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Historically, the use of engagement rings can be traced as far back as Ancient Egypt. There are even traces of them popping up all through Roman and Viking history too. It is, apparently, a concept that’s been around almost as long as we have. The modern concept, however, of an engagement ring that must carry a hefty diamond that costs at least two months of a mans salary, comes from an advertising campaign run by the DeBeers group at the end of the Great Depression, and is something that is now so engrained in the modern mentality that it carries on to this day.

In recent times however (especially since the financial slump of 2007), there has begun a slow shift away from this mandatory spend in order to express your love and cement a promise of marriage to each other. Young couples without a lot of excess income are finding ways to promise themselves to each other without the hefty price tag. If you feel that the traditional engagement ring isn’t for you, whether it be for personal or financial reasons, then check out these other great ways to promise “I’ll marry you” without buying a ring.

1. Start a savings fund

Not high up on the traditionally ‘romantic’ list, but there’s nothing more romantic that a partner who wants to ensure a strong and stable financial future with you.

If you don’t want to start a savings fund just ‘for the future’ then decide on a goal that you both share. Maybe you want to go on a once in a lifetime adventure together, or perhaps you want to buy your first home. It definitely also makes sense to use this savings account to put money away to finance the wedding you’re planning! By opening the account, your cementing your promise to marry.

2. Pay off both your debts

Whether it be credit card debt, or student loans; using the money you were going to spend on a ring to instead pay off both your debts is a sensible way to start your lives together.

Being debt free gives you more options in the long term, and reduces financial pressures. It also means that you will have more disposable income in the future, and you can put this towards paying for your wedding.


3. Do something meaningful

The point of the engagement ring is the promise to get married. If you know and love each other enough to know that your word is your bond, then really you don’t need a ring.

Take a romantic hike, cook a romantic dinner, or go to a spot that’s meaningful for you both and pop the question there. The thought put into it is the signifier that it’s a genuine proposal, with or without the shiny rock.

4. Throw a small party

Celebrate your promise with your friends and family, instead of jewellery. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a small gathering of your nearest and dearest.

You can either invite everyone to your home if you live together, or find a local pub or restaurant that will host the event for you. Pay for a few drinks for everyone, or a small aperitivo, and celebrate the importance of the event without spending two months salary. By making a public declaration to friends and family it is every bit as serious and genuine as it would be if you had a ring.

5. Buy a bottle

Depending on what your passion is, a great way to celebrate an engagement without a traditional engagement ring is to buy a bottle of something you both like to drink. Whether it be wine, whiskey, or even champagne; splash out and buy a lovely bottle of your favourite celebratory drink, with the promise that you will open it and drink it together on your wedding day. Affordable and meaningful, it is a promise with a forward looking intention worked into it.

Once you’ve popped the big question and are ready to start planning your big day, take a look at our piece that gives you advice on how to stay on top of spiralling wedding costs.

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