He ends with this suggestion for alternatives:
I don't think most of these will work. Part of the point of a commitment gift, such as an engagement ring or a wedding band, is not aimed at the beloved women. Rather, they are meant to show the world that he has taken the plunge to commit to her only. Donohoe's suggestions of actions, rather than objects, strikes me as a particularly male way of showing love. All of these objects and actions are good and would, likely, be appreciated for their intention. But they do not take the place of engagement rings and wedding bands. If he wants an alternative to diamonds and gold, he needs something a little more public, substantial - and probably shiny.
Substitute gifts include cards (ideally printed on recycled paper), poems,
photos, collages, videos, art, home improvement projects, homemade meals,
and donations to charities.