Engagement Ring Buying Tips

marquisestone_1The Wedding Planner calls the time between Christmas Eve and Valentines Day, The Engagement Season. If you are thinking of popping the question in the coming months  there is a lot to know about rings and about your bride before you purchase the ring.

By the time you buy the engagement ring, you should know her ring size. An easy way to figure out her ring size is to secretly take one of her rings to a jeweller. They will be more than happy to help you out. You might also ask her sister or mother, or anyone close to her who would possibly know he ring size, but if you go this route be prepared for her to her of your intentions before you get to ask! You should also know what shapes of jewellery stones she likes. Does she like white or yellow gold, or platinum? White gold and platinum are the most popular at the moment. If she wears mostly silver jewelllery go with platinum.

Next, you must set your budget. Engagement ring prices can range from moderately expensive to very expensive. The price of the engagement ring is only limited by your budget. The diamond is what makes the engagement ring such an expensive gift. With such an expensive investment, you should make sure you understand some of the basics of buying diamonds.

Diamond professionals use four factors to purchase diamonds, and you should use the same standards to buy the diamond engagement ring.

1. Colour – The colour of the diamond has a significant impact on the overall price. Sometimes this is referred to as the colour value of the diamond. You might ask the jeweller to place the diamonds you are interested in order based on colour value. Since the colour differences are so light, it might be difficult to see the colour difference between diamonds. Keep in mind the less colour the more expensive.

2. Clarity – Clarity is no less important when it comes to selecting a diamond. An Fl (Flawless) graded diamond shows no inclusions (inclusions = flaws) under 10X magnification. Since flawless diamonds are extremely rare, be prepared to pay extra for perfection.

3. Cut – It is the first aspect of the diamond that is influenced by humans. Cut is also called ‘make’, the better the make the more gorgeous the diamond. Valuing the diamond based on cut can be very subjective.

4. Carat – Carat weight is the basic measuring unit of diamonds. It has to do with how much your diamond weighs.

There is a huge variety of diamonds to choose from. While they are all beautiful, they are very different in colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight. We hope you’ll find the above information helpful in selecting your engagement ring diamond. Keep in mind, you should only buy a diamond from a reputable jeweller.

Cutting Wedding Costs

DIY isn\'t always the best choice!DIY isn’t always the best choice!

Brides often ask me what are the best areas to cut wedding costs without losing impact. I recommend that brides define what aspects are most important to making their day like the one they dreamed. For some it is the flowers, others it is the music.  Those are the things where you should put the most effort and budget into and be willing to compromise on the other elements. You’d be surprised as to what your guests “see” and what your “vision” might be. In many cases, they are totally different.

Items such as impractical favors, disposable cameras, expensive menu cards and table frames and champagne are some of the main ways couples clock up their budget and it is these items you could save on.  These are the things that people will remember the most.

Planning an Irish Wedding

wedding-ring.jpgThe Wedding Planner in Ireland writes: Things did seem simpler in the old days.  You got engaged, made arrangements to move out of your home and before you knew it you were saying “I do” in a plain costume before heading off to Tramore for the weekend.

A Wedding Breakfast was held for all the family, and most of the community.  A far cry from the logistical nightmareing Reception nowadays.  Instead of worrying about invitations, hotels and favours the organisation was centred on the food, drink and musicians.

At least nowadays, the likelihood is that you are actually in love with the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with – instead of him being in love with your father’s milk quota and your Dad in love with your prospective’s big farm.  If you’re going to give up the single life in Ireland 2008 it better be love and you may as well throw ‘a bit of a do’, only without the porter cake and dowry!

But there is a lot to be said for tradition, and the tradition of having a great party on the day of your wedding is one to honour.  So if you’ve just announced your engagement to the world, and are overwhelmed with your head in the clouds – take a few minutes to get together and get used to planning – as a couple.

Will you opt for the traditional wedding and reception?  Perhaps you might prefer a private ceremony followed by a larger reception?  Or maybe you fancy heading off to the Bahamas with a party planned for your arrival home as Bride and Groom?

Once you’ve pondered on that – give it some more thought, this event that will change your life!  Will it be formal, or informal?

Do you want the reception to be indoor or outdoor (you could go looking for foot and mouth if it’s not raining!)

Do you want your wedding in the morning afternoon or evening?

Do you really want all the trappings of a traditional wedding?  Have you heard the one about the receiving line, the toasts, the first dance, something old new borrowed and blue, the groom who didn’t notify the Tax office of your new status and the mother in law?

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg.  As a guideline of what you should be planning have a look through the following and besides answering decide how important each one is to you.  It is supposed to be your special day, so go with your instinct and leave the bickering to the in-laws!

