25 Engagement Ring Tattoo Ideas For When You Don't Want To Go Traditional

Engagement rings have been a tradition for centuries, but as time moves on, more and more people are realizing rings aren't for them. In heterosexual couples, it's traditionally only the woman who wears an engagement ring after the man pops the question, but, in a time when women are becoming more vocal about their power and rights, it doesn't always feel appropriate. 

In a world where more women are now proposing to men (and attitudes towards the idea are shifting, too!) and more people are open about their LGBTQ+ relationships, the concept of an engagement ring is not always inclusive. That's why many couples are instead opting for engagement tattoos these days, putting their love in ink rather than in jewelry. Not only is it permanent, often much less costly than an engagement ring, and a fun way to get personal and creative, but it's also a way for both people in the relationship to be able to show off their love.

With seemingly thousands of engagement tattoo ideas out there, it can be difficult to know where to start when you're about to head down the aisle (and have a million other things to think about at the same time). But Women.com is here to help, as we've compiled a list of 25 of our very favorite ideas for those who want to put a twist on the traditional. Just make sure you've really thought things through before getting a matching tattoo!

Go the way of the engagement arrow

A lot of people get arrows tattooed onto them as a symbol of moving forward and staying on the path that's made for you. As noted by Authority Tattoo, it can also represent a solid sense of direction, as well as love and strength, which is why it's a good choice to get in ink following an engagement. Equally, if you do opt for wedding rings, that poignant arrow will be pointing straight at them as they slide a wedding ring onto your finger. What could be more romantic than that?

Change up the traditional tattoo band

If you're really looking to think outside the box when it comes to your engagement, you can always get creative with a tattoo on your ring finger. This design shared by Instagram user @wtfjoer shows a different take on the traditional band, as It features two smaller dots on either side of one big one. There are a number of different ways you can get creative and personal here in your own way. You could add dots to represent family members or children, for example, or how many years you've been together.

Get personal

Steering away from the traditional engagement ring and opting for a tattoo instead gives you a number of ways to get personal with something that represents you and your relationship. This adorable take on the engagement ring tattoo by Storm House Tattoo doesn't feature a ring at all but instead puts a design that means something in its place. This happy couple opted for the same frog design with a red heart or blue heart, but you could get something totally different and unique that represents the two of you and your relationship.

Tattoo your diamond

There has, of course, been a lot of controversy over the years when it comes to buying precious stones, particularly diamonds, because of the way they've traditionally been found and mined. If you still like the idea of a diamond being involved in your engagement though — without potentially contributing to and supporting the controversial diamond or jewelry industry — then having a diamond shape tattooed onto your ring finger could be the perfect alternative. This example has the design further up on the finger, but it would look equally good if it were placed further down on the ring finger where a traditional engagement ring would sit.

Go literal with your engagement ring tattoo

Showing off your engagement — or just your commitment to one another, if you don't necessarily plan on heading down the aisle — in ink doesn't have to mean getting a tattoo on your ring finger. Here, a happy couple went very literal when it came to an engagement ring tattoo and got matching diamond rings inked onto their forearms. Not only will getting your ring tattooed probably save you a whole lot of money, but you'll also be able to put it anywhere on your body without worrying about losing it or having to take it off.

Save the date

After an engagement, it's traditional to send out save-the-date cards. This tattoo idea turns that concept on its head though, as it's more about permanently saving the date of the proposal rather than the wedding. This couple actually got the date of their proposal tattooed onto their forearms, which makes a great alternative to the traditional ring. Not only is it something you can both enjoy and show off together, but it has a whole lot of personalized significance for both of you and strays from the idea of having ink on your ring finger to signify your engagement.

Let your love grow

How cute and creative are these matching engagement tattoos? This couple opted for long-stemmed flowers on their ring fingers, which stretch all the way up from their fingernails to their hand, and can represent the way their love has grown and blossomed over time. These two kept things a little simpler with the blossoming petal or leaf design, but if you have a flower or plant that is particularly significant to you both, you could always incorporate that into the ink to personalize this idea.

