In a month when we’re focused on the current consumer “ownership” of weddings, it would be remiss of us to not talk about engagement rings. After all, it seems like a wedding “necessity” where the recommended price is three months of a person’s salary. We’re going to leave it to you to judge whether three months of salary is an appropriate price for a ring and whether the right choice for your pocket book is the financing that will almost certainly be required to pay for that. After all, everybody takes their own pace to their own destination on their Postconsumer journey. However, if you’re looking for an alternative to the big diamond engagement ring that’s more consumer-friendly (and budget friendly) we’ve compiled our favorite ideas below. And, as a pro tip, if you are on the hunt for a diamond engagement ring, we have advice on how to ensure that you get a socially conscious one.

Yes, We’ll Go There. Tattoos.

Obviously you can skip right over this one if you already know that there’s no way, shape or form that you are ever getting permanent ink put on your body (though in this day and age you can also always get them removed). But if you’re pro-tattoo then we’re pro this as an alternative to rings. Firstly, rather than paying for “stuff” you’re paying an artisan to complete his or her craft. Secondly, you have the opportunity to create something entirely customized that speaks directly to the nature of your relationship with your partner and is completely individualized. And, finally, you’ll never accidentally lose your tattoo and panic about having to tell your partner that it slid down the drain! Tattoos aren’t the right choice for everybody, but they’re certainly a stuff-free alternative to getting rings.

Braided, Material or Twine

If you’re a lover of the era portrayed in Game of Thrones, then consider rings, necklaces or bracelets made of braided or intertwined rope, twine or other materials. While the royalty of the era would have still had wedding rings made of precious metals, most of the population used the more traditional version of rope or string to represent their entwinement. The downside of this is that, eventually, you’ll experience wear and tear. But the good part is that you can use materials to create your braided element that are meaningful to you and your partner. It won’t be as “forever” as a diamond unless you’re not wearing it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the decades and decades that you’ll be married, but it will be more meaningful and will avoid the “engagement ring industrial complex.”

Plant a Tree Together

If you’d like to get away from “stuff” altogether and do something that is undeniably eco-friendly, plant a tree (or two trees) together to symbolize the growth and long-lasting nature of your marriage. Instead of doing something that may be taking away from the planet, opt for something that will ultimately contribute to the planet’s health. There are also all kinds of romantic possibilities if you plant a tree. You could choose to have your actual wedding ceremony in front of it. Or you could revisit the tree every year on your anniversary and have a picnic in front of it. If you’re lucky enough to be able to plant the tree in your own backyard, you’ll be able to look at it and be reminded of the vows you took and how much the two of you are growing as people every time you glance out of your back window. We try not to suggest that one idea is ever better than another one, but we have to admit that this one is one of our favorites.

Keep the Rings – But Go Vintage

While it’s still true that, depending on where you get them, you’ll be participating in the wedding industry “stuff rush,” getting vintage or antique rings at least means that you are not adding to the creation of stuff in the world. As an added benefit, your rings come with a lot of history. This is a great way to work around having to get too invested in the wedding industrial complex while still getting to have traditional rings.

Skip the Rings Altogether – They’re Only a Token Anyway!

Please don’t read the headline above as though we think there’s something wrong with you if you really want rings. Rings are a long-term representation of the power and commitment of your marriage. However, if you’re at all on the fence about whether you should get rings or not, keep in mind that at the end of the day rings are only things. They’re not the true representation of the strength of your union. That comes every day in how you treat each other and choose to make each other happy and support each other through rough times. When it all comes down to it, you really don’t need rings to make a marriage. What you do need is commitment, love and the willingness to forgive. And we’ve yet to see a ring that instills those particular powers. But if you find one, let us know! We think we’d like to distribute them to everybody we know!

Did we miss a clever alternative to wedding rings that you want to share with us? If so, just tell us about it on one of the social media channels below.

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