Wedding ring alternatives have blown up in popularity over the past few years, and one of the most sought after options are tattoos. Not only do they commemorate a wedding in a much more permanent way than a ring, but tattoos also allow for more personalization, a tighter budget, and more flexibility for those who have careers that prevent them from even wearing a ring.
But just like traditional rings, wedding tattoos require a lot of research. What can I expect to pay? Will it hurt? Are they *really* impossible to remove?
If you and your fiancé are considering wedding ring tattoos, you should make the decision after discovering the answers to these questions (and others!). Lucky for you, we’ve broken down everything there is to know.
The exact price of a wedding band tattoo depends on where you live, the artist, and the tattoo’s design; however, you can typically expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $300. The cost gets higher the more complex a design is, but even the most intricate ring tattoo shouldn’t be more than $2,000.
Taking the unlikely $2,000 into consideration, tattoos are still much more affordable than actual rings. On average, Americans spend over $6,000 on engagement rings. This price doesn’t even include the cost of a wedding band, either — which run from $300 to $1,500.
Finding an Artist
It’s best that you don’t choose a random tattoo artist or shop for any permanent ink, but you want to be especially careful when finding someone to do a wedding ring tattoo. Again, research is your friend.
Start with a simple Google search for tattoo shops around you. For each shop you consider, try to pick out one or two artists that you think would work best for you and your S.O. Shop websites will typically include a roster of their artists, including information about their experience. Fingers aren’t the easiest place to tattoo, so it’s particularly important that you choose someone who’s done them before. You can even ask them for photos of examples they’ve done.
You should also read reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and more. You’ll quickly learn whether or not the shop is clean, safe, and if/who produces quality work.
Not all tattoo shops allow walk-ins — in addition to requiring appointments, some artists even expect you to schedule a time to come in prior to your tattoo date. This way, you can both sort out the details of the design and its placement.
You’ll want to get the actual tattoo about one to two weeks before your wedding since it needs to heel. You may not want anyone to see the design beforehand, but it’s not worth waiting ’til the last minute only for the tattoo to be scabbed, bleeding, or causing pain. These are typical during the healing process, especially when the tattoo is on a sensitive place like a finger.
If you’re honeymooning somewhere tropical — or even a place that has a pool you’ll be swimming in — be sure to mention it to your tattoo artist. They’ll be able to recommend the best date to allow proper healing, and how to care for the tattoo specifically regarding exposure to water and sun.
Things to Consider
Yes, there will be pain — how much, though, depends on who you ask since everybody has a different tolerance. But the fingers are sensitive. They’re full of nerves, and there’s not much skin, fat or muscle on top of the knuckle and bone. It’s okay to be nervous, but if you honestly don’t think you endure the (albeit quick) process, then you probably shouldn’t go through with it.
Nobody wants to enter a marriage considering the idea of divorce. After all, you shouldn’t marry someone if you don’t want to be with them forever, right? Right — but that doesn’t mean you should completely dismiss the notion of a future separation.
That said, yes, it is possible to remove a tattoo. However, that’s not the question you should be asking. Instead, consider this: Would you be able to commit weeks, or even months, to multiple laser removal sessions? These sessions cost anywhere from $50 to $500 each, depending on how long you’ve had the tattoo, its size, color, etc. On average, the total cost for the removal of a ring tattoo is a little over $1,000.
It’s not an easy process, either. Laser removal can be extremely painful, and even after treatments, you’ll probably be left with a scar.
There are other options, like surgical excision, dermabrasion, and even creams, but these also range in price, pain, and more.
You can always cover it up, too. Those who stay married and grow tired of the tattoo can also add to the design, or even pair the original tattoo with a ring for a unique look.
There will be steps you need to take to maintain your tattoo even after the healing process is complete. Tattoos fade, and those with light colors will do so even quicker than ones with darker colors. Wedding ring tattoos also fade faster than tattoos in other places since they’re constantly being rubbed together and against things.
To prevent fading as much as possible, be sure to do things that you should already be doing: wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, keeping your skin healthy, and so on. Your tattoo artist can always provide you with specific care instructions, too.
Choosing a Design
Personalize, personalize, personalize! The freedom that comes with designing a wedding ring tattoo is arguably the best part of getting one. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite tattoos, but even if you opt for one of them, be sure to add even the smallest personal touch.