My Trio Rings Blog provides useful information about how to experience the timeless traditions of marriage on an affordable budget
What to Pack on Your Budget Honeymoon
Once you plan the budget honeymoon (http://www.mytriorings.com/6-budget-honeymoon-tips.html) of your dreams, you will need to start thinking about what to pack. In general, it is a good idea to pack light, so that your new husband still has the energy to carry you over the threshold after carrying your luggage up to your hotel room. Here are a few simple tips for packing smart on your honeymoon.
Check the weather forecast for your destination before you decide what to bring. Choose clothing items that are comfortable, versatile, and easily dressed up or down with simple accessories. Plan to bring light layers, even in the summer months when you may wish to put on a lightweight sweater over your sundress or shorts in the evening. If you decide to bring new clothing or new shoes on your budget honeymoon, be certain to wash new clothing and break in new shoes before you go. Most importantly, pack a change of clothes in your carry on luggage, just in case your checked bags are misdirected and you want to freshen up before they arrive. If swimming is in your honeymoon plans, consider bringing an extra bathing suit so that you don’t have to put on a wet bathing suit if yours has not fully dried from the beach the day before.
It is a good idea to leave expensive jewelry at home when you travel. Even if you purchased an inexpensive wedding ring set, you may not wish to risk loss, theft, or damage to your wedding jewelry. Some couples choose to leave their real diamond jewelry safely at home and purchase inexpensive fake cubic zirconia rings for travel. If you choose to take your wedding ring set with you, be certain to care for it properly.
Whether you are travelling to a strange city, a foreign country, or just a quiet bed and breakfast a few hours away, it is a good idea to prepare a small medical kit to take on your budget honeymoon that includes all of the prescriptions you need (or might need) to take, as well as your preferred over-the-counter remedies for common ailments such as upset stomachs or headaches. Depending on your destination, you may also need such items as sunscreen and bug spray.
If you don’t already have a good quality digital camera, this is the perfect time to get one so that you can start recording your memories of your new life together. Consider putting a camera on your wedding registry or buying one as a gift for your soon-to-be spouse so that you can record your honeymoon memories in photographs. Besides a camera, consider packing special treats to share with your spouse on the trip, such as gourmet chocolates, special champagne, or other favorite treats to share, in case you can’t purchase them at your budget honeymoon destination. You may also wish to prepare your own kit of pampering supplies in order to save money on spa treatments. Think about buying special lotion, bubble bath, or massage oil to surprise your new spouse.
What other helpful travel tips can you share?
Photo Credit: Celebratemanking
5 Creative Proposal Ideas for Easter
Have you been thinking for a while now that you’re ready to propose to your girlfriend? If you can’t imagine living without her, and you are ready to commit to creating a life together, then it may be time to pick out an inexpensive wedding ring set and surprise your girlfriend with a proposal this spring. Proposals are common at Christmas and Valentine’s Day, so your girlfriend will probably be more surprised by a springtime proposal, such as a creative proposal on Easter. Easter is about a month away, so you still have time to pick out a beautiful wedding ring set and make a proposal plan. Here are some creative proposal ideas to get you started.
Easter Basket Proposal
Purchase an Easter basket and some Easter grass. Fill the basket with a variety of treats that will be special to your girlfriend, such as scented lotion, a pair of soft socks, a gourmet chocolate bar, a new book or movie, her favorite tea, a pottery mug, or even fun things for the young at heart, like crayons or a stuffed bunny rabbit. Purchase a pack of plastic Easter eggs. Fill them with a variety of Easter candies such as jellybeans or small chocolate eggs. Hide a wedding ring set inside one of the eggs instead of candy. Arrange all of the treats and plastic eggs nicely in the basket and surprise her with it on Easter morning.
Easter Bouquet Proposal
Consider a creative proposal at church. Many religious traditions ask that you bring or wear flowers to church on Easter morning. If you are celebrating the holiday together at church, bring your girlfriend a beautiful seasonal bouquet or corsage from the local florist or even from your own backyard. Use a piece of brightly colored ribbon to tie an engagement ring to the bouquet before you hand it to your girlfriend to carry.
Picnic Basket Proposal
Plan an Easter picnic with your girlfriend, and tell her that you will be in charge of bringing the food. Pack a picnic basket full of your girlfriend’s favorite seasonal foods that you either make yourself or buy from your favorite restaurant or deli. Some springtime picnic favorites include pasta salad, fried chicken, deviled eggs, and fruit salad. Don’t forget to pack a bottle of chilled champagne or sparkling cider and glasses. Nestle the ring box into the basket with the food. Spread out a picnic blanket at your favorite park or nature area, and ask your girlfriend to unpack the food. As she takes things out of the basket, she will be surprised to find a ring inside!
Easter Bunny Proposal
Plan a creative proposal with the help of the Easter Bunny at your local mall. Take your girlfriend out to breakfast or lunch, and then suggest taking a picture with the Easter Bunny as a couple for fun. When you both sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap, pull out the ring and propose. If you can, warn the Easter Bunny photographer ahead of time so that he can be certain to catch the proposal on film for a special memory that will last a lifetime.
