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Tattoo Ideas: Wedding Ring Finger Tattoos

A couple's matching ring tattoos

A couple's matching ring tattoos

Ring Tattoos

When my ex-girlfriend and I started dating, she had a tiny black and red tattoo that haunted my days, though I'd try to convince myself otherwise. It was a tattoo of the letter "N", and it was the first initial of her previous girlfriend. Likewise, her ex had a black and red letter "D" tattooed in the same place. Although gays and lesbians couldn't legally marry at that time, during the five years that they were together they decided to celebrate their commitment by getting the tattoos in lieu of engagement/wedding rings.

Why People Decide to Get These Tattoos

  • Some people get wedding ring tattoos as a placeholder until they can afford a real ring.
  • Others rebel against actual rings altogether, using tattoos as an alternative in lieu of diamonds
  • They may opt for tattoos because they work at a job (construction, for example) where a real ring would easily get destroyed.

How to Choose One That's Right for You

Choosing a tattoo is a careful process. The tattoo you decide on should be a reflection of your commitment to one another as well as your own individual personalities.

  • Some people like the literal option of getting a ring design tattooed on their fingers while others choose to get the first name, nickname, or initials of their loved one.
  • Some people go for a deeper interpretation, like an image that has sentimental value, the numbers that represent the day they met, or a quote or series of words that have a meaning only the couple can understand.
  • Either way, a tattooed wedding ring is a representative of solidity and commitment, a testament to love that you can never take off and leave behind or accidentally drop down the sink in the kitchen.

What Happens If You and Your Partner Split Up?

Actress Portia De Rossi tattooed the initials "FG" on her ring finger while engaged to girlfriend Francesca Gregorini. When the pair split after three years, Portia announced plans to remove the tattoo saying, "I'm not saying it's anything I regret doing, because I don't, but it just doesn't make any sense now."

Colin Farrell and Amelia Warner also exchanged ring tattoos on their ring fingers before divorcing just four months later along with adult entertainment superstar, Jenna Jameson, who had her second husband Jay Sterling's first name inked on her wedding ring finger. They filed for divorce after 3.5 years of wedded bliss.

One of the most famous examples of wedding ring tattoos involves buxom blonde "Baywatch" star, Pamela Anderson, and her ex-husband Tommy Lee. Instead of exchanging rings, Pamela tattoed "Tommy" onto her ring finger. Tommy, on the other hand, tattooed "Pamela" on his genitals.

Of course, with the divorce rate in America being so high these days, we cannot talk about wedding ring tattoos without mentioning the possibility of splitting up. Unless you have scores of money like the celebrities mentioned above, laser tattoo removal is out of the question.

The image you select is going to be with you for the rest of your natural-born life. Getting the name of your favorite band or the traditional butterfly on your ankle is one thing—even if you end up disliking the group ten years later, you can chalk it up to the experience and view it instead as a permanent reminder of youth or freedom, a memorial of who you used to be, who you would not be now without the past that led you here.

Wedding ring tattoos, on the other hand, are a much more serious commitment. Think long and hard before taking the leap (into both marriage and tattoos.) As I discussed in my Don't Regret Your Next Tattoo article, a common argument against tattoos of this nature is "What if you break up?" What I usually say in response to that is just because something doesn't last does not mean it didn't happen. Maybe you'll stay together forever and live happily ever after and maybe you won't.

If you don't, the tattoo can serve as a reminder of a time when you were happy and in love, a memorial to a bygone era. You learned everything you could from each other and had to move on. Keep in mind that every step you take leads you to where you are now; even if you are now with someone new and no longer have any contact with the person whose name is tattooed on your wedding ring finger, never forget that you needed to go through that experience in order to reach the happiness you've now achieved with your new partner. And besides: a ring finger tattoo can always be covered up by a real ring.



