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Some couples are no longer getting engagement rings — here are 10 modern ways people are proposing to their partners

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 30/10/2018 Chelsea Greenwood
a man standing in front of a building talking on a cell phone: There are plenty of alternatives to getting engagement rings. There are plenty of alternatives to getting engagement rings.

Considering recent news that millennials are changing marriage statistics nationwide - with people being more selective and waiting longer to marry - it should come as no surprise that young people are breaking with tradition in other ways, too, when it comes to tying the knot.

Rather than spending $US6,351 on average for a wedding ring, people in the US are opting for more modern, unique, and personalised options to symbolise their love and commitment.

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Here are 10 great options if engagement rings are not your style.

Matching tattoos are definitely a commitment.

a close up of a hand: Some couples get matching tattoos instead of rings. Some couples get matching tattoos instead of rings.

You can still use your ring finger to signify your engagement even if you don't get a ring. Some couples are getting matching tattoos on their ring fingers, according to the Independent. In fact, the #weddingtattoo already has over 6,000 posts on Instagram.

This is a typically cheaper route that is also much more permanent.

Invest the money.

a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Make a financially smart decision. Make a financially smart decision.

In 2014, Tara Siegel Bernard broke down for the New York Times what would happen if you invested the cost of a high-quality engagement ring.

She wrote:

But let's just pretend for a moment that you invested $US12,700, or the current benchmark price for a high-quality one-carat diamond, according to the Rapaport Diamond Index, an industry benchmark for diamond prices. In a portfolio of 60 per cent stock funds and 40 per cent bonds with a real return of 4%, that $US12,700 would rise to about $US27,830 after 20 years, and nearly $US41,200 after 30 years (that's after inflation), according to calculations by Vanguard.

Start a personal "honeyfund."

Start saving money for a memorable honeymoon. Start saving money for a memorable honeymoon.

According to Time magazine, today, nearly four in 10 brides have an online "honeymoon fund," where, in lieu of gifts, they ask friends and family to donate money for their honeymoon. This growing trend signifies an even bigger truth, people are beginning to put more emphasis on the importance of a honeymoon.

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. wrote on PsychCentral that honeymoons are important as they are a "celebration of their new identity as a married couple."

Do them a solid – and buy your partner a new car.

a man standing in front of a car: You can be practical and buy a car. You can be practical and buy a car.

Josh Marion, a vice president at Ritani, an online diamond and jewellery retailer previously told Business Insider that buying an engagement ring "is a decision on par with buying a car or a house - you can't just jump into it."

If you agree that buying a car and a ring are on par with each other and your partner is in need of a car, it might be the smarter purchase.

Opting for custom and designer cufflinks or other cheaper alternatives could actually help your marriage.

People are proposing with cufflinks and other jewellery. People are proposing with cufflinks and other jewellery.

A more and more popular option these days is proposing with cufflinks, whether custom or designer.

Instead of splurging on a diamond ring, a smart decision is purchasing a less expensive alternative that will cost no more than $US2,000.

Make a significant charitable gift in their name.

a close up of a newspaper: Donating can be a nice thing to do for your partner. Donating can be a nice thing to do for your partner.

If your partner-to-be is an altruist, perhaps nothing will mean more than donating a significant sum of money to their favourite charity in their name.

In fact, a 2009 Harvard Business School study found that "functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) evidence shows that giving money to charity leads to similar brain activity in regions implicated in the experience of pleasure and reward." In other words, giving in your partner's name will actually make them feel good.

Pay rent if you're living together in an apartment.

a man sitting on a bed: Save both of you stress and pay rent. Save both of you stress and pay rent.

Moving in together, it could be argued, has taken the place of the significance of an engagement period. About a third more US adults were in cohabiting relationships in 2016 compared to nine years earlier, according to the Pew Research Center.

"Once you move in together, then people begin to treat you as an indivisible couple. If you're going to invite one to a party, you have to invite both," said Stephanie Coontz, historian and author of the book "Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage" told The Washington Post.

Because living together signifies the same commitment as an engagement ring, might as well put that money toward your combined rent.

A custom piece of artwork is a very personal option.

Get custom art for your home. Get custom art for your home.

A unique and personalised option is to commission a piece of artwork for your home that either represents you as a couple, reflects your tastes, or just speaks to you both.

On finding art that's important to both parties, Laura Benko, founder of The Holistic Home Company and author of "The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space" told Elle Decor, "It's powerfully uniting when the artwork is loved by both, especially if it has a story behind it that involves your relationship. In the bedroom, be sure to swap out boring landscapes for imagery that pleases the senses and awakens your sensuality."

Why not be practical and use that cash as a down payment on a house?

a house with a lawn in front of a building: It's practical to use the money you would use for rings for a down payment. It's practical to use the money you would use for rings for a down payment.

It's not very sexy, but it sure is practical. Engagement101 recommends using the cash you'd spend on a ring as a down payment on a house instead. Just be sure you're ready to make that step together first.

Get a pet with your partner.

a person walking a dog on a leash standing next to a fence: It can be a test of your relationship. It can be a test of your relationship.

Getting a pet with your partner could actually help your relationship.

Russell Hartstein, a certified dog behaviour consultant and trainer in Los Angeles, said "They act as a social lubricant and help regulate our moods, emotions, mental state, and physical shape when we interact with them and meet their needs. Most couples will have overall better health and live longer if they are pet parents."

It can also be a test to make you and your partner work well together when it comes to parenting styles. Just be sure you take the responsibility seriously and come to the decision together.

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