February 2017

Alternatives to Diamonds for Engagement Rings
Diamonds are beautiful, however there are many beautiful stones that exist.

Though diamonds are a girls best friend, there are plenty of other beautiful stones out that are more budget friendly and will surely stand out.

Wedding and engagement rings have a long history, probably from Roman customs where a woman would wear rings attached to small keys, which demonstrated her ownership by her husband. Women were considered property for many years, and we’re fortunate that this has changed. The first rings with diamonds were recorded in the late 1400s. Maximilian I, the King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor, commissioned a diamond ring for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy.

Maximilian is responsible for the diamond engagement ring trend, but it was the Victorians who popularized the ornate designs and beautiful settings that we know today. However, diamonds were largely inaccessible to the masses until De Beers began mining in the late 1800s. The demand for diamonds dropped during the Depression, but De Beers Company fought back by using the movie stars of the time to advertise the diamonds.

Are Diamonds Really a Girl’s Best Friend?

In the 1953 film, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Marilyn Monroe sang:

“The French are glad to die for love.

They delight in fighting duels.

But I prefer a man who lives

And gives expensive jewels.

A kiss on the hand

May be quite continental,

But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

Diamonds might be considered traditional, but not everyone can afford these rare gems. Some people don’t want to support the industry. There are a lot of other gemstones that can be made into beautiful rings. Here are some of the best alternatives.

Alternative Stones

  • Garnets come in shades of pink and red most commonly, but you can also find them in other colors. Although garnets aren’t as hard as other gems, only a 7.0 on the Mohs scale (a diamond is a 10), you’ll be able to get a bigger gem for a fraction of the cost.
  • Sapphires are most commonly a blue gem, but you can find them in other hues. The best part is that sapphires are generally one-third of the price of diamonds. You can get a larger stone, but make sure it’s well cut.
  • Emeralds come in beautiful shades of green, and although they aren’t one of the more popular gems these days, they can look chic and timeless in a ring setting that will last forever.
  • Pearls are an iconic look, but they do tend to scratch and tarnish easily. You can find very elegant pearls at a good price, but don’t plan on wearing the ring every day to make it last.
  • Opals can reflect the entire rainbow as they move in the light. No two opals look the same, but they are in the middle of the Mohs scale. Opals don’t stand up to daily wear like a diamond might, but they still make a beautiful ring.
  • Onyx is generally black in color, but it can come in a variety of colors for fine jewelry. The black stone pairs with anything you wear and it looks timeless and chic.
  • Sunstones are a very abundant gemstone and come in a variety of shades including peach, red, orange and green. Many are found just south of the border in Oregon.
  • Amethyst is a pretty, purple gem that is durable but less expensive than diamond. The gem is beautifully paired with gold or silver for a classic look.
Wedding Engagement Announcement Etiquette
Taking the first steps towards an engagement.

Every engagement started somewhere. For some, it was dating a friend; for others, dating websites played a crucial role.

According to some experts, about 40 percent of wedding engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter when you get engaged, you’ll want to spread the news far and wide. It might sound like a childish notion to have a plan for sharing your engagement news, but you’ll want to make sure that your mom hears your announcement from you, not Aunt Sally. Here are some etiquette tips you might want to consider.

Who Do I Tell First?

Before posting on social media, you want to make sure your family and close friends know. If you have kids, you should talk to them first and give them some time to process their emotions before making the big announcement. Social media and/or newspaper announcements should follow your own verbal notices.

Can I Post Pictures of the Ring on Social Media?

Modern etiquette experts all recommend not sharing a picture of just your ring on social media, although it is very common to see close-up pictures of rings on Instagram or Facebook. The best way is to take a picture of your left hand that includes you and your fiancé. It’s more gracious and focuses on your announcement instead of focusing on the consumerism of how big the ring is.

