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Engagement Ring

You’ve gotten what you dream of: the man, the future and now you just need the engagement ring! It won’t be just any ring because it symbolizes so much hope, love and commitment. Some brides prefer their grooms to pick out the engagement ring themselves but some like to give a little input.

We have a few engagement ring trends this year to watch out for!

You might be the kind of bride who likes a unique halo engagement ring. The halo effect has a row of gems that all point to the main event – the even bigger diamond in the middle. This style has been popular for a while and it’s easy to see why. It’s such an elegant setting and can be customized so much. You can decide the shape of the halo gems and the size of the middle gem.

Another engagement ring style is the colored gem accented ring. Having a colored stone accent makes your ring very unique and eye popping! You can stylize this type of ring so many ways – maybe you and your soon to be fiance have a certain gem you both think is special or means something to you. We think in 2017 there will be a more than one colored gemstone trend.

Or perhaps you are a bride who prefers a vintage engagement ring. Edwardian style rings are also quite popular. They are elegant, and beloved for their intricacy and beauty. You can have them handmade or vintage inspired. In a platinum setting these rings will shine from every angle and they’re so unique everyone will ask what the inspiration was!

 

The details of an Edwardian inspired ring are so intricate and delicate! Your ring is unique from every angle.

Whether you want a simple diamond or decorative style, your engagement ring should fit you! You’ll have to look at it for the next lifetime right? So why not fall in love with it!

10 iPhone Apps for Wedding Planning

10 iPhone Apps for Wedding Planning

10 iPhone Apps for Wedding Planning

You have an app for that. Technology has allowed us to have planning tools at the tip of our fingers nowadays. Gone are the bulky binders containing all your vendor contracts, to-do lists, and other important items for your wedding day. Through the use of apps, you can keep everything all in one easy to reach spot- your Smartphone.

Disclaimer: Not all phones are capable of using these programs. All suggestions are compatible for iPhones only.

Drum roll please, we present to you the top 10 iPhone Apps for Planning the Perfect Wedding, in no particular order:

1) Wedding 911 by The Knot – Get advice from other bride-to-be’s emergencies, questions, issues, and other debacles. – FREE

2) iwedding deluxe – The priciest of our picks, is on sale now! You can get organized, get a to-do list by planning month, upload guest list information, and much more. – $5.99

3) BRIDES Wedding Genius 2.0 – Browse wedding gowns, wedding rings, explore honeymoon destinations, and other important to-do items for your nuptials. – FREE

4) Wedding Bridal Binder – Designed by a celebrity wedding planner, this “bridal binder” replaces that bulky folder we mentioned earlier chock full of your contracts and other important day-of information. From blogs to tips and to-do lists, we feel for the minimal price this a good contender. – $2.99

5) Wedding Dress Look Book by The Knot – While The Knot has take the approach of splitting up some of their focus on different apps, this one looks only at your wedding attire. Browse wedding dress designers, silhouettes, fabric choices, and more. – FREE

6) Wedding Scan – With the Wedding Scan instead of using different stores scanners, you are not limited to just two or three big box stores when you register. Since your iPhone goes with you everywhere, so does the ability of this app to scan all bar-codes. – $2.99

7) Destinations Weddings and Honeymoons – Starting to dream of your luxe vacation with your sweetie? Get some ideas specifically for your honeymoon or destination wedding with the help of this app. – FREE

8) Crate & Barrel Wedding and Gift Registry – A lot of couples choose to register with Crate & Barrel. They make the process very easy and even assist you with your thank you notes after the shower and wedding are over! How cool is that? – FREE

10 iPhone Apps for Wedding Planning

9) Prepare to Wed – With Prepare to Wed you can browse venues, choose vendors and read their biographies, as well as to-do lists and other features. We give this an A. – FREE

10) The Ultimate Wedding Planner by The Knot – We’re not trying to be biased, but this is the Big Kahuna of all apps, and it’s FREE! This comprehensive app does it all. Download it today to see what the buzz is about. – FREE

Grab one of all of these apps to help make your life a little more manageable. Then you can exclaim “they lived happily ever after!”