Easter Cupcake Proposal
Designer cupcakes are all the rage right now. Ask your local bakery to create two fancy cupcakes to share with your girlfriend for Easter dessert. Choose her favorite cake flavor, and ask the bakery to decorate the cupcakes in a creative way that incorporates the beautiful wedding ring set that you picked out. Serve the cupcakes after a special dinner at home, and surprise her with delicious his-and-hers wedding ring cupcakes.
Photo Credit: pamramsey
More Expert Budget Wedding Tips
My Trio Rings recently talked with Virginia-based wedding planner Lindsay Averette to find out how smart couples can spend their wedding dollars wisely while they are planning a wedding on a budget. Here are more of her insider tricks to saving on common wedding expenses.
Can you give any examples of ways that having a wedding planner can help cut wedding costs?
More often than not, a good wedding planner has established relationships with quality vendors. Because of this relationship and constant referral system, oftentimes vendors are willing to throw in an extra hour of services or give discounts on products to couples planning a wedding on a budget with a specific wedding planner.
Recent clients of mine had a specific price limit for budget wedding entertainment—including a DJ for their reception, as well as a ceremony musician. The DJ that they fell in love with was in the top tier of professionals in our area and almost rounded out their entire entertainment budget. Because I had referred him on many different occasions, he threw in an extra hour of services to the couple for free AND, as he’s a booking agent too, he gave them a $100 discount on a harpist for their ceremony.
Do you have any other specific insider tips for couples who are looking to plan a lovely wedding at a low cost?
Aside from my previous major cost-cutting suggestion, slashing the guest list, the easiest way to plan a budget wedding in every vendor category is to cut costs by holding your wedding in the off season, and, even better—on a day other than Saturday! Many times business is slow for wedding vendors in less popular wedding months and are willing to give you a deal on their services in order to stay busy. However, if you’ve been dreaming of that outdoor, garden wedding on a Saturday in May, here are some other ways to save:
Flowers and Décor
Research the flowers that are in season during your wedding date and in your region of the country. If the flowers don’t have to be shipped, you save money! Lately, the trend is an earthy, organic look for floral design. Many florists are now utilizing bushes, trees, and flowers from local gardens. Take advantage of these local, homegrown goodies as a way to save money.
Oftentimes, post-holiday sales will strike and you can grab up some gorgeous vases, unscented candles, lanterns, and other non-floral décor for your budget wedding at a deep discount. Mix some non-floral centerpieces in and save money!
Food and Beverage
Don’t be fooled into thinking that buffets are cheaper than plated, served dinners—most of the time, they rival in price. The chef will often have to make a larger cushion of food in anticipation of Uncle Fred eating 4 plates at a buffet, versus only the one that’s served to him at a plated meal.
Serve only wine and beer, or wine, beer, and a signature cocktail. A full open bar is extremely expensive. If you are having an outside caterer handle the bar, check to see if you can provide your own alcohol for them. Oftentimes you can return all alcohol that’s unopened.
Sugar flowers and decorations are more expensive than non-edible décor. Also, if size doesn’t matter to you, opt for a smaller, simpler cake design and have a larger decorated sheet cake in the back to serve to guests.
Skip the traditional inner envelope, ribbons, or paper folds. These invitations cost more to mail! If you’re planning a wedding on a budget, it is best to stick with a clean, single sheet invite.
Lindsay runs a wedding planning business called LK Events & Design in Richmond, Virginia. She has a few more budget wedding tips to share with cost-conscious couples in the coming weeks.
Photo Credit: Sugar Daze
Plan a Budget Wedding with an All-Inclusive Package
Planning a wedding can be expensive. Unless you’re planning to have a budget wedding in your own backyard and make a lot of the preparations yourself with the help of family and friends, it is all too easy to go over your budget. Since paying for each wedding service individually can add up quickly, some savvy couples who are planning a cheap wedding choose to purchase an all-inclusive wedding package to save money. Here are three ideas to consider:
1. Mexico Wedding
If you’re interested in a budget wedding at a tropical destination, consider an all-inclusive wedding package from the Grand Velas resort in Riviera Maya. For a little over $2,000, you can have a small wedding package that includes an officiant, flowers, a photographer, a wedding planner, a ceremony for up to ten guests, music, champagne, and even wedding cake. Just bring your wedding clothes and your spouse to be, and all of the arrangements are taken care of for you. A destination wedding like this also saves money since it serves as a wedding and honeymoon all in one. After the wedding, enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean, relaxing on the beach, exploring the jungle, and unwinding at the spa, all within a close proximity of the hotel.
2. Cruise Ship Wedding
If you are planning a cheap wedding and wish to have more guests but still would like to opt for a more exotic location, choose an all-inclusive wedding package on a cruise ship. Carnival cruise line is equipped to host weddings at a wide selection of ports, whether your guests are joining you on a cruise or are simply flying in for the big day. For a little over $1,500, you can have a wedding docked in a city such as Key West, Florida, that includes an officiant, a wedding planner, a photographer, a ceremony for up to twenty guests, music, flowers, reception food, a wedding cake, an open bar, and a champagne toast. After the ceremony, you can relax and enjoy your honeymoon cruise without having to lift a finger.
