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GRAND RAPIDS

Wedding The Ring | Bride’s Day | Bridal Wear Bling


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First comes love then

the ring

Banding Together: Trends, Choices and Custom Creations By J. Stapleton-Burch

Practically all jewelers will tell you that your choice of engagement and wedding rings should be guided solely by love and personal preference rather than current trends or input from family or friends. After all, if you work it right you’ll be seeing it every day for the rest of your life.

“S

ometimes brides stress more about the wedding dress that they’ll be wearing for one day than the ring they’ll be wearing for a lifetime,” noted Debra Clegg of Preusser Jewelers, Michigan’s oldest jeweler with a 161-year history in downtown Grand Rapids.

“I tell brides, ‘follow your heart and get what you really want.’” According to Clegg, the modern-vintage look is very popular with today’s brides. “These rings have a vintage feel but with a modern twist. The designs are multidimensional with a lot of scrolls and wirework


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Selection and buying tips

that lends a full 360-degree presence from every angle rather than just a spectacular top view.” Preusser’s stocks a full array of leading wedding designer lines but also makes custom-designed rings. Clegg notes that a current trend is toward the more ornate or embellished ring over the single solitaire, while white metals such as platinum and white gold are favored. Diamonds can be sourced in a variety of colors with round diamonds remaining as the most preferred shape, followed by square stones with Radiant and Princess cuts. Growing in popularity are the Asscher cut, which is a square emerald cut, and the cushion cut, which is a softly rounded-off square that blends well with a vintage look. with an abundance of information only a click away, today’s brides are much more educated than past generations regarding the

famous “four Cs” of diamond selection — cut, clarity, color and carat weight. They are also well informed about the qualities of precious metals and the plethora of style options available. “often clients have done a lot of research before they come into our store. we try to slow things down and offer a relaxed atmosphere so that everyone feels comfortable with the whole process” said Jeff Juhas of Juhas and sullivan Jewelry/Design. with a combined total of over 60 years in the industry, Juhas and sullivan specialize in unique, customdesigned jewelry made entirely onsite, but also offer designer-made lines exclusive to their store. “A gentleman may even have pictures on his iPhone of styles his fiancé favors, but we like to ask a lot of questions to help him make the right selection. It’s important to understand their lifestyles and activities, how the rings will be worn, whether they prefer traditional or contemporary styles or a mix of both,” he said, explaining that those with very active or athletic lifestyles or who work in a medical field might prefer a lower-mounted setting or even opt for a single band set with gemstones that will serve as both the engagement and wedding ring — a popular option for the

If you love vintage but you like modern as well, no one does this unique blending of two era’s better than SimonG available at Preusser Jewelers.

BrideS, respect the groom’s budget. If you want a bigger stone, consider changing the clarity a notch to stay within budget yet still get the carat-weight you desire. If your rings are different styles, one way to unify their look is to select the same metal. If you’re opting for custom bands, take your ideas to a local jeweler who does their work onsite and give them at least six weeks to finish the job. However, the custom-design jewelers quoted in this story can usually turn things around much quicker. If you’re wearing a family heirloom, consider shopping for a vintage-style wedding band or have one made in a similar style for your spouse. If durability is your main concern, investigate titanium wedding rings, which have a smoky silver or platinum look. Although not considered a precious metal, they are nearly indestructible. (However, they may be impossible to cut off if future “expansion” requires.) If you’ve inherited good-quality gold or gemstones but want your own style ring, they can be refashioned into your own design. If diamonds aren’t your thing, remember to stick with harder stones such as sapphires or rubies; softer stones such as emeralds are too fragile for a lifetime of daily wear. Always insure your rings and don’t count on those “lifetime warranties” offered at the big-box stores. Usually some incident happens that causes the stone to fall out, or if it’s lost or stolen, it isn’t covered by warranty.