Dealing With Uncomfortable Questions About the Ring

If you get asked about the price or size of your ring, you may be uncomfortable discussing that particular information. You don’t have to tell someone how much the ring cost or how many carats the diamond is. It is good to have a general response to any questions to be able to deflect the discomfort you feel. “Brad spent more than he should have, but we’ll have this treasure forever.” “It’s not the size that matters to me.” Humor is a good tool to have in your arsenal. Quickly change the subject to some other aspect of the wedding.

Who Should Be Invited to the Engagement Party?

You might want to invite all your friends and family to your engagement party, but wedding etiquette dictates that everyone who is invited to pre-wedding events should be invited to the actual wedding. This is one reason to keep the engagement party small. Although anyone can throw the celebration, traditionally the parents of the bride host the party. The best man and maid of honor should not be the ones hosting this party, because they are responsible for other parties closer to the wedding.

Do Brides Have to Wear White to the Engagement Party?

It is traditional for brides to wear white to the party, but that shouldn’t limit your wardrobe. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and enjoy the party and your friends. White puts you in the spotlight, and it will be a nice reminder that those pictures are from the engagement party.

Etiquette for Those Who Have Been Informed About the Engagement

If you’ve been chosen to get the information before it’s been posted on social media, hold off on posting anything on social media about the wedding until after the couple makes an announcement. It’s tempting to want to break the news, but it’s just good etiquette to wait. Don’t ask about the size or cost of the ring. If the bride and groom want to tell you, they will.

You also shouldn’t approach the couple to ask whether you’ll be in the bridal party. It puts the bride and groom in the awkward position of having to say no if they’re planning a small wedding and not including you. Just wait to let the bride ask you. You aren’t obligated to get engagement gifts for the couple, but gifts are customary. Choose affordable gifts that fit within your budget and communicate your happiness.

Wedding Traditions From Around The World
Certain wedding traditions have been practiced for hundreds of years.

There are all kinds of traditions that continue through the world. Many have similarities while others can be vastly different.

If you’re trying to plan a unique ceremony for your special day, check out some of these special wedding traditions from around the world.

 

 

 

Wedding Traditions from other Cultures

  • Congo – Brides and grooms aren’t allowed to smile on their wedding day. When they do, it shows that they aren’t serious about the marriage.
  • China – The bride travels to the groom’s home in a decorated sedan chair. Attendants take care of the bride on the journey by holding parasols to shield her from the elements. They throw rice at the chair as a sign of prosperity and health. Female bridesmaids put the groom through a series of tests for him to prove his worthiness of the bride. He must give them envelopes of money before they’ll allow him to have their friend.
  • Fiji – The potential bridegroom must present his father with a whale’s tooth when he asks for her hand in marriage.
  • Jamaica – The bride is paraded through the streets. If the villagers go home, it means she didn’t look her best. She must go home and spruce herself up for another go.

Some Other Cultures Practices

  • Guatemala – The groom’s parents host the reception party. The groom’s mother breaks a ceramic bell filled with grains to give the couple prosperity.
  • Germany – The guests break porcelain dishes in front of the new home. The bride and groom are to clean these dishes up together as a demonstration of working together to overcome anything.
  • Scotland – Gretna Green is the place to elope. In medieval times, Gretna Green would marry young couples who did not always have parental permission.
  • Kenya – The bride’s father spits on her as she leaves the reception. It’s thought to preempt fate by not seeming too supportive of the couple.
  • Greece – The best man (or groom’s best friend) shaves the groom before the wedding. The new mother-in-law feeds him honey and almonds.
  • Japan – A Shinto bride wears white from head to toe. The head covering is thought to hide the horns of jealousy toward her new mother-in-law. The white symbolizes her maidenhood.
  • Norway – The traditional cake is called kransekake. It’s a tower of almond cake rings stacked on top of each other. The center is often filled with a wine bottle. The bride may wear a gold and silver crown with small trinkets as part of her wedding finery. As she moves, the trinkets jingle, which scares off the evil spirits.
  • Russia – Couples partake of a sweetbread called karavaya which is decorated with grains of wheat for fertility. Whoever takes the largest bite without using their hands is thought to be the head of the family.

