Tag Archives: weddings

Most Romantic Cities to Propose in: Focus on Jaipur

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Jai ho!  Thus far, we have directed our attention primarily on the world’s most romantic European towns as potential places to propose.  It’s now time to grab your passport (and visa) and head halfway around the world to the mystical and breathtaking land of India.  We shall visit Jaipur, “The Pink City,” and investigate all of the heart-stoppingly gorgeous locales, from forts to palaces to garden spectaculars, sure to have your very own Princess Jasmine swooning with amorous delight.

Nahargarh Fort

To truly understand why this was deemed ‘The Pink City,’ you need to check out the epic view of the cityscape from Nahargarh Fort.  Perched high on the Aravalli Hills, there is no other place that lets you fully drink in the luscious pink hues that permeate Jaipur’s sprawling edifices.  The reason why this place is dripping in this light fuchsia color is because in 1853 every building in the city was painted this way to welcome the ruling British Prince of Wales who was stopping in for a visit (guess he was very secure in his masculinity and had quite the penchant for pink?)  Striped and expansive, Nahargarh Fort is colloquially known as “Tiger Fort,” as ‘Nahargarh’ translates to “house of tigers.”  So bring your wildcat of a woman to the roof terrace and gaze out over the vast and pulchritudinous terrain.  You will feel like real royalty as you ask her to reign over this awe-inspiring and ancient kingdom with you forever.

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Amber Fort

This 16th century reconstructed palace hosted the esteemed Amber family for several generations, hence the eponymous title.  It is quite the feast for the eyes, inside and out.  After traversing through the beautifully intimidating threshold, you may find yourself in any number of rooms rooms completely covered in minuscule mirrors.  Take a moment to view the artfully fractured images of yourselves.  Next, weave through the ornately designed hallways until you find a massive room thoroughly ensconced in inlaid jewels.  This is the spot.  Even if the ring you are proposing with has a rather diminutive stone, it will be bolstered by the seemingly never-ending waterfall of brilliant gems surrounding the two of you.

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Elephant Ride

If your special someone has an affinity for large (yet gentle) quadrupeds, you may just want to take advantage of the elephant rides provided at the base of the hill leading up to the Amber Fort.  These majestic, and coincidentally, adorable creatures are painted in a wonderful array of bold colors, and their broad backs may just offer up the idea location for a big-question-popping.  Imagine her delight as you share a post-‘Yes!’ kiss atop a naturally elegant elephant, as it leads you on an actual and simultaneously metaphorical journey upwards (not to mention the sheer selfie-potential this moment has).

*Just as a side note, for those who are justifiably concerned with the welfare of the elephants, these amazing animals are so relatively large that the weight of a pair of humans on them is virtually unfelt.  Also, they love when you give them treats.

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Jal Mahal

Is your future betrothed an aquaphile of sorts?  You may hit the proposal jackpot with the Jal Mahal (“Water Palace”), which appears to defy the laws of physics as it hovers over the surface of the magnificent Man Sagar Lake.  This palace was constructed at the onset of the 19th century, but was made to resemble another lake palace, in Udaipur – so it’s got a lot of history imbued into the architecture.  You currently can not gain entry into the palace, as it is being converted into a luxury hotel, but that is just as well; the most amazing views to be had are when the palace is just in the distance, so you and your sweetie can take in the entire lake vista.  The sun reflecting on the lake’s surface does magical things, so it’s in your hands if you want it to be a sunrise or sunset themed proposal.

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Vidhan Sabha

If there is one thing Jaipur-ians know how to do, it’s put on a spectacular light show.  Meaning, some of the building exteriors are so extravagantly lit up at night that they feel almost other-worldly in their splendor.  The perfect example of this is Vidhan Sabha.  Structured in the typically wondrous fashion of Rajasthan architecture, this opulent legislative complex is aesthetically satisfying inside and out.  However, it’s the lustrous nighttime lighting and ambiance of the facade that really wows.  Bring your soon-to-be yours here for a remarkable proposal, bathed in pink, amber and lavender luminescence.

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Hawa Mahal

Further fueling the pink-ness of this city is the gigantic and extravagant Hawa Mahal palace.  This incredible experiment in architectural magnificence is commonly known as the “Palace of the Winds,” as it was erected to allow the females of the royal family to secretly watch the goings-on of everyday life below.  It was also built to resemble Krishna’s crown, giving the lovely rose structure a pious tinge to it.  Either venture inside with your dear and do the proposal deed as you watch the hoi polloi mingling from afar, or simply from down below, as the two of your bask in all the palace’s coral glory.

