Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Groom’s Survival Guide

Now while you might well be wondering how one apparently small question could have such massive repercussions just bare in mind what this day means to the lovely lady in question. Most guys have never really given much thought to their future wedding but for many women it is a day they have pictured from their earliest memory. When you were scuffing your new school shoes chasing a ball your bride-to-be was already dreaming of her future Prince Charming (although at the time he was probably wearing a cape rather than your favourite trainers and T-shirt). It’s an over used phrase that it’s the most special day in a girl’s life but it is true. And what’s more she expects it to hold the same significance for you. So while she’s buying a newsstand’s entire stock of wedding magazines and showing you the 27 different ways she’s thinking of wearing her hair she’s hoping that thoughtful look on your face relates to your own ideas for the wedding rather than whether you’ll get to sneak out for a quick 18 holes this weekend rather than go to yet another wedding fair. Oh yeah… and she’ll wear a dress that will cost the price of a small family car. And then never ever wear it again.

Communication is key. Despite your beloved now having turned into bridezilla, in the words of Rudyard Kipling you need to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”. She IS going to get stressed. She IS going to get upset. You WILL have arguments concerning the wedding day. All this is perfectly natural and doesn’t mean you love each other any less it just means you’re planning a wedding and researchers say this is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, especially for the bride.

One of the biggest complaints brides have is that their husband-to-be doesn’t seem to get involved enough or show enough interest. Yes there is an impossible list of questions to get through; What kind of flowers? What colour tie? What gifts do you get the bridesmaids? Should you sit Cousin Albert near the door in case he has one of his “moments”? While it’s true that what font you use on the place settings isn’t going to end world hunger or bring about piece in the Middle East these small details can make all the difference on the big day so get involved. Your wedding should be an extension of your personalities with all the quirks and idiosyncrasies that make the two of you so different. That doesn’t mean you have to dress as Smurfs or walk down the aisle to Iron Maiden but it means you should both be have a say in how you want the day to play out.

But you will need help to. Any bride has a whole support network buzzing around her keen to help out at every step and dress fitting. Us guys are never quite as willing to look for help but it’s not a bad idea to have someone on hand you can call when you need to head on a “fact finding mission” of you own to the nearest watering hole. Make sure your best man is the right man for the job who will sit with you and help you let off some steam when you need and also be the kind of friend that can help take some of the load off your shoulders when it comes to researching cars, musicians, DJ’s, etc.

So don’t just sit back ignoring the chaos, it isn’t going to go away and you’ll only add to the bride’s stress levels and if you bury your head for too long you might wake up on the day to find you’re travelling to the church in a pink stretch limo in a lime green suit. Make decisions, enjoy the process because despite some of the potential sticking points it should be enjoyable. After all this is going to be the most significant day of your lives, it’s your big day too.

Article submitted by Kye Harmon,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KDLT News Anchor Surprise On-Air Marriage Proposal

Jennifer Hudspeth, a news anchor for KDLT in South Dakota, was surprised by her boyfriend, Nate Johnson, with a marriage proposal during a live newscast. Hudspeth is also known for her Miss Minnesota 2007 victory. KDLT is an NBC affiliate television station. No word yet on a wedding date.

Newsfeed, NBC

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Engagement Ring Shopping Tips For Men

Let's face it - when a man walks into a jewelry store to purchase an engagement ring, beads of sweat may form on his forehead within minutes. Most men can become easily overwhelmed if they have not been regularly peppered with engagement ring styles, diamond cuts, and favorite designs from their fiancée.

Here are some shopping tips for any guy looking to make the perfect engagement ring purchase sometime in the near future:

Listen Up

Almost all women will drop hints at some point on what type of engagement ring they want to wear on their perfect day, as well as the rest of their lives. Some hints are subtle and some are as obvious as the tattoo on Mike Tyson's face. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open when the hints start dropping. If you pay attention to your significant other at all, you'll know a hint when you see one.

