Congratulations on your engagement and welcome to the wonderful world of wedding planning! One of the first steps many brides take in the planning process is attending bridal fairs. Events like this are a wonderful opportunity to find inspiration, gather ideas, meet vendors, and formulate a vision. However, attending with the wrong people or going without a game plan can be overwhelming and counter productive. Take it from a bridal fair veteran (I have been to my fair share of fairs), these are the do's and don'ts that all brides should follow:
1. Do Go With Supportive Friends or Family Members
One of the most wonderful parts of planning your wedding is reconnecting with family and close friends. It's a rare moment in today's day and age to have a reason to put aside work and the distractions of life to bond with loved ones during life changing event. So, bring the people who know you, love you, support you, and will delight in every minute with you.
2. Don't Go With Anyone Who Has Their Own Agenda
What should be a fun day will quickly turn into a battle of wills when you bring the wrong people with you. Worst yet, you could get pushed into a vision that is not yours. If you surround yourself with negative people and anyone who insist they know whats best for you, your day will be tarnished. End of story.
With that in mind, a wedding is a terrible time to put friendships to the test. No one wants to feel left out and you certainly don't want the pain of loosing a friend during such a happy time. Therefore, plan an activity with these special (negative) friends and family members in an environment you can control such as coming over to help stamp and address "Save The Dates." Turn it into a happening by going out to lunch to celebrate afterwards.
3. Don't Bring A Large Group With You
It might be fun to say you have an 'entourage' but in reality, it's a bound to make your experience chaotic and you will likely waste a lot of time. Instead, pick a couple close friends or family members who will be your cheerleaders, your coat holders, and run interference with that one wedding fair vendor that just won't stop talking.
4. Do Hydrate!
Event spaces for wedding fairs, trade shows, etc. tend to be hot and stuffy from all the body heat. What's more, the recycled air can be drying. Make sure to hydrate. It will help keep you sharp, fresh, engaged, and in the moment.
5. Do Have A Game Plan
Before you even put an event on your calendar, know why you are going:
Knowing this will ensure you:
6. Do Take Notes
Business cards and brochures can get lost. Take notes in your phone and email them to yourself, the groom, your event planner, your maid of honor, mother, sister, or anyone who is helping you plan. You will want to record the following information:
Don't worry about phone numbers or addresses at this point, any reliable business will have that information listed on their website or social media account.
7. Don't Commit On The Spot
With the allure of special show prices and offers, it's hard not to jump on a good deal. However, if you are just engaged, take your time to let everything sink in at first. Your bridal budget may need adjusting as you start deciding what you truly want in a wedding. Committing a large financial sum to any vendor before you have done your homework is risky. Plus, you will want to
8. Do Be Honest
Rarely is there a bride with no budget, no 'must haves,' etc. Be honest with the vendors. There is no sense wasting time with a vendor you can't afford, can't fulfill your vision, or meet your deadlines. It's best for both of you to be honest, you will have more time with the vendors that do fit your needs, and the vendors that don't fit your needs will be free to talk to brides that are a better match.
Also, don't judge a book by it's cover. If you see a high-end vendor, don't be scared to talk to them about budget. A good friend had a strict budget, and found an amazing floral designer that took their signature style and reinterpreted it into a price point she could afford. Likewise, no vendor is going to put their worst foot forward, sometimes what you see at a bridal fair is not what you get. Be honest and expect honesty.
9. Do Enter The Contests
Bridal fairs are full of contests, and incentives if you sign up for their emails. Why not take advantage of freebies?!? The only down side is you will actually receive emails. Some brides create temporary email addresses so their personal accounts are not flooded with junk mail. However, for me, trying to remember another login is just redundant and annoying. I have found it's best to sign up with my main email address, and if I don't like their email content, I simply unsubscribe. Legally, they will no longer be allowed to send you an email.
10. Do Make A Day Of It
This is a fun happening and should be treated as such. Go out for lunch, take a moment to do what every makes you feel strong, empowered, confident, and radiant! This is your time to shine
If you have one of those gorgeous antique ring settings that the bridal world is on fire with, and you need to pair it with a wedding band, consider shopping for vintage style wedding rings. These 'almost' vintage wedding bands have the look you want with the flexibility, styling, strength, and customization you need. Here is what to shop for to make your new wedding band look just as stylish and romantic as those vintage wedding bands you have been dreaming of.
