Shopping for the right engagement ring or wedding ring can be exciting but also stressful, especially since our heteronormative society generally caters to straight couples. You’re probably feeling like you need to get the perfect ring – after all, these pieces go beyond mere jewelry and are tell-tale symbols of love and commitment.

Before you begin, there are several things to ask yourself before you begin the search for a ring:

  • What type of wedding ring is right for you?
  • Do you want your wedding rings to match?
  • Do you want diamonds in your ring?
  • Do you want to create custom rings?
  • Will both of you receive an engagement ring, or just one?
  • Will you be buying the rings together or individually?

You may not know what kind of ring you’d like, and that’s okay! Exploring your options online is a great way to figure out what you might want. We sat down with the engagement ring experts at Ritani to explore all of the different wedding ring options available for same-sex couples.

Ring Styles

With dozens of styles and settings to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the right one for you. We’ve compiled a list of rings that are perfect for wedding rings, engagement rings, or both.

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Eternity Rings

An eternity ring is a stunning option for both men and women. This style has diamonds going all the way around the ring. It is not only beautiful in its appearance but its symbolism – it is symbolic for the eternal love you have for each other. These rings are super versatile as they can be stacked with other rings or worn on their own. They make a great engagement ring or wedding ring. They’re also suitable as an anniversary gift.

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5-Stone Bands

You guessed it – these rings contain five diamonds on the band. 5 stones will cover the very surface of a finger and leave a bit of the band showing. These bands are great for both men and women and can also serve as an engagement ring or a wedding band. They are also perfect for stacking with other rings.

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9-Stone Bands

These rings contain nine stones across the band. The stones on this band usually cover the ring in about a half circle’s worth of diamonds. These bands make great wedding rings or engagement rings because the number nine is regarded as a symbol of perfection, unity, and freedom by many ancient cultures. A 9-stone band makes a great option for both genders and are perfect for stacking.

If you love diamonds but don’t want to go all-out on an eternity band, then a five stone or nine stone band will be a more affordable alternative for you. Deciding the number of diamonds you want on your band is all about personal preference.

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Men’s Bands

Men’s wedding bands come in many different styles to match your tastes. Ritani offers dozens of styles, from diamond, modern, classic, and even trendy two-toned rings. The most common metals used for wedding bands are gold and platinum. Many people opt for platinum because it is incredibly sturdy and will never require replating over time. Platinum has an average lifespan of 30-40 years while yellow gold has a lifespan of 20-30 years. White gold has a lifespan of 7-12 years.
You should consider your personal style before selecting a band in order to get a ring you’re comfortable with. After all, you’ll be wearing it every day! For example, if you’re a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, you might want to opt for a plain classic band. Or if you’re more fashion-forward, you might want to opt for a modern ring.
Because men’s rings are generally pretty wide, they can be difficult to stack. Men who have an engagement ring often opt to wear their engagement ring on their right hand and their wedding ring on their left hand.

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Women’s Bands

Women’s bands also come in many different styles. Women’s band styles at Ritani are offered in plain, diamond, and eternity. Traditionally, your wedding band metal should match your engagement ring metal.
A classic band is perfect for low-key, everyday wear. These bands will look great paired with any diamond engagement ring. You may want to consider a plain, classic band if you are worried about diamond or prong damage.

If you’re looking for a little extra sparkle, opt for a diamond ring such as a French-set diamond ring or an eternity band. These rings will also look stunning when worn on their own. If you love the look of eternity bands but can’t reason with the price, consider french-set diamond rings. This type of ring still features lots of diamonds and the exposed sides enhance the brilliance of the stones.

Should Our Bands Match?

The choice of whether or not to have matching wedding bands is entirely up to you! After all, heterosexual couples don’t always have matching bands.

If you look at famous couples, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi chose to have matching wedding rings – Ellen’s appears to be slightly wider than Portia’s. Michael Kors and his husband Lance LePere also wear matching wedding rings.

Your ring should feel comfortable on you and match your personal style. But if you both love the same style of ring, then go for it!

Creating a Custom Ring

You may want to craft a custom ring that is as unique as your love.
Creating a custom ring can be an exciting and fun experience with your future spouse if you choose to create one together. Ritani allows you to consult a jewelry designer online for free. The jewelry designer will help you find the right diamond, create a custom 3D rendering of your ring, and quote you with a price. Ritani’s gemologists do not receive commission, so you’ll never be pressured into buying a ring out of your price range. Once the ring is completed, you can preview it for free at a local jeweler. Most jewelers will preview a ring using a cubic zirconia, but Ritani uses actual diamonds for the preview ring, so you can be satisfied with the final result. There is no obligation to buy your custom ring if you see it and don’t like it.

Congratulations on your engagement! Here’s to your future together – and hopefully some gorgeous rings.

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If you’re getting married, you’ve probably already begun to create a detailed registry. You’ve added silverware to your registry. You’ve added bedding. You’ve added that espresso machine you’ve always wanted.