Will you have a wedding party or just one person to stand with you?

What is the maximum size of the party?

Must the number of bridesmaids equal the number of groomsmen?

What is the maximum number of guests you can accommodate at the wedding?

Do you want a fully seated dinner, a buffet or just a standing reception?

What kind of setting do you want: stately home in the country?  Hotel?

Will the ceremony be held at a church or the reception site?

Do you want children at the wedding?

Do you want dancing?

What is the maximum you will pay for the wedding?

 When you both agree to the answers to some of these questions you are off to a good start!

Fab Wedding Dresses at Great Prices

catherine-jane-dress.jpgThe Wedding Planner advises: Have you always dreamed of wearing a wedding dress by a top designer on your big day, but just can’t justify spending thousands of Euro on a dress you will only wear once? The designer bridal sale may have the answer. Taking place in Tallaght Plaza Hotel, Dublin on the 26th and 27th of April 2008, the event will feature stunning brand new gowns by renowned bridal designers including Alan Hannah, Ian Stuart, Paloma Blanca, David Fielden, Bronte Bridal, Jesus Peiro, Adele Wechsler and others. Gowns originally priced at €1,200-€4,000 will be reduced to €100-€500 with no dress over €500. All of the dresses are brand new and have only been used as stores samples.

The massive reductions offer an opportunity for brides struggling to budget for their big day to wear something really beautiful, made from fine fabrics and with the stunning cut associated with designer gowns. The sale will feature 70 bridal gowns with the majority in sizes 12 or 14, the dresses can easily be altered down up to two sizes. Dresses are sold as seen and as this is a one off event, independently organised there is no return. The sale will also feature a range of designer bridal accessories including shoes by Filippa Scott, Rainbow Club and Paradox, tiara’s, veils and jewellery with all accessories only €25.

Full details and images of some of the dresses on sale at www.irishbridalsale.com

Date and venue: Tallaght Plaza Hotel, Dublin from 11am-5pm on Saturday the 26th and Sunday the 27th of April. 

The dress featured here is a Catherine Jane (style 424) Size 14,  silk gown with straps hand applied applicque on bodice with aline skirt and train. It was €1150  Now € 100

Wedding Countdown Checklist

12 Month Wedding To Do List Countdown

This Wedding Planning Checklist lists everything you need to do or consider when planning your wedding, and advised the best time frame to do each item.

If you have less than a year to plan your wedding, just start from the beginning of the list and try to catch up as quickly as you can!  

12 months  AND EARLIER

  • Set a date for your wedding.
  • Hire a The Wedding Planner or sign up for free online planning.
  • Determine the type of wedding you want: location, formality, etc.
  • Start a style file.
  • Decide on a budget – save rather than borrow to pay for your day
  • Buy a diary for important dates and set up a file box or computer file to keep record of contacts and payments.
  • Write up a guest list. If too long divide it up into:
    1) those who must be invited
    2) those who should be invited
    3) those who would be nice to invite.
  • Book church or registry office and celebrant.
  • Select and book your reception venue and caterers.
  • Start dress shopping.
  • Book photographer.
  • Start a healthy eating plan
  • Choose your bridesmaids, best man and groomsmen, flower girl and ring bearer.

Scheduling Your Wedding Date

veil.jpgThe Wedding Planner advises: On average, there is 12-18 months between the engagement and the wedding day. Before setting the date for the big day, you should consider your friends and family members’ schedules. Birthdays, exams, holidays, and other events may prevent people important to you attend your wedding day.
Getting married during the busiest wedding ceremony months has multiple challenges. First, be prepared to pay premium for reception venues, photography services, cars, etc. In addition to hire costs, you should consider challenges based on availability. Your dream location may not be available on your dream date. May through September are some of the busiest months for weddings, if you can, you should consider getting married one of the off months. November through April gives you more opportunities to keep costs down. During the slower months, you are bound to get better service because more vendors are competing for your business.
Because Saturday is the most popular wedding day, beware that you are competing with many other brides for the same venues and services. Saturday is the most convenient day for your guests, but it offers you the most booking challenges and expense. Fridays are considered the next best days and are still much more convenient than weekdays.
Christmas is now a popular time to get married, however vendors are not always available and can charge premium rates for this popular time of year.
Like anything else in life, there will be pros and cons to any possible wedding date. Your job is to figure out the best possible date based on your needs and desires.

Decorating the Bride’s Home

The Wedding Planner advises: spring-flower-arrangement.jpgEngagement parties, rehearsal dinners and the week up to the wedding can often be a time for constant visitors to the bride’s home. Flower arrangements  can  be a way of making the house appear that bit more special for the celebrations ahead.Rather than order in arrangements making your own for your home can be an enjoyable way of saving some money.