As you go through this list, you might notice that many of the wedding traditions are similar to customs we have here. It just shows that we’re more alike than we think.

Choosing the Right Wedding Date
Winter wedding dates are becoming increasingly popular.

Due to the popularity of the movie “Frozen”, more and more people are placing their wedding date in the winter.

Every bride dreams of the perfect wedding and one of the first decisions that you have to make is the date. Some couples have a special day and won’t even think about choosing another wedding date, but many people aren’t even sure where to start. Here are some tips to help you narrow the choices and select a date that will work for you.

What’s Your Dream Wedding?

When you see yourself getting married, you have to know what you envision as your ideal. Maybe you want to be married in a lush rose garden, which might mean a late spring or early summer wedding. If you’ve always wanted to get married in a vineyard, you might have to think late September or October. With the popularity of the movie “Frozen,” more couples are thinking of a beautiful white, winter wedding. Choose a season that fits your imagination.

Consider the Weather

Even if your wedding is inside, you should take into account the weather when planning the date. If you imagine the groom wearing a tux or full suit, the middle of summer might not be the best choice. It’s just too hot to be so formal in 100-degree weather. The other factor in considering the weather is your guests’ comfort. If you’re having an outside wedding, you don’t want your guests to bake in the sun or freeze because it’s too cold. Of course, there are always unseasonable temperatures, but you can’t control everything.

Consider Your Budget

There’s a reason June, September and October are popular months to get married in, and it’s because the weather is generally fairly dependable. Vendors know that these are popular months, and the prices go up during the wedding season. If you have a strict budget, you might want to consider an off-season wedding. But you do need think about sacrifices in other areas, because specialty flowers aren’t always as readily available in off-season months. Saving money with the venue, then spending it on flowers doesn’t make the most sense if you’re trying to save money.

Special Occasions to Consider for Your Wedding Date

It might be nice to get married on New Year’s Eve, because the date will always be special in more ways than one. When considering your wedding date, you have to consider the holiday season. On Valentine’s Day, roses tend to be more expensive, which could increase your budget. If you live in a college town, you may also have to think about sports events, such as homecoming. This might make it difficult for your friends and family to find reasonable accommodations. Hotels, flights and car rentals all tend to get more expensive on holiday weekends and when demand is higher.

Another element in looking at special dates is that of those dates special to you and your spouse. Whether it’s the day you met or your grandparent’s anniversary, you may be looking at one particular date. Consider how important the actual date is versus some flexibility in scheduling.

The Venues May Have Limited Availability

Once you choose your ideal date, you have to work it out with your venues. Often, churches won’t hold weddings on Sundays because they are using the facility for their own services. With some places, you may have to work around corporate events or other weddings. Again, some flexibility is always good when planning, especially when you have a short time frame.

Decide what’s most important to you when choosing your wedding date and what you won’t compromise on. Check with family members and your wedding party to make sure you’re not planning your wedding on top of someone’s graduation from college or silver anniversary wedding trip. It will save you a lot of headache in the long run. Although you cannot plan for every contingency, you can really consider some of the most important factors in choosing your wedding date to have the wedding of your dreams.

Televise Your Wedding

Televise Your Wedding

Currently, it is quite easy to capture a wedding on a phone or some other device, and there are too many wedding-related reality TV shows to count. That wasn’t the case in 1987 when Trevor and Lynn Bright became the first Canadians to get married on television. The couple was acquainted with broadcaster Betty Thompson, who proposed they tie the knot on her talk show. The studio paid for all the wedding essentials, including Lynn’s dress and the cake. Twenty-eight years later, they are still happily married. While the Brights may have been one of the first, there have been numerous other couples who have tied the knot on television since then.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana

The world’s obsession with royalty predates reality television. The July 29, 1981, nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were one of the first reality TV weddings. The couple rode to and from the ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in carriages through throngs of cheering crowds, and the event was watched by millions of people around the world. The image projected of the couple to the public was one of marital bliss. However, like many reality TV shows, there was something else going on behind the scenes and, after an unhappy marriage, the couple acrimoniously divorced in 1996. Diana was killed in a car crash in France the following year.