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Central Park

Much like the park of the same name nestled in the middle of Manhattan, this garden laden enclosure provides a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the main metropolitan area.  The lush gardens feature numerous Jaipur-specific flower breeds that are as rare as they are delicately formed.  There is also a variety of sculptures and artfully designed structures to get lost amongst, as you find the perfect grass carpeted nook to rest upon with your beloved.  Again, pick the time of day that showcases your snookie and their surroundings in the most flattering light, and then ask away.  You’ll never feel closer to nature, and each other (…especially if an inquisitive and mischievous monkey pops over to say ‘hi’ and inadvertently scares your lover, causing them to clutch you even tighter).

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Smriti Van

If you want to take things to the extreme in terms of an ecological haven, then Smirti Van is the environmentally lush way to go.  Ensconced in naturally occurring wonder, the rolling hills of this vegetation rich forrest provide many cozy locales to snuggle up in with your sweetie.  There are tons of different tree and plant species therein, as well as flocks of exotic birds dancing about in the sky.  There’s even an open air theater that is accessible to the theatrically inclined public.  Overall, this could be a great place to escape to after visiting all the iconic forts and palaces of the otherwise populated and arid city.  Wind your way down a path amongst the sounds and smells of the rich atmospheric greenery and then pause…drop to one knee…and let the magic of Jaipur do the rest.

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-Joe Leone

Ring Fingers: Who’s Right…What’s Left?

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In America, when we want to perform a perfunctory assessment of whether someone is married or not, we scope out the fourth finger on their left hand and check if there’s a ring situated there.  In essence, we are investigating if someone did indeed like it, and if they put a ring on it.  However, this tried and true method for seeing if you have a shot (romantically) with a particular individual may not play out so seamlessly in some other corners of the globe.  Why?  Because in some countries and cultures, the wedding/engagement ring is worn on the …wait for it… right finger.

Before delving into this , you may want to edify yourself on the general history of wedding rings, so you fully understand how far back and complicated the whole international betrothal ring routine is.

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Ok, let’s start with the basics.  In many Western cultures, the ring is worn on the left hand because (according to legend) there is an artery that runs the course of your left arm and channels right into your heart.  Hence, once the ring is placed on that prized left digit, an unbreakable, eternal bond is forged between your heart and the person who placed the ring on that spiritually connective finger.  It’s quite the cute explanation.  So why doesn’t every country adopt this adorable practice?  Well, if we can take a break from unbridled nationalism for a moment, we can see that there are several important factors at play in other global territories.  Up until fairly recently, all Indian women wore their wedding rings on the right hand for one immutable reason; the left hand is viewed as “unclean.”  The right hand is used for fun and positive things, such as eating and squeezing a baby’s cheek; the left hand is used for cleansing oneself after using the restroom… So not the best location for an esteemed and symbolic piece of jewelry.  Another group that adheres to the right-ring-hand principle (for a somewhat similar reason) is the Greek Orthodox clan.  They keep with Roman rituals in many respects, and the relevant one here is that the left hand is considered to be evil or “sinister.”  In the Latin tongue, ‘sinis’ means left, and ‘dexter’ means right.  Ergo, the left hand and left-handed people were thought to be not so great; therefore there was no way anybody was putting a lovely ring on that dastardly hand.

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Other lands that go along with the right hand wedding band motif are some of the Nordic ones, including Denmark and Norway.  Perhaps they are just chilly there and prefer to keep their left hands in their pockets a lot, while the right one conducts all necessary functions of life (just a theory).  Moving a few kilometers east, the nations of Bulgaria, Poland and mother Russia still contain entire populations with right-hand-ring bearing peoples.  The actual explanation here is rooted in religion.  There are a few biblical references to The Lord telling people to put rings on their right hands – and eat yummy fatted calves, rejoice, etc., etc.  It appears the devout people of these places aren’t about to break this tradition anytime soon.

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Finally, there are some wedding ring idiosyncracies that utilize a custom known as the ‘ole switcharoo.’  In sultry Brazil, both males and females wear engagement rings on their right hands.  Once they exchange vows – bam – they switch them over to the left.  In the opposite hemisphere, the Netherlands and Germany do the reverse; start with the left, switch to the right (keeping in accordance with the ‘cold left hand theory’…)  People of the Jewish faith perform a nifty switch too; the wedding ring is first placed on the index, or pointer finger,  because it is the most important.  Decorum has the wearer shift the ring over to the fourth finger, after the glass has been smashed and everyone has cheered ‘Mazal!’

