Finding Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
Posted January 12, 2015 by Sharon 0 in Wedding Tips

Adam Beach Photography

The most important part of your wedding is that you have found that one special person you want to spend your life with. Once you get engaged, the planning starts and you get caught up in all the planning in searching for a dress, invitations, colors and so much more. But with all that excitement, one of the most important parts is how you will be able to remember your magical day years and years from now. Remember that your photos will be one of the only things you will have to look back and remember the family, friends and fun that you all shared on the day you said, “I do.”

So, how do you find the best wedding photographers when you are beginning to plan?

With all the excitement (and stress!) that goes into your wedding planning, and with hundreds of wedding photographers out there, all who take gorgeous photos, it can be hard to find the right one. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when trying to find the photographer of your dreams.

Debra Edgar Photography

Research, Research, Research

SnapKnot can make it easy to find a photographer by matching you with photographers who are in your exact location, budget range and more! Once you get matched and can see the list of photographers, you can then start narrowing them down even further. Couples can create a FREE account and you can be matched with photographers within a day!

Once you find a few potential photographers that are the best you can find for your needs, it is time to reach out to them and schedule a meeting. We highly recommend meeting face to face with potential photographers. Remember, you will be spending one of the most important days of your life with this person, you want to make sure their work is amazing and that you enjoy their personality and being around them! You will also want to talk about the products they offer, how they work on the day of the wedding, their budget, and more.

Here are a few things that you should discuss when you meet with each potential photographer to find the best one for you!

Budget

Budget is important to almost everyone and a good thing to ask about first and foremost. It is good for you to know what your budget is that you are able to spend; if the photographer you are meeting with is way over that budget, you would rather not waste your time (or the photographer’s).

Photographers do offer a wide range of wedding photography prices. Some charge extra for mileage if they have to travel a certain distance while some include that cost in their package fee. Some photographers have an assistant or a second shooter to attend the wedding. There are many reasons why each photographer charges differently.

Forever Photography

Photography Style

Do you want your photographs to tell the beautiful story of your wedding day or do you prefer posed family photos? There are so many different types of wedding portrait styles. Ask to see past albums and photographs that the photographer has done over the years to get a feel of their photographic style. You need to like all (or at least most) of the photos you see from the photographer because that is their style and what will be used when they capture all those beautiful moments from your wedding day!

Products and Services Offered

Do you want to have custom wedding album or a beautifully framed engagement photo included in your package with a matted frame that guests can sign at your wedding? You also may want to have an engagement and bridal photo session, or even a trash-the-dress session after the wedding. Make sure the photographer offers every item you want to get with your photos. Look at the types of albums he or she creates to make sure the quality is what you want to spend your money on. It is best to look at the beginning rather than when you see the final product and are not happy with the quality or it is not the type of album you were hoping for.

Back Dog Photography

Photographer’s Personality

The personality of the photographer is so important. This person will be with you while you are stressed, nervous and getting ready for your wedding, as well as when you are about to walk down the isle, and throughout the entire reception. If you have clashing personalities, it could bring even more stress to an already busy day… you should definitely be sure to be comfortable with everyone and everything on your wedding. Trust your instincts… if you meet and something just seems to feel “off” between the two of you, it may be a good idea to keep looking until you are positive you have found a photographer you feel 100% comfortable with.

Narrowing down potential wedding photographers right off the bat will help you in finding that one photographer that you trust and that will capture your amazing wedding day exactly how you imagined. Just be sure to remember that those photos will be ones you look back on for years to come so you want them to be stunning!

Men’s Engagement Rings – An Upcoming Trend
Posted January 2, 2015 by Sharon 0 in Brilliance

Mangagement™: A Trend That Is Here to Stay

 

Zephyr and Achilles Mangagement Rings by Brilliance

Mangagement™ is a trend spreading like wildfire, and for good reason: everyone loves to exchange rings! Here, we’ll take a look at how the men’s engagement ring trend got its start, plus we’ll take a look at some of the most exciting engagement rings for men. Finally, we’ll give you the advice you need to choose a men’s engagement ring of your own.

