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Wedding Ideas

My Trio Rings Blog provides useful information about how to experience the timeless traditions of marriage on an affordable budget

Plan Ahead to Save Money on a Budget Wedding

by Kelly Smith Friday, 11 November 2011 Wedding Ideas

In today’s fast-paced world, flexible bargain hunters can often find amazing deals on anything from clothing to vehicles to travel to food. However, bargain hunting is not an exact science. When it comes to planning a budget wedding, it would not be smart to wait until the last minute looking for the best possible deal, not find a deal, and then need to go far over your budget in order to find a caterer or other service provider available at the last minute.

No, the best idea is to plan ahead. From picking an inexpensive trio wedding ring set to booking a venue, sooner is generally better. If you have more time to plan a wedding, then it gives you the time for things like getting a ring resized or a dress altered without the stress (and added expense) of needing a quick turnaround, and it gives you more of an opportunity to look around for the best deal before you absolutely need to make a decision.

How Planning Ahead Saves Budget Wedding Bucks


1. Purchase your budget wedding dress several months in advance. This gives you plenty of time to order the dress without paying for more expensive shipping and handling. Most bridal stores do not sell off the rack, so it often takes several weeks for your dress to come in. This also gives you more time to shop around for a good deal or to hire a seamstress to copy a designer dress for you at a much more reasonable cost. And if you need alterations made, having a few months as a cushion also saves you from having to pay significantly more to a tailor for a rush order.

2. Select and order your inexpensive trio wedding ring set with months to spare before the wedding. Ordering ahead allows you the luxury of time to choose the right rings for your budget, saves you money on shipping, and gives you the chance to get the rings resized if they don’t have the perfect fit when they arrive.

3. Allow yourself plenty of time to shop around for the venue, caterer, photographer, etc. that will give you the best value for your money. You might even have the time to take on a few DIY projects to save a little cash. But at some point, you will need to make a decision and commit to your choices. The perfect deal may not be out there, but at least you won’t be trying to scramble at the very last minute to find a professional and reasonably priced wedding photographer who isn’t already booked. And if you are not in a rush, you can make plans to book an off-season budget wedding to save even more money.

What are your tips for planning ahead to save money? Share them in the comments.

How to Find Designer Budget Wedding Dresses

by Kelly Smith Friday, 11 November 2011 Wedding Dress

Perhaps you are determined to buy your own budget wedding dress. But think about it this way – it is something you will only wear for one day, and then it will live in your attic forever. Your possible future daughter may not want anything to do with wearing your dress. It is a lot of money to spend on a gown that may only ever see the light of day one time.

Some brides are making a different budget wedding decision. They are choosing to rent anything from a budget wedding dress to a designer wedding dress, rather than try to buy or make one. If you are interested in an expensive designer look, this can be an excellent way to pull it off on a budget, while keeping the memories and the photos long after you return the dress. And your guests never have to know that you didn’t purchase the gown!

Sites such as Rent the Runway offer a wide selection of designer dresses and accessories. RTR does not specialize in weddings, but with over 35,000 dresses and 20,000 accessories available for rental much more cheaply than you could buy them, you’re sure to find something that fits the bill for yourself or even for your bridesmaids. When you’re finished, just mail your rented items back in an envelope, and enjoy the memories of your designer look!

Similar sites include Bag Borrow or Steal and Adorn.com. Adorn.com actually specializes in renting out diamond jewelry to brides. You obviously don’t want to rent out a trio ring set, which will be an important keepsake and accessory throughout your marriage, but you might like to select from a wide variety of diamond earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that could complement your diamond cluster wedding and engagement rings. After investing in a trio ring set, you might not have much money left over in your jewelry budget, but you, like many other modern brides, might have room in your budget to rent some stunning diamond jewelry just for the big day.

Would you consider renting a wedding dress or accessories for your wedding day? Share your thoughts in the comments.

What to Bring to Your Wedding

by Kelly Smith Friday, 11 November 2011 Ceremony

It is not uncommon for even the most organized bride to arrive at her own wedding flustered and later than planned. With so many details to coordinate and so much to be done even on the day itself, it is too easy to get off schedule. This is why it is good to have a wedding planner help you out on the big day, even for a budget wedding.

