Archive for March, 2010

Get the Perfect *Bling for your Wedding *Fing… (er, that is! Hehe!)

While our main focus in school was to bring home a report card full of A’s, it’s all about the C’s when it comes to choosing a girl’s best friend.  Enter Stage Right: zee diamond! 

Often imitated but never duplicated, every girl is capable of channeling her inner Marilyn and belting out that “a kiss on the hand may be quite continental,” but many don’t have the slightest idea why “diamond’s are a girl’s best friend” nor can they even begin to recognize what goes into distinguishing their worth…  

But stick with me, ladies, while I slice through the Four C’s of the Diamond Kingdom – Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat – and educate you on how to find your perfect match… to go with your already perfect mate :) 

Cut

photo courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

A diamond’s cut is perhaps the most recognizable “C” for the untrained eye to identify.  Heck, even my Mister knew the difference between cuts, and he tends to stray away from all things girly in nature.  For seriuos, the man still considers manks (man tanks) and gym shorts a fashion statement. Oy vey!

Because a diamond’s cut is distinguished by the facet proportions on its surface, most people have the ability to tell the difference from one cut to the next.  It’s important to note, however, that while the cut directly correlates to the shape, it most honestly refers to the symmetry, portion and polish of the design guide it’s following.

According to Tiffany & Co., there is a sacrifice that comes when a stone is cut to maximize brilliance.  In order to achieve the most brilliant cut possible, size is often lost in the transition.  Therefore, it’s key to only purchase diamonds that are cut for brilliance and not size.  This will ensure you’re getting the highest quality diamond possible.  

*Please Note: Below is a chart showing the different shapes varying cuts can create, not the guidelines used to determine brilliance, but I consider it helpful nonetheless :)

photo courtesy of honeysquad.com

Color

You may find yourself asking: Color?  What color does a ‘clear’ diamond have?  And my response to you would be an emphatic: Exactly!  In the case of most engagement and wedding bands, the diamond color should be treated under the theory of less is more.  In order for diamonds to be considered perfect, they must be free and clear from any color whatsoever.  Ideally, we’re looking for a face of total transparency, which as its name ensues, is incredibly hard to find.

RARELY does nature produce diamonds that are both chemically pure, as well as structurally perfect; so, many contain hints and tints of yellow.  The color grade scale on which diamonds are rated (shown below) measures the saturation levels of yellow found in imperfect diamonds.  The higher the saturation, the lower the grade.  While this is generally undetectable to the naked eye, the color of a diamond can dramatically affect its price by hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

Therefore, this is the one most people “cheat” on when they’re willing to sacrifice quality for quantity. 

*Please Note: In the case of some diamonds (ie. the Hope Diamond and those displayed in the Aurora Pyramid Collection), the intensity of color can add to a diamond’s value. Depending on the coloration, saturation and rarity of a diamond, the price can be significantly increased.  Red diamonds are the rarest, and therefore, the most expensive.
photo courtesy of lahra.com

Clarity

In the case of diamonds, clarity measures a stone’s level of flawlessness, which like skin, is best flaunted to the public imperfection and blemish free.  Essentially all diamonds have some type of imperfection or inclusion – as their called in the diamond world; it’s just some are less noticeable than others. 

In order for a diamond to be considered “flawless,” it can’t show any type of external imperfections under the power of 10x magnification, which is really, REALLY difficult to achieve!  Thus, reflecting in a much higher price tag. 

I mean honestly, think of your skin.  Now, think of your skin in HD.  Can we say “Yikes!”  Heck, even Victoria’s Secret models show cellulite if the TV’s large enough and  vision’s clear enough; so, before you write off Aphrodite as your diamond option… remember, somewhere slightly lower on the pay grade is a Giselle Bünchen.  And that, my friends, ain’t so bad :)

photo courtesy of lahra.com

Carat

The final “C” is carat and lays weight to the famous question, “Does size matter?”  The answer: Yes, yes it does :)  The weight of each diamond is measured in carats and when compared to other diamonds of equal quality, the larger diamond will win every time.  Despite popular belief, however, carat weight alone cannot determine the price of a diamond.

