a sweet electric guitar instead of a ring, which he then played at their reception. It was very significant to them, he uses it every day to make their life better and more beautiful.
posted by Freyja at 3:40 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]

They could make challenge coins with a custom image on each side. Then, carry them around everywhere they go in a pocket, or not. My wife and I have wedding rings, but neither of us wear them on our fingers, so they might as well be coins or any other object.
posted by ctmf at 7:38 PM on July 10

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