New Beginnings: A Wedding Planning Guide
The Big Day! It may seem at first glance to just be one day, but really it is so much more.
A wedding day is a mix of lifetimes: parents, grandparents, and future generations as well. And it involves many, many days to plan, prepare for and predict everything that is involved in creating that one special day.
Of course it is always important to consult the professionals whenever possible. Starting with the engagement ring, Emily Hamilton from Chatham Jewelers says the days of leaving the decisions up to the groom for engagement rings are over. But how does a savvy bride make sure she gets the ring she wants and as well as one that her fiancé is comfortable with?
“These days, Pinterest is a young bride’s best friend,” Hamilton says. “Most grooms do not want to be responsible for reading their girlfriend’s mind, so a collection of inspiration photos give men a safe route to navigate.” Hamilton suggests young brides-to-be give consideration to the style of the setting (apparently Art Deco is very on trend these days), the shape of the stone, and any other distinctive features such as gemstones. She also recommends that a trip to a jewelry store as a couple is invaluable; not only to determine how the ring looks on the bride’s hand but also so the couple can understand the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) and how it relates to their budget. “Most images on Pinterest are of large stones and it may be unrealistic for most couples as well as possibly unflattering, so understanding the scale of your perfect ring can be accomplished in a store,” Hamilton explains. And for those who truly believe bigger is better, halo settings for example, can highlight a smaller center stone to its best advantage. In the end, like most things it is all about priorities.
Another sticky conversation that may come up at this important time is the consideration of whether a pre-nuptial agreement is appropriate. Orleans Family Law attorney Michael Flores, who recently opened a second office in Sandwich, says despite commonly held assumptions, the decision to create an agreement before marriage allows couples to completely focus on their romance and the new life they are about to build, because the questions about finances are already handled. “People are surprised when I tell them that most of the inquiries for an agreement originate from the father of the bride,” Flores reveals. “It isn’t uncommon for a father to come to me and state they have spent years building something for their family—and it isn’t that they don’t like their future son-in-law, or that they even have any reason to think the relationship won’t endure—they just want to be responsible about what they have provided for their own children.” Flores goes on to say that post-nuptial agreements, either in response to a pre-nuptial, or due to changing assets during the marriage—either positively or negatively—are also gaining momentum these days.
With lots of things to consider—in addition to the color of the napkins and the flavors of the cake—couples these days have more options than ever before. In the following pages we offer up just a few we think will prove helpful for any celebration.
Elegant & Brilliant: Chatham Jewelers
In many ways, Chatham in 1951 was not terribly different than it is today. It was a charming seaside town that attracted generations of families who wanted to spend time in a place that would be the backdrop of memories for years to come. That year, Walter and Pota Meier opened Chatham Jewelers with a commitment to the community they served, a pledge for integrity when dealing with their customers and always a dedication to the highest quality in every product they offered, and always backed by excellent customer service. Today, the third generation of Walter and Pota’s family is still holding strong to those ideals as they prepare to celebrate the store’s 70th anniversary.
Emily Hamilton, Walter and Pota’s granddaughter, is often found in the store assisting and informing customers as they choose the perfect souvenir, remembrance or special occasion piece for a variety of circumstances. “We are a full-service, well-rounded jewelry store. We have such a large and diverse selection of jewelry, weddings are not the only focus of our business,” Hamilton shares. “But we do have everything you need if you are in the market for an engagement ring or wedding band.” Chatham Jewelers’ in-house staff of goldsmiths is available to craft pieces that are entirely born from someone’s imagination or influenced by established trends and fashions. Hamilton, studying to be a gemologist herself, says, “We make and fabricate a lot of our own jewelry including our signature nautical line that is inspired by the Cape and more specifically Chatham.”
In addition to the popular Chatham Jewelers Nautical Collection, they offer a wide array of jewelry for the entire family including colored gemstones and diamonds, sterling silver, gold and platinum pieces. Their extensive line of gold and sterling silver charms make a great gift for someone special at any age, or serve as the perfect thank you gift for wedding parties. Cufflinks for men as well as chunky bracelets and necklaces are very popular these days, according to Hamilton, who truly seems to have found her calling as she provides customers with the guidance and expertise her family business has become known for. “Our goldsmiths are capable of most repairs as well as a wide range of re-designs and new designs,” Hamilton explains. “We have a couple of options a customer can choose. We can hand-fabricate in the shop if that is the route the customer wants to go. I have design software that is interactive so there are endless opportunities to customize an existing idea the client may have, and tweak it to be exactly what they want. With that software, I can pretty much create anything that we can dream of. We then create a 3D color rendering that the customer can review, and then the next step is to generate a cast wax or resin model which again, gives the client a good understanding of exactly how their piece will look and feel. And then the last step is when we set the stones here and personally finish the piece for the client.”
Hamilton says that kind of personal service is very popular among couples that have inherited stones that they want to re-imagine in ways that represent their own story. For 70 years, Chatham Jewelers has anchored Main Street in the quaint and memorable village, as well as served as a resource to help residents and visitors enrich the memories they collect in this special town. The vision the young and energetic couple, Walter and Pota Meier, embraced at the beginning of building their own life is still alive.
5 Tips for Buying Fine Jewelry
- Ask lots of questions! There’s a lot to learn about diamonds and the jewelry you will be wearing every day.
- Don’t be afraid to show your own style when designing your ring or on your wedding day if you want to wear colored stones or pearls.
- When shopping for gifts for the bridal party, ask your jeweler if they offer a discount on multiple purchases of the same item.
- Think about what you want engraved inside your wedding bands before you get them and allow at least two weeks for a hand engraver to do the job.
- Have your rings checked and cleaned by a jeweler the day before the wedding and then every six months thereafter.
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