But what else is missing?

Barware. And some quality wine & spirits. No home is complete without these entertaining essentials. Creating the perfect bar to store your spirits is one of the greatest things about adulting, beyond getting married and buying your first home. It’s important to get it right too. After all, your bar will be your place of solace after a long day of work or your trip to the in-laws’ as well as the center of celebrations and the epic parties you’ll throw together as a couple.

So how do you register for what you really want? Last we checked, Macy’s didn’t have any Grey Goose or any nice Bordeaux in their home store. Luckily, there is a solution. ThirstyNest makes it easy to create a registry filled with the things you really love – wine and spirits. This is a great place to create a registry for those couples that already live together (or have their own places) and don’t need any more towels, dishes, or blenders.

So where to start? Here are the five essentials to creating the perfect home bar.

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1. The Wine.

When creating your registry, select a mix of special age-worthy wines and some everyday options. It’ll be exciting and special to have something to open for your future anniversaries together.

For age-worthy wines, about one to two cases worth (or 12-24 bottles) is the right amount. You’ll only need a moderately sized wine fridge for safekeeping, and it’ll be easy to move in between homes.

There aren’t any hard and fast rules as to which wines to add to your registry, but we’re certainly happy to make some recommendations. A great option to add to your registry for your one year anniversary is the Iron Horse Vineyards 2013 Wedding Cuvée. It’s a sparkling wine made from 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. It features notes of green apple and strawberry.

Another perfect wine for your registry is the Robert Mondavi 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s so good that Wine Spectator gave it a 95. This bottle features a complex blend of fresh blackberry, wild berry compote, cassis, dark cocoa powder, forest floor, all-spice, and sweet vanilla. This wine ages beautifully, making it a perfect bottle to open for your 10th anniversary – and it’ll be worth the wait.

When choosing your everyday wines to add to your registry, just choose whatever you and your future spouse enjoy drinking! Try selecting wines that are versatile for many different occasions, from your first dinner party to your Netflix and chill nights.

A great wine to have on hand is the Domaine Serene 2014 Yamhill Cuvée. It’s a Pinot Noir that’s produced and bottled in Oregon.  This wine can be enjoyed with lean meat dishes or even a hearty vegetarian meal.

Another great wine to add to your collection is Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Dry Riesling. It’s a super versatile white that goes especially well with Thai and Chinese food, which can be hard to pair with.

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2. The Spirits

A great bar should feature a mix of cocktail essentials as well as brown spirits. You’ll want to make sure you have vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, white rum, and dark rum in your bar, as well as stirring mixers such as Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Campari, and bitters. It’s also wise to have a quality Bourbon and Scotch on hand for entertaining guests.

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3. The Glassware

For your registry, you’ll want to include a nice set of glasses for the optimal enjoyment of your liquor. Be sure to include wine glasses, cocktail glasses, and champagne flutes.

If you’ve gone shopping for wine glasses before, you may have noticed all of the different glass shapes for different grape varieties. All of these different glass types can get confusing. The Fusion Air glass set will make a great addition to your registry because it comes with universal glasses for any grape variety. The set comes with 12 glasses total – 4 universal glasses, 4 for bold juicy reds, and 4 for white. The best part about this glass set is that they’re break-resistant. They also come with a 10 year warranty – in the unlikely event that your Fusion Air glass breaks, it will be replaced for free.

As for cocktail glasses, the SoHo Bar whisky glasses will make a fine addition to your bar. These beautiful glasses come in a set of two. Another essential for your cocktail glass collection is the Fusion Deco coupe glasses. These Gatsby-style glasses are perfect for martinis, champagne, or “long” drinks (any drink that includes a non-alcoholic mixer such as juice or seltzer).

Another great option for those who love to host parties are the Wine Enthusiast Fusion Infinity Champagne Flutes. These flutes are party-proof as they are break-resistant. They also come with a 10-year warranty in the unlikely event that they break.

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4. The Tools

Having stylish tools will add flair to your bar. They’ll also make you look and feel like a sommelier. An essential piece to have for your bar is a wine opener. We recommend this beautiful Laguiole En Aubrac Staghorn Waiters Corkscrew. It’s from a legendary French maker, accented with trendy and ethical naturally-shed stag horn, in the industry-preferred “waiter’s friend” style. If you’re someone who always has trouble opening bottles of wine or you don’t like the hassle, the Electric Blue 1 will open a bottle of wine for you, as well as preserve it.

Another tool to make you look like a wine expert and make your wine taste even better is a decanter. The Vivid Wine Decanter set will be perfect for opening up your special anniversary bottles.

Aside from wine tools, you’ll also want some tools to craft the perfect cocktail. The Essential Cocktail Set will make a fine addition to your bar. It looks elegant and impressive but makes a mean and professional-grade craft cocktail.