A Touch of Gold on Your Wedding Day

A Touch of Gold on Your Wedding Day

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s time to get your green outfits and enjoy the party! We’ve all heard the Irish tale that there’s a pot of gold waiting at the end of a rainbow, and whether you believe this or not, it never hurts to try and bring all the luck you can into your life, especially if you’re getting married!

SimplyBridal’s St. Patrick’s Day infographic is all about the color gold and how you can incorporate it into your big day, from selecting gold wedding bands to adding gold to your wedding reception… the options are endless! The trick is to try not to go too overboard and only add a few touches of gold, such as having gold centerpieces and candles. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

 

A Touch of Gold on Your Wedding Day 

Pinterest: Pins of the Week

Ceremony Seating Sign.  One of the things we hear guests mutter most often as they enter a wedding is, “What side do we sit on?”   The age-old tradition of having guests sit either on the bride or the groom’s side, based on which member of the couple they know better, has continued to stump guests for years.  And though many couples take a “sit wherever” approach, guests often don’t know unless the couple has told them prior to the big day.  So when we saw this sweet sign, we sighed deep breath, not just for the sweet sentiment, but also for all the guests out there who can now pick a seat without so much stress.  Recreate this look by using an easel, a DIY chalkboard, or a framed print as guests enter the ceremony.

Multiple Cakes.  We’ve seen the grand, multi-tiered wedding cake approach, and we’ve seen the sweet and singular approach, and we’re big fans of both.  But when we saw these six vintage inspired cakes, we had to smile.  They managed to incorporate both approaches!  We love how they have six different cakes, each a little different in size and texture, made festive with multi-colored cake stands and cute vintage cake toppers.  This is a great way to incorporate different flavors, as well as a budget friendly approach to cakes.  And if you’re going to DIY wedding route, this approach would be a great solution!

Pinky Promise.  Most of us can remember “pinky swearing” at some point in our life.  Whether with a childhood friend, a parent, or a first love, the knotting of pinkies has long represented a special promise.  So when we saw this creative photo idea, we couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It captures the pinky swear as the ultimate sign of commitment and also gives the couple a chance to show off their newly acquired bling.  We know we won’t forget this photo…pinky promise!

 

Being the Best Man

Being the best man is a huge honor, but as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Here’s an introductory guide to the duties of the best man…

Assist: The chief responsibility of any best man is to assist the groom in any and all wedding-related duties. This can vary greatly from wedding to wedding, but a few obvious ways a best man can help out are: helping out with the selection of tuxedos or suits for the wedding, direct or drive out-of-town guests to/from the airport or hotel, hold onto the bride and groom’s rings during the wedding ceremony, make sure the officiant receives their payment on the wedding day, serve as a witness for the signing of the wedding certificate, and drive the bride and groom to their hotel/house/airport following the reception.

Attend: Being the best man comes with a long list of invitations as the groom’s main man is expected to attend a wide variety of wedding-related festivities. It’s the responsibility of the best man to be present for any and all of the following events: the bachelor party, the engagement party, a couples shower (if one is being thrown), the wedding rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner, and most obvious, the wedding and the reception.

Oversee: One of the biggest ways that the best man can help out the groom is by overseeing tasks and people that might otherwise be overlooked. The best man is responsible for keeping the other groomsmen in line, making sure they’re where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there and that they’re doing the right thing. This doesn’t only include the wedding day; the best man can keep the groomsmen in line at other wedding-related festivities as well, making sure the men are on time to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and that they’ve all rented or purchased their tuxes/suits on time.

Organize: The best man also has a few party-planning obligations of his own, most notably the bachelor party. The best man is the guy in charge of organizing the bachelor party, usually celebrated days before the wedding. This can be thrown by several groomsmen or friends (so don’t be afraid to ask for help) and the cost is usually split evenly among the guys (excluding the groom). It’s also up to the best man to put together a toast for the reception.

More on being the Best Man

Man-gagement Rings: The Next Wedding Trend?

According to The Knot.com, 5% of men are wearing man-gagement rings. According to reader responses, they are also wearing male promise rings. Is this the next big wedding trend, and would your guy jump on board? Share this with your guy to find out.

What does a man-gagement ring look like?