3. Las Vegas Wedding
Las Vegas is a popular wedding destination for many budget-minded couples. Many Las Vegas resorts offer competitively priced budget wedding packages. The Flamingo has a garden wedding chapel with a variety of all-inclusive wedding packages available. In addition to offering all of the standard wedding amenities, some Flamingo wedding packages also include spa credit and the free use of a limousine. After the wedding, enjoy your honeymoon in Las Vegas, where you can eat gourmet food, watch shows, observe wildlife, go shopping, try your luck in the casinos, or even just relax in the sun by the luxuriantly landscaped hotel pool.
If you’re familiar with other all-inclusive wedding packages, please leave a comment and share!
Photo Credit: joiseyshowaa
Creative Proposal Traditions from Around the World
You love to spend time with her, and you can’t wait to spend your life with her. If you’re ready to propose this spring, and you are looking for creative proposal ideas, think about bypassing the more common down-on-one-knee proposal. Instead, consider modifying wedding and proposal traditions from other cultures around the world.
Rings of all kinds have been exchanged to symbolize engagement or marriage since ancient times. The Egyptians believed that the round ring symbolized eternity, and they advocated wearing the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand as many Americans still do today, because they believed that a vein in the ring finger leads directly to the human heart.
The first documented exchange of a diamond ring to signify an engagement occurred in 1477 when Austrian Archduke Maximilian proposed to Mary of Burgundy, but until the 19th century, engagement rings were not as popular as other engagement gifts, such as sewing thimbles or livestock. Since the 19th century, though, diamond rings have become the standard symbol of engagement in America. Today, 80 percent of American women receive (or help choose) a ring when they become engaged, and they wear a wedding ring set that includes both an engagement ring and a wedding band after the marriage.
Choose a beautiful and affordable wedding ring set that includes an engagement ring for your bride-to-be. Then read the ideas below to help inspire a creative proposal that your girlfriend won’t forget!
The families of the bride-to-be and groom-to-be have traditionally been very involved in the proposal process. Once the couple decides to get married, the families often get together to exchange gifts: money wrapped in red envelopes, tea, wine, and sweets, such as a double happiness cake decorated with traditional Chinese symbols. If you want to modify this tradition, gather your families together for an Asian-inspired evening complete with a double happiness cake from your local bakery. Pop the question with the whole family there to share in your happiness.
Wedding and proposal traditions vary widely among different African cultures. In the Rendille tribe in Kenya, a man sends beads to the woman he is interested in marrying. If she keeps the beads, then the couple is considered to be engaged. The woman’s family then gives her a special ornament to add to her beads if they also accept the engagement. If you wish to copy this tradition for your creative proposal, consider purchasing a special fair trade necklace in addition to a conflict-free diamond ring.
In Scandinavian countries, men and women often both wear a ring to symbolize their engagement. If you want to copy this tradition, pick out a ring for yourself to coordinate with your fiancée’s ring. This ring can double as your wedding band, or you could pick out another ring as a wedding band. In Sweden, men also give their brides an additional ring at the wedding, the ring of motherhood. If you choose to use these traditions, a more standard wedding ring set package would not work for you, but your jeweler might be willing to work with you to customize a set.
Although it is still traditional for men to propose to women, there is one day a year when women have historically proposed to men. Ladies, if you want to propose to your fiancé, the traditional day is February 29. The English traditionally considered this day to be outside of law, which meant that it was a day when women could be free from conventional gender restrictions. The next leap year is less than a year away, so start planning now if you want to surprise your boyfriend with a creative proposal in 2012.
What are the most creative marriage proposals that you’ve heard about?'
Photo Source: APDK
4 Creative Wedding Venues
When you are planning a wedding on a budget, you probably want to avoid country clubs or pricey wedding packages at expensive resorts as possible locations for your wedding. Getting married in a church is generally affordable, depending on the church, but some couples want to plan something more unconventional. Fortunately, there are many creative wedding venues for the budget-minded bride and groom, if you are willing to shop around. In general, the more you are willing to do yourself, the more money you can save. Here are four affordable, out-of-the-ordinary venues to consider:
Many municipal, state, and national parks offer excellent prices on facility rentals, especially if you’re willing to ask friends to help you set up for the big day. Plan an outdoor wedding beside a beautiful vista, and rent the adjoining picnic shelter for a nontraditional reception after the reception, such as a barbecue. Some parks also have cabins or lodges that could be a creative wedding venue option for an indoor wedding.
Getting married at a botanical garden or a garden associated with a historic home is an excellent way to save money on decoration and flowers, since the flowers growing in the garden create a beautiful, pre-decorated venue for a wedding. Simply purchase a bridal bouquet that coordinates with the flowers that are in season at the garden, and you will be all set. Some colleges and universities also have gardens that might be available for wedding use. Consider renting a big tent for an outdoor reception.