How Mangagement™ Got Its Start

Back in the 1926, jewelers tried and, unfortunately, failed to market pre-wedding rings for men, despite macho names like the Master, the Stag, and the Pilot. This was a bold move considering that grooms’ wedding bands weren’t a must until becoming popular during the 1940s and 50s. 

Mens Diamond Ring

Image source: artisanweddingrings.com

Thanks to today’s egalitarian approach to marriage, engagement rings for men have made a strong comeback. They were first introduced by British jeweler H. Samuel, who unveiled the “Tioro” ring in 2009, featuring a single small diamond in a wide band.  But even the “Tioro” design continued to function primarily as a wedding band.

A Growing Trend in Engagement Rings for Men

The first rings for men were very simple affairs, usually precious metal or titanium, with a couple of small diamonds at most. Today, blingier options are also available. And, unlike the conservative men of the 1920s, today’s fellas are much more open to wearing engagement rings. In a recent study, about 67 percent of men polled said they would be open to wearing a men’s engagement ring.

Men's Ruby Fashion Ring

Image source: trendhunter.com

Celebs like Johnny Depp and Michael Buble have embraced the trend, and while same-sex couples have celebrated their love by exchanging men’s engagement rings for years, more hetero couples are taking advantage of the heartfelt opportunity to celebrate their commitment to one another before the “I do’s” have been said.

Johnny Depp shows his men's engagement ring on the red carpet

Image source: nymag.com

 

Michael Buble shows his men's engagement ring on stage

Image source: jointventurejewelry.com

Choosing the Right Men’s Engagement Ring Design

When it comes to selecting the right Mangagement™ ring, know that it is important to select a style that your one and only will love wearing. Some styles are plain-Jane, while others have diamonds and other precious stones.

Achilles Mangagement Ring by Brilliance

Many jewelers offer fashion rings for men, but as of now there is just one company, Brilliance, that offers a full line of Mangagement™ rings.  With sharper, more masculine angles than engagement rings traditionally worn by women, wider bands, and exciting, unconventional shapes, they offer timeless appeal inspired by both classic and modern jewelry designs. Brilliance also offers a custom design service that allows couples to create signature pieces.

Daedalus Mangagement Ring by Brilliance

Whether you design your own men’s engagement ring or pick up a pre-designed model, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Choice of Metal: Engagement rings for men come in all sorts of metal options ranging from silver to platinum, to white gold to yellow gold. Pick a metal that complements his skin tone as well as the accessories he currently wears.

Bling: How much is too much? That depends on the guy in question. Some men love their bling and would be thrilled to wear a men’s engagement ring with lots of diamonds.  Others prefer a more subtle approach and might prefer a solitaire or a simple band with just a couple of accent stones.

Eros Mangagement Ring by Brilliance

Design Elements: Aside from diamonds and other gems, design elements have a huge impact on the way a Mangagement™ ring looks and functions. Men who work with their hands might prefer simpler designs that will stand up to the rigors of an active lifestyle, while those in less demanding lines of work are more likely to feel comfortable in something more elegant.

Ajax Mangagement Ring by Brilliance

Making the Choice: Some men and women want to surprise their intended spouses with engagement rings, while others prefer to give their partners a few options and the final say. As a men’s engagement ring is a symbol of a lifetime of love and is meant to last for a lifetime, be sure to weigh your options carefully when making this decision.

Fairy Tale Proposal Takes One Woman by Surprise!
Posted November 19, 2014 by Sharon 0 in Couples

There is nothing more special than a thought-out, well-planned proposal.  Except, of course, a thought-out, well-planned proposal that also occurs in a palace!

From the very beginning, we knew Josh had fantastic taste.  He wanted nothing but the best of diamonds for Lauren’s engagement ring, and the custom design that he picked spoke to a clean, elegant style.  He worked with our sales team to pick the perfect stone, and before long, the ring was complete.  But Josh was just getting started.

Josh took Lauren to Paris, and as though that wasn’t romantic enough, he had a huge surprise planned for her during the trip.  We’ll just let Lauren tell the rest of the story.

“There’s a particular chapter from our recent trip to Europe that would appreciate my perspective – and that’s the first day of our trip and first day in France.