A cute way to celebrate your marriage and newly-shared last name is with personalized tools and drinkware. ThirstyNest has dozens of personalizable products, from decanters to wine stoppers.  

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5. The Storage

The key to well-aged wine is storing it in an appropriate place free from UV light, excessive moisture, and heat. Your wine will be safe for years to come with a wine fridge. The Silent Dual Zone 21 wine fridge is the perfect place to store your wine. It’s compact, silent, and safely stores 21 of your favorite bottles.

A bar cart is the perfect place to store and show off your spirits collection. The Sophia Bar Cart will make a beautiful addition to any home. It features clean white marble and gold detailing – so basically, it’s super Instagrammable. This tri-level cart creates space for all of your ice and mixers on the bottom while leaving elegant staging for your bottles and tools on top.

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Starting your ThirstyNest registry is simple. All you have to do is create an account and you’ll be on your way to having the perfect home bar in no time. If you’re still uncertain what to include in your registry, check out ThirstyNest’s 1-Click-Registry Collection. It’ll make creating your registry quick and easy.

Take 10% off your ThirstyNest order over $99 by using code RITANI at checkout.

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Weddings are awesome because they give you a chance to think about all the great people in your life. You probably have friends from many different places like school, work, volunteering, and more. And now that you’re engaged, it may seem like that number of amazing people has now doubled. So how do you decide who to invite to your special day? Here are some tips to make creating your guest list as easy as possible.

Keep the size of your wedding in mind.

Before you begin creating your wedding guest list, you’ll need to consider your budget and the size of your venue. If you’ve already picked a venue, make sure your guest list doesn’t go over capacity. Of course, your budget will determine how many guests you can invite. If you want to have a more intimate wedding, you’ll want to keep your guest list on the smaller side. A small wedding has a guest list of anywhere between 2-50 guests. A medium sized wedding will have about 50-175 guests, and a large wedding has over 175 guests. As of 2017, the average number of wedding guests was 136 people according to a survey conducted by The Knot.

Find an online guest list tool.

There are plenty of free websites to help you plan your guest list. It’s helpful to create your list online so your fiancé or parents can collaborate with you on the list. This is especially helpful if your parents or your fiancé’s parents don’t live nearby. An online guest list manager will also save you time so you don’t have to create an elaborate spreadsheet.

Here is a list of some free wedding guest planning tools to check out:

  • Zola offers an easy-to-use guest list manager. They also offer a free app so you can manage your guest list on the go.
  • The Knot makes it easy to keep track of who’s coming and who isn’t – all for free. The Knot also has a free app for managing your guest list.
  • WeddingWire’s intuitive site makes it easy to manage your guest list. They also have a free app for planning your wedding.

Divvy it up.

You and your significant other will want to choose which guests to invite and so will your parents, especially if they are helping pay for your wedding. Traditionally, whoever is paying for the wedding gets to invite more guests. If the couple and both set of parents are paying equally, you should split the number of guests you can invite evenly. You and your fiancé may invite ⅓ of the guests. Your parents can invite ⅓ of the guests and his parents can invite ⅓ of the guests. So if you have a maximum capacity of 120 people, you and your fiancé may invite 40 guests, your parents may invite 40 guests, and his parents may invite 40 guests.

Make sure both of your parents know that they don’t actually have to fill their entire portion of the guest list – there’s no use in inviting people just for the sake of inviting them. If your parents find they have extra guest spaces, they can transfer their remaining guest spaces over to you or your fiancé’s parents.

Prioritize your list.

Start by creating an A list and a B list. Your A list will be your high priority guest list. Your B list will serve as your list of people to invite to your wedding if people from your A list can’t make it. For your A list, start by listing your immediate family, extended family, and close friends. If you’re having trouble deciding who should go on your A list and your B list, ask yourself if you could see yourself having dinner with said potential guest sometime in the next year. If the answer is yes, add them to your A list. Save people that you used to be close with but haven’t really kept in touch with for your B list. Make sure your B list is in order of priority, meaning that if Aunt Sue can’t make it to your wedding, your best friend from high school on your B list will get an invitation before your acquaintance from college. Make sure to keep your B list on the DL in order to not offend your guests.

Figuring out who makes the cut and who doesn’t can get confusing. For example, if your friend invites you to their wedding, do you need to invite them to yours? Generally, you should return the favor, especially if their wedding was recent and your wedding size is the same as theirs. But if you haven’t spoken to them in over a year, don’t feel obligated to invite them to your wedding, especially if your wedding is smaller than theirs.

Another question that commonly gets asked is whether or not your coworkers should get invited. If you plan on inviting your coworkers, invite the whole department or invite nobody. Doing so will avoid tension and awkwardness in the office. However, if you hang out with a specific coworker outside of work and consider them an actual friend, it’s acceptable to invite just them.

Do the math.

As stated earlier, don’t invite more people than your venue can fit. It’s also not wise to invite someone assuming they won’t come – you will be surprised. They may actually come, and you can’t uninvite someone.

