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engagement rings: what you need to know beyond the 4 “C”s

OK, guys, listen up, this blog post is just for you. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring. From when to buy it, to how to buy it to what to do with after you buy it, we have you covered. We know this is a big moment for you and we have your back.

 

You may be nervous or excited, or maybe a little bit of both, but you’re not alone. Michael J. Halpy, owner of Hannoush Jewelers in Wappingers Falls, says, “There’s some guys that come in with their buddies for moral support, there’s some guys that come in and they take that deep breath when they walk through the doors, and there’s some that are just really confident and know exactly what they want.” So know, straight away, no matter what you are feeling when you go shopping, it’s totally normal!

 

But before we get into the details, you need to remember one thing: Buying a ring is “the beginning of the beginning,” says James Matero, co-owner of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring. Because of that, “it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind,” he says. “Buying an engagement ring is an emotional purchase. Yes, you want to get her something she loves, but you’re also going to get something that really is a symbol, it’s a promise, you’re getting her an emotional item, not just a physical item. So getting something she loves is important but making sure it means what you want is also important.”

 
RELATED: 3 Essential Details You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Wedding Expo
 

General rules to keep in mind outside of the 4 “C” s

 

Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

By now, you should be very familiar with the four “C”s, but in case you don’t know, they are carat weight, color grade, clarity grade, and cut grade. However, choosing a diamond goes far beyond that.

 

Matero says, “Aside from the 4 ‘C’s the most important thing to remember is you aren’t buying a diamond based on paperwork, you’re buying a diamond based on how beautiful it is.” What does he mean? Well, diamonds may have great characteristics on paperwork that comes with each ring highlighting the 4 “C”s, but you may not like the way they look. “Sometimes the most highly graded diamonds may not look as pretty to you as something else,” he says. “So it’s always important that you look at the diamond and see them in person because what’s good on paper isn’t always the best.”

 

Another thing to remember is that no one “C” is better than the other, you want to go for an overall pleasing aesthetic to the entire ring.

 

How far in advance should you purchase the engagement ring?

 

Jocelyn Z. Klastow, Vice President of Zimmer Brother Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, recommends 4-6 weeks is good, but 6-8 weeks is better. You want to make sure you give yourself enough time to choose a great ring, size it, and have it ready for “popping the question” especially if you plan to propose on vacation. One tip she has is that if you are planning to propose on vacation, DO NOT under any circumstance put the ring in your suitcase. Keep it in your carry-on.

 
RELATED: 5 Tips You Need To Know For Awesome Engagement Photos
 

So, how do you figure out what she likes?

 

This can be tricky or not, depending on how open you are about getting engaged and if you want to keep it a surprise or have her be part of the process.

 

Get her involved

 

Photo Credit: Zimmer Brother’s Jewelers

“One of the trends I’ve seen over the last 7 years or so is having the women involved,” says Halpy. “It used to be traditional, the guy used to come in and pick out a ring and it went on her finger and that was that. But now, there’s so many different designs, there’s so many different styles, different types of metals, different shaped stones. Brides have their unique desire for their engagement ring. They might have a specific design in mind and at the end of the day, it’s a big investment for anybody. Whether you’re spending $500 or $20,000, it’s a lot of money for an engagement ring and you want to make sure that your bride is going to be happy with what you get.”

 

 

“I also think that it’s a great way to really start and cement that communication, on the relationship end, to find out what someone is really liking.

 

If you want to keep it secret

 

Matero says if your significant other has a Pinterest account, try to get onto that and see if there are any boards for engagement rings or wedding-type information. That’s a good source. Other options can include getting siblings or family involved, or asking friends.  A few years ago, my best friend’s boyfriend reached out to me and asked if I could help get some info on what kind of rings she likes because he was going to propose. I took my friend out that night for a girl’s shopping night and tried very hard to come up with a story that would get her to divulge what kind of ring she liked. It was tricky, but it worked. I felt an enormous amount of pressure to get it right, so now I know exactly what you guys go through.

 

Photo Credit: Zimmer Brothers Jewelers

Klastow says if you are keeping it a secret and doing it on your own without a “super sleuth” plan, here’s what you need to know. “We always say pay attention to the clues beforehand because she’ll be giving them, you just have to know to keep your ears open for them,” she says. “Most men that come in, I will say, have an idea of what she likes. Whether it’s been through a stealthy Pinterest hunt or whether she’s actually emailed him a picture, whether a friend’s ring was maybe something that she liked.”

