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Monthly Archives: October 2010

  • 4 Reasons to Choose Real Diamonds

    diamondsIn today’s shaky economy, it is tempting to sacrifice quality in order to save money, even when it comes to weddings. Many couples searching for gold and diamond wedding bands consider purchasing fake diamond jewelry, since it is significantly cheaper than even discount wedding ring sets made from real diamonds. But despite these savings, it does not make sense to start a life together with jewelry that will not last a lifetime. And that is not the only reason why the smart couple chooses real diamonds. Here are four reasons why:

    1. Diamonds are stronger than cubic zirconia.

    A cubic zirconia ring is much more likely than a real diamond ring to be damaged by everyday mishaps such as bumping into a wall while carrying a moving box or having your ring gnawed on by a teething baby. Since clumsy moments are unavoidable for many of us, having jewelry than can weather such blows brings peace of mind.

    2. Diamonds shine from every angle.

    Cubic zirconia rings can look dull when looked at from different angles. They also can have coloration or a shine that looks different from the brilliance of a real diamond. This difference makes it obvious to knowledgeable observers that the stone is not real. Cubic zirconia rings are also more likely to get cloudy or discolored than gold and diamond wedding bands that are properly cared for.

    3. Diamonds are considered to symbolize a lifetime commitment.

    Some people think it is bad luck to get married without a genuine diamond ring to seal the deal. It may be a superstition, but it makes sense that people are leery of representing their lifelong bond with jewelry that may not last as long as their relationship. If the wedding rings won’t last, will the marriage?

    4. Diamonds are a good investment.

    Unlike costume jewelry, high quality real diamonds have historically gained value over time. And although you are unlikely to sell your wedding ring to profit from this gained value, it is nice to know that the keepsake you may pass on to your grandchildren will have more than just sentimental value. And with a little polishing, that family heirloom will look as good as new.

    Fortunately, there are easy ways to save money on gold and diamond wedding bands, such as buying a diamond cluster ring rather than a diamond solitaire, or purchasing discount wedding ring sets online. Real diamond rings can fit into any budget with careful planning and comparison shopping.

  • 5 Wedding Traditions from Around the World

    planning-a-wedding-on-a-budgetSome brides and grooms feel that planning a wedding on a budget means cutting a lot of corners. But using budget wedding sites and finding a great deal on a unique wedding ring set are just a couple of the ways that smart couples find room in their budget to splurge on the things that really matter to them. It can also be less expensive and more special to deviate a bit from the typical American wedding (and the expensive mainstream wedding industry) to bring in cultural traditions from other parts of the world.

    1. Japanese Weddings

    After traditional Japanese weddings, the bride and groom trade their formal kimonos for pants and shirts in order to sing karaoke, act out skits, and play games with their wedding guests. These kinds of activities are a fun and inexpensive way to spend time with out-of-town guests, even if you are planning a wedding on a budget.

    2. South African Weddings

    After the wedding, the bride’s family brings fire from their own home to light a fire in the fireplace of the newlyweds in their new home. This could be a nice ceremony to incorporate into your wedding celebration if you are saving money by having a wedding reception in your home.

    3. Filipino Weddings

    In the Philippines, the newly married couple dances together as the bride’s family and friends race the groom’s family and friends to see who can pin more dollar bills onto the clothing of the bride and groom. The newlyweds get to take this money home with them after the reception. This contest is helpful to anyone who is planning a wedding on a budget because it brings in a little extra cash for you to start your life together as a married couple. Several other cultures also have a variation of this dollar dance at the wedding reception.

    4. Dutch Weddings

    In the Netherlands, family and friends of the bride and groom plant lily-of-the-valley bulbs all around the couple’s home to help the couple celebrate the renewal of their love each year when the flowers bloom. If you and your spouse-to-be have chosen a home with an outdoor area that can accommodate a garden, take advantage of this tradition and let your loved ones help with the planting.

    5. Mexican Weddings

    Traditional food at Mexican weddings includes such staples as rice, beans, and tortillas. Choosing to have a Mexican-themed reception could be significantly less expensive than trying to feed steak or salmon to your wedding guests. Mexican wedding cookies or cakes can also be inexpensive to make yourself.

    Photo: Mark Sebastian

  • 4 Romantic Ways to Propose

    diamond-cluster-ringYou have discovered your girlfriend’s ring size. You have shopped around for affordable engagement ring sets. You have picked out the perfect diamond cluster engagement ring. Now it is time to plan the perfect proposal. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    1. Give her the best gift of her life.