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RA on July 03, 2012:

My husband of 13 years is gettin my name tattooed on his ring finger and many people including our two daughters asked him what he would do if I divorced him and his response is he will add is a bitch to it with an arrow pointing to my name. We have been together for 16 years and have been through a lot and neither of us plan on divorcing! I am hoping it is not a bad decision with all the negatives posted on here.

kayleigh on April 12, 2012:

i am getting married next year and my fiancé has my name on his hip i was thinking about getting his name under my engagement ring. just want to know how bad the pain is compared to a tat on ur shoulder or wrist?

Terri on March 14, 2012:

My husband and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage very soon. I love the idea of getting wedding band tattoos, him not so much. I do have a couple of tattoos, and I love them.

scottyoops on March 05, 2012:

i thought this was a site for fans of herve villaches ( look boss, the plane the plane )

Shelby on January 28, 2012:

A tattoo on a finger for a wedding is not a good idea most people don't stay together for a long time in these days!!!!!!

keiley on November 17, 2011:

My husband and I got wedding ring tattoos. When people ask me what if we break up I tell them that I consider marriage just as permanent as a tattoo. If I was afraid we will divorce someday then I wouldn't have gotten married. Any marriage can last (aside from abusive) if you both try hard enough. I've seen it happen first hand with my parents.


Babs on September 29, 2011:

No regrets! It's a time in your life, whether good or bad and you mark it with a tat with no regrets!

Donnae on September 24, 2011:

people get divorced so often because its an easy way out... and because ppl rush into it. hell my best friend got married after only knowing a guy for 4 months. crazyness. people have to be willing to communicate and work at it. I'll be happy to get a wedding ring tattoo someday, and if for some unfortunate reason we divorce I can ward off any other men with waving the ring! hell maybe I should just go ahead and get one!! HAHA :)

Samantha on August 11, 2011:

Any optimist about love and marriage that reads this, ignore all the negative or just plain retarded entries. Notice how most of these people are divorced and probably don't give a rats ass about happy people in love looking for something creative to make them happy. Im sure that if people thought that they might get divorced and think twice about getting a tattooed ring, there wouldn't be much point in getting married in the first place. If you are old enough and mature enough to get married im sure you know what you are doing. tattoos are forever, marriage should be as well.

breee on July 30, 2011:

my mom got a bow (tie the knot) and my dad got a ball and chain. those are also cute ideas i thought

Wedding Rings on June 12, 2011:

Great tattoos!

louise on March 16, 2011:

I have been married to my husband for 34yrs. I had a wedding ring that I had for 30yrs at that time and I lost it. I did not want another one because the ring I had I have never seen another one like it. So we are going to get wedding ring tatoos. He has some tats I don't. A little nervous.

Reese on January 31, 2011:

Uhm, my parents have been married over 25 friend's parents...over 25 other friend's parents...over 30 years....Think positive, but be smart. My husband and I have been together for 7 years, and married almost two.

Brody Brotman on January 19, 2011:

Those images for the article look like something somebody would get at a concentration camp. Maybe one day tattoos will be out of style and people will instead pluck teeth out, cut off their ears, or stare at the sun, or some other ridiculously stupid & permanent activity.

Thought about it... on December 19, 2010:

I thought about getting a wedding ring tattoo, but these images and many more on google search have completely turned me off. Nothing seems to be stylish or elegant. Guess my wife will have to accept my choice of not wearing my wedding ring. After all, its only (relatively) recent that husbands are now expected to wear a wedding ring.

Apple on November 08, 2010:

My husband & I are newly weds and we decided to getting a ring tattoo this Thursday..I am looking for designs, any suggestions?? And I am very nervous of how painful it will be, never had a tattoo, this is going to be my 1st & last...