Prince William and Kate Middleton

In another huge television event, Prince William married Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey in London. The couple now has two children, born in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

Kim Kardashian is one of the queens of reality TV. She and Kris Humphries were married on August 11, 2011, in Montecito, California in one of most well-publicized media spectacles of all time. E! TV aired a two-part special of the preparations for the wedding and event itself, all of which coincided with the release of Kardashian’s new perfume, “Kim Kardashian Love,” and the opening of the Kardashian Khaos store in Las Vegas. Kardashian ended up filling for divorce after 72 days of marriage, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Many people speculated that the wedding was merely a publicity stunt to promote Kardashian’s TV show and other products.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Weddings

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are reality TV show staples. The Bachelor has been on the air for 19 seasons and The Bachelorette for 11, but the odds of actually ending up married after participating in the shows aren’t great.

Only two of The Bachelor couples have gotten hitched in the nearly two decades that the show has been on air:

  • Season 13: Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney

Jason originally proposed to another contestant, Melissa Rycroft, but later asked Molly out for coffee. He ended the engagement to Melissa and married Molly in 2010.

  • Season 17: Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici

The couple got engaged on the show in the fall of 2012; they married in January 2014 on a live special.

The odds are a little better on The Bachelorette; over 11 seasons, three couples have tied the knot.

  • Season 1: Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter

The couple got engaged in early 2003 and married on TV at the end of the same year; they now have two young children.

  • Season 7: Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum

They were engaged on the season finale in August 2011 and exchanged vows in December 2012. Hebert and Rosenbaum have since given birth to a son.

  • Season 9: Desiree Hartstock and Chris Siegfried

The Bachelorette’s most recent success story is Desiree Hartstock and Chris Siegfried. They got engaged on air in August 2013 and married in January 2015.

Getting married on TV is not for everyone, but some couples — including the Brights of Canada — have demonstrated that it is possible to live happily ever after.

The History of Gay Marriage in Canada

Canadian thumbs up in front of gay marriage flagThe United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the legality of same-sex unions on April 28. It is a long time coming, and the gay marriage movement has steadily been gaining support south of the border. Thirty-seven states in the U.S. allow same-sex weddings, but they are still banned in 13 others. In 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled gay marriage was legal throughout the nation.

Legal Ruling in Favor of Gay Marriage

Canada was the fourth country after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain to permit same-sex unions. Prior to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisive ruling on the issue on July 20, 2005, eight of the 10 provinces and one of the three territories had already legalized it. Ontario was the first province to sanction same-sex unions and did so on June 10, 2003.

Major Events and Milestones

Canada has a long and varied history on gay rights and same-sex unions.

1965

Northwest Territories resident Everett Klippert admitted to having sexual relations with men over a period of two decades. He was deemed an “incurable homosexual,” labeled a “dangerous sex offender,” and sent to jail in 1967. The Canadian Supreme Court endorsed his imprisonment in controversial 3–2 vote.

1967

Justice Minister, and future Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau proposed legislation that would soften anti-homosexuality laws.

1969

Homosexual is decriminalized when Trudeau’s amendments are passed.

1971

Everett Klippert is released from prison.

Feb. 5, 1981

Over 300 men were arrested in Toronto after police raided gay bath houses. The next evening, more than 3,000 people march to protest the arrests.

1985

In 1985, The “Equality for All” report is released by Parliament’s Committee on Equality Rights. The committee members expressed dismay at the treatment of many Canadian homosexuals including discrimination, harassment, abuse and hate propaganda. They proposed the Canadian Human Rights Act be altered to make discrimination against individuals due to their sexual orientation a crime. The following year, the government issues the “Toward Equality” paper stating, “The government will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that sexual orientation is a prohibiting ground of discrimination in relation to all areas of federal jurisdiction.”

1988

British Columbia politician Svend Robinson announced he is homosexual. He is the first MP to do so and is re-elected for the eighth time the following year.