But a wedding planner is not likely to be at your home in the morning, reminding you of all the things you should not forget to bring to your budget wedding, besides something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

1. His and hers wedding bands

Be certain that the person who is in charge of the his and hers wedding bands remembers to bring them to the wedding. These rings are an important part of a wedding ceremony, and it would be a shame to forget them on the kitchen table.

2. Driver’s license and cash


No matter who is driving who, be prepared in case you need to drive for an unexpected reason. And cash is a good idea to have on hand for unexpected tips or other emergencies, such as an urgent need for a caffeinated soda or a snack.

3. An emergency snack and drink

Despite all the planning that you and your spouse-to-be have put into your budget wedding food, it is a sad fact that you are unlikely to get the chance to eat much of it. If you have a very good bridal party, then you may find yourself getting the opportunity to eat more than most brides, but chances are, you will have toasts to listen to, relatives to talk to, cakes to cut, and dances to do that may prevent you from eating much. In order to keep your energy up, be certain to eat before you arrive and also have an emergency stash of food and drink for a quick pick-me-up.

4. A toiletry kit

Be prepared to freshen up after rushing to the ceremony location or after sneaking a quick snack. Come prepared with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, makeup, baby powder, perfume, bobby pins, hair spray, and whatever else you might need to look and smell your best. Don’t forget to stick a handkerchief or a pack of tissues in the bag, just in case!

5. An emergency kit

In your hurry to arrive at your budget wedding, it is possible that you might snag your pantyhose or rip a seam. Create a small kit with emergency supplies such as clear nail polish to stop a pantyhose run, personal care products, medications, safety pins, and a needle and thread to help you solve last-minute problems. The needle and thread could also come in handy to sew your his and hers wedding bands to the ringbearer pillow.

What are your budget wedding must-haves?

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A Different Kind of Bridal Ring Set

by Kelly Smith Monday, 24 October 2011 Wedding Rings

One cultural stereotype that many people have of a bridal ring set, which often shows up on television or in movies, is a single diamond solitaire ring on a thin band of gold (or silver), paired with a plain circle of gold (or silver) as a wedding band.

However, instead of choosing a bridal ring set with two straight bands that coordinate with each other, some brides prefer the look of an engagement ring plus a ring enhancer (also sometimes known as a ring wrap or a ring guard) as a wedding band. A ring enhancer is a diamond cluster ring that would look a little funny to wear on its own without an engagement ring. It is shaped in such a way to nestle against an engagement ring and encircle or envelop its central cluster of diamonds.

Instead of a coordinated bridal ring set, the overall effect of a diamond cluster ring as an engagement ring plus a ring enhancer as a wedding band is that the bridal ring set looks more like one larger, unified ring rather than two separate rings. Some women even choose to ask their jeweler to fuse the two rings together after their wedding to create one united piece of wedding jewelry.

With certain bridal ring set styles, an enhancer can be added on to either side of the engagement ring, so one enhancer could serve as the wedding band, and another ring enhancer could be added on years later for an anniversary gift or other special occasion, creating a piece of jewelry with even more visual impact.

By choosing to purchase diamond cluster rings, which are composed of clusters of smaller (and consequently less expensive) diamonds, rather than larger diamond solitaires, the engagement ring plus the ring enhancer offer an impressive visual impact for a much lower price than even our cultural stereotype of a plain diamond solitaire plus matching wedding band.

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3 Budget Wedding Tips for a Fall Wedding

by Kelly Smith Sunday, 02 October 2011 Wedding Ideas

One of the best ways to stick to your budget wedding plans is to plan a wedding in the fall or winter, when fewer couples are tying the knot. Many wedding planners agree that choosing to get married in the off season is an excellent way to save money. So after you order your affordable wedding rings online, pop the question, and start thinking about budget wedding ideas for a fall celebration.

Here are 3 fall budget wedding tips:

1. Decorations

Instead of shelling out a lot of money to the florist, consider using seasonal flowers and foliage as decorations at your fall wedding. Ask your favorite local florist if you can pay a small fee to rent potted seasonal flowers, such as mums, to decorate your ceremony or reception venues. Choose a flower color that will coordinate with your bridesmaid dresses. Or purchase inexpensive glass vases for each table at the reception, and fill the vases with small branches of colorful fall leaves and grasses collected by friends and family. Better yet, choose an outdoor venue and let the beauty of the natural world serve as your free decorations.

