Announce Your Engagement

Chances are if you are newly engaged you are probably so excited that you could shout it from the rooftops or tell everyone in the grocery store check out lines! The first people to know should be your parents, close relatives and friends.  Try to resist the temptation to post it on social media pages until you have personally shared your delightful news with those nearest and dearest. Once you have gotten the word out to those closest to you, consider some of the options you have to spread the news.  Below are some ideas on how to make your announcement.

1. Make your announcement in the Newspaper If your wedding is more traditional, placing an announcement in the newspaper is more appropriate as your local friends and family will be looking for your announcement.  What does an engagement announcement entail?  Typically, an engagement announcement is kept short & sweet including the following information:

♥ First and Last Names ♥ Names of Parents ♥ Location where you live, or where you are from ♥ Wedding Date and Ceremony/Reception Location

Newspapers will often charge a fee for publishing your announcements, but you will recieve several copies as keepsakes for you and your families. Couples can submit a black & white or color photo to be included with the announcement.

2. Social Media After you tell your family, make your announcement on your favorite social media page to share with all of your friends!

3.  Send out An Engagement Card Incorporate your favorite photo into an engagement announcement and design a card using sites like  Shutterfly, Zazzle, Cardstore & Vistaprint. You can even create custom postage!

4. Create a Free Wedding Website When you create a wedding website, you can share all of the details of how you met, the proposal, and all of your wedding planning information. You can upload photos, invite guests to view your site and sign your guestbook & much more.   Many sites offer this service for free, check out the links below to create your wedding website today!

Project Wedding          The Knot                    eWedding

5.  Share your Engagement with The 530 Bride! We love to hear your engagement and wedding news, post a pic of that rock on our Facebook Page or contact us today to be featured as an engaged couple on All you need to do is send us a message at !

Do you have a creative idea for sharing the big news? Leave a comment below to tell us about you made your announcement!

Planning a Small Wedding

It is easy to get lost in all of the wedding buzz and excitement after you announce you are getting married.  It is even easier to get persuaded by other people's ideas of how your wedding should be.  You know who you are, and what you like! Focus on what is going to make the two of you happy in the long run instead of trying to impress or please everyone else.  Having been in your shoes, I know that isn't easy. So let me help you clear your mind of everything wedding, and start from a clean slate. Read a few of the following statements and answer honestly, either in your head or say it out loud!

1. I love to be the center of attention, the bigger the crowd the better. (yes or no) 2. My wedding is going to be the event that people rave about for years (yes or no) 3. Having my close friends and family members present as we say our vows, is the most important part. (yes or no) 4. You only get married once so why not splurge and go big! (yes or no) 5. Napkins, centerpieces, and table numbers need to correspond with the linens perfectly, or my day would be ruined! (yes or no) 6. We need a DJ to get people dancing because our wedding is going to be a party! (yes or no) 7. Our wedding party will be over 10 people (yes or no) 8. I will need a wedding coordinator to help me with the planning details (yes or no) 9.  I want to have a "Platinum Wedding." (yes or no) 10. I am comfortable spending at least $10,000.00 on our wedding. (yes or no)

If you answered no to more than half of these questions, you may be leaning towards having a small and intimate wedding rather than a large event.  We are here to tell you to go for it, and have fun with it while you are planning.  Small and more personal weddings are becoming very popular not only due to finances, but it helps you connect with your guests. There is a misconception that you only get to have an informal out of the box wedding if it is your second or third marriage..that is so not the case!

Find a location that speaks to you, whether it is a cabin in the forest, a beach-house, bed & breakfast, a friends backyard or Paris, at the end of the day you will have the rest of your lives to think back to this wonderful time in your life so make it special. Checkout some of these photos of real weddings on

Some of the challenges you may face are: - Deciding if you should elope, or have a very small intimate event with friends and family - Finding a venue or location that is appropriate for just the two of you, or for a smaller group - Choosing your wedding party members, or not to have them at all! - Paring down the guest list

Some unique touches & benefits for small weddings - Having a friend or family member be the officiant for your ceremony - Maid of Honor & Best Man instead of a large wedding party - Guests bring a dessert or favorite dish for the reception - Including your pets in the ceremony - Displaying old photos at each of the tables - Make your own wedding cake - The bride and groom serving the guests their cake or champagne - Personalized notes to your guests in the ceremony programs - If you have children, having them walk you down the aisle - With less guests you can afford higher quality items such as better wine or champagne, or possibly plated dinner instead of buffet.

