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(BPT) - Congratulations, you're engaged. Once the excitement of sharing the news with your loved ones and Facebook friends dies down, there are several important issues to consider. This includes building your guest list, setting a budget, picking a venue, DJ versus band and other to do’s. However, there are also some vital details pertaining to insurance that many prospective newlyweds overlook. True, it's not the most exciting topic, but it is, nonetheless, something that should be considered before marriage.
Before you tie the knot, make sure you consider these options:
* Get your engagement ring appraised and insured.
Whether you’re traditionalists who believe an engagement ring should cost three months of the future husband’s salary or you’re a modern couple who opted to go Dutch and split the cost, an engagement ring is no small investment. Even if the ring is a family heirloom that didn’t cost anything, it’s a good idea to be protected against the unthinkable circumstance of losing your ring.
“Most renters or homeowners insurance policies offer riders for special or expensive items like engagement rings, costing on average $1 to $2 for every $100 to replace the ring,” says Doug Menges, chief claims officer for Mercury Insurance Group. “Show your insurance agent a receipt for the ring, as well as an appraisal, to assure you get sufficient coverage.”
* Compare your existing auto insurance providers.
Many couples don’t have the same carrier for auto insurance when they join together in holy matrimony, but keep in mind marriage can impact how much you pay for your premium.
“This is especially timely for me, because my daughter is getting married this summer,” says Menges. “I know that married couples tend to pay lower auto insurance premiums because, statistically, they’re safer drivers than single men and women. So, you can be sure I’ve already told her and my future son-in-law they should talk to their insurance agent, because they will most likely qualify for additional discounts that may lower their premium.”
Be sure to talk about accidents, outstanding tickets, coverage lapses and similar issues while you’re deciding if a joint policy is right for you. And don’t be afraid to reach out to a local insurance agent for advice on how to best proceed.
If you opt to combine policies, consider what’s most important to you when choosing a provider. Is it the cost of your policy or having a local agent with whom to build a relationship? What about insurance bundling options and the discount types offered? When you agree upon what you’re both seeking, you can choose to stay with one of your current providers or find a new company. Regardless of what you decide, however, it’s a good idea to shop around to see if you are getting the most for your money.
* Create and merge itemized household inventories.
Whether you cohabitate with your beloved before or after taking the marriage plunge, an important insurance lesson is to keep a detailed record of everything you own. Mashable lists several apps that will assist with the inventory process. This inventory keeps track of the belongings you’ve accumulated over the years and helps your homeowners or renters insurance provider determine the proper amount of coverage you’ll need if you fall victim to a burglary, fire, natural disaster or other loss requiring a claim to be filed.
When you move in together, be sure to combine your respective inventories into one master list, and remember to add all of the gifts you receive at your engagement party, bridal shower and the wedding.
Your wedding day is hopefully one of the best days of your life. Don’t get lost in the planning process because the most important detail is the person who’ll be standing next to you. Take a deep breath, relax and remember to enjoy every second on your journey to a shared future.
(BPT) - Every girl dreams of her fantasy wedding. It usually includes a Prince Charming standing next to her at the altar, saying “I do,” while surrounding by friends and family in a fairytale atmosphere.
Now it’s time to turn that fantasy dream into reality. And while Prince Charming has been replaced with Mr. Right, the rest of the fairytale doesn’t have to change. Every bride should feel like a princess, and here are some ways to pull off the special wedding:
* The dress: The right wedding dress and accessories can make any bride look like a princess. A strand of pearls around the neck for a Cinderella look or a long, decorative braid down one side of the head completes the Rapunzel look. Many brides love the look of a simple tiara woven into an elegant hairstyle. And the dress can have a full or puffy skirt, or long flowing tresses to really bring out the princess style. Disney also has a collection of designer princess cut dresses based on several of the Disney princesses.
* The invitations: Set the tone for your fairytale wedding right from the start with Disney Princess Wedding Invitations from Invitations by Dawn. The collection features eight elegant princess invitations inspired by Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Tiana and Snow White. You’ll love the deep embossing, the shimmer paper and the raised print that looks like an invitation from royalty. The flowers and motifs will capture the eyes of your guests and evoke a sense of fairytale nostalgia, having them anticipating the wedding itself.
