Wedding Ideas

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

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

McDonald’s: A Surprising Budget Wedding Venue

by Katy Smith Thursday, 04 August 2011 Ceremony

As you plan your budget wedding, devising ways to pinch pennies here and scale down there, you may not have considered moving your venue to the nearest fast-food restaurant. But in Hong Kong, where elaborate weddings routinely cost couples more than $40,000, a new trend in budget weddings seems to be gaining popularity: McMarriages!

Since January, Hong Kong-based McDonald’s franchises have opened themselves up to hosting weddings, with several planned packages for brides to choose from. The basic package costs only $1,300 (a bargain in today’s wedding-crazed environment) and includes rental of the space, a catered dinner, party favors for the guests, organized games led by perky employees, a wedding cake constructed out of individual apple pies, and, for a few hundred dollars more, a wedding dress made of white balloons. For a Hong Kong couple planning a wedding on a budget, such a set-up is ideal.

Sound crazy? In Hong Kong, McDonald’s doesn’t carry the same stigma of cheapness that it does in America. Couples that have taken advantage of the package deal so far have expressed how grateful they are to be able to share their happy day with friends and family in a fun atmosphere. In Hong Kong, taking a business client, a dear friend, or a first date to McDonald’s is perfectly ordinary, and many couples share rich memories of their times at a local chain.

While Americans may not be ready to abandon the church or large hall in favor of a fast-food restaurant, couples planning a wedding on a budget could certainly gather a few tips from their Asian neighbors. Why not forgo the elaborate wedding cake for something simpler and easier to serve, like cupcakes? Instead of forking over several thousand dollars for a fancy wedding venue, what about relocating your budget wedding to a beautiful state park or fun community center? You don’t have to get married at McDonald’s to save a few dollars!

What reasonably priced wedding venues have you heard about?

Photo Credit: Ian Mutto

Planning a Wedding on a Budget – and Giving Back

by Melia Dicker Monday, 01 August 2011 Wedding Ideas

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, you will still want your wedding to reflect who you each are, and who you are as a couple. For some people, helping others and giving back to their communities are important passions. If that describes you, then you may want to think about how you can make the world a better place through your budget wedding, in addition to choosing to purchase conflict-free diamonds or incorporating environmentally friendly elements of a green wedding. You will also want to think about how to do this while still staying on budget.

Those of you who followed the royal wedding closely will be interested to know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, instead of registering for tangible wedding gifts, asked their families, friends, and fans to give money to a charitable foundation in celebration of their marriage. They distributed over one million British pounds to some of their favorite causes, including charities that support sick children, military families, and environmental protection.

The royal couple may not have been exactly planning a wedding on a budget, but their ability to make a difference in the world through a celebration of their love can be pulled off on any budget. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

-Purchase wedding jewelry made from conflict-free diamonds
-Use reusable rather than disposable dishes and decorations
-Donate to a favorite charity instead of purchasing wedding favors for your guests
-Register for some charitable gifts in addition to more traditional gifts
-Choose to use local businesses rather than large chain stores as much as possible for your wedding vendors to help your community’s economy
-Send your guests home with tree seedlings to plant in their yards as a wedding favor

What other creative ideas do you have for making a difference on your wedding day?

Photo Credit: Corey Ann

Finding Europe on a Budget Honeymoon

by Melia Dicker Friday, 29 July 2011 Honey Moon


When most people think about honeymoons, they imagine decadence and total relaxation. But even after being practical and planning a wedding on a budget, it can be difficult to settle for anything less than a dream honeymoon. Fortunately, with a little creativity, a budget honeymoon can very closely resemble the honeymoon of your dreams. Many couples dream about honeymooning in Europe, but even airfare alone can be prohibitively expensive for such a trip. If that is your dream, keep your eye out for special airfare deals on your favorite discount travel websites, and check out books from your local library about how to see Europe on a tight budget.

But if Europe is your dream, think about ways to stay closer to home for your budget honeymoon while still recreating the European experience. If you want an experience similar to a small village or town in Europe; wandering narrow streets, peeking into tiny local shops, and eating innovative cuisine at restaurants that aren’t part of a chain, then consider finding a nice hotel or bed and breakfast in a place like Montpelier, Vermont or New Orleans, Louisiana. This is an excellent opportunity to unwind and relax with your new spouse after all the hard work you put into planning a wedding on a budget – and you don’t have to take an eight-hour flight to get there!