2. Food

Work with your caterer to create a budget wedding menu that includes fruits and vegetables that are in season. This choice is better for the environment and may also save you a fair amount of money by selecting produce that is plentiful and available at this time of year. Butternut squash, pears, and tangerines are just some of the bounty of the fall harvest. Butternut squash bisque, a mixed greens salad with tangerine dressing, and pear tartlets all sound delicious and seasonally appropriate for a fall wedding.

3. Attire

If you get married in the fall, you may benefit from bridal stores attempting to mark down the wedding gowns they still have in stock after the spring and summer wedding seasons. If you are having an indoor wedding, then a sleeveless wedding gown will still serve you well for a fall wedding. If you are planning an outdoor celebration, then you may wish to find a coordinating lacy shawl or elegant shrug to stay warm. If you find a more elaborate shawl, then it would likely be best to opt for a very simple gown. Or perhaps you wish to find accessories that will coordinate with your affordable wedding rings.

Photo Credit: Flickr (Dani Lefrancois)

What if I Don’t Need a Trio Wedding Ring Set?

by Kelly Smith Friday, 30 September 2011 Wedding Rings

Your fiancé purchased a beautiful engagement ring for you and proposed. Or perhaps he gave you an heirloom engagement ring that has been in his family for generations. Now it is time to choose wedding bands for yourself and your husband-to-be, and you would like to get the best possible price. You are not looking for a good deal on a trio wedding ring set, which is a great way to save money, because you already have an engagement ring. Fortunately, some online jewelers such as My Trio Rings offer discounted wedding band sets to help you stick to your wedding budget even if you already have an engagement ring on your finger. It is easy to pick a ring set that works for you.

How to Choose an Inexpensive Wedding Band Set

1. Decide on a budget before you start looking. If you don’t already have a plan in place, it can be easy to trick yourself into thinking that you can afford something after you fall in love with it, when in fact the opposite is true. If you are on a tight budget, your best bet is to crunch the numbers ahead of time. High-quality, low-cost gold and diamond wedding band sets start at $326.99 from My Trio Rings.

2. Agree on a look for your inexpensive wedding band set that you can both agree on. You will want to pick a ring style that reflects both of your tastes and personalities, as well as a style that will coordinate well with the engagement ring that is already on your ring finger. If you wonder what will look best if you are not purchasing a coordinating trio wedding ring set, then your best bet may be to choose the most simple style that fits your budget. Otherwise, consider choosing a modern wedding band set to go with your modern style engagement ring, or a classic wedding band set to match your classic style engagement ring. If your engagement ring is a plain diamond solitaire ring, then it is likely to coordinate with a variety of wedding band styles, depending on your taste.

5 Tips for Taking Beautiful Photos on Your Budget Honeymoon

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 27 September 2011 Budget Buy

You are almost there. After months of writing lists, making phone calls, and planning, you are about to embark on the budget honeymoon of your dreams. There’s no doubt that you are ready to kick back and relax with your new spouse. But how can you best capture the memories from your honeymoon?

No matter what budget wedding photography decisions you made, you will most likely be on your own to take your honeymoon photos. Even though professional wedding planners don’t recommend a DIY approach for wedding photography, it is unlikely that you will have a professional photographer at your fingertips on your honeymoon.

Here are 5 tips for taking beautiful pictures on your budget honeymoon:

1. Request a digital camera on your budget wedding registry.

If you don’t already have a nice digital camera, it is a good investment or a good wedding gift to receive. You save money on film and developing costs, since you can take as many pictures as you wish but only develop your favorites. Many people don’t develop pictures at all – they just store their pictures digitally to enjoy in online photo albums, share on Facebook, or email to relatives.

2. Pack extra batteries.

If you are going out of the country or to a remote location for your budget honeymoon, you will want to be sure that you have extra batteries for your camera. If it is a camera with a rechargeable battery, you will want to make sure that you will have the ability to recharge the batteries. If you are out of the country, this means you may need to purchase a country-specific electrical adaptor.

3. Practice taking pictures ahead of time.

To avoid wasting your valuable honeymoon time trying to figure out a new electronic device, be sure to play around with your camera for a few weeks ahead of time to learn its features and be ready to point and shoot at the first beautiful sunset you come across without missing the sunset.