Angela on October 20, 2010:

Last year, my husband surprised me with his first tattoo...a letter "A" for Angela on his ring finger. It was such a romantic thing. So this year, for our 22nd anniversary, I surprised him with my first & last tattoo. I got the letter "W" for Wayne on my ring finger. They look great. His is a more masculine gothic style and mine is more of a script style. They both are solid black & look very sexy. The artist that did them was such a perfectionist. The lines are so clean. It did hurt like heck!!! But it only took about 5 minutes to complete. If you'd like to see pictures, just look me up on facebook & mention the ring tattoos! :) ~Angela

Great Tattoo on September 27, 2010:

You should check my website out !

pinkcashmere0064 on September 23, 2010:

If u say, I do than it should be forever or just don't get married. Too many people now take the easy way out. Back in the day they stuck it through the hard times as well as the good times.

butterfly Tattoo from Dallas Texas on September 20, 2010:

Yes I.m inclined to agree, Relationships end and new ones begin, While at the time it might seem like a great idea, it generally has dire consequences,

Theme Wedding Planner on September 05, 2010:

You say, "Maybe you'll stay together forever and and live happily ever after" too many people think this way. Marriage is not a happily ever after life (well sometimes it is but not always), it is and always will be a work in progress. If you think things won't ever get rough, don't ever get married or get a tattoo after doing so. If more people fully understood the commitment of marriage, less people would have tattoos like these to regret.

Rick the Wedding Ring Guy on September 03, 2010:

It’s a pretty interesting concept, but considering how the divorce rate remains steady at 50%, a future booming business might be specializing in wedding ring tattoo removal.

sally on July 07, 2010:

i was just talking to my better half yesterdya about getting a wedding ring tat! all the times i thought about getting one i never thought about all the negs. some of you guys mentioned!

Krys on June 08, 2010:

I think that tattoo wedding bands are the least regrettable tattoo you can get. People who get married thinking, "there's always divorce..." are messed up. Everyone has fights...and unless you have NO DOUBT that you can go forward even through them...them don't be with that person. There are plenty of others and settling is what causes people to get married 3 times before realizing they don't even like that gender... I intend to get a tattoo if and when i get married...because I would never get a divorce....and if I would be my own fault for a) picking the wrong person or b) picking a person who wasn't as ready as I was. Not to mention it would be an AWESOME reminder that love is permanent

Socialblu on February 17, 2010:

I am coming to this hub very late but I still wanted to put in my comment. For some time I have romanticized the idea of getting a wedding tattoo, although not on the ring finger because I'm not particularly into the band tradition... I'm also not really into the wedding tradition, but that's another story. I have two brand ideas, one of which is to place half of a poem which describes how the couple came to be in love using traditional Japanese writing style, one one party, and the other half on the other. These would be located over the heart of one person on the chest, and the other on the back on the same side so when the couple hold each other both parts of the poem can be seen. The second idea follows the same position however instead of a poem there are images, on the man an image of his wife holding a basket with a human heart on it, on the woman an image of the man cutting out his heart.

Steph on February 11, 2010:

I am planning on getting a wedding ring tattoo in the near future. any thoughts or ideas for me?

Carina May on February 10, 2010:

I have read everything on this page and found everything extremely meaningful to read.. I am 21 this year and I'm having a ring tattoo with my boyfriend of 6 years today, i know it's going to be as painful as it can be, but thinking about all the things we went through and all the pain we have been into, this should be nothing, i believe that we will be together forever, its not about knowing whether the person is the right one, but feeling like this person is all i need for the rest of my life.. I mean as much as we can dislike our parents(you can't divorce family) in the end of the day, they're still your family and we will be able to fix evertyhing, it all takes a little time and patience. when we get married, our husband is family, and thats how family should live for each other.

blkimes on February 08, 2010:

That is SO sad Boman250!!! But I don't think that the tattoo itself is the issue. There has got to be another underlying reason and this is just a superficial excuse. I hope that everything works out for you.

boman250 on January 30, 2010:

I recently got a wedding ring tattoo for my wife for Valentine's Day as a present. We are staying across the country from each other and I wanted to show my devotion and commitment even across the distance. We might be getting a divorce over the fact that I got this tattoo and did not tell her first and my choice of design. I am extremely sad and tore up inside right now because I wanted something to strengthen the relationship and I might possibly have ended it. Be very careful how and when and what you get because it looks like I will have a permanent reminder of the thing that destroyed my marriage.