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While some people are strictly traditional, rigidly adhering to past customs, there will always be a rebellious sect, carving out a unique niche for themselves.  As cultures continue to mix and mash, time will tell what wedding ring habits will stay the course and which ones will fall by the wayside.  As we collectively revel in the past and explore new and exciting options, only one thing is truly for certain; your grandma wants you to settle down and stick a ring on one of those fingers, darnit.

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-Joe Leone 

How NOT to Ask your Partner for a Prenup

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As we’ve previously investigated, prenuptial agreements can be a very necessary and useful tool in protecting one’s assets and interests.  Ergo, it is (pretty much) unanimously agreed upon that securing a prenup can be a smart road to travel down when approaching the ever ambiguous altar.

Yet how does one broach this (potentially) highly sensitive subject matter?

Well, there may not be an absolute “right” way, but there certainly are few irksome and bumbling phrases and terms you should desperately avoid.

“I don’t want you to divorce me and then take all my money.”

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Well, duh.  This is clearly the most common fear of someone who has money when they enter into a marriage with someone who doesn’t have a penny/is in debt/has a loan shark waiting for them in the parking lot.  Perhaps a “let’s get a prenup so, in case things don’t work out, we both get what’s fair” will sound less insulting and laden with paranoia.

“Sorry, but I just want to make sure you won’t divorce me as soon as you get your citizenship …and take all my money.”

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Um…le awkward.

When walking down the aisle with someone from another land, there may be a slight tickling at the back of your brain that they are getting hitched to you solely so they can enjoy the fruits of your country.  If this is the case, simply explain that you need a prenup in place because it looks good to the immigration board when they conduct your review.  This will at least temporarily assuage some of the awkwardness and buy you some time…in the event that they aren’t just using you for your glorious connection to the USA: debatably the greatest country in North America.

“Hey, don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m scared you will divorce me at the drop of a hat and use your high powered lawyers to make sure I never see a penny.”

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Ok, so if you’re the one who is entering into the marriage without any dough, you may (justly) have some trepidation about getting married to someone who could conceivably squash you in divorce court.  Here a touch of simple ‘reverse psychology’ may help: “Just so you know that I’m not trying to rob you legally blind, let’s get a prenup!”  This may quell their fears about your intentions, while you quietly conjure up some equitable prenup conditions of your own.

“I just want to ensure that if we ever get divorced you won’t raise our children Wiccan.”

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Prenups are not only about money.  They can state certain things about child rearing and the like.  If you are scared your mate has the potential to do weirdo things with your kid’s upbringing (be it religious instruction/cult involvement/AmWay sales) you can protect their innocent minds with a thoughtfully crafted premarital agreement.  To execute this with propriety, you may go with something along the lines of: “It’s so great that we’re on the same page now with everything – just in case either one of us loses our marbles one day, let’s get a prenup that will safeguard our future offspring from lunacy.  Heart you, honey!”

“So…I was talking to my friend…she thinks you have a huge amount of debt that you’re not telling me about.  I’m thinking prenup: STAT.” 

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Sometimes people have secrets.  Sometimes those secrets come in the form of ginormous, gaping chasms of debilitating debt.  In the modern times in which we live, people are more aware than ever that when you marry someone, you are also entering into a blessed union with their finances, be they good or ohdearlordwhatishappening??  If you suspect a massive amount of credit card/student loan/etsy.com account debt looming in their past, you may want to arm yourself with a prenup.  One alternative to the graceless phrasing above could be: “Sweetie, I’ve battled with some debt demons in the past.  I’d love for us to get a prenup so we both feel confident that we are protected from either one of us possibly going off the deep end.”  It’s not ideal, but at least they will feel the empathy you are expounding, which may even lead them to coming clean themselves about the $32,000 they owe to Bath & Body Works.

“I am worried that my business will blow up and you will rob me of the one thing I have put my entire heart, soul and loins into.”

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When you are a small business owner, it’s easy to develop a strong attachment to the very thing you have cultivated and nurtured into being.  If a prospective spouse sends off the vibe that they may usurp you of your little business-baby, you naturally will feel a tad overprotective.  In this case, all you need to say is something to the effect of: “You are the most important thing in my life; my business is the second.  Let’s hash things out so everyone knows exactly what we’re entitled to.”  It’s not perfect, but it’ll do the proverbial job.

