Let's get real about wedding tattoos for a sec. Yes, you want to commemorate your big day (and your love) forever and ever. Yes, you may already have tattoos and don't get nervous when you hear the hum of the tattoo gun. However, take a moment to step back and really think about it before you get a wedding tattoo—especially one that serves as your wedding ring.
I know, no one (especially us at Brides) wants to contemplate the idea of the "Big D" word, especially when you are finally getting ready to tie the knot. But, just entertain the hypothetical for a moment—if you do end up not being with this person forever, are you really going to want that permanent reminder on your skin for the rest of your life? I know, I know, you can get it removed—a process that is expensive, painful and doesn't ever completely get rid of the original tattoo. (Just saying, it's something to think about).
If you end up wanting to take the plunge and go for ink, here are some things to keep in mind:
Choose your placement and design wisely
Speaking as someone who has multiple finger tattoos, this is not the venue on which to expect perfect, crisp results. Finger and hand tattoos are known to "blow out" or smudge/bleed under the skin either immediately or over time. Don't expect your cute little diamond design or lover's initials to be of exceptional quality for long, so choose your design with that in mind. Go for thin lines, simple shapes, and not too much detail. Instead of the tattoo being on your actual ring finger, consider getting a matching design elsewhere on your body, like a wrist or forearm.
Choose your artist wisely
With that in mind, DO NOT just walk into a random tattoo shop and pick any ol' artist. Many tattooers, for that matter, refuse to ink below the wrist, so make sure to do your research on local tattoo shops before tying the proverbial knot with your artist. Check out their portfolios or Instagram feeds to see the type of work they normally do, if you like their style, and if they have examples of hand tattoos they have done in the past, then have an in-person conversation with them about what you are looking for. Be open to the artist telling you that the design you are set on won't realistically work and ask them to help craft something new that you all can agree on. Remember: This is what they do for a living, and they've probably seen the best and worst case scenarios of tattoo results, so choose someone who you trust and then listen to them. Alarm bells should go off in your head if the artist doesn't give you any feedback.
Be prepared for a little pain
Since there are so many nerve endings in your hands, getting a tiny needle stabbed into your dermis over and over isn't going to be pleasant. Be prepared for a no pain, no gain situation. However, these types of tattoos are on the simpler side, so they can often be wrapped up in a matter of minutes.
Plan accordingly, and pay attention to care guidelines
For your wedding ring tattoo to look its best on your actual wedding day, get your ink at least a week before the big day. The minor swelling will have gone down, and any tenderness should be pretty much gone. For those of you who are tattoo newbies, remember that tattoos are basically open wounds, so as they heal they will scab over. Reminder: Do not pick at them! The little inky line scabs will let you know when they are ready to come off as they start to peel. Your permanent ink will stay intact under the skin. To make sure everything heals properly, follow your artist's after-care routine. Be careful what you expose your wedding tattoo to—including hot tubs and the ocean, aka breeding grounds for bacteria. Keep it clean, and don't over-moisturize.
Choose a design that means something to both of you
Your wedding tattoo should have some sort of understood meaning. It could be a shared interest, nickname or a reference that symbolizes something you both know inherently. But honestly, it all comes down to personal taste—just remember, this is something that will be on your body forever, so make sure it's something you love looking at.
Ready for some inspiration? Here are some great real examples of what couples chose for their wedding tattoos. Now, go forth and get inked!
1. Simply and thinly-drawn hearts go a long way. We especially like how these are a bit further down on the finger, not explicitly where a ring would rest.
2. Tiny matching pinky promises to last a lifetime. Also, getting your tat on your arms (in the same place, of course) will last much longer than on the finger, especially for a more intricate design.
3. Modern and delicate, these triangles come together perfectly when holding hands.
4. Getting matching tattoos on a finger other than your ring finger (and on the inside rather than top) can be a nice and subtle way to express your commitment.
5. We absolutely love these itty bitty teardrop/eye wedding tats.
6. How lovely are these? This couple got illustrations of Saturn and its moons.
7. A simple line pattern in his and her's sizes looks great with your engagement ring on top.
8. We love how these tattoos look gorgeous both on their own and when put together.
9. You complete me, commemorated in ink.
10. So cute and subtle, these tiny dot drops might just be our favorite way to pull off a wedding tattoo.
11. Lovely and delicate arrows are a classic finger choice.
12. Forever holding the key to her heart.
13. Not sure what is sweeter, this groom's emotional expression or his anchor.
14. We love the placement of these love tats on the inner hand.
15. A perfect example of matching tattoos for a more design-oriented couple.
16. The tiniest of waves roll on these ring fingers.
17. This couple decided to go in the hand-poked direction, which can often give more precise results for hands and fingers, but also takes some extra time to complete.
18. For the couple who loves the traditional tattooing style, a quote that spans your bodies can be so striking.
19. 'Til death do us part, right?