4. Don’t be afraid of taking multiple pictures of the same scene.

There is no cost for taking several pictures of the same thing on a digital camera. You can keep the best image and easily delete the rest off of your camera or your computer. If you are likely to take a high volume of photographs on your budget honeymoon, you may wish to consider purchasing an extra memory card for your camera in case you fill the first one up.

5. Put yourselves in the pictures.

Take turns taking pictures of the beautiful scenery, and make sure to include each other in the pictures. In years to come, chances are that you will be much more interested in how young you looked or how happy you looked on your honeymoon rather than what a particular beach or mountain looked like. Ask fellow tourists to take pictures of the two of you as a couple, and request that they take a few just in case.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your budget honeymoon. You can always buy a postcard with a beautiful sunset or a stunning view, but you can’t always enjoy the company of your new spouse on your honeymoon, since it will too quickly become a happy memory.

Photo Credit: Flickr (mikebaird)

Show Some Sparkle with Affordable Wedding Rings

by Kelly Smith Thursday, 15 September 2011 Wedding Rings

You put a lot of thought into choosing diamond cluster rings that fit both your style and your budget. Now that you have picked out and purchased your affordable wedding rings, how can you have some free fun with the beautiful rings that you picked out?

1. Get your affordable wedding rings cleaned.

One of the best ways you can take care of your diamond cluster rings is to periodically get them cleaned and inspected. Many jewelers offer free ring cleaning and inspection, especially if you take them to a local jeweler rather than a big jewelry chain store. Free ring cleaning is a very inexpensive thrill. Even if your ring didn’t look dirty to you, you will be excited to see the intense sparkle of your real diamond ring afterwards.

2. Get a manicure.

No, a manicure at an expensive spa is not a free wedding ring thrill. But if you get together with a friend and pool your nail care stashes, you can give each other manicures for free. File your nails, smooth them with lotion, and have a friend paint your nails with a long-lasting neutral shade. Now your hands will be ready to be grabbed by inquisitive friends and family who want to admire your engagement and wedding rings up close.

3. Take a photograph of your affordable wedding rings.

Once your diamond cluster rings are cleaned and your nails are manicured, get a friend to take several pictures of your sparkling fingers. Or, if you already have professional engagement or wedding photography planned, ask your photographer to take pictures of your rings on your fingers for your memories. Some couples like to have a picture of their hands to be enlarged and framed for their new home. Others like to have an informal snapshot of their ringed hand as a Facebook profile picture to announce their engagement or marriage.

Photo Credit: Flickr (powellizer)

Ready to Propose? 5 Ways to Pop the Question This Fall

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 14 September 2011 Proposal

Are you ready to propose? Indiana National Guardsman Jesse Fordyce was very ready recently. The Iraq war veteran held up a giant hand-painted sign at the airport with the help of family and friends to propose to his girlfriend Kelly, who also serves in the military. As Kelly descended the escalator to baggage claim, she was surprised to see the giant sign and her boyfriend on one knee with an engagement ring nestled in a grey box.

If you’re ready to take a similar plunge, then pick an affordable engagement ring set crafted with real diamonds, and craft a creative fall proposal using some of these ideas as a starting point:

5 Creative Fall Proposal Ideas

1. Get your fall on at the pumpkin patch. Jump on the hayride, sip some cider, and pick the perfect pumpkins with your future bride. Make plans to carve the pumpkins on a later date, and hide the affordable engagement ring set inside of a scooped-out pumpkin.

2. Take a hike together to enjoy the fall colors. When the moment is right, simply get down on one knee in the middle of the path with the ring box in your hand, and think of a creative way to tell your bride-to-be that you have fallen for her and are ready to propose.

3. Give thanks for your love at Thanksgiving. Nestle an engagement ring in the middle of the apple pie (plan well, so no one swallows it!), or slip a ring onto her finger during the Thanksgiving grace when everyone is holding hands around the table.

4. Dress up as a vampire for Halloween. Instead of using your best fake Transylvanian accent to say, “I vant to suck your blood,” find the perfect moment to cry out, “I vant to marry you!”

5. Invite your future wife over for an old-fashioned leaf-raking party. Challenge her to see who can rake the biggest pile of fallen leaves, and then reclaim your youth by jumping into the piles. When you are both lying in leaves and laughing, pull the affordable engagement ring set out of your pocket.