    Collect square boxes of all sizes, from very large to very small. Put the diamond cluster engagement ring into the smallest box and wrap it. Tape a note on the outside that says one of your favorite things about your girlfriend. Put the wrapped box inside of the next largest box and wrap it. Write another note. Continue to nest the box into larger boxes and wrap with pretty wrapping paper topped with a sweet note. Once you have wrapped the largest box, tie it with a big bow and give it to her for her birthday. Or slip the engagement ring into the toe of her Christmas stocking and cover it with other gifts before hanging it back on the mantel.

    2. Plan a picnic.

    Ask your girlfriend to meet you for a picnic at your favorite park. Pack a picnic basket with your girlfriend’s favorite foods. Fill a cooler with ice and a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider. Bring a big picnic blanket to sit on. Don’t forget to bring her diamond cluster engagement ring in your pocket. Make a toast to your future together and pull out the ring to propose before you eat. Or have a local bakery create a cake or cookie with your proposal written in icing, and present it at the end of your meal.

    3. Make memories at the movies.

    Plan a dinner-and-a-movie date. Take your girlfriend to her favorite restaurant and go all out. Order an appetizer, wine, and dessert in addition to the meal itself. Next, take her to see a romantic movie at the theater. Be sure to sit on her left. Hold her hand during the movie, and at one of the most romantic moments of the movie, use your other hand to slip her diamond cluster engagement ring out of your pocket and onto her finger.

    4. Put it in writing.

    Based on your girlfriend’s interests, think of a creative way to put your proposal in writing. If she loves the ocean, plan a day at the beach when you will write the proposal in the sand. Does she spend a lot of time at the computer? Write one word on each post-it note to spell out “Will you marry me?” Stick the notes along the top of her computer monitor. Is your girlfriend a word lover? Create your own crossword puzzle with a proposal hidden in the clues to slip inside the morning newspaper. Or write a proposal with a magnetic poetry set on the refrigerator.

    For more romantic proposal ideas, visit TheKnot.com.

  • Top Five Savvy Wedding Splurges

    Wedding_SplurgesFor most couples, the sky is not the limit for their wedding budget. One of the necessities of planning a wedding on a budget is prioritizing in order to stay within the bounds of a reasonable budget. Where will you save money, and where do you want to spend a little extra? Smart couples who choose to purchase high quality, affordable engagement ring sets often find that they have a little extra cash to make other parts of their wedding even more special.

    1. Honeymoon

    Planning a wedding on a budget can be a challenge, especially when it comes to planning a memorable trip to start your life together as a married couple. A little extra money in the honeymoon budget can fund more luxurious hotel accommodations, travel to a more exotic destination, more gourmet meals, more expensive champagne, or even extras like a couple’s massage or a hot air balloon ride.

    2. Photography

    For many brides and grooms, their wedding day is a whirlwind. They may not even remember to eat, and they may have trouble remembering specific moments from their special day in the years to come. Having an excellent professional photographer and / or videographer is important to preserving wedding memories for a lifetime. Whether you prefer formal portraits or the style of photojournalism, having wiggle room in the budget allows you to choose the photographer that best fits your style. Some creative couples even choose to rent a photo booth for fun candid shots of their guests.

    3. Music

    Some couples are happy to play a mix CD at their reception or even to have their iPod on shuffle. For others, it is important to have the funds to hire the best local band to play live music or to have their favorite DJ taking song requests from their wedding guests at the reception. Still others wish to hire a string quartet for their stroll down the aisle rather than relying on the church organist. If you decide that music is important to you as you are planning a wedding on a budget, then choosing to spend less money on an affordable engagement ring set could give you the room in your budget to cater to your musical tastes.

    4. Food

    Weddings that take place around meal times make it necessary to serve your guests more than just cake. Some brides and grooms are happy with a small buffet with a few different food choices. Other couples wish to host a sit-down dinner with expensive entrees and fine wine. The amount of money you spend on wedding food can vary widely depending on your taste, the style of your wedding, and the head count. If you decide that you want to serve a steak dinner, then find other places to be frugal in your wedding budget in order to save money to pay the caterer.

    5. Style and Appearance (Especially For the Bride)

    It’s up to you, as a bride, how glamorous you want to get for your big day. You could splurge on a wedding gown that makes you feel like royalty, or invest in a professional hair and makeup artist. To save on the hassle of transporting your bridesmaids to the salon, and to take care of their hair and makeup as well, you might hire a stylist or two to come to the hotel the morning of the wedding. Instead of buying your bridesmaids gifts, you could treat them to manicures and pedicures the day before the wedding. Cutting corners in other areas of your budget allows you to invest in those that mean a lot to you.

    What would you do with the extra money left over from your wedding ring budget?