* The decorations: Shimmery gossamer, twinkle lights and decorative candles provide beautiful touches to help make the fairytale a reality when it comes to your wedding and reception. If you are a crafty person, use DIY crafting sites like Pinterest to find centerpiece and table decoration ideas you can make yourself. Also ask your florist and cake decorator if they have any suggestions on decorating your reception and the wedding hall in a fairytale theme. They may suggest a fountain centerpiece, or creating a forest backdrop behind the cake to help enhance the theme.
If you’ve been dreaming about your wedding for many years, you probably already have some ideas for those special romantic touches that will make your wedding memorable and special. Share those ideas with the wedding specialist helping you plan your special day, and let the magic happen. Your guests will be awed by how you pulled together the entire fairytale theme, from the invitations to the special gifts they’ll take home to remember your special day.
(BPT) - When planning a wedding, you’ll receive plenty of advice via to-do lists in bridal magazines, from friends and coworkers who’ve already been through the wedding process and even from professionals in the industry who have helped many couples achieve their “I dos.”
The advice might feel a bit overwhelming, but most brides and grooms figure out how to sift through the stories of wedding successes and disasters to personalize all the final touches on their special day. By showcasing their personalities through different aspects of the wedding, guests will remember the special day for years to come.
Here are some ways to inject your personality into a wedding ceremony and reception:
* Tell or show your story. Every couple has the “how we met” and “how we got engaged” stories, and often they can be incorporated quite easily into the ceremony or the reception. For example, if you met at a sporting event, consider using sports paraphernalia as table centerpieces. Or if he proposed in a beautiful field of wildflowers, incorporate wildflowers into the decorations for the ceremony or the bouquets held by the bridesmaids. A couple of ways to tell personal stories are with a small write-up in the wedding program or a picture slideshow during the reception.
* Incorporate personal details. Every bride has a style. Some brides create an elegant wedding, while others prefer the edgy urban style. Some brides want an outdoorsy look to their weddings, and some think the vintage look matches their personalities perfectly. No matter your style, look for ways to incorporate that style in the details of the wedding. For example, start off with your wedding invitations. Invitations by Dawn has laser-cut wedding invitations to match your personality. Elegant lace, romantic flowers, creative fonts and delicate cutout shapes allow brides to hint at the wedding theme and show off their personality from the very beginning. All wedding invitations can be personalized online with fonts and colors, allowing a couple to match the wedding style perfectly. In a rush? Invitations by Dawn can process and deliver wedding invitations in a week.
* Write your own vows. Personalized vows allow a couple to share with each other, and their guests, how much they love each other, and how they plan to spend the rest of their lives together. The Internet has many examples to help a couple get started, and your guests will be impressed by the creativity and individuality that goes into the vows as you pledge your love to each other.
* Play some favorite tunes. If you’re planning a religious ceremony, ask the minister performing the wedding if there are any restrictions on music played. Churches typically will ask that music performed or played during the wedding ceremony be religious or classical, but the music played during the exit march can often be secular. For example, if the couple loves Star Wars, they could exit the church while the Imperial March is played. If the church is not open to secular music at all, another option is to play a favorite secular tune during the grand march into the reception venue.
With these simple touches, you’ll be able to inject plenty of individuality into your wedding ceremony and reception, allowing the guests who are celebrating with you to connect with your joy and excitement of matrimony. The personal elements will have everyone talking about your wedding for many anniversaries to come.
(BPT) - Weddings are steeped in tradition – no matter whom you are or where you live. But what if you’re not interested in wearing the same dress your mother did, getting married in the same location your sister did or wearing something blue?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Plenty of brides search for ways to make their special day as unique as they are. Here are five ways to put your own special spin on this classic tradition.
