If there’s one image that Disney and Hollywood have programmed into our brains as the climax of a romantic story, it’s a man down on one knee holding an open jewelry box. But when it comes to your own romantic story and your own marriage proposal, there are tons of reasons you may want to consider alternatives to an engagement ring. 

For one thing, engagement rings are beyond expensive; couples spend an average of $5,000 on the item. That money could easily be put toward the your future as a couple or at least something you’ll both enjoy. Also, some women don’t want to wear a ring to demonstrate to the world that they’re “taken,” while their husband-to-be has to wear no such indicator. Or, you and your partner may just not care about the fancy piece of jewelry. 

Whatever your reasoning, we’ve collected some of the best engagement ring alternative ideas that will help you set the foundation for the next phase of your love story.

Take a trip

travel engagement ring alternative

Photo by Brevitē

Spend your post-engagement high planning a trip you guys have always talked about. Whether your destination is across the world or right in your backyard, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. Who says you can’t take a pre-wedding honeymoon?

Pay off your loans

College kids today are graduating with an average of about $39,400 in debt and that’s before grad school. Marrying the love of your life means marrying their money situation as well. If you or your partner are still buried under your student loans, that can put some serious strain on your relationship. Take that engagement ring money and put it toward peace-of-mind. Honestly, what’s sexier than starting your life together debt-free?

Put the money toward a down payment

engagement ring alternative home

Photo by Soroush Karimi

Start investing in your future home. Or, if you already have a place to live, put the money toward that dream couch or a piece of artwork you’ve both been eyeing.

Get a dog

Or a cat. Or a turtle. Extend your love by adding a new member to your team.  

Or tattoos

engagement ring alternative tattoo

Photo by Felipe P. Lima Rizo

If rings aren’t your style, but you still want to wear a memento of the event, ink up together. You don’t even necessarily have to get matching tats. Choosing a piece of body art together with your partner will strengthen your bond even further. 

Buy season tickets you can enjoy together

Get season tickets to your local baseball team, ski resort, or theater. That way, instead of the one-time joy of an engagement ring, the money will go toward joy that keeps on giving (and a built-in date night every week). 

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