Another important factor for your guest list to consider is plus ones and kids if they have them. Of course, if you decide to have a child-free wedding, this won’t be necessary.

Set rules – and make no exceptions.

You and your future spouse will want to consider a few things for your wedding:

Do we want children at our wedding?
Who gets a plus one?
Which extended family should we invite?

It’s pretty common for children to get left off of the guest list for weddings, especially at a formal or evening wedding. Make sure you stand firm on your child-free rule in order to respect your guests that actually followed the rule. Feelings will be hurt if you make exceptions for some people and not for others.

You’ll also want to determine who gets a plus one, as this will increase your head count and be another cost to your wedding. Usually a relative or a friend that is engaged gets a plus one, but you don’t have to follow this rule. Establish with your fiancé if a guest must be dating someone for at least a year to get a plus one, or if they must be engaged or married. If you’ve never met their significant other before, don’t feel obligated to invite them.

You and your fiancé should determine where to draw the line in terms of extended family members. Are you only inviting first cousins, and then drawing the line there? Invite all of your second cousins, or invite none of them. If you only invite your closest second cousin, your other second cousins will likely be hurt.

In the end, remember this is a day to celebrate joining your new friends and family with your existing ones. While some may inevitably be excluded due to budget or even forgetfulness, following these simple guidelines will ensure you’ve done your best in including the most important people in your lives.

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Creating a wedding website is a great (and easy!) way to share information about your wedding with your guests. It’ll help them stay informed on the when, where, and other important details of the wedding. It’ll also help you save time because you won’t have to answer dozens of phone calls from confused guests.

Wedding websites are also helpful to inform your guests of any last minute changes, like a venue or date change. Many wedding websites also offer helpful tools to plan your wedding, such as keeping track of your guest list and seating arrangements. Websites with these features are especially handy because all of your information will be kept in one place.

There are so many useful and beautiful wedding websites that are free. Don’t feel obligated to pay for a website or a domain name – it’s just another thing to add to your wedding budget. The Knot, WeddingWire, Joy, Zola, and Wix all offer free wedding websites that can be set up in minutes. It’s okay to build your website piece by piece – it doesn’t need to be completed in one day. After all, you’re probably busy planning other parts of your wedding! Your website doesn’t need to be a novel full of content – but here are a few things you’ll want to consider including to make it a website you’ll both be proud of.

Include your registry information.

You’re not supposed to include your registry information on invitations, but including it on your wedding website is an acceptable practice. Include direct links to your personal registry so your guests can access it easily.

Not all couples have a registry. Some couples already have everything they need for their homes. If you and your partner are not looking to receive gifts, you can specify this on your website. You can write something on your website like, “Your presence at our wedding is a gift for us, so we kindly request no gifts. We have all of the things we need for our home.”

Include logistics.

If you’re offering transportation for your guests to get to your wedding and/or reception, make sure to list where and when they can access it. Is the shuttle bringing guests to the venue every 15 minutes, or only once that evening?

You also may want to consider including specific details about your venue. If you know that it’s going to get cold at night, recommend your guests bring a sweater. If you are getting married outdoors, you may want to let your guests know so they plan accordingly. Heels sometimes get stuck in the grass and women may want to opt for different footwear instead.

Other things to include for your wedding website are a rough idea of what to wear, if you have a hotel block reservation, and if you’ll have a cash bar. A prepared guest is a happy guest!It’s also wise to include travel information. While you may be familiar with the area, many of your guests may be traveling in from out of town. Try to make their traveling efforts easier by listing local hotels and anything they may need to know about the area.

This may be obvious, but make sure to include the time, date, and location of your wedding in case guests lose their invitations or forget to bring them when they travel. Sometimes, little details like this get overlooked while planning your wedding.

Recommend local activities and restaurants.

Your guests likely won’t spend nearly as much time as you getting ready for your wedding. You may want to include your favorite restaurants and fun things to do in the area for your guests during the day. Your list of recommended places is a great way for guests out of town to get to know your hometown. It’s especially helpful for guests bringing energetic children that need to stay occupied.

To add a personal touch to your activities list, you can include places that are significant for you and your partner, like where you had your first date or where they proposed.

Include an “About Us” page.

Another way to personalize your wedding website is to include a brief story of how you and your partner met. If you’ve been dating your significant other for a while, some of your guests might not know how you actually met. An “About Us” page can also be helpful for guests who are coming as a plus one that might not know you that well.

Some couples even include a brief story of how they met their bridesmaids and groomsmen and a little bit of information about them. Your other friends and family members at the wedding might not know anything about them. It’s a great way for your guests to get to know each other and gives them something to talk about if they both have something in common. If this feels like a lot of work, you could even ask your wedding party to write their own bios for your site.

Use a password.

Try to find a wedding website that requires guests to enter a password to access the website. You can include the password on your Save the Date or invitations. Locking your website with a password will prevent wedding crashers. It’ll also help keep your personal information safe – you may have your mailing address on your website for non-registry gifts, and you don’t want that kind of information out there.