1992

In August of 1992, the Ontario Court of Appeals ruled sexual orientation should be included in the Canadian Human Rights Act and any failure to do is prejudicial. Later in the year, the ban on gays in the military is ended by the federal courts.

1999

A May ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court grants homosexual couples the same access to social program benefits to which they contribute as heterosexual common-law couples. Despite this ruling and the resulting changes to numerous laws to comply with it, Parliament votes by a wide margin to keep the definition of “marriage” as the union of two people of the opposite sex.

June 10, 2003

On June 10, 2003, Toronto couple Michael Leshner and Michael Stark are wed after the Ontario Court of Appeals upholds a lower court decision permitting gay marriages.

July 20, 2005

Bill C-38 is passed officially legalizing same-sex unions across Canada.

7, 2006

Conservatives attempt to continue the discussion on the legality of gay marriage and the measure is defeated in the House of Commons by over 50 votes.

Famous Gay Canadians

There are number of well-known gay Canadians including:

  • K.D. Lang – Musician
  • Kathleen Wynne – First openly homosexual premier
  • David Furnish – Writer, film director, producer, and husband of Elton John
  • Rick Mercer – TV host and comedian
  • Rex Harrington – National Ballet of Canada former principal dancer

Canada has been one of the most progressive countries in the world on gay rights and gay marriage. It remains to be seen if the United States will follow suit.

Pop-Up Weddings: An Easy, Low-Cost Way to Tie the Knot

Pop-up Wedding chapel sign in Las Vegas, Nevada

From Sydney to Washington, D.C., to Vancouver, more and more couples are choosing pop-up weddings, which is an innovative and unique way to get hitched. Described as a “fancy way to elope,” this new trend is growing in popularity. Vancouver-based Pop Up Wedding BC is leading the way.

How Do Pop-Up Weddings Work?

At a pop-up wedding, multiple ceremonies are scheduled throughout the course of a day at the same venue. The nuptials take place at different times, but the cost of each is lower because the day’s expenses are shared among each event and they are economies of scale. All the details such as flowers, photographer, officiant, caterer and DJ are pre-planned so the couples and their guests only need to show-up and enjoy. A variety of options and packages are available, but prices can be as low as $1,050 for the most budget conscious. Each year, new locations are added to the list.

Upcoming Dates BC

Pop Up Wedding BC has several upcoming events.

  • August 8, 2015
    • Vintage Garden Wedding in Abbotsford, B.C. – all three packages sold out.
  • August 9, 2015
    • 10 packages available
    • Wedding will take place at a secret location in Downtown Vancouver.
    • Each event is for 10 to 20 guests.
    • Prices range from $1,050 to $2,999 depending on whether or not there is a reception.
  • July 2016
    • Mountaintop Wedding
    • You and up to eight guest will take a helicopter to a scenic mountaintop for the wedding ceremony.
    • A reception in the hangar with additional guests can also be added.
  • August 13 & 14, 2016
    • Chilliwack farm wedding
    • Up to 100 guests
    • Choose from a morning reception, or lunch or dinner BBQ in a rustic barn on the property
  • September 10 & 11, 2016
    • Vintage Garden Wedding in Abbotsford, B.C.
    • Up to 100 Guests
    • Three options: Ceremony only, morning brunch and evening reception
  • December 3, 2016
    • University of British Columbia Boathouse wedding
    • Stunning setting on the Fraser River with scenic views of the North Shore Mountains.
    • Six elopement ceremonies for up to 40 guests.
    • One reception package for up to 100 guests.

Las Vegas Anyone?

While the Las Vegas wedding chapel experience is not the same thing as a pop-up wedding, there are some similarities. Tying the knot in Las Vegas is one of the easiest, fastest and least expensive ways to get married.

  • Marriage License

You do need a marriage license from the Las Vegas Wedding Bureau, but the Court House is open 8 a.m. – 12 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 24 hours a day on weekends and holidays. The cost is $60 and you will also need to bring a valid driver’s license or passport.