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right: Petite flush bead set halo engagement rings available in 18K and Platinum at Juhas and Sullivan. Below: Pave’ bands with bezel set diamonds available with round or asschercut diamonds available in 18K and Platinum

The following are designer collections or ring styles that will pair well with your personality: TRADITIONAL: Luminar (Classic designs that stand the test of time; not trendy) MODERN: Frank Reubel ROMANTIC: Ritani, eternity bands with diamonds set around the entire ring; Veraggio UNCONVENTIONAL: A custom-made ring ATHLETIC: Frank Reubel HIGH FASHION: Michael M.; Peter Storm; Simon G. ADVENTUROUS: Consider a hard gemstone or colored diamond. SENTIMENTAL: Select an estate piece or family heirloom and have it restored for durability.

These exquisite wedding rings are Canna & Eriskay from Mae Vona, the ultimate vision of Scottish jeweler and designer Maeve Gillies. See DeVries Jewelers for these and other MaeVona designs and customization.

fiancé,” DeVries observed. “with the introduction of alternative metals such as tungsten-carbide, titanium, cobalt, and steel into the market, the options have more than doubled, with durability on the constant rise.” “Today’s clients are much more sophisticated and each person is an individual who wants to express their own personal style rather than put a premium on matching styles,” Juhas added. “For men, there are so many choices out there now, but they need to look to the future. Titanium is not indestructible, you can scratch it; the tungsten-carbide trend offers an attractive, inexpensive gray metal ring, but it’s not lifetime quality. you could drop it and it could shatter. we believe wedding rings should be made of precious metals because they’re durable.” when creating custom designs, Carol wagen, owner of Metal Art studio explained that couples usually want their rings to look like they belong together, but they don’t have to match exactly. “Typically we design her ring first, and then choose elements of that design to incorporate into his ring,” she said.

PhotograPhy by PreCision set Fine JeWeLry WorKs (toP)

Bridal style: What type of bride are you?

more mature or second-time bride. “younger couples tend to be more traditional and like the idea of both a wedding band and engagement ring, but there are absolutely no set rules; it’s wide open and about personal preferences. whether the gentleman wants the romance of surprising her with a ring or she wants to be involved in the selection or custom-design process, we want the person who will be wearing it to be totally thrilled with the outcome.” Dan DeVries concurred. He is the fourthgeneration to run DeVries Jewelry, which has been family owned and located on the city’s west side since 1901. “when looking at rings, women will tend to favor a certain style. For example, do they desire a contemporary setting or a more antique look? Are they leaning toward a simple and elegant solitaire or are diamonds on the mounting important? They often keep returning to a certain piece that has caught their eye and the selection is clear. Just like finding your fiancé, you know when it is the right ring for you.” Both Juhas and DeVries agree that hisand-her matching rings no longer carry the significance they did in the past. “Today’s groom is more worried about durability and wear than finding the exact match to the ring of their


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Two designers, one great look. Linda McMurry’s five diamond stick band with Scott Carey’s aspen leave band of Metal Art Studio.

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“For example, we made a beautiful Aspen Leaf band with flush-set diamonds for the bride, and we made the groom’s ring flat with leaves on one edge. They looked great together. Many times, just having the same style — clean and contemporary or organic and handmade — is enough.” In the long run, your engagement and wedding rings are sentimental pieces to be loved, cherished and passed on through future generations. Whether you choose an existing designer line, want to restore or re-craft a family heirloom piece or opt for a one-of-akind custom creation, locally based jewelers are well equipped to guide couples through the process. This means that couples are not only choosing rings, they’re also choosing a jeweler and establishing a relationship built on trust, talent and capability that will carry them through a lifetime of anniversaries and other jewelry-worthy events.