 

However, if you don’t have any of that, “the number one thing it boils down to is what’s her style,” Klastow says. Then, “we start with what color metal does she like, and most brides are opting for white, so that would be white gold or platinum, but we are getting more requests for yellow gold and rose gold as well.” Then, she says the next question is halo or no halo “because halo style rings have become the most requested style over the past five years.”

 

The discovery process continues by figuring out what type of person she is. Klastow says if she is more sporty, you may want to go with a lower setting or maybe a half bezel, which is a metal edging around the diamond, that seals it in place instead of prongs. Basically, you want something that is in line with her lifestyle and will not get in the way of her normal day-to day activities. If she’s more girly and frilly, you may want something with a more dramatic high setting which gives the ring a very bold and romantic look.

 

Ring size

 

Photo Credit: Hannoush Jewelers

You might be thinking this is all well and good but how in the world do I find out what size she is? This is where your secret agent skills come in. Halpy says, “Finger size is an important thing and it’s a difficult something to find out without asking her directly or bringing her somewhere to find out.” He recommends paying close attention to the jewelry she wears on a daily basis. “Most girls have a ring, some type of ring, so just keep an eye out for what finger she wears it on…and then try to sneak that ring in (to the store).” It’s important to pay attention to the hand she wears it on because finger sizes vary by hand. This will give you the size or a close approximate size, so if it needs to be resized, it’s a small fix that won’t ruin the integrity of the ring.

 

Last but not least, you need insurance

 

You chose the ring, but there’s one more thing you need to do: insure it! “There’s a couple different things you can do for insurance,” says Halpy. “There’s some people who have renter’s insurance, so you can call whoever your renters agent is and get a quote from them. If you own a home, you can call your homeowner’s insurance and get a quote to get it added on there.” You can also go through the jeweler themselves to see what agencies they recommend, agencies that only insure jewelry. As with everything, it’s important to do your due diligence to make sure it is properly insured.

 

Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

Klastow says most people like to insure the ring against theft of loss, but, she says this is very important: “You want to make sure that when you insure it, you’re not insuring it for a percentage of the replacement value but for the entire replacement value.” When you do this, you also want to make sure that your ring gets reappraised every seven years to make sure you are getting the correct value if anything should happen to it.

 

So, guys, what do you think? Are you feeling more prepared now to get the ball rolling? Matero has some final words before you venture out to the jewelry store. “It’s a big purchase,” he says, “so it’s smart to do you due diligence.” You don’t need to be an expert, he says, but “trust your professional, think about what she likes, and take a deep breath. Enjoy the shopping experience.”

 

We’d love to hear your proposal story? Did you both pick out a ring or was it a surprise? What super sleuth method was used to figure out what kind of ring to buy?

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

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Bridal Gowns

Who should help you say ‘yes’ to your wedding dress?

Shopping for your wedding dress, hands down, is one of the most thrilling aspects of wedding planning. Your dress is so much more than a garment. Your life literally changes in that gown.

 

If you’ve ever spent a night binge watching “Say Yes to the Dress”, you’ve probably seen the excitement that comes when a bride comes in itching to try on all the beautiful gowns. You also know how quickly that excitement can turn to disappointment when the opinions of her entourage crush her dreams as the gown she loves quickly turns into a gown she wants to burn.

 

Bridal Gowns

Photo Credit: WCHV

There is an enormous amount of pressure for brides to find THE dress, self-inflicted pressure to make sure everything about it is perfect because brides know when that music starts playing on their wedding day, all eyes are on her. Let’s face it, with the amount of choices, and new trends coming every season, it can get overwhelming.

 

Dress shopping can be especially hard for women who normally have a hard time making
decisions or who want to make everyone happy. That’s why, when it comes to saying yes to your dress, NEVER follow the rule of the more the merrier. In fact, the less people you bring with you on your shopping trip the better. Top designers and local shop owners agree. Taking more people with you to your appointment adds stress to what should be a fun event.

 

Why is a small group better when dress shopping?

 

Smaller is better for one reason. Clarity. “Less is better.” Antonetta Forzano, Owner of SpecialOccasions & Bridal by Antonetta in Fishkill says “…if you bring too many people, everybody has ideas and they may not have your idea.”