“If you dump me, I’m keeping the rings.”  /  “If you dump me, I want my rings back.” 

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Believe it or not, this is an actual point of contention for numerous couples.  Sometimes the engagement or wedding ring is a family heirloom that not only has monetary worth but emotional value as well, and the person supplying it will want it returned in the event of an uncoupling.  There are other circumstances where the person receiving the rings feels that these objects are then their property and they are forever entitled to them (the law, incidentally, is typically on their side in this case).  Whatever the scenario is, if you want to make sure you ultimately retain the rings, simply say: “Dear, you know these rings mean a lot to my family; so my mother/father/wacky Aunt Helen is making me get it in writing that if something goes awry, they then can have them back” or “If it somehow doesn’t work out with us, I just want to always have the rings to remind me of you.”  They’ll still likely know you’re spouting fabricated nonsense, but this makes it a little more palatable…like you’re actually considering their feelings.

“If you gain a lot of weight, I want out.”

Uh…there’s just no delicate way to put this one.

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-Joe Leone 

The Weird Origins of 6 Wedding Ceremony Symbols

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Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

The tradition of carrying the bride over the threshold symbolizes the entrance of a newly betrothed man and woman into their new home and their new legally married life together, but the reason behind doing those precise motions to symbolize this moment in life are less lighthearted than it may seem.

It’s not exactly new knowledge that women were considered buyable and sellable property, but you probably didn’t know about the kidnappings. Back in the day, as they say, brides were chosen by a hormonal male, and he and his tribe of merry men would hunt her down and take her—just pluck her from her surroundings—then carry back to his lair and train her to be a submissive wife. Probably wasn’t a photographer present to capture the moment…

Other, gentler versions of the history of the threshold tradition say that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits, especially in the threshold of the house, a place where spirits liked to lurk. The new husband would lift her up and protect her from said spirits as she entered her new home.

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Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Lots of evil spirits seemed to be lurking about back before we had science, and it seems they liked weddings. Bridesmaids, or friends and family of the bride, used to wear all white to match the bride, which was intended to confuse the evil spirits that wanted to hurt or kill the bride. That’s friendship right there! Nowadays, bridesmaids spend an average of $1,695 on their friends’ weddings, but back then, they risked their lives.

This tradition transformed into only the bride wearing the white dress (duh), but that trend wasn’t actually re-popularized until Queen Victoria did it in 1840. Before that, brides simply wore their best dress and the small ceremony was conducted in their homes, unless they were nobility. (Patches from the Past)

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Bride on the Left, Groom on the Right

The etiquette of placing the bride on the left and the groom on the right, it is said, is derived from the ol’ capture method of finding a wifey. Apparently, marriage had to happen quickly when the wife was a stolen good, because the husband-to-be held the bride with his left hand while slapping away the bride’s tribe with his right. (This begs the question: What happened if old boy was a lefty?) Other versions of history state that scripture is generally interpreted to place the bride on the left and the groom on the right for what seems to be no apparent reason.

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Honeymoon

The honeymoon tradition derived from yet another overt expression of ownership. The groom, after marriage, traditionally burrowed his bride away for about a month for, as one website put it, “mating purposes.” The “moon” part of the word is directly related to the bride’s menstrual cycle, and the “honey” part is related to the couple boozing it up. After getting hitched, a new couple drank honey mead, a sweet, beer-like drink that was supposed to make the woman more fertile.

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Wedding Bouquet

People stunk back then. And not just because they stole and bought girls for “breeding,” but because they plain old smell bad, especially when there are a bunch of them in a room together. Some sources say bridal bouquets did double duty on the day of the wedding, warding of both evil spirits and bad smells.

Other sources say the wedding bouquet itself was kind of stinky, being made of garlic and dill in an effort to ward off the plague. Garlic and dill were thought to prevent people from contracting the illness.

Engagement Rings

Today engagement rings are pretty much the norm for most couples getting married.  The history of the engagement ring is pretty storied in and of itself.  Before actual rings were fashioned for this purpose by civilized man, “The caveman tied cords made of braided grass around his chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control,” according to Reader’s Digest.

