Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ring Shopping Tips!

:: Top 5 Ring Shopping Tips ::

How exciting! You are ready, and it is time to go ring shopping for that perfect engagement/wedding ring. The ring represents a huge milestone in your life and you want to get the very best you can afford. This adventure can be daunting…


Photography :: Rincon Images

First of all, there are so many jewelry stores to choose from, so it’s probably a good idea to start your search by narrowing down your shopping venues.  You can do this by asking questions of your married friends. Where did they buy their rings? How was the quality? Pricing? Service? Of course, you can also search the internet. Reputable jewelers should have credentials from a gemological school. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for credentials and even references. After all, buying a ring can be a big investment. Once you have settled on a jeweler, here are MRSter’s top five ring shopping tips to help you find that perfect ring:

1 :: Determine your budget. Get a figure in your mind before you start shopping and firmly let the jeweler know how much you are prepared to spend. Don’t let sentimentality rule. Stick to your budget!

2 :: Size. Have an idea of the size needed if it’s to be a surprise. Sneak a ring out of your loved ones jewerly box and trace the dimension on a piece of paper.  But don’t worry too much. Most rings can be sized.

3 :: Type. If you are shopping together, develop an idea of what type of ring you are interested in before you set out. The kind of gem, the size and shape of the gem, and the type of metal the gem is to be set in are all considerations, as is the general look of the ring. Is it to be classic or modern, delicate or chunky, snazzy or understated? If this is to be a surprise, you should have an understanding of your loved one’s style.

4 :: Have a basic understanding of the 4 C’s of gem buying…

  • Color :: The best color rankings are D, E and F, all of which are considered colorless. The ranking describes how much light the stone reflects. The less color, the brighter the shine.
  • Cut :: The cut of the diamond as represented by its many facets, faces, and edges all work together to enhance the brilliance of the gem.
  • Clarity :: The clarity is a measure of how flawed a diamond is. The ideal is the “FL” grade, meaning completely flawless. But that grade is rare. Stick as close as you can to the top of the grade, but unless you are going to look at the gem under a microscope, don’t worry too much about it.
  • Carat ::The higher the carat, the bigger the stone. Just remember that bigger is not necessarily better. It’s a matter of budget AND taste.

Knowledge of the 4 C’s of gem buying, even just an elementary knowledge, will help you find that perfect ring (and impress the jeweler and your loved one).

5 :: Take your time. Don’t feel like you need to walk out of the store with the ring the very first time you see it. Take a photo. Mull it over. Sleep on it. Sleep on it for several nights if need be. Think in terms of forever.

One last thought… While it is true that a diamond is forever, don’t feel like you need to be ruled by convention. You can utilize other gems that may have a special meaning to the two of you.  Sometimes, a simple band is the best choice. Or maybe your grandmother would like to pass down her ring, which you can use as is, or have updated. The choice is yours… Happy shopping!!


Photography :: Melissa Hesse of Rivets and Roses

Haven’t popped the question yet, but you’re ready to buy that perfect ring? Check out our top 5 proposal tips here!

Top Five Friday :: 5 Best Proposal Tips!

:: Top 5 Best Proposal Tips ::

You’ve met the one special person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Do you just plop down on one knee and pop the big question, or do you give the proposal some thought and make a creative effort geared to the two of you? Here are MRSter’s top 5 best proposal tips…

Engagement Ring

Photography :: Due West Photography

  • Think about what your loved one likes and form the proposal around that. What is your loved one into, what does he or she enjoy doing, and build your proposal from that beginning.
  • Choose a location that is a favorite for both of you. Be it a picnic spot, a favorite restaurant, a hiking trail, a beach, or a vacation spot that you particularly enjoyed. This can even be a new place that you both have an interest in like a museum, or a zoo, or a garden. Just think in terms of a comfortable, romantic and beautiful spot.

Photography :: Tiffani Evans Photo

  • Decorate! Even if you are out in public, arrange to have some flowers present, or special lighting, or anything else to make the occasion magical.
  • Speak from the heart. Know what you are going to say. You can even write it down to practice with, but for heaven’s sake don’t read your proposal. Tell him or her about the love in your heart and why you feel that love. Make it personal. Why do you want to spend the rest of your life with your loved one? don’t be afraid to get mushy or cry.
  • Hire a photographer. A skilled photographer will know how to discretely capture the moment. Then you’ll have memories in print to treasure forever.

