If you're reading this story, you're probably one of the approximately 825,000 couples who've just gotten engaged since Thanksgiving and are now planning your wedding. So here's perhaps the single most important reminder -- and grooms do seem to need more reminding than brides -- anyone will offer: Tradition holds that you both exchange wedding presents.
(Yes, grooms, even though you just bought her an engagement ring.)
But what to get?
"Gifts should come from the heart," says WeddingChannel.com.
Well, yeah. But that still leaves a lot of room for error. So here's
some tips to keep in mind whether you two opt for some type of jewelry
-- the traditional and most popular choice -- or something else.
* Practicality can wait. Etiquette dictates that gifts be exchanged
at one of three times: the night before the wedding, the morning of the
ceremony, or right before you leave on your honeymoon. So you could see
where this has the potential for becoming a bigger disaster than
Chernobyl if the groom's idea of "practical" is, say, a toaster.
* Being uniquely personal is appreciated. One of the best examples
we've heard of is a guy who had a photographer secretly capture the
moment he proposed in New York's Central Park, and then presented the
results to his bride on the day of their wedding.
"So cute!" read a typical blog post.
The downside, of course, is that pulling it off requires imagination and -- in this instance -- a lot of advance planning.
* Jewelry can be "traditional" without being boring. Case in point: the very hot Argyle diamonds trend (www.diamondswithastory.com),
which fulfills the quest of even the most eco-minded couples for
diamond fashion jewelry since the stones are produced in a socially and
environmentally responsible way from the Argyle mine in Australia. And
the diamonds, themselves, come in gorgeous neutral shades like
champagne, cognac, silver and gray.
"If your bride likes something different from what all her friends
have," says jewelry and style expert Michael O'Connor, "then the Argyle
diamond bracelets, necklaces and earrings are perfect and available at
many retailers across the country -- I've even spotted women at gyms
wearing the diamond pendants. And the cufflinks for men are truly
Perhaps because prices start at as little as a few hundred dollars
for some pieces, O'Connor calls them "the ideal gateway gift." Meaning,
you can use other occasions -- think birthdays and anniversaries -- to
add to your collection through the years.
Yes, brides and grooms, you'll soon have to start planning your next milestone together.