Almost Vintage Wedding Bands Tip #1: Vintage Motifs
Antique ring settings were often made with popular design motifs. If you can find these on a wedding band, your bridal set will have an authentic look. Here are some popular motifs:
Almost Vintage Wedding Bands Tip #2: Colored Gold
While white gold and platinum were used in antique ring settings and vintage wedding bands, colored metal was also popular. Luckily, yellow and rose gold wedding bands have made a huge come back and there are many designs to choose from. At Bella's any wedding band can be ordered in yellow, white, or rose gold or platinum.
Almost Vintage Wedding Bands Tip #3: Adding Gemstones
If your a fan of gem jewelry, than this is an ideal look for you! Adding Emeralds, Rubies, or Sapphires to a diamond band can give you the vintage look you want. However, just buying a gemstone band alone will not do the trick. Look for gemstones in combination with some of the other vintage looks mentioned in this article.
Almost Vintage Wedding Bands Tip #4: Vintage Jewelry Making Techniques
Selecting a wedding band made using vintage jewelry making techniques can add to the old world charm of your ring. Here are some of the most famous jewelry making methods used in the early 20th century:
Die struck Jewelry - This type of jewelry is made by striking precious metal with immense force to slowly form the desired shape. It is a superior method of jewelry making and will hold up to the test of time. In fact, a number of the antique ring settings you see today are still around because they were made using the die struck technique.
Hand Engraved Jewelry - The lost art of hand engraving is truly unique. Only a handful of manufacturers still use this method today. Jabel is one of those companies. The artists carefully carve the desired pattern into the jewelry creating sculptural elements that are crisper, more defined, and will with stand the test of time better than cast patterns.
Almost Vintage Wedding Bands Tip #5: Design Your Own Wedding Band
The best part of having custom designed jewelry is you can get exactly what you want. This is why so many brides and grooms choose to use 'design your own engagement ring' programs. The same goes for wedding bands. Working with a jeweler that can fully customize your ring, like Bella's, will allow you to get exactly what you want.
Trend Alert: Rose Gold Engagement Rings
Today, countless brides are bringing their visions of rose gold engagement rings to life. It's a trend that looks amazing in everything, from vintage engagements rings to timeless classic solitaire engagement ring settings. Either in all pink gold or a mixed metal combination with yellow, white, or green gold. You simply can't go wrong.
"How do I begin to find the perfect rose gold engagement ring?"
Simple, find a ring you love and order it in rose gold. It's really just that easy. So, let your creativity guide you, mix and match your metals, and turn any engagement ring setting from our collection of designs into your perfect ring. Here are some before and after examples rose gold engagement rings:
Curved wedding bands, also called contoured wedding bands, are a favorite of many brides for several reasons. The most popular reason, is they tends to give a wedding set a neat, clean, and meticulous look by fitting snug against the engagement ring with no gap or space between.
Therefore, if you are looking for a well matched wedding set, then consider shopping for curved wedding bands. They come in a variety designs, both with and without diamonds, decorative elements or plain bands, and made in all the precious metals including 14KT, 18KT, and platinum. Here are some of our favorite looks.
Curved Wedding Bands #1: Diamond Bands with Beaded Edges
When you add a beaded, or millgrained, edge to a traditional diamond curved wedding band it gives the ring a vintage touch.
Curved Wedding Bands #2: Vintage Style Bands with Beaded Edges
When you add a beaded, or millgrained, edge to a vintage style wedding band it really amplifies the antique styling of the ring.
Curved Wedding Bands #3: Common Prong Diamond Wedding Bands
If you like diamond bands, but want to keep the overall look elegant and refined, try a simple curved diamond band like this one.
Curved Wedding Bands #4: Carved Vintage Style Wedding Bands
Jabel's collection of carved bands, are not only beautiful, but they are a true work of art. You can customize this band by burnishing, a type of stone setting, diamonds in the center of the flowers.
Curved Wedding Bands #5: Plain Wedding Bands
This look is timeless! A high polished gold band pairs beautifully with all engagement ring settings.
Curved Wedding Bands #6: Diamond Wedding Bands
Not only are these diamond bands sparkly, elegant, and stylish but they look great with a wide variety of engagement ring settings including halo engagement rings and even a classic solitaire.
Curved Wedding Bands #7: Channel Set Diamond Bands
Channel set wedding bands are sleek, modern, and elegant. These wedding bands pair beautifully with a wide variety of engagement ring settings.
If you are reading this article, then it's safe to assume you are ready to take the next step in your relationship...the big one!!! So, if you think an engagement is in your near future, it's time to start thinking about engagement ring settings and how active you want to be in the process of selecting the ring. Do you want to be involved, be surprised, or something in between?
