matrimony

Is Your Engagement Ring Worth More Debt?
Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

How much do Canadian couples spend on engagement rings? According to a March 2016 Global News article, the average cost for each one is around $4,700. After including the typical event and honeymoon costs, the total price tag for a wedding can reach almost $40,000. Cutting expenses can be challenging for couples who want to tie the knot. That’s why it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Behind the Engagement Ring “Rules”

You may have heard of the supposed “rules” for buying engagement rings. Depending on who you ask, the ring should cost either two or three times one’s monthly salary. Statistics Canada’s 2017 figures revealed that the average weekly salary is around $986. That means the typical Canadian earns almost $4,000 per month before deductions. With these figures, following the oft-repeated rule on rings results in a price tag between $8,000 and $12,000.

How did these modern engagement ring purchasing practices develop? Money Under 30’s David Weliver divulges that they originated with a shrewd marketing campaign launched by the London-based diamond company De Beers. He also contends that they aren’t practical for younger couples because of typical debt burdens and lower salaries. To lower costs, he suggests a few alternatives:

  • Pay for the ring with cash.
  • Select a family heirloom piece.
  • Choose gemstones that are less expensive than diamonds.

Pros and Cons of Financing Your Ring

If there’s no room in your budget to purchase an engagement ring in full, you may be tempted to finance it. Your credit history will determine the types of offers you receive along with spending limits and interest rates. Individuals with favorable credit can choose from many options:

  • Personal loans
  • Vendor’s credit cards or revolving credit lines
  • Major credit cards issued by financial institutions

At the same time, you’ll need to think about how this new debt will impact your upcoming marriage. NerdWallet’s Erin El Issa points out that each spouse is liable for individually incurred debts. This is true regardless of whether they originated before or after the wedding. Yet those debts still affect the couple’s overall financial health. A significant debt load can make it difficult to purchase a home together, contribute to a savings account, or plan for retirement.

In another Money Under 30 article, David Weliver offers suggestions for people desiring to purchase engagement rings on credit. While he still warns readers not to buy rings that they cannot afford, he discusses some favorable financing options. Some jewelry retailers may offer 0 percent financing or no interest and payments for a predetermined time period. Weliver strongly suggests reviewing each offer’s terms. With some, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate after the promotional period expires.

Depending on your credit score, you may qualify for cards that come with 0 percent interest on new purchases for up to one year. Be sure you know what your new APR will be. Also, you should assess whether you can pay off the ring before the promotion ends. Purchase your ring from a reliable online jeweler. Buying online could save you a significant amount of money, letting you spend as little as 50 percent of the brick-and-mortar retailer price. Make sure you request a shipment method with tracking and a signature requirement as well as insurance to cover the ring itself.

Choose Your Credit Options Carefully

In the past, society judged a man’s ability to provide for his future wife by the type of engagement ring he gave her. It’s true that some still take notice at an elaborate ring with a decent-sized diamond. Ultimately, you must consider the effects of purchasing one either with cash or credit. After all, part of your goal should be making smart decisions for your joint financial future.

 

Don’t Let Allergies Ruin Your Wedding Day
Whether you suffer from seasonal or food allergies, there are ways to make sure your wedding day is not ruined by sneezes and watery eyes or worse.

Whether you suffer from seasonal or food allergies, there are ways to make sure your wedding day is not ruined by sneezes and watery eyes or worse.

For those who suffer from allergies, each and every day can be concerning. Depending on the type of allergies you have, you could be extremely careful about what you eat or you might pay attention to the seasonal pollen count as if it were your bank account. This means you most likely will also have a number of concerns about your wedding day and how your allergies might negatively impact all of your carefully laid plans. Though allergies are annoying, they can be bested for a day with a bit of preparation.

Whether you suffer from seasonal or food allergies, there are ways to make sure your wedding day is not ruined by sneezes and watery eyes or worse. Take a look at these tips and plan in advance for your own needs.

The Seasonal Experience

First, it can be a good idea to examine seasonal allergies. Unlike food allergies, which can be somewhat easy to contain, seasonal sneezes and discomfort are totally based on the weather and environment. Though you will not have total control over these factors on your wedding day, you can definitely change the outcome for the best by remembering a few simple points. For one, high pollen count and an outdoor wedding can spell disaster. Encourage guests to take allergy meds in advance or try and book a venue near water, as the wind off bodies of water can lower pollen.

It is also important to realize that flowers are not as significant as you might imagine when it comes to allergies at a wedding. The main reason for this comes down to the most common types of flowers at these events. Lilies and roses are ubiquitous at weddings, and these flowers produce pollen that is more difficult for people with allergies to react to. On the other hand, any flower arrangements featuring floral options that produce smaller pollen grains could be problematic for anyone who is sensitive to such allergens.