Commemorate your engagement location with a tattoo

If you got engaged somewhere significant with an easily identifiable image or a significant landmark nearby, why not get that tattooed onto your body to commemorate your engagement? This Eiffel Tower tattoo could represent a proposal in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris. This tattoo is on the back of their ankle, but if you were looking to go a little more traditional while still being different, why not have a smaller version put on your ring finger?

Love is the anchor

Love is always the anchor of any relationship, so getting that symbol tattooed onto your ring finger is sure to be a great reminder to always treasure your partner. If you're someone who likes to sail with your partner or spend time by the ocean, this would be extra perfect for you. We also love the way the handle has been made to look like a heart. Here, the couple got the tattoo inked towards the end of their ring fingers, which is a great placement if you're still planning to wear wedding rings after tying the knot.

Create your own engagement ring design without the same cost

Another major benefit of getting an engagement ring tattoo instead of a traditional ring is that you can literally choose your own personal design without having to worry too much about the cost. Engagement rings can often set people back thousands of dollars (if not hundreds of thousands if you're looking for a celebrity-style ring). By getting it in ink instead, you can create a ring shape that suits you and has a special meaning. This cute design actually has an extra special meaning, as it was created by Instagram tattoo artist @lemon.droop for their own partner. Adorable!

Initials and hearts

We can't get enough of this minimal yet oh-so-meaningful tattoo. Tattoo artist Ducky Larkings shared the design on Instagram and revealed in the caption that it was created for a friend who got it as a surprise for his partner (named Sophie). The design would be perfect for anyone getting engaged to someone who has the initial S, as the letter perfectly integrates with the half-heart design on the other side. It's also ideal for anyone with the surname S, as a way of symbolizing joining a new family.

The partial engagement band concept

This partial engagement ring band tattoo is a fun, yet still non-traditional, idea for those looking for something a little more understated to replace a physical ring. We think this simple leafy band design would also make a great way to signify and celebrate a marriage after the wedding too. It could stay open-ended following the engagement, but then be filled in and have both ends meet to create a full circle once you and your partner have officially tied the knot.

Play your cards right in tattoo form

Inspired by playing cards, this couple got inked after popping the question with a King of Hearts and Queen of Hearts to celebrate their commitment to one another. This is a quirky way to show off your love for one another without having a big tattoo (which is perfect if you need a more discreet tattoo because of work or for personal reasons) and it holds extra meaning for those who like to be playful or have a connection to somewhere like Las Vegas. It can also be customized to each other's preferences, as you can get the symbol or symbols that best represents the gender you and your partner identify with.

Put a name on it

This one's not for the faint-hearted, as there is a lot of advice out there against getting someone else's name tattooed on your body. But if you're sure that's what you want, this would be perfect for couples aiming to solidify their love for one another following a proposal and ahead of the wedding day. These partners got each other's names inked on their ring fingers to celebrate their commitment to one another (and their impending nuptials), but the tattoos can also serve as wedding rings if you or your partner would prefer not to incorporate jewelry into any of your milestone moments.

Tying the tattoo knot

This tattoo takes the notion of tying the knot literally, which is a cute and delicate way to show off your love for one another. The red band (we think) signifies the love and passion a couple has for one another following an engagement. The neat bow tie on the ring finger speaks for itself. This one has an extra poignant meaning according to Chinese legend, though. As explained by tattoo artist Marjana Brun on Instagram, it may also symbolize an invisible red thread called Akai, which is said to unite couples from the moment they're born, always pulling them together.

Put your tattoos together

If you're getting engagement tattoos, what could be better to show off your love for one another than getting tattoos you can literally put together to create something new? One member of this couple got a red heart on their ring finger, while the other got an arrow. Of course, we already know arrows have a special meaning when it comes to love and relationships, while the heart is the most obvious symbol of love. So putting them together to make this adorable shape only makes sense.

