11 Wedding Jewelry Dos and Don’ts

Guess what, ladies? March is Dos and Don’ts Month here at the USABride blog and naturally, we’re starting with wedding jewelry. We’d of course prefer that brides-to-be not think about their wedding jewelry and accessories in terms of mistakes to be made, but we all know that one bride who just didn’t hit the mark with her big day look.

Luckily, a little prep is all it takes to nail bridal beauty. It really is as easy as lunch hour research, and we’re here to help! First up is our 11 dos and don’ts for the bride-to-be who is ready to shop for the necklace, earrings, and bracelet she’ll wear when she goes from miss to missus.

  • DO give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect wedding jewelry. If you shop in a rush, you might not be happy with what you end up wearing on your wedding day and that’s the saddest thing we can think of.
  • DON’T limit yourself. We know, we know, all the guides say embrace your innate style, but a wedding should be a once in a lifetime event. Why not try a once in a lifetime look?
  • DO go big. For real, there is no reason not to let your wedding jewelry do the talking for your big day outfit. Think focal point, especially if you’re wearing a relatively simple gown. Think lots of sparkle. Think tiara if you really want to!
  • DON’T wear a watch. Seriously, just don’t. Even if it’s a watch that looks juuuust like a bracelet. You do not need to be anywhere on time once you are at your wedding, so don’t make it look like you’re on deadline. Wear a bridal bracelet instead.
  • DO make sure your jewelry coordinates with your bridal veil! While it might be tempting to collect pieces as you encounter them, you’ll look more beautiful on your wedding day if you think of your bridal ensemble as a unified whole.
  • DON’T wear a necklace with a wedding gown with an asymmetrical décolletage – let the neckline speak for itself.
  • DO consider wearing two sets of wedding jewelry. Something subtle and feminine for the ceremony and then something striking and shiny for the reception, for instance. If brides can change into a second gown, no one should look askance at a jewelry swaparoo.
  • DON’T go cheap. You know that we’ll never steer you toward breaking your budget, but we do suggest staying away from a certain mall chain that will sell you jewelry that looks okay for an hour or two… before turning your skin green.
  • DO look for pieces you can wear again. You may not find them and that’s okay, but there’s no reason not to think long term when you’re picking out wedding jewelry.
  • DON’T worry about whether your wedding ring matches your necklace and earrings. Your ring stands alone and shouldn’t dictate which finish you wear.
  • DO mix and match. Wedding jewelry sets are great – seriously, we adore them – but if you’re brave enough, think about letting the old maxim inspire you to mix old and new and borrowed, too.

P.S. – We are running a sweet promo this month for 20% off all veils, so if you’re going for the traditional bridal look check out our selection!


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Color-Loving Brides, Choose Your Pearls!

Color has long been treated as symbolic, and it’s no different in the world of gemstones. The symbolism associated with pearls, in particular, is strongly associated with color. As I noted last week, pearls come in almost every color under the rainbow – and with every color of pearl you’ll find a different meaning. Here is just a tiny taste of pearl color meaning, along with recommendations from our carefully chosen inventory of pearl wedding jewelry.

White Pearls: Classic white pearls have been a symbol of purity for ages upon ages. Try our Pearl & Pave set!

Rose or Pink Pearls: These ultra feminine pearls are a traditional symbol of love. Your bridesmaids will love our Lauren set!

Golden Pearls: Unsurprisingly, gold pearls are a potent symbol of wealth. Keshi pearls can have a lovely golden hue!

Green and Green-Blue Pearls: Deep hues like those found in these pearls are a symbol of romance. An olive coil bracelet can add the perfect touch of color.

Sapphire Blue Pearls: Much like the vastness of the ocean itself, these pearls are symbols of eternity. We recommend our Navy set!

Black Pearls: Classically elegant, these eye-catching pearls are a symbol of dignity. Black is still the new black!

Are you going to wear colored pearls on your wedding day? Let’s hear about it!