Or if you want something a little more action-packed, think Las Vegas for your budget honeymoon. Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Paris Las Vegas, and the Venetian are some of the resort hotels that offer European ambiance and experiences closer to home. Right there on the Las Vegas strip, you can take a gondola ride along a canal, visit a replica of the Eiffel Tower, enjoy luxurious suites decorated with European décor, and eat in a divine outdoor French bistro – in addition to being within walking distance of great shows, exotic animals, and a variety of nightlife. In Venice, Italy, the most luxurious hotels start at over $2000 per night for a room. For a fraction of that price, you could spend a week of luxury in Las Vegas, especially if you are able to find a package deal on your favorite travel website.

If you’re still working on planning a wedding on a budget, you might also want to consider Las Vegas as an excellent option for saving money with a wedding and honeymoon in one, since there are so many different places to get married in Las Vegas. Especially in the off season, Las Vegas resorts sometimes offer amazing deals.

Photo Credit: Jim G

Trio Ring Set v. Bridal Ring Set

by Annie Kim Thursday, 28 July 2011 Wedding Rings

So you know that this is the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with. You’re ready to propose. But which do you buy? The bridal ring set comes with the Engagement Ring and Ladies Wedding Band. The Trio Set comes with the Engagement Ring, Ladies Wedding Band, and Mens Wedding Band. Which one is better?


It’s a matter of preference. One isn’t better than the other. The Trio Ring Set comes with three rings that all match one another because they are made together to be a set. The Bridal Ring Set has the eye-catching engagement ring and ladies wedding band. Maybe you don’t want a flashy ring and want something simple instead. You could purchase a Bridal Ring Set and buy the mens wedding band separately. If you’re one of the people who need things to match perfectly and maybe want a little extra shine on your finger, then the trio ring set is a wonderful choice as well. Both are great choices. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. The shining diamond ring is just a little extra.

Affordable Diamond Rings

by Annie Kim Thursday, 28 July 2011 Wedding Rings

It’s every girl’s dream to one day receive that beautiful diamond ring. But when you think of a diamond, you think, expensive, expensive, and expensive. Diamonds are beautiful stones that do not need to be as unattainable as many people may think. Affordable diamond rings sound cheap and ugly but they don’t have to be. My Trio Rings offers ravishing diamond rings at amazing prices and layaway plans as well!

My Trio Rings doesn’t mark up the rings like most of the jeweler’s out there in the market. We believe in diamonds for everyone. Why should only a select few enjoy the beauty of diamonds in gold? Beauty can be enjoyed by everyone. Using only conflict-free diamonds, the rings are made with you in mind. In the way that you want to purchase quality rings, My Trio Rings works hard to get you breath-taking rings that are no less than what we would give to our loved ones as well. We want you to buy rings that bring you happiness. All people should be able to appreciate beautiful diamond rings. For you ladies out there, check out the rocks on the many diamond rings available!

Budget Wedding Tips from the Movie “Bridesmaids”

by Katy Smith Wednesday, 27 July 2011 Wedding Ideas

In addition to delivering laughs by the minute, the recent comedy “Bridesmaids” can also offer up some budget wedding tips for the discerning bride. For most of the movie – which stars Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Rose Byrne – audiences get a healthy dose of what-not-to-do moments, from an impromptu bachelorette trip to Vegas to an over-the-top wedding shower complete with puppies for party favors. The underlying message beneath the comedy, though, is that simple is almost always best, and that a wedding that stretches beyond a bride’s budget is a recipe for disaster. Here are a few budget wedding tips that can be gleaned from the hilarious missteps of “Bridesmaids”:

1. Keep it local.

Annie, the maid of honor in this movie, organizes a planning lunch for the bridesmaids and selects an authentic Brazilian restaurant in downtown Milwaukee. Sidestepping a country club or upscale brunch location for a local eatery is a great way to save money and also support local businesses during your budget wedding. Yes, the entire bridal party experienced a bout of food poisoning, but checking out a place before a special event can help prevent any last-minute surprises.