Instead of exploring the romantic streets of Paris, Josh said that he made plans for us to go to dinner with some of the Paris members of the Chaine des Rotisseurs (international food and wine group of which Josh is a member). I thought it was interesting that the Paris chapter was suggesting that we dine in a Paris suburb considering the fine culinary options at hand in the city (required a 45 minute train and a cab ride) but went along with it. As the cab approached our destination we were greeted by a procession of trees and a gorgeous palace on the horizon. I saw clearly why the Chaine would want to have a dinner at this magnificent place.”

 

Approaching the chateau Vaux Le Vicomte.

Approaching the chateau Vaux Le Vicomte.

 

“Some of the palace staff informed us that our dining companions were running late but had arranged for us to get a private tour of the palace as we waited. I found it strange that we had a Chaine photographer follow us down the pathway and into the main palace doors, but figured that they really take their chapter seriously, especially the treatment of their out-of-town guests! Once in the palace our tour guide explained that the palace was named Vaux le Vicomte and that it was Louis XIV’s inspiration for Versailles (used same architect and garden designer).

Each room was more awe inspiring than the next. When we entered into the Hall of the Muses, the most magnificent room yet, the guide excused herself for a minute. As I was admiring the amazing ceiling frescoes and the fact that Voltaire had held private performances for the French royals in that very room, Josh suggested that I sit in one of the throne-like chairs. Naturally I objected (how could I sit on one of these treasures!), so Josh had to find the guide to tell me that it was okay. Even with permission, I sat down nervously, still taking in the splendor of the room and the rare privilege of the experience. My reverie was, however, interrupted as I heard a swift movement and to my amazement saw Josh kneeling before me.”

 

Josh takes a knee in front of his princess.

Josh takes a knee in front of his princess.

 

“My immediate response was to laugh – I thought he was kidding – but I quickly realized that the man I love was actually proposing to me in that most perfect moment. In awe, love and complete shock I said yes.”

“After saying yes, he opened the box to reveal the engagement ring, which, how can I say it, is as extraordinary as the way he proposed.”

 

The ring that took her breath away.

The ring that took her breath away.

“Still on a cloud, I followed Josh and the guide to complete the tour, which included access to the tower which gave us the most breathtaking view of the palace gardens. To conclude the tour, the guide led us into an intimate salon. They served us champagne and hor d’oeuvres and let us spend some time together to let the whole surreal experience sink in.

After about an hour the guide then escorted us to dinner, but not before introducing us to the current owner of the palace who congratulated us and exclaimed that although many weddings had taken place at the Vaux over the last 400 years or so, ours was the first engagement! After a beautiful dinner with some fantastic wine, we walked outside to greet the palace in the evening.”

Josh and Lauren sit down to dinner.

Josh and Lauren sit down to dinner.

 

“The palace steps and grounds were lit with hundreds if not thousands of candles, and we were told that there would be a fireworks show. Inebriated with joy (and likely that champagne and wine recently consumed) I stepped onto a grassy step intending to step down further to find a good seat for the show, only to realize that that step was in fact a very tightly leaved hedge. I then immediately fall (literally) head over heels for my new fiancé leaving one of my heels on the ledge where Josh (and I previously) stood. But for a few minor scratches, I was miraculously unscathed and was ready to have Josh find his way down to join me.

We stood side by side next to that hedge as we watched the skies light up.

As I leaned on my fiancé’s shoulder, still in a dream-like state, I felt so lucky that I found an amazing partner with whom to share an extraordinary reality.”

Since Josh and Lauren are local, we were also lucky enough to meet Josh in person during the process, and we can definitely tell you that Lauren found a keeper!  We wish them all the best and hope to become a lifelong jeweler for them as they build a life together.

 

Another happy couple!

Another happy couple!

 

Do you have a romantic proposal story to share?  Comment below and tell us about it.  And if you want to make one, ask us for help in getting the perfect ring by calling 866-737-0754.

Two Tone Hammered Men’s Wedding Ring in White & Yellow Gold
Posted September 29, 2014 by Sharon 0 in Featured Products

Commemorate your wedding day with a two-tone hammered men’s wedding ring from Brilliance. The wedding band features a hammered finish center in yellow gold and a high-polish milgrain edging in white gold, giving this traditional style a modern twist. Proudly made in the USA, the ring boasts our unique comfort fit and is perfect for the active, yet stylish, groom-to-be.