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A Quick Look at the Rarest of Pink Pearls

Pink pearls are a relative rarity, even today. While saltwater varieties of pearl-producing oyster can whip up pink pearls naturally and freshwater pearls can be dyed, you probably won’t find these in pink pearl wedding jewelry. The pink pearl produced by the Queen Conch, the Caribbean pink pearl, could be called the rarest of the rare. The animal itself, from which astounding flaming pink pearls originate, is pretty finicky. Only one near-perfect will be found among every hundred thousand shells. On top of that, the Queen Conch is officially a threatened species, so there aren’t even that many pearl producers in existence!

Every attempt to produce a cultured Queen Conch pearl has failed and so the only pink pearls of this variety are found the old fashioned way. That means that only a few thousand new Caribbean pink pearls make it out of the sea every year, and then only 15% of those are of a high enough quality to be used in jewelry. You can imagine that the price tag for these pearls is pretty steep!

Of course, the pink pearls we offer are the most exquisite cultured freshwater pearls and colored glass pearls versus natural pink pearls – which means every bride can wear pink if she wants to!


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Famous Brides Who Wore Pearls

Back in ancient Greece, people believed that when a bride wore pearl wedding jewelry that she would be guaranteed a happy marriage with very few tears. Correct or not, the tradition of brides wearing pearls as they say their vows dates back at least to this period in history! If you decide to pair your wedding dress with pearl bridal jewelry, let me just say you’ll be in good company. Here are some famous brides who picked pearls for their spotlight weddings:

When Queen Elizabeth II tied the knot with Prince Phillip, she wore a gown embellished with 10,000 miniature pearls imported from the US and a strand of classic pearls (a gift from her parents).

Jacqueline Kennedy’s stylish wedding ensemble featured a demure pearl choker that was surprisingly sedate considering she’s known for the triple strand necklace she made famous later.

1,500 pearls embellished the gorgeous Helen Rose wedding gown worn by Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier III. Her prayer book, carried in lieu of a bouquet, was also encrusted with pearls.

Gloria Vanderbilt married agent Pasquale DiCicco at only 17 years old! She naturally wore some of the pearls her notable family was famous for, including a girlish but practically perfect single strand of white pearls.

See? Like we said last week, if you’re wearing pearl wedding jewelry when you say your vows, you’re in very good (and very royal) company!


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5 Amazing Facts About Pearls

This month, we’re paying tribute to pearls! The oldest known gem, pearls have been a favorite of brides past and present, and it’s not hard to see why pearl wedding jewelry is so lastingly fashionable. How lastingly? The oldest known pearl jewelry belonged to a Persian princess who died in 520 BC – a fragment was found in her sarcophagus – and the popularity of pearls peaked in Roman times when every classy lady just had to have them.

Pearls may be more accessible nowadays thanks to pearl farming, but they’re no less beautiful! Here are 5 cool facts about pearls for the bride who’s considering wearing this gem on the big day:

1. All mollusks can make pearls, but with varying degrees of skill. Oysters and mussels make the majority of saltwater and freshwater pearls, respectively. Conch can make pink pearls that look almost like quartz, and even clams can make pearls – though these are usually only half formed and misshapen when they occur naturally.

2. Pearls come in almost every color you can think of, though white and black are the two most common hues. Look hard enough (or have the money to spend), and you can find gold pearls, pearls in varying shades of green and blue, and silver pearls, too.

3. Unless you’re looking at vintage pearls, almost every pearl you encounter will be cultured because finding natural pearls is a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous endeavor. That means the pearls in your pearl wedding jewelry were created after a person seeded an oyster or mussel with a small piece of grit.

4. Pearl farming is known as periculture. The secret of seeding pearls was discovered independently by Kokichi Mikimoto, Tokichi Nishikawa, and Tatsuhei Mise. Prior to the introduction of culturing, pearls were quite rare and very expensive.

5. Two of the most famous and pearls in the world are known as La Peregrina and La Pelegrina. They aren’t the largest pearls in the world, but the former’s history spans a whopping 500 years, and the latter is more than 350 years old. Both have been owned and worn by royalty and the modern elite.

So when you wear pearl wedding jewelry (like our sweet freshwater pearl hair pins), you can bet you’re in good company!


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The Champagne Reception

Saving money is on many a bride’s mind in these times of job insecurity and recession mania. Budget weddings are a huge trending topic, seemingly year after year. But cutting corners… DIY weddings… prioritizing. It can all sound a bit like deprivation. We think it doesn’t have to be quite that depressing, though.