Learn about Color, Cuts & Clarity

There are many different parts to a diamond engagement ring that determines its value and price. The diamond might look sparkly and beautiful, but until you completely understand the mechanics behind a diamond you can't be too sure what you're really getting. Let's talk about the famous four Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat. Color is based on a specific grading system, which starts at D, which are clear, colorless stones, and goes all the way to Z, light yellow or brown stones. Diamond clarity is graded similarly to identify any blemishes and imperfections - the less inclusions are in a diamond, the rarer and more expensive it is. Grading ranges from flawless to included (I3).

There are many beautifully cut diamond shapes, from marquis to emerald to round to princess to cushion - this decision can be difficult. Try to sneak a peek into your loved one's jewelry box. Is there a theme? This is another time when hints will come in handy. Additionally, some cuts by their nature (round, cushion) will cast a more sparkly glow.

Carat is simply the weight of your diamond. Of course the bigger you go, the more expensive the stone will get. However, remember that a smaller stone of great brilliance, clarity, color, and a finer cut will be more expensive than a larger diamond of less quality. Your jeweler will be able to show you any paperwork for the particular diamond you're shopping. If the shop refuses to, or doesn't know their diamonds' specs, shop elsewhere.

Many Metals

Don't forget to consider which precious metal you want securely holding that diamond. You can choose from yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, platinum, or even palladium, if you can find it. Platinum is the rarest, most expensive metal of the group, but you really do get what you pay for. When platinum scratches, it's simply displaced, not worn down or lost, like some other metals. It also feels nice and heavy. Palladium is in the platinum family of metals, but it's not as rare, and is a lot less dense of a metal, so it's lighter. It's a good metal if you like the look of white gold but don't like the price of platinum. White gold is very popular in engagement rings lately, but yellow gold is classic, and is making a strong comeback. Rose gold is more of an acquired taste, but as with everything, the metal you choose will depend on your fiancée's personal taste. Does she wear gold- or silver-tone jewelry more often? This should be obvious; if it's not, just ask.

Shop Around, Stay Organized

Don't run out and get the little blue box that's marketed so well, because all you will be doing is paying for a brand name. Take your time and make your rounds between your nearby jewelry stores so you can accurately compare diamonds. Map out a group of online and offline stores you want to visit and keep tabs on what you find. Most guys find it easier to compare prices online before making a purchase, whether it's from a brick and mortar store or an online jeweler. Keep a notebook or spreadsheet of all the pricing and technical specs of the engagement rings you like.

Get Online

There are a tremendous amount of websites, images, and charts to help you learn exactly what you need in order to purchase the right engagement ring. Some websites even allow you to build your perfect engagement ring and see what it looks like immediately.

Customize Your Own

If you have exhausted all your local jewelry stores, you might want to explore customizing a ring online. A customized engagement ring could allow you to get exactly what you want without having to guess. If you have a design or gemstone in mind, you can save lots of time by creating it online, then simply sit back and wait until it arrives in the mail. Reputable online companies will give you easy returns if you're not happy or if the ring wasn't what you were expecting.

Shopping around for an engagement ring doesn't have to be an immensely complicated process. With a little patience and planning, you'll find the perfect ring for your future wife with ease.

About the author: Eva Viane works at the extraordinary, customized jeweler Gemvara, located in Boston, MA. Gemvara offers high-end, fully customizable jewelry hand-crafted by some of the world's most talented jewelry designers. Each piece is customized to the client's choice of gems and metals. The stone and band possibilities are simply endless. For more information please visit our website.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Honeymoon Registry Trends

Couples are now registering for honeymoons and 'life experiences', rather than the traditional china and crystal.

While on their honeymoon in the Poconos, Josephine and Robert Wilson of Princeton, NJ paused to take a picture -- in front of an inflatable raft on the Lehigh River, smiling big.

(Photo courtesy of Josephine Wilson)

Josephine Wilson, née Hearn, admits it was a corny photo.