Two Tone Hammered Milgrain Men's Band 1
Two Tone Hammered Milgrain Men's Band 2

Interested in our other designs? Visit our Men’s Wedding Ring catalog for a range of options and styles.

World’s Greatest Jewelers: Laurence Graff
Posted August 28, 2014 by Sharon 0 in Education

Laurence Graff

(Taken from Society’s Choice Magazine)


Laurence Graff, Master Jeweler

Celebrity hairdresser Harold Leighton pinned the last curl to the crown of the models head as the photographer snapped the first image. The model batted her doe eyes, emphasized with heavy mascara on her lower lashes, as she posed for the next shot. In the wings of the shoot stood diamond cutter Laurence Graff, a pleased smile creeping across his lips. Graff imagined magazine readers flipping through their pages and pausing among the advertisements when they came to this image–his brainchild–of a young girl, hair pinned up in large curls, peeking out under the weight of $1 million worth of precious gem and diamond jewelry.

This iconic 1970’s image, called “Hair & Jewel,” was commissioned by Laurence Graff to promote his jewelry business. It was a daring move, as he was still building his business and diamonds were mainly worn by wealthier, older women as a status symbol–not by provocative sex-kittens, and certainly not worn as a decoration for the hair. Graff explains his concept as “groundbreaking” and “unconventional.” He liked that it broke the traditional, conservative style of modeling jewelry.

Sometimes called the “King of Diamonds” or “The New Harry Winston,” English jeweler Laurence Graff was born into a Jewish family near London in 1938. He left school at age 15 to become an apprentice at a jewelry store, and later partnered with another jeweler, Schindler, to repair rings and create jewelry. Due to the financial situation in England at the time, many people opted to have rings repaired rather than purchase a new one, so the pair had plenty of work. Since Schindler specialized in the repair work, Graff started to design his own jewelry pieces inspired by the “Victoriana” period. He started selling pieces for 2-3 pounds each, and eventually earned credit to buy some diamonds. He incorporated these diamonds into a ring, which he sold for 100 pounds. Each piece earned Graff more money, paving the way for his growing business.

England’s economy made it tough for Graff and Schindler to sustain their business, and eventually they went out of business. Graff said there wasn’t enough business in England, so he traveled the world and started making money by selling jewelry in the Far East. After several years on the road, Graff returned to England to set up shop. In 1960 he founded the Graff Diamonds Company, and by 1962, he had two jewelry shops–one of which was located in Hatton Garden, the center of London’s jewelry trade since medieval times. Graff set himself apart from other designers in 1970, when he released the “Hair & Jewel” advertisement photo. His modern take on jewelry drew the attention of Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz, who purchased everything in Graff’s shop (including a 14 carat diamond) in a single day! In 1973, Graff became the first jeweler to be presented with the Queens Award to Industry–an award renewed in 1977, 1994, and 2006. Today, Graff has over 40 stores worldwide.

Graff made a huge purchase in 2008 when he bought the Wittelsbach Diamond for 16.4 million pounds–much higher than its 9 million pounds guide price. In 2010, Graff revealed he had three diamond cutters repolish the stone to eliminate chips and improve the stone’s clarity, reducing the diamond’s size from 35.52 carats to 31 carats. The stone was also renamed after the polish, and is now known as the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond. Gemologist Richard W. Wise said the repolish raised the GIA grade of the stone from a “fancy deep grayish blue” to a “fancy deep blue” and raised the clarity from VS2 to IF. As of June 2014, the Wittelsbach-Graff is housed in Gstaad, Switzerland and is worth over 80 million dollars.

Graff celebrated his 60th year in the jewelry business in June 2013, and marked the event by starting his collection of vintage cars and opening 7 news stores in Asia. Additionally, he recreated the “Hair & Jewel” image with a modern twist–the jewels used in the 60th anniversary photograph are worth $500 million. Graff still holds the chairman title of Graff Diamonds International, and his son, Francois, serves as the CEO.



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