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New isn’t the only option when it comes to engagement and wedding rings. Brides with a proclivity for the beauty, charm and workmanship of the past might find the perfect solution in an antique or estate ring, or the restoration of a precious family heirloom. Local jewelry artisans such as Juhas and Sullivan can even transform pieces that don’t immediately measure up to a bride’s vision into the ring of her dreams — with its sentimentality still intact. LeMasters-Hudson Goldsmiths specialize in estate jewelry and custom designs. They are known for their repair and restoration skills and offer a large selection of estate jewelry at their Plainfield Avenue store. According to Iris LeMasters — whose artisan


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husband Patrick had a long history in repair and custom creations for top area jewelers before they opened their own store in 1983 — one good reason to consider an estate piece is its affordability. “We see a lot of rings that have passed down from generation to generation and we may only have to re-tip it,” Iris said. “It may require putting a new shank back on it or we can weld bands to the piece for reinforcement. We can totally rebuild a ring in a way that preserves all of the original gold yet still reinforces the piece for durability.” Those seeking a larger carat stone can pick out a replacement estate diamond or find one to mount in a ring missing its original gemstone. Another option is a newly designed ring using bits and pieces from the past. “A couple may bring in their aunts’, mothers’ and grandmothers’ diamonds and we take those stones from generations past and put them together into one piece,” Iris explained. “If the gold is high enough quality to salvage we can strip down a ring, or melt down several pieces to create your own design. That way you’re still getting the whole history and its family legacy, just rearranged into a new piece.” Patrick hand carves such pieces out of wax and can create a matching or similar ring for the spouse as well. With a jeweler onsite at all times, the work is done in the store with a quick turnaround on custom pieces as well as on-the-spot repairs. And as a member of a polygon of jewelers, they can easily source any stone desired, including beautiful blue and rare red diamonds.

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left: Matching palladium bands inspired by fabric designed by Scott Carey of Metal Art Studio. right: New and old diamonds sparkle together in celebration. Two-tone sweep ring by Scott Carey.

That same level of old-world artisanship can be found at Metal Art studio, whose expertise includes custom design, designer jewelry, and expert jewelry repair. They offer all the classics like traditional solitaires, designer rings, one-of-a-kind custom rings and restored heirlooms. Their in-house jewelry department has been designing and creating custom jewelry since 1990. The three jewelers on staff, scott Carey, linda McMurry and

Molly Roodvoets, are as passionate about working with clients’ ideas as they are about designing jewelry from scratch. “our clients tend to be out-of-the-box like us, so it’s not unusual for us to work in different colors of gold like pink and green as well as palladium and, of course, platinum,” said owner Carol wagen with conviction. “we’ll sell you the most amazing diamond, or work with the one you inherited. The more choices you

Designer lines specializing in Old-World artisanship whitehouSe BrotherS (DeVries Jewelry) hand-engraves filigree jewelry with designs rooted in Germany and adapted in the early 20th Century in “The Jewelry City” of Cincinnati. Influenced by the Victorian, Art Nouveau and Edwardian art-history periods, their rings are like fine lace fashioned out of platinum and diamonds. tacori (Juhas and Sullivan) is the leader in the business. “It’s heirloom-style jewelry with a vintage feel but a contemporary twist,” noted Jeff Juhas. “They specialize in incorporating details from every angle, top to bottom to sides for a high quality, cool and contemporary heirloom look. More future brides are aware of Tacori from all of the research they’ve done. Our trade journal voted them the most desired and in the most demand. We are very fortunate to offer the California-made Tacori.”

a. JaFFe (Juhas and Sullivan) is made in New York City with contemporary classic, clean designs that are beautifully done. Exclusively at Juhas and Sullivan. preciSion Set (Juhas and Sullivan) “Beautiful pieces made in Texas; very traditional, classic styles with a huge variety of wedding bands that are among the best made in the industry” said Juhas. “All three companies — Tacori, A. Jaffe and Precision Set — use 18-karet gold with palladium in the alloy that makes their metal very white.” JameS BreSKi (Preusser Jewelers) offers patterned metal with a lot of etching, pavé set stones and details with a little more profile, depending on the size of the stone. “A designer might feature a piece that has the stone higher than we suggest for a woman’s lifestyle,

but we can change that to fit her needs,” said Debra Clegg. Verragio 360-deSign (Preusser Jewelers) is the most ornate line the store carries; very extensive choices with small and large accent stones. “We get more people looking for one style and then they see Verragio and they want that instead,” said Debra Clegg. metal art Studio uses Old World techniques that give jewelry a nod to the vintage style that many women love. Pavé, micro-pavé, milgrain edges, and hand engraving are all techniques used to give a new design that special vintage style. “We love the combination of vintage and modern,” noted Carol Wagen “The results are both delicate and strong.”


