In an average year, more than 2.1 million American couples get engaged—and the number of gays and lesbians marrying is rising, too, thanks to the increasing states offering marriage equality.
Because there are so many details that go into planning a proposal, it’s easy to forget a critical step: insuring the ring! This is the very first step you can take to guarantee the ring will always be a reminder of your love and commitment. A recent Jewelers Mutual survey of 650 recently engaged men found that 50 percent of men did not insure the ring after purchase, leaving the jewelry without protection in cases of loss, theft or damage.
Look, we know it’s an extra cost that you might not want to deal with—but imagine if the ring was stolen or lost? It can happen easily—especially the losing part.
So when should you insure the ring? Experts agree that applying directly after purchase is the most ideal time to get protection; it's fast, easy and more affordable than you may think. Get a free Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance quote from Jewelers Mutual and see for yourself. Once it’s insured, you will feel confident that the ring is ready to dazzle your future spouse.
A marriage proposal is a stressful event for a hopeful future bride, broom or groom, but ensuring the ring is kept safe until the question is popped doesn't have to be. Here are five tips on protecting your ring until the big day:
Store the ring in a safe place. 66 percent of men reported in the survey that they stored the ring at their place of residence after purchase. This may not be the safest option.
Ensure she or he doesn't find it. Hiding the ring at home raises the potential that a future bride or groom will discover it. Keeping the ring at a bank safety deposit box will prevent this from happening and also keep the ring safe from theft.
Document it. Have you made a list of all of the things you will need for a proposal? Flowers, music, location? Don't forget to also keep an accurate appraisal of the ring. Make two copies and store one separate from your jewelry. Also be extra smart and include a photo or video of the ring. (Though be sure to delete that photo from your phone after you snap it.)
Keep it with you and don't leave it unattended in a car or suitcase. If traveling to a special destination for a proposal when you arrive at a hotel or restaurant, don't hand your jewelry bag to a hotel or restaurant staff. Carry it personally.
The wedding industry is full of frothy gowns, heavily iced-out bling, slinky draped column dresses and layers of lovely lace. But what if you don't want all that on your body on one of the happiest days of your life? Even if your mother, grandmother and aunt are insisting that you should wear a dress, you can say no. No to a gown, and yes to pants. Brides, no matter their sexual orientation, should have the right to consider wearing pants on their wedding day and still be considered a bride (if you want!). Or at least know that pants are a viable, acceptable option. That's what Meg Keene, beloved editor in chief of APracticalWedding.com, wants you to know. She's even launched a photo-submission campaign called 1,000 Brides in Pants to support the mission.
"Many of the most prominent feminist voices have given into the idea that weddings are simply not worth the fight — that feminist weddings can't be a thing," says Keene. "But I believe that weddings are an excellent entry point to feminism. Many women get engaged and find themselves facing traditions like being given away, traditions that they may not have thought twice about before, but that are suddenly very discomforting." It's Keene's aim to prove that weddings can indeed promote feminism. A Practical Wedding's newly minted project Brides in Pants aims to break the commonly held belief that a bride is only a bride if she's wearing a dress.
At Equally Wed, we primarily serve same-sex couples, and our gay and lesbian female readers run the gamut from feminine brides to sporty, tomboy brides to butch brides to butch brooms. The broom term came along as a shortened version of bridegroom when our editor in chief and publisher married in 2009, and Maria absolutely didn't want to be called a bride, nor did she identify as a groom. And the word broom was born. (Although we also heard it later in the Sex and the City movie.) In many of our two-women weddings we've featured, more than half of the couples have at least one woman wearing pants, whether they're of the masculine styles from the likes of Express for Men, Armani and Men's Wearhouse or feminine looks from Sarah Jassir, Theia (left) or Lazaro (below).
“1,000 Brides in Pants was born of a bit of a verbal barroom brawl,” says Keene. She was discussing APW's mission of promoting feminist weddings over some whisky, and a friend asked, "How can feminist weddings even be a thing, if women don't feel like they can wear pants on their wedding days?" Challenge accepted, and 1,000 Brides in Pants was born. “One of the early feminist fights was getting women the right to wear pants,” says Keene. “As hard fought as that right was, most of us don't think about when we pull on our jeans in the morning. On our wedding day, however, different rules apply. Outside of the queer community, very few women even consider pants to be an option when getting hitched. You may not own a single skirt, but when it comes to shopping for your wedding outfit, the only acceptable option seems to be a dress.”