So what if you don’t have a Hiltonesque bundle of cash to spend on your gown and bridal jewelry and especially the reception, which is usually the biggest wedding expense? With all things vintage still being on trend, we have a suggestion for all those brides-to-be who feel a little put out that a mega-bash is not in the cards. Namely, the champagne reception.

bridal jewelry

Once upon a time, the champagne reception was de riguer among the stylish, who frowned upon the sort of nuptial excesses we’re all subject to today because we can’t peel our eyes away from those godawful wedding-themed reality shows.

It was a simple and elegant mid- or late-afternoon affair featuring champagne, cocktails, and lovely non-alcoholic drinks; light hors d’oeuvres and nibbles; and of course, wedding cake. There was music and mingling, but likely no dancing because the kind of venues one chooses for hosting a champagne reception are meant to inspire conversation rather than carousing.

The champagne reception is a real money saver because no sit-down meal is served, the music should be ambient not in-your-face, and the event itself will often be shorter in duration than what is today a more traditional wedding reception. And yet no one need know that you’ve chosen a champagne reception so as to be able to spend your bridal budget elsewhere – hello, bridal jewelry and bubbly upgrade! -because it’s such an elegant choice. More elegant, in some ways, than a reception that includes neon glow sticks on the dance floor and meatballs on toothpicks.

We love this old fashioned wedding reception option for brides and grooms who want a classier affair. Possibly also a more intimate one. Feelings of deprivation? You won’t find them here!

 


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2013’s Springtime Brides are Counting Down to the Big Day

Springtime weddings are glory realized. The flowers heralding in a new long stretch of blissfully warm weather. The colors, perfect pastels and so feminine. There’s a ethereal quality in spring itself that’s also found in every aspect of springtime weddings. When a springy wedding invitation comes in the mail in the dark of winter, you’d better believe we’re saving the date!

Right now, this year’s springtime brides are poring over their wedding planning to-do lists to see what’s left. What’s nice is that when you’re this close to a wedding, there’s usually not as much you need to do moment-to-moment because you’ve hopefully got all the big stuff squared away. So let’s check in on our springtime brides and see what they still have to do before walking down the aisle!

Currently: Now is a great time to order wedding jewelry because you’ve presumably chosen a wedding gown and you have a good idea of what your bridal hairstyle will be like. When you’re not doing that, take a minute to find out what the marriage license requirements are in your state. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to choose and order all of your wedding stationery, wedding favors, and other bridal accessories. The wedding cake should also be on your mind right about now, and consider setting aside an hour to review all of your wedding vendor contracts.

Soon: Are you taking engagement portraits? Better get on that! Ditto on newspaper wedding announcements. If you have a hand in planning your rehearsal dinner, now’s the time to start – or just make sure your future MIL has all the deets down pat. Finalize your choice of bridal stylist ASAP or risk missing out on your top choice. And get all of the menswear for the groom’s attendants taken care of. You may also want to mail out your wedding invitations now, especially if some guests will have to make travel arrangements.

And one month before: Schedule your final wedding gown fitting and make sure it’s in your calendar. Speaking of fittings, your bridesmaids should all be scheduling their final fittings, so you might want to remind them. This is the perfect time to grab your marriage license if your state allows you to do so this far ahead. Then you don’t have to think about it again until the big day. Make sure your bridal accessories are all in order and, if you’re traveling, pack them up so they stay safe en route. Finally, start working on an order of events for your ceremony and reception that you can share with your officiant, DJ or emcee, and your venues.

There is also plenty to do the week before and the day before the wedding, but those warrant their own posts. We’ll come back to them in time. Until then, happy planning!


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Four Wedding Jewelry Trends for Summer 2013

We seriously can’t believe that we’re already halfway into the first month of 2013! But we are, so forward we go! And we decided the first thing we’re duty bound to do is make a few predictions about the year’s jewelry trends. This summer we expect you’ll be seeing a lot of wedding jewelry that could be described as fresh… striking… unique… and exciting. This is going to be a pretty amazing year!

Specifically, we bet you’ll be seeing more:

Floral Bridal Headbands – Pretty and feminine, floral bridal headbands are showing up on brides of all ages. Pair this look with a simpler wedding gown, lest you end up looking sickly sweet instead of just sweet.

