Modern Marriage: Six Things to Choose Instead of a Diamond Engagement Ring

Modern Marriage: Six Things to Choose Instead of a Diamond Engagement Ring

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

Engagement rings are a huge investment. In 2015 the average amount spent on an engagement ring was $5,871. Even without the looming expenses of a wedding on the horizon, that's a huge chunk of change.

In addition to the hefty price tag on today's engagement rings, there are also many mixed opinions when it comes to the very important subject of ring selection. Some think that your beloved should know your taste well enough to pick out the ring of your dreams. But just because your future spouse can tick off your favorite TV shows doesn't mean he or she will know offhand which diamond cut you prefer, or the width of the band—or if you even want a ring at all.

Here are some alternatives to an engagement ring that might have you questioning why anyone would ever want a diamond in the first place...

1. A Unique Stone

If you love jewelry but sparkly stuff isn't really your thing, opt for an edgy black diamond or an unexpected opal. Or, if you've always coveted a piece of jewelry showcasing your birthstone, ask for that instead—semiprecious stones cost a fraction of the price of a diamond. Or if a pair of practical stud earrings or a pendant necklace is more your speed, go for it. Some of my favorite designers include Mociun, Wwake, and Anna Sheffield.

2. A Once-in-a-Lifetime Vacation

If you have dreams of scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef or climbing to Machu Picchu, ditch the sparkle and choose something that you—and your betrothed—won't ever forget. Another option is to put the cash toward an insane honeymoon that you can both enjoy—maybe whisk yourselves off to Bora Bora (a pretty hefty plane ticket, not to mention the five-star hotel prices) to luxuriate for a couple weeks.

3. A Timeless Leather Piece

A real, top-notch leather jacket can add up to more than $1,000. A classic moto style will always be cool, and only gets better with wear. Plus, you'll think of your spouse every time you wear it (try the brands Oak or Veda). Or, if you've been coveting a Chanel or Céline handbag, ask for that—a classic handbag is way more useful than a sparkly ring.

4. A New Ride

A friend of mine recently got engaged and asked for a Ford pickup truck instead of an engagement ring. It was awesome and will be super handy when it comes to home renovation projects.

5. A Down Payment on House

Stash that cash away and when you two are finally ready to become homeowners, you'll be grateful.

6. A Piece of Art for Your Home

For the soon-to-be-engaged who have everything: Start your art collection with a special piece by an artist you both love (it doesn't have to be a painting — photography, ceramics, or sculptures work, too). Or, invest in that vintage Moroccan rug that the two of you are eyeing. Is there a more perfect way to start your lives together?

Did you honor your engagement with an e-ring alternative? Share your story with us in the comments.

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