Unfortunately, since it’s what most people see first, many go to it as the main measurement in a diamond’s status.  But I would urge you all not to do this!  When choosing your diamond, always, always, always try follow the number one rule of thumb and choose QUALITY over QUANTITY. 

photo courtesy of diamondexchange.com

 

But no matter what, just remember, “Square cut or pear shaped, these rocks don’t lose their shape! [Because] Diamonds are a girl’s best friend!”  Boop, boop, be doop!  Ooh!

March 31, 2010 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

Trend Alert: I Know Why the (Bird) Caged Veil Sings

photo courtesy of jessikafeltz.com

Of course, I’m a fan of just about a schmillion different, wedding day trends, but birdcage veils are perhaps at the top of my list.  Not only do they add a hint of modern day vintage to every bride they dress, but they are also a great way to bring DIY style to the forefront of your wedding day celebration.

Because of their versatility and famed support from celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Katherine Heigl, birdcage veils offer brides several styling options while creating a low maintenance way to capture incredible shots.  Armed with sleek sophistication and vintage inspired designs, these timeless treasures will look ahhh to the mazing at every moment from saying your vows to dancing the night away without all the bulk or hassle of a traditional, formal veil.

Most local – as well as online craft stores like michaels.com and  joann.com – will have all the supplies you’ll need to create your very own, one of a kind veil, and at super low prices.  (cont’d below)

Katherine Heigl soared in her birdcage bridal veil! (photo courtesy of Donna Newman /OK! MAGAZINE)

Whether you choose to use turn out your veil with feathers, fake furs, pearls or rhinestones, you’re sure to have something that will make a statement without ever saying a word.  And because birdcage veils offer the bride the ability to have a haute couture look without a haute couture price, they’re easily one of the most successful and accessible wedding day accessories available.

From simple and elegant styles, accented with dainty, crystal bobby pins to over-the-top, feathered frocks, fashioned with bejewled, silk flowers and tons of bling, there’s easily a birdcage veil out there to fit every bride’s personality.  

And even though their easy enough to craft yourself, these fun and sometimes feathered fashions can also be purchased on several sites, including etsy.com and birdcageveils.com.  Simply find your style and run for the hills, down the aisle or across the dance floor with it!  For serious, you won’t be sorry… I mean just look at these beauts! 

photos courtesy of castlebrides.com, houseofdistinction.com, rockstarphotographyblog.com, somethingbold.com and weddingbee.com

March 29, 2010 at 10:16 am 1 comment

Spring Weddings Look Trendy When Dressed in Turquoise

For months, brides-to-be have been told that 2010 weddings are all about the blues!  And in Bride’s latest issue to hit newsstands (April 2010), they decided to focus on one of our favorite Blue’s Brothers – turquoise!  Love love love it! 

With its varying shades swimming from broad ocean blues to deep sea greens, it’s no wonder why turquoise has become a preferred choice amongst this year’s hottest weddings.  Because turquoise has a chameleon-like presence, altering from warm and romantic to cool and eclectic, it can be paired with a number of shades to create just about any atmosphere.  And when it’s paired with the right accent shade, turquoise has the ability to be as diverse as the 2010 Winter Olympics.  (Yeah, I took it there.)

Bride’s paired it with four completely different hues for four completely different looks, but what I’m dying to know is which one you like best!  So, be sure to leave your pick (or new pairing) below :)

Romance @ a Glance:  Seen as a more romantic coupling, turquoise and silver complement each other beautifully.  By pairing this bold color with a calm neutral, this contrasting combination will give your wedding day a quixotic feel from the first hairdo updo to the (let’s dance the) last dance!

 

Popped Collar meets White Collar:  Talk about a pop of prep-tastic magic!  Viewed as the scholarly solution to wedding day whimsy, these two shades are the game, set and match of truly vibrant settings.  The coolness of turquoise mingles amazingly with the chic-ness of cherry, making them ideal for spring or outdoor celebrations! 