Photo Credit: Flickr (Mark Guim) markarus

5 Ways to Weatherproof Budget Weddings

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 06 September 2011 Wedding Ideas

With all of the extreme tropical weather (and earthquakes!) in the United States over the last few weeks, thousands of weddings have been disrupted or postponed. One problem with these recent weather patterns is that making last-minute plans often derails budget weddings with large, unexpected expenses. According to CNN.com, the average American wedding already costs over $25,000, and a huge percentage of that tab is composed of sunk costs that will be lost if the wedding does not occur on the day it is planned for.

There are some venues that offer wedding insurance for a fee, to help recoup costs in case of a tropical storm or other unexpected problem. However, many of the costs of a wedding are paid outright for perishable goods. Brides and grooms who are affected by tropical weather may lose money on flowers or food – and then might need to purchase those items again at a later date if they postpone their wedding. Often, a performer or venue will still charge even if the wedding did not occur. Budget weddings can’t withstand that kind of last-minute expense. In some cases, the alternative might be to have a room full of beautiful flowers and a table full of delicious food, but very few guests to enjoy it, if weather conditions make travel difficult.

So what are the savvy bride and groom to do? Here are 5 strategies:

1. Avoid hurricane season. Although you can’t plan for an earthquake, you can absolutely schedule your wedding outside of hurricane season, which conveniently also avoids the expensive peak wedding season. This is helpful if you are planning a wedding on a budget.

2. Explore cancellation and insurance policies. Find out the cancellation / postponing policy for the wedding venue and all of your vendors as you are planning a wedding on a budget. Be certain that you are comfortable with those policies in case of a natural disaster or other problem. If any offer an insurance policy, consider purchasing it if the terms are acceptable to you.

3. Weatherproof your honeymoon as best you can. Beyond budget weddings, severe weather can also disrupt honeymoon travel plans. You may wish to purchase travel insurance policies or plan travel for a time of the year when tropical weather is unlikely.

4. Have a backup plan in mind before disaster strikes. If you are flexible and already have a plan B in mind, then you are less likely to have to pay a premium for last-minute changes.

5. Keep your wedding simple. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, avoid elaborate perishable flower arrangements, for example. Choose a venue that will not need such expensive decorations that will go to waste if you need to change your plans.

Photo Credit: Flickr (Sister72) Jackie

Should You Have a Flower Girl in Your Budget Wedding?

by Kelly Smith Friday, 02 September 2011 Ceremony

The flower girl has been a traditional member of the wedding party since ancient times, when she represented the bride blossoming into womanhood. The flower girl is usually a relative of the bride or groom between the ages of four and eight. She walks in front of the bride and throws flower petals during the wedding processional.

Does this tradition fit into your budget wedding plans?

A flower girl is not very expensive. It is easy to create your own coordinating flower basket or find one inexpensively. You can buy packages of fake flower petals from a craft store, or you could easily tear off real ones from a couple of flowers that coordinate with your color scheme.

These days, most couples don’t even pay for the flower girl dress. It is generally the parents of the flower girl who purchase the dress. Many brides select a coordinating flower girl dress at a bridal shop, but those can be expensive. If you’d like to make a budget wedding choice, you may wish to choose a dress from a non-wedding store that has a color or pattern or style that coordinates with the bridesmaids for a much lower cost to the flower girl’s family.

The other costs for having a flower girl in your budget wedding would simply be another head at the reception and a small thank-you gift for her participation.

Some brides prefer not to have children in the wedding party, though. The traditional flower girl and ring bearer (who carries the his and hers wedding ring set on a pillow) can be adorable, but they can also add an element of chance. Sometimes children forget their rehearsed roles, walk in the wrong direction, or make other mistakes in their performance. (This writer became infamous for coming to a dead stop at the head of the aisle as a seven-year-old and sobbing loudly until the bride herself came to rescue her.) If you would be upset rather than charmed by such an incident, then you may wish to forego the flower petals and ask an adult member of the bridal party to carry the his and hers wedding ring set. The decision is up to you.

Photo Credit: Flickr (edenpictures)

Beyond the Budget Wedding: 3 Honeymoon Destinations

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 31 August 2011 Honey Moon

You’re almost there. You ordered your inexpensive trio ring set many months ago. You’ve gotten a great deal on a budget wedding venue for the big day. You ordered a delicious bargain wedding cake that looks like it cost a pretty penny. The budget wedding dress of your dreams is even in the bag.

