Archive for July, 2009

Pass This Gift Idea on to Your Bride

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Guest post by Susan of BravoBride.com

There’s a new tradition for the bride and groom to give a gift to each other before their wedding. If you need a gift idea for your bride you can never go wrong with jewelry or even book a spa day for her during the honeymoon. But what kind of gift can your future wife give you that you don’t already have? Well, if you’d like something unique suggest a boudoir photo session. Boudoir photography is a new trend that’s makes an unforgettable wedding day gift from a bride to her groom. Boudoir photos are usually taken wearing just a little or even nothing at all. The photos aren’t X-rated but rather classic pinup-inspired pictures. If you’re in the Seattle, WA area there’s a company that specializes only in boudoir photography and you can feast your eyes below on some of their work. You can also ask your wedding photographer if they offer this service or know of someone who does. You probably don’t want to hang up her boudoir photos in your living room (or maybe you do) but it might be the best gift you’ll ever get from your future wife.

Some example boudoir shots from Seattle Boudoir Photography

photo by seattle boudoir photography

photo by seattle boudoir photography

photo by seattle boudoir photography

photo by seattle boudoir photography

photo by seattle boudoir photography

photo by seattle boudoir photography

Cheers!

The Truth About Diamonds

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

 

Diamond expert Ira Weissman drops in to share some advice with our grooms on what they need to know about selecting a diamond.

Like the diamonds themselves, there is an almost endless supply of informational websites teaching the consumer the best way to buy a diamond. The problem is, however, that if you look closely you will find that the vast majority of these informational pages are owned, either overtly or covertly, by the very same people looking to sell you a diamond. Most people know by now not to trust everything your car salesman says about the car he’s trying to sell you, so should the person trying to sell you a diamond be looked at any differently?

The simple fact is that almost all advice given online about how to buy a diamond is grossly exaggerated to fit the particular type of diamond that each vendor specializes in. A vendor who specializes in “ideal cuts” is going to tell you that everything else but “ideal cuts” are junk and don’t look nearly as nice as what they’re selling. An online vendor who doesn’t offer pictures will tell you that you need to buy a high clarity grade, or else you could wind up with an eye visible inclusion.

I would like to present to you, the diamond consumer, my take on the four C’s (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat). What I’m going to explain to you now is the way every diamond dealer I know would approach buying a diamond for his wife or girlfriend. You’d be wise to do the same.

To preface my discussion of each “C” individually, it’s important to discuss two important issues first. First of all, we need to address where to buy the diamond and the simple answer to that question is: online. While bricks and mortar stores provide the obvious benefit of being able to see the diamond ahead of time, that one benefit is not worth the much greater margin you’re going to end up paying. Most online vendors markup their diamonds anywhere from 10 to 18 percent. Bricks and mortar stores will typically markup their diamonds around 50% — and that’s down significantly from where it was just about 10 years ago when it was closer to 100%.

The second issue that needs discussion is my general approach to balancing tradeoffs between the four Cs. Before you attempt to evaluate this balance, you need to define the goal for yourself. I typically advise one of two goals: Either trying to buy the largest diamond for your specific budget, or alternatively, keeping the size where you had originally planned it, but trying to buy the cheapest diamond (that obviously covers my minimum requirements) for that size. The analogy for balancing the four Cs that I like to use is that of a pie. Each “C” represents a slice of the pie. The larger (better) one slice, the smaller the other slices necessarily become. My diamond buying strategy can be summed up quite succinctly as the following: minimizing the slices that your eye doesn’t notice (color and clarity), and maximizing the slices that your eye does notice (carat and cut).

Lets get into it one “C” at a time:

Color – As I mention in my article on diamond color, round diamonds colored J or better look white when viewed face-up. You can only see that one diamond is more yellow than another if they are placed right next to each other. When diamond dealers evaluate a diamond’s color, it’s face down, sitting on a plain white folded card held directly underneath a fluorescent light. Even then, it’s very hard to detect what the color of a diamond is taken by itself. When gemologists grade color, they use a master color sample to compare the test diamond against. Under normal lighting, with a diamond mounted by itself in a setting face-up, it’s pretty much impossible for any non-expert to detect any amount of yellowishness in a diamond J color or better. So why spend more money on a “colorless” diamond when it won’t be appreciated? Take that money you save on color, and buy a bigger rock!

Clarity – Clarity is a bit more tricky than color, for the simple reason that every diamond is completely unique in the way it is included (filled with blemishes). A clarity grade is an evaluation of the size, color, and position of the inclusions inside of a diamond — but it doesn’t tell you how visible the inclusions are to the naked eye. I, personally, don’t view clarity in terms of grades. For me, clarity is strictly binary — that is, is the diamond completely clean to the naked eye, or is it not? A diamond VS2 will be clean to the naked eye about 95% of the time, but a diamond I1 will be completely clean to the naked eye probably around 50% of the time. All else being equal, though, a VS2 will cost 77% more than an I1! So wouldn’t it make sense to buy an eye-clean I1 versus an eye-clean VS2? After all, unless your fiance will walk around with a jewelers loupe inspecting her ring constantly, the two will look exactly the same to the naked eye. The trick, though, is finding the I1 that is eye clean. For that, you need the help of an expert to pick the right stone, and an online vendor that offers pictures of their diamonds. If you’re interested I’d be happy to help you pick the perfect I1.

