Halo engagement rings are all the rage-and have been a huge trend in jewelry for the better half of the last decade. What exactly is a halo and why are halos so popular?
A halo engagement ring is a style of ring where the center stone (or side stones) are surrounded by smaller stones, forming a circle (a halo) around the stone itself. The halo ensures that the center stone appears larger and more vibrant, achieving the look and feel of a larger stone at a fraction of the cost of an increase in carat size (Money saving tip!). This setting also tends to enhance the brilliance of the diamond, improving a stone’s visual appearance.
You can choose from two different types of halo settings; one where the halo circles flush against the center stone and the other, where there is a slight gap between the halo and center diamond.
Brainstorming for places that might serve a double purpose for your big day and the honeymoon to follow? Why not consider the Big Easy?
Destination weddings in New Orleans deliver in the excitement department, and you’re going to find they also provide a number of perks you might not have considered. Even if you intend to have guests of all ages along for the ceremony, New Orleans is well worth careful consideration. Yes, it’s famed for its lively adult atmosphere, but there’s more to this town than often meets the eye.
So, why should you consider hosting your destination wedding in New Orleans? Here are just a few of the many reasons why this city can really jazz up pre, during and post-wedding fun:
The attractions for your guests – When brides and grooms plan destination weddings they often torture themselves making sure their location will fit the tastes of most of the guests on their lists. New Orleans works beautifully on this score. The French Quarter’s nighttime party atmosphere is awesome for adult guests to enjoy. By day, however, it takes on a whole new feel that’s more than family-friendly. Plus, there’s the world-famous zoo to explore, the Garden District, bayou tours, shopping, musical attractions, museums and much more that guests of any age can enjoy. All the top spots, by the way, are great for honeymoon adventures after the big ceremony.
The convenience – Destination weddings can be tough on guests’ wallets and difficult to get to. If you need a stateside location, New Orleans more that fits the bill. It’s fairly easy to get to by car from just about anywhere in the Continental United States. Plus, it’s major airport makes it quite convenient for those who don’t wish to drive. Top that off with a wide variety of hotels and resorts set to fit almost any budget, and this particular destination is likely to be music to guests’ ears.
The resorts – Speaking of those resorts, New Orleans is famous for its southern hospitality. If you choose to have a destination wedding here, you can count on royal treatment from resorts that know how to handle all the little details leading up to the big day and beyond. Speak with your wedding and honeymoon travel advisory for some of the top picks on resorts to work with.
The food, music and fun – New Orleans is famed for its cuisine that practically defies description. From its crawfish boils to its incredible beignets, you and your guests will delight in what’s on the menu. New Orleans is also famed for its live music – especially jazz, which makes it a treat for those who desire entertainment.
To find out more about New Orleans destination weddings, just check with your honeymoon travel advisor.
There are many advantages to having a summer-themed wedding. If the weather holds up, you can plan a ceremony outside with fun lawn games like croquet and bocce. You can also have your wedding at a picturesque location such as a beach, forest, lakefront, desert or sunny meadows. You and your guests will be able to take in the natural beauty on your special day. If you want to do something really summery, go with the tried and true beach wedding.
These beach theme seed favors are a perfect way to leave your guests with something to remember your wedding day by. These favors are hand folded from seed embedded paper, which is also plantable. It features a metallic silver star fish and a biodegradable ribbon. These are perfect to place on each place settings or simply put them on a table to be picked up and taken home when leaving the wedding.
These message in a bottle place card holders are ideal for a beach-themed, summer wedding. The place cards are printed on a white metallic vellum paper and embellished with a starfish on the cork stopper. This is a fun and creative way to let people know what table they should be seated at. Gallery 360 works with natural seashells that are natural byproducts of the seafood industry and each natural seashell or starfish is never taken alive.
This pyramid keepsake bottle is a perfect gift for your wedding guests or bridal party. This keepsake bottle is built with recycled glass and can be filled with candy or other trinkets for your guests. Your guests can take this home and be reminded of your special day for years to come. All of these keepsake bottles are engraved in silver script with the message, “Gather sand and shells to remember the time you spent here…Thank you for joining us.”
The hibiscus wedding invitation is a perfect way to incorporate a tropical theme into your wedding. The hibiscus flowers are infused with bright and vibrant pinks and yellows. These wedding invitations are printed on 100% recycled paper which will bloom into beautiful wildflowers once planted.
One of the best parts of destination weddings is that your time spent with family and attendants isnot limited to a 4 hour reception! You get more than one shot to celebrate. Of course, there is always pool and beach time to just hang out or relax with your guests, but we hear from couples that excursions and events before and after the actual wedding day bring families and friends closer together and start their married life off on a high note.