Stephanie on December 02, 2009:

I too have a ring tattoo. My husband and I (married just 3 years) were sitting at a bar at 11:00 one night and decided spur of the moment to get them. He had never had a tattoo and has no desire to get anymore but it was completely his idea. It's a simple tribal design that our artist drew himself before he tattooed us, although my husband's is condiderably lighter than mine and mine is poorly done. That being said, I don't regret getting it at ALL and plan on getting them touched up and possibly more added to it. As with all of my tattoos, that was who I was when I got it and not only do I not regret it but I catch myself staring at it and smiling constantly!

Erro on November 20, 2009:

My parents have been together for over 27 years. My pops is in construction so he can't wear his ring and so now despite his utter hate for needles he has decided to get a ring tattooed on. (mom got all teary eyed and sparkly when he told her his idea haha)

He asked me to help design it so I was thinking interlinking infinity signs made to look like knotting.

lisa on September 03, 2009:

Hi i want to get my husbands name tattoo under my wedding ring just want some advive i only have a thin band and want to no if u can get them small enough so u wont be able to see it when i have my ring on, he only has 5 letters in his name.

rajeshwar on August 28, 2009:


jmac on July 18, 2009:

here is an idea that i came up with to shut all the people up about getting a ring tattoo just put a single letter like mine is going to be an M with a design through it and it looks like a W from my point of view but in my line of work i cant wear a ring and it upsets my wife so we decided to keep her happy to get a ring tattoo but when we went to get it like a lot of people we were told not to incase we devorced but with just the last name initial it really wont matter 30 or 40 yrs done the road my initials wont change wether i am married or not

Ricky on June 16, 2009:

Hey, just wanted to recommend this great site that did my Arabic tattoo design

Karan on May 26, 2009:

I deeply love the man that I will marry in September and will work very hard to ensure that it lasts! We plan on getting ring tattoos and wearing our rings so that the tattoo is special for us.

Deano on December 31, 2008:

I just got a ring tattoo last week -- sort of a Christmas present for my wife of 23 years. This was my first (and probably last) tattoo, and yes, it was painful, but the pain is short-lived. I got a solid band, but it only goes half way around my finger because I was told that tattoos on the "working" side of the hand wear off very quickly.

The disappointing thing was that the finger is a lousy canvas for the tattoo guys -- especially my 47-year-old hand with all its pores and wrinkles. So don't envision some fancy, intricate design -- you have to keep it extremely simple. Right now mine is in the scabby, healing stage, so I don't yet know if the little letters I embedded in the band will be legible at all. Still, no regrets yet, and if it ends up looking ugly I can always go back to wearing a real ring to conceal it.

Knock-Knock on December 20, 2008:

An excellent article, very informative for the inquisitive, and with insights to consider for the intellectual browser. - The only thing you might have wanted to add are a couple of other facts about finger tattooing; although, I suppose your article is focusing on the symbolic, rather than the physical, aspects of the tattoos. I'll list what I would have added just in case any one is interested:- Fingers and hands are extremely sensitive, the skin on hands even when callused is often quite thin, and is absolutely chocked full of nerves. Your hands are delicate sensory instruments meant to feel even the slightest pinch or pressure, consider that when you are thinking about sticking needles into them.(Hands are in fact one of the paces that tattoo artists often recommend *against* tattooing, for exactly that reason; when the professionals in that business are concerned for the amount of pain you will feel, pay attention.)- Fading. How often do you wash your hands, have your hands in light, rub your hands together, stretch out your fingers, hell:move your hands at all? Every movement is a form of wear, tattoos on parts of the body that get a lot of use often fade quickly, and sometimes don't fully take at all. (if the skin is stressed too much during healing) Therefore, they require a certain acceptance of the fading they will endure, and the possible extra pain of touch-ups they may require. Hands aren't the kind of place where you can keep any tattoo even relatively pristine, and anyone even considering the idea should be aware of that.--------Aside from that, I think the idea of wedding band tattoos is awesome. (I plan to get one in place of a ring when I marry)Marriage is meant to be forever, so I see no issue with commemorating it with something which is likely to be with you for the rest of your life (faded or not). That the divorce rate is as high as it is, that as many people are dissatisfied with their tattoos, and that there are so many unplanned pregnancies/unwanted children: doesn't serve to prove that we shouldn't marry, get tattoos or have sex and children, what it means is that we should make all of these decisions more carefully.Acting on those wants is not the issue, acting rashly and without true (or any) consideration is the problem, in all of those cases.Patience isn't just a virtue, is a useful tool for ensuring less pain and frustration in life; everyone has a different length of time they should wait before they act, double the length of time in which they would usually change their mind about something is my suggestion ... which may mean I'm suggesting you wait five years because you usually change your mind after two and a half - the other option is learn to live comfortably with your mistakes. Take your pick.