Cut – Cut refers to how nice the diamond’s proportions and measurements stack up. It used to be, before 2006, that you either had to buy a diamond with an AGS certificate, which offered their own cut grade, or you had to learn about the different diamond measurements and figure out for yourself whether the diamond you were buying was a “nice-make” or not. In 2006, though, the GIA came out with their own cut grade system. Their cut grade system is based on over 10 years of research measuring light performance for every different combination of measurements imaginable. So now, the choice is very simple. Either buy a diamond with an “Excellent” or “Very Good” cut grade from the GIA, and you will have a beautiful diamond. There is some added fire and sparkle when buying Excellent over Very Good, but it’s really much less than most advice-givers would have you believe. The added benefit is further minimized over time when your wife’s ring will collect dirt and naturally become slightly duller. Also, you should know that the difference in light performance between Excellent and Very Good diamonds is particularly stark inside the jewelry store where they use specially designed overhead halogen lighting designed to make diamonds sparkle their artificially fullest. When you leave the store, and enter real-world lighting, the difference is much much less.

Carat – To me, this is the most important of the four “C”s because this is the one that your eye sees the clearest and people appreciate the most. Everyone will notice the difference between a 1.50 carat diamond and a 1 carat diamond, but few people will notice, for example, the difference between an eye-clean I1 and a VS2, or a J color and an H color diamond, or an Excellent and Very Good cut.
Bottom Line – Buy an I or J color, SI2 or I1 clarity (confirmed to be clean to the naked eye – contact me for help), Excellent or Very Good Cut Grade (from GIA only), and use all that saved money from buying an I/J SI2/I1 to either buy a bigger diamond, or save it for the down payment on your first house together.

Diamond expert Ira Weissman

Diamond expert Ira Weissman

Ira Weissman is a diamond industry veteran with experience at one of the worlds largest diamond manufacturers. His work has brought him to Israel, France, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Russia, Dubai, Thailand, and to most of the 50 states in the USA. Ira is presently the editor of Truth about Diamonds, a website offering the diamond consumer insider advice of how to buy diamonds like a diamond dealer, and not like a retail shopper.

St. Louis Groomsmen Gift Ideas

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Live in the Gateway to the West? Looking for groomsman gifts with a strong local flair? Look no further. Our vast collection of wedding gifts just happens to include some options that St. Louisans are sure to love.

St. Louis Cardinals Shot Glass Set

St. Louis Cardinals Shot Glass Set

Bottoms up with this St. Louis Cardinals shot glass set. This hand-crafted set of four glasses will be all your groomsmen will need to show those Cubs fans what real drinking is all about.

St. Louis Rams Barware Set

St. Louis Rams Barware Set

Hurry, before they move to LA!

St. Louis Blues Cocktail Glasses

St. Louis Blues Cocktail Glasses

After a strong ’08-’09 campaign. The Blues are back. That means your groomsmen will be able to proudly display their loyalty in public (and at their home bar with this 2pc. rocks glass set).

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If you’re a guy planning a wedding in St. Louis, don’t forget to check out our St. Louis wedding vendors. There you can find local bachelor party spots, tux shops, limo rentals and more.

Cheers!

Groom Punches Roommate at Wedding Reception

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

So what do you do if any of your wedding reception guests become unruly? Punch them of course!

That’s what the groom, Sean Kelly, did when his roommate apparently said the wrong thing at the reception. To make matters worse, Kelly had a trunk full of guns and ammo in his car parked right outside. He is now being charged with several crimes (and he’s missing the honeymoon).

It’s always sad to hear of a white wedding turning into a white trash wedding!

Read the original story from The Daily Herald here.

Introducing WeddingPreParty.com from OneWed

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Our friends over at OneWed have just launched Wedding Pre-Party (as well as a whole new look and design for OneWed.com). OneWed’s Wedding Pre-Party is being billed as the marriage of social networking & wedding planning.

With Wedding Pre-Party you can invite your wedding party and guests to chat, share wedding tips, post photos  and provide inspiration on everything from tuxes to groomsmen gifts all within a private environment.  It’s a virtual way to start the celebration early and keep in contact, while building excitement before the big day. And the singles can even scope out the other singles beforehand to mitigate any awkward moments at the singles table!

Read the original press release from OneWed: OneWed Launches Wedding PreParty.com: The Marriage of Wedding Planning & Social Networking

OneWed's WeddingPreParty

OneWed’s WeddingPreParty



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