We highly recommend talking to your wedding planner and asking for tips on activities and experiences that are unique and indigenous to that resort and geography. Total immersion in the culture makes for more memorable vacation memories! Here are some examples that our destination couples have raved about:
Do a pampering session with a local twist. If you are having a destination wedding in Mexico several resorts offer a Temezcal ceremony, which is a fantastic way to experience the Mayan culture. I have seen the word Temazcal many times over the years but who knew it was a mud dome-like structure where people undergo an ancient Aztec cleansing ritual?! The goal of the ceremony is to balance the mind, body and spirit. Feedback from our couples is that they really feel more relaxed and centered after this experience. Sign me up!
If you and your friends are big into music, the Hard Rock Hotels offer a very cool in-room experience called “The Sound Of Your Stay®.“ Our destination couples don’t always believe us when we tell them that they have their pick of 20 Fender® guitars to bring back to their room, but it’s true! These iconic guitars are available for an in-room jam session, along with professional headphones, amps, and a laptop equipped with digital mixing software!
Active adventures, such as zip-lining are a fabulous bonding experience! In places like Costa Rica you can’t beat the exhilaration of flying over the rainforest canopy. For any active experiences, our wedding specialists encourage destination wedding groups to wait until AFTER the wedding. Although they are safe, why risk your chances of simple scuffed knees or scratches on faces, etc.
Foodie families often gravitate to gourmet-inclusive resorts where gastronomical adventures, such as cooking classes and wine tastings, provide fun, social experiences. If your guest list includes a group of people who don’t know each other prior to your wedding, these interactive events encourage conversation. Who doesn’t love to talk about food? Of course, our wedding specialists would chime in here and say, “Have fun but don’t over indulge before the wedding day!” No explanation needed.
Confession time. How many of you started a wedding board on Pinterest way before you were actually engaged? If you answered yes, you keep good company. Truth is that the majority of women – single and engaged—have wedding boards, including teenagers! Question is: how are you going to make the most of Pinterest when it comes time to plan your destination wedding? This is when Pinterest becomes more than just a place to pin pretty pictures. It’s a serious organization tool.
If you haven’t already, start by installing the “The Pin It Button,” a.k.a. the bookmarklet, for the Chrome Browser. This handy little plug-in lets you easily pin things from around the web. All you need to do is click Install on Pinterest on the Goodies page(just below the “The Pin It Button” header) to add it to your bookmarks bar. After that, whenever you see an image or video that you want to pin, click the bookmarklet to pin away!
This small step can help you start crafting a vision of your ideal destination wedding. Start by visiting tourism board sites, destination wedding sites and wedding sites and blogs. While creating boards, think of different parts of your wedding planning. Some board topic suggestions are: dream wedding destination, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, wedding flowers, DIY ideas, wedding party gifts, you get the idea. By breaking things out into separate boards like this it helps you stay focused on individual decisions and yet see how they relate…without being overwhelmed.
So you are probably saying, I want to pin gift ideas, but I want my wedding party to be surprised! No worries. The nice thing is that you can now create “Secret Boards.” This new addition is perfect for wedding planning. When you add a pin to a secret board, it won’t show up anywhere else on Pinterest—the only place you can see it is on your secret board. Here’s how to make a secret board:
When using Pinterest from the web, go to your profile page.
Scroll down to the bottom and click “Create a Secret Board.”
If you are using a mobile device, make sure you have the latest version of Pinterest app installed.
Visit your profile, select the Boards tab and scroll down until you see “Create a Secret Board.”
You can also use your boards to collaborate with your wedding planner or your wedding party. By creating a “group board” you can invite others to pin to. For areas of your wedding that you want input, this is great way to “get everyone on the same page.” Here’s how to start a group board:
Go to the board and click Edit
Enter the first and last name (or email address) of the invitee under Who can pin?
Click his/her name once it loads
Last piece of advice: Don’t forget to eat, sleep, go to work. Pinterest is notoriously addictive. Happy Pinning!
As a wedding planner, I get all kinds of questions from brides, their moms, and even a few grooms! The one issue that usually comes up right away is concerning what the mothers of the bride and groom should wear.
Throughout my career I have heard from many moms that the bride wanted the mothers to wear matching colors and dresses, or even worse, match the bridesmaids. One mother of the bride told me that her daughter insisted that everyone (moms and bridesmaids) wear the same color because she didn’t want a rainbow of hues in her wedding pictures.
For those of you that like this idea, let’s talk! To be honest, I advise different styles and colors for moms. Just think of the confusion as guests will not be able to keep up with who is a mom, who is a bridesmaid, and, if there are several moms and step -moms, it could get really crazy. Not to mention look pretty boring.
The bride’s mom is not going to be the star, but she really is going to be out front in photos, acting as a host, greeting guests, etc. And, we want mom to be happy and comfortable as she moves through the day. I am in total agreement though, that there should not be a rainbow of colors, as it can take the focus off the bride, and after all, it is about the bride, right?