Waterfront locations are very popular as creative wedding venues. If getting married by the water is a priority for you, steer clear of fancy waterfront hotels or expensive wedding cruises. Instead, ask around about area parks that border a body of water or more secluded public beaches. You may also want to consider renting a pier that juts out into the water. For a smaller wedding, a reception at a favorite seafood restaurant within walking distance might be the perfect fit.
If you are planning a wedding on a budget, having a wedding at home may be just the thing to keep costs down. Instead of paying a rental fee, use that money to spruce up your house and lawn. Clean up the yard and get creative with landscaping. Plant bushes, bulbs, and perennials to decorate for the wedding, cut down on your florist bill, and enjoy for years to come. If you choose this option, you will want to start planning the landscaping as soon as possible to make certain that the plants are well established before the big day. You may wish to choose the date for your wedding based on when your favorite flowers will be in bloom.
What are other creative wedding venues that you would recommend?
Comparison Shopping for Wedding Ring Sets
A real diamond wedding ring set is an investment that will last a lifetime if you take proper care (http://www.mytriorings.com/how-to-care-for-your-wedding-ring-set.html) of your conflict-free diamonds. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to go into debt to purchase a wedding ring set that you will be paying off in small monthly payments for a lifetime. Smart couples will choose beautiful diamond wedding jewelry that they can afford, in order to start their marriage off on the right financial footing. By avoiding expensive brick-and-mortar boutiques and doing comparison shopping online, most couples can find the wedding ring set of their dreams without breaking the bank. Let’s take a peek at some of the options.
From World Jewels, the least expensive option is a 7/10 carat diamond wedding ring set with 14 K gold for $799.99. This price is for a diamond cluster wedding ring set that only includes an engagement ring and a women’s wedding band, not a men’s wedding band, which you would need to purchase separately. World Jewels offers free shipping and a limited warranty plan, but its cheapest wedding ring set option is still quite pricey.
Gordon’s Jewelers offers a lovely 1/4 carat diamond wedding ring set mounted with 10 K white gold for $579. This wedding ring set also only includes an engagement ring and a ladies’ wedding band. Although Gordon’s offers free shipping, the need to purchase an additional ring makes this an expensive option.
My Trio Rings
My Trio Rings offers a selection of different affordable trio wedding ring sets for under $500. These sets include the engagement ring, the ladies’ wedding band, and the men’s wedding band for one low price. One of the best deals is the 1/4 carat conflict-free diamond wedding ring set with 10 K white gold for $379.99. My Trio Rings offers excellent customer service, free shipping, and a strong warranty for every purchase.
Budget Wedding Tips from a Wedding Planner
There are many different ways to go about planning a wedding on a budget. Before you even get engaged, you should be certain that you are taking steps to start a life together on the right financial footing. I talked to wedding planner Lindsay Averette to find out more.
What are the best signs that a couple is ready to get engaged?
The easiest way to answer this question is with a question: are you ready to plan a wedding, or are you ready to plan a marriage? Often in preparation for an engagement or even in the actual wedding planning process, couples lose sight of what this monumental occasion really means. Would you be just as happy eloping as planning a huge affair with 200 of your closest friends and family? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably heading in the right direction.
It also probably helps if you’ve had the occasionally awkward but absolutely necessary conversation of finances. Let’s be real here: everything costs money. An engagement, wedding, and future cost money, and costs can escalate quicker than you think. If your financial priorities are parallel—with everything from home furnishings to future children’s college savings—you’re on the right path to getting hitched!
What do couples need to know about planning a wedding on a budget?
In a nutshell:
The guest list is a direct correlation to how much you’ll spend for the big day. Now I’m not telling you to dwindle your list of friends or go burn a bridge with that coworker of five years before you get engaged, but I am telling you that one of the best budget wedding tips is to be practical about who you invite.
In more detail:
With an engagement comes the overly excited Aunt Sally who will ask every question under the sun: “When’s the big day? Where will you have it? Who will you invite? I’ll send you my list—we can’t forget your great uncle’s best friend’s daughter, you know!” My advice to you is: prepare for the hot seat. Have a pow-wow with the people involved in the wedding, and I don’t mean just you and your fiancé. If Mom, Dad, or even Aunt Sally are helping pay for this affair, they are in on the action as well. This is a good chance to hash out wedding budget, as well as discuss ideas and expectations for the planning months ahead.
What are the most important budget wedding tips you share with couples?
It is critical that you make a list of priorities when planning a wedding. Would you rather have custom linens or an amazing photographer? Do you want your guests to eat, drink and be merry or must you have that one-of-a-kind designer gown? From your highest priority to the least important item on your wedding planning checklist, it’s vital to map out where you’ll spend your hard earned cash.
Once you’ve mapped out your budget, STICK TO IT. It is incredibly easy to let the excitement of planning a wedding reflect in your budget. Next thing you know, you’ve spent $400 on gorgeous matte satin linens, when your original plan was to stick with the linens included in your catering package.