    Photo Credit: Mindaugas Danys

  • Celebrate Your Love and the Planet with a Green Wedding

    Green_WeddingWeddings can be both expensive and hard on the environment, but with a little planning, you can create a beautiful green wedding. From picking conflict-free, inexpensive trio ring sets to serving locally grown food, you can make your wedding a little greener without spending too much extra money. By thinking about ways to reduce and reuse, you might even save a little money. Here’s how to green your wedding:

    1. Minimize Travel.

    Choose a location for your wedding that will minimize how much travel your guests will need to do. Some couples with far-flung family and friends decide to have a formal wedding and reception in one area of the country and an informal reception with other loved ones in another area of the country to reduce their wedding expenses as well as to reduce how much their family and friends will need to travel. Other couples minimize travel by holding their wedding and reception in the same building or renting a bus to transport guests between the wedding and reception sites. If you and your guests will have a lot of long-distance travel to do, consider purchasing inexpensive carbon offsets.

    2. Serve Sustainable Food.

    Serve your guests organic food or seasonal food that is locally grown and harvested to reduce the environmental impact of feeding your wedding guests. Ask your caterer to serve your food on washable, reusable plates or disposable plates that are made from recycled materials. Use nice cloth napkins. Make sure you have facilities available for recycling soda cans and other recyclable materials.

    3. Purchase Wedding Ring Sets Responsibly.

    Not all diamonds are created equal. Be certain to choose diamonds that are mined in a responsible manner. Ask your jeweler for conflict-free diamonds that have not been used to fund slavery or war in Africa. Most diamonds sold in the United States today are certified conflict-free, but it is an important question to ask before purchasing a trio wedding ring set to celebrate your love. Fortunately, this certification should not increase the price of your rings. Purchasing a his and hers wedding ring set also saves you money and uses less packaging compared to purchasing individual wedding rings.

    4. Use Recycled Paper or Go Paperless.

    Print your wedding invitations on recycled paper products, or send online invitations to all or most of your guests (besides your grandmothers, unless they’re tech-savvy). Invitations made with recycled content should not cost much more than conventional invitations. Sending online invitations is best for the environment and will definitely save you money. Consider using e-mail or e-cards to send your thank-you notes as well.

    Photo Credit: Alexandria Perone

5 Item(s)

Monthly Archives: October 2010

  • 4 Reasons to Choose Real Diamonds

    diamondsIn today’s shaky economy, it is tempting to sacrifice quality in order to save money, even when it comes to weddings. Many couples searching for gold and diamond wedding bands consider purchasing fake diamond jewelry, since it is significantly cheaper than even discount wedding ring sets made from real diamonds. But despite these savings, it does not make sense to start a life together with jewelry that will not last a lifetime. And that is not the only reason why the smart couple chooses real diamonds. Here are four reasons why:

    1. Diamonds are stronger than cubic zirconia.

    A cubic zirconia ring is much more likely than a real diamond ring to be damaged by everyday mishaps such as bumping into a wall while carrying a moving box or having your ring gnawed on by a teething baby. Since clumsy moments are unavoidable for many of us, having jewelry than can weather such blows brings peace of mind.

    2. Diamonds shine from every angle.

    Cubic zirconia rings can look dull when looked at from different angles. They also can have coloration or a shine that looks different from the brilliance of a real diamond. This difference makes it obvious to knowledgeable observers that the stone is not real. Cubic zirconia rings are also more likely to get cloudy or discolored than gold and diamond wedding bands that are properly cared for.

    3. Diamonds are considered to symbolize a lifetime commitment.

    Some people think it is bad luck to get married without a genuine diamond ring to seal the deal. It may be a superstition, but it makes sense that people are leery of representing their lifelong bond with jewelry that may not last as long as their relationship. If the wedding rings won’t last, will the marriage?

    4. Diamonds are a good investment.

    Unlike costume jewelry, high quality real diamonds have historically gained value over time. And although you are unlikely to sell your wedding ring to profit from this gained value, it is nice to know that the keepsake you may pass on to your grandchildren will have more than just sentimental value. And with a little polishing, that family heirloom will look as good as new.

    Fortunately, there are easy ways to save money on gold and diamond wedding bands, such as buying a diamond cluster ring rather than a diamond solitaire, or purchasing discount wedding ring sets online. Real diamond rings can fit into any budget with careful planning and comparison shopping.

