Engaged Do's and Dont's Couple

Wedding Planning Do’s and Don’ts

Wedding Planning Do’s And Don’ts

Congratulations on your recent engagement! In the age of the internet you have endless options for wedding planning advice. That being said, before you search all over for different topics; we’ll make it simple for you. While wedding planning can be undoubtedly stressful, we can help with some wedding planning do’s and don’ts to avoid common unnecessary bumps in the road.


1.) Get your engagement ring insured.

Could you imagine losing the most treasured, expensive piece of jewelry you’ve ever owned? You would be heartbroken, your fiance may puke. Let’s avoid that by ensuring your engagement ring is covered by an insurance policy just in case something happens to it. Better safe than sorry with such a meaningful piece of jewelry.

2.) Take time to enjoy your engagement before rushing into wedding planning.

It is so stereotypical to say this, but it’s true. “Slow down and soak this time in. It goes by so fast!” Soak in your engaged bliss by sharing the story with your loved ones. Or you could have a Zoom or in person celebration. Go on celebratory, “We’re engaged!” dates. As long as you give yourself a year to plan your wedding you are just fine. Remember you choose the date anyway, so enjoy it!

3.) Day dream and gather ideas and inspiration early.

Without putting pressure on yourself (because, remember, we are not rushing) look up different wedding colors, venues, and attire. Gather pretty ideas of inspiration so when you get planning you already have a starting point. Colors and photos of inspiration from bridal magazines or online blogs are great places to start. The options are endless, so best to narrow it down early.


1,) Ask for too many opinions.

This one always ends up becoming an issue for everyone. It’s great to talk about your plans with your loved ones, but remember the more opinions you open the door for, the more you will receive. Well-meaning relatives and friends often share their excitement for you by giving you wedding opinions and advice. Even then, you do not have to take that advice. Remember, it is your wedding. Trust you gut! At at the end of the day, those who matter will be so happy for you and the details will be forgotten.

2.) Plan a wedding you can’t afford.

We all love looking at dreamy online wedding photos. However, what you cannot tell by looking at the photos is the cost of that extravagant wedding. Some wedding dress photos on Pinterest, for example, will say they cost $900, when they actually costs over $3,000. Remember, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Photos are great for inspiration, not always your budget. Even so, there are ways to achieve the same aesthetic in a budget friendly way. Websites like Oriental Trading and Amazon are great for inexpensive wedding decorations.

3.) Forget to keep your wedding day in perspective.

Your wedding day is sure to be one of the most memorable, exciting days of your lives! Nevertheless, don’t forget a wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime. Continue dating each other just as you did before you were engaged. The wedding planning process can bring ups and downs. Hold close to each other, supportive friends, and family to help you keep small inconveniences and stresses in perspective. At the end of the day, you get to marry the love of your life. And, truly, The Beatles had it right when they said, “All You Need Is Love.”

We hope these quick and easy wedding planning do’s and don’ts help you avoid wedding planning mishaps. There are so many positive experiences you have while planning your wedding. Apply these great tips and it’ll be easier to focus on the good and lessen your wedding planning stress. Happy Planning!

Wedding Ring Proposing

Wedding Rings

Wedding Rings

A newer trend we’re seeing is couples picking out their wedding rings together. An engagement ring and wedding band are some of the most important pieces of jewelry we will receive or buy. There’s no right way to go about it, but we’ve got some pros and cons to help you choose whether or not you want to pick out your wedding rings together.

Let’s start with the cons first of picking out your wedding rings with your partner.

Traditionally, it’s been the man who gets the engagement ring and surprises the bride with a proposal. A drawback to shopping for the ring together is the element of surprise is, of course, lost. But if you’re a bride who wants to be part of the decision and doesn’t like the surprise, then going shopping together is a great option. Some brides of the opinion that their partner should “know” them well enough to pick out the perfect ring. A con for going together is that you won’t know that since you’ll be the one picking it out essentially.

Now let’s look at some pros for shopping for rings together.

The first is of course, that you will be surprised when your partner does propose! It’s always fun to see what he or she picks out. You can even compromise by sending him pictures of rings you’d like but ultimately letting him decide which ring is “you”. This also is a great way to relieve stress on your partner. They’re surely feeling quite a bit of pressure to pick out the ring you want!

Another positive is that even if you do go window shopping for the ring with your partner it won’t spoil the actual proposal! A lot of brides are afraid of ruining this moment, but if you think about it, can anything ruin the magic of a proposal at the right time? You may have a little inkling about what ring you’re getting but for some people that’s totally fine!

So, have you decided how you will choose your wedding rings? Did you make it a surprise, or did you choose your rings together? We want to know! Tell us below! For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out the Chicago Wedding Blog posts below! Happy Planning!

How To Choose Your Engagement RIng

How To Choose Your Engagement Ring

How To Choose Your Engagement Ring

So you might not be the one who will choose your engagement ring, but you can be part of the process! Or perhaps you are the one choosing the ring so read on. Either way, it’s nice to make it a joint effort since this piece of jewelry will last a lifetime and probably be the most significant piece you will own.