Advice from Real Brides:

".... To make the final decision we created our golden rule: If we haven’t seen or spoken to them on a regular basis in the past year, they’re not invited." (Melody, Real Bride/Intimate

"You know, weddings with hundreds of guests are merely big productions, and distractions. All big weddings have at the core, moms and sisters, grooms and dads, kids, (yours or your relatives) and a couple friends. Everything else is background noise, even the other bridesmaids.  So with a small wedding, you have most everything a big wedding has, only more time to spend with the ones that matter most."(

Look for restaurants in your area with a banquet room or private patio, wineries, bed & breakfasts, hotel banquet rooms, community centers & memorial halls, parks & other city owned locations that allow events.




Gold vs. Platinum

We have talked about diamond shapes, color and clarity so naturally the next step would be to choose your metal and setting for your ring.  Have you ever wondered what the difference is between platinum  and gold?  While there are many debates on which is more durable, we have done our best to find the answer! Gold:

Gold jewelry has been the norm for decades, and still seems to be the most popular choice for bridal jewelry.  When choosing gold jewelry you should be informed about the gold content which is going to be a factor in price and durability.  To measure the purity of gold, there is a carat or karat system that measures the gold content that is mixed in with other metal content such as alloy to create the final product of a gold ring or other piece of jewelry. So for example:

9kt gold contains 37.5% pure gold (375 parts per thousand parts).

14kt gold contains 58.5% pure gold (585 parts per thousand parts).

18kt gold contains 75% pure gold (750 parts per thousand parts).

Essentially the price will go up as the gold content rises, especially with the price of gold increasing.

Gold colors include: Yellow Gold, White Gold & Rose Gold

Currently, white gold seems to be the most popular choice of the three, while rose gold seems to be rising in popularity. Rose gold has a vintage appeal, and has inspired some beautiful pieces such as the rings below.

With colored gold such as white gold & rose gold, you should understand that the jewelry is made with a mixture of metals.  "White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as silver and palladium. White gold can be 18kt, 14kt, 9kt or any karat. For example, 18kt yellow gold is made by mixing 75% gold (750 parts per thousand) with 25% (250 parts per thousand) other metals such as copper and zinc. 18kt white gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25% other metals such as silver and palladium. So the amount of gold is the same but the alloy is different." (

You may have to get your jewelry rhodium plated "dipped" after awhile depending on how often you wear your jewelry and how much the white gold gets worn off.  There are cases where you could own your ring for years without ever having to get it re-rhodium plated, yet for some they may have to do this as often as every 6 months to a year.  Make sure to ask your jeweler if they offer this service in their store, and determine the cost if it is not included in a warranty plan.




We did a little homework on platinum, to see why it has become so popular.  From the scientific standpoint, we can definitely see why a jeweler would prefer to work with platinum. It is highly resistant to corrosion, has a melting point of 2041.4 compared to gold at 1337.58 and a boiling point of 4098 k compared to gold at 3080 k. Not that you would ever boil your ring, but it is interesting to see how strong platinum really is.  So what does that mean for you? Platinum is a great option for Men's Wedding Bands as well, because of the scratch resistant surface.  Platinum prongs are sturdier and can keep your diamond secure in its setting. Plus, you won't have to worry about tarnishing, and you wont have to get your ring "re-dipped" / rhodium plated.



Because platinum has more durability, you will be paying a higher cost for the jewelry itself and will have a higher expense should you need to size your ring or make any repairs.  Platinum is not completely scratch proof, so you may need to have the surface of the jewelry refinished or buffed out.  Ask your jeweler for pricing on sizing, and repairs for platinum jewelry to make sure that you are informed on what the maintenance costs will be.

We know your wedding jewelry will be beautiful and priceless to you as it should be, so share with us what you like about your ring!

Celebrity Bling!

After this week's announcement of Kim Kardashian's engagement to Kris Humphries all anyone can talk about is her ring!  It isn't surprising.  The ring cost only 2 million less than her Beverly Hills mansion. 20.5 carats and 2 MILLION DOLLARS. This seems to be a growing trend in Hollywood. Each starlet showing off a bigger rock than the last.

Check out a few of our favorite celebrity rings.






Carrie Underwood's husband Mike Fisher codesigned this yellow-  and-white 12-carat diamond ring worth about $800,000.







Kim K's little sister Khloe rocking her 9 carat sparkler from husband Lamar Odom. Picture courtesy of






And of course we had to mention the bling that started the bling  craze...the 6.5 carat pink Harry Winston that cost Ben Affleck 3  million dollars to put on J-Lo's finger.