  • 5 Wedding Traditions from Around the World

    planning-a-wedding-on-a-budgetSome brides and grooms feel that planning a wedding on a budget means cutting a lot of corners. But using budget wedding sites and finding a great deal on a unique wedding ring set are just a couple of the ways that smart couples find room in their budget to splurge on the things that really matter to them. It can also be less expensive and more special to deviate a bit from the typical American wedding (and the expensive mainstream wedding industry) to bring in cultural traditions from other parts of the world.

    1. Japanese Weddings

    After traditional Japanese weddings, the bride and groom trade their formal kimonos for pants and shirts in order to sing karaoke, act out skits, and play games with their wedding guests. These kinds of activities are a fun and inexpensive way to spend time with out-of-town guests, even if you are planning a wedding on a budget.

    2. South African Weddings

    After the wedding, the bride’s family brings fire from their own home to light a fire in the fireplace of the newlyweds in their new home. This could be a nice ceremony to incorporate into your wedding celebration if you are saving money by having a wedding reception in your home.

    3. Filipino Weddings

    In the Philippines, the newly married couple dances together as the bride’s family and friends race the groom’s family and friends to see who can pin more dollar bills onto the clothing of the bride and groom. The newlyweds get to take this money home with them after the reception. This contest is helpful to anyone who is planning a wedding on a budget because it brings in a little extra cash for you to start your life together as a married couple. Several other cultures also have a variation of this dollar dance at the wedding reception.

    4. Dutch Weddings

    In the Netherlands, family and friends of the bride and groom plant lily-of-the-valley bulbs all around the couple’s home to help the couple celebrate the renewal of their love each year when the flowers bloom. If you and your spouse-to-be have chosen a home with an outdoor area that can accommodate a garden, take advantage of this tradition and let your loved ones help with the planting.

    5. Mexican Weddings

    Traditional food at Mexican weddings includes such staples as rice, beans, and tortillas. Choosing to have a Mexican-themed reception could be significantly less expensive than trying to feed steak or salmon to your wedding guests. Mexican wedding cookies or cakes can also be inexpensive to make yourself.

    Photo: Mark Sebastian

  • 4 Romantic Ways to Propose

    diamond-cluster-ringYou have discovered your girlfriend’s ring size. You have shopped around for affordable engagement ring sets. You have picked out the perfect diamond cluster engagement ring. Now it is time to plan the perfect proposal. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    1. Give her the best gift of her life.

    Collect square boxes of all sizes, from very large to very small. Put the diamond cluster engagement ring into the smallest box and wrap it. Tape a note on the outside that says one of your favorite things about your girlfriend. Put the wrapped box inside of the next largest box and wrap it. Write another note. Continue to nest the box into larger boxes and wrap with pretty wrapping paper topped with a sweet note. Once you have wrapped the largest box, tie it with a big bow and give it to her for her birthday. Or slip the engagement ring into the toe of her Christmas stocking and cover it with other gifts before hanging it back on the mantel.

    2. Plan a picnic.

    Ask your girlfriend to meet you for a picnic at your favorite park. Pack a picnic basket with your girlfriend’s favorite foods. Fill a cooler with ice and a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider. Bring a big picnic blanket to sit on. Don’t forget to bring her diamond cluster engagement ring in your pocket. Make a toast to your future together and pull out the ring to propose before you eat. Or have a local bakery create a cake or cookie with your proposal written in icing, and present it at the end of your meal.

    3. Make memories at the movies.

    Plan a dinner-and-a-movie date. Take your girlfriend to her favorite restaurant and go all out. Order an appetizer, wine, and dessert in addition to the meal itself. Next, take her to see a romantic movie at the theater. Be sure to sit on her left. Hold her hand during the movie, and at one of the most romantic moments of the movie, use your other hand to slip her diamond cluster engagement ring out of your pocket and onto her finger.

    4. Put it in writing.

    Based on your girlfriend’s interests, think of a creative way to put your proposal in writing. If she loves the ocean, plan a day at the beach when you will write the proposal in the sand. Does she spend a lot of time at the computer? Write one word on each post-it note to spell out “Will you marry me?” Stick the notes along the top of her computer monitor. Is your girlfriend a word lover? Create your own crossword puzzle with a proposal hidden in the clues to slip inside the morning newspaper. Or write a proposal with a magnetic poetry set on the refrigerator.

    For more romantic proposal ideas, visit TheKnot.com.

  • Top Five Savvy Wedding Splurges

    Wedding_SplurgesFor most couples, the sky is not the limit for their wedding budget. One of the necessities of planning a wedding on a budget is prioritizing in order to stay within the bounds of a reasonable budget. Where will you save money, and where do you want to spend a little extra? Smart couples who choose to purchase high quality, affordable engagement ring sets often find that they have a little extra cash to make other parts of their wedding even more special.