So, what’s a bride to do? My suggestion is to let moms choose their own dresses under the bride’s guidance and approval. Regardless of place, time or formality, the bridesmaids are expected to look very similar, but moms should show a little personality.
According to tradition, the MOB gets to choose her dress before the groom’s mother. Then Groom’s mother can pick her dress in a similar style and coordinating color. I think it looks best to have the same basic style. When I say basic style, I am not suggesting matching dresses.
But, whatever bride’s mom picks; whether it is long and simple or a short cocktail dress, all of the moms should generally follow suit.
Now, lets talk about color. I like to use complimentary colors that blend with the overall theme. Imagine your wedding color palette is dramatic with gold, hot pink, and black. If bridesmaids are wearing black and carrying pink bouquets, I suggest moms each pick a separate shade of hot pink, red, or champagne. What if your wedding is all white and cream with your bridesmaids in soft grey? Moms could wear different soft pastel shades.
Do you see the pattern here? If wedding colors are soft, moms wear soft colors as well. If they are bold, moms can wear bold colors. Even though the shades will be different, they can all work together. Whether moms pick cocktail, long, simple, or elegant, they can add another layer of beauty to your wedding day without looking alike!
As a Master Bridal Consultant based in Alabama, Alene’s expertise ranges from upscale weddings at exclusive destinations to cutting-edge artistic events. Organized, creative, enthusiastic, and always diplomatic, she brings unwavering support and wisdom to every one of the clients on her selective roster.
Spring is finally here after long months of winter and what better way to say HELLO spring than with some fabulous bling! Our favorites are Tacori, Jeff Cooper and Verragio, all designers who specialize in halos, vintage and three stone rings.
Some of our favorite rings for spring:
Just because your ring is an unusual style or shape doesn’t mean it will be impossible to find a matching wedding band- most designers, especially Tacori, Jeff Cooper and Verragio, make rings that match all of their engagement styles specifically for that reason. If you don’t like the exact match, all of the rings come from a specific collection that will have a similar look and feel of your ring, so you can always mix and match. Plus, you can always match a ring with a simple plain band of platinum or even an eternity band!
If you have any additional questions, please let us know, and we would love to help you find the perfect ring at Mervis Diamond Importers!
Shows like “Say Yes the Dress” have been trying to convince us for a while that a “cheap” wedding dress is anything under a thousand dollars, and that’s just not right. Wedding dresses are whatever you make of them (and feel absurdly pretty in) – don’t let a bridal salon or name brand decide whether or not something is wedding-y enough to be your wedding dress. There are an endless number of places you can find beautiful white dresses for under a thousand dollars (my favorite price range hovers around $200, actually), and they’re every bit as deeply fabulous as the ones you see on wedding shows. Consider:
Sometimes a dirty word in the high-end wedding world, David’s Bridal gets more flak than it deserves. Their customer service team is always helpful and their selection is wonderful if you know what you’re looking for. The problem is that there’s a lot to look through. Many people picture a blank, A-line white sack with a wine-colored ribbon when they think of David’s Bridal, and some of their dresses can border on the boring, but the breadth of selection makes up for it. On their website, I selected “All Gowns” and then “Low to High” and found a number of very pretty gowns for under $300 (I especially enjoyed the “See in Motion” feature for many of their dresses). If you were discounting them before, I advise at least browsing their selection before moving on.
Department Stores Nordstrom has beautiful wedding dresses for much lower prices than I expected (hovering right around 200-300 bucks for the most part), and the same goes for Macy’s. You have many options outside of the bridal salon, and while you may not get the same devoted salesperson at your beck and call, department stores are worth checking out if you’re interested in an inexpensive dress for your wedding day. If you’re a pomp-and-circumstance bride who wants something that could be considered a “gown,” I might skip this option, but it’s a wonderful idea for brides who are less concerned with a fancy wardrobe. Consider searching the racks away from “bridal” to find simple white dresses that aren’t marked for weddings. No guest will tackle you at the punch bowl for wearing something that wasn’t marketed to brides specifically. Pin on a veil and/or some pretty little bridal combs and every dress becomes a wedding dress.
Custom Dresses from Private Sellers
It sounds like it would be a more expensive option, but it really depends on where you go for your custom dress. Most seamstresses will make you a white dress (something made FOR YOU!), but like with everything else in life, the price goes up the fancier you get. Sites like “Dolly Couture” offer wonderful custom dresses that start well under a thousand dollars, and private sellers like Dolly make it much easier to find a dress that suits your particular style. It takes a bit of hunting, but it doesn’t have to be impossible to find a wonderfully fabulous dress for way less than Kleinfeld would have you believe!
After reading Carla’s post about the consideration a couple should give before “Accepting Friendly Wedding Services,” I began to recall all the couples, who came to our studio with post wedding horror stories or unfinished albums and videos.
