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.

Will you be changing your name?

A recent Vox Pop on iVillage shows that 58% of women polled said they would take his name and a massive 23% were undecided. 


The Vox Pop didn’t address the issue of second time marriages although one witty respondent said her mother, who had married five times, only stopped changing her name after the third time. Another respondent remarked she already had a child who used her maiden name and was moreover not happy with the combination of her first name and his second name, but she still said she would take the plunge.


Yet another respondent told of her groom who possessed a hyphenated name. After many discussions the best she could get was for him to include a version of her name, but he was not prepared to give up anything of his!


While women are still largely in favour of adopting their new husband’s name, the same cannot be said of the men looking favourably on their wife’s name. Emma Scott, a consultant with a major accountancy firm in Dublin, decided on a compromise. She kept her maiden name for work where she was already well known and hoped to secure a partnership in the near future. For all other elements she gradually slipped into her new married name; first her passport needed renewing, then her credit cards were changed, then along came two children and her name at school also changed. This was fine, according to Emma, except for occasional confusions when it came to introduce herself or signing documents.


“Often I would speak with some one and have to use both names before I could readily identify myself. Or if I was asked to sign a form at work or home I’d have to think about which name I was using.


“Funnily enough, my husband got the reverse treatment. At a number of work social outings, he was called by my name. He did not find this so funny but I have to admit I found it hilarious! If I were to do it again, however, I think I’d just stick to my own name, period. It’s too confusing and my signature is gone to pot!”


Or perhaps the Spanish have the best solution. When a child is born, he or she is given both parents names and this is their name for life, regardless of martial status. It would certainly reduce the time spent recreating signatures for new brides!



What is your opinion? 


Children at Wedding Tips

The Wedding Planner in Ireland advises that when planning a wedding where children are included some extra thought needs to be put in. Here are The Wedding Planner’s top child friendly tips:

Invitations: Etiquette says envelopes should be addressed to everyone invited, children included.

If sending invites by e-mail you need to make it clear if you kids are welcome.

Baby-sitting: Have professional sitting services available during the ceremony and the later hours of the reception.

Diversions: Consider setting tables with paper placemats and crayons, stocking a table with games during the dancing, and leaving gift bags with small toys and snacks (healthy ones – not lots of sugar!) available for ushers to give out to parents at the entrance to the ceremony.

Are they cute?: Think twice about including children in the ceremony, They could freeze or have a tantrum. Some adults almost pass out from the anxiety of being in a wedding, so it’s no wonder that kids get anxious.

Assistance: Parents should be prepared to walk down the aisle with their child, if need be.

While I do think having children at a wedding is a bonus as they make it a truly family affair, I find it annoying if parents when parents don’t take extra care and responsibility to make sure they don’t spoil the day.

Some advice for parents:

Plan an escape route: Sit near an exit and be do not hesitate to use it as soon as your child is getting in anyway vocal. I am not just talking about crying but talking loudly or laughing loudly too during the vows is not on. This is the couple’s special moment and they should not have it disrupted by a child in the background no matter how cute their voice is!

Designate an adult to each child: Especially if you’re in the wedding party, make sure your child has a trusted adult with whom to sit, and play, if need be. Hand the friend a bag of small (quiet!) treats, with instructions to dole them out slowly not all at once.

Child free: Even if your little one is invited consider leaving them with a relative for the evening so you and your partner can enjoy a night out together child free.

To Do: 6 to 8 Weeks Before the Wedding


  • Mail invitations. Include accommodation choices and a map to assist guests in finding the ceremony and reception sites. Also include details of your gift registry.
  • Maintain a record of RSVPs and all gifts received. Send thank-you notes upon receipt of gifts.
  • Have a hair and makeup trial.
  • Schedule to have your hair, makeup and nails done the day of the wedding.
  • Finalise shopping for wedding day accessories such as toasting glasses, ring pillow, guest book, etc.
  • Set up an area or a table in your home to display gifts as you receive them.
  • Check with your local newspapers for wedding announcement requirements.
  • Mail invitations to rehearsal dinner.
  • Find “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a six pence (or shiny penny) for your shoe.”
  • Decide on your readings and vows and do up your order of service booklet for your stationery supplier.
  • Finalise your menu.
  • Call all wedding specialist suppliers on your contact sheet and confirm date and requirements.

Walking Down the Aisle – Step or Bio Father?

The Wedding Planner in Ireland Advises:

A dilemma that often comes up now when planning a wedding is who will walk the bride down the aisle. Although traditionally it’s the father that does this, the commonality of step-families in todays world has made it a more difficult decision. This is especially true when the step parents have been in the children’s lives for a long time.

Breaking tradition A bride that has both a step father and a biological father may opt still to have her biological father walk her down the aisle. This can be a way to show her family bond as well as stick with tradition. In the case of a bride that hasn’t been close to her father, she may opt to have her step father walk her down the aisle. This is a newly emerging sight at weddings, and quite touching. Of course, if the bride loves both of the men and wants to include them, there’s nothing wrong with having both walk her down the aisle. It honors her relationship with both men and lets them have the chance to hold her arm.