Stick to your wedding theme.

Wedding websites often come with hundreds of beautiful themes, meaning the layout, colors and graphics that you see on the website. Your guests can figure out what to expect of your wedding and how to dress based on the theme of your website. Try to choose a theme that matches the theme and formality of your wedding to keep everything cohesive.

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Getting married is one of the most exciting times in your life. You’ve probably been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little kid. And of course, you want the day to be memorable and perfect! You may be torn between a traditional (local) wedding or a destination wedding. Most couples opt for a traditional wedding. The Knot’s 2016 study found that only 20% of couples chose to have a destination wedding, and 11% of those happened in international locations. In the same year, 49% of couples were wed 200 miles away or more than where they lived at the time of their wedding. No matter what location you choose for your wedding, it is sure to be an amazing and memorable day.

A Traditional Wedding: The Pros

A local wedding has lots of advantages. By choosing a traditional wedding, you’ll be able to see the venue in person first before committing to it. You’ll be able to make sure it has everything you desire for your wedding. By choosing a local wedding, you’ll have the choice between a small wedding OR a large wedding. More guests will be able to attend a local wedding, so you can have the guest size that you desire. Celebrating your big day will be more fun as well as more special with all of your friends and family as a part of your big day. More guests attending your wedding means more gifts. Getting more gifts may seem kind of superficial at first, but it can actually help pay for your wedding. If you kindly ask your guests to bring money instead of gifts, this can help offset the costs of your wedding. After all, if you’ve already had your own place for a while, you probably don’t have much to add to your wedding registry. Having a local wedding also gives you the ability to have a greater involvement in wedding planning. You’ll be able to choose the caterers florists, and photographers of your choice. This also means you’ll be able to support local vendors. Having an involvement in the process can give you the reassurance that your big day will be amazing.

A Traditional Wedding: The Cons

There are a few things you’ll want to consider before committing to a local wedding. Your wedding date may be influenced by the weather. For example, if you desire an outdoor wedding but live in Maine, you’ll have to wait until winter has passed until you can have an outdoor wedding.
Having a local wedding means more people will be able to come, which can also be a con. You’ll feel more obligated to invite those distant relatives that you don’t really like. Pesky relatives can cause unneeded stress on your wedding day.

A Destination Wedding: Pros

Did you know that destination weddings are generally cheaper? The average destination wedding costs about $28,000, while a traditional wedding on average costs $35,000. Destination weddings are less expensive because less guests will attend. Less than 100 people usually attend a destination wedding because traveling can be hassle, making the overall costs less for the bride and groom. Additionally, many resorts and venues offer wedding packages that include rooms, food, decorations, the officiant, and planning. These packages can cut down on costs. With the resort taking care of your wedding, this can make the months leading up to it less stressful. Destination weddings are also less expensive because you are combining your wedding and your honeymoon. You’ll also need less wedding decorations, which will help save money, because the beautiful location on its own will take everyone’s breath away.
By having a wedding in a gorgeous location, you can create an unforgettable and unique experience for you and your guests. Your wedding photos will also come out amazing with a beautiful backdrop.
If you’re worried about rain on your wedding day, certain destinations have more predictable climates. For example, Aruba receives the least amount of rainfall compared to other Caribbean islands – it receives about 20 inches of rain per year. The Knot listed it as one of the least likely places to rain on your wedding day.
You may be concerned with the idea of having a smaller wedding, but it actually makes for a more intimate experience for you and your closest friends and family. It’ll feel like a vacation for all of your guests, regardless of the number of attendees.

A Destination Wedding: Cons

A destination wedding isn’t ideal for someone who wants a big wedding or has a large family. A lot of people that are invited to destination weddings may not be able to attend due to airfare and hotel costs. You may also feel pressured to contribute to the airfare of your guests, which can drain your bank account. If you definitely want to celebrate your big day with all of your friends and family, you may want to reconsider a local wedding over a destination wedding.
Legal obstacles are another obstacle you’ll face when planning a destination wedding. Every country has different marriage laws – you’ll need to research how to get your marriage license in the country where you’ll wed. You also may need a visa depending on which country you’re traveling to. Another disadvantage to a destination wedding is the lack of customization on your wedding day. Many resorts will take care of your wedding, so you may not fully get a say in the accommodations, food and decorations. An overseas destination means you probably won’t be there in person to make sure the set up is going as planned. This may be a problem for someone who needs to be in control. Lack of privacy may become a problem for couples that opt for a destination wedding. Your guests may stick around in the days during your honeymoon, which is understandable – after all, they’ve spent a lot of time and money traveling to get to your wedding. A newly married couple will likely want alone time without running into people they know at the resort. You may want to consider arriving a few days earlier or leaving a few days after other guests so you can get your alone time with your spouse.