Whatever you decide to do, and however you decide to do it, make your proposal uniquely about the two of you. Be yourself, don’t stress, and let the ideas flow.

And of course, we would love you to share your proposal stories and pictures with us! You can submit to our Brag Mag here.

Boho Chic Wedding :: Santa Barbara, California // Real LGBT Wedding

:: Boho Chic Wedding ::

Submitted by :: Molly Hauge of MRSter Approved – Molly + Co

From the wedding creative team of Wild Heart Events, Molly + Co, and Rowan Oak Events:

The beautiful BoHo Chic inspiration of this day started with the amazing venue in Santa Barbara, CA.  An old Orchid Farm along the Gaviota Coast consisting of a series of old greenhouses with sweeping ocean views and ancient fig trees was the site for the festivities. We wanted to showcase the natural rustic beauty of the land and pay homage to the thousands of orchids that once grew there. The tablescape consisted of items that could be found on the property from everything from reclaimed wood, fresh vegetables, orchids, and cheesecloth to create a farm to table aesthetic.

Our florist created the most amazing installation above our sweetheart table using an iron rod and bare orchids, brushing off the roots for a very raw look and finished it off with hanging terrariums. Jaime of Wild Heart Events, the wedding planner, completed the design by placing radish napkin treatments, colored glassware and farm animal menu indicators. We even took plants out of their pots for the centerpiece, leaving the dirt on the roots to achieve a very organic farm feel.

The bride’s bouquets took queue from the wealth of natural elements and textures abundant along the Gaviota Coast. Our venue called for something rustic but we also wanted to honor the feminine as well. A grapevine crescent, tillandsia, cymbidium orchids, and bear grass gave one bouquet an architectural bent, while the other was more a traditional composition both in shape and content. We added drama to the natural setting by hanging bare root phaleanopsis orchid plants, iron lanterns, and large tillandsia above the table. Fresh produce finished the look and brought the intention of the greenhouse into the moment itself creating a richly organic experience.

We wanted to ensure our invitation represented the overall theme of the wedding, so the invitation suite was done all by hand on 100% recycled kraft paper. We also watercolored a floral pattern using greens and yellows to go with the greenhouse theme. We then mounted the invitation suite on a leather background to juxtapose the soft florals and cursive calligraphy to flow with the modern take on a greenhouse wedding.


Boho Chic, Natural Rustic Beauty, Feminine

The Professionals

Event Coordinator :: Wild Heart Events
Graphic Design // Signs :: Wild Heart Events
Venue :: The Orchid Greenhouses
Photography :: MRSter Approved – Molly + Co
Rentals :: Milk & Honey Farm
Hair & Makeup :: LunaBella Makeup & Hair
Jewelery // Accessories :: Clothesline Home Boutique
Napkins :: La Tavola
Florals :: Rowan Oak Events
Wedding Cake :: Sugar Cat Studio


Santa Barbara, California



Real Wedding :: James + Michael

James and Michael live in Chicago, but they wanted to celebrate their union in Arizona’s perfect February weather. They chose Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale to host their destination wedding.

James and Michael hired the following vendor team to create their wedding day ::

Venue + Catering :: MRSter ApprovedHotel Valley Ho
Floral :: Avant Garde Studios
Photography :: Kimberly Jarman Photography
Event Planner :: MRSter Approved – Life Design Event Planning
Wedding Cake :: La Dolce Pesca
Band :: The Hamptons

Wedding Ring For Him and Her

Guest Blogger :: Erika

My wife and I are still searching for the perfect wedding rings–even after the wedding! We have changed our minds so many times, but the first place we looked was This site features a ton of LGBTQ-friendly jewelry for him or her. In thinking about a same-sex marriage, there are so many choices for couples. Many same sex couples still opt for the him/her depending on personality, so this is a great site for any LGBTQ married couple or even a couple-to-be.

And although I was once rainbow crazy (one of my first picks shown above), there are many classy, original pieces including stainless steel, titanium, platinum, gold, silver, gems, diamonds, and more. The prices very from as little as $29.95 up to $40,000+(another original favorite shown below).

Another feature that makes loveandpride rings so special is the engraving on the of the rings. Choose words like “pride”, “love”, “promise”, or other phrases that truly define a partnership, commitment or marriage.

Guest Blogger, Erika Cárdenas, and her wife are sharing with us their journey of planning their same-sex wedding and what it’s like to be married. Read more about them here