3 Unique Ways To Say ‘This is Us’ At Your Wedding

One thing for sure about weddings is that they are very systematic. There’s an ebb and flow to them, there are certain steps that need to be followed and certain elements that are found in pretty much every wedding.
 

It can be hard sometimes, for couples to feel like they can express their individuality, to say “this is us”, or if they do, they then feel like they might be doing something “wrong”.
 

There’s an image that I love, and maybe you’ve seen it…it’s the saying is “Because we’ve always done it that way” with a big red “X” over it, as if to say change is good.
 

Weddings are a blank slate. Just because weddings have always been done a certain way, that doesn’t mean you can’t change it up. Yes, there are certain things you need to do like book your vendors, apply for your marriage license (which is time specific), send out invites, but outside of the “moving parts”, everything else is really up to you to create.
 

There are three elements to a wedding that are perfect for showcasing your unique personality and there are Hudson Valley professionals who can help you design your unique vision.

 

RELATED: 3 VALUABLE TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR PERFECT WEDDING FLORIST

 

Flowers

 

Forever Brooch Bouquets

Photo Credit: Forever Brooch Bouquets

When you think of a wedding, flowers are usually one of the first things you picture because the bride carries a bouquet with her. It’s usually always part of the look. However, what if you are allergic? What if you want something that lasts a little longer? What if you just don’t like flowers? Well, there’s an alternative!
 

How about brooch bouquets? What is a brooch bouquet, you ask? It’s a completely handmade bouquet usually made with fabric flowers and brooches, or all brooches and no flowers. Michelle Levy-Phelan (who you may remember from this article), creator and owner of Forever Brooch Bouquets in Suffern, NY says “These brooch bouquets are a great alternative to flowers because they last forever. They do not wilt, nor do they fall apart. No need to hang them upside down and dry them, because they will stay vibrant for years to come! You can eventually use the same bouquet that you walked down the aisle with as the centerpiece for your future dinner parties that you hold in your home. They will always sparkle.”
 

Levy-Phelan says brooch bouquets also become a keepsake. “The thought process behind them is that the great-grandchildren of the bride or groom can walk down the aisle at their own wedding with the bouquet in hand. They become a family heirloom.”
 

In addition, brooch bouquets are great ways to honor family, friends and loved ones too. “You can include anything in them,” says Levy-Phelan. “For example, brooches/jewelry from loved ones and friends, fabric and clothing from loved ones who have passed could be made into flowers or into the handle of the bouquet itself, picture frames with photos in them, as well as cremation jewelry to hold a loved one’s ashes while the bride walks down the aisle.” You can also use the bouquet as a way to honor those who mean the most to you by asking for a brooch or a piece of jewelry from every member of your family and friends and combine their brooches into a bouquet really making your bouquet extra special.
 

Jewelry

 

Hudson Valley engagement ring De's Jewelers Poughkeepsie

Photo Credit: De’s Jewelers

Your wedding rings, including your engagement ring, are another great place to showcase your personality. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but it’s not the case for everyone. Diamonds are traditional, but if you want something different, it doesn’t mean you are doing anything ‘wrong’.
 

Dennis Fouhy, Vice President of De’s Jewelers in Poughkeepsie says gemstones are a very popular alternative to the traditional diamond. “There are a number of beautiful gemstones that can be used in place of a center diamond either for a price point or a custom look. Other popular choices are sapphires (a Princess Diana choice), deep green emeralds, the sky’s the limit,” says Fouhy.
 

Opened in 1964, De’s Jewelers, A family owned and operated, second generation jewelry store, has been around long enough to see almost everything when it comes to wedding jewelry, so they can help you make your ring as personal as you want. Fouhy recalls “A young lady wanted her diamond engagement ring to be ‘pretty in pink.’ Her one-of-a-kind design incorporated a magnificent Morganite set in rose gold.”
 

For the guys, the same rules apply. What if you don’t want a traditional gold (white or yellow) wedding ring? Fouhy says “There are a variety of contemporary metal wedding band choices. If your guy works with his hands or feels uncomfortable wearing a shiny gold ring, popular choices are the indestructible titanium, tungsten or cobalt chrome in simple or more elaborate designs.”
 

Now here’s a question…what if you have a metal allergy? Some people do, and if you are one, you don’t have to forgo a ring. There are great alternatives for you as well. “Platinum and palladium are great alternative metals for those with metal allergies,” says Fouhy.

 

RELATED: WEDDING BANDS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU’VE NEVER WORN JEWELRY

 

Cake

 

donuts Glazed Over Beacon NY

Photo Credit: Peter Oberc

Wedding cakes have been a staple in weddings since the pre-18th century and stems from many different cultural traditions dating back to Ancient Roman times. However, while you may have a sweet tooth, traditional cake may not ‘cut it’ (haha..sorry, had to add that pun!)
 

If cake isn’t your thing, have no fear! Couples these days are doing all sorts of things in place of traditional cake. Everything from pizza, to pie, to ice cream and anything else you can think of can be used instead. Even donuts!
 

Lisa and Ron Tompkins, owners of Glazed Over Donuts in Beacon is a boutique gourmet donut shop giving customers warm, totally customizable donuts with a variety of toppings to suit their every taste. “I think donuts are a great alternative because you can give a variety of flavors,” says Lisa. She says guests can enjoy “Something as simple as a spiced cinnamon-sugar to something as elaborate as maple glazed with walnuts and a maple syrup & cinnamon drizzle or lemon glaze with coconut and a raspberry drizzle.  And people can eat them right then and there or save them for a sweet treat after the event.”
 

Lisa says couples have done a variety of different set-ups with donuts. She says, “We had one couple do a donut tower, but most have had them in nice little boxes with cute personalized labels to send home with their guests as favors.  Several have had them as their dessert table as well.  They had them placed on platters of varying shapes, sizes and heights.”
 

So, I hope this has given some ideas of ways you can incorporate your own style into your day. What are some unique elements you are adding into your wedding?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Forever Brooch Bouquets

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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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