Simply put, marriage isn’t for everyone. Some don’t believe in the institution. Others merely don’t feel like dealing with the expensive, exhausting process of planning a wedding. Regardless of your reasoning for skipping the nuptials, however, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to celebrate your partnership that don’t involve a diamond.
And who says you have to tie the knot to celebrate your relationship, anyway? Sure, a wedding marks an important milestone for some. But even if you don’t want to get married, it’s still totally possible to express your commitment to your boo. It’s well worth the effort, too. Making it a point to find fresh ways to formally declare your love and devotion can make both of you feel appreciated, and in turn, make your relationship even stronger. It could be something you do on the annual anniversary of your first date or the date on which you and bae became “official.” Maybe that means an intimate celebration at home, a fancy date night, or an all-out bash with all of your loved ones. The point is, you and your SO deserve to clink glasses and call attention to the fact that you're sheer #couplegoals.
Strapped for ideas? Here are a few super fun ways to celebrate your partnership, sans the “I do’s.”
Book a couples' shoot.
If you’re anything like me and my boo, you don’t take nearly enough photos. TBH, I think it’s a great sign if you tend to forget to take pics when you’re together — it means you’re totally present and enjoying the moment so much that snapping an IG-worthy photo is the last thing on your mind. Still, there’s something to be said for capturing the memories so you can look back on them months or years from now.
Most married couples participate in an engagement shoot, not only to announce their upcoming nuptials, but also to have some polished pics to commemorate this milestone. So, why not book your own shoot? Just because you’re not getting engaged doesn’t mean you can’t adopt this tradition. Take some time to research photographers in your area who specialize in couples’ shoots, and consider a nostalgic location for the shoot, such as the place you met or had your first date. Or, if you're feeling racy, you might consider a couples' boudoir photoshoot, in which you can strip down to your skivvies (or less) for a sultrier aesthetic.
You’ll definitely be grateful to have these images to peel through down the line, and you can even print them out to send as a gift to family members, or use them for your next round of Christmas cards.
Have a "commitment party."
IMHO, you don’t need to put a ring on it to throw yourself a party. After all, you and your SO may not have a marriage license, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t committed to each other. So, why not plan a little shindig to celebrate your love? All you have to do is send out your invitations to friends and family a few months in advance and start hashing out the details with your one and only.
Depending on your personal preferences and your budget, you could throw your commitment party right at home, in your BFF’s epic backyard, or at a local establishment, like a bar or brewery. There are so many ways to personalize your commitment bash, too, like with a special drink for the celebration, and decor that pays homage to your relationship (like photo garland with pics of you and bae, or napkins with both of your initials on it).
Go on a non-honeymoon.
There’s nothing like a getaway to an exotic destination to rev up the romance. So, take another cue from married couples and go on a non-honeymoon. Not only will you make memories and experience new things together, but you’ll also have some quality time away from work and other distractions to simply enjoy each other’s company.
If you and your boo are outdoorsy types, you might hole up in a cabin somewhere or go camping. Or, if you both love the ocean and could use some vitamin D, you might jet off to a Caribbean island. Even if you can’t afford to fund flights to a far-off locale, you can also make a staycation feel romantic AF. For example, you could hunt down a local hotel that has an on-site spa, and spend the whole weekend getting pampered together, popping bubbly in the room, and staying in bed as much as possible.
There are so many different ways to plan the perfect non-honeymoon — what’s most important is that it’s a trip that encourages you both to bond in new ways.
Write out your vows.
There’s something ultra powerful about writing something down or saying it out loud. Think about it: Aren’t you more likely to remember something you’re supposed to do if you pencil it into your planner, or tell your bestie about it? Vows aren’t marriage specific, they’re simply promises you and your boo make to each other. So, writing out your vows could be a stellar way to celebrate — and solidify — your partnership.
Spend some time thinking about what your relationship means to you, and decide on a deadline for you and bae to share your vows. You may choose to exchange them privately at home, by candlelight with a bottle of wine. Or, if you’d like to share them with your inner circle, you might invite friends and family over to witness you ceremoniously exchange your vows. However you choose to recite them, be sure to write them down. That way, you can both re-read them at any point to remind yourselves of these promises you made.
Get matching ink.
One could argue that getting matching tatts is even more intimate than wearing matching wedding rings. After all, you can slip a ring off your finger in one second flat, but a tattoo is far more complicated to remove. Given that tattoo removal is a costly, sometimes time-consuming and uncomfortable procedure, some might say that getting inked up together is a risky move. But if you and your boo feel confident about your bond, getting some matching ink could be a cool way to celebrate your partnership. It shows that you feel strongly about the fact that your relationship will last, and depending on where it’s located, it could give you a regular visual reminder of your love. Of course, do plenty of research on where you get tatted up, and what design you go for, and make sure you and your boo are on the same page about every aspect of the tattoos. And remember: Should anything happen between you and bae, you can always pull an Ariana Grande and morph your ink into something equally baller.
Who says a wedding is the only way to honor your commitment to each other? If marriage isn’t your thing, consider celebrating your relationship in one of these creative ways. And remember — no matter how, when, or where you choose to commemorate your love, the most important thing is that you reconnect and reinforce your bond in a way that feels authentic to your particular relationship.