 

wedding gown

Photo Credit: Cynthia Starr Photography

Have you ever heard of the expression analysis paralysis? When you bring more people to the appointment, they all add their opinions and analysis of the dress which confuses the bride and leads her to decision paralysis. She can’t make a move because everyone else’s thoughts are running through her mind…except her own.

 

We spoke to Martin Thornburg, head designer for David Tutera and Mon Cheri Bridal and head merchandiser for Mon Cheri Bridal, who say “Go with some ONE. Not some TWO. You don’t need all that, it can be a very daunting and very exhausting chore to look for dresses…” He goes on to say that “A lot of times brides are led by a girlfriend, and that’s very nice but the issue is a lot of times it becomes more about what the girlfriend wants rather than what the bride wants”

 

“I say to try not to bring more than three people, three people who’s opinions you really trust…Betsy Wise, stylist at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon says. “The more people you have, the more opinions you have, the more confused it gets, it’s upsetting if you find something you love and your aunt hates it. It just adds extra stress to something that should be a really enjoyable fun experience.”

 

Who should you bring to your first bridal gown appointment?

 

Your entourage is not only about quantity but quality. Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, says “Typically, a lot of girls like to bring their mom. I do find today that they do come with an entourage…but I think those that are most close to them are the people that they should bring.”

 

wedding dress

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“I think also to bring people that support you…” says Laura Howard, store manager of
Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck. “Try not to bring people that knock you down. Because at the end of the day, it’s the bride’s decision.”

 

Emily Glass DeGasperis, Owner of Blush Bridal Boutique in Kingston, says “We recommend
that you limit your party to three or less during your visit at Blush…we have found that the opinions of a trusted few always make for an easier decision for you (the bride).

 

What happens if the entourage confuses the bride or the entourage and bride can’t agree on a wedding dress?

 

First, Thornburg suggests that when you go dress shopping, have an open mind “…I would want to be open to suggestions of your consultant,” he says “that is what they are there for, and if you are going to a reputable company or a reputable salon, keep an open mind, you want to try on the different silhouttes, you might be surprised.”

 

wedding dress

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Once you find the silhouette you like and there is still no compromise or agreement from the group, Charlotte Guernsey, owner of Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon says “you have to follow your heart. You have to feel comfortable and confident in your dress. At the end of the day it’s their (the bride’s) wedding and they have to feel beautiful. So it is hard especially if a family member is paying for the dress, they want that person to be happy as well.”

 

If you really love a dress, and those around you don’t, first, make sure you are spending your money wisely by looking at the quality of the gown and point out the benefits of the dress to the group. Then, ask the consultant to start adding the bling…the veil, jewelry, headpieces,have them pull your hair up, so you and those you are with can see the full picture. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding. You have to wear it, you need to like the way you look and feel in
it, and those around you need to understand that.

 

Howard says “it would be so nice to have a million people say ‘you know what, that’s your gown’, but it doesn’t matter, it’s up to them (the bride) entirely.”

 

We’d like to know about your dress shopping experience. Who did you bring? Did they all agree? Were there conflicting ideas and if so, how did you eventually end up choosing your dress?

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Highlights from New York International Bridal Week

New York international Bridal Week happens twice a year in New York City and is the ultimate dress-lovers paradise. If you are a bride-to-be, shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most, if not the most, exciting events in planning your wedding. When you show up at the bridal salon and see all the beautiful gowns in front of you, you may not realize there is a lot of work shop owners need to do before you even try on a dress.

 

For most salon owners, going to Bridal Weeks across the country are where they see, for the first time, new styles and trends for the upcoming season, and get to decide what gowns they’d like to have sold in their store. Here, shop owners meet with designers, marketing and sales reps from bridal gown brands from all over the world to touch and feel the gowns, as well as get to see what they look like on models. How a gown drapes, flows and moves with walking are all aesthetic properties that make a gown appealing to you, the bride. In addition, shop owners are informed of any product details, such as the type of lace or embellishment they are made with, the types of straps or modifications that can be added or made to the gown, and colors the gowns come in.

This video gives you a behind-the-scenes peek into the bridal market at New York International Bridal Week.

 

So, we want to know, have you gone dress shopping yet? What type of dress are you looking for? What has been the most fun, or most challenging aspect of dress shopping for you?

 

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