Melissa on September 18, 2008:

We are renewing our vows after a year apart and he is in a job where a ring is not the best choice and my hands swell so I can wear rings in winter but not summer. this idea appeals to me greatly and his is up to him, but I will get one.

ask on June 01, 2008:

Don't get married if you think you may divorce someday...what's the point of getting married if you don't belive you'll be together forever?...listen to the words of the priest during the cermony - instead of the ASS of the bridesmaid, OR maybe Jay-Z will also help you: "don't treat the one that you're loving, with the same respect as the one that you're humping"...happyness is the one thing we all can have it, but few of us really posses it...why? Think about this, and please live "happly ever after"!

P.S. I think this tattoos are great for those who really respect marriage! PEACE!

jaymz from USA on January 31, 2008:

I think on the side works better than the actual ring appearance. Although, I like the look of them, I've never seen one last without a good deal of fading and wear.

NatalieTM on January 11, 2008:

5 years ago, on our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband and I discussed getting WR tats because neither one of us wear our rings (for various reason). We just hit 25 yrs. together and still no tats, so thanks for the inspiration to rethink our idea.

Re: relationships not lasting, it's true, we have moved into an era where many of us are in shorter term relationships. Some people accept this as the evolutinary step it is, while still others think the goal is to stay married forever. Whatever works for a couple is the way it should be. I love this quote: Your neighbor's vision is as true for him as your own vision is true for you. Miguel de Unamuno Let's lift that whole "I've failed at my marriage" mindset and embrace the fact that we are diverse, complex and adaptable beings. How long you choose to stay married is up to you and your S.O. Sound hypocritical from a 25 yr. marriage veteran? Not really, I've was fortunate to have a robust love life prior to marriage then married someone who lets me be me, unconditionally. BUT a marriage that lasts forever, happy or not, is no greater an accomplishment than someone who follows their heart and loves multiple times with abandon.

helenathegreat on December 27, 2007:

I like the seventh photo from the top. Great hub! You can always take your wedding ring off, but you can't take off your finger...

Will on December 17, 2007:

I have one of those wedding band tattoos. Mine's a key, my wife's is a heart shaped lock. While we're now getting divorced, I don't regret the tattoo. It's just part of life. Even though that tattoo will always be there it doesn't bother, or haunt me from having got it. I understood the permanence of it and what it will always mean when I had it done. I can live with my decision.

Meg on December 13, 2007:

You say, "Maybe you'll stay together forever and and live happily ever after" too many people think this way. Marriage is not a happily ever after life (well sometimes it is but not always), it is and always will be a work in progress. If you think things won't ever get rough, don't ever get married or get a tattoo after doing so. If more people fully understood the commitment of marriage, less people would have tattoos like these to regret.

euchrefreak55 from Sault Ste. Marie on October 03, 2007:

For the amount of time that people stay together now a days and how long a tattoo lasts, I wouldn't be getting one of those.

Renaissance on October 02, 2007:

Interesting Hub. You make very important points about the permanance of a tattoo and the relative impermanance of modern relationships. I particularly enjoyed the last 2 paragraphs -- very insightful, Jaclyn!

Whitney from Georgia on September 06, 2007:

My tattooest tatttooed his ex-wife under her wedding bands with the date they got married. He doesn't really recommend it because the ink tends to spider off (if that makes sense). The pictures you've posted look great, so maybe it was just at the size she had hers... ? Her's was barely readable shortly afterwards...

But, now their divorced...