Round diamonds are the most popular, making up 75 percent of all diamonds sold today. Its 58 facets display more fire and brilliance compared to other available shapes.
They are the most versatile diamond shape because they can be used in many styles of jewelry, from pairing a solitaire with a simple gold band to surrounding it with many additional stones in a ring wrap.
Next in popularity is the princess cut, which is a square diamond with sharp corners and a lot of brilliance.
A princess cut stone looks a bit smaller than a round diamond with the same carat weight due to the princess cut stone being cut deeper to achieve its stylish shape. However, the princess cut, with 76 facets, often has more fire and brilliance than the round cut.
The marquise diamond, with a point on each of its two ends, often looks larger than other cuts of the same carat weight. With about 56 facets, the marquise is quite a sparkler. Legend has it that this stone was named in honor of Louis XV’s mistress, Marquise de Pompadour.
Once a popular choice for royalty and the rich, the emerald cut is a rectangle-shaped diamond that shows off its clarity better than other shapes. When looking within the stone, an emerald will resemble a prism, while a round or princess cut looks like a kaleidoscope. Emeralds have few (but larger) flashes of light; compare this to round and princess cuts which have more (but smaller) flashes of light.
While often chosen for its sentimentality, the heart-shaped diamond isn’t as popular because it simply doesn’t shine as brightly as other cuts. The very cuts that turned the stone into the shape of a heart take away some of its ability to sparkle and shine.
An elongated version of the round cut, the oval-shaped diamond is a great choice for long fingers. Popular since it appeared on the scene in the 1960s, the oval has 56 facets and makes a great choice for a center stone in multi-stone engagement rings.
This vintage shape made its comeback in the 1990s, appearing on the fingers of many Hollywood starlets. The Asscher is a modified-square cut with stepped facets, created in Holland more than a century ago. At that time, only the uber-rich could afford its brilliance. Today, the Asscher cut diamond is in short supply and high demand.
With a cut that resembles the emerald at first glance, its cut seems to go on forever when you look deep into the Asscher diamond.
The cushion cut diamond, square or rectangular with rounded corners, looks great in today’s vintage style engagement rings. The stones’ 58 facets are generally cut large, creating large flashes of light.
The pear-shaped diamond is unique in that it resembles a round diamond at one end and a marquise at the other. When worn on the finger, the point should face one’s fingertips. Often less sparkly than the round diamond, the 58-facet pear tends to make the wearer’s fingers appear slimmer. This cut looks fabulous with trillions or smaller pears next to the main stone.
BAGUETTE & TRILLIAN
The baguette and the trillian cut are two additional diamond shapes which are quite popular these days, but rarely stand on their own. Instead, both are used to accent larger stones.
Developed in 1978, the trillian was derived from the Princess cut. Trillians look like a triangle and resemble the Princess cut when you look deep within the stone.
Like the stick of French bread that shares its name, the baguette diamond is long and slim. A large baguette is rare. They are most common alongside a larger stone, or several may be set together in a channel setting.
The last thing any bride wants is for her wedding to be a cookie-cutter replica of someone else’s wedding, or – even worse – to go through the traditional motions, totally lacking any touches that would reflect the heart and soul of her personality and that of her groom.
What are some easy ways to infuse your ceremony and reception with touches that will make it “so you”?
Sit down and brainstorm, jotting down the qualities you admire in your relationship with your fiancé. What are your values? What is it about the two of you that makes you who you are?
If a certain theme seems to stand out in your life as a couple, think it over and see where that takes you. It could be something as simple as a favorite color, something that has to do with where you met, a sport or an activity the two of you share, a sports team, an alma mater that you share, the best vacation you ever took together, or how your paths crossed at Disney World when you were 10 and you didn’t know about it until years later.
Maybe your signature drink for the reception will be the drink you were enjoying when his friends dared him to introduce himself to you for the very first time. Or the floral theme throughout the wedding and reception will pay homage to the bouquet he sent you after you both realized you were perfect for each other.
Another direction to go would be your heritage. Are there traditions within your culture or your family that would make a statement during your wedding?
Intertwine your personalities as you plan your day. Take advantage of the things that make you – individually and as a couple – unique, including your talents and hobbies.