2. Go handmade.

For the wedding shower in “Bridesmaids,” the unlucky maid of honor has the wonderful idea of creating a French-themed event in honor of the bride’s love of France. Envisioning handwritten place cards, small Eiffel Tower party favors, and a few special French foods, Annie has just the right idea for creating a simple but meaningful event. But when her idea is hijacked and taken to the next level, with chocolate fountains, live horses, and a plane ticket to France, it completely overwhelms the poor bride. Remember that for a budget wedding, those handmade touches can really make an event magical.

3. Scale back.

When Annie and the other bridesmaids visit a couture bridal shop, Annie checks out all the price tags before gravitating to the simplest, cheapest dress. While her nemesis selects an $800 frilled extravagance, Annie’s selection is not only more budget-friendly, but is also much more beautiful. Scaling back can often produce surprisingly elegant simplicity.

Next time you watch a marriage-oriented movie, pay attention to see what budget wedding tips you can gather!

Photo Credit: Corey Ann

The Roots of the Diamond Engagement Ring

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 27 July 2011 Wedding Rings

The history of the wedding ring is not fully understood. Many sources cite ancient Rome as the original birthplace of the wedding ring, but others cite ancient Egypt as the home of the wedding tradition centuries before. And these ancient Egyptian rings were pretty different from today’s gold and diamond wedding bands. Brides wore rings woven from plants that grew alongside the Nile River. These makeshift rings, a far cry from a diamond cluster ring of today, usually did not survive very long with daily wear. Later, women were given more long-lasting metal rings. At the time, iron was the preferred substance to make these rings, but iron rings had the problem of growing rusty.

As the tradition of wedding rings passed from the Egyptians to the Greeks to the Romans, and all over Europe, the use of more precious metals and jewels became increasingly common. In fact, in Ireland, it was considered bad luck to use any metal besides gold for a wedding ring. Diamonds became popular due to their strength and durability. Interestingly, the use of more expensive materials to create wedding rings transformed the ring into a symbol of an economic contract between families more than a sacred contract between two people.

Although there is no mention of wedding rings in the Bible, some wedding ring traditions do originate from the Catholic Church. Indeed, in the 13th century, Pope Innocent III standardized marriage practices. One change he instituted was an expected waiting period between an engagement and a wedding. He also mandated that a different ring should be used to formalize each contract. That is why women generally have both an engagement ring and a wedding ring today.

For centuries, it was women alone who wore wedding rings. That changed in the twentieth century. World War II brought about the change for many countries. The tradition of wearing a wedding band expanded to men so that they would have a happy reminder of their lives back home with them when they went off to fight. Wedding ring traditions continue to grow and change around the world. In some cultures, gold and diamond wedding bands are traditionally worn on the toe rather than on the finger. In other cultures, it is traditional to give an additional diamond cluster ring for a major wedding anniversary.

Whatever your religious or cultural tradition, you can find a diamond cluster ring set that best reflects your own relationship, while continuing a tradition that has become an important symbol of the marriage vows.

Photo Credit: TMAB2003

The Best Budget Wedding Music

by Kelly Smith Wednesday, 15 June 2011 Ceremony

budget-wedding-violinWhether you say your vows on a secluded beach in the summer or in a large church in the winter, the music helps set the mood at any wedding. Even if you are planning a wedding on a budget, you will want to choose music that sounds beautiful, complements your wedding location, and expresses the personality of you and your future spouse. Here’s how to find music that can do all three without breaking the bank.

1. The Ceremony

If you are planning a wedding on a budget at a church, it is possible that you might be able to get a good deal on music provided by the church. The church organist or pianist might be willing to play music for your ceremony for a reasonable fee, or perhaps a few members from the church choir would be interested in performing. Other options for traditional music for your budget wedding ceremony include calling around to ask local music teachers or music students who might like to earn some extra money. Or perhaps you have a musically talented friend who would be willing to perform instead of buying a wedding present for you. If you are really tight on money, you might also consider simply purchasing a nice recording of popular wedding music, such as Pachelbel’s Canon in D, to play on the sound system at your budget wedding venue.