But have you started to think beyond your budget wedding? Where will you travel on an inexpensive honeymoon without blowing all the money you saved on your wedding? Here are three ideas.

1. The Caribbean

Depending on what part of the country you live in, the Caribbean may seem out of reach. But sometimes travel websites offer amazing vacation packages to the Caribbean from an airport near you, especially during the off-season. Caribbean cruise packages also sometimes go on sale, and their all-inclusive packages might be a great deal if they sail from a port near you. Tobago and Aruba are rumored to be cheaper than many other islands in the Caribbean, especially if you stay off of the beaten path. You may also wish to consider the U.S. Virgin Islands, where you will not have to pay currency exchange rates or sales tax on any of your purchases.

2. A Nearby Luxury Hotel

If you want all out decadent relaxation on your honeymoon, remove the high travel costs. Honeymoon at a luxury hotel that is within driving distance, and splurge on gourmet meals, couples massages, breakfast in bed, and a room with a hot tub or a fireplace rather than on gas or plane tickets. This nearby hotel could also be a great destination to relive your honeymoon and celebrate anniversaries in the future.

3. A State Park

If you are outdoorsy, escape from it all in a secluded state park cabin. Cabins usually run far below $100 per night, and they generally come equipped with bathrooms, kitchens, and climate control. Be certain to reserve your cabin in advance, since state park cabins are often very popular as an inexpensive getaway. Be certain to pack your own champagne, picnic supplies, and easy but romantic foods to eat. If you’re planning on doing any serious hiking, you may wish to leave your inexpensive trio ring set in a safe place in the cabin so that it doesn’t get dirty.

What are your ideas for budget honeymoon destinations?

Photo Credit: Flickr (roughedge57)

How to Choose a Diamond Cluster Ring That She’ll Love

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 24 August 2011 Wedding Rings

You are ready to propose. One of the best ways to make sure that your girlfriend will like the diamond cluster ring that you picked out is to ask her ahead of time. Now, asking for your girlfriend’s input makes it difficult to plan an engagement that is a complete surprise, but some women will prefer to choose their own engagement ring, since it is an accessory that they will be wearing for life. Of course, you may have a strong sense of your girlfriend’s taste and sense of style, or you may have a girlfriend who has dropped a few pointed hints in your direction about her taste in rings.

For a surprise diamond cluster ring set, your best bet is to choose a classic style that will look good on anyone. Stay away from more unusual styles unless you are confident that your girlfriend will love the style, or you are picking the style out together.

There has been a lot of buzz lately about whether the celebrity engagement (and recent weekend wedding) of reality television star Kim Kardashian with basketball star Kris Humphries started off on the wrong foot as a result of Kim’s engagement ring.

Kim’s engagement ring is a large 20.5 carat diamond cluster ring with two different hues of stones. It takes up most of the bottom half of her ring finger, leaving little discernable room for a wedding band. Its asymmetrical shape makes it look gaudy and almost fake. Many wonder whether Kim had any input in the choice of this bold diamond cluster ring.

The safest bet is for you to avoid this possible celebrity engagement faux pas by either choosing a more classic style or asking your bride-to-be for her input. If you wish to create a surprise engagement, then you may also wish to be open to the possibility that she would like to take advantage of My Trio Ring’s free return policy in order to choose a style that is more to her taste.

Photo Credit: Flickr (chicagofabulous)

3 Surprise Budget Wedding and Proposal Ideas

by Kelly Smith Thursday, 18 August 2011 Ceremony

my trio rings wedding blog surprise proposal surprise wedding
As you are planning a wedding on a budget, you may be thinking about some unconventional wedding or proposal ¬ideas to save money or to express your personality. It turns out that you are not alone. Three couples have recently become YouTube sensations as a result of their unusual surprise proposals and weddings. (Warning for grooms-to-be: most women will agree that a surprise proposal is an exciting prospect. Many women would not be as happy about a surprise wedding.)

