Some couples opting for tattoos instead of wedding bands
COLUMBUS — Carrie Roccos has enough rocks.
For her 25th wedding anniversary, the co-owner of Vertical Adventures rock-climbing gym opted for a more subtle reminder than a new diamond.
Roccos and her husband and business partner, Alexis, decided to etch their affection on their ring fingers with tattooed wedding bands.
She chose a Greek key design, a set of interlocking squares common in ancient Grecian architecture; he went with a simple Celtic knot.
“My heritage is Irish, and his heritage is Greek,” Mrs. Roccos said. “We’re dorky that way.”
Although tattooed wedding bands are as old as tattoos themselves, the idea seems to be enjoying something of a resurgence of late. Even some celebrities — people for whom the cost of diamonds isn’t a concern — have gone this route.
Dax Shepard, husband of comedian Kristin Bell, has a small bell on his ring finger, and musical couple Beyonce and Jay-Z both have a Roman numeral “IV,” marking their birth dates and anniversary — all on the fourth day of a month.
Katrina Polacek, the tattoo artist responsible for the Roccos’ creations, has worked at Evolved Body Art — with locations in the University District and just north of campus — for more than a decade.
In that time, she said, she has tattooed about a dozen wedding rings. Many of the customers, including the Roccos, work with their hands, making traditional bands an impractical choice.
Before making a permanent mark, Polacek interviews a customer to ensure that he or she wants to make such a permanent commitment. After a quarter-century together, the Roccos passed her test.
“She doesn’t do a lot of them for obvious reasons, but she figured we would be safe,” Carrie Roccos said.
Polacek, 37, maintains a high standard, too, for pattern designs.
“People would love to have as intricate a pattern as they possibly can,” she said. “We usually tell them ‘no.'”
Skin on hands and feet is thinner and less elastic than that on more common tattoo areas, such as arms and ankles. Hands also weather a lot of abuse: Washing dishes, typing and cooking cause wear and tear that fades finger tattoos more quickly.
Wedding-band tattoos typically cover only the top of the finger, as the delicate skin underneath doesn’t hold ink well.
Columbus resident Matt Ramah appreciates Polacek’s simple-design theory.
“The crazier the tattoo, the less it will look like it did when you got it after a few years,” he said.
While getting another tattoo at Lock, Stock and Barrel in Gahanna in November, Ramah, 34, told Polacek to add a basic wedding band to the bill. He never wore his wedding ring during athletic events, anyway, and didn’t want to risk losing it — whether through forgetfulness or a finger injury.
In three short minutes, he became the proud owner of a permanent memorial to his marital status.
Ramah’s wife hasn’t secured a tattoo, he said, but “time will tell.”
When Charity Mercer suggested the idea of wedding tattoos, her husband, J.C., was reluctant, but he agreed because his job at the Kellogg’s plant in Zanesville doesn’t allow him to wear jewelry.
The Barnesville couple, who are marrying today, incorporated the month, year and first initial of their names: “4C18” for him, “4J18? for her.
In lieu of the ring portion of the ceremony, the couple’s pastor will read the inspirational piece “The Blessing of the Hands.”
“The best marriage is definitely a work in progress — you have to work at it every single day,” said Mrs. Mercer, 42.
“This can’t be taken off. This will constantly remind us every day we have to work on our marriage.”