Lindsay owns and operates LK Events & Design, a wedding and event planning company in Richmond, Virginia. Stay tuned for more insider tips from Lindsay in the coming weeks!
4 Ways Google Can Help You Plan For Your Wedding
Earlier this month Google made the headlines yet again announcing Google Wedding. This new service is aimed to help couples in planning a wedding on a budget even easier with their online tools. You can make good use of these tools by:
1. Creating a Free Wedding Website
Google Sites makes it easy to create a wedding website to share all of the important information about your big day with your guests. Choose from designer themes, upload engagement photos, and link to the reception site to create an all-inclusive resource for your wedding guests. Best of all, this service is free, so it is an unbeatable bargain for your budget wedding.
2. Designing Announcements
Google’s service Picnik allows couples to create designer engagement announcements, save the date cards, and more with a variety of beautiful themes and easy photo uploads. Choose to print your design from your home computer or order inexpensive prints online. Or, if you’re planning a wedding on a budget, you can even email your save the date cards to all of your family and friends for free.
3. Planning a Wedding on a Budget
Google Docs offers a variety of very useful templates for planning a budget wedding. Create seating charts, a guest list, an address book, a list of songs for the reception, an overall to-do list, and even a comprehensive estimated budget. Best of all, you can access these free tools from any computer with an Internet connection.
4. Sharing Your Wedding Memories
Google’s Picasa photo sharing site offers easy photo uploads and sharing. You can use it as a place to gather ideas for wedding dresses, cake designs, or flower arrangements in a private online album before the wedding. You can also use it to create public albums to share engagement photos or special wedding memories after the big day.
How to Care for Your Wedding Ring Set
Real diamonds are an excellent investment for couples to make. Conflict-free diamonds are both beautiful and long-lasting. Imitation wedding jewelry, on the other hand, can tarnish, cause skin problems, or simply not last as long as your marriage. Fortunately, it is easy to budget for affordable wedding jewelry made with conflict-free diamonds. With proper care, your diamond wedding ring set will last a lifetime, and you may choose to pass your wedding jewelry on to your children or grandchildren.
1. Remove Your Wedding Ring Set
Most jewelers recommend that you remove your rings before you dig around in the garden or go swimming. Others also recommend that you also remove your rings before exercising, showering, and washing the dishes in order to keep it safe from dirt, scratches, chemicals, and the like. When you temporarily remove your wedding ring set, be certain to put it in a safe place where it won’t get lost or get scratched by other jewelry.
2. Clean Your Wedding Ring Set
Residue from personal care products such as soap and lotion can build up and make your ring less shiny. Clean your wedding ring with a mild soap and water using a soft toothbrush to loosen dirt under or around your diamonds. For dirtier rings, mix a solution of half ammonia and half water to gently scrub your ring. Many local jewelers will also professionally clean your ring for free, even if you did not purchase the ring from their store.
3. Inspect Your Wedding Ring Set
At least once a year, take your wedding ring set to a jeweler to have it professionally cleaned and inspected. You may not be able to see loose stones or other problems with the setting of your wedding ring set, but the jeweler has special tools to inspect the security of your diamonds.
What are your best tips for caring for your wedding jewelry?
Photo Credit: Pat David
4 Green Wedding Tips
Some couples choose to plan a green wedding that is better for the environment. Fortunately, opting for a more eco-friendly wedding is not incompatible with planning a wedding on a budget. Choosing to serve local food, use online invitations, and buy conflict-free diamonds can help preserve the earth as well as save you money.
1. Green Wedding Decorations
Choose wedding decorations that have a lower impact on the environment. Conventionally grown flowers use a lot of pesticides, which are harmful to the environment as well as to the people who grow the flowers. Consider choosing organic flowers instead of conventional florist fare. Organic flowers are more expensive, so choose to carry a more simple, classic bouquet and decorate with fewer flowers or with live plants. Many garden centers will loan live plants to decorate a wedding, or perhaps you would like to purchase live plants as wedding table decorations that could then be planted in your yard as a special souvenir of your wedding.
2. Green Wedding Favors
Instead of buying candies or matchbooks or other wedding favors that your guests may or may not use and appreciate, think about choosing green wedding favors such as flower seeds for your guests to plant or reusable tote bags. Some couples also choose to give a charitable gift as a wedding favor, such as purchasing carbon offsets for each guest’s travel or donating money to an environmental organization in honor of their guests. Print a little card for each guest on recycled paper that describes the charitable gift.
3. Green Wedding Gifts
Create a green wedding registry by registering for well-made gifts that will last you and your spouse a long time. Choose environmentally friendly materials such as recycled glass, organic cotton, and bamboo. For the best selection of green wedding gifts from different companies, choose to register online with a universal gift registry (http://myregistry.com/) service.