How Many Lives Does a Wedding Dress Have?

We don't have to tell you that the times have changed when it comes to parents footing the wedding bills.  Couples have become more creative in finding ways to save and budget for their wedding without compromising their dreams.  DIY projects have become the new buzzword, because brides are getting hands-on for everything from napkin folding & making their own favors to even creating their own wedding gown. When it comes to the price tag, it may be hard to find a designer wedding gown to fit into your budget.  Not every bride was born a seamstress, and we don't think you should have to settle for a wedding dress that doesn't take your breath away.  What if you could have the dress of your dreams, and not feel bad about a little splurging?

No one thinks twice about the groom renting his tuxedo & shoes, and then returning it in a couple days and never wearing it again.  The budget for your grooms attire is considerably less than what you will have to spend to get a dress, shoes, & other wedding accessories.  We understand that a wedding dress is not just an ordinary dress and is symbolic in many ways.  But is an inexpensive wedding gown any less symbolic?  Consider asking other brides what they did with their gowns after their big day, and many of them will tell you that their dress is stored away somewhere in their closet or in their attic!

You may want to open your mind and consider one of these ideas:

Buy a Used Wedding Dress - Buy a beautiful used gown from a consignment store, local classified ads such as Craigslist, or an online bridal store. If you have a local American Cancer Society Discover Shop, buy a used wedding gown and the proceeds will go to supporting the fight against cancer. Save hundreds of dollars when you buy a used gown, often only worn once or sometimes never worn at all!  Find the designer dress you have always dreamed of wearing, and pay only a fraction of the price. An added benefit is knowing that its okay if you end up changing your mind and purchasing another dress, because you will have saved so much on buying the first gown!

Rent a Wedding Dress - Wear a beautiful gown for your big day, without having to to worry about getting it cleaned or having to store it away somewhere.  Bridal shops offering rental services are popping up all over the map, and are easy to find online.  Make sure to do your homework by getting sized, and trying on several wedding gowns to be sure about which style of gown you would like to rent.

To read some great tips on renting a wedding gown or formal dress, checkout Alexandria's Formal Gown Rental.  Have you rented or bought a used gown before? Share your experiences with other brides by leaving us a comment!

For the Tech Savvy Brides!

Wedding Planning has modernized, so now instead of carrying large folders and planning books you can simply login and go!  For the brides who are planning their weddings without the help of a professional coordinator, but would like to stay organized; We have the answer for you! Software programs have been developed specifically to help you stay organized with your guest information, RSVP's, table settings, budget, vendor contracts, and more.  With price ranges from 49.95 to 299.95, there are some variations to the software program features so we found a great online review of wedding software programs that should be helpful!

*click on image to view full review at

As with any software programs, we recommend that you read the reviews on these products to ensure that you are confident that you will be satisfied.  Reading product reviews will make you aware of issues such as freezing up & data loss.

If you would prefer not to use wedding software, consider some of the wedding websites available online that can save you time by helping you stay organized. Plus, these tools are easy to use no matter how tech savvy you are!

Wedding Countdown Tickers create your own wedding countdown tracker (ticker) which can be used web sites, blogs, email, forums, any where that accept HTML.

Manage Your Budget, Invitations, RSVP's, & Seating Charts is a website created to help you organize your seating arrangements including RSVP tracking, and meal choices.  It is free to use for up to 50 guests, and has different packages available depending on the number of events & guests you would like to upload. allows you to manage your guest list, rsvp's, itinerary's & budget.  Plan your bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, & wedding and keep track of all of the details! There are packages designed for individuals planning their own events, and wedding professionals planning several weddings & events.  Check out their pricing and package options here., this website has pretty much every planning detail you will need.  If you have questions about etiquette and how to decide where to seat people, check out their How-To Article on Wedding Reception Seating Arrangements.

Create Your Personalized Wedding Website - Keep friends & family informed about all of the wedding details, and let them in on the fun.  It may be stressful at times, but planning a wedding is a special time in your life, so share these exciting moments with your guests as they will feel more involved.  This is a good place to share your engagement pictures, let guests know where you are registered & also give your out of town guests itinerary information and hotel accommodations.

With so many great tools out there, we love to hear about your experience with wedding software and online planning websites.  Leave us a comment, and let other brides know what you think!