1. Surprise Proposal

A Georgia man created a video of himself asking his girlfriend’s dad for her hand in marriage, and he arranged to have the video played during the previews when his girlfriend went to the movies. At the end of the trailer, he ran into the movie theater and surprised her with a proposal in front of the entire theater, which included many of her family and friends hiding in the back. This video has now gone viral on YouTube. Not all women would be excited about such a public proposal, but if you are planning a wedding on a budget and have a shy bride-to-be, you could easily modify this idea to use your own home video equipment and play a similar film for her on your own television as a creative and inexpensive surprise.

2. Surprise Wedding 1

A Canadian man who was planning to elope with his girlfriend to Las Vegas instead orchestrated a surprise budget wedding for his bride-to-be behind their favorite restaurant with the help of friends and family. By carefully taking note of her preferences over the course of a year, he was able to create a wedding that was very similar to what she might have planned herself. When she showed up at the restaurant ready for a meal, he led her to her wedding dress instead. Many women would prefer to plan their own budget wedding, but this groom was very careful to create a special day that matched his bride’s taste. If you decide to use this idea, keeping it small and simple is probably the best strategy.

3. Surprise Wedding 2

An unconventional Massachusetts couple recently decided to plan a surprise budget wedding together. However, the surprise was not for one of them but instead for bystanders at a shopping mall. They chose to organize a “flash mob” wedding. In their invitations to family and friends, they printed simple dance moves and instructions for participating in their public wedding. When the wedding started all of a sudden in the middle of the mall, both invited guests and unknown shoppers participated in their special day. This is a creative idea that could save a lot of money on such things as venue and decorations, but it takes a lot of planning (and special permission from the owners of the mall).

What other unconventional wedding or proposal ideas have you heard about?

Photo Credit: Alex Indigo (Flickr: alexindigo)

Simplify Ring Shopping with a Set of Diamond Cluster Rings

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 16 August 2011 Wedding Rings

The U.S. economy may still be weak, but that is no reason to put your wedding plans on hold. You have met the love of your life, and you are ready to take the next step to make a lifetime commitment to each other. The weak economy just serves as a good reminder to use your resources wisely by spending your hard-earned money on a high-quality, low-cost three piece wedding ring set, especially a set composed of diamond cluster rings.

Diamond cluster rings are a wise investment, since they are real diamonds of a smaller size grouped together for high visual impact and low cost. Many popular jewelry designers today offer larger diamond solitaires supplemented with clusters or bands of smaller diamonds, but the diamond solitaire makes such rings much more expensive than diamond cluster rings without a large, central diamond.

Even if you can afford the ring options from a standard jeweler, the choices are much more complicated. By exploring your options online, you can avoid feeling pressured by salespeople in an in-person jewelry store.

On the My Trio Rings website, it is easy to navigate the three piece wedding ring set choices as well as the options of other combinations of rings, if you already have one of the rings in hand. All you need to do is pick a style you like that fits into your budget, and you can make decisions about your three rings with one easy click.

On jewelry websites which do not offer such combination deals, in addition to being far more expensive, it is complicated to navigate the various ring designs and figure out which rings coordinate with each other. For example, on popular jewelry websites such as kay.com or jared.com, you must search for each ring type separately, based on different styles and collections of each type of ring. For those of us who aren’t jewelry insiders, even the online ring search on such sites is frustrating and confusing. You may find an engagement ring that you like, but is it in your budget? Will it coordinate with a beautiful but budget-friendly wedding band?

Take the complicated guesswork out of the equation, and make your life a little easier with one-stop-shopping for a three piece wedding ring set.

Photo Credit: Anthony Easton (Flickr: PinkMoose)

A Brief History of Wedding Ring Sets

by Katy Smith Friday, 12 August 2011 Wedding Rings

While shopping for wedding ring sets online is a relatively new convenience, the wedding rings themselves belong to a tradition that dates back thousands of years.

The wedding ring was first used in ancient Egypt, where grasses and reeds were woven into circles symbolic of eternity and completeness. The Egyptians were also the first to place the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand, believing that the vein from that finger led directly to the heart (the Romans called this the vena amoris, or “vein of love”). Over the course of time, temporary grass rings were replaced by rings made of leather, bone, and eventually soft metals.

Romans chose to use iron in their wedding bands, believing the strength of the metal to symbolize the strength of their love. Gold gained popularity in later centuries, and by the Middle Ages, the diamond was routinely used in wedding rings, along with other gemstones. The use of silver in rings had a brief revival in the Renaissance, and rings were inscribed with sentimental phrases and poems.

