Engagement and wedding ring tattoos have been a viable alternative to traditional jewelry for a long time now, and have increased in popularity over the last decade or so.
With a wide range of designs to choose from and the opportunity to make your tattooed rings totally unique, wedding ring tattoos are an excellent idea if you’re looking for an exceptional way to show your commitment to each other.
Wedding ring tattoos pros and cons
Just like with every other type of tattoo, the decision to get wedding or engagement ring tattoos requires careful consideration. We’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to help you on your way towards an informed decision.
- Like a traditional wedding ring, the tattoo will be a constant reminder of your relationship
- Every tattoo is a kind of commitment. Since wedding rings already symbolize your commitment to each other, getting them inked will underline the importance of your relationship.
- Unlike jewelry, there’s no way you can lose or misplace your tattoo.
- Tattoos are a more affordable option than traditional jewelry. The average cost of an engagement ring in the US is around $5000, and the average cost of wedding bands ranges from $560 to $1400. Meanwhile, a ring tattoo costs somewhere between $50 and $300 on average. The exact price will depend on a number of factors, including the complexity of the design and the hourly rate charged by your chosen artist. Extremely intricate designs will take longer to tattoo, and if you choose an artist whose rates are very high, you could end up paying more. Still, the bottom line is that even the worst-case scenario for the cost of a ring tattoo is going to be cheaper than the average cost of an actual ring.
- If you have your tattoos custom-designed, they will be truly unique to you. The same is not true of traditional wedding rings (unless you’re a millionaire).
- Nobody wants to think about that right before getting married, but not all marriages last forever, and tattoo removal is an expensive, long, and painful process.
- Since they’re placed on your finger – an area constantly exposed to the sun and the elements, heat and cold, water, frequent washing and rubbing, and scratches and injuries – ring tattoos will need to be touched up at regular intervals to prevent distortion or fading. They’re small designs that inevitably involve a lot of intricate detail, so keeping up with maintenance and touch-ups is particularly important.
Apart from the above pros and cons, there are a couple of other things you should keep in mind when deciding on getting ring tattoos.
Pain is often brought up in relation to ring tattoos, and not without reason. Fingers are highly sensitive areas of the body, and there’s no muscle and hardly any fat to absorb the pain. The exact pain levels will vary from person to person, depending on individual tolerance.
The design you choose will also influence the amount of pain you’re likely to experience. Simple designs will be much quicker to tattoo – it won’t hurt less, but it will hurt for a shorter amount of time. Larger, more intricate and complex rings, particularly those involving color, will be a tougher test for your pain tolerance. In any case, even the most complicated designs will still be relatively small and should be perfectly bearable for most people.
Planning wedding ring tattoos
Another thing you might want to keep in mind is that there will be some planning required. Presumably, you’ll want your tattoos to be done and looking great on your wedding day. Two things will be crucial to getting the timing right: booking your tattoo appointment ahead of time and allowing around two weeks for your tattoos to heal.
In terms of arranging an appointment, keep in mind that some tattoo studios might be all booked up for several weeks ahead. Also, depending on the studio and the artist, two appointments are sometimes needed – the first to talk about the details of the design and the second to get the tattoo done. In order to avoid having to compromise on what artist you choose, it’s best to make sure you get in touch with them way ahead of time.
You might be tempted to get the tattoos done on your wedding day or the day before. Keep in mind that a tattoo takes two to three weeks to heal (at least on the surface and assuming that there is no infection). The tattoo won’t look its best during this process – the skin will be reddened and scabbing will occur. It’s also not the most comfortable of sensations – the area around the tattoo will be painful at first, then likely to be itchy.
For a stress-free and comfortable experience, planning ahead will go a long way. Now that you know what to expect, you can decide when will be the best time for you to schedule your ring tattoos.
Popular wedding ring tattoo designs
One of the most appealing things about wedding ring tattoos is that though then can look like traditional rings, they don’t have to. The possibilities for what your matching tattoos could look like are virtually endless. When thinking about a design for you and your partner, consider the following ideas:
- Celtic knot rings – one of the most popular and traditional choices, wedding ring tattoos in Celtic style are made up of thick, black lines woven together to resemble the pattern of the Celtic knot. The meaning of this type of ring tattoo is that of eternity: no beginning and no end. It’s easy to see why – when the design wraps all the way around the finger, the lines interweave in such a way that there is no discernible point where they start or finish. As a wedding ring tattoo, then, this design represents eternal love and an unbreakable connection.
- Infinity symbol tattoos – not exactly a traditional band design, these tattoos are nonetheless an extremely popular alternative to wedding rings. Looking like the number 8 on its side, the infinity symbol – like the Celtic knot – represents eternity, endlessness, and no beginning or end. One option is a simple design of just the symbol on its own – as long as the tattoos are on your ring fingers, there’s no doubt that they’re a representation of your marriage. Another popular choice is a tattoo that looks like a plain ring, going all the way around the finger, with the infinity symbol worked into the design (for instance, looking as if it’s etched into the ring). The infinity symbol is a common element in jewelry in general, including rings – for specific ideas and realistic tattoos, find infinity symbol rings that you like and use them as reference when designing your tattoo.
- Name tattoos – for another modern-looking design, consider getting tattoos of each other’s names on your ring fingers. As with the infinity symbol, this can take the form of just the writing on its own, or on top of a band that goes all the way around the finger. The tattoos will have to be small and intricate by necessity – make sure the font you choose will still be easily readable. Italics and handwriting fonts are among the popular choices here.
- Initials tattoos – if you’re not convinced each other’s names are the right choice for you, but you like the concept, just your initials (first letter of each of your names) can be a great alternative. Since only one letter is involved, you can get more creative with the font thanks to increased readability.
- Simple bands – elegant and subtle, single-line bands have been particularly popular in the last couple of years or so. You can opt for the simplest design of all – a single line going around your finger – or get creative and experiment with different ideas. Several lines at regular intervals all the way down your finger are an interesting and original-looking choice.
- Lock and key matching tattoos – a more visual, pictorial design is that of a small key on one person’s ring finger, and a lock on the other person’s ring finger. A heart-shaped lock is a popular choice when opting for this type of design.
The most important thing to remember is that you both have to like the tattoos and feel they are a good fit for your personalities and for your relationship. The only limitation here is the small area you have to work with – other than that, you can get endlessly creative and personalize your design to make it unique to you.
Remember also that the tattoos don’t have to be exactly the same – many couples opt for separate designs which are related to each other in some way. As long as you both know what your tattoos mean to you, that’s all that matters.
Matching wedding or engagement ring tattoos are a great alternative to traditional rings. They’re the perfect choice if you’re looking to express your love for each other and create a lasting symbol of your relationship that is completely personal to you and your other half.
While you’re searching for inspiration for the perfect design, check out our gallery of the best women’s and men’s wedding band tattoos. If you find that you’re leaning towards a larger design that’ll require more space than just your finger, matching tattoos make a great alternative to ring tattoos.