Diamonds 101

An exciting part of getting married, is sharing your proposal story and wedding plans with all of your closest friends and family.  As soon as the word is out that you are engaged, people are going to want to see that ring of yours!! Guys, if you have met your match and are planning on popping the question please take a few minutes to learn the basics about diamonds.  This is going to help you be a more educated customer when you are in a jewelry store, and it may help ensure that you do not make a bad investment. Tons of couples plan their weddings together every step of the way, starting with the engagement ring!  Every couple is different, and you may choose leave everything as a surprise, discuss styles & brands but keep the ring itself a surprise, go ring shopping together but the groom makes the final decision, or you may purchase the ring together.  Whatever the case, it is still a good idea to understand what it is that you are paying for when it comes to color and clarity of the stone(s).

First of all, lets look over some of the various styles/cuts of diamonds because they are each very different. We will also show different ring settings, to show each cut of diamond with accents and enhancer bands.  Some people are drawn to certain diamond shapes more than others, and some would prefer a solitaire setting vs. a three stone setting.

If you see the shape that you like, lets move on to the color and clarity charts.  These charts serve as a  grading system for diamonds, which helps the consumer be more confident that they are buying quality merchandise.

The first chart is a Color Grading Chart which shows the range of colors of natural diamonds.  Diamonds that are in the D-F range are colorless stones, G-J are near colorless and so on.  You may not be able to see the difference of color until you start looking at stones from K - R, and stones in the range of S - Z will have a more noticeably yellow tint.    The Clarity Chart grades a diamond by the amount of imperfections in the stone, both visible by an eye-glass or the naked eye.  Diamonds that are in the FL-IF range are going to be more expensive because they have little to no visible imperfections in the stone. On the opposite end of the spectrum are stones that fall into the I1-I3 range which will have imperfections visible to the naked eye.

There are a lot of online resources for diamonds, each claiming to have the best price on diamonds.  Beware, because many of the photos they use online are not actual pictures of the diamond that you are interested in purchasing.  So make sure no matter where you are planning on shopping for your diamond jewelry, that you ask for the certificate for the stone.  If you are buying it private party (online, classified ads, or a pawn shop) ask to have the diamond appraised.

If you have found the diamond that you know she will love, the next step is to choose which setting you like.  Solitaires are very popular engagement rings, but there are a lot of other beautiful settings to take your time.  Below are examples of round diamonds, in various settings.  First we have a round diamond solitaire, second is a round cut diamond with smaller pave-set diamonds on the side, third is a three-stone round cut diamond ring, and last is an enhancer band, that can be added to a solitaire to create a three-stone look.  Remember the options are endless!

These next rings are from some of the top bridal jewelers, 1. Tacori Emerald Cut Engagement Ring, 2. Ritani Asscher Cut Engagement ring with pave cut diamonds, 3. Verragio Venetian Collection brilliant round cut diamond ring with halo, and pave split-shank band.

Blue Nile has a great website with a design tool, which allows you to build your own ring!  Choose the cut, color & clarity of the diamond in your desired price range, and then choose from different settings to complete your ring.  This is a great tool, because it allows you to narrow down what you like, without having to walk into a jewelry store with the pressure to buy.  Check out Blue Nile's website here.

We would like to also point out that you don't have to stick with traditional diamond engagement rings, there are gorgeous canary diamonds, pink diamonds,  sapphires and other natural gems.  Celebrities like Heidi Klum, Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez have been spotted wearing canary diamond rings, Mariah Carey, Tara Reid and many other celebrities have flashed some of their pink diamond engagement rings. Kate Middleton's engagement ring is an 18 carat blue sapphire and diamond ring, which was the same ring that Prince Williams Father gave to the late Princess Diana.

We hope this is a helpful tool for you to use when preparing to purchase an engagement ring, or any piece of jewelry in the future. For local jewelers, click here to be directed to our directory.  If you still have questions, just Ask The 530 Bride!

On the road to 'I Do' Melissa and Gavin

Melissa is a very special to The 530 Bride team and so we are so very happy for her and so very excited to do this feature! When we asked Melissa to be one of our featured brides she sent me a beautiful reply with the details of their engagement and wedding. Instead of repeating her... I will just share what she had to say.

We are both very dedicated people, not only to one another, but to our aspirations and dreams. I just graduated with my Teaching Credential in December 2010 and Gavin graduated with his Bachelors of Science soon following in March 2011. We are now in a new branch of our lives, anxiously looking forward into the future that's fast approaching.

Everyone describes us as the couple that are meant for one other. We compliment each others differences and laugh at ourselves often.