Your Dream Engagement Ring #1: Being Surprised
Oh, the romance! Letting the ring come from your beloved, as not only a symbol of their love and commitment, but as an example of how well they know you is purely selfless and beautiful. Isn't that what love is all about?
Pros - A gift from the heart is the essence of romance.
Cons - Yes and no to it actually coming straight from your soon-to-be fiance's heart. More times than not I find that there is always someone with some opinion advising them what to buy. Plus, jewelry may not be their strong point.
Your Dream Engagement Ring #2: Hinting
It's fairly common to leave hints, especially with the arrival of Pinterest (hands down the best thing that ever happened to the bridal world). Hinting is a great way to give direction without interfering with the actual selection.
Pros - It may be a little bit like back seat driving, but it's a nice compromise between their vision and your fantasy.
Cons - Hinting can be great, but if your hints are not clear, then you may end up with a costly assumptions that neither of you are thrilled about. Decide if you want to focus on the quality of the diamond, the size of the diamond, the styling, etc. This will be very helpful when your soon-to-be fiance is creating a budget.
Your Dream Engagement Ring #3: Reinforcements
Chances are your soon-to-be fiance will call in some type of reinforcements to bounce ideas off of, shop with, and act as an adviser. Try to recruit someone from your camp to step up and help out
Pros - You have an advocate who knows your vision, and can give a few occasional nudges along the way, still allowing him/her to surprise you.
Cons - If your recruit doesn't fully understand, share, and respect your vision you could end up with something neither you or your fiance want. Be clear, be blunt, be transparent.
Your Dream Engagement Ring #4: Do It Together
This has become more common place, especially among brides and grooms looking for either a unique ring, where the search is part of the journey, or later in life couples wanting to share the experience together.
Pros: You get what you want.
Cons: There is no surprise.
Weddings are full of choices and selecting a wedding band will be one of those decisions. The biggest choice you will need to make is if you want to shop for straight wedding bands or curved wedding bands. Each ring possesses it's own advantages. Therefore, no matter what ring you choose it will be the right one for you! You simply can't go wrong when you follow your heart.
Pros of Curved Wedding Bands
1. Fit of Curved Wedding Bands
Curved wedding bands are typically custom fit around your engagement ring setting. This ensures that there are no spaces or gaps between the rings. The close and form-following fit will give your wedding set a meticulous and well matched look.
2. Styling of Curved Wedding Bands
Pairing a curved wedding band above AND below the engagement ring will allow your ring to be framed similarly to ring guards. This gives you a big bridal look as well as lending extra protection from bumps and bangs.
3. Alignement of Curved Wedding Bands
A curved wedding band is often more likely to stay aligned with the engagement ring rather than turning in different directions.
Cons of Curved Wedding Bands
There is really only one notable concern when selecting a curved wedding band. You have to wear your engagement ring everyday. These rings are made to be worn with an engagement ring setting and look out of place without it.
Now, this may seem like a silly concern, especially when you are first engaged and your ring is sparkly and new, but for many people, it is not always practical to wear your ring everyday. This is especially for moms and people who work with small children (imagine glue, muck, and paint constantly getting in your setting) and people in active careers where a higher set engagement ring may be routine bumped and banged such as gardeners, dog trainers, chefs, and nurses. For these individuals, on a daily basis it is simply more practical to wear the wedding band only. So, before you pick out your ring consider your future plans for career, family, hobbies, etc.
Here are some beautiful examples of curved wedding bands:
Channel Set Curved Wedding Bands
Simple Curved Wedding Bands
Prong Set Curved Wedding Bands
Shopping for an engagement ring without learning the lingo is like shopping for a car by asking for something with four wheels and a gas pedal. Not only will shopping be easier, but you will make a better purchase if you can explain what you want and understand the information you are being given. Here is the first in a series of helpful guides to teach you the basics of engagement ring vocabulary. Learn this and it will make the entire process of buying an engagement ring much easier.
When it comes to an engagement ring think of your purchase as a recipe. Different ingredients make different rings. Once you identify what 'ingredients' you want you can start to design your own engagement ring to your exact specifications. Here are the main ingredients that go into an engagement ring:
Engagement Ring Settings: The Diamond
Selecting the perfect diamond takes a basic understanding of gemology. These sliding diamond scales on the Gemological Institute of America's website are an excellent tool to understand the 4C's of diamonds:
While, many brides often ask for a 'flawless diamond,' the gemological description of flawless is more than the eye can see, and most likely more than you really need to dedicate your budget to. Working with an expert, like those at Bella's, and using this chart will help you find the perfect diamond for your ring. You will also want to decide on the stone shape and carat size. The most popular stones, and the most price friendly, are rounds, though some fancy cut diamonds may offer a visually larger size at a lower carat weight making them possibly budget friendly.