Let your love show

This adorable tattoo shows the words "I love you" written across someone's forearm, which appears to have been done in their partner's handwriting. This is a very sentimental and personal way to celebrate committing yourselves to one another ahead of a wedding day, and is no doubt a tattoo you're sure to treasure forever. It's also a special design to get with the one you love, since you can each get words inked on your skin in each other's handwriting. 

Go the same but different

If you're looking to get matching tattoos, but still want to put your own twist on things, these moon and sun tattoos are a great compromise. They're not explicitly related to engagement, which makes them ideal for those who don't want to do something too traditional, yet they still make a bold statement about your relationship with your partner. This couple opted for one person to have a filled-in sun and the other a filled-in moon, which is an amazing way of symbolizing a partnership without being too on the nose. If you did want to link it slightly more to the idea of commitment and marriage though, this is one you could always get on your ring fingers.

Opt for a phrase

For couples who like to inject a little humor into their relationship, why not put a phrase on your skin? After getting engaged, this couple decided to commemorate the moment with a slightly tongue-in-cheek ink session, getting the words "So far" tattooed onto one of them and "so good" written on the other. This is a fun way to celebrate your milestone moment but also isn't too literal when it comes to an engagement tattoo, so it's a great one if you want to go somewhat against the grain.

Get a floral tattoo with a meaning

If rings aren't your thing, you may prefer to get a floral tattoo on your ring finger instead. This person got matching lavender tattoos with their partner. Lavender is particularly poignant following an engagement as, per 1-800-Flowers, it can represent the notion of purity, devotion, and calmness, which, for many people, might be how they like to describe their relationship. Likewise, though, if you have a flower that's particularly tied to your relationship or reminds you of your partner, why not get that instead?

Line it up

The reason so many married and engaged people wear rings on their left-hand ring fingers is because it was once believed (in Roman times) that the ring finger had a vein that led directly to the heart. How sweet is that? So if you're not into rings or are unable to wear one, but also don't want a big, over-the-top tattoo, a simple line down the ring finger may be the way to go. It's still changing things up from the tattoo band concept but is a great way of harking back to the idea of the ring finger being connected to the heart, highlighting the romantic concept.

Stamp it!

For those looking to really get creative with their engagement tattoos, why not create your own stamp to commemorate the super special moment? This fun and creative idea saw a couple get ink celebrating the year in which they got engaged, as well as the location. There are a number of different ways you could further customize it if you're looking for some similar ink. You could add each other's initials or even full names into the circle, and you can also change the placement depending on what means the most to you. It's also one you could get solo if your partner isn't all that into the idea of matching tattoos.

A tattoo for infinity

Another idea for the ring finger, the infinity symbol is a solid choice for an engagement tattoo. Of course, it symbolizes the idea of forever, which is perfect for before a wedding, and it can also be done small enough to literally replace a ring by sitting in its exact place. This one has an extra sweet twist as it's a double symbol, representing both people in the relationship. For heterosexual cis couples, where the man doesn't traditionally wear an engagement ring, this is a meaningful alternative.

Face up

One of the ultimate ways to prove how in love you are with someone has to be to literally get their face tattooed onto your body, right? If you've really thought long and hard about your decision and you're happy to really go literal with your love for your other half, something like this is a way to really put your love on display. Following their engagement, this couple got each other's profiles inked into a scientifically-accurate outline of a heart on their ring fingers as a bold alternative to rings.

Love the date

You'll never forget your anniversary if you've got it written across your ring finger, which is just another reason why we love this design. This engagement ring alternative saw a couple put the date of their engagement on their ring fingers (where a ring would traditionally go) as well as an adorable heart symbol. Something like this isn't as out there as some other engagement tattoos, so it's a great one for those still looking to incorporate a little bit of tradition. The design could also be updated with your wedding date above it when you actually tie the knot, or could sit under your wedding ring so your and your partner's hands match.