Promise Rings: What They Are & Why You’d Want One

Promise rings, or commitment rings, are not engagement rings and you shouldn’t use one to propose!

You (usually) don’t get married to your partner on a whim. Not only is it a big commitment, but there are a slew of factors that go into starting a marriage – getting both families on board, the engagement, and the actual wedding are just a few. Take a look at our 4 rules for engagement if you’re not sure if it’s the right time.

Even if you think you want to get married in the future, even getting engaged officially can be too much of a hassle.

When you’re engaged, you’re expected to be actively planning for your wedding – not only will your friends and family be incessantly asking you when it is, but it’ll look bad if you still haven’t set a date years down the line. (“They still haven’t set a date?”)

Or maybe you’re too young to even consider marriage.

That’s where promise rings come in.

What is a promise ring?

Promise rings (also called a pre-engagement rings) are sort of like engagement rings without the necessity to set a marriage date.

They’re used in two instances.

  1. When a couple wants to devote themselves to each other, but when they don’t want to necessarily deal with the stigma around being officially engaged
  2. When two people know that they will eventually get married, but they are currently at different stages in their lives and they can’t necessarily get engaged right away

#1 is by far the most common, but #2 happens, too. (If you’re already married and just looking to do something special for your wife, then you’re looking for an eternity ring)

Promise rings are much more than just silly trinkets – it’s a commitment. It’s devotion. It’s love.

Promise rings aren’t handed out willy-nilly – in fact, some would argue that receiving a promise ring is even more substantial than receiving an engagement ring. Oh, that’s right! Don’t think you can get away with the cheapest ring you can find; whatever you buy represents the love between you two – is your love cheap and flimsy?

Here’s why:

Promise rings are usually handed out by the younger crowd. The older we get, the more we think about settling down, and those thoughts might lead us to ask someone for their hand in marriage before we usually would.

Promise rings aren’t like that. When you’re young, you have your entire future ahead of you. Showing someone that you care enough about them to commit so early is a one-of-a-kind gesture.

Some people refer to chastity rings as promise rings, too. This means that by wearing it, they’re promising not to have sex until they’re married. It’s not related to promising yourself to someone else, rather, promising yourself to abstinence. (This isn’t the correct meaning of a promise ring, but we figured we’d tell you anyways.)

The perfect promise rings for her and him

Promise rings aren’t shown off to friends and family as often as engagement rings are. And you usually won’t be wearing a promise ring for your entire life as you would an engagement ring.

That’s not to say you should rush into it.

The gesture is what’s important, but the quality and thought behind the ring should match the amount of feeling that you have for the person you’re giving it to. While you shouldn’t be spending 2 months salary for a promise ring, you should definitely be looking for something really nice.

Shop for affordable, yet stunning promise rings SHOP NOW

Here are some things to consider when getting a promise ring:

  • The ring doesn’t necessarily have to have precious stones it in, but it can. If your partner loves to scuba dive, then you might want to take a look at aquamarine rings. If your partner loves to hike, then you might want to take a look at rings with emeralds in them.
  • Engravings. Almost all jewelers will allow you to get a ring engraved with whatever text you want. It can be the name of you, your partner, or just a couple of words that mean a lot to both of you. (We can’t give you the exact words to say, but once you think of them, you’ll know.)
  • The demeanor of your partner. If your partner loves extravagant clothing and jewelry, then you might want to match that with your ring. If they’re quieter, then a simple brass ring might be just right.

Before getting your ring, make sure you get a measurement of the finger that you think they’ll wear it on. You can do this by “borrowing” one of their existing rings for a couple of days and bringing it to a jeweler.

For reference, they’re usually worn on the left ring finger, but pretty much any finger is fair game if you don’t want people confusing it for an engagement ring.

You can also just ask them… but if your promise ring is meant to be a surprise, then that kind of defeats the whole purpose.

So do you think it’s time to search for a promise ring? Go to Zales.com for the best selection of rings that you can get for your partner.

Remember – a promise ring isn’t an engagement right. You don’t have to go all out and spend 3x your monthly salary. Check out rose gold engagement rings – now those are rings that will blow them away for your engagement down the line.

How and when to present your promise ring

As of this moment, you’re looking around for information on promise rings. You might also be looking around for clever ideas on how to present your promise ring.

Don’t.

Giving a promise ring is a one-time deal. It should be original. It should come from the heart.

Not a web page.

Expecting strangers to tell you a way to present your promise ring just isn’t genuine. You can look on the internet for many things, but, in terms of thoughtfulness, we (or anyone else writing about promise rings, for that matter) have no idea what your partner will like.

That’s a lot to think about – just remember this.

Giving a promise ring is one of the most loving things you can do for your partner. Whatever you do, they’ll love you for it.

To start, browse for a promise ring and pick one out that you really like. Once you have it, don’t rush into giving it to them – if you are truly in love, then the timing of it won’t matter. Keep it in your back pocket, and go for it when the moment feels just right.