A Tart Taste of Trend: As a journalist, I feel like it is my duty to offer up my bias on this one… There’s just something about chartreuse I could never quite understand.  I mean, is it green?  Is it yellow?  Is it supposed to be mossy and muted or limey and loud?  These are things we may never know, but what we do know is that when paired with turquoise, chartreuse will trend up just about any bride-to-be’s big day!  If it comes off too trendy for the traditional bride, you can always calm it down by bringing in a sleek neutral like black, sand or cream to help.

As Seen in Nature:  Bride’s magazine calls it “natural,” but I call it nautical!  This sea friendly duo will be the epitome of picturesque for your destination or beach themed wedding.  The calming effects of the serene blues will be the perfect pallet for all newlyweds looking to create a one of a kind look for a one of a kind love.

March 26, 2010 at 11:15 am 1 comment

Go *Green* with Flowerless, DIY Wedding Bouquets!

photo courtesy of bellzandwhistlez.com

The wedding planner in all of us will inevitably come across things we like; things we love; thing we REALLY love; things we could do without; things EVERYONE could do without; things that rock; things that roll (right back where they came from); and my personal fave… things that become an OBSESSION.

Ladies, please welcome my newest obsession: Flowerless Bouquets!  From the minute I came across this trend on Princess Lasertron – ran by Megan Hunt: bridal planner extraordinaire and certifiable creative genius – I couldn’t help but fall head over heels for their quirky combination of vintage frock, trend appeal and DIY divinity!  For cereal, they’re ooh la la personified, and because most nonfloral bouquets can cut back on the fertilizers and pollutants pumped into Mother Earth to replenish flowers over and over again, they’re arguably the most eco-chic substitute there is!  (cont’d below)

photo courtesy of offbeatbride.com

I’m telling you, it’s a win / win for everyone!  While Princess Lasertron’s nonfloral bouquets focus on the distinctive use of felt fabrics and vintage buttons, the options for flowerless bouquets are almost endless… just imagine it, won’t you… (insert dreamy pan out sequence here)…

I can see it now… seashells and sand dollars for dynamic destination weddings… butterflies and berries for summer’s finest nuptials… pine cones and colored leaves for amazing autumnal “I do’s”… bedazzled ornaments and tinsel for weddings intent on being the holly’est and jolly’est… all kinds of bright colored candies for celebrations near and dear to Halloween or Valentine’s day…  rolled up, satin neck ties for weddings worthy of the red carpet…  (my brain could burst from excitement!)… you could even use parasols and peacock feathers and brooches (Oh my!)

I mean, the list goes on and on people!!  Not only is the creativity level for blossomless bouquets through the roof, but the do-it-yourself and keepsake potential for such creations is limitless!  Just take a look below to see what I mean and (hopefully) find some inspiration!  (Photos courtesy of princesslasertron.com, bellzandwhistlez.com, fantasyfloraldesigns.com and Google Images)

Extra, Extra!  And for those of you who find yourselves on the more traditional side of the bridal fence and can’t imagine walking down the aisle with anything but the most brilliant bouquet of flowers money can buy… I would urge you to check out some of these creations HandmadePaperFlowers.com came up with!  All of these are crafted of paper, but look as real, as real can be!  Love :)

photo courtesy of handmadepaperflowers.com

March 24, 2010 at 12:56 pm 9 comments

Hey, Boo Boo, It’s the BEST *Picnik* Basket Ever

Too bad I did this to myself - haha! (photo courtesy of Jessika Feltz Photography)

Let’s face it, unflattering photos of ourselves are everywhere.  Whether its the angle they were taken from, the poor lighting they were captured in or the unattractive, caught-off-guard, double chin pose we did to ourselves… we’ve all been haunted by heinous photos that continue to resurface time and time again.  <siiiiiighhhh>  Why?

And no time is a worse time for our not-so-hot-face-for-radio moments than on our wedding day.  So, what’s a girl to do when these inevitable photos from our supposed prettiest day ever begin to rear their ugly heads (pun intended)??  The same thing the staaahhhs do, daahhhhling… airbrush it, baby!

That’s right, picnik.com is an online photo editing service that allows you Photoshop yourself to sheer perfection.  For cereal, it’s ideal for people who A) can’t afford their own personal, super model editor or Adobe Photo Suite – who can?!!? or B) individuals looking to brush up their artistic skills. 