White is typically the presiding colour for wedding  celebrations. You should start with basic white flowers and add a few accents that complement the surrounding decor. Large leafy green pieces add a nice contrast to delicate buds for table centerpieces, and sometimes simplicity is the best aesthetic tactic. If you are making centerpieces for several tables, you can purchase your flowers in bulk and use one design over and over again, or you can make each piece an individual work of art.For vase arrangements, choose your container first, and pick flowers that are the correct height for the vase. When you cut your flowers, be sure to cut the stems at an angle so they can absorb water correctly and stay fresh for a long time. Vase arrangements require a focal point, and this can be one large flower or a grouping of several. It is important to choose a color scheme and to stick with it. For instance, you would not want to mix red and pink roses, or to combine yellow daisies with died green carnations. Make sure you choose flowers that look and smell good in combination with each other, and fill in the gaps with baby’s breath and leafy greenery.

When you are making larger potted flower arrangements, an aesthetically pleasing plant is a great base for your design.
If you are using only flowers, you will need a piece of arranging foam to provide a structure for the piece.
Green foam can be purchased at most craft shops, and it can be cut to fit any shape you need. The foam is soaked in water over night, this not only keeps a water supply going to your flowers but also adds weight to help counter the arrangement becoming top heavy and falling over.
Before you start sticking in your stems, you might sketch out an idea of the final product. If the arrangement is to be large, pick a few large flowers to act as focal points rather than picking a multitude of tiny blooms. Too many small flowers distract the eye and make the arrangement seem busy rather than soothing.Once you have chosen all of your flowers and greenery, begin arranging them in the container. It will take several tries and lots of adjusting before your create a finished product, but be confident and do what looks best. Arranging flowers is an intuitive art, and if you have chosen a good colour scheme and a variety of shapes and sizes, the correct eye-pleasing concoction will often fall into place with little effort.

Basic Budgeting

wedding-beach.jpgSummer is the most popular and most expensive time of the year to get married. Because hotels and other wedding reception venues wish to profit from the busy wedding season, be prepared to pay a higher price during the summer rush.

The more guest you invite to your wedding, the more money you’ll spend. You should calculate your food budget based on a per-head cost for food and drink. The type of meal you plan to serve your guest is limited by your budget. For example, a seated dinner served is more expensive than a buffet. Some locations are more expensive than others, Dublin being the most expensive city in Ireland to get married in. Don’t panic if your wedding budget doesn’t cover everything that you’d like to have on your wedding day. It may require compromises, scheduling changes, or simply begging for more money, but even with a limited budget you can have your ideal wedding.

Settling On the Size Of Your Wedding

couple.jpgFirst you need to decide if your wedding is going to be an once-in-a-lifetime huge party or smaller more intimate event.

Your budget will most certainly limit the number of guests. Once you set your budget for the reception, you can quickly do the sums and decide the maximum number of guests. Your reception will probably account for the largest part of your wedding budget. In some cases, nearly half of the total wedding budget is spent on the reception.Most reception sites charge per-head. If your budget is 6,000 euro for the reception, and the cost per head is 65 euro, you could have no more than 92 guests. There are many ways to cut expenses such as buying your own alcohol, having a buffet instead of a served dinner. Undoubtedly, you must take budgetary boundaries into account when preparing the guest list.If your parents are paying for the wedding, you are going to have to respect their input for the final list. The more your parents are footing the bill, the more you may need to compromise. The more relatives you have to invite, the longer the guest list is going to be. Your list will also be affected by the size of the reception site. Be sure that you don’t fall in love with a site until you are sure that it can accommodate all the people you plan to invite.Traditionally, the bride and groom’s family each invite half of the total number of guests. Usually, the major cheque writers are calling the shots. If you and your fiancée are paying for the wedding, you should decide the majority of the guest list.

Selecting Your Reception Venue

jumping-party.jpgSelecting a reception site will depend on its availability, price, location to the wedding ceremony site and its capacity.Having your ceremony and reception in the same location can save you money and stress and is now possible in Ireland if you wish to have a civil ceremony. One of the most important factors to consider is capacity. If you can’t seat all you guest, it doesn’t matter how much you want a location. Only visit sites that can accommodate the number of guest you plan to invite. You should also be flexible when determining your wedding date.

The venue you like may already be booked for your date, but you may be able to secure it for following week. If you really like the site, it may be worth the wait? Find out how they charge for their services. Most hotels and restaurants charge per person where a flat fee is charged for each guest, including food, beverages, tables, chairs, linens, etc. Other venues such as clubhouses, parks charge you based on a period of time.