But she captured the moment for her thank-you cards. Because without her godparents, the newlyweds wouldn't have been able to afford that river rafting trip. The trip was the wedding gift for which she would be writing to say "thank you."

Before their wedding on June 4, the Wilsons had lived together for more than a year. They already owned most of the traditional items found on a wedding registry. And the ones they didn't have, they didn't really want.

"We're never going to use the salad forks," Josephine Wilson said.

So the Wilsons didn't make a traditional registry. Instead, the couple turned to, a website that helps couples register for "experiences" on their honeymoon. Through the site, well-wishers can finance some aspect of a happy couple's honeymoon, big or small: Everything from airfare to peanuts during the flight, massages, candle-lit dinners and snorkeling lessons can be gifted.

The Wilsons are far from unique. Registering for honeymoons, "experience gifts" and other items more practical -- and even more fun -- than, say, a cake platter, is something more and more contemporary brides and grooms are experimenting with.

Eleven percent of marrying couples now register for honeymoons, 16 percent for movies, music and games and 20 percent for sports gear, according to the Knot Market Intelligence 2010 Bridal Registry Study, which was done by the popular wedding-planning website. A small number even registers for pet-pampering.

Why the shift? The average age of a bride is now 29; the average groom, 31. Most of these not-quite-youngsters have been living on their own, and for much longer than the engaged couples of generations past.

So, wine glasses? They've already got those, thanks.

"The trend is more of a lifestyle registry; outdoor gear, sports gear, stuff that pertains to their lifestyle, because chances are they have plates, forks and knives," said Amy Eisinger, associate editor at "They are not looking to fulfill (the) same needs as people who are moving out from parents' " homes.

It's not a universal movement yet. Couples' top three choices of retailers to register with continue to be Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Macy's. Even couples who also register for honeymoons or experience gifts normally make a small traditional registry, so as not to offend guests.

And, of course, even those who already have a house or an apartment full of stuff can use wedding gifts to kick their style up a notch. "Many couples who have already lived together are using this as a chance to upgrade to cohesive sets," Eisinger said. "But registries are letting couple's personalities shine through. If a couple registers for camping equipment, and they love to camp -- most likely every time they use it they will think of you.

"If it's honeymoons, you get to help them remember their special time."

On the Honeyfund, the Wilsons registered for things such as gas for the drive, a bottle of champagne, the cost of staying at a romantic cabin, lift tickets, a wine and cheese tasting and bike equipment.

The Wilsons received most of their Honeyfund contributions from their younger friends, while the older guests tended to purchase crystal and china.

"Couples are using online a lot more while planning a wedding," Eisinger said. "Now you can have a universal registry, and I'm even hesitant to say if honeymoon registries existed 10 years ago. Only in the past five years has this stuff really surfaced."

Michael Gleeson and Andreea Vasilescu, who married on July 17, were reluctant at first to try the Honeyfund, but when their friends registered for it, they thought it was a "neat alternative."

Once the duo decided what they wanted to do -- take a honeymoon trip to Greece -- Gleeson wrote up the descriptions of what they hoped for and posted them on Honeyfund.

"Greece isn't necessarily cheap," said Gleeson, 37, who lives in West New York. "We weren't sure if people would go for it."

"But we had to add more things because they all were purchased so quickly by our guests," said Vasilescu, 30.

The couple didn't feel comfortable asking for hotel or airfare from their guests, so they asked for dinners at local restaurants, a Santorini sailing trip and a snorkeling trip in Mykonos, among other things. The newlyweds did not ask for anything they couldn't have purchased on their own, they said, but the gifts helped ease the cost of the trip.

"We are not the most traditional couple -- we have a groomsmaid," said Vasilescu. "For us to have to have something different, like a honeymoon registry, it's not a surprise to either of our parents. We tend to make things up as we go and what works for us."

Article by By Meredith Galante/The Star-Ledger