Just like women’s rings, male engagement rings range in price and complexity. If they contain a diamond or stone, the setting is typically low. The most popular styles are simple with minor engraving or light embellishments. For instance, the ring might be engraved with a meaning word, date or lyric. More elaborate styles can be two-toned or feature gemstones such as rubies and diamonds. A common style is a ring with the groom’s birthstone.

According to jewelry trend expert Michelle Adams from DiamondJewlery.org, “Matching engagement rings seem to be the most popular right now. For example, a couple will decide to get engaged and pick out matching platinum bands or possibly matching sterling silver bands with a special inscription that says something meaningful such as the couple’s favorite saying, verse, song, etc. The men’s rings tend to be wider and often come in the comfort fit for easy wear. The women’s rings tend to be a bit more elaborate, often with a diamond or diamond cutting.”

If he wears a man-gagement ring, does he need a wedding ring?

Male engagement rings are typically sold in wedding sets. The wedding band typically complements the engagement ring and features the same stones or textures. Since most men prefer to wear one ring, they often have the two rings bound together to create one ring. Another option is to wear the engagement ring on the right hand after the wedding.

How much do man-gagement rings cost?

The cost for male engagement rings is similar to women’s rings. Costs range from low to high depending on materials and complexity.

Where do I purchase a man-gagement ring?

Male engagement rings can be purchased at most jewelry stores or online.

If my guy wants a man-gagement ring, does this mean I should propose?

Although not the norm, women proposing to men is becoming more common. There is no longer a belief that women have to wait for a man to propose. If you decide to propose, you could present your guy with a man-gagment ring.

A male engagement ring, however, does not require you to propose. Instead, you and your guy could pick out a male engagement ring after he proposes. Once you are engaged, he can wear the ring just as you do to showcase his love for you and excitement for the upcoming wedding.

Are men really wearing engagement rings?

According to jewelry trend expert Michelle Adams from DiamondJewlery.org, “Yes. It seems the men don’t want to miss out on all the fun. They, too, want to have a special ring to signify their love. It’s no longer uncommon for both the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be to both wear engagement rings.”

We’d love to know, would your guy ever wear a male engagement ring? Do you love or hate this trend?

 

 

Setting a Wedding Budget

One of the first and most important tasks in your wedding planning is creating the budget. Studies show that the biggest fights between bride and groom are caused by money concerns. Avoid the heartache and hassle by mapping out your wedding budget with these easy steps…

Step 1: Figure Out Who’s Footing The Bill

Before you can go any further with your budget, you need to establish who will be paying for what. Tradition states that the bride’s parents will cover the wedding costs, but nowadays that can vary from couple to couple. Have a discussion with all parties involved (parents, grandparents, step-parents, etc) to determine what each family’s contributions, if any, will be. Who pays for what in a wedding?

Step 2: Assess the Funds

Now that you know who’s footing the bill, you need to figure out exactly how much cash you have to spend. Tally up the monetary gifts contributed by each family and then, have an honest discussion with your fiancé about how much money, if any, the two of you want to spend out of your own savings. Once you’ve got a firm number, you can move on to step 3.

Step 3: Allocate the Funds

It’s up to you to determine how and where you want to spend your wedding money. Typically, wedding budgets are divided as so: Reception (48-50%), Ceremony (2-3%), Attire (8-10%), Flowers (8-10%), Entertainment/Music (8-10%), Photography/Videography (10-12%), Stationery (2-3%), Wedding Rings (2-3%), Parking/Transportation (2-3%), Miscellaneous (8%). Remember this is just an average and meant to be used as a rough guide. You may choose to put more money into one area than another, which is totally fine. Just make sure you don’t underestimate the costs in any one area.

Step 4: Prioritize

The budget estimate above is just that, an estimate. You and your soon-to-be spouse need to determine exactly how each dollar is spent. If your dream invitations end up costing 5% of the budget, figure out a way to cut expenses somewhere else. Planning a wedding is a lot like marriage: it’s all about compromise. If you go over budget on the reception site rental, try to lower the expenses on food or flowers.