2. The Reception

You are likely to want your budget wedding reception to include festive music and dancing. You might be able to hire a good DJ for a few hours for a reasonable price, especially if you call around. If you find a new DJ who is just establishing their business, they may be likely to offer you a special discount in appreciation for helping them get started and spread their name around. Other couples who are planning a wedding on a budget find friends to play music at the reception or even create a mix of their favorite songs to play through an iPod or laptop on the venue’s sound system.

3. Prioritizing

As with any budget wedding, the key to sticking to your budget is prioritizing. You may not be able to afford a renowned string quartet for the ceremony and a full band for the reception. However, you can choose what aspect of the music is most important to you. If live music is very important as you walk down the aisle, then consider saving money by hiring a DJ or creating your own playlist for the reception. Being able to make such compromises will serve you well in your marriage in the years ahead.

Photo Credit: Alice Carrier

A Wise Budget Wedding Investment

by Kelly Smith Monday, 13 June 2011 Wedding Dress

budget-wedding-undergarmentsYou have found the perfect wedding dress to wear at your budget wedding. And since you are carefully planning a wedding on a budget, you were even able to get a great deal on the dress you wanted. However, don’t cross the wedding dress completely off of your to-do list quite yet. Before you hide your dress in a closet for the big day, you may want to take the dress with you to a specialty lingerie store or department store. Even though you are trying to save money for your budget wedding, it is important in invest in the right undergarments to wear with your wedding gown. It will be hard to look like a million dollars in your two hundred dollar gown if you have an obvious panty line or visible bra straps. Here are some items you may wish to shop for before the big day.

1. Bra

These days, it is hard to find a wedding dress with sleeves. Most wedding dresses today are sleeveless or strapless, and they are often designed to show some skin. This can make it difficult for women to find the right support to wear under their dress. Fortunately, many specialty lingerie stores and department stores carry innovative bras that give support without showing over your gown. Be certain to actually bring your dress with you to the store to try on the various options that might work best with your dress. If you can’t find the right option in a store, many seamstresses can also alter your gown to have hidden bra cups sewn into the top of the gown. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you might even be able to sew your own bra cups from a fabric store into the lining of the top of the dress if you are intent on planning a wedding on a budget, but be aware that this option might give you less support than a freestanding bra.

2. Underwear

If your wedding gown has a fuller skirt, then it is unlikely that you will have a panty line that is visible to your guests. However, if your dress is more form-fitting or made from a thinner fabric, then you will likely want to find underwear that is as invisible as possible. Many stores carry underwear that does not have a panty line. You will also want to consider color. An underwear color that is drastically different from your skin tone or from the wedding dress color is likely to be visible unless you have a very full skirt that hides it.

3. Shapewear

Many wedding dresses have built-in corsets or other structures that help to flatter your figure. If your wedding dress is made from a lighter weight fabric and does not have built-in structure, then you may want to purchase shapewear that can help smooth unflattering bulges into submission. This is another situation where you may wish to bring your budget wedding dress with you to be sure that the undergarments are not visible through the dress because of their shape, cut, or color.

Photo Credit: kf0nz1

Wedding Cake Traditions Throughout History

by Kelly Smith Monday, 13 June 2011 Wedding Cake

wedding-cake-traditions-grooms-cakeWhen you are planning a wedding on a budget, it can be helpful to understand how different wedding trends and traditions became established. With this knowledge in hand, you can make better decisions about what traditions to include in your budget wedding. Wedding cake traditions are especially fascinating, since they have changed so much over time. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, you may wish to know what wedding cake traditions you would like to incorporate into your own wedding, since certain traditions might be more affordable than others.

In Ancient Roman times, a common practice was to break an unsweetened cake or loaf of bread over a bride’s head. Later cultures put a napkin over the bride’s head before breaking the cake or bread. Some sources claim this tradition ensured good luck for the couple or for the wedding guests, while other sources feel that this early tradition was an unfortunate symbol of masculine domination over his bride.

From the 1600s to the 1800s, some weddings included a traditional bride’s pie rather than a wedding cake. The pie itself varied greatly – sometimes mutton, sometimes something sweet, but the common theme was a hidden ring inside. Tradition claimed that the person to find the ring in their pie piece would be the next person to be married.

