You’re ready to make a commitment to that special someone, and seal the deal with a diamond engagement ring. The process can seem daunting, but the best thing is to set a budget, do some research and shop around, there are some amazing companies, from Birks to Golden Tree and Lugaro Jewellers.
The four C’s of diamond selection are:
• Carat – unit of measurement to weigh a diamond
• Colour – refers to the colour presence or absence in white diamonds – in this case, less colour is better as the diamond emits more sparkle and fire
• Clarity – refers to the presence of identifying characteristics, such as inclusions and/or blemishes, within or on the stone
• Cut – don’t confuse with shape (round, emerald or pear), the cut is reference to a diamond’s reflective qualities and is considered the most important of the four C’s
Learn about ring settings (band, accent stones and prongs), choose the metal (e.g. gold, white gold, platinum) and lastly, you can opt to design the ring. Good luck!
One of the oldest wedding traditions is the exchange of gifts between the groom and bride. Since 1879, Birks has been a symbol of unparalled luxury, quality and service; even creating jewellery fit for the Queen. This Canadian jeweller offers unforgettable gift ideas, from the Baume & Mercier and Gucci watch collections to stunning gifts for the bride, including freshwater pearl necklaces and diamond solitaire earrings.
Dave Singh, CEO of Well Groomed Designs Inc., offers fashion advice for one of the most important outfits a woman will wear:
• Each and every bride wants to look their absolute best, as their wedding is often, the most important day of their lives. The only advice I want to give them is to choose something that is comfortable, carry it off beautifully and you will look your best.
• I believe there will be wide use of tulle in bridal collections for the coming bridal season. Bride should choose the right colour to complement their skin tone, as well as selecting the pattern that works in accordance to their body type and height (e.g. a bride who is short should not wear very thick hem borders or a thick belt).
• It’s more about the concept, fusion of colors and mixing Indian embroideries with modern cuts. Brides should be very cautious when choosing or getting the outfit designed, as getting the outfit studded with all over embroidery with no gaps might not be the right approach. The embroideries need to be more defined.
• This year, we are working on a completely novel theme ‘Modern Awadh,’ which brings the artisan to the fore. It is a blend of Indian finery with a layered Western construct. It is a completely unique concept, the fusion of Indian couture with international construction.
• Whether it’s a tuxedo, suit, achkan or sherwani, it is equally important for the groom to look just as perfect as his bride. Grooms should select formal wear based on the formality of the wedding. Also keep in mind, the time of day and the bride’s bridal outfit.
• Consider darker colours for fall/winter weddings and lighter colours for spring/summer nuptials. Rentals are also a great option for tuxedos.
• For traditional Sikh wedding ceremonies, it may be a good idea to book someone who is experienced in tying a turban. A trial beforehand will ensure that the groom is happy with the end result.
Pinder Bains Deol, owner of Charming Affairs Decor & Event Design, provides décor tips for those homeowners looking to decorate their homes during the wedding festivities:
Have a theme – many people choose to go with a theme which reflects their style, personality, outfit and overall wedding vision.
Personalize it – use your favourite flowers/scents, use your favourite city, such as Paris as your inspiration or if you like peacocks, find a way to incorporate that colour palate into your décor.
Have a budget – it’s important to know what works for you and to find ways to complete your vision within the budget you have in mind.
Colour scheme – you may want to match the décor to the wedding theme colours, or many people also like to be completely different and choose neutral options such as gold, crèmes or black and white.
Timeline for you décor – you may want to change your décor for the different events at your home and in your tent. For example, you may have different décor for your maya, mehndi party, pre-wedding party, chura ceremony, morning of your wedding, doli and dinner parties.
Set a budget and stick to it! It is very easy to go overboard. After you set a budget, call different banquet halls and venues to determine what is your best option. Book these venues first and in advance. For your banquet hall, ensure you have a breakdown of the costs, not a lump sum of what they will charge. Most halls will not charge rent on weekends during the off season (winter/early spring). Your menu items, per person cost, décor/chair covers, security and any other associated cost should be listed separately before you even sign the contract.
Executive Chef Abhishek Roy, owner of Atithi restaurant, shares some of his knowledge for your big day:
• Think-outside-the-box – treat your guests to new, creative dishes.
• For your menu items, don’t choose heavy, rich dishes. Create an innovative menu with lighter, less rich dishes.
• Contact well-known chefs, who are passionate about their craft. Visit their restaurants, which feature either a range of Indian and/or Western cuisine, to sample possible dishes that can be re-created for your wedding guests.
• Pictures speak a thousand words. Remember, bridal makeup will be more than your regular “natural look.” Ensure you have a full consult done a few months before your wedding. You should LOVE your look during the consult, as it’s a preview of what you will look like. If you don’t LOVE your look, find another makeup artist and quick!
• Have ideas ready for makeup and hairstyles before attending your consult and see what will work best for you. Be assertive in booking your makeup artist and let them know your expectations.
• Keep in mind, if you go for a simple look; you may look like you are not wearing any makeup in your pictures. What seems like “too much” will look perfect in your pictures.
• It’s best to find a flower shop close to home to save on delivery. If you find a flower shop in another city, delivery will be expensive and if you decide to send a family member to pick them up instead, there could be a chance that the flowers may be ruined if not handled properly and delicately.
• Rather than going with popular, mainstream flower shops that tend to be expensive, do your research to find the ‘hole-in-the-wall’ places in your area. These shops can do the same arrangements as the more expensive shops but usually for less money.