Statement Colors – Crystal bridal jewelry will never go out of style, but 2013’s brides are going to be a lot braver when it comes to color than brides of years past. Look for bold, saturated colors on brides – think deep blues, royal purples, and brilliant black and silver.

Artisan Inspired Pieces – Whether that means the continuing popularity of all things vintage or jewelry that looks like it was created by your bestie who took that class that time, it’s all about that personalized, handmade look. Be original!

Chandelier Earrings: Big bridal earrings can give you that wow factor when you’re wearing a relatively plain wedding gown like a sheath. Just remember that these will always coordinate better with an updo than a half-and-half or long, flowing style.

What 2013 wedding jewelry trends are you excited about??


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When You Have to Plan a Wedding Fast

How quickly can you plan a wedding? It’s not a question that many brides-to-be ask themselves, considering the average length of engagement is roughly 15 months. Still, plenty of couples are on the expedited ceremony and reception plan where time is of the absolute essence. We won’t get into why there’s a need for speed because there are just oodles of reasons – suffice it to say, sometimes you need to met all those wedding planning deadlines – from booking a venue to choosing wedding jewelry – sooner rather than later.

For many, the answer is hiring a wedding planner. While hiring a pro to plan a wedding can be a big expense, it doesn’t have to be and in cases where time is of the essence, it can end up saving the couple money (not to mention time) in the long run. That’s because a planner will have the inside track on services and professionals who have openings on the wedding date in question. Some vendors will charge a premium for a wedding that’s a mere month or two away, while most will simply be unavailable. Planners have the glorious ability to find those who aren’t booked and get a good deal.

wedding planning quickly

But let’s say a planner just isn’t in your budget… what then? Then you need to figure out a timeline that will help you realize your dream wedding without freaking out. Step one is still going to be figuring out your budget and whether the number is huge or tiny, it’s an important one. Step two? Finding a venue and reserving it ASAP. Preferably one that can be used as both the ceremony and reception spaces and will come decorated. Then you need to book your priority vendors. Realize that you may not get your first choice pros on your schedule.

These are the three most important things you’ll need to do when planning a wedding fast! Everything else, from choosing a wedding dress (like the Sandals wedding dress in the pic) to buying your wedding jewelry to picking your bridesmaids can be done in a more relaxed way without gumming up the works. Which isn’t to say you can drag your heels, but once you have the big three under control your wedding is pretty much in the bag whether it’s in six weeks or six months.

Just remember that when you’re rushing it, you’re probably going to have to make sacrifices. Maybe that will mean having a Sunday afternoon wedding instead of a Saturday evening affair. Your dream of walking down the aisle in a designer dress may not be realized. And second choices may have to become your top choices. The payoff is that you get to have your wedding when you want to or need to – and you miss out on months of wedding planning stress. That’s what we call winning!

 


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A Little Sparkle to Ring in the New Year

Your wedding accessories don’t have to be the only thing that sparkles at your reception. As brilliantly as crystal wedding jewelry can catch candlelight, there’s nothing quite like letting guests fire up specialty sparklers at your after-dark affair.

And there’s more than one way to have fun with wedding sparklers.

Forget rice or birdseed… give guests sparklers tied up with ribbons or monogrammed paper packaging and let them see you off in striking style. Your exit photos will be amazing! Or skip the usual wedding cake topper in favor of sparklers surrounding something like this. Your cake cutting ceremony will be an unforgettable event all its own. Or plan ahead with your wedding photographer to use wedding sparklers to create a brilliant message in one or more of your pics.

Of course, you could just give out packets of signature sparklers as your wedding favor and let guests do what they will. Especially if you’re having your reception outdoors and there will be lots of older kids in attendance.

But no matter what you do with your wedding sparklers play it safe! Before you commit to wedding sparklers, make sure your venue allows them and doesn’t require any extra prep on your part. And only use sparklers in spaces where stray sparks won’t ignite anything flammable. Finally, designate someone like a bridesmaid or groomsmen to keep an eye on who is using sparklers and how they’re using them. We’ll go ahead and assume that everyone at your wedding will act responsibly, but you never know.

Happy New Year from all of us at USABride!


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