In the later 1800s, sweet cakes became an increasingly common dish served at weddings. Plum cake and fruitcake were two popular choices before the advent of more modern baking ingredients. When white sugar and white flour became the norm for wedding cakes, the traditional plum cakes and fruitcakes were often used as a groom’s cake, with the larger white cake representing the virginal bride.

The groom’s cake is thought to be a mainly American tradition which remains popular today in the American South. Groom’s cakes are generally a different flavor from the bride’s cake, and they are often chosen specifically to contrast each other. Now that fruitcake is no longer a popular choice, a white bride’s cake and a chocolate groom’s cake is a very popular combination. Generally, a groom’s cake is less expensive than a tiered bride’s cake, so this can be a very useful tradition to turn to if you are planning a wedding on a budget.

Photo Credit: smcgee

Protect Your Trio Wedding Ring Set

by Kelly Smith Monday, 13 June 2011 Wedding Rings

protect-trio-wedding-ring-setYou and your fiancé picked out and purchased the trio wedding ring set of your dreams. You’re now married, and you take excellent care of your rings by cleaning them regularly and protecting them from damage. Your diamond cluster rings are an investment in your future together, and they are also a sound financial investment, as the gold and diamonds appreciate in value over the years of your marriage. Unfortunately, some couples don’t realize that they are not protecting this investment until it is too late. Are your rings well protected?

Most renters insurance or homeowners insurance policies do not automatically cover jewelry, so some couples find themselves out of luck if a ring is stolen or accidentally flushed down the toilet. Even if you got an excellent deal on your diamond cluster rings when you purchased them, you may not be able to afford to go out and replace them immediately if something happens to them. There is obviously no way to insure the sentimental value of your trio wedding ring set, but at least it is relatively easy to insure their financial value. Here’s how:

1. Get your rings appraised.

2. Call the insurance company that you use for renters insurance, homeowners insurance, or car insurance.

3. Ask your insurance agent to add a rider to your insurance policy for each ring.

4. Pay a small yearly fee (usually only about $1 per $100 replacement value, or $10 a year for a $1000 ring) to keep your ring insurance current.

5. Keep all receipts, appraisal paperwork, and insurance paperwork together in a safe place in case something ever happens to your trio wedding ring set.

6. Relax, knowing that you’ve made a smart financial decision and have done the best you can to protect your diamond cluster rings.

Photo Credit: ILoveButter

Creative Ideas for Your Budget Wedding

by Kelly Smith Monday, 13 June 2011 Wedding Ideas

budget-wedding-veilAnyone who is planning a wedding, and especially someone who is planning a wedding on a budget, can benefit from gathering creative ideas from other people’s weddings. Budget weddings can be made more personal with inexpensive ideas from other cultures or even from popular wedding movies. So make some popcorn and cuddle with your fiancé on the couch to watch a movie about weddings to start the ideas flowing. Here are a few movies to get you started.

Love Actually

Love Actually is a romantic comedy that features the intertwining stories of several different couples. Early in the movie, Peter and Juliet’s wedding includes a delightful scene. After Peter and Juliet are married and turn to walk down the aisle together as man and wife, the curtains of the choir loft open, and a choir begins to sing the popular Beatles song “All You Need is Love.” Several of the wedding guests are in on the surprise and stand up to join in the song, playing instruments such as flutes, saxophones, and even an electric guitar. Such a musical event may be quite difficult to orchestrate in real life, especially for a budget wedding. However, you could use this scene as inspiration to come up with a way that your musically talented friends could participate in your wedding. A group of your friends might agree to play a favorite song during your ceremony or reception, perhaps in lieu of a wedding gift.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula struggles to balance her cultural traditions with a more mainstream wedding. By including her sometimes crazy family in the wedding plans, Toula is able to save money by taking advantage of family heirlooms such as traditional Greek Orthodox wedding crowns from her grandmother. She is able to take advantage of family connections with different retailers around town, and she even has lots of help from her large family as they all do each other’s hair and makeup before the wedding, saving a great deal of money. If you are planning a wedding on a budget, use this movie as inspiration to get you thinking about how you can honor your family’s cultural traditions and also get help from family members who have specific skills that might be useful and save you money.