It provides the tools to do everything from turning your “too hot from dancing” sweaty forehead into an elegant, bridal glow to adding fun text to the shot of you and your bridesmaids getting down!  It über fun, no matter what skill level; so, go ahead and start editing today!  After all, isn’t it time for us to put our prettiest faces forward?

March 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Wedding Decorations: Hang ’em Up to Knock ’em Dead!

photo courtesy of beautifulblooms.com

YOWZAS!  Talk about making a statement from floor to ceiling… floating or hanging wedding décor is one way to get more bang for your buck!  Because they offer a means to create more levels of dimension throughout your entire reception hall, you’ll easily streeeetch your real estate dollar to its fullest potential by filling in areas that otherwise would be lost… And who doesn’t love that??

After perusing through several images on BeautifulBlooms.com, I couldn’t help but be inspired by these float-tastic furnishings and immediately set off on a journey to discover more.  (Of course by “journey,” I mean manic mouse clicking and by “discover,” I mean whatever Google Images wanted to show me… but alas, I digress.)   I went absolutely Lady GaGa for the one of a kind, optical illusions they create and fell even deeper in love when I realized their practicality.

Not only do these suspended superstars create an allstar look, but they also offer brides and grooms a way to decorate their tables without blocking the view of their guests.  Because big, bold centerpieces can create such big, bold WOW factors, so many brides are drawn to them… but they don’t always create the most rational way for your guests – seated in between and across from them – to communicate to others or worse yet… see you!  Blasphemy!

Hence, only furthering the appeal of hovering centerpieces!  By cutting out the middle “man” altogether and suspending the décor, you can be as big and bold as you want without blocking the view of your guests!  It’s a win / win for everyone!

Just be sure to go over things with your venue.  Since some of these will more than likely need more planning to accomplish, you should definitely work with your reception hall vendor and / or coordinator to make sure they go off without a hitch! 

And if you’ve found yourself already booked to venue that doesn’t allow or have a means to hang things, there are still several options for you to create this look.  One, consider using super tall, thin vases and placing floral or “pom pom” styled arrangements on the tops only.  This will ensure you’ll get the height you want with minimal to no distractions of your guests… Or I like the idea of using large, elevated glass cylinders.  You can fill them to the top with water, creating the illusion of “clear” space, and crowning them with your favorite flower buds, floating candles or fiber optics.

March 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

7 Ways to Make Your Mother (Earth, that is!) Happy on Your Wedding Day

photo courtesy of manolobrides.com

Eco-friendly weddings are all the rage these days and for all kinds of reasons!  With more and more people jumping on the Team Mother Earth bandwagon, the increase of eco-chic is booming.  Now more than ever, people are realizing what we do today will directly correlate with what happens tomorrow… and they’re gladly making greener strides to a brighter future.  Gooo, us!

With support growing exponentially – especially through media and celebrity gusto-, “going green” is currently at its most stylish.  And what better way to this exemplify this beautiful cause than on the most beautiful day of your life… your wedding!   Below are 7 tips to make sure your wedding will be green with envy:

Pick Eco-Chic Engagement + Wedding Rings

photo courtesy of richelledantephotography.com

From the very first, down-on-one-knee moment to the big day of “I do’s,” you will have countless opportunities to go green!  For instance, even your bands can be eco-chic by choosing materials that are Mother Earth approved.  Consider using recycled gold, vintage jewelry or buying from green-loving jewelers.  Over fifty jewelry retailers have signed the Golden Rules agreement, promising to sell only gold from mines that are actively supporting human rights, labor, and environmental concerns.  In addition, it is also possible to buy conflict-free diamonds, purchased from areas not waging war over gems.  Buying “clean” gold and conflict-free diamonds ensures that you’re only supporting environmentally sustainable practices.