4. Green Honeymoons
Planning a green honeymoon is actually very important to planning a wedding on a budget. The greenest honeymoons minimize the distance you travel. It is better for the environment to rent a low-mileage vehicle to drive to a cabin at a nearby state park than to fly to Europe, and it is also a significantly less expensive honeymoon destination. Train travel, bus travel, or car travel to a city with a good mass transit system are also more environmentally friendly than plane travel. Another good green honeymoon option is to find an eco-tourist spot that is within reasonable driving distance. Eco-tourist destinations will typically make eco-friendly choices for you, so you can relax and know that your vacation of a lifetime is helping to protect the earth.
What are your favorite tips on planning a green wedding?
How to Buy Inexpensive Wedding Jewelry
You and your fiancé compared online jewelry prices and picked out beautiful budget wedding rings to celebrate your life together. You may not be finished buying inexpensive wedding jewelry, though. Many couples choose to purchase jewelry for their wedding party that coordinates with their wedding theme and doubles as a thank-you gift. What should you look for?
1. Bridesmaid Jewelry
Many brides choose to purchase a matching necklace, a bracelet, or a pair of earrings for each of their bridesmaids. Some choose a set that includes all three. Popular selections include pearl necklaces or necklaces made with colored crystals. Bridesmaid jewelry ranges widely in cost depending on what you are looking for. It is possible to purchase inexpensive wedding jewelry for bridesmaids, especially if you choose carefully. For example, look for necklaces with a single pearl instead of a full string of pearls. Although you are looking for a bargain, be sure that you purchase high-quality jewelry made from silver or gold that won’t irritate sensitive skin.
2. Groomsmen Jewelry
Some grooms choose to purchase special matching cufflinks for themselves and each of their groomsmen instead of using the cufflinks provided by the tuxedo rental store. Some grooms choose neutral cufflinks, while others prefer to find cufflinks that coordinate with the color of the bridesmaid dresses. Like bridesmaid jewelry, cufflinks can be purchased for a wide range of prices on inexpensive wedding jewelry websites, at brick and mortar jewelry stores, and at many department stores. Some grooms also purchase commemorative cufflinks for their father and father-in-law. If your wedding is less formal and doesn’t include tuxedos, consider giving matching silk ties instead of cufflinks.
3. Mother of the Bride or Mother-In-Law Jewelry
If you have enough money left in your wedding jewelry budget after purchasing budget wedding rings and inexpensive wedding jewelry for your bridal party, it might be nice to think about Mom. Some couples choose to honor their mothers with a special bouquet or with a special piece of wedding jewelry as a thank you for all of their love and care over the years. Necklaces are a popular choice, and they can even coordinate with the bridesmaid jewelry if you desire. Some stores may have upcoming Valentine’s Day sales that would give you additional savings on your jewelry purchase.
Where would you recommend buying inexpensive wedding jewelry?
Photo Credit: Mercury Jane
5 Ways to Find a Wedding Dress on a Budget
Brides, one of the hardest times to keep your wedding on budget is while you are shopping for a wedding dress. Most women have an image in their minds of their perfect dress, and it is all too easy to forget about the price tag when you find the one. Maybe you have a little wiggle room in your budget as you are planning a cheap wedding because you found a beautiful discount wedding ring set online for less than you expected. Or perhaps you have found an inexpensive honeymoon package that will allow you to splurge a bit on your wedding dress. Or maybe you are completely strapped for cash. No matter how much money you have to spend on a wedding dress, here are five are easy ways to save on your perfect gown.
1. Go vintage.
Ask your mother, grandmother, aunt, older sister, or other female relatives or friends if you could alter and wear their dress. Many moms save their wedding dress in hopes that their daughter will want to wear it for her wedding. Wear the dress as-is if it is the right size and you like the vintage style, or find a tailor who specializes in wedding dresses to update the style or the fit. Some antique stores also sell beautiful wedding dresses at reasonable prices.
2. Buy used.
Most wedding dresses only get worn once, and then they get put in a box in the attic. Some women decide to sell their gown after the wedding to make some of the money back. If you like a specific designer gown, look on Craigslist or eBay to see if anyone is selling your ideal gown secondhand for a better price, then pay to have it steam cleaned by your local wedding store.
3. Shop sales.
When you are planning a cheap wedding, the last thing you need to do is walk into an expensive bridal boutique. Search inexpensive national bridal chains. Some stores such as David’s Bridal have regular $99 gown sales on select styles. Another possibility is to look for department store sales if you’re willing to look at nice white dresses in the prom or formalwear sections that might not be specifically designed as wedding gowns.
4. Make your own.
If you have strong sewing skills, look at your local fabric store for wedding dress patterns and fabrics to see if they carry anything you like. Sign up to receive store coupons via mail or email so that you can save even more money. Even if you are intimidated by the idea of sewing a dress, you can easily save money by sewing your own sash, veil, or other accessories. Or perhaps a sewing-savvy friend or relative will make your wedding dress as her gift to you.
Discover the best places to buy wedding dresses by polling social networks. Post a status update on Facebook asking, “Where do I buy an inexpensive wedding dress?” or search “cheap wedding dress” on Yelp.com. The results will show retailers whose descriptions and reviews include your search terms. That means you’ll find the stores that carry cheap wedding dresses and know to avoid the stores that are decidedly not cheap!
