The Permanent Way to Say ‘I Do’

Michael Countryman and his partner Thomas Wicks with their rings – Wicks on the left with a gold ring, Countryman on the right with his band tattoo. (Photo courtesy Michael Countryman)

By KASY PERTAB

A promise of forever can now be marked forever on the skin. Wedding band tattoos have become more relevant today, and a local professor expressed his appreciation for the eternal ink.

Michael Countryman and his partner Thomas Wicks, both 37, recently got a commitment ring to represent ten years of being together. Countryman works at Story Arts Centennial College as a coordinator for the Communications and Media Fundamentals course.

Countryman was also afraid that he would be criticized for his many tattoos, but his case was the opposite. His co-workers and students became fascinated with his multiple designs, and this motivated him to continue with his tattoo journey – including his newest ring.

“It’s a replica of an Anglo-Saxon ring, and I don’t really like wearing rings,” Countryman said. “But as soon as he said, ‘It’s been ten years together, we’re going to have an anniversary celebration and we’re going to get rings,’ I jumped on the idea because I totally wanted an excuse to have a tattoo on my hand, and it’s great that it’s so symbolic too.”

Some couples such as Countryman and his partner don’t get an actual ring tattooed at all. Instead, they get unique symbols or designs in the same place the ring would go.

Countryman explained that although they are not technically married, he and his partner are still common-law, and consider the ring for the same meaning. In addition, Wicks added that the ring has a personal connection to his family.

“The thing I like about the ring is that it is written in runes to reflect my heritage and it’s just a beautiful, timeless object created by a local Ontario goldsmith inscribed with our initials,” he said.

While Countryman didn’t need any convincing to get his tattoo, couples doing it for the first time should check out Suzanne Gardner’s book, The Handy Tattoo Wedding Ring Guide – Everything You’ll Want to Know Before You Get Inked. The guide features recommendations on tattoo designs, facts on the best areas for the tattoo, aftercare instructions, advice, and even an interview with a celebrity tattoo artist.

Gardner decided to write the book after discovering there wasn’t such a guide on the market. She added that some couples need proper guidance when making these decisions.

“I realized that they were very misunderstood. A lot of people expect things from a tattoo wedding ring that isn’t possible, or they get them in the wrong idea. So, I thought I’d write a comprehensive book for couples,” she said.

Gardner owns and currently runs a company called Everything Wedding Rings, started in 2009. The company features rings which couples can choose a variety of different designs from. It is based between Florida and Colorado.

However, when it comes to wedding band tattoos, Gardner emphasizes that couples should choose a simple design, get it touched up every two years, and not get them before a honeymoon trip to tropical islands – as salt water can make them fade faster.

When it comes to the actual tattooing, artists like Danielle O’Connor find the trend interesting. O’Connor is currently a tattoo artist at Ruby Tattoo Studio in Barrie. Having done several wedding band tattoos in the past, she stresses the importance of patience. This is because since the band is a finger tattoo, it’s more likely to fade and distort over time. Getting a simpler, thinner design can reduce this. When asked how she felt about doing these tattoos on clients, O’Connor explained that they make people’s lives a lot easier.

“A lot of people who come in for those tattoos are usually in the trade of construction or masonry, basically industries that don’t allow you to wear your wedding ring or it’s dangerous to wear your wedding ring,” she said. “So, a lot of women, and men, get their wedding band tattooed so they can wear it at work and it makes everything so much simpler.”

As with most tattoos, O’Connor said that the bands can hold great meaning behind them.

“If someone is that committed to the relationship, it’s a great way of showing that,” O’Connor said. “It’s also a great way of keeping the notion of marriage prominent even when you can’t wear your wedding ring. It’s just a great idea.”

If you’re thinking about some wedding band tattoo ideas, check them out below!

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