Wedding rings were almost entirely reserved for women until the mid-twentieth century, when the many separations caused by World War II (and increased marketing from jewelry companies) spurred men to begin wearing rings to serve as sentimental reminders of home. Before 1930, only 15% of marriages used wedding ring sets for both partners, while a mere fifteen years later, 80% of married men sported a band.

One of the first wedding ring sets may have been the sixteenth-century European gimmels. These rings combined to make a trio ring set that would have been separated prior to marriage – one ring for the prospective bride, one for the groom, and the third for a witness – and then rejoined into one ring to place on the bride’s hand on her wedding day. Tiffany and Co. introduced the solitaire diamond ring in 1886, but recent innovations in ring manufacturing, including the development of diamond cluster rings and trio ring sets have made it affordable for anyone to join in the historic tradition of exchanging rings to symbolize true love.

Photo Credit: Lisa H

Your Diamond Cluster Ring in the Workplace

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 09 August 2011 Ceremony

Ring on a necklace Adam Lehman
For years, you daydreamed about meeting the man of your dreams. And, let’s be honest, when you met him, you fantasized about the perfect proposal. Now, at last, after looking at inexpensive wedding ring sets together and picking a beautiful diamond cluster ring as your engagement ring, an important part of that fantasy is about to come true – showing off your engagement ring (and then your coordinating wedding band) to your friends at work. It is thrilling to have someone notice the telltale sparkle on your hand and ask to see your diamond cluster ring.

But believe it or not, this part of your fantasy may not happen exactly as you expect it to. In many professions, the wearing of jewelry, even inexpensive wedding ring sets, is not permitted, so you may have to show off your diamond cluster ring on your own time.

The main reason that jewelry wearing is discouraged or prohibited in many professions is safety. In certain hospital units, for example, doctors and nurses are not supposed to wear jewelry that could catch on the hospital equipment. Others aren’t supposed to wear jewelry that would snag on their disposable latex exam gloves. For people such as carpenters and mechanics, there is also a concern that rings or other jewelry could catch on machinery and cause injuries.

If you work in a field in which you are not allowed to wear your diamond cluster ring, you may wish to think of other creative solutions. Perhaps you could wear your engagement ring and wedding band on a necklace. In some professions, it is common to pin wedding jewelry to one’s uniform or carry it in a special bag in a pocket. Or perhaps, depending on your job, you will wish to keep your jewelry safe at home in a special jewelry box while you are at work, and you can show off your sparkles on evenings and weekends. But even if you are free to wear your jewelry at all times, don’t forget to insure your wedding jewelry and care for it properly!

Photo Credit: Adam Lehman

5 Budget Wedding Photography

by Katy Smith Sunday, 07 August 2011 Budget Buy

While some couples in Hong Kong are taking budget weddings to another level by tying the knot in McDonald’s, most Chinese couples spend extraordinary amounts on their weddings, including in the latest trend of elaborate pre-wedding photo shoots. Several months before the big day, couples put together pre-enactments of the event, dressing up in rented bridal gowns and tuxes, renting out a church, and hiring a photographer to capture those crucial marriage moments. Such performances can cost up to $10,000, which falls on top of the more traditional wedding expenses. Many couples choose to document a variety of staged experiences that incorporate several costume changes, and some couples even travel to exotic locations for these photo shoots, adding to the cost. Brides and grooms are seeking to capture fantasies rather than candid moments, and because of that, few pictures are actually taken on the day of the wedding.

In the U.S., the emphasis is on the big day itself, and anyone organizing a budget wedding knows that photographs are a crucial part of capturing the magic. As you plan your own budget wedding, consider a few alternatives to the high cost of wedding photographers. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Ask a trustworthy or artsy friend to take photographs.

2) Find a package deal with a local photographer who would be willing to do both your engagement and wedding photos.

3) To supplement professional photographs, leave disposable cameras on your guests’ tables during the reception to add more candid shots to the mix.

4) If there are shots you want to make sure you have, plan them out before the wedding day, and let your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family members know when and where you’ll need them. You’ll save your photographer’s time, thus saving money.

5) Ask recently married friends for their budget wedding tips. You want to be sure you have beautiful images of the day without spending an arm and a leg.

Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio

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