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left: Craft-Revival 14K white gold split-shank engagement ring with a princess-cut center from Aurum. right: Hand-made Craft-Revival exclusive 14K white gold and 3/4 ct.t.w. pear and round diamonds in a free-form design. Below left: CraftRevival 18K white gold, 3.11ct. Tanzanite, and 1/2 ct.t.w. diamond ring in a vintage style. Below right: Hand-crafted Craft-Revival, one-of-a-kind, 14K two-tone gold, green tourmaline and diamond ring

make, the more the ring will represent you, and the more you will fall in love with it.” At Metal Art studio, their specialty is wax carving, which is quickly becoming a lost art since the development of CAD/CAM processes. “we invite our clients to be involved in every stage of the process, and give them as many opportunities to put their own personal touch on their ring as possible,” wagen continued. “we even invite our clients back to watch our jewelers pour the metal for their rings. There’s something so special and romantic about knowing the jeweler who made your ring, and being able to point to the bench where it was made.” Visitors sense that Metal Art studio is different from the moment they walk in the door. Its creativity is palpable. Just beyond their cases filled with designer and custom jewelry is a rare sensory experience, with the sounds of hammering and drilling, the smell of wax melting in the furnace, design boards hanging on the walls in the shop area, and an array of loose gemstones, rough castings and real jewelers at work. “All the stages of the process happen in our studio and clients appreciate getting the chance to learn about every detail of their ring, from the pros and cons of the metal options to how it’s carved and cast,” wagen said.

such old-world artisanship finds a perfect marriage with New-world technology at Craft-Revival, where fatherson co-owners Brandon and Jayson Case have created the ideal combination of fine artisan craftsmanship with the assistance of high-tech tools that enhance the ring-buying experience. Handcrafting everything onsite,

“i believe you really need to slip a ring onto your finger to get its full impact. so many times you might think that you like the look of a piece, but it’s when you see it on your hand that you really get to appreciate the ring.” — Jayson Case Craft-Revival offers custom pieces within the store as well as working with clients to make something entirely unique for them. “The customers who appreciate us are really focused on having something that’s one of a kind,” Jayson said. “They know that they are going to end up with an engagement or wedding ring on their finger that they’re not going to see anywhere else because it was made uniquely for them.” Craft-Revival carries their own lines of handmade jewelry along with two other handcrafted lines that Jayson


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describes as nice, modern and clean. “We offer an experience of coming downtown and making a fun evening out of purchasing your ring,” he said. “I believe you really need to slip a ring onto your finger to get its full impact. So many times you might think that you like the look of a piece, but it’s when you see it on your hand that you really get to appreciate the ring.” Jayson believes that the best way to build a trusting relationship is through honest transparency and he uses modern technology to prove the point. You can browse through their custom-design portfolio on their iPad with full knowledge of their pricing. “When I sell you a diamond, I teach you about jewelry so that you can make an educated decision,” he said. “I have a microscope that is actually a digital camera that hooks up to my computer, so when you’re viewing diamonds you’re seeing them on a 23-inch LED full-screen monitor. Every generation loves it because it’s no-holds-barred and you get to see your diamonds like you’ve never seen them before. It makes it easy to understand exactly what it is we’re talking about.” The same equipment aids in the company’s repair work. “We have such an appreciation for the design and the craftsmanship that goes into older jewelry, so it’s fun to show you what your ring looks like before and after it’s repaired,” Jayson continued. “I’m more than happy to show you my work under a microscope because I know that we did a quality job. That’s what really separates us from most other jewelers: everybody who works here and sells the jewelry are actually the people who work on and make the jewelry. We’re focused on the product and making sure that it’s a purchase you’re really going to appreciate for a lifetime. We’re doing everything we can to make sure you end up with a ring that is as unique as your relationship.”