"One of the (many) blessings of the marriage equality movement is the way that the queer community has made all of us question and re-shape the traditions around weddings," Keene continues. "A very visible example of this is women getting married in pants. That ground has been broken by people more masculine of center, who would never consider wearing a dress on their wedding day. But for those of us who are more femme (queer or not), we still feel like a dress is our only real option. The best way to honor the progress that's already been made is to keep moving the conversation forward. So you self identify as a bride? Great. How would you rock pants on your wedding day? Our aim is to make a frothy wedding dress, or a lacy jumpsuit, or a sexy pants suit all equally viable alternatives for wedding wear. Or hell, jeans. After that, the sky is the limit."
To celebrate the re-launch of A Practical Wedding (it used to be a pretty blog for planning a practical wedding while staying sane, and now it's a gorgeous online magazine still offering tons of wedding advice for all couples), Meg Keene and her team of editors have launched the 1,000 Brides in Pants project. They aim to collect inspiration to prove that you can wear a (hot as hell) pants ensemble, and still feel as bridal as you want.
They'll be sharing photos of women who wore pants to their weddings, along with information about that First Wave Feminist fight to give us sartorial options. The goal is not to convince women that they should wear pants to get hitched (because many of us still love a good dress), but to start a conversation about why we feel like our wedding options are limited to dresses. Beyond that, we hope to discuss the basic rights that the feminist movement has gotten us, and where we can go next. Submit your photos at bridesinpants.com.
Wondering what bridal market is like behind the velvet ropes reserved for industry insiders and media? Wedding Style Magazine made an extraordinary video to give you a front-row glimpse of the wedding fashion fun that took place earlier this month in New York.
If your wedding venue is a hop-and-skip away from home, you’ll have to figure out a way to safely transport the wedding dress. Maybe not the biggest problem if you’re donning a sleek, 2012 Jenny Packham Ormlie-esque gown, but transportation may be a bit of a challenge if your look is more similar to a frothy Oscar de la Renta option. No matter what option you choose, bite the bullet and invest in an excellent garment bag—it’ll be worth it.
Many airlines are totally sympathetic to the delicacies of wedding dresses and try to appropriately accommodate. Companies like United Airlines offer a closet space to house carry-on garments, but space is usually limited. If you’re flying via American Airlines or another company that doesn’t have an accessible closet, it’s still ok to keep the dress near as long as the dress and garment bag fits the airline’s carry-on criteria.
Although you’ll have the luxury of making sure the dress gets to where it needs, having a wedding dress in the airport will be a hassle. If you do carry on, make sure to let the flight attendants know prior to boarding to make sure things go smoother.
Probably the most expensive option, you can pack the dress (or have the company pack it for you) and ship it as priority cargo through FedEx, UPS or another shipping company. Although it may be scary to let the dress out of your sight, package insurance and a tracking number will help put you to ease. If possible, ship the dress to a trusted friend or family member that lives near your wedding destination who can sign and confirm the receipt of your dress.
Make sure to ship the dress a few days before the wedding to give the shipping company leeway, just in case the shipment is delayed.
If the dress is not carry-on material, you can check your dress with your other luggage. Because the dress will be treated in the same manner as the other luggage, make sure to use a waterproof bag or container in case of severe weather. American Airlines suggests putting numerous large name tags with the owner’s contact information on the outside of the garment bag, because it will quicken a search process if the luggage was delayed.
Keep in mind that checked baggage may be delayed or misplaced, so make sure to catch a flight to your destination a few days ahead of time to give adequate leeway. Checked baggage may also be the harshest transportation method, so keep that in mind if your dress is an antique or includes fragile lace or beading.
If you are packing your wedding dress for shipping or checked baggage, make sure to use acid-free tissue paper to protect the dress’s finish.
Make an appointment at a professional cleaner/salon for the interim between the dress’s arrival and the wedding day. You may want it pressed, steamed and freshened up, even if everything goes according to plan.
If you’re checking your bag, make sure to have a backup plan ready in case something goes wrong. It’s the method that would most likely need one.
You can purchase a whole ticket for your wedding dress on a plane if you aren’t comfortable with shipping or the carry-on accommodations the airline provides. Most planes want “Extra Item” on the ticket, so make sure to call ahead and check the airline’s policy.
Naeem Khan is an Indian-born, American fashion designer and CEO for Naeem Khan, which was launched in 2003. His designs have been worn by celebs such as Beyoncé, Carrie Underwood, Eva Longoria, Leighton Meester, and Brooke Shields, and by First Lady Michelle Obama. Now he's entered the bridal gown arena, and we are literally swooning over the geometric crystal beading and three-dimensional handmade flowers. View more from his 2014 bridal collection below in our slideshow.