• Set a budget and stick to it! Shop around for your dream cake, as prices usually vary among vendors. There are many choices, from fondant and butter cream cakes to cupcakes, go for tastings to find out which suits you best.
• There is also the option of fake cakes, which are great for saving money, but it’s a nice idea to serve cake as a dessert option for your guests. Opt for a slab cake to serve, which guests will not see. A secret tip – Thrifty’s makes wedding cakes and for a lot less…
Suzie Grant, branch manager from Carlson Wagonlit Travel, dishes on honeymoons, top destinations and destination weddings:
• Brides/Grooms – talk about what you each want from your honeymoon (for e.g. What do you want in a resort? What kind of room? What type of restaurants are important?). Talk to a travel consultant and provide your wish list and let them give you 3 options.
• Packages are usually with charters and only fly once a week, so after the wedding couples may have to book a week off. Also if you have out-of-town guests, you may have to wait to go on your honeymoon a few days after.
• Brides – leave the planning up to the groom! If you talked about your wants with the help of a good travel consultant, he should be able to pick a great resort.
• Some resorts offer upgrades (subject to availability at time of check-in) and in order to get these upgrades, try the following:
o Your travel agent comments on your file that you are honeymooners
o Take a copy of the forms you signed at the wedding ceremony for proof of your married status for the hotel
o If you wait, about 6 months after your wedding, to go on your honeymoon you may still qualify, it never hurts to remark and then ask the hotel at time of check-in
• Book early! By doing this, you get the pick of the great resorts, rooms and even flights especially if you want business/club class seats.
• Once booked – DO NOT SHOP AROUND, you will just stress yourself and double guess your choices. Most packages are non-refundable or changeable.
Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations
• Mayan Riviera
• Punta Cana
• Hawaii – Maui
• Are becoming more and more popular year after year. Resorts are offering traditional-on- the-beach wedding ceremonies to cultural weddings with lavish ceremonies. These wedding can range from 10 people up to 200 or more guests.
• Some brides and grooms are even flying in their own photographers, videographers and religious clergies and still find this option more economical than having a wedding at home.
• Why a destination wedding? Well, your guests can have a vacation at the same time as attending your wedding. Don’t forget after the wedding, you are already at your resort for your honeymoon – this is what we call a “Weddingmoon.” Remember you don’t need to stay at the same resort with the guest after the ceremony.
Kristy Wyllie-Sherwood, owner/chief event planner of Chic & Unique Event Design, gives some advice for transportation, photography and videography:
An event planner guarantees that everything will be in place for your wedding day, so the couple can enjoy their special day without worrying about any of the details. It is best to do your research when selecting vendors, including for transportation, be it limousines to classic cars. It’s best to personally go and see the limousine or other vehicles before completing the booking. In addition, make sure you ask lot’s of questions, such as: Which exact vehicle you will be provided with? What is included in the price? Are there any additional fees? If there are restrictions to your time allotment like number of stops?
• There may be twenty or so photographers or videographers to pick from, so how are you to know which one will make your wedding day magical? It is best to do your research when selecting vendors, including talking to past clients. Book the photographer for an engagement session to see if you are compatible with them and learn their style. Portfolios can only show so much.
• Many venues and/or wedding planners have referral lists with top vendors in the area that have been tried and tested. Picking from a list like this is often the safest bet, but remember to keep in mind your personal preferences and ask for samples of their work.
Tip from contributors:
• Remember not to be thrifty when it comes to your photography or videography. Many companies offer dual packages that can help reduce costs. Consultations are key and if you have pricing lists from other photographers, it can help you in the negotiation process.
• When choosing an MC (master of ceremonies), it is important to choose someone that is fluent in both English and your traditional language. This will not only keep the attention of older guests who don’t understand English, but will keep all guests engaged and focused on the bride/groom.
• A nice touch is to choose an MC, who knows both sides of the family, or have two MC’s to represent each side.
• Keep speeches short and simple so guests will pay attention and not lose interest. It is highly recommended to close the bar during speeches/entertainment and to have all guests seated.
• When hiring entertainment performances, choose a group or performer that is high-energy and professional.
How to deal with a bridezilla?
Planning weddings can be fun and stressful at the same time especially for the bride-to- be. Every bride wants this day to be perfect, so if you notice the bride is on edge or a bit demanding, it is important to keep in mind that she is most likely experiencing high stress levels.
• In situations where you find yourself dealing with a ‘bridezilla,’ whether a sister, cousin or friend, try to remain supportive, patient and positive.
• Plan a day with the bride-to-be, from a simple spa day or a girls night at home, to help de-stress and spend some quality time together
• Most importantly, take some time for yourself, as wedding planning can also be stressful for family, friends and members of the bridal party.
As wedding guests, there are several things to keep in mind.
• Know the dress code – never try to outshine the bride
• Arrive on time for all functions, especially during the wedding ceremony.
• At wedding events, it is important to drink responsibly and designate a driver or take a taxi.
• Arrive at the events with invited guests only. For the couple being married, keep in mind if you have a limited number of seats to ensure you indicate the number of guests on the invitations.
• Sign the guest book at the events and it’s a nice gesture to say hello and/or goodbye to the bride/groom and their respective families.
• Do not come to the wedding events without bringing a gift.
Contributers – Birks, Amandeep Chung, Pinder Bains Deol, Suzie Grant, Abhishek Roy, Kristy Wyllie-Sherwood, Kiran Sidhu, Harmeet Sidhu, Dave Singh, Renu Singh