Step 5: Save, save, save

Just because you have X amount of dollars to spend, doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Try to be budget-conscious whenever possible and cut costs. Wedding can be incredibly costly affairs and often there are unexpected expenses that pop up at the last minute. Plan a brainstorming meeting with your fiancé to discuss ways you can save money. Got a friend who is a great photographer/graphics designer/florist/baker? Ask him/her to take pictures, creative invitations, assemble bouquets, or make your wedding cake. And don’t forget to scour the Internet for DIY wedding ideas. You’d be amazed how many stunning details you can create yourself at a fraction of the cost.

Step 6: Reevaluate

The wedding budget isn’t something that’s meant to be created and then ignored. You should constantly be reevaluating the budget as you make decisions about the wedding. Create a spreadsheet that can easily be altered as things are purchased or booked. Plug in the numbers and tweak the budget as you go to ensure that everything is covered and you never go into the red.

Engagement Rings – Your Complete Guide

Your guide to buy engagement rings.

No bride-to-be feels like she’s really getting married until that all important ring adorns her left finger. You know the one, swooned over at the office water cooler, eliciting looks of envy from all who witness its sparkle. The engagement ring may well be the only pre-wed accessory sweeter than an actual, adoring fiancé.

It’s best to face every big purchase equipped with a little savvy. Here’s what you need to know about engagement rings before you start shopping.

The two-months salary convention is a common starting point, but in reality, the ring’s cost should be what the couple can afford without going into major debt. Cost varies for a lot of reasons – especially when diamonds are involved. Carat size is just one factor. In fact, a one carat center stone can cost anywhere from $1000 to $20000. Choice of metal also affects the bottom line; there’s a significant cost difference between a setting of sterling silver and one of platinum – anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand.

With that said, the average cost of an engagement ring in the U.S. is between $3,500 and $4,000. (according to About.com). This engagement ring savings guide offers many useful tips to get costs down.
Now – put together the perfect engagement ring with these three easy steps:

1) Choose Pick Your Ring Metal

Platinum

Great Because…
It’s valuable – King Louis declared platinum the only metal fit for a king. Need we say more?
It’s durable – platinum is resistant to tarnish and great for holding prong settings
It’s hypoallergenic – platinum is 90-95% pure and won’t irritate the skin

The Downside…
It’s expensive – it’s rare, making it more price sensitive
It’s malleable – platinum nicks and scratches easily; however, since no metal is lost – it can be buffed to look good as new.

Gold
Great Because…
It’s traditional – gold has withstood the test of time to be the most common wedding ring metal
It’s less expensive – gold is more abundant than platinum, making it more affordable

The Downside…
It’s soft – making it susceptible to denting
It’s not as pure – gold is always mixed with metal alloys (copper, silver, nickel) to make it stronger. The lower the karat, the higher the percentage of other metals.
It can irritate skin – metal alloys can cause allergic reactions.

Titanium
Great Because…
It’s hypoallergenic
It’s strong – three times stronger than steel
It’s inexpensive

The Downside…
It can’t be resized

Silver
Great Because…
It’s the least expensive precious metal

The Downside…
It’s extremely soft – even when combined with other metals, it shows wear over time
It can irritate skin – usually combined with nickel to make it stronger, silver can cause skin irritations

Mokume Gane – It is a combination of basically any metal you choose.

Denbei Shoami, a 17th century master metalsmith from the Akita prefecture is credited with inventing mokume and using it for the admornment of samurai swords. Using the mokume gane technique the smith would create laminated metal billets that were fused by heat and pressure. The billets composed of various metal combinations, were forged, carved and finished to produce uniquely patterned metal stock; this stock was then used to fabricate parts for the samurai sword.

Mokume gane as traditionally practiced, was a very difficult process to learn; this was partly due to the difficultly of successfully fusing the metals and partly due to the skill required to forge the laminated billet down to usable material without separating the layers. More on Mokume Gane.

2) Choose your Engagement Ring Setting

Settings are the mountings that attach the diamond to the ring’s band. Setting and stone shape selection should go hand in hand, as getting the right combination is key in creating a desired look.

Prong
Prong settings usually have six or four prongs (or claws) that cradle the diamond. Prongs allow the maximum light to enter the diamond from all angles, making it appear larger and more brilliant. The prong setting with a solitaire round brilliant stone is the classic engagement ring look.

