How to Choose an Engagement Ring

Two Engagement Rings According to The Knot, a popular wedding inspiration magazine and planning website, the decision to purchase an engagement ring for your loved one is so important it takes consumers more than three months to find the perfect ring, and the average cost is $5,000.

If you’re starting to sweat under the pressure, here’s a step-by-step guide to make your decision easier.

1. Determine the Metal

• Platinum is a naturally white metal, meaning it will never fade, change color, or need to be re-dipped or re-plated.

• White gold, on the other hand, is a created by adding an alloy mix to yellow gold. As the white color fades, the ring will need to be re-dipped a few times each year.

• Platinum pairs well with all stones because its natural color will not cast any unwanted color onto the gem, plus its density makes for an extremely secure setting.

• If you want matching bands, be sure to consider what your partner likes before deciding on a metal. Continue reading

photo by: Randi Deuro

Plan a Lifetime Gift for the Groom Too

A watch for the groomWeddings aren’t meant to be an enchanted experience for the bride only—it’s important to remind grooms that the wedding is about them, too. Groom gifts allow brides a chance to turn the focus on their husbands-to-be and truly commemorate one of life’s precious moments.

The Wedding Channel, a go-to source of wedding planning advice, declares that all bride and groom gifts must be personal and meaningful. No one can argue with that. There are several ways to show a beloved how special the day is for both of you, like exciting gifts for your home (that aren’t on the registry), or maybe something that’s just for him. If his jewelry collection needs a boost—or a starting point—a luxury watch can become an ageless family heirloom.

Online wedding authorities from the Wedding Legend to the Wedding Channel agree that a watch is the number-one gift for a groom. Event planner extraordinaire Preston Bailey just participated in a dream wedding TV special where three lucky couples won their fairy tale wedding atop the Empire State Building. All three grooms received engraved timepieces from Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier. Continue reading

photo by: Instant Vantage

Preparing for the big day: Avoid Wedding Mishaps

Taking some photosMake sure your wedding day is only filled with blissful memories by taking a few steps to do what you can to protect yourself from the financial and emotional impact of wedding-day dilemmas and put your mind at ease. Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life, but what happens when the caterer closes, the head count is wrong and the band is a no show?

1. Solidify a budget

The average wedding costs a whopping $28,427, according to theknot.com, which means couples are spending big bucks to say “I do.” Whether you’re able to spend $5,000 or more than $50,000, it’s important to create a realistic budget and stick with it throughout the wedding-planning process. Continue reading

photo by: Ed.ward

Newlyweds: Money To-Dos before you say I Do

Fusillade of FunTo start your new life together with a strong financial foundation, check off a few important money to-dos before you say “I do!”

“Communication is a key part of a strong marriage, and it’s also the basis for a strong financial partnership,” says Barrett Burns, president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions. “Being proactive before and planning ahead of the wedding while sticking to a financial plan will help guard against common financial mistakes that can occur early in a couple’s life together.”

1. Have the debt talk

All couples must have the debt talk. It may not be romantic, but it is necessary in order to plan a bright future together. Be open and honest about debt, savings and spending habits, even if they are less than perfect.

Financial turmoil is one of the top reasons cited for divorce, so understanding each other’s finances today and what goals you have for the future will help reduce stress on your partnership. With the average college student graduating with $26,600 in student loan debt, according to The Project on Student Debt, young couples need to create a plan for managing debt and saving for the future. Continue reading

photo by: jurvetson