What other ideas have you seen in the movies for planning a budget wedding?

Photo Credit: Corey Ann

Beautiful Budget Wedding Cakes

by Kelly Smith Friday, 27 May 2011 Wedding Cake

budget-wedding-cakeFor many aspects of wedding planning, you can spend as much as you want to spend. Since the sky is not the limit when you are planning a wedding on a budget, it is important to decide how much you can afford to spend on each category in advance. This is also true when you are shopping for a budget wedding cake, since it is all too easy to get swept off your feet when you are having a cake tasting in a boutique bakery. Here’s how to have your cake and afford it, too.

1. Pick your bakery wisely.

Shop around before you pick the bakery that will best be able to serve your budget wedding needs. It is best to not tempt yourself with a wedding cake tasting at a bakery that is likely to be out of your price range. It can be hard to think straight when chocolate is involved. Some grocery stores create delicious wedding cakes for a better price than local retailers. But depending on where you live, you might also get a far better deal from a local pastry chef than a national chain. Call around, look at websites, and ask any recently married friends and family who they used.

2. Opt for smaller cakes.

When you’re planning a wedding on a budget, you probably don’t want to choose a six-tier wedding cake decorated with expensive flowers from the best bakery in town, unless you have budgeted for that particular splurge. It’s a smart idea to choose a very small tiered cake that is decorated however you like, then supplement it with a less formal groom’s sheet cake. Even the best bakeries will offer simply decorated sheet cakes for much less money than tiered wedding cakes. Choose a different flavor for the bride’s cake and groom’s cake so that guests will appreciate having a choice of cake flavor.

3. Choose cupcakes.

One recent trend is to serve wedding cupcakes. Cupcakes might be a good choice for your budget wedding because they are easy to make, easy to transport, and easy to serve. You don’t need to worry about having a special cake knife or someone to serve the cake. Cupcakes are small, so they don’t need do be decorated in an elaborate fashion. You could probably even ask a trustworthy friend or family member with excellent baking skills to make wedding cupcakes for your special day as a wedding gift, rather than paying a bakery.

What are your ideas for fitting a beautiful wedding cake into your budget?

Photo Credit: CleverCupcakes

Buy a Trio Ring Set for Your Summer Proposal

by Kelly Smith Friday, 20 May 2011 Proposal

Summer is almost here, and you’ve been thinking that you are ready to propose to your girlfriend. Pick out an inexpensive trio ring set that includes a beautiful real diamond engagement ring, and surprise your girlfriend with a proposal at your closest beach. Here are a few creative proposal ideas to get you started.

1. Find a large stick to write “Marry me!” in the wet sand close to the water. Be certain that your girlfriend reads your message before the waves wash it away. Slip the engagement ring from the trio ring set onto her finger when she says yes.

2. Take your girlfriend on a special picnic at the beach. Tie the engagement ring to the handle of her fork while packing the picnic, or hide the ring box in the picnic basket until the perfect moment to unpack it.

3. If you’ve got a bigger proposal budget, hire an advertising airplane to fly a banner over the beach that says “Will you marry me?” while you are splashing in the waves or soaking in the sun with your girlfriend.

4. Take a walk on the beach at sunrise or sunset with the engagement ring from the trio ring set in your pocket. Get down on one knee in the sand when the moment is right.

5. Get tickets for a short whale-watching trip or a dinner cruise if neither of you is prone to seasickness. When you are out on the water, find a private moment to pull your girlfriend aside and ask her to share your life.

6. Build a sand castle with your girlfriend. When she is not looking, put the ring box in her bucket, on her shovel, on top of the castle, or some other place where she will see it right away.

For more proposal inspiration, you may wish to read 5 Creative Proposal Ideas for Easter, Creative Proposal Traditions from Around the World, Creative Proposal Ideas from Books and Movies, or 10 Romantic Ways to Propose this Christmas.

How to Pick an Affordable, Designer-Look Diamond Cluster Ring

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 17 May 2011 Wedding Rings

One of the most prestigious purveyors of diamond engagement rings in the United States is Tiffany & Co. But like most high-status jewelers, their products are not very affordable for most people. Fortunately, that does not mean that you can’t get a designer look at a lower price. Choose a quality real diamond cluster ring that looks similar to popular designer rings at a much lower cost. Here’s how.

