Ideas for Announcing your Engagement

Ideas for Announcing your Engagement

It’s the Holiday season and we have ideas for announcing your engagement! The holidays are a great time to tell family and friends your big news. It’s called the most wonderful time of the year so why not combine that with spreading the word about the engagement.

  1. We love the idea of surprising family. At a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner you could have guests write what they are thankful for on a leaf or festive paper. Then, at dinner, they can all read them a loud. Making yours about the engagement will be just the hint they need!

2.  Going out for pre-dinner drinks. If you and your new fiance don’t want all the attention at a family gathering consider going out for drinks and appetizers the night before. That way you don’t have the big announcement about your engagement putting pressure on the dinner. You can tell everyone at a local bar or favorite restaurant. You should be relaxed and enjoy telling people the news, not stressed and anxious about wedding planning.

3. We love taking a group photo as a reveal too! In the selfie age we don’t think it’ll be a problem to get everyone to agree to taking a picture. You can gather all the family and/or friends and as the picture is about to be taken hold up a sign that says “Save the Date” or “We’re engaged”. See who notices afterwards! If people are not noticing through their holiday drinking phase post the picture on social media.

4. Finally, we love giving gifts to everyone to announce your engagement! It doesn’t have to be big but if it’s near the Christmas season no one will think twice about receiving just a little something extra. We recommend buying one present in bulk like good quality chocolate, cheap cigars or jewelry for women. Inside the gift have a note presenting the save the date or engagement announcement.

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

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!

Pinterest: Pins of the Week

Happy New Year to all of our friends and gorgeous couples!  2012 was an awesome year, and we have a feeling 2013 has quite a bit in store for us.  We’re excited to kick off this year with some of our favorite pins of the year (not too hard, since we’re just a day into 2013!)

How to Clean your Ring at Home. With the holidays behind us, we imagine your engagement ring is looking a little “loved.”  With all the hugging, handshaking, present opening, cookie baking, and glass clinking, it’s likely that your ring needs some sprucing up.  However, if you don’t have time to make it to the jeweler, don’t worry, this video shows you several easy ways to clean your ring, with products you likely already have at home.  We’ve been fans of the people at FabSugar for years, so head over, and check out some quick and easy ways to give your bling a little New Years love.


J.Crew Bling.  Blame it on leftover New Years Eve energy, but we are loving all things big bling lately.  Statement jewelry is having a major comeback, and these Lulu Frost earrings by J.Crew take the cake.  They come in white, which is gorgeous, but they also come in a creamy light blue, which to be honest, we love.  It’s a subtle but daring detail, and we love that these earrings could serve as your “something blue” for the big day.  And let’s be honest, when it comes to fashion, J.Crew does no wrong!


Change. A new year always brings an opportunity to reflect, and this simple statement captures how we want to take on this new year.  Sometimes the world around us can seem a little crazy and overwhelming, so this serves as a wonderful reminder to take a deep breath and focus on changing the world within us.




Planning Same Sex Weddings

If you’re planning a same-sex wedding or civil ceremony, there are a lot of ways to adapt traditional customs to suit your celebration. Here are some tips for making your wedding day special and personal:

Walking Down the Aisle: If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of one of you meeting the other at the altar, there are ways to remedy the problem. If the ceremony site only has a center aisle, consider walking down the aisle together. If you’re planning to be escorted by a parent, relative, or friend, you can each walk down the aisle, one after the other. If the site has two or three aisles, consider entering at the same time down different aisles and meeting at the front.

Seating the Guests: Before the ceremony, designate which side of the altar you’ll each be standing on. Notify your ushers so they can seat guests on the appropriate side. Depending on the layout of your ceremony site, you can also arrange the seats to the sides of the altar to create a half-circle around you and your partner, surrounding you with loved ones.

Choosing an Officiant: While many churches and religions are accepting of same-sex marriage, you may prefer to have a personal friend or relative conduct the wedding ceremony. If they’re not ordained, fear not. There are many nondenominational or interfaith ministries that offer online ordainment. The process is relatively easy, allowing anyone to become legally equipped to perform your wedding ceremony.

Wedding Vows: The vows you recite to one another during the ceremony summarize the commitment you are making to one another. You can either opt to use traditional vows (which may require a bit of editing and tweaking) or write your own. Writing your own vows is a great way to honor the uniqueness of your relationship and express your love to one another.

Exchanging Rings: The ring is one of the most important symbols of the marriage covenant. If you and your partner have already exchanged rings and aren’t planning on adding a second ring, you may want to reenact the ring exchange during the wedding ceremony with a few words about love and commitment. Many gay couples choose to wear commitment rings on their right hand instead of on their left hand or wear a nontraditional band on their left hand.

How to Be a Great Best Man

Standing next to your buddy on his wedding day is a great honor, and assuming the role of an even greater Best Man is probably weighing heavily on your mind. Generally speaking, grooms have it easier than brides; they just have to show up, right? Wrong. Keep the tips below in mind on your friend’s wedding day; it will make his trip to the altar much smoother.

Be the buffer. There are a number of loose ends in need of tying up on the wedding day: paying the caterer, making sure the DJ is set up, coordinating the groom’s arrival time with the bride’s, etc. Whenever possible, make sure all questions and concerns bypass the groom and go straight to you. The last thing he needs is a group of people coming at him with demands. Help him out by diffusing his stress level.

Keep track of the essentials. Little-known fact: the groom is usually responsible for the essential wedding day items. While the bride has her “something old, something new, etc.” the groom is in charge of bringing the big ticket items to the ceremony, like the wedding rings and the marriage license. Avoid a wedding catastrophe by making a list of “must haves” for the wedding day and keeping track of them. Everyone involved will thank you.

Provide a reality check. It is no secret that nerves run high in the hours before saying “I do.” If the groom is looking a little peaked, pull him aside and talk him through it. If he has stage fright, remind him that the bride is the only person he should be looking at. If he’s worried about stuttering through his vows, have him practice with you a few times to loosen up. Bottom line: keep him cool and collected until he is standing at the altar. The first sight of the bride will take him the rest of the way.

Keep the bride in mind. Yes, you are there to support your friend, but supporting your friend’s choice of mate is equally important. Be respectful of the bride by delivering her fiancé at his best. Don’t plan a wild bachelor party the night before the wedding – no one wants to see the groom hung-over. If you are running late on the wedding day, call the Maid of Honor and ask her to relay the info to the bride. A Best Man is someone who minimizes drama rather than facilitating it. Bring your A-game, let the bride and groom know they can count on you, and you’ll do just fine.