Rather than going over the many experiences, couples have told us about, I will list the top 10 items, which many of the couples had in common in each of their experiences.
REASON #10 – No Album
When you are using a friend for your wedding photography or video, who is not affiliated with a studio or is new to the field of wedding photography, you may not have the option of having an album created. An album, is a way to take the best of your wedding day memories and preserve them in a timeless work of art. Without an album, your wedding photographs may wind up in a box, in a closet, never seeing the light of day. I guess that is another way to preserve your memories. You can also make an album on your own, as long as your too doo list is not already a mile long.
REASON #9 – No Post Production
So your friend captured your entire wedding on video. Now what? Did you get it as RAW Unedited Footage on DVD, or is it still sitting on your friends’ hard drive. Either way you do not have the chance to enjoy it. With a production studio, you have the chance to have a beautifully edited video, often suited to your specific vision. Just a word of advice, the RAW Unedited Footage, will have everything, including the effects of a 5 hour open bar, something to consider, when you want to watch your wedding video with grandma and the kids.
REASON #8 – Missing Pictures
When working a with a friend, who may be a novice to wedding photographer or video, you often do not take the time to go through the wedding day planning, as you would with a studio or season professional. The result is missing photographs and/or video footage. With most studio and season professionals, you will fill out a form to ensure you get the images you want on your wedding day.
REASON #7 – People Missing In Family Pictures
Just about every wedding has a formal photo session as part of their wedding day. These photos are usually taken at a special location, selected by the couple and will include the bridal party and family member. You may think that your family friend, knows everyone in your family, but what about your fiancés brother, who you never met. A season professional will make sure to have a list of all the people being photographed, avoiding this problem.
REASON #6 – Pictures Out Of Focus
This one is simple. If you do not have a professional, who understands how a wedding day works, you will get out of focus pictures. Our studio has come across, many photographers who have great studio experience, but a wedding is not in a studio, and in some cases, you only have seconds to capture that special moment. The purchase of a great new professional camera does not make someone a season pro. It’s the years of experience that ensures couples their photographs will be vivid and clear.
REASON #5 – Shaky Video Footage
Video is another area, which couple say they can get from a friend, and that is okay, if they are a professional. If they are not, your end product will can be shaky footage. No amount of post production can fix shaky footage. This is probably one of the greatest differences between a friend and a pro.
REASON #4 – Never Received My Video
Is your friend a true friend, or is your friend a friend of a friend. Your top concern should be to make sure you get your video footage, otherwise, you have no options.
REASON #3 – Never Received My Pictures
Referring to reason #4. You don’t want your wedding pictures, sitting on an SD card or someone’s hard drive. A studio or season pro will take specific steps to ensure not only the safety of your images, but their prompt and speedy delivery. Friends move and argue not the best person to be holdingon to your wedding photos.
REASON #2 – Your Friend Is Not A Professional
There is a clear difference between a professional and a novice. Someone who has studio photography experience or shoots television commercials, is still not a wedding professional, who understands the nuances of a wedding day. From dealing with changing light, to changing personality, from indulgence of the open bar, to the different personality of family members, a seasoned professional will be able to handle it all while capturing your wedding day and not being a thorn in your side.
REASON #1 – You Get What You Pay For, Or Not
Your friend, who is a photographer and your cousin the videographer, have offered their services to you for free, maybe even as a wedding gift, but before making that big decision, consider how hard someone will work when it’s for nothing. Consider how quickly someone is motivated to do something for nothing. Think about how much that motivation is reduced, when your friend is also a guest at your wedding and wants to take advantage of the open bar and have fun. Do not leave your wedding day memories to chance. There is something out there for every budget and a paid professional will give you peace of mind on your wedding day, which is critical to you enjoying your own wedding and great wedding photos.
If you have some experiences you would like to share, please post them in the comments below.
Here at the Green Bride Guide, we have compiled a list of our favorite engagement and wedding band sets from our wedding shop. Not only are they sustainable and unique, but they are also unisex and look great on any couple whether they are gay, straight or transgender. Our ring sets are for everyone and are created using recycled metals and conflict-free gemstones. These ring styles are perfect as his and his, hers and hers or his and hers sets!
This recycled gold wedding band set is ideal for a modern couple. This is a handcrafted piece of jewelry made of recycled yellow gold with a unique square shape.
The inlay band set is made from genuine Gibeon meteorite that fell to Earth billions of years ago and was discovered in Namibia in 1838. The crystalline grain structure is very unique and contains “widmanstatten” lines that were caused by the meteorite slowly cooling.
This ring set comes with two rings: one has a titanium inlay with Mokume Gane (wood grain) and the other is made from Damascus stainless steel with a bird’s eye patterns. The Mokume consists of silver and copper mixed together in a pattern. The stainless steel is 100 percent corrosion-resistant and does not require special treatment.