Engagement Ring Settings: The Silhouette
There are really two different types of engagement ring silhouettes: solitaires and diamond mountings. Each style has its benefits. Here they are:
Solitaire - Any engagement ring settings that have only one center stone and no additional stones are solitaires. However, not all of them are what we would consider a classic solitaire with a simple band and a traditional ring setting. Some solitaires can have decorative elements, such as hand engraving, two tone details, or ornate embellishments. Solitaires allow you to focus your engagement ring shopping budget on getting an amazing stone.
Ornate Solitaire Engagement Ring Settings
Diamond Mountings - When engagement ring settings have stones, other than the center stone they are considered a diamond mounting. These include classic diamond band engagement rings, three stone engagement rings, and halo engagement rings. Diamond mountings can also be used for gemstones rings, such as emerald, ruby, or sapphire engagement rings. The benefit of a diamond mounting is they can be spectacular and decorative.
Once you have identified the silhouette you want you can explore all the variations I described and find your perfect category of rings.
Engagement Ring Settings: The Head
The actual setting the main diamond sits in is called a 'head.' Heads are most easily categorized by how they hold a stone. The most popular settings are Prong and Bezel:
Prong Settings - Prongs are thin metal projections that hold the stone. Typically they can range in numbers from 4 to 6 prongs on a head. They can be simple single metal projections or ornate fishtails. Here is an example of both a straight prong and a fishtail prong;
Straight 4 Prong Engagement Ring Settings
Fishtail Prongs Engagement Ring Settings with Hand Engraved Details
Bezel Settings - When a diamond is surrounded by a collar of metal it is called a bezel. However, if the collar goes around opposing sides of the stone it is called semi-bezel. These types of settings are typically seen on more modern settings and are ideal for athletic engagement rings because of the protection they offer. Here is a full bezel solitaire:
Bezel Engagement Ring Settings
Engagement Ring Settings: The Shank
The band that wraps from the setting around the finger is called the 'shank.' They can be all metal or embellished with stones. Here are some of our most popular shanks:
Plain Shanks - These are plain metal shanks with out any ornamentation, diamonds, or other details. Often high polished (very shinny) and clean looking they can range in width, height, taper, as well as the silhouette of the band including domed, squared, or knife edged.
Plain Shank Low Domed Engagement Ring Settings
Decorative Shanks Without Diamonds - These diamonds go to show you that you don't need diamonds to be fancy! They can have decorative elements such as sculptural reliefs, hand engraved details, or mixed metals.
Decorative Shank Without Diamonds, With Hand Engraved Details
Split Shanks - When the shank splits from the base of the shank into to separate bands that reach up to the setting, we call this a split shank. They can be plain or embellished with diamonds.
Split Shank Engagement Ring Settings
Goose Neck Shanks - When the shank broadens at the shoulders (where the shank meets the setting) and abruptly pinch in to create an almost an arrow or tear drop shape, we call this a goose neck or pinched shoulder shank. These settings help draw the eye to the center stone.
Goose Neck Engagement Ring Settings
Channel Set Shanks - Settings with diamonds set into the metal are typically called channel set shanks. However, there are a few settings that look like they are channel set but are really prong set. Regardless, it's a sleek and beautiful ring setting.
Channel Set Engagement Ring Settings
Prong Set Shanks - When small prongs hold diamonds on the shank these are called prong set shanks. The stones can share prongs, as in common prong styles, or have individual prongs.
Common Prong Set Engagement Ring Settings
Eternity Band Shanks - When the decorative elements of the shank wrap all the way around the finger it is considered an eternity band shank. These rings are symbolic of the eternity of love. Very romantic!
Eternity Band Engagement Ring Settings
Many engagement ring settings are a hybrid of these types of shank. Perhaps you want a "channel set eternity band" or a "goose neck shank with a decorative hand engraved millgrain edge", regardless of what you want, learning to describe them will help you arrive at your perfect ring much faster (and much less stressful).
Engagement Ring Settings: The Metal
When it comes to engagement ring settings, long gone are the days of the 'it' metal. Sure, 10 years ago you had to have a white gold setting. Today, the bridal world is open to any metal you desire, especially when it comes to mixed metal rings such as pink and green gold engagement rings and white and rose gold engagement rings!