Scenario 1designer-diamond-cluster-ring-2

The Tiffany Round Brilliant with Channel-Set Band Engagement Ring features a round-cut solitaire diamond set above a row of smaller diamonds set in a channel in a white gold band. It is generally paired with a matching wedding band with smaller diamonds set in the band. $10,300 is the starting price for this engagement ring without the matching wedding band.

My Trio Rings offers a much less expensive trio wedding ring set that has a similar design. The engagement ring is a diamond cluster ring that has a cluster of delicate, high-quality diamonds set in a circle above a row of smaller diamonds set in a channel. Both the ladies’ wedding band and the men’s wedding band also have a row of smaller diamonds set in a channel to coordinate with the engagement ring. The price for all three rings is less than $900, which offers a savings of more than $9,000 compared to the Tiffany ring, as well as including three rings rather than only one.

Scenario 2

designer-diamond-cluster-ring-1The Tiffany Novo Ring has one large diamond solitaire in an almost square-shaped cut with a stripe of smaller diamonds nestled into the white gold band. It is often paired with a coordinating wedding band that is embedded with a row of smaller diamonds. Just the Tiffany Novo engagement ring alone starts at $11,500 for a 1 carat diamond.

You can find a much more affordable trio wedding ring set with a similar visual impact from My Trio Rings. For less than $700, you can purchase a coordinating set for you and your spouse-to-be that includes an engagement ring and two wedding bands. The engagement ring is a diamond cluster ring with a large square-shaped diamond cluster in place of the diamond solitaire of the Tiffany ring. The engagement ring, the ladies’ wedding band, and the men’s wedding band all feature a similar row of smaller diamonds embedded in the white gold bands. This beautiful trio wedding ring set is just as beautiful as the Tiffany engagement ring, and it costs almost $11,000 less.

With My Trio Rings, you can get the designer style you want without paying a designer price.

5 Signs that You Are Ready to Propose

by Kelly Smith Tuesday, 17 May 2011 Proposal

ready-to-proposeMany guys have trouble deciding when it is the right time to propose to their girlfriends. Guys get a lot of ribbing because of this, but healthy fear of commitment is not a bad thing. You want to be certain that you are getting married for the right reasons. You want to be sure that you are choosing the right person to spend your life with. Here are some signs that it might be time for you to start seriously browsing diamond cluster ring sets and coming up with creative proposal ideas to make a commitment to spending a lifetime with your girlfriend.

1. You think about her all the time.

If you would rather spend all of your free time with the guys, then this might be a sign that you are not passionate about spending time with your girlfriend. If you have been dating for quite some time, however, and you are still excited about hanging out with your girlfriend, then that is a good sign that your relationship has lasting passion, and you might be ready to propose.

2. You like to talk to your girlfriend.

If you are equally excited about going to the big game with your girlfriend and accompanying her to a chick flick, then you have a healthy balance in your relationship. If you are just as happy hanging out, making dinner at home, and talking with your girlfriend rather than going on an exciting date, then you are more prepared for the realities of married life, and you might be ready to propose.

3. You can’t imagine life without her.

If your vision of your future includes your girlfriend, and you can’t imagine a future without her, then it might be time to take concrete steps towards creating that future together. If you know that she feels the same way, you may wish to start looking for the right diamond cluster ring to make your love official in front of your family and friends.

4. You share values and future goals.

Married couples don’t always see eye to eye on everything. However, if you and your girlfriend share similar values and goals, then you have a much more solid foundation for a strong partnership in the future. This is especially true for more potentially controversial issues such as money, religion, and raising children. If you are on the same page for important issues, then you might be ready to propose.

5. You have helped each other through stressful situations.

When you get married, you vow to be there for each other for better or for worse. If you have successfully helped each other navigate major life changes and other stressful situations, then you are more prepared to be supportive partners to each other when unexpected stress arises in your lives and in your marriage. Even doing something like taking care of a pet together or taking a trip together can help to show you whether you are compatible and supportive in stressful situations. If you are, then you might be ready to propose.

What are other signs that you’re ready to pop the question?

Photo: Patrick Tobin


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