  • Length of Ceremony

The actual ceremony typically last 15–20 minutes, but it is a good idea to allow some extra time for pictures and anything else that may come up.

  • Attire

You can wear whatever you choose. Many Las Vegas wedding chapels also have bridal gowns and tuxedos for rent. It is smart to call ahead to reserve your outfits and determine whether or not they require alterations.

  • Packages

The most basic package usually costs around $100 and includes the ceremony, music, 10 pictures on a disc, minister and witness, if needed. Other more expensive packages can feature items like flowers, a video recording of the nuptials, shuttle service, extra pictures and even trays of appetizers for guests.

Some couples prefer a “destination” package. This can include being picked up at your hotel with a limo and getting married any place you choose on the strip. Some wedding chapels will also arrange weddings at scenic Red Rock Canyon, which is approximately 45 minutes from Las Vegas.

The cost of weddings continues to rise. Having a pop-up wedding or getting married in Las Vegas are two options that can be more affordable while still having special significance for the couple.

Die-Hard Maple Leafs Fans Tie the Knot at Center Ice

ThinkstockPhotos-78371241A traditional church wedding is no longer a marriage requirement. Many couples are choosing less conventional places to tie the knot. Exchanging vows at a sporting venue is one of countless options. On March 19, a Toronto couple, who are big Maple Leafs fans, was married on the ice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Hockey Wedding

In early March, Jennifer Rogers and Scott Protomanni won a contest that allowed them to get married at center ice, with a reception at a suite in the arena included. Rogers and Protomanni watched every league game while they were dating and were selected over hundreds of other couples who entered the contest. Family and friends cheered them on from the stands as they exchanged vows.

A blue carpet had been placed on the ice so no one slipped around during the ceremony, and they had their first dance there as well. The couple wore jerseys that said “bride” and “groom” on the back. Rogers carried a blue and white bouquet and there were hockey stick decorations. Carlton the Bear, the Leafs’ mascot, was the ring bearer. The couple also received a pair of tickets to the San Jose Sharks game scheduled for later in the evening. Their rings were provided courtesy of jeweler and sponsor Michael Hill.

“I Do Day” in Rio

In another arena wedding, 2,000 couples exchanged vows at the Maracanazinho Arena in Rio de Janeiro in December. The annual event has been nicknamed “Dia do Sim” or “I Do Day.” It was promoted by the city and created to help low-income couples—who were unable to pay for a wedding—get married. Couples with a monthly income of up to $1,000 were permitted to participate. Local authorities also booked special trains for the couples and their guests to transport them to the arena. Volunteer civil judges oversaw the ceremony, and a Roman Catholic bishop and evangelical minister blessed the couples. Some couples had waited years to get married and a number of them brought their kids along. The Maracanazinho Arena will be the site of the volleyball competition during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Tips for Proposing at a Sports Stadium

While some people choose to marry at sports arenas, others opt to pop the question there. Here are a few tips if you are considering proposing at one.

  • Know the Answer Will Be Yes

In general, it is nice to be relatively confident that you will receive the answer you want to hear when you pop the question. If you are going to do so before thousands of people, it is even more important. The moment will be pretty embarrassing if the answer is no.

  • Be Sure Your Significant Other Will Like It

Not everyone wants to get engaged at a sports area. According to The Knot, a leading wedding planning website, only 10 percent of women like the idea of being proposed to at a stadium. If your significant other is a big sports fan, it may be a wonderful idea. Another issue is that not everyone wants to get engaged in such a public way, which may also include sports fans. You don’t want to spoil this momentous occasion by making your significant other uncomfortable in front of an arena’s worth of people.

  • The Details

If you are considering a stadium proposal, it is a good idea to do your research. Typically, there is a fee for doing this and it can cost up to several hundred dollars. You will probably have to be brief; even stadiums with large jumbotrons often limit the size of messages to 10 or 12 words.

A sports stadium wedding was ideal for Jennifer Rogers and Scott Protomanni and may be worth investigating if you and your partner like the idea. Proposing at an area can be a different affair altogether.