10 Engagement Ring Alternatives for an Out-of-the-Box Proposal

Cement your proposal with a meaningful engagement gift that isn't a ring.

Updated December 7, 2023
couple kissing on the back of a scooter

Getting engaged is exciting, but sometimes you're just not into rings and all they symbolize. There's no denying that a classic diamond solitaire isn't the right choice for every couple. Your budget, values, or sense of fun may make it more meaningful to propose with something else instead. If a traditional engagement ring doesn't seem ideal for your situation, there are tons of great alternatives — from puppies to plane tickets.

Get Inked

You're a permanent part of each other's lives, so what better way to make that statement than to get it in ink? Choose a ring finger tattoo instead of a ring, and you'll never have to worry about losing the ring, having it get damaged, or needing to take it off for certain activities. Choose any romantic design — from an infinity symbol to your true love's name. For maximum impact, consider popping the question at your favorite tattoo parlor.

Make a Donation

If the love of your life has a big heart and would rather see your engagement jewelry dollars go to a good cause, propose in front of their favorite charity. You can present your beloved with a check made out to the charity and walk in together to donate the money. If you don't have the financial resources to give money, you can also give your time. It's an awesome way to show your commitment to a cause while you commit to one another.

Give Them a Down Payment

Getting started in life isn't easy, and a sparkly ring may not really be where your financial priorities lie. Instead of an expensive diamond, surprise them with the down payment on the next phase of your life. Putting money down on a house may allow you to move in sooner and truly begin your life together. Make this type of proposal extra special by slipping the check inside the model of a house.

Use Something Sweet and Stress-Free

If it just wouldn't be smart for you to invest in a ring right now and your intended knows this, you can still propose with a playful and romantic gesture that won't stress both of you out with its expense. Pick up a Ring Pop at your local store and get down on one knee. This doesn't work if your beloved is expecting a traditional ring, but it's an adorable way to seal the deal when you're both worried about money.

Plan an Adventure

couple camping

Starting your life together is a big deal, and you can symbolize the adventure ahead by taking the trip of a lifetime. If your intended isn't all that into jewelry but loves to travel, propose with a pair of plane tickets and some ideas about where you'll be headed. You can even stretch out the excitement by planning little surprises along the way — just like the life the two of you will have together.

Propose With a Necklace

If your intended works with their hands, a ring may be a really impractical choice. Even diamonds are vulnerable to damage, and in some occupations, a ring can be a hazard. Give them a gorgeous necklace or chain instead. You can present it in exactly the same way you would a ring, even down on bended knee, if you wish.

Give Them Gold

In Thailand, one partner traditionally gives their intended a gift of gold jewelry at the Thong Mun or engagement ceremony. If you have Thai ancestry or simply love this culture, give them something gold they can wear. The pieces should be at least 96% pure gold, and their value should equal an even number of baht (Thai currency unit).

Watch Your Love Grow Together

If you already own property together but a ring doesn't seem like the right way to celebrate your commitment, why not plant a tree instead? Choose something long-lived, like an apple tree, so you can watch the tree grow along with your love. As you propose, talk about how you will watch your grandchildren eat apples from that tree someday.

Show Them They're Your Muse

If you're creative, show your love and commitment in the form of your art. Make a painting or write and record a song that shows your beloved how you feel. No matter how you choose to express yourself, your love will treasure this piece of art for decades to come. Present your gift with an explanation about why you want to share your life together.

Propose With a Pet

If your intended loves animals, pop the question with a dog instead of a diamond. You can choose a puppy or kitten ahead of time or propose in front of your local animal shelter. Either way, this is a joyful and adorable way to show your commitment to one another.

Show That You Know Them

Proposing without an engagement ring can be even more romantic and fun than a traditional proposal. It's all about knowing your beloved and what they value. If you show that you understand that in your proposal, it's already one of the most meaningful things you've ever done.

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10 Engagement Ring Alternatives for an Out-of-the-Box Proposal