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Today’s feature is for all of you looking for a beautiful engagement ring – and we’re talking about stones which are sparklier and rarer than diamonds, ethical and sustainable, and about 90% more affordable. How amazing does that sound?

We’re talking moissanite – or moissy, as it’s affectionately known by some! If you’re not familiar with moissanite, I’m thrilled to be introducing you to it here on English Wedding, and I hope I can win your hearts with this beautiful, ethical diamond alternative today! Moissanite engagement rings are the future – and I want you to fall in love with them.

Let’s get over diamonds first. Our parents’ generation had little choice – a diamond was a diamond, the most precious gemstone of its time, the sparkliest stone you could get, and the only alternative was a coloured gemstone. Diamonds were mined, and their origins fell somewhere between bearable and intolerable, with awareness of conflict diamonds coming as late as the millennium. Diamonds may be certified conflict-free these days, but they’re still mined by workers whose pay could never afford them a diamond ring of their own. Thought-provoking, hey?

Real wedding at Greenwich Park, image credit London Photographer Emily Black (25)
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Header image credit – Emily Black Photography

Choosing an engagement ring is a massive deal – it has to be perfect, and whether your guy chooses the ring or you head to the shops together after he’s popped the question, it’s a biggie! In contrast, shopping for your wedding rings (often simpler designs than your engagement ring) is a quieter affair for you both. While the engagement ring can be taken as an independent piece of jewellery, most of us want a wedding ring which goes with our engagement ring AND matches the one on our partner’s finger. That’s why so many people are now deciding to design their own.

So how do you go about designing the perfect wedding rings? Where do you even start?

What You Need to Know About Creating Your Own Custom Wedding Rings

The thing about wedding rings is they’re the one thing you own that you will wear for the rest of your life. They’re heirlooms and created to last, so it pays to put time into your early choices.

Engagement rings designed online with Durham Rose UK (3)
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Did your other half propose at Christmas? I imagine a few of you are smiling! It’s the busiest time of the year for engagements, and I suspect at least one of my friends will have a ring on her finger come Boxing Day! I’m really excited for her – I hope it happens, I really do!!! There are guys out there right now hunting for the perfect engagement ring… and that’s why I thought it would be the perfect time to share the wonderfully inspiring story of Durham Rose.

What could possibly be more personal than an engagement ring? It’s the physical representation of your love. It’s everything that your heart has to say, when it doesn’t possess the words to say it. And yet, you’re expected to express all of this with a ring off the shelf – unless you have the budget of royalty. This was a concept that that Manu, the founder of Durham Rose, struggled to come to terms with.

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I had the loveliest phone call last week from a lady called Belinda, who asked me if I would tell you a little about her fingerprint wedding rings. A crafter and small wedding business owner just like me, Belinda’s story struck a chord with me so I had a look at her website and loved what she does!

By their very nature, fingerprint wedding rings are unique to you and your other half – and they look beautiful too.

fingerprint wedding rings

Belinda can work in any metal for your perfect wedding band including platinum, gold and also the great new metal palladium. B Jewellery will make a ring that can be designed by you and handmade by an expert. Belinda told me nothing gives her greater pleasure than knowing that every piece of jewellery made by B jewellery will give years of pleasure to the owner.

Isn’t that the loveliest sentiment? Do visit the official website at www.b-jewellery.co.uk to see lots more (the silver feather earrings are ever so special! My faves 🙂

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Traditions play such a huge part in weddings – from ‘something blue’ to top table etiquette, there are so many old-fashioned rules you can choose to take inspiration from on your big day. I personally think every wedding tradition should be seen as an interesting idea to consider, rather than a hard and fast rule to follow – but it’s nice to know the history behind them. Today’s guest blog is by Catherine on behalf of The Royal Mint! Enjoy 🙂

Coins and weddings – why a silver sixpence?

In the run up to the big day, most brides will have the ‘something old, something new’ saying thrown their way quite a few times. It is a tradition which we are all familiar with, and many brides today still choose to collect the four items of the mantra for good luck. But did you know there are actually five objects in the original rhyme? The full rhyme, dating back to the Victorian era, is as follows:

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue,
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.

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This guest blog post brought a wry smile to my face this morning – so for any men planning to propose in the near future, here’s some advice to help you propose without a hitch!

engagement ring by wedding photographer Alison Groves

Photo credit: Alison Groves (click to see featured wedding blog)

Of course the first step in any wedding is the proposal, and what is a proposal without the perfect engagement ring? Taking that first step can be a frightening prospect as there is always some amount of doubt in the back of the man’s mind as to whether or not his proposal will be accepted.

It’s almost like a toddler taking his or her first steps when learning to walk. You see the baby standing there precariously, wobbling back and forth a little awkwardly, until enough courage is amassed to take that giant first step. This is probably what most men are experiencing when trying to find the perfect moment to ‘pop the question’ and one which would be great parodied on classic comedy hours such as America’s Saturday Night Live or the UK’s fabulously famous show of the late 60’s and early 70’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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When you start planning your wedding, there is so much to think about. Huge decisions often need to be made and some of the smaller, but still important issues can easily be forgotten.

Ingle and Rhode fair trade gold wedding rings

Ingle and Rhode fair trade gold wedding rings

One of the decisions that may be overshadowed by which venue to have, or where to go on honeymoon, is where to buy your wedding jewellery from. It’s easy enough to walk in to a high street jeweller and select something you like, but have you and your partner considered where the gold, platinum or stones comes from?

Introducing fair-trade gold wedding jewellery

Many people wouldn’t think twice about buying fair-trade bananas or coffee in the supermarket, but don’t even know about the existence of fair-trade gold.

Fair-trade and fair-mined certified gold comes from artisanal and small-scale mining organisations meeting the fair-trade and fair-mined gold standard. In other words, the gold has been responsibly mined and the miners have received a fair-trade minimum price and premium.

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Making a wedding ring - celtic designI’m happy to welcome a guest blogger today: Leigh Maher is an expert on high quality jewellery and I asked for his advice on choosing the perfect wedding ring.

The idea of choosing a timelessly beautiful ring that you’ll wear for the rest of your life is a little daunting… but Leigh has some great advice to share.

How to choose the ideal wedding ring

You will wear your wedding ring every day of your life – in a sense, it will become a part of you, and it will always symbolize your love for your partner. Finding the perfect ring is worth a little time and effort!

Many brides-to-be spend a lot of time dreaming of the ultimate engagement ring or wedding band, but, sometimes, they can be unsure about exactly which ring to choose. Often, buying impulsively can lead to regrets.

Many brides and grooms end up “upgrading” years after their ceremonies, because their rings aren’t quite what they wanted them to be. For the smartest brides-to-be (or grooms-to-be!), research and planning are used to ensure that the first wedding ring purchased will be worn and loved forever.