    1. Honeymoon

    Planning a wedding on a budget can be a challenge, especially when it comes to planning a memorable trip to start your life together as a married couple. A little extra money in the honeymoon budget can fund more luxurious hotel accommodations, travel to a more exotic destination, more gourmet meals, more expensive champagne, or even extras like a couple’s massage or a hot air balloon ride.

    2. Photography

    For many brides and grooms, their wedding day is a whirlwind. They may not even remember to eat, and they may have trouble remembering specific moments from their special day in the years to come. Having an excellent professional photographer and / or videographer is important to preserving wedding memories for a lifetime. Whether you prefer formal portraits or the style of photojournalism, having wiggle room in the budget allows you to choose the photographer that best fits your style. Some creative couples even choose to rent a photo booth for fun candid shots of their guests.

    3. Music

    Some couples are happy to play a mix CD at their reception or even to have their iPod on shuffle. For others, it is important to have the funds to hire the best local band to play live music or to have their favorite DJ taking song requests from their wedding guests at the reception. Still others wish to hire a string quartet for their stroll down the aisle rather than relying on the church organist. If you decide that music is important to you as you are planning a wedding on a budget, then choosing to spend less money on an affordable engagement ring set could give you the room in your budget to cater to your musical tastes.

    4. Food

    Weddings that take place around meal times make it necessary to serve your guests more than just cake. Some brides and grooms are happy with a small buffet with a few different food choices. Other couples wish to host a sit-down dinner with expensive entrees and fine wine. The amount of money you spend on wedding food can vary widely depending on your taste, the style of your wedding, and the head count. If you decide that you want to serve a steak dinner, then find other places to be frugal in your wedding budget in order to save money to pay the caterer.

    5. Style and Appearance (Especially For the Bride)

    It’s up to you, as a bride, how glamorous you want to get for your big day. You could splurge on a wedding gown that makes you feel like royalty, or invest in a professional hair and makeup artist. To save on the hassle of transporting your bridesmaids to the salon, and to take care of their hair and makeup as well, you might hire a stylist or two to come to the hotel the morning of the wedding. Instead of buying your bridesmaids gifts, you could treat them to manicures and pedicures the day before the wedding. Cutting corners in other areas of your budget allows you to invest in those that mean a lot to you.

    What would you do with the extra money left over from your wedding ring budget?

    Photo Credit: Mindaugas Danys

  • Celebrate Your Love and the Planet with a Green Wedding

    Green_WeddingWeddings can be both expensive and hard on the environment, but with a little planning, you can create a beautiful green wedding. From picking conflict-free, inexpensive trio ring sets to serving locally grown food, you can make your wedding a little greener without spending too much extra money. By thinking about ways to reduce and reuse, you might even save a little money. Here’s how to green your wedding:

    1. Minimize Travel.

    Choose a location for your wedding that will minimize how much travel your guests will need to do. Some couples with far-flung family and friends decide to have a formal wedding and reception in one area of the country and an informal reception with other loved ones in another area of the country to reduce their wedding expenses as well as to reduce how much their family and friends will need to travel. Other couples minimize travel by holding their wedding and reception in the same building or renting a bus to transport guests between the wedding and reception sites. If you and your guests will have a lot of long-distance travel to do, consider purchasing inexpensive carbon offsets.

    2. Serve Sustainable Food.

    Serve your guests organic food or seasonal food that is locally grown and harvested to reduce the environmental impact of feeding your wedding guests. Ask your caterer to serve your food on washable, reusable plates or disposable plates that are made from recycled materials. Use nice cloth napkins. Make sure you have facilities available for recycling soda cans and other recyclable materials.

    3. Purchase Wedding Ring Sets Responsibly.

    Not all diamonds are created equal. Be certain to choose diamonds that are mined in a responsible manner. Ask your jeweler for conflict-free diamonds that have not been used to fund slavery or war in Africa. Most diamonds sold in the United States today are certified conflict-free, but it is an important question to ask before purchasing a trio wedding ring set to celebrate your love. Fortunately, this certification should not increase the price of your rings. Purchasing a his and hers wedding ring set also saves you money and uses less packaging compared to purchasing individual wedding rings.

    4. Use Recycled Paper or Go Paperless.

    Print your wedding invitations on recycled paper products, or send online invitations to all or most of your guests (besides your grandmothers, unless they’re tech-savvy). Invitations made with recycled content should not cost much more than conventional invitations. Sending online invitations is best for the environment and will definitely save you money. Consider using e-mail or e-cards to send your thank-you notes as well.

    Photo Credit: Alexandria Perone

5 Item(s)