Bar
A variation on the prong setting, rather than individual claws, prongs on each side of the setting are fused into elongated bars to hold the stone in place. This option highlights more metal without obscuring the stone as much as bezel or channel settings might.

Bezel
The diamond is set with a metal rim around the perimeter of the diamond to hold it in place. A bezel setting can be a full bezel, or a part bezel. In a part bezel setting, the metal only partially surrounds the diamond, leaving the top and bottom of the stone exposed.

Tension
The diamond is held in place by the pressure of the band’s metal, resulting in the startling appearance of the diamond being held in midair. The result is a highly contemporary, fashionable look.

Channel
Diamonds of similar size and shape are lined in a row between the band’s two horizontal sides. A variation of the channel setting is the Channel End setting – which features thin vertical bars in between each of the stones.

Pave
This design coats the entire surface of the ring with gems, each set into either a minute depression or secured with thin, unobtrusive prongs. Because of their vintage antique look, pave settings are becoming increasingly popular.

Cluster
This setting surrounds a larger center stone with several smaller stones. It is designed to create a larger ring from many smaller stones.

Baguette Setting
Baguettes are rectangular shaped diamonds that can be added to the sides of a larger stone, adding dimension to a solitaire setting.

Three Stone Setting
This setting features a trio of stones (symbolizing yesterday, today and tomorrow). The stones can either be of equal size or the center stone slightly larger.

3) Choose your Diamonds

As the stone is the most noticeable – and costly – component of the engagement ring, picking the right diamond can be a formidable task. Here’s everything you need to know to get the look, quality and cost that suits you.

Shape

Shape is the overall form of the finished stone, (opposed to cut, which describes the angles of the stone’s facets) and is the biggest factor in the diamond’s appearance. Even before the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat), you must determine the stone shape you prefer.


The 4 Cs

Cut: Cut refers to the number, placement and quality of a diamonds facets. The cut of a diamond has the biggest affect on its sparkle – or brilliance. Even with perfect color and clarity, a poor cut can make a diamond look dull.

Rankings – Ideal, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor

Color: The less color present in a diamond, the more rare it is, which in turn makes the value higher. The majority of diamonds used in engagement rings show very little to no color to the untrained eye.

Rankings –
D – Absolutely Colorless (extremely rare)
E – Colorless – Only minute traces of color can be detected by an expert gemologist. (also rare)
F – Colorless – Minute traces of color can only be detected by a trained gemologist.
G-H – Near-colorless – Noticeable color only when compared to higher color grades.
I-J – Near-colorless – Slightly detectable color.
K-M- Faint color noticeable.
N-Z – Noticeable Color

**Note that fancy yellow or other hued diamonds are graded on a different color scale than white diamonds.

Clarity: Diamond clarity is determined by the internal and external imperfections visible under 10x magnification. The fewer inclusions and blemishes, the better the clarity – and more valuable the diamond.

Grading Scale
FL – Flawless – Shows no inclusions or blemishes.

IF – Internally Flawless – Contains no inclusions; minor blemishes tolerated.

VVS1 & VVS2* – Very Very Slight Included – Contains minute inclusions that are extremely difficult to locate.

VS1 & VS2* – Very Slight Included – Contains minute inclusions, such as clouds, crystals, or feathers, which are difficult to locate.

SI1 & SI2* – Slightly Included – Noticeable inclusions such as clouds, knots, crystals, cavities, and feathers.

SI3 – Slightly Included – Contains inclusions that are very easy to see with 10x magnification.

I1, I2, I3 – Included – Contains very obvious inclusions, which can usually be seen with the naked eye.

*Note – size, position and number of inclusions determine distinctions between VVS1 & VVS2, VS1 and VS2, SI1 and SI2.

Carat: Diamond weight is measured in carats; the greater the carat weight, the rarer – and more expensive – the diamond. Once you’ve determined what cut, color, and clarity grade you’re looking for in a diamond, it’s easy to determine the carat weight of that quality of diamond that will fit within your budget.

**Note – Before you buy your stone, ask the retailer to provide you with a diamond report issued by an independent gemological association – such as the GIA or AGS.

source: elegala.com