The concept of the “diamond engagement ring” came into vogue (not coincidentally) around 1948, just as DeBeers unleashed their “Diamonds are Forever” campaign.  As DeBeers stockpiled diamonds, they essentially had a stranglehold on the market, as they could dictate supply.  Bolstered by their catchy new marketing line, DeBeers began to foster the idea that diamond engagement rings should always be held on to, and never sold.

Luckily, for many people who have diamond jewelry they no longer need, the stigma of selling diamond rings and things has all but disappeared.  At Diamond Lighthouse, we specialize in getting people the absolute best value for their unwanted diamond jewelry.  The past will always be the past; it’s nice to know that the future looks quite bright.

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The Evolution of the American Wedding

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The romantic and whimsical tradition of the typical American wedding is embedded in the serious and very un-romantic world of finance, and many specific parts of the ceremony symbolize or mimic portions of that financial process. Let’s start with the word “wedding” itself, which comes from wedd, which literally means the purchase of a bride. “Purchase,” in this context, means exactly what it means in every other context: to buy, then own to do with it what you will, a particular piece of property. The property, in this case, was a person bought from another person for the express purpose of “sexual release, procreation, and household labor.”

We’ve moved on from that strange and creepy way of thinking, and the notion of a man owning a woman is clearly taboo in the United States at this point. In addition to altering those tired mindsets, American wedding traditions have helped enable the bride by feminizing the wedding ceremony itself, putting the women in charge of the flowery, lacey, satiny aesthetic.

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However, it took a long time for weddings to evolve to what they are today. Before the early 1800s, weddings were vastly more subdued affairs. An article in The Examiner explained that before there was a large middle class, many Americans couldn’t afford a lavish ceremony. Instead, to celebrate the union of a couple, they had intimate parties at their houses with their families, a far cry from the debt-inducing ceremonies and receptions we see today. Generally, the parties were held in the parents’ house and were held within the family’s means. To make the marriage more public, a Sunday church service was held in order to recognize them in holy matrimony.

In addition to having less extravagant ceremonies, brides wore less extravagant dresses. Many women simply wore their best dress, or bought a new dress for the occasion that was still wearable on a daily basis. Most women wore darker colors and floral patterns, partially in the name of practicality. Darker colors and floral patterns were not nearly as difficult to clean as white and ivory dresses, but they were also generally considered more stylish (Patches from the Past). The bridal veil, which was first used to hide the bride until the knot was tied should the groom not like the looks of his new wife, was added to wedding bonnets, which were often the only piece of bridal garb a bride could afford, so she wore it with a dark-colored dress.

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The bride’s emblematic white dress was popularized by Queen Victoria of Great Britain (and now has its own Wikipedia page), who chose a white satin gown for her big day. Ingenuity in an effort to mimic the stylish royalty made it possible for even middle class women to wear a white dress, and the style took off like wildfire.

After the Industrial Revolution, many Americans began to enjoy more luxuries as part of a burgeoning middle class, and the wedding ceremony was one of the main parts of life to get an upgrade. In the 1920s, just 80 years after Queen Victoria’s wedding, professional wedding planners came on the scene. By the 1950s, according to Random History, weddings were becoming uniform across the nation and brides began to rebel against those ideas. Some brides chose not to get married in churches, while others asked the whole bridal party to take a trip, giving rise to the concept of the destination wedding in the 1970s.

By the 1980s, British Royal family nuptials set a trend once again. Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s patently traditional wedding (which also has its own Wikipedia page) brought the cookie cutter marriage ceremony back into style, adding a few bucks to the average expenditure in order to mimic Di’s dream day, bringing the average cost of a wedding today up to $25,200.

The current wedding climate in the United States seems to be changing again, many wedding planners have reported. The coming of age of the kids who grew up on Harry Potter books (the first book came out in 1997, meaning the kids who were 11, Harry’s age, at the time are now nearing 30) has brought on many Harry Potter themed weddings, and the widespread embracement of nerddom has made the prospect of a high fantasy themed wedding more attractive than ever.

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One tradition that is just as prevalent as ever is the exchange of (diamond) wedding rings.  Typically the diamond wedding ring that the bride receives has a variety of smaller diamonds around the band, as opposed to the diamond engagement ring, which usually features one large diamond.  Of course, now more than ever, there are many, many variations to these ring styles that people have been exploring.  If you are in possession of a diamond ring of any sort and are looking to sell it, please check out Diamond Lighthouse.  Getting people the most money for their diamond jewelry is a tradition that we have started that is sure to last for a very long time.

Learn more.

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