To learn more visit www.preusserjewelers. com; www.juhasandsullivan.com; www. devriesjewelers.com; www.metalartstudioinc. com; www.lemastershudosn.com; www. craft-revival.com. n

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By J. Stapleton-Burch

Bride’s Day from ceremony to reception

While some wedding day elements remain timeless, such as white dresses and getting married in a church, there are a myriad of finishing touches and finer details where jewelry choices can help a bride express her personal style and infuse current “bling” trends into her special day. One such option is to incorporate jewelry into bouquets, boutonnieres and table décor.


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This beautiful bridal bouquet was made to be even more special with the addition of family heirlooms. The bride asked to tie on a silver pendant that her mother gave her dad on their wedding day and he carried it in his vest pocket. The brooch was given to her mother from her grandmother. Designed by Gail Vander Laan Florist.

Diamond studs placed in the center of gerber daisies.

According to Gail Vander Laan (gvfloral. com) who has been in the floral industry for over 30 years and now owns her own home-based business, for the last few years modern brides have been requesting stick-in rhinestones, crystals and pearls in their floral arrangements and bouquets. However, the vintage look has been growing in popularity recently.

“Bouquets are featuring softer, old-time flower selections such as peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs and the timeless calla lily. Today’s brides don’t want the run-of-the-mill roses. They want to make a personal statement and that’s one way to do it,” Vander Laan said. “Bridal jewelry is going toward vintage pieces, too, with more brides choosing to include a cameo pin, a vintage pendant from a grandmother or a bracelet from a loved one in their bouquet. We have also

Photography by Memories by Mandy Photography

Bottom: A collection of antique brooches was turned into an amazing and unique bouquet for this bride.


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tied a ring, locket or other jewelry into a bridal bouquet in memory of a missing loved one,” she continued. “sometimes it’s more for sentimental value than for effect because only the bride knows it’s there. However, it means something significant to her.”

“Bouquets are featuring softer, old-time flower selections such as peonies, hydrangeas, lilacs and the timeless calla lily. Today’s brides don’t want the run-of-the-mill roses. They want to make a personal statement and that’s one way to do it.” — gail Vander Laan Although Vander laan has not been asked to create one yet, she said that she was aware of a new trend that creates a bridal bouquet from a combination of fabric flowers clustered together with a full collection of vintage rhinestone brooches. And familymember corsages can now be worn on the wrist by virtue of a nice little bracelet to which flowers are attached. “It’s a huge improvement over those silver elastic bands that formerly affixed wrist corsages,” she noted. Another way to bring jewelry to the party is in the form of lapel pins that are embedded in the boutonnieres of the groom and his attendants. “one University of Michigan fan brought “M” pins for everyone in his party and they were stuck in the middle of a single yellow chrysanthemum,” she explained. some popular jewelry-influenced trends for table décor include strings of crystal beading draped from tall branches, Dogwood branches festooned with sparkle beads, and live curly willow branches with teardrop crystals and icy glass scattered on the tables rather than the flower petals of yore. “These looks often give the room a more open feel and adds a whimsical touch,” Vander laan said, explaining that crystal beads and jeweled clips can also be tucked into the middle of flowers for a sparkle effect. “Calla lilies are especially lovely with beads shining from the middle of each flower.”

To learn more visit gvfloral.com; www. memoriesbymandy.com. n

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Bridal wear

bling

By J. Stapleton-Burch

As MARIlyN MoNRoe sAID in the character of lorelei lee in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, “oooo, I just love finding new places to wear diamonds.� In that vein, jewelry, whether real or costume, can be incredibly flexible in its wedding applications. From tiara to toes, if a girl so wishes, she can really sparkle on her special day.