* A guest book you’ll use. Signing the guest book is a common tradition at most weddings; you’ve probably signed a few in your lifetime. After the wedding is over, however, this priceless keepsake often disappears into a box never to be seen again. Break from tradition by creating a guest book you’ll actually use. Take a trip to the book store with your partner and browse the coffee table books. Once you find one that interests both of you, claim it as your guest book. Your wedding guests can sign their names in the margins and afterwards you’ll be left with a permanent, functional guest book to display for visitors and friends.
* Dance under the stars. Looking to create a one-of-a-kind wedding? Don’t rent the same ballroom as all of your friends. Host your reception outdoors. You can rent a dance floor from a local rental facility and trained technicians will arrive to set it up easily. You’ll dance on a traditional wood floor while looking up at the stars – what could be more original than that? Don’t forget to rent a tent so that weather doesn’t dampen the mood. You can find more unique flooring ideas at RentalHQ.com, where you can locate your local rental store.
* Treasure the memories. Get your guests involved in the event by placing blank cards and pens at each seat location. Ask your guests to write about their favorite memory of you and/or your spouse. Collect all of these cards and turn them into a scrapbook for a treasured keepsake.
* Prepare a menu that is uniquely you. Chocolate fountains were once unique and elegant, but now they’re commonplace. Don’t despair, though, because there are plenty of unique edible snack options you can include in your special day. If you’re getting married in the blistering heat, rent a snow cone machine to offer your guests some sweet relief. If you and your spouse are big movie buffs or your wedding has a Hollywood theme, rent a popcorn machine to complete the look. And for the bride who’s still a kid at heart, nothing captures that better than renting an authentic cotton candy machine.
* Find the color that suits you. Maybe wearing something blue doesn’t suit you, but perhaps you’re not too wild about black and white either. At many venues, though, these colors are the only choices you have when it comes to tablecloths and napkins. Remember, you don’t have to settle; you can provide your own materials simply by renting them. This opens up a color palette of limitless options. If you are planning a fall wedding, look for napkins that reflect the colors of the leaves. Did you meet in college? Choose linens in your school’s colors. Whatever shade speaks to you, you can find it and give your wedding a look no one will expect.
Keep the tradition, but be uniquely you with options limited only by your own imagination. To learn more about what you can rent and how renting can help you create the wedding you’ve always wanted, visit RentalHQ.com.
(BPT) - Deciding to get married is one of the biggest and most important decisions many people will ever make. According to The Knot and WeddingChannel.com, the average wedding costing more than $28,000 - the cost of a new car or a down payment on a home, so your next biggest decision may be figuring out how to pay for it. With that in mind, many couples are opting to tie the knot at home. Although hosting your special day in your own backyard can cut costs and give you more flexibility, you must address some critical details before you walk down the aisle.
First things first - make sure you have enough space to accommodate everyone. If you need to make extra space, get creative. Did you know you can fit more guests at round tables than rectangular or square ones? You can also invest in a short-term storage locker, which can temporarily house excess furniture as well as valuables you don’t want left out among wandering and rowdy guests. You’ll also want to check into local noise ordinances, which might require a permit to host a loud party. You might need a permit to park cars along your street, too.
Prepared and protected
In addition to these important basic details, couples need to make sure they are protected if anything goes wrong on their big day. Joe Vahey, vice president and product manager at Erie Insurance, suggests happy couples think about the following three key insurance issues when planning a wedding at their home or someone else’s to make sure they’re prepared for the unexpected:
Keep valuable wedding gifts protected. Depending on how many guests attend your event, you could end up with thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts. Since personal property like this is covered by your homeowners insurance policy, make sure to talk to your agent. They’ll look into your policy’s personal property limit – it’s usually a percentage of the value of your home – to ensure everything is covered.
It’s important to make sure you’re protected from liability, too. If your uncle falls while doing the chicken dance or your cousin trips while diving to catch the bouquet, you could end up in trouble. While some liability coverage is included on standard homeowners policies, you’ll want to review the liability limits with your agent in order to assure you have enough coverage. Additionally, it’s always wise to consider adding an inexpensive personal catastrophe liability policy (sometimes called an umbrella policy) to your insurance. Having this extra protection will provide you and your future spouse with needed peace of mind on a hectic day.
