Diamonds can be your best friend... Four C's to find the perfect ring

It’s common knowledge all diamonds are not created equal. Understanding what constitutes a great diamond can be helpful in the search for a perfect ring.  

Diamonds are priced and categorized by four different things (often referred to as the four c’s): cut, color, clarity and carat.

Cut: The cut of the diamond is said to have the most influence on the diamond’s sparkle, and is therefore considered the most important aspect when considering the four areas. If it’s cut too shallow or too deep, the diamond may appear dull. Getting the highest cut grade within your budget will ensure maximum sparkle.

Color: When talking about diamonds, less color is actually a good thing. The less color, the higher the color grade is and the higher quality of diamond. If you’re wanting to avoid the pale yellow color, choosing a high grade diamond will guard against this.  

Clarity: Every diamond has imperfections called inclusions. The less inclusions a diamond has, the higher the clarity grade. Clarity is usually considered less important than the three other areas because most inclusions aren’t visible to the naked eye. When the inclusions are smaller, they also don’t affect the look and sparkle of the diamond.

Carat: When thinking about carat, most people think about the size of the diamond. Carat actually refers to the diamond’s weight. Carat coincides closely with cut. A larger carat diamond with a poor cut grade could appear smaller. A lighter carat diamond with a high cut grade could actually appear larger. Great quality cut and carat = amazing diamond.

Happy ring shopping!    

 

Five Ways to Not Hate Your Wedding Photos

I often ask people, “If you could go back and change one thing about your wedding what would it be?” The most common response is immediate, “I wish I could redo my wedding photos.” The style wasn’t right, they don’t have the photos they wanted from the day, they don’t like what they wore for engagement photos, raise your hand if you can relate.

Although things never go quite as planned, here are some guidelines to keep you from cringing when you look at your photos a couple months or years after the big day.  

Do your Research or Choose a Photographer You Trust

There are a lot of self-proclaimed “photographers.” And people will put their best work (often with A LOT of edits) on their blog or Instagram feed. However, the photos you get back might not look anything like what they have posted on their site. Ask to see more of their portfolio if they don’t have a lot of photos on their site. Don’t just take one look at an Instagram feed and pay your deposit. If choosing the wrong photographer stresses you out, book one that you (or a close family member or friend) has used before and trusts. You will know what you are getting and not have unrealistic expectations or be disappointed when you get your photos back.

Think Twice About What You Wear

I hate looking at pictures and thinking, “Why did I think it was a good idea to wear THAT?” Individuality is important. Expressing personality and style through an outfit is a good thing. But if you wear something really trendy or flashy or not something you’re not super comfortable in, you might regret it.  To clarify “feeling comfortable” doesn’t mean wearing leggings and a t-shirt is a good idea (unless that’s what you want to do). Listening to your mom / aunt / someone who really knows you is not the worst idea. You will probably thank them later. 

Read the Fine Print and Sign a Contract  

I have heard way too many horror stories about people who have found a “best friend’s cousin” or a “sisters close friend” who promise wonderful, amazing things but then don’t deliver. Their wedding photos end in disaster. I usually ask, “What did your contract say?” I then find out that a contract was never signed. Even if you trust and know someone, signing a contract is a must so you know exactly what you’re getting (and so you can hold the person / business accountable). Any professional should have you sign a contract.  And before you sign that contact actually read it all the way through. Sounds simple, but it will save you a lot of stress and disappointment.

Provide a Shot List and Set Expectations  

I am always surprised by how many people don’t give their photographer a shot list or at least talk to him / her about what photos are most important on their wedding day. Have a meeting and be specific about what you’re looking for. Providing a shot list also allows the photographer to give you time estimate on how long photos will take (if you’re doing a lot of group / staged photos). This is also helpful in planning the timeline for your wedding day.

Expect to Get What You Pay For

If you want incredible, classy and high quality photos, expect to pay the price tag that comes attached to them. If you don’t have a large budget for photography find the best photographer for your price point and set your expectations accordingly. You might be one of those lucky people who has a best friend / uncle / cousin’s in law that’s a fantastic photographer. But good photography is art… and comes with a price.

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Pinterest: Helpful wedding planner or a bride's worst nightmare?

I once heard someone say, “I wish I could have gotten married when Pinterest was a thing.” Although it seems strange to even think of a world without Pinterest, I know a lot of brides who rely on it for ideas and inspiration for their wedding day.  

Some girls get engaged and immediately start furiously creating boards and pinning everything (or referring to boards they have had created for months or even years). When the justification is there, it’s no longer weird or strange to have six different boards and 500+ pins for wedding plans. In the midst of this whirlwind, the inevitable conflict begins.

It looks something like this: “I love navy for bridesmaid dresses, but I found this picture of coral. Now I think I want coral.” This train of thought has no boundaries: “Okay I really want an outdoor garden wedding… But this photo of a church wedding looks great too. I don’t know what one I like more.” All of the sudden it’s like you can’t remember what you like anymore. Your personal style abruptly dissipates into the abyss of pins and photos. Because if the setting is pretty, the models are attractive and the photography is professional, suddenly everything seems like a good idea and all of your ideas seem tacky and outdated.

Long story short, Pinterest can make you crazy when you start to plan your wedding. Here are a few tips to keep the Pinterest monster at bay and not hate your wedding planning:

Keep your intended look and style in mind: If you want a classic, black tie event keep that in mind and in your search criteria when you’re looking for ideas. This tends to limit the urge to switch the entire theme of your wedding five different times.

Think about your venue before you start searching: It’s okay to change your mind. But the chances are, if you have always wanted a church wedding, looking at different wedding venues on Pinterest will only make you frustrated.  

Be realistic: If you’re a DIY fanatic, exercise caution. Creating all the décor for your wedding is great, but it can also burn you out. Pick one or two things you want to make yourself that are doable projects within your timeframe.

Only search for what you need: If you are looking for ideas for wedding cakes, don’t spend three hours looking at flower arrangements. You will start to question everything you have planned. Look for what you need, find a few great options and log off.

Be open to new ideas: If you have no idea where to start or don’t have any previous ideas, Pinterest is a great place to start. Get a few ideas and then log off. Use Pinterest as a help / resource, but not as the end all for everything you need to plan your wedding.