First, let’s start with the four C’s of a diamond. If you’re a traditional bride you’ll be thinking diamonds. The four C’s can apply to other gems, but specifically they apply to diamonds. Color, cut, clarity and carat weight. A few other things to consider are shape (ie pear, oval, round, marquise, heart), brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. These factors determine the value of a diamond so you’ll want to establish a range in budget of what you want to spend.

Second, you need to decide on metal. Do you or your partner prefer white gold, yellow gold or platinum? Platinum is the most expensive metal because it resists tarnishing and the repairs are also quite pricey. Yellow gold rings are available in 14 carat or 18 carat gold and are the most popular. White gold rings appear silver and a major pro for this metal is it matches most other jewelry. However, the white gold also does fade over time and will need to be replaced. Another fun option that is becoming popular and is outside the normal is rose gold.

Third, you will need to choose your setting. There are an overwhelming amount of options like simple solitaire settings to contemporary tension settings. Prong settings are the most popular because it makes the center diamond appear as if it’s floating.

After you’ve chosen your ring (and had a lot of fun trying several on) you should receive a certificate of appraisal and a guarantee warranty. Most certificates are given by the American Gem Society or the Gemological Society of America. Depending on where you purchase your ring, there should be a guarantee warranty that would provide a limited time money back guarantee or a lifetime warranty. Make sure you do your research where you purchase your beautiful ring! This is the fun part, so don’t be afraid to shop around and try on as many sparkly pieces as you want!

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!

Best Man Infographic

Best Man Infographic

The best man’s role is a really pivotal part of a wedding and should be taken seriously. The Groom-to-be has chosen you to be a part of one of the most memorable days of his life probably because you have gone through so much together and he wants you there beside him to share his happiness.

As the best man, it is your job to organize a top class bachelor party to give your friend a fun send off with his wider circle of friends and it is also your job on the wedding day to look after the wedding rings for the marriage ceremony, take care of any wedding gifts and of course not forgetting your best man speech! Preparation for this should be done in advance which will help get rid of nerves. Ensure to make it memorable for the right reasons so add in special anecdotes you have of your friendship and of the couple’s romance! Be sure to keep it relevant, timely and most important of all, keep it clean so everyone can enjoy without fear of any cringe moments!

This Best Man Infographic from Loyes Diamonds in Ireland highlights the role of the best man at the wedding and presents some interesting facts and tips for you to enjoy!

Best Man Infographic

Cleaning Your Engagement Ring

Cleaning Your Engagement Ring

Keeping your engagement ring sparkling!

Once you’ve got that rock, you want to keep it pristine! There’s nothing better than seeing the diamonds (or other gemstones you might have on it) shine in the light. The first time you get your engagement ring it’s been professionally cleaned but after a few months, the shine can start to fade. The band can get wear marks on it or you get substances stuck in the prongs.

Not to worry. There are several remedies for this if you have no time to go to a jewelry store and get it professionally cleaned again! We love tried and true home cleaning like this one:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon dish detergent
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 piece aluminum foil


  1. Heat water in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.
  2. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that roughly covers the bottom of a small bowl (like a cereal bowl).
  3. Pour hot water into bowl. Place salt, soda, and dish washing liquid into bowl. Place jewelry on top of foil and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse jewelry in cool water and dry jewelry completely with soft cloth. Discard solution after use and make a new batch next time.

Cleaning Your Engagement RingThere are also other remedies like dropping your ring or rings if you already have the engagement band into Alka-Seltzer. Or, here’s an extra tip, if you have a gold ring try using beer to wipe it down! Don’t use a dark ale and it doesn’t work on gemstones but the gold will be brightened like new. To give those gemstones an extra shine, you can also try soaking them in Club Soda overnight.

These are just a few recipes and tips for those of us who don’t have time to go out or money to buy professional cleaners. Although, both of those options are also just as good! Cleaning Your Engagement Ring.


Six Engagement Ring Tips

Six Engagement Ring Tips

Six Engagement Ring TipsSix Engagement Ring Tips

So, you’ve spent months, perhaps years, dreaming of the perfect engagement ring. Now that it’s a permanent fixture on your left hand, you’ll want to ensure it stays just as shiny and sparkly for many years to come. From the chemicals to avoid to where to store your ring, here are a few do’s and dont’s on how to care for your engagement sparkler.

  • Don’t Remove Your Ring in Public
  • Hand washing is a must in a public restroom but resist the temptation to remove your engagement ring while you’re lathering up. The possibility that you might leave your ring on the ledge of the sink, or, worse, drop it down the drain, is too great a risk to take. Don’t have a J.Lo moment!
  • Cleaning your gems with random cleaners at home is something I do not recommend. However, taking your precious and sentimental engagement ring to an expert jeweler to get it properly steamed clean would is our recommendation.
  • Remove your ring when cleaning or touching harsh chemical. Bleach and other cleaning agents can dull the finish of a ring and actually harm porous colored gemstones like emeralds.
  • It is very important to schedule maintenance appointments with your jeweler at least once a year to make sure the prongs are tight, the diamond isn’t loose and there are no hairline cracks in the shank.
  • When not wearing your diamond engagement ring, carefully store in a separate jewelry case or individually lined compartment, which keeps diamonds from rubbing against other pieces of jewelry. This can produce a scratch


Six Engagement Ring TipsIn order to rid your precious ring of unwanted dust, dirt, and yes…dead skin particles that have come in contact with your ring, commit to memory these engagement ring care tips.