 This also holds true for the groom. He can choose to escort both a step mother and his biological mother down the aisle at the beginning is she should choose to. Or the best man can do so, as is tradition. If the father has passed on, the bride may opt to have an older brother or an uncle walk her down the aisle. Likewise, if the mother of the groom has passed, then a sister or an aunt may want to walk with him.

While this all seems like a loving and simple solution to include everyone in the wedding, some parents may still have issues with their ex-spouses. And this can lead to bitter feelings about your choice in who walks who down the aisle. Should you fight for what you want? That’s entirely up to you. If walking with both fathers makes you happy, then you should do that even if the opposite wives are not pleased for whatever reason. If you feel that it may cause more trouble than it is worth, then you may opt to stick with tradition. Just be sure to include your step father in some other part of the wedding so he doesn’t feel left out because of biological status.

In the end, remember that it’s your day and your decision.

Wedding Vows

 The Wedding Planner Ireland advises: austria_kaprun_wedding_jamesmichelle_07.jpg A “wedding vow” is a set of promises you and your groom make to each other during the wedding ceremony. You may choose a traditional, a religious, a customized, an interfaith, a multilingual, the possibilities are endless.


In Western culture, the wedding vows customarily included the notions of unselfishness such as -love-, faithfulness -forsaking others-, unconditionality -in sickness and in health-, and permanence -until death do us part.  During your vows at the very least you must have an officiant and witnesses present. Traditionally, the groom pronounces his vows first, followed by the bride. The order can be changed; there is no law that sets the order in which the vows said. It is possible for the bride and groom to say the vows in unison to each other. Usually the couple will face each other and join hands for their vows. In some countries there are set things that have to be said to make the marriage legal. Some churches may frown on the idea of you writing your own vows so be sure to discuss it with the celebrant well in advance. If you are unsure about the wordage of your vows, ask your friends, family, and the officiant for some examples they’ve used in the past. Sample Vows: I, (your name), take you, (your name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my faithful friend, and partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honour and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. I, (your name), take you, (your name), to be my friend, my lover, the (mother/father) of my children and my (husband/wife).I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity. Remember that you and your groom can say different vows.

Medieval Wedding Traditions!

medieval-wedding.jpgThe Wedding Planner Ireland found this: Throughout medieval Europe, whole villages actively took part in courting rituals and wedding festivities, to an extent that would shock us today. Suitors who were frowned upon might be pelted with rotten food and stones, and the hapless couple who went ahead with an unpopular match might be treated to catcalls as they left the church or greeted by young men wearing horns to suggest that the wife would be unfaithful. When a community approved the match, the couple got even less privacy.

After the wedding festivities, neighbours would escort the couple to bed, to the accompaniment of loud music and ribald jokes. Early the next morning, they returned to awaken the couple with more music and revelry.

So thank your gods that some wedding traditions have not been continued!

Middle Ages Wedding Dances

The Wedding Planner in Ireland advises: If you decide to perform any dances from the Middle Ages at your wedding, you will notice that partners’ hands never touch palm to palm. This was considered a sensuous act at the time, as the mixture of a man and woman’s sweat was considered an aphrodisiac.

Turn your reception into a silver screen spectacular when you take to the dance floor like Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth for a lively rendition of La Volta. The dance was deemed risqué during its time, as partners actually danced facing each other, with the man lustily lifting his partner in the air three times. For a slightly less vigorous workout, try the Moresca, which was seen in the 1969 romance classic Romeo and Juliet.romeo_and_juliet-frank_dicksee.jpg

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!

Mixed Faith Marriages


pink-turbans.jpgThe Wedding Planner Ireland advises: You’ll know long before you start the wedding plans if your faiths are different from one another so this shouldn’t be a shock. And you may have already begun how you want to deal with this. It doesn’t have to be a problem; rather, it can be a great way to create a new ceremony for the both of you. 

Deciding to convert 

Before deciding to convert to one religion or another, you want to take your time to discover why you’re doing it. Do you truly want to convert to another religion or do you just want to make your spouse and his or her family happy? This is a very honest discussion to have with your self and there aren’t any good answers, except for the ones that are true. 

If you feel that converting is a good decision for you, then by all means, go ahead and take the steps needed. Many times, you’ll have to take classes and speak with the religious head well in advance of any wedding plans.

The trick is not to feel pressured into converting. And with all of the emotions attached with a wedding, some families may have trouble accepting someone of a different faith. If you believe that you want to remain the faith that you are, you should do so. And if your spouse is trying to coax you into converting, you may want to hold off on the wedding as well. This is a very personal choice, and it needs to be made by the individual, not everyone else. 

A dual faith wedding It’s actually very easy to have a wedding that incorporates two different faiths. Sit down and see what each faith requires at the wedding and then talk about how you can compromise to make sure all is proper. You may want to have the wedding in a non-denominational setting so that you don’t have the ‘home court advantage’ for one faith or another. You may also decide to have two different ceremonies weaving in and out of one another, combing elements of both faiths. This really shows the commitment to each other and to the separate faiths. 

You may also want to have two different ministers or one denominational or have a civil ceremony that is legally binding without the emotion attached to either denomination.