What tips do you have for buying a wedding dress on a budget?
Compare Trio Ring Set Prices Online Before You Buy
Buying a trio ring set, which includes a matching engagement ring, women’s wedding band, and men’s wedding band, saves you time and money. However, not all jewelers that offer trio ring sets offer the same affordable prices. Some jewelers are more expensive due to in-store mark-ups, high shipping costs, expensive warranty plans, and misleading pricing policies. For the most affordable trio ring sets, real diamond cluster rings from low-pressure, low-cost online retailers such as My Trio Rings are probably your best bet.
*My Trio Rings:
My Trio Rings offers a trio ring set with 10k white gold and a collection of small diamonds totaling 1/4 carats. This affordable diamond cluster ring set costs $379.99 with free shipping and a one year warranty.
Zales also sells a trio ring set with 10k white gold and 1/4 carat diamonds. At first glance, you might think that you are about to get an amazing deal, as band costs $194.65. The total cost for this ring set is $617.95 before tax. the price is listed “from $152.15.” When you click on the link, though, you will discover that each ring is actually priced separately. The ladies’ wedding band costs $152.15, the engagement ring costs $271.15, and the men’s wedding band costs $194.65, all sale prices.
*My Trio Rings:
My Trio Rings offers a 14k yellow gold trio ring set with 1 carat total diamond weight, including both princess and round cuts. This diamond cluster ring set sells for $614.99 and includes both free shipping and a free 1 year warranty.
Fred Meyers Jewelers sells a trio ring set that is roughly equivalent: 10k yellow gold and 1 carat total weight in round cut diamonds. The price for this wedding ring set is $1,399.00, which is more than twice as expensive as the comparable My Trio Rings set. Even though Fred Meyers Jewelers also offers free shipping over a low minimum purchase price, the My Trio Rings set is a much better bargain.
*Please note that all product and pricing information was updated on January 15th 2010.
How to Budget for Your Wedding Ring Set
You want to spend every moment with her. You can’t stop thinking about her. You know that she is the one person you want to share the rest of your life with. You want to start your life together on firm financial footing. Planning a wedding on a budget starts before you even pick out her wedding ring set. Here are some budget wedding tips to get you started before you pop the question.
1. Pick a ring you can afford.
The popular myth is that you need to spend at least two month’s salary on an engagement ring. But why go into debt if you can get a beautiful diamond ring for less? Pick a budget that you can afford and stick to it. The more money you save on a ring, the more money you will have to put towards the wedding, the honeymoon, or even the down payment on a house.
2. Shop for jewelry online.
Online jewelry stores often offer better selection and better prices than a brick-and-mortar store can afford to do. They have the advantage of not using pushy salespeople who may be working on commission. Online jewelers also allow you easy comparison shopping from the comfort of your living room as you search for the best deals.
3. Select a diamond cluster ring set.
You can save money by purchasing a diamond cluster ring, which clusters smaller diamonds together for a higher aesthetic impact at a much lower cost. You can also stay on budget by purchasing a bargain wedding ring set that includes either a wedding ring and an engagement ring or an engagement ring and two wedding bands instead of spending more money and time to choose each ring separately.
4. Put your ring on layaway.
Don’t purchase the wedding ring set with your credit card and get hit by high finance charges that will hurt your wallet and affect your credit rating for years to come. Some jewelers such as My Trio Rings offers customized layaway plans (http://www.mytriorings.com/layaway-plan.html) to help you spread out the cost of an engagement ring or a wedding ring set over time before you propose.
Photo Credit: Sinksanctity
Creative Proposal Ideas from Books and Movies
Two of the most popular times of year to propose marriage are Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It is too late for a Christmas proposal unless you want to plan ahead for next year. However, Valentine’s Day is a little over a month away. You still have time find the best possible deal on an inexpensive diamond cluster ring and come up with a creative proposal idea if you start planning now. There are many ways to create a memorable proposal. One technique is to use your partner’s favorite book or movie proposal as an inspiration. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. The Impromptu Proposal
In Little Women, there is a misunderstanding when Professor Bhaer comes to Concord as a surprise with the manuscript of Jo March’s book. He believes that Jo has married someone else. Once she discovers the misunderstanding, Jo chases after him as he walks to the train station in the rain. She asks him to stay, and he offers his hand in marriage at the spur of the moment as they stand together under a shared umbrella in the rain. Have your diamond cluster ring at the ready to propose to your girlfriend at an unplanned romantic moment when she least expects it.
2. The Classic Proposal
Mr. Bingley falls in love with Jane Bennet at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, but it is not until close to the end of the novel that he realizes she loves him, too. In the newest film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley visits the Bennets’ house and asks to have a private audience with Jane. Once alone with Jane, Mr. Bingley walks over to Jane and gets down on one knee. This may not be the most creative proposal idea, but if your girlfriend is traditional, she may value the classic down-on-one-knee approach.