Food and Drink Concerns

Knowing what you can and cannot serve at your wedding can be tricky when allergies are involved. Some people have very common allergies, like tree nuts or shellfish. Still, people have allergies to everything from apples to prunes to gluten. This means you should take a few simple precautions before you finalize the menu for your big day. The easiest solution? Be sure to ask guests very early about any and all allergies or dietary restrictions that they might have. The invitation is the perfect place to bring this topic up.

When your guests inform you of their allergies and intolerances early enough, you can make adjustments. If you forget to ask, you could end up in a situation where several guests at your wedding cannot eat their meals because they are severely allergic to one or more ingredients. As long as you bring up the question very early and ask all guests to provide information about allergies, you should be able to avoid a situation where someone has a bad reaction to something they ate at your wedding.

Tiny Surprises

Communicating with your guests about potential allergies is only one step of the process when it comes to food and drink. You also need to make sure your kitchen staff and caterers are informed of these restrictions. There are situations where caterers introduce appetizers that feature ingredients guests might not notice. All it takes is one loose peanut in a pastry puff to send a guest into a problematic situation. As long as you speak with your caterers about all concerns, you should be able to avoid any major issues.

Don’t let allergies ruin your big day! Take the right precautions with food, seasonal, and environmental allergies, and you should be able to enjoy a day without a chorus of sneezes ringing through the air every few minutes.

 

Changing Trends and Competition Spell Trouble for Big Bridal Stores
With shifts in wedding trends and customers seeking new options, many ask if big-box bridal stores will be able to stand these and future challenges.

With shifts in wedding trends and customers seeking new options, many ask if big-box bridal stores will be able to stand these and future challenges.

In November 2018, CNN reported that David’s Bridal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Documents filed in a U.S. bankruptcy court show that the corporation owes between $500 million and $1 billion to creditors. Some possible factors leading to the American company’s troubles include a decline in marriages, more casual weddings, and strong competition from online and brick-and-mortar retailers. With the same developments occurring in Canada, it’s worth an examination of how they have impacted big-box bridal stores.

Marriage Rates Are Declining

The Canadian Encyclopedia mentions that the marriage rate in Canada is dropping. Statistics Canada recently revealed that married couples head around 65 percent of households. That’s a slight decline from 2001’s findings, which indicated that married pairs headed 70 percent of households. Changing attitudes about marriage and financial worries may have caused this decline.

More Couples Choose Casual Weddings

Nearly every wedding magazine or website offers suggestions for hosting casual affairs. Wedding Wire’s trends report from 2018 mentions some recent notable trends:

  • Grooms are selecting more laidback attire.
  • More couples write their own vows.
  • Wedding parties are walking down the aisle to non-classical music.

A March 2018 piece in Canadian Living supports these observations. Writer Jessica Alcock comments that modern bridal fashions tend to be simple and elegant. Another key trend focuses on gowns designed with runway-inspired details.

Competition From Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

Discount outlets and department stores have made inroads in the industry. As a result, their competition presents challenges for big-box bridal stores. A July 2018 Glamour article showed several gorgeous and inexpensive department-store gowns. Some of these businesses, such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, have store locations in Canada. Hudson’s Bay also partnered with New York City bridal boutique Kleinfeld, offering a wide range of gowns at its Toronto Queen Street location.

Local independent bridal shops provide personalized service and unique formalwear options. Wedding Wire Canada maintains a directory of Canadian boutiques. Several of these stock vintage, consignment, and pre-owned gowns. Brides who want a vintage look or who wish to save some cash can discover fabulous finds at these and other locally owned stores.

Better Deals and More Options Online

Online shops also offer a huge range of options. Many American premier boutiques, some major department stores, and specialty shops ship to Canada. A few examples include Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Revolve, and Forward by Elyse Walker. Anomalie, an online bridal-wear startup, produces custom gowns crafted to meet each bride’s specifications. Their creation occurs during a collaborative process between the bride and a company stylist. The result is a made-to-measure dress that’s shipped directly to the bride. Often, these distinctive gowns cost much less than a comparative dress found in a big-box bridal store.

Can Big-Box Bridal Stores Change With the Times?

All these developments have affected the bottom lines of large retailers like David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo. David’s Bridal currently has 12 locations throughout Canada. As for Alfred Angelo, the corporation had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in United States federal court in July 2017. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported in July 2018 that all its retail stores have permanently closed. Moreover, the company still owed brides more than $20 million in claims for gowns that were never delivered.

David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo relied on classic industry business models. With shifts in wedding trends and customers seeking new options, both companies saw their profits plummet. Will big-box bridal stores like them be able to weather these and other future challenges? That remains to be seen, but the bottom line is that couples will turn to vendors who can provide the products, prices, and services they need.