Pinterest Pins of the Week

Pinterest Pins of the Week

Pinterest Pins of the Week

Drink Dispensers: We see A LOT of these on Pinterest and in just about every other wedding publication out there. The idea really took off a few years ago when rustic weddings became all the rage. Well, not just rustic but rustic with a refined, elegant edge. These special apothecaries are stunning filled with signature cocktails, fresh lemonade or flavor infused waters. When it comes to the self-serve aspect, we say be as creative as possible. Offer at least one non-alcoholic option and consider using multiple vessels. One drink dispenser never seems to be enough so catch your guests’ interests with multiple varieties ( at least 2.) Our favorites? Southern style sweet tea and vodka lemonade, Fresh squeezed lemonade with fresh mint sprigs and lavender, and cucumber and basil infused water. Delicious and absolutely beautiful! They are functional and will quench your guests’ thirst while setting the tone for your décor.


Pinterest Pins of the WeekKen Kienow Photography

Rose Gold: When it comes to delicate jewelry we have seen rose gold make a huge statement recently. But we have also seen it completely blow up in the realm of wedding rings. The look is chic, modern, and also somewhat vintage. The hint of pink adds a feminine touch and allows you to stay in the traditional gold tone family while also adding some personal flair. For pink lovers, it’s a must! The great part is that infusing rose gold with your existing pave diamond jewelry is a simple transition for anniversary gifts in the years ahead and adding a fun sparkly rose gold band to your engagement ring is a nice compromise if you are on the fence as well. But we can’t help but sit in awe over some of the rose gold engagement rings that take the tone to a whole new level of elegance and refinement. With all of these options, it makes ring shopping that much harder!


Pinterest Pins of the WeekVia Etsy

Creativity Rules: While these mega cute mini gumball machines certainly caught our eye, it wasn’t until we clicked inside this pin for some of the most creative and unique ideas for weddings we’ve seen anywhere! From the ultra-chic black and white chevron flower girl dresses, to the custom pickle bar and animal topiaries, this pin is a must read and see! We love just the thought of inspiring couples to do what feels right and really make their wedding a true reflection of their personalities. And it doesn’t hurt to have a home run idea that guests will never forget!


Pinterest Pins of the WeekLauren Rosenau Photography

Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Engagement Ring Buying Guide.

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 and be sure to reference the engagement ring education guide on 77 Diamonds.

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 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


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.

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.

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

The Downside…
It can’t be resized

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.


Vendor Spotlight: Dana Rebecca Designs

Dana Levy is a Chicago girl through and through. Born and raised on Jeweler’s Row, the gem phenom has maintained the Windy City as her home and has found great success launching her business here as well.  And clearly her surroundings are more than enough to inspire.  Her signature line, Dana Rebecca Designs, is chalk full of timeless pieces along with modern and trendy jewels that are equally as high-end.  She has her own bridal line and custom services and counts Blake Lively, Jessica Alba, Kristen Stewart, and Carrie Underwood as just a few of her loyal celebrity following.  While you are sure to be seeing her designs everywhere (in case you haven’t already) we took the liberty of breaking down the coolest gems this local favorite has to offer.

Picture 11577

It’s no surprise that we are a little more than obsessed with the Dana Rebecca bridal line. Call us biased on all this bride and bling, but this perfectly selected array of stone shapes and settings is an accessible, yet luxurious approach to picking the perfect ring.  Everything can be chosen from a ring that has already been made and then changes can occur or the process can be completely customized. Either way, you are getting a piece of fine jewelry that is totally unique and one-of-a-kind.

lisa michelle ring

And when it comes to one of a kind pieces, their website even boasts a section strictly dedicated to hard to find, and ultra rare pieces. Hand-made jewels with only one in production guarantee something so original that we can’t think of a better wedding gift.  Nothing will forever remind you of the most important day of your life than a stunning piece from this collection that you will have forever. Again, Dana Rebecca designs will work with you to create something just as special and loves working with brides and grooms to create that perfect piece you maybe haven’t been able to find….until now.

green earrings

And for those nervous grooms to be, this may be the perfect way to get acquainted with terms like color grade and clarity, cut and shape and all your engagement ring basics Take a gander at their interactive site that gives you all of your choices right there in plain sight.  Use their search feature to find something to get your creative juices flowing and even click on their diamond education tab to impress your bride-to-be with all things bling.

And don’t forget about all of the other special people in your life and your wedding.  The pave circle bracelets, perfect crystal star pendant necklaces (perfect for Bridesmaid gifts) and crazy gorgeous green onyx earrings are just the tip of the iceberg in the fabulous selection of jewelry to suit all tastes.  And the best part? Buying jewelry that is made and sold right here in Chicago. So don’t forget to support your local jeweler. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it!