Flying with a wedding gown creates another complication for destination weddings. Your dress is an important (and expensive) part of your big day, and you’ll want to ensure that it doesn’t get ruined on the plane. Make sure to contact your airline to ensure that your dress counts as a carry on item. Some planes feature an on-board closet where you can store your dress, but you’ll want to double check with your airline. If your plane has an on-board closet, you should consider flying first class or get priority boarding to guarantee your dress has a spot in the closet. Some brides even purchase a plane ticket for their dress so they are guaranteed with a safe space to put it. All of these options will add up in the long run to the cost of your wedding. Another issue you may encounter with a destination wedding is that guests may treat you like their travel agent. Some people are too lazy to use the internet, or your older relatives might not understand how to. This is a small issue, but it’s something worth considering. You don’t need extra stress added to your big day.

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Whether you choose a local wedding or a destination wedding, it’ll certainly be one of the best days of your life. You’ll be surrounded by friends and family celebrating the special love you have between you and your partner. Follow your heart and determine what the best option is for you and your partner. After all, it’s your special day, not anybody else’s.

 

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Planning a wedding can be stressful – there are so many little details that are easy to forget about like the lighting, transportation, and the do-not-play list for your DJ. Even with websites that offer wedding planning tips, it can still feel a little overwhelming. Luckily, wedding planners exist to help everything run smoothly. Deciding whether or not to hire a wedding planner is just another one of the many decisions that come with planning your wedding. We’re here to help you determine if a wedding planner is right for you.

The Pros of Planning It Yourself

There are lots of advantages to planning your wedding yourself. The biggest one is that you’ll save money. A full service wedding planner will usually cost from $5,000-$10,000 depending on their prior experience and current demand. You can also choose to hire a day-of coordinator to save some money. A day-of coordinator costs about $1,500 depending on their experience. They’ll ensure everything runs smoothly on your big day. If you’re looking to save money, ask your friends and family if anyone of them has experience planning a wedding. If they’ve recently planned a wedding, they’ll be able to give you some advice on planning your own. Your bridesmaids will also be there to help – you’re not totally in this alone!

Another reason to plan your own wedding is to maintain a sense of control. Many people like the idea of being able to carefully choose every detail. This is especially true for Type-A brides or grooms-to-be. Planning your own wedding can also give you a sense of pride once the wedding is completed knowing you were able to organize the entire event yourselves. So if you’re genuinely excited to plan your wedding and have the time to dedicate to it, a wedding planner may not be necessary.

The Cons of Planning It Yourself

If this is your first time planning a wedding, the lack of professional insight can become an issue. You may feel like you have no idea what’s going on. Additionally, the lack of industry connections can also make it more difficult or expensive to have the wedding of your dreams. Wedding planners usually have connections with venues and vendors. Your lack of connections may not be an issue if you’re planning a hometown wedding, but, a planner may be extremely useful if you’re planning a destination wedding. A planner will have a better understanding of a destination’s customs, logistics, and typical costs.

The Pros of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Hiring a planner is a great option because you’ll have the help of an expert every step of the way. You may not know where to start when planning your wedding – and that’s okay! Your wedding planner has probably done this hundreds of times before. They’ll make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible – and it’ll be less stressful for you because they will take care of everything. Being engaged should be a fun and exciting time – why be stressed out when someone else can take care of it all for you? You’ve probably heard of bridezillas before – in fact, there is a whole reality TV show dedicated to it. Planning a wedding can get stressful and bring out the worst in everyone. The stress of planning a wedding can even impact your relationships with your close friends and family. Hiring a wedding planner can help alleviate a lot of that stress because they will take care of everything for you.

Although your wedding planner is not a lawyer, they’ll come in handy when you have to sign vendor contracts. Sometimes, these documents can be difficult to read. They’ll make sure you know what you’re getting into so you don’t have any surprise fees. They also understand the legal aspects to certain venues – for example, beaches have many specific laws and regulations. If you’re planning a beach wedding, a wedding planner may be helpful in understanding what you can and cannot do for your wedding.

Another benefit to hiring a wedding planner is that they’ll save you a lot of time. Couples that don’t work with a planner can spend 200-300 hours planning their wedding (about 8-12 full days). By hiring a wedding planner, you can cut that time in half, freeing you up to live the rest of your life – working, playing, and watching Netflix with your partner. If you and your future spouse work full time, a wedding planner will be incredibly helpful for you. A wedding planner is also especially helpful if you’re planning a wedding on a time crunch – they can work to make your wedding happen on time.

Wedding planners are also great because they have knowledge of current wedding trends and design ideas. They can help make your vision of your dream wedding come to life and bring concepts to the table that you hadn’t even thought of before. They also are very helpful for someone who isn’t as creative and needs the assistance to create a beautiful wedding.