Choose Earth Friendly Invitations + Stationery

photo courtesy of smockpaper.com

While many Web sites and blogs may tell you that E-vites are the way to go, I’d have to disagree.  There’s a certain level of formality weddings should uphold, and while emailing may be the most eco-friendly solution, it’s definitely not the ONLY eco-friendly solution.  For the paper lover, consider using only one envelope instead two.  By cutting back on the inner envelopes and just sticking to one outer, you’ll save an abundance of trees.  Because the process of paper production is incredibly costly to the environment, you should also consider using paper crafted of 100% recycled materials or even ones made from other natural materials altogether.  Companies like Crane & Co. and Smock offer a great line of invites crafted of cotton and bamboo, making them a great way to go green for your wedding!

Go with Green Reception Sites + Venues

When choosing a “green” venue, it’s important for couples to take a few things into consideration before signing on the dotted line.  First, if you’re serious about having a wedding that is both eco-friendly and fabulous, you should be aware that typical venues like grand ballrooms, swanky resorts and whoo-whoo country clubs are often times guilty of using vast amounts of electricity.  Think about getting married outside, on a farm or in a botanical garden where au naturale sunshine can provide the light and heating and cooling systems are null and void.  If a traditional venue is a must, look for one that uses recycled, energy-efficient appliances and biodegradable products, as well as energy saving bulbs and lighting. 

Extra Tip for the Extra Green:  Gas emissions from cars are one of the main factors causing ozone depletion.  Consider having your ceremony and reception in one place to cut back on the fuel pollution caused by your guests having to drive from one place to another.

photo courtesy of jesseleake.com

Try to Choose Organic Menus + Catering

photo courtesy of veganyumyum.com

Because food is such a large part of so many kinds of celebrations, many couples find it harder to go green for their wedding menu… but don’t panic about having an expensive, organically grown vegan menu only.  There are several ways to help the earth while still keeping up the taste!  Try cutting back on things here and there to make a big difference in the end.  Choose in-season produce, fruits and vegetables that are grown locally.  This will cut down on the shipping and packaging costs, as well as the excess pollution and trash it causes. 

Think Outside the Flower Box

photo courtesy of brendasweddingblog.com

A word of warning: don’t let the bloom fool you.  Just because Mother Earth can grow it, doesn’t mean that all flowers are eco-friendly.  In fact, many flowers sold commercially are sprayed with harmful pesticides and fertilizers that pollute groundwater, kill organic material in the soil and have even made the workers fielding them sick.  Yuck!  Instead, consider leaving blooms out altogether.  In the spring and summer, switch floral bouquets with ones filled with vintage brooches and colorful ribbons.  In the fall, consider a robust display of locally grown gords and vegetables, and in the winter, try using fluffy faux muffs!  There are also several substitutes for eco-friendly table centerpieces.  Try decorating your tables with things that can be used again, like candles or vases filled with river rocks and colored water.

If flowers are a must, consider using locally-grown, in-season flowers.  Just like your food menu items, this cuts down on the cost and pollution caused by shipping.  Also, try potted plants for centerpieces that can be replanted later.

Bring in Biodegradable Favors + Gifts

photo courtesy of documentsanddesigns.com

It’s time for everyone to start being honest with one another… favors – no matter how ahhh to the mazing brides and grooms think they are – are often times forgotten.  They’re either left behind or thrown away, and because so many are made with non-biodegradable products, they are causing waaaay more harm than good.  I would encourage you all to do what the Mister and I did, and in lieu of favors, donate to your favorite charities in honor of your guests.  This not only gives money to a great foundation, but it also be rids the excess packaging it takes to wrap the favors and any leftover “trash” it may cause!

Reduce, Recycle + Re-Use the Wedding Dress

I know.  I know.  This is sometimes the hardest ones for brides-to-be to swallow because soooo many of us want our very own wedding dress.  However, I would suggest because so much excess fabric, electricity and travel are needed to make and ship a dress to every soon-to-be-Mrs., that she first start inside her Momma’s closet.  Vintage inspired gowns are the chicest chic there is, and you can always have them altered to fit your personality and style.  It’s your something borrowed and something new all in one :)

Extra Tip for the Extra Green: Also consider donating your gown after you’re done with it.  Since most brides only ever wear their dress once, this provides a venue for others to get just as much joy out of it as you!  

photo courtesy of vinatran.org

March 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm 2 comments

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