Gavin proposed to me on 12/11/10. We went up to Grass Valley for his mom and step-dad's house warming party for their new home they purchased only a few months before. We were all wandering around talking to each other. Gavin's mom called everyone to gather around the living room to hear the minister bless their home. He read selections from the book, saying a blessing for different rooms in the house. After he was done and everyone applauded, it seemed everyone was going back to their conversations and that is when Gavin said, "Excuse me, can I have everyone's attention please? I have something I want to say, since we are all gathered around I'll say it now.." He got down on one knee next to me and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

Our wedding is going to be in Chico, California at The Palms. The ceremony will be outdoors in the garden surrounded by the Koi ponds and cabanas. The reception will be at the same location, only indoors in their Pavillion building. Our DJ is Dream Lighting and Sound, also the owner of The Palms. Our photographer is from Sacramento, Robinson Portraits. Also from Sacramento, our videographer Reel to Real Productions. We will be using the photo booth vendor that Veronica and Danny Enns used because we loved it so much! For the flowers and decor(centerpieces, linens, place settings, embellishments, etc) my mom and I will be doing it all mostly ourselves. We are having my step dad, Corey cook the food. Last, but not least, liquor is being provided by Finnegin's Jug.

The color theme is turquoise, pink, and chocolate brown. The bridesmaids will be wearing dresses unique and specially hand made by my mom. The groomsmen will be wearing tuxedos from Men's Warehouse that are black with turquoise vests to match the bridesmaid dresses.

The 530 Bridesmaid (and Bride of course) will be attending Melissa and Gavin's wedding so stay tuned for a post on their amazing day!

Melissa and Gavin's Wedding Invitation

Melissa's Bridal Shower was on June 11th, at the 5 Mile Recreation area in Chico.  The Bridal Shower invitations were thoughtful and creative, thanks to her Maid of Honor Kendy. Inside the invitation read:

"Lets fill their house from room to room with needed things like a mop or broom. Or pretty things like a lamp or vase. Lets make their home a pretty place!"

The park was beautiful, and the tables were decorated with Pink Table Covers & Hydrangea centerpieces.   a fun celebration, with lots of games and laughter.  Pictured below is the Bride-to-be Melissa adorned with her toilet paper fashion accessories, compliments of her bridal shower guests! Also pictured is her bridal shower favors, which were filled with chocolates and matched her wedding colors perfectly!

**Update! Congratulations to Melissa and Gavin as they are officially married!! We are so happy for the new Mr. & Mrs. Dorenzo! Click here to see their Real Wedding!

On the road to 'I Do' Lisa and Justin

Lisa and Justin are one those fun couples that are always up for an adventure and they are definitely the life of the party.  That’s why we know their wedding will be no exception, and we know the couple will be dancing the night away. Did we mention that the groom can do the worm? Just ask him and he will show you! Justin literally proposed to Lisa under a waterfall in Burney Falls and of course she said yes! So after 5 years of dating, this couple is on their way down the altar.   They have set their date to August 13, 2011 and will be getting married in Chico, CA.

The ceremony will be held outdoors at the beautiful private Miller Mansion in Chico, followed by the reception at the nearby Arroyo Room, flowers will be arranged by Chico Florists.

Her bridal party will be wearing black tea-length Alfred Angelo gowns with pink accents,  and the groomsmen will be wearing black tux’s with a pink accent to follow her theme.

We will be highlighting Lisa’s progress in her wedding plans so check back for updates!

Update: Lisa's Bridal Shower had a black and pink theme with zebra print & feather accents.

Her cake was made by Christy's Creations, and matched her theme perfectly.

Lisa and her sister Kelly who is her Maid of Honor, each with a Star Gazer Lily which is Lisa's Wedding Flower.

*Update* Lisa had her Bachelorette Party in San Francisco, CA the weekend before her wedding and The Holiday Inn on the Wharf was the perfect spot! With a light up Bachelorette Sash, a very cute little white dress from Forever 21 and her entourage of ladies, Lisa was ready to hit the town. Ruby Skye was the destination for Saturday night, and this club exceeded expectations, look out Las Vegas!


If you are here you must be getting married! (or your best friend/sister/roomate is!) Here at The 530Bride we want to give all our Northern California brides (and grooms/bridesmaids...etc.etc...) a place to go for all your style and wedding planning needs when it comes to a 530 wedding!

We will be giving you style, beauty and health advice and information as well as connections to local vendors and venues.

Visit our About Us page to learn all about the genious behind the scenes (lol) and for contact information. We welcome any and all input as well as requests from brides who would like to be featured as well as vendors who would like to be listed!

Stay tuned for our big website launch which will be featuring fabulous giveaway packages...