Wedding planners can get expensive, but they can also help you save money. They’ve planned dozens of weddings before, so they know some tricks to cut costs. They also will know the best ways to save money. The connections that wedding planners have with vendors can also help you save money. Your wedding planner will likely have worked with the same vendors before and can get you a discount.

The Cons of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Weddings are already expensive on their own, and many couples look for ways to cut costs. The different services that a wedding planner provides will add up quickly. You should expect to add about $5,000-$10,000 to your wedding budget if you want to hire a planner.

Sometimes, hiring a wedding planner means that you can lose some creative control. When someone else is in charge of the little details, you may lose some control of the creative aspects of your wedding. This isn’t usually a problem because a good wedding planner will work to create your dream wedding, but it’s something to consider. Another reason you may want to skip the wedding planner is that some venues already come with prepackaged services, making a planner pretty unnecessary.

Again, your personality type may be a reason to skip the planner. If you’re a Type A bride or groom, you may feel more at ease being in control of all of the little details yourself.


Planning a wedding is a special and unique experience. Hiring a wedding planner can make your big day run smoother and lift some of the stress off of you so you can enjoy the actual event – but at a cost. Whether you decide to spend the extra money for this convenience or not, remember that a wedding is supposed to be a celebration of love – and the happiest day of your lives.

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Congrats! You’re engaged! While your wedding may be several months away, there’s no reason why you can’t start celebrating your commitment to each other now. This is a special time for you, your family and your friends and you’ll want to make the most of it.

Of course, an engagement party isn’t necessary, but can definitely enhance the entire experience of merging your two lives together.

Not only is it a great excuse to celebrate your love, it is also a perfect way to introduce the important people that will be involved in your wedding to each other. They’ll probably be spending a lot of time together prior to your special day, so making the first meeting fun might help things go smoother down the road.

Planning an engagement party is also a great warm-up for planning your actual wedding – after all, an engagement party still requires invitations, a guest list, and a venue. But what’s great about an engagement party is there’s less pressure to make it perfect.

We know that weddings can get expensive, and many couples look for ways to cut costs. An engagement party is often one of the festivities that gets cut to save money. If an engagement party isn’t in your budget, don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to celebrate in the future, from showers to bachelor and bachelorette parties.

But if it does make it in to your plans, here are some things you’ll want to consider to make your engagement party a success.

1. Who’s Hosting?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents will host the engagement party. But this isn’t a strict rule – a friend, a sibling, or even you and your fiancé can plan it together. Your parents can even collaborate with your partner’s parents to plan your engagement party.

Some couples have multiple engagement parties with multiple hosts. Your parents may want to host a large party just for family, while you and your fiancé may want to hold a party just for your close friends. Having more than one engagement party is especially common among couples with family members that live far away – if your fiancé’s parents live in Los Angeles and your parents live in Brooklyn, your future in-laws may want to hold a party on the West Coast while your parents may want to hold a party on the East Coast.

If you’d like to have an engagement party, you should run it by the bride’s parents first in case they were looking forward to hosting the event. If they’re not able to commit to hosting a party, you can carry on.
It’s generally the responsibility of the host to pay for the party and send out the invitations. Of course, if you’re doing the inviting, you should pay for the party.

2. When is it?

Most engagement parties happen a few weeks after the initial engagement. If you’re having a longer engagement or already have a busy calendar, it’s okay to hold your engagement party a few months after being engaged.

3. What’s the budget?

If you’re already spending a significant amount of money on your wedding, it’s wise to keep track of your budget – even if you’re planning a small party. Planning your budget will give you an idea of how many people to invite and what kind of venue to choose.

There are many ways to cut costs if you’re set on having an engagement party. You can host the party in someone’s home or backyard to avoid paying for a venue. You can also simplify the menu, or even make it a potluck or BYOB.

4. Where is it?

You’ll want to choose a venue that matches your vision of the engagement party – if you want to have a simple party, at home or at a casual restaurant will do. If you’re trying to host a more formal party, consider an upscale restaurant or a country club to host the event.

Just remember that you’re not trying to outshine your actual wedding, so try to create an atmosphere or theme that’s completely different than what you envision your wedding to be like.

5. Who’s coming?

Traditionally, you should only invite guests that you’ll also be inviting to your wedding. Most engagement parties will have a smaller guest list than their wedding guest list. If you have no idea how many people you’ll be inviting to your wedding, just try to keep your engagement party guest list small so no one’s feelings get hurt.

6. How should I send invitations?

Since an engagement party is less formal than an actual wedding, you can keep the invitations simple – this will also help cut costs for your party. You can make invitations by hand, or you can save time and money by creating online invitations. Your invitations don’t have to match the color scheme of your wedding. However, your invitation should match the formality of the party itself – so if you’re planning on holding a more formal party, you should skip the digital invites. However, a Facebook invitation is acceptable for a super casual casual backyard barbeque.

7. What food should I serve?

The food you serve is determined by your budget. You don’t need to have an elaborate meal at your engagement party – save that for your wedding. As stated earlier, having a potluck party is a simple way to cut costs.