Don’t be afraid of sharing something that may seem silly. Those silly little touches are exactly the type of thing that will help your guests feel like they really know you, even if they happen to be just an acquaintance. Your ceremony will stand out as a special one in their minds rather than the same old, boring wedding that we’ve all had to suffer through so may times.
Looking for inspiration? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Get rid of those boring table cards and numbers and use your imagination. Instead, how about using shapes to distinguish the tables from each other. Whether you go with shapes or names, there are plenty of options. Ocean lovers or fans of fishing might choose things that live in the water, or names of beaches. If you met in college, choose your school’s mascot in different colors, names of your alma mater’s dorms, or names of streets or your favorite hangouts from those days. Do you share passion for the same sport? Name your tables in honor of your favorite teams or players.
Make your departure unique by choosing a special song to be played as you make your exit. Or perhaps you’d like to drive away in a classic car that you’ve borrowed or rented, a horse-drawn carriage, or even a helicopter.
Custom monograms or logos are gaining popularity with brides and grooms. Hire a graphic designer to create your look, whether informal or elaborate, and then repeat the theme wherever possible. Have a vinyl wall stencil created to attach to the wall near the dance floor, behind the head table at the reception, or to behind the cake table. Plan ahead so that your monogram will be visible when photos are taken, rather than having it hidden by your heads. Some DJ services offer packages where they shine your initials or your logo onto a wall or the dance floor, which makes a fabulous impression.
Depending on where you live, one of the most expensive additions to your wedding reception could be the fancy mints that are served alongside the wedding cake.
These are often molded into the shape of a heart or a flower, or the shape might have special meaning to the bride and groom. They are sweet, smooth confections that are labor-intensive and, as such, may come with a hefty price tag.
If you’ve got the time to devote to creating your own wedding mints, you can freeze them, leaving plenty of time to devote to other wedding-related tasks without having to worry about the mints at the last minute.
First, you’ll need to obtain the mint molds. This type of mint needs to be formed using soft, flexible plastic molds. Keep in mind that candy molds are not the same thing and you won’t have the same results. Candy molds are made from a stiffer plastic, which does not allow the mint to pop out like the flexible molds.
Flexible molds are easy to find online and they are available in many forms. You might choose an initial mold to represent the bride and groom’s last name. Other options to consider would be roses, calla lilies, swirls, hearts, cupid, bells, bride and groom silhouettes or doves. If the wedding has a western theme or the bride and groom share a love of all things equine, choose a boot or cowboy hat mold. If he proposed at the beach, choose a sea shell mold. An ultra-religious couple might choose praying hands or a cross. The possibilities are endless.
You’ll only need one mold of each shape, since you’ll be pressing the dough for each individual mint into the mold and popping them out. If you plan to have helpers, go ahead and order an extra mold or two for them to use and you’ll get done much faster.
When it’s time to make the mints, be sure to clear off plenty of work space on the counter and cover it with wax paper or parchment paper.
To make the mints, follow the recipe to make the dough (below). Take a very small ball of dough, roll in granulated sugar, press into the rubber mint mold, press out immediately, and let dry at room temperature for 1-2 days.
Once the mints have dried, pack them in freezer-safe containers, with wax paper separating each layer. They may be refrigerated for up to six months or frozen for up to a year. If frozen, take them out of the freezer the morning of the wedding, remove the lid, and allow to thaw.
Cream Cheese Mint Recipe
8-oz. block Philadelphia brand cream cheese, room temperature
2 lb. bag of powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon flavoring (peppermint, crème de menthe, vanilla butternut, almond, etc.)
Food coloring, if desired
In a mixing bow, beat together the cream cheese and flavoring until smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Add food coloring, if desired (the more you add, the darker the color, so be careful). Mix well. You’ll want the dough to be stiff enough to hold its form, but not liquid enough to slide out of the mint mold without setting up.
Form balls of dough approximately 1/2-inch in diameter. Roll in granulated sugar, press into rubber mint mold, press out immediately onto wax paper, and let dry at room temperature for 1-2 days. NOTE: May need to adjust the size of the dough balls based on the size of the flexible rubber mint mold that you have chosen.
Makes approximately 150 mints.
The movie “Father of the Bride” featured an at-home wedding reception in the Banks family’s beautiful Colonial-style home, and it included the chaos of the wedding day with George confused about why all of their furniture had disappeared.
If you’re thinking of having your wedding or reception (or both) at home, you might be as frustrated as George when it comes time to foot the bill to strip your house down to a shell in order to make room for guests.
The idea of an at-home wedding may be charming. Whether your family has a mansion or a modest home, it’s possible to hold a tasteful event with proper planning. But it’s not as simple as planning your annual summer barbecue and throwing some tulle here and there.
If having your reception at home seems like a good way to slash your budget, think again. You might save the cost of renting the venue itself, but most families don’t have an inventory of things sitting around that you’ll soon discover you’ll need for the reception. For example, do you have enough tables to set out for your guests? How about linens, chairs, plates and silverware? How about a tent large enough to cover your dance floor if it rains? How about the dance floor itself? At least most wedding venues are prepared to include these items, or at least make them available.
If you weigh the options and determine that an at-home wedding or reception is still your first choice, be sure to allow yourself plenty of planning time.
A few months before the wedding, take a good look at your yard. Does it need to have any holes or uneven spots taken care of so that your guests won’t twist an ankle and table legs will be level? How about planting grass seed to fill up those bald spots?
Sketch out a map of the yard, penciling in where you would like to set up the food stations, band or DJ, tables for your guests, the dance floor and cake table.
Investigate your options as far as keeping insects at bay. Remember some insect-repellant candles are heavily scented, which can be an unpleasant odor especially when placed near food, candles or fresh flowers. Don’t force the scents fight each other.
About a week before the wedding, get rid of clutter, trim limbs and shrubs, and mow the yard.
The day before the wedding, give everything another good look and straighten up anything last-minute such as stringing white Christmas lights along the fence, placing rented topiaries around the yard and set up tables.
Are you worried about a neighbor’s lawn mower drowning out your vows? The easiest way to take care of this potential problem is to invite those neighbors to your wedding.
When it’s time to visit a rental store, take the sketch of your yard, a firm headcount, and consider the items you will likely need to rent:
• Dining tables and chairs
• Tableware (place settings, flatware, glasses)
• Table linens
• Portable restrooms
• Dance floor
• Chafing dishes with candles beneath (or some other way to keep serving dishes warm)
No matter who will foot the bill for your wedding, when you sit down to plan your budget, don’t forget to include an appropriate fee to the person who will perform the ceremony and pronounce you husband and wife.
Who has been granted the power to make your union legal? It may be a member of the clergy such as a preacher, priest, reverend, pastor, minister, rabbi or other holy man or holy woman. In some areas, tribal chiefs or other appropriate officials may perform Native American ceremonies. Or you might choose to be married by someone with ties to the legal community such as a judge of various divisions of the court, justice of the peace, a retired judge or justice.
Will your wedding take place at a church? Be sure to ask exactly what the church’s fee includes. Sometimes there will be a fee for renting the facility, possibly another fee for clean-up, and often these fees do not include the fee for the minister to officiate. Or there might be another package that, for a few hundred dollars more, will include the officiant.
How much should you expect to pay the officiant?
It depends on where you live and what is customary.
If you will have a simple civil ceremony performed at a courthouse, city hall or other location, you should anticipate paying $50 to $100.
A pastor or minister will expect to receive anywhere from $100 to $400 or possibly more, depending on the cost of living in your area.
How can you avoid the embarrassment of paying someone too little?
Ask around. If you have friends who were married recently, ask what they paid their officiant. Is your minister skirting around the issue or possibly telling you, “Oh, anything you decide to pay me is fine”? Check with the church secretary to see if she knows what is customary, ask someone on the church board, or seek the advice of the church wedding coordinator (if one is on staff).
Another way to check would be to visit bridal message boards and see if the topic has been discussed recently. If it hasn’t, post a new discussion thread to see what other brides are paying and make your decision based on their feedback.
Does your minister require you and your fiancé attend pre-marital counseling sessions before he or she agrees to perform the ceremony? If so, that is another reason to boost the amount of money you pay him or her.
Many officiants meet with the couple prior to the rehearsal to go over any customs, traditions and church rules. This would be the time to discuss the structure of the ceremony, any readings or songs you would like, and to set a time for the rehearsal.
Prior to your wedding day, your wedding coordinator will most likely collect checks from you, and then she will pay the appropriate vendors including the officiant, musicians, etc. If you are having a smaller wedding or you didn’t employ a professional coordinator, prepare an envelope in advance with your officiant’s payment inside, and give it to someone you trust with strict instructions. The best man or the bride’s father are two possibilities for taking care of this task. The designated person will then pass the envelope to your officiant at the appropriate time, which could be at the rehearsal or right before the wedding. Any time is fine, as long as you remember to take care of it. A firm handshake and a “thank you” are all that is needed to ease the nerves of whoever will take care of this task on your behalf.
Following the wedding, your officiant will be responsible for signing the marriage certificate and returning it to the appropriate government office to be filed by a specified deadline.
As with any other professional, the person performing your wedding ceremony is providing a service. You’re not just paying for his or her time. You are also paying for their years of education, knowledge and experience, just like you would be expected to pay for any other professional.
Budget-conscious brides are always on the lookout for unique ways to save money without skimping on any aspect of their wedding or reception. and many brides are surprised to learn how easy it can be to save money on the wedding cake.
With the average wedding cake’s price ranging from $2 to $10 per slice, or more depending on where you live, many brides are anxious to take a look at saving money at the bakery.
1. RENT A CAKE
One fairly recent trend is to rent a faux wedding cake. Check around your area and you might be able to find bakeries that rent fake cakes, or your own baker might be able to rent you one of the sample cakes she takes to bridal shows if it’s in good shape and not dusty.
Why choose a false cake? They’re often larger and more elaborate, which would make a bigger impression on your guests and have more of a presence sitting on a table at the reception.
Ask your baker about setting one real layer of cake into the fake cake’s setup so you and your spouse can have the traditional cake-cutting ceremony. While you’re feeding each other the first piece of cake, all eyes will be on the two of you, which creates the perfect distraction. Your sheet cakes, in the same flavor as the layer you just cut, will be hidden in the kitchen so that your servers may begin bringing trays full of small plates of already-cut cake out for serving.
2. SMALL TRADITIONAL CAKE + SHEET CAKE
If you’d like to save money without the hassle of locating a rental cake, another option would be to order a traditional wedding cake, but in a much smaller scale. Instead of one giant, layered monstrosity to feed 300 people, order an elegant, scaled-down cake in a size that would feed 50 or 75 people, and be prepared with sheet cake for the crowd.
The smaller cake doesn’t need to skimp on beauty to come in at a smaller price tag than if you would have ordered a larger version of the same cake design.
Again, while you are cutting the cake and feeding your groom, someone behind the scenes can be in charge of slicing and serving sheet cake. Be sure to order it in the same flavor as the traditional cake so it won’t be as obvious that you’ve pulled the old switcheroo.
Sheet cake is a great option to save money because it can be ordered in the same color and flavor as your traditional cake but, since it requires less decorating and less labor, the price is usually significantly less than your traditional wedding cake.
3. NO, IT’S NOT A WEDDING CAKE
Some bakeries jack up the price of a cake at the mere mention of the word “wedding.” To get around this, don’t mention that it’s going to be served at a wedding. When you ask questions about the flavors and sizes offered, don’t let the words “wedding” or “reception” cross your lips. If the bakery asks if this is for a wedding, just tell them you’re having a party.
Order three plain white layer cakes in graduated sizes. After all, simplicity is elegance.
If you plan ahead and give yourself enough time to taste around town, you’ll be able to find out which reasonably priced stores offer a cake that will be good enough for your wedding. The local Sam’s Club in my town, for example, makes a coconut cake to rival any cake created by the bakers that exhibit at the annual bridal expos.
Rent a cake stand that will hold the three layers nicely. Wilton, a company long associated with the cake-decorating industry, manufactures several stands that would work and are often purchased by party rental companies to offer their customers. One cake stand that comes to mind has three graduated surfaces, with a vertical metal bar along the back of the stand. When three cakes are placed on the surfaces, they appear to be suspended in mid-air, with the metal bar in the back easily unnoticed once flowers have been situated on top of each layer.
It’s much cheaper if you pick up the cakes yourself and deliver them to your reception site. Although this is a task I wouldn’t recommend anyone attempt with a large, ornate, traditional wedding cake, it won’t be difficult at all if you’ve opted for three individual cakes. Each should be boxed well, making them easy to place on a flat surface in your vehicle where they won’t slide around during the journey. Once you’ve arrived, the cakes will be easy to place on your rented cake stand.
Looking for little ways to save money on your wedding without risking your guests thinking you’re a cheapskate? There are plenty of ways to have a nice event without breaking the bank.
Instead of ordering engraved invitations from a ritzy stationery store, print your own using your computer and printer. Most office supply, stationery or craft stores in your town (and online) have a great selection of paper that can shoot right through your printer. For a wider selection of colors, textures and sizes, browse through a scrapbooking store. Stationery and card stock can even be found on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Beautiful fonts are available for download online, and many are free or very reasonably priced. Look around online for inspiration and then play with your computer and printer until you achieve the results you’re looking for. Or, if you’re lucky, you know someone who is a talented graphic artist and can enlist their help.
Substitute lacy, delicate bridal shoes that you’ll never wear again with white sandals or pumps from the your favorite store’s shoe department. Shoes that are designated as “wedding shoes” tend to be more expensive, plus no one ever finds a reason to wear them in the future.
Ditch the live band at your reception and go with a DJ service. Pick your favorite tunes from their inventory. Or, to save even more money, hook your iPod up to a set of speakers.
Don’t sink your money into a monstrous wedding cake. Order a smaller, fabulous version of a traditional wedding cake and supplement it with sheet cake made to match the color and flavor of the cake and icing. Keep the sheet cake hidden in the kitchen and have it cut, put on plates, and brought out to the dining room so no one will ever notice. You’ll still have a pretty wedding cake for the cake ceremony and photos. Another way to save big on your cake is to place an order from Sam’s or a similar store without mentioning the fact that it’s for a wedding. (They tend to jack the price up for a wedding, while a simple cake in the same flavors will be reasonably priced.) Order three separate, double-layer, round cakes in three different sizes to fit on a rented cake display with three graduated plates. Dress it up with flowers once you place the cakes on the floating cake stand.
In place of an open bar, serve only wine and beer. Or place one bottle of red wine and one bottle of white wine at each table. Your guests will get the idea that the bottles on the table are theirs to consume. If you’d like to have a champagne toast, wait until it’s time for the toast and circulate trays of already-poured champagne. Not everyone will want to participate in the toast, and only a sip is really needed in each glass.
To save even more on beverages, skip the alcohol. Serve iced tea and water with the meal, coffee after the meal, and punch with the wedding cake.
Instead of large floral arrangements as centerpieces, think outside of the box to create centerpieces for each table at your reception. Roses, Gerbera daisies or floating candles are attractive floating in glass bowls. Two or three pillar candles in various heights are always attractive and can be picked up at discount prices following many holidays. Take advantage of the beauty of the area where you live by utilizing sea shells, twigs arranged in an attractive manner, or other natural wonders.
Placing disposable cameras on each table has become quite popular over the last several years, but getting all of the film processed can be quite an expense. Instead, ask several guests to bring their digital cameras and encourage them to circulate to get plenty of candid shots. That way, you’ll have images that you would have otherwise missed seeing.
Instead of napkins for the reception stamped with the couple’s names, the date, a cute image or quote, choose solid color napkins from a warehouse club or party supply store. No one notices what is on the napkin as they wipe their mouth and throw it away. Save the money that you would have spent on cutesy matchbook covers, too.
When it comes to saving money on your wedding, there are plenty of ways to cut costs without compromising your sense of style.
Make your own invitations. Office supply stores have wedding invitation paper that will shoot through your computer’s printer and look fabulous for a fraction of the cost of engraved invites. Your favorite scrapbook store’s paper selection
Buy simple dinner napkins in bulk at a wholesale club or party store. No one will care if the napkins aren’t stamped with your names, the date and swirly hearts.
Pass on the trend of setting disposable cameras on each table at the reception. The cameras aren’t cheap and the development costs multiply quickly. A better bet is to ask your photographer to get candid shots of each table.
Instead of buying new ones and having them engraved, borrow toasting glasses and knives for your cake cutting ceremony from you parents or another relative. Plus it will add a touch of sentimentality to the day knowing you’re using the same set as Mom and Dad.
If a poufy wedding dress just isn’t your style, browse through the selection of bridesmaid gowns. Find a flattering style, order it in white or ivory, and you’ve just slashed several hundred dollars from the bill.
Get more duty out of your flowers. Order floral arrangements for the tables at the rehearsal dinner, and then place them on the tables at your reception site. After the ceremony, set the bridesmaids’ flowers along the front of the head table at the reception.
Instead of having a limo at your beck and call, skip it altogether. Or order the limo for the minimum time allowed, which is usually two hours. With a little planning, you’ll have the limo and driver long enough to deliver the bride to the church, and get great photos as you leave the church and arrive at the reception.
Take things down a notch. Choose smaller and unique bouquets rather than elaborate ones. Bridesmaids might carry a few striking stems rather than a bouquet. The impact can be stunning.
One way to stay within your budget is to shut the bar down when dinner starts. Or eliminate the bar and have just enough champagne for everyone to toast when it’s time to cut the cake.
Many couples are choosing to forego alcohol altogether, for religious reasons, to keep costs down, or because they prefer to avoid any liability issues of guests drinking too much at the reception.
Another alternative, albeit a controversial one, is to open a cash bar, although many feel strongly about this option. Why would you invite friends and loved ones to an elegant wedding reception and then ask your guests to pay for their own drinks? You’re throwing a party. Either throw it or don’t.
A gorgeous wedding cake can make a great focal point. But large cakes are expensive, and you may not have enough guests to eat it all. Why not rent an artificial cake? Some bakeries offer elaborate faux cakes. Just imagine the feast for the eyes created by a four-and-a-half-foot tall cake. Your bakery can prepare enough layers of real cake to feed the crowd at the reception so that the couple can have the traditional cake-cutting ceremony after dinner. None of the guests will realize part of the cake wasn’t real.
With a little creativity and shopping in the right places, you’ll be pleased with the results and stay within your budget.
Weddings come in all shapes, sizes and price tags. If you’re just getting started with planning your dream day, you’re probably curious about the type of wedding you’d like to have and how much it will cost.
For a wedding with three bridesmaids, three groomsmen, and a buffet for about 100 guests, wedding coordinators estimate that you’ll spend $6,000 to $10,000.
But the average wedding has a few more guests than that. Estimate a formal affair with 200 guests and heavy hors d’oeuvres costing as much as $12,000 to $15,000.
Why the big range between dollar signs? There are so many choices, and they run the budget gamut. Not only are there many types of flowers to choose from, but also the size and style of the bouquets, how labor-intensive they are, and whether you choose out-of-season flowers that must be special ordered or seasonal blooms that are plentiful and less costly.
It’s not easy to pin down a price on a cake either. How many people will it serve? How elaborate? Buttercream frosting or rolled fondant? Would you like a fruit filling? All of these choices can lead to bigger checks being written.
With our seemingly endless fascination with celebrity lifestyles, the bar has been raised and people’s expectations have become a lot higher.
A nice wedding can be put together for far less than the celebrities spend. If you want to, you can get married for $15,000, for $1,000, or even for less. It depends on what your expectations are and what kind of reception you want.
The reception, often the biggest expense, can be controlled by the time of day you choose. Which would you prefer — a morning wedding with a brunch reception or an afternoon wedding with light finger foods? For an evening wedding, will you choose heavy hors d’oeuvres, a buffet or a sit-down dinner?
One of the more popular options is to choose heavy hors d’oeuvres, but sometimes that can be more expensive than a served meal. The reason? You’re paying for more items and paying by the piece.
If you want to cut expenses on your food, the time of day you plan your reception is a big factor. The cheapest time of day is the middle of the afternoon. That’s not a time people are usually hungry, so they’ll eat less, and you can get away with serving less food.
Looking for other ways to cut costs?
Be creative and put your personality into it. Be creative in your thinking and pick one area of your wedding to really, really shine.
Keep in mind it’s possible to create a beautiful occasion no matter what you can afford. It’s smart to avoid going into debt for your wedding. You should not still be paying on your wedding when you start paying the hospital bills for having your first child.
Whether you spend $1,500 or $30,000, you’ll still be just as married.
Visit our Wedding Photography Galleries to view our work.
Visit our Wedding Photography Blog to read about our latest works and news.
Visit your Wedding Gallery to view your password protected photos.