3. The Simple Proposal
As is typical in many romances, circumstances have separated Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley until nearly the end of Anne of Avonlea. When Gilbert recovers from his long illness, he asks Anne to join him on a walk. He pauses on a bridge over the lake at sunset and takes her hand. Gilbert uses simple language to tell Anne that he doesn’t have much to offer and they won’t be able to get married right away, but he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. To take a page from Gilbert’s book, choose a beautiful landscape that is special to the two of you, and bring a diamond cluster ring in your pocket when you go.
4. The Bilingual Proposal
In Love Actually, Jamie and Aurelia quickly fall in love, but their language barrier (Jamie speaks English, and Aurelia speaks Portuguese) prevents them from communicating much with each other verbally. When he gets back to England, Jamie takes a crash course in Portuguese. He flies back to propose to Aurelia in her own language on Christmas Eve in the middle of the restaurant where she is a waitress. He is surprised when Aurelia accepts his proposal in English, as she also decided to learn his language “just in cases.” Surprise your girlfriend by learning her native language as a creative proposal idea that is full of romance.
What are your favorite proposals from books and movies?
Photo Credit: Isoteemu
Diamond Industry Tightens Control of Conflict-Free Diamonds
As bloody political tensions flare in Africa’s Côte d'Ivoire between rival presidential candidates, international Kimberley Process watchdogs are tightening their control of the diamond industry to be certain than conflict diamonds are not smuggled into the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
Almost a decade ago, the Kimberley Process was started by the United Nations to prevent the sale of diamonds that fund war and conflict in Africa and around the world. These diamonds are commonly known as blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. Since the establishment of the Kimberley Process, the sale of conflict diamonds has decreased from about fifteen percent of all diamond sales worldwide to less than one percent of all diamond sales worldwide. Currently, the only two countries under close scrutiny by the international Kimberley Process members for trying to sell conflict diamonds are Côte d'Ivoire and Zimbabwe.
New strategies to avoid the sale of conflict diamonds are making the news. Techniques to provide consumers with conflict-free diamonds they can be confident in include a method of tracing the geographical origin of diamonds through the identification of chemical “fingerprints.” This mapping process makes it more difficult for countries like Cote d’Ivoire to obtain fake certification to put conflict diamonds into affordable wedding rings.
Smart consumers should seek real, conflict-free diamonds as they search for affordable wedding rings. One of the best ways to do this is to choose a reliable jeweler. My Trio Rings purchases all of their certified conflict-free diamonds directly from the DeBeers mines, so you can be confident your rings are good for your wallet as well as good for society.
Photo Credit: Stevedepolo
6 Budget Honeymoon Tips
So far you’ve been a savvy bride and groom. You saved a lot of money by purchasing an inexpensive wedding ring set online. You planned and executed a romantic proposal. You are in the middle of planning a wedding on a budget. Now it is time to start thinking about taking a trip that will get you away from it all. How can you save money on a honeymoon? Here are some budget honeymoon tips to get you started.
1. Stay close to home.
Purchasing domestic airfare or driving your own car can be much cheaper than finding international flights. If you do decide to fly, investigate discount airlines and alternative airport possibilities. Instead of Paris, think New York City or Chicago. Instead of the Caribbean, consider North Carolina’s Outer Banks or the Florida Keys.
2. Get outdoors.
Many state parks offer cabin rentals. Find a park with secluded cabins and beautiful scenery. Bring your own champagne and picnic blanket. Many cabins even offer a kitchen to prepare meals together. Look into Vermont’s Button Bay State Park, Virginia’s First Landing State Park, or Mississippi’s Tishomingo State Park to get you started on planning your budget honeymoon.
3. Ask your friends.
Find out if any of your family or friends own a vacation home such as a beach house or a cabin on a lake or a condo in a nearby city. They may be willing to offer you a steep discount on lodging, or perhaps they will let you stay in their place for a week for free. You might also be able to find a friend of a friend who is hoping to sublease their big city apartment for a short time, which can be cheaper than a hotel stay.
4. Buy a package.
Search for all-inclusive vacation packages at an off-season resort. At certain times of year, it is easy to find a heavily discounted cruise, a Hawaii hotel steal, or an inexpensive Las Vegas vacation package. Online travel sites also sometimes have excellent last-minute budget honeymoon getaways.
5. Find an adventure.
Instead of picking a typical honeymoon destination at a high-cost resort, look for alternative activities at different locations. Consider renting a houseboat on the St. Johns river in Florida. Find a luxury spa in a lower cost destination, such as Hot Springs, Arkansas. Stay in a tree house bed and breakfast in a cedar tree in Washington State or a wilderness lodge in Alaska.
6. Register for a honeymoon.
If you are not prepared to pay for your dream honeymoon on your own, consider setting up a honeymoon registry through a site such as HoneyLuna.com or Honeyfund. Your guests can choose to give you the gift of a one-night hotel stay, a gourmet dinner, breakfast in bed, a couples massage, and whatever other luxuries you hope to indulge in.
Photo Credit: Steve Dunleavy