Wedding rings are an important part of the ceremony, a symbol of your special bond. Consider “scheduling” the rings rather than relying on the blanket coverage provided by a standard policy, which may have a value limit. A scheduled ring has additional coverage up to the specific value of that ring, so you won’t have to worry about replacing a lost or stolen ring.
Once the behind-the-scenes details have been addressed, it’s time to pull back the curtain and focus on putting on a spectacular show. Properly welcome guests by getting your landscape in tip-top shape and making sure to clean your house top to bottom a week before the wedding. Consider hiring professionals to lessen your responsibilities leading up to the big day. Keep wedding decor and flowers in line with the look and feel of the home. Getting married at a beach house on the lake? Then, stick to a more casual, understated feel. If you’re hosting a black-tie gala at a friend’s mansion, don’t be afraid to embrace elegance and opulence.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate your big day, planning ahead to ensure you’re prepared and protected is one way to enjoy it worry-free, with the one you love.
(BPT) - As you busily prepare for your walk down the aisle and make countless decisions regarding every flawless detail, one task on your to-do list will help you see beyond your wedding day and into your future life together - the wedding registry. And though few things could be more enjoyable than a day of shopping with your beloved, there’s also a bit of strategy that goes into building a complete registry.
When making registry selections, be sure you've listed a variety of items at different price points – high and low. This way, guests can purchase gifts they can afford but they also have room to exercise some creativity. According to theknot.com, you should aim to have at least twice as many items on your wish lists as attendees at your wedding.
Having two to three registries is common and completely manageable. Consider including a department store, a national chain and an online retailer. Registering for items that are available at nationwide locations and online is convenient for out-of-towners. Be sure to check store return and exchange policies in case you receive duplicate items. Some retailers offer completion programs, providing coupons or discounts to purchase remaining items on registries after the wedding. Wherever you decide to build your wish list, make the most of it by segmenting your needs into separate, distinct categories.
Kickstart your kitchen
Cooking together is a simple way to bond with your spouse and have some fun in the process. Now is the perfect time to think about upgrading your kitchen essentials, including dinnerware, silverware, glassware, cookware, bakeware, cutlery, gadgets, storage containers and barware. Love hosting holidays and events? Opt for at least eight place settings and mix and match with complementary serving platters, bowls and serving utensils. Choose versatile pieces that can go from cooking to serving, saving space and adding convenience.
If you're looking for a kitchen appliance that can do the job of several, consider a high-powered blender. The Vitamix Professional Series 750 offers five pre-programmed settings, including a self-cleaning option. It has the ability to chop, cream, blend, heat, grind, churn and more – without any attachments. Other appliances that shouldn't be forgotten include a slow cooker, coffee maker, toaster or toaster oven and microwave.
Hone in on home basics
Since you won't spend all of your time in the kitchen, the rest of the home should be included in your registry. An assortment of matching linens, such as towels, rugs and shower curtains for bathrooms, plus bedding sets with extra blankets and pillows add comfort and style to your master suite and any guest rooms. Decorative pillows, ottomans and throw rugs are nice transitional pieces to tie a room together, especially if you are blending items from each of your previous, unique spaces. Don't be afraid to register for a few larger items, such as chairs, tables or storage pieces. Lamps, wall art, picture frames, candleholders and vases will help round out your home decor.
Think outside the home
If you've already found the perfect starter home and have an outdoor area, why not register for items that will extend your living space? An outdoor grill is a perfect choice for the couple who loves to cook, and fire pits are ideal for summer get-togethers and relaxing weekends. If you enjoy al fresco dining, add a patio furniture set to your wish list. Consider other accessories such as hammocks, umbrellas and outdoor games.
Creating gift registries is a fun way to bond with your better half and make your house into a home. Use them as a tool to plan how you'll be spending your future together. Cater your registries to your own unique interests and don't worry if your wish list isn't 100 percent conventional, as long as it fits your needs.
With some careful planning, creativity, teamwork and a bit of fun, your wedding gifts will be used for many years after saying “I do.”