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According to lisa walli, a bridal consultant with Bridal elegance in Ada (bridalelegancegr.com), an 18-year-old business owned by Kristin Carlson, one way to bejewel a bride’s look is with a crystal-studded tiara or headdress boasting seed pearl accents. “every bride is so different; many choose not to even wear a veil anymore, although we have seen more requests recently for the short birdcage style that covers the face. However, we do have veils with beading along the edges and a pretty appliqué of beading at its base or with crystals along the finished edges, which

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seem to be very popular. If they have chosen an elaborate or ornate gown, the bride may choose to forego a necklace and opt instead for a bold earring style and/or bracelet. There are really no obvious trends because it’s such an individual choice.” Walli notes that today’s brides are either very blingy and need to jazz things up; are very romantic and prefer lace and a string of pearls; or are looking for something simple and classic. However, bridal belts or sashes can really change the whole look of most any dress. “We have one sash available that is jeweled in the front with Swarovski crystals and ties in the back with a flowing ribbon down the length of the gown. It makes a very beautiful addition to an otherwise

simple gown and can really make a personal statement,” she said, adding that jeweled straps or removable cap sleeves can be added to most strapless gowns in order to add a little glitz or accommodate religious requirements. A couple of pretty brooches can go from bouquet to a ribbon sash or hair, or even be used as shoe clips. “We also have a nice selection of hair combs with jewellike accents as well.” She recommends that anything planned for use as a hair ornament be purchased early enough so that when a bride visits her stylist for a pre-wedding consultation, they can be worked into the overall hairstyle. “This allows the bride to see exactly how it will look on her big day.” Yet another way to add the sparkle of

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jewels to your overall appearance is through the use of beaded bags and shoes. “We have some very cool Mary Frances purses that are covered with crystals for a jeweled look and a little bit of everything when it comes to blingy shoes,” Walli continued. “Our elite line is Benjamin Adams that offers everything from a simple bejeweled strap or jewels only on the toe, to those that are scattered with Swarovski crystals or even fully covered. They’re very beautiful and when it comes to shoes, brides definitely enjoy jewelling themselves up.” As one of the partners in Lansing’s familyowned bridal salon known as Fantastic Finds (fantasticfinds.com), Sue Rosenberger is an expert on bridal bling. Fantastic Finds is a unique 38-room Victorian home that has been converted to a full-service bridal store. Over its 25-year history, Fantastic Finds has become a bridal destination known throughout the state and beyond. Most clients describe it as the closest thing to a “Say Yes to the Dress” experience in the vicinity. “It’s like coming home for the bride, and is a place where she gets pampered and catered to,” Rosenberger explained. “We are not a self-service store. We have consultants that work with each bride, and we shop bridal

designers all over the world to bring in the best silhouettes to give our brides something different than what she is going to see at every other bridal salon.” In Rosenberger’s estimation, Swarovski crystals play an important role in bridal accessories because they have the look and shimmer of great jewelry without the cost of diamonds. For the lustrous look of pearls, their jewelry designers typically use the more affordable fresh-water variety. “Today’s brides want to make a personal statement with their jewelry choices because wedding gowns have a little more bling than the simple silhouettes that used to be popular,” Rosenberger explained. “The jewelry has to accommodate that shift. A statement is important — not just a single pearl or diamond stud — but jewelry that has a design and uniqueness to it. At Fantastic Finds we seek out independent, made-in-the-USA jewelry designers who can look at the design of a bridal gown and create jewelry that coordinates with the dresses.” The hottest trend in wedding dress accessories right now are colorful, un-beaded sashes in ribbon, satin or with flowers; very jeweledup belts or sashes with a lot of beading. We never cease to be amazed by what one little


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sash can do for a dress. it can be worn at the waist or empire style to make the dress truly your own. Rosenberger further explained that rather than coordinated pieces from the same jewelry line, her consultants may tap several different designers to create a specific look for one bride. “It’s about the overall look. If a bride wants a romantic look and selects a lace dress, we’re going to find her jewelry with a vintage look. We have literally searched all over the country to find those specific looks. A bride’s jewelry should not only match her personality but should also coordinate with what’s going on in the veil, the headpiece, the hair, the makeup; everything to create the whole look from the neck up. And your jewelry should never be just for the wedding, but should also accommodate future social occasions. After all, on your anniversaries the dress might not fit, but the jewelry always will if chosen correctly.”

To learn more visit bridalelegancegr.com; www.fantasticfinds.com. n

2925 Wood St., Lansing, MI FantasticFinds.com

“Say Yes” to your dress . .. .

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2012 Grand Rapids Wedding