Archive for the ‘Help and Advice’ Tag

What to look for when buying an Engagement Ring…

The Four Things to Look for when Buying Engagement Rings
By Dominick Donaldson

There’s something inherently special about diamonds. For centuries they’ve intrigued and fascinated many people. The earliest diamonds are believed to have been mined in India where they have been known for thousands of years. Since then, the precious stones have taken on an almost mythical status. The way they sparkle in the light is hypnotic; men and women have fallen under their spell and the history of diamonds has its fare share of stories about people going