Another option to spend less is to serve hors d’oeuvres or desserts for your engagement party. If your party will only have snack foods, plan your party in between meal times. Make sure it is obvious on your invitations that you won’t be serving a full meal. You won’t want your guests showing up on an empty stomach. You could write something on your invitations along the lines of, “Join us for hors d’oeuvres and champagne.”

8. Should guests bring gifts?

Gifts aren’t expected for an engagement party, especially for a casual one.You can kindly specify on invitations that gifts are not necessary. However, some guests will still feel obligated to bring gifts. You can create a preliminary registry with low to medium priced gifts – after all, you’ll still get wedding gifts later. If your friend, sibling, or parents are hosting the engagement party, they can share the registry with eager gift-givers.

At your engagement party, you should set aside a place to keep any gifts you receive out of plain sight in order to keep guests that show up empty-handed from feeling uncomfortable.

9. What should I wear to my engagement party?

Whatever you wear should fit the theme of the party. If you’re the bride, you may be wondering if you have to wear white to your engagement party. Many brides-to-be choose to wear white, but it’s not required. If your party is formal, avoid upstaging your wedding dress.

You probably haven’t even bought your wedding dress yet, which is normal if you are recently engaged. The best way to avoid upstaging your wedding dress is to wear something simple. You can still wear an elegant but simple dress to a formal party.

Above all, remember that an engagement party is supposed to be a celebration. Try not to stress out too much about the details, you’ll have plenty of time to do that with the wedding.

Next Up: Protecting Your Engagement Ring

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If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you got engaged recently. If that’s the case, then congratulations! This is a super exciting time in your life. You finally found the one!

Of course, there’s no right or wrong way to be engaged – but here are some tips to make this whirlwind time go more smoothly.

1. Get a manicure.

You may have already gotten a manicure – by coincidence, or you were suspecting your significant other would pop the question soon. If you don’t have a manicure at the moment, now is the perfect time to treat yourself. Everyone is going to be staring at your hands, and you’ll want to post pictures of your ring on social media.

You’ll want your nails to look perfect to complement your gorgeous ring. When choosing a nail polish color, make sure to choose a color that isn’t too flashy, like neon pink – you’ll want your beautiful new ring to stand out in pictures, not your nails. A bold color can be overpowering and take away from the beauty of your new ring. Neutrals are perfect for the newly engaged.

2. Post a ring selfie.

Show off your sparkler on social media. Before you post online about your engagement, make sure you’ve called your relatives and close friends to share the news – people close to you may feel hurt if they find out from social media and not straight from you.

When taking your ring selfie, lighting is everything. Natural sunlight is the most flattering – try going outside or taking a selfie near a window to get natural light. Avoid using flash at all costs – the brightness may wash out the beauty of your ring. Use the hashtag #GetTheMomentRight and your selfie may get reshared on Ritani’s Instagram!

Related: How To Take Perfect Engagement Ring Photos

3. Get your ring insured.

Your ring has extreme sentimental value. It’s also an expensive purchase. To keep your investment safe, you should consider getting ring insurance. Insurance covers mysterious disappearance, accidental loss, and theft.

For everything you need to know about ring insurance, read our Guide to Engagement Ring Insurance.

4. Get your ring resized.

Your fiancé may have miscalculated the size of your finger when they bought your ring. It’s important to have a ring that fits properly so that it doesn’t accidentally slide off of your finger. It’ll also feel way more comfortable on your hand when it’s the correct size.

Ritani offers one free ring resizing within the first year of purchase. You can call a Ritani customer service representative for your free resizing at 1-888-9RITANI and they’ll take care of the rest.

5. Take some time for yourselves.

You may already start stressing over the details of your wedding – where it is, who will be in your wedding, or what venue you should choose. People will also likely bombard you with questions about the wedding. Save the planning for a few weeks after getting engaged. Take the time to savor the moment and joy that comes with becoming newly engaged. You’ll have plenty of time down the road to plan your wedding.

6. Get inspired.

Your wedding plans don’t have to be official, but it’s fun to start dreaming of your future wedding. Planning in the future will be much easier if you already have an idea of what you want for you wedding. If you haven’t already begun planning your wedding since middle school, you may want to start seeking inspiration from magazines, wedding websites, or Pinterest.

Luckily, Ritani has a Pinterest full of ideas for your save the date, wedding dress, the cake, and more. Check out our Pinterest here.

7. Pick a date.

Commiting to a date in the future can be nerve-wracking – after all, you have no idea what the weather will be like in a year or two from now. If you have no idea what date to choose, you should at least choose a month. Your close friends and family may be planning a vacation in the future, so if they know what month your wedding falls on, they can plan around it. If you really have no idea when the wedding will be, kindly tell you friends or relatives that you’re just enjoying being engaged and will have time to make more solidified plans in the future.

Next Up: Styling Tips For The Newly Engaged