Google+ Sponsor Love Archives - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Category: Sponsor Love

I remember when John and I first started to think about getting engaged, I was really excited – but also completely overwhelmed.

Excited, of course, because I was inching closer to marrying my best friend! Overwhelmed, because though I’ve been a wedding expert for most of my life, it seems, I was extremely nervous about making such a large purchase when I felt so uneducated on what I was buying (well, what John was buying ;)).

I don’t want anyone else to feel that way, so today, we’ve teamed up with the jewelers at Ritani to offer some engagement ring shopping tips! Whether you’re two months or two years away from getting engaged, I hope you feel more equipped for this big step after reading our Q&A.

P.S. Don’t miss the part about their in-store preview program – such a great opportunity!

Southern Weddings: What do you recommend couples do to prepare before they go ring shopping, if anything?
Ritani: If you’re in the market for a diamond, read up on basic diamond and ring education, including the differences between diamond shapes, the 4 Cs (see below!), and the differences between the most popular ring styles and metals. Before you go shopping, try to narrow down a few basic choices like what diamond shape you like and what style ring. But, know that just as with your wedding dress, you might like a totally different style of ring on your finger than in photos! A Pinterest board can help you gather ideas.

Consider how a certain ring will mesh with your existing style — if you go for a more classic look, try a solitaire or classic setting; if you love vintage-inspired jewelry, explore shapes like cushion, pear, or marquise.

Finally, get a sense for pricing by comparing diamonds and rings on a few different websites. It’s important to remember that diamond shopping is not about finding the “best deal”–rather, you should think about getting the best quality for whatever your budget allows.

SW: How many stores should couples visit when looking for an engagement ring, and how should they decide which stores to go to?
Ritani: We recommend visiting two or three stores in addition to your online research. It makes a big difference to see different types of diamonds in person, as well as try on a few rings. You’ll be able to get a feel for engagement ring styles while also learning about the differences in diamond grades.

If you prefer browsing in-store, plan to visit a handful of independently-owned jewelry stores. Independent jewelers will have more unique designs and be able to design custom rings. Ritani has a network of more than 200 independent retailers throughout the country, so if you need help finding a reputable store, head to ritani.com/stores to find a certified partner.

That said, companies that offer both an online and in-person experience can provide the best value; you get the selection and pricing of an online store with the value of talking to a professional in-person and seeing the diamond first-hand. Ritani offers a free in-store preview option, which lets customers make sure their rings are perfect before they buy.

With our free in-store preview program, you can pick out your engagement ring and diamond online. Our expert jewelers set the ring (with the diamond you picked and in your size), then send it to a local store for you to see it in person before you decide whether you’d like to buy. If it’s not perfect, there’s no pressure to buy. It’s a great way to test out your investment before “driving it off the lot.”

SW: Tell us about the four C’s and what couples should know about them.
Ritani: The 4 C’s of diamonds are cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

Cut refers to the quality of a diamond’s proportions and symmetry. It is angles which allow a diamond to capture light and reflect it, the key ingredient for sparkle. For a truly brilliant diamond, consider those with grades of Very Good or Ideal.

Color refers to the “whiteness” of a diamond, or its lack of color. The less color in a diamond, the higher the value. The GIA grades diamond color using letters to represent the absence of color, beginning with D (colorless) and ending at Z (light yellow or brown).

Clarity is how clean a diamond is, inside and out. “Flawless” diamonds are perfectly clear and smooth (and extremely rare). “Included” diamonds have noticeable scratches or internal markings that make them look dirty and dull. Clarity is generally a less important characteristic because most imperfections can’t be seen unless under professional magnification. Many customers choose a diamond in the VS2, VS1, VVS2, or VVS1 categories.

Carat weight is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a reflection of its size. Unlike the other 3 Cs, carat weight is not necessarily a reflection of quality: you can often find diamonds with low carat weight that are more brilliant and sparkling than their larger cousins. For the best value, look at diamonds slightly lighter than the carat weight you initially want. For example, instead of 1-carat diamonds, consider 0.98 and 0.99-carat diamonds. While there is no “perfect” carat weight, the average carat weight sold in most U.S. states is around 1 carat.

For the most sparkle, the most-desired combo is a 1-carat Ideal Cut, Colorless (D), Flawless diamond.

SW: Tell us about the different metal options that couples will be presented with. Are there pros and cons to each?
First, take personal preference into account. Take a look at the jewelry you wear regularly to pick the right metal color. Do you go for classic yellow gold, on-trend rose gold, or timeless silver? From there, consider durability, how sensitive your skin is, and budget. Our most popular metal is 18k white gold.

If you’re really active and work with your hands, you will probably do best with a high-durability (and hypoallergenic!) ring setting like platinum or palladium. Platinum requires very little maintenance and will not need to be replated over time, but it does cost significantly more than other metals. If you don’t do much with your hands and don’t require a super-durable metal, go for a more affordable metal like yellow gold or even sterling silver.

When you’re ready to start browsing for your own heirloom, head over to Ritani’s site. Wishing you all the best in this exciting process! xo

This post is sponsored by Ritani, a company we’ve worked with for years. Thanks for your support of the brands who support Southern Weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily
0 Comments

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:
close

Honestly, how awesome is it to be a bride in 2017? From wedding websites to online RSVP tracking to universal registries, there are so many ways technology makes wedding planning easier (is it bad if I actually cringe when I think of our parents having to write down SKU numbers on clipboards when they created their registries? No thank you!). Even with all of the blessings technology provides for brides though, wedding planning is STILL stressful, so whenever we find out about something that can make your life a little easier or save you time, we want to shout it from the rooftops. After all, less time doing mundane planning tasks = more time for date nights and marriage prep with your fiancé, AKA, what matters most!

For years, we’ve been singing the praises of Zola‘s online registry system (our blogger bride, Jessica, even used it when she was engaged!). But now, having heard the concerns and worries of brides everywhere, they’re taking their beautiful interface and amazing customer service to a whole new level…Zola Weddings is now a one-stop site for planning your wedding!

Your Zola Weddings dashboard includes planning checklists, your wedding website, guest list management, and your registry, all in one easy-to-use place. The organizer in me loves the idea of seeing something on a checklist, accomplishing it, and then checking it off, without even leaving the website! Your checklist is custom-created based on your wedding date and the traditions you may want to include in honor of your religion or heritage. Of course, you can also add, remove, and edit tasks to best suit your needs.

Creating a wedding website is SO helpful for your guests (I’d go as far as to call it a gesture of Southern hospitality :)), and Zola Weddings makes it incredibly easy. Their templates are beautiful, the pages are customizable, and the entire thing is mobile-optimized.

One of the handiest features of the all-new Zola Weddings is guest list management. Making the guest list is enough of a headache…managing it doesn’t need to be! In your guest list tab, you’ll be able to add guests and all their information (imported from your contact list, by requesting info via a private link, or by entering it manually), specify what the inner and outer envelopes of your invitation should say, and then mark an invitation sent or not sent. Guests can then RSVP through your wedding website. No more penciling numbers onto the back of reply cards in case someone doesn’t fill out their name!

We have to talk about Zola’s claim to fame: their online registry! They were one of the first companies I ever heard of that allowed couples to add items to their registries from any online retailer, and their easy-to-use system and elegant (also mobile-friendly) interface makes them one of the best options out there. Along with the ability to add physical gifts from over 450 top brands to your registry, they also allow you to register for experiences (like cooking classes, spa visits, and more) and for cash funds for your honeymoon, a house down payment, etc. SO practical, useful, and convenient! I especially love the way this helps your guests understand what’s important to you as a couple, and gives them a glimpse of your hopes and dreams for your future together. To make things super easy on your guests, your registry is seamlessly integrated into your wedding website–people can shop directly from there.

One last feature I’m so excited to tell you about: true to their reputation for amazing customer service, each couple who uses Zola Weddings will have access to a Zola advisor. This person will be able to answer any questions you may have as you use the system, and they’ll guide you through any part of the process you may need some help with.

Friend, we couldn’t be more excited about this new system for keeping all of your wedding planning ducks in a row–we hope you love it as much as we do!

This post is brought to you by Zola Weddings. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
0 Comments

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:
close

It’s been so fun to introduce y’all to some of the newest wedding dresses from our favorite designers over the past few weeks! We love peeking at their new collections, and figured y’all would love a first look at them, too.

Today we’re all about the beauties coming out of Maggie Sottero. Maggie’s dresses tend to be lightweight, feminine, and romantic, making them perfect for destination weddings! The materials and shapes are almost always easily packable, needing just a light steaming once you reach your destination to be aisle-ready. Which is great, because if you’re having a destination wedding, you want to make sure that you have as much time as possible to ski the slopes or lounge by the beach with the dear ones who’ve joined you!

A perfect example Reynold, the dress we’re sharing today. It features a removable jacket for a customized look; illusion off-the-shoulder sleeves for an elegant and current feel; and a unique illusion double-lace train.

Like Reynold, Maggie Sottero’s Avery Collection features a variety of dreamy silhouettes and shimmering embellishments. Scalloped hemlines and heirloom lace were two of our favorite details. Each was inspired by the magic of a timeless wedding and today’s romantic bride, which sounds just about perfect for us at Southern Weddings :)

Head here to see the full Spring 2017 Collection by Maggie Sottero, and here to find your closest store. I’d love to hear: are you having a destination wedding? And if so, where?

All photos by Sposto Photography. This post is brought to you by Maggie Sottero Designs. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Cebu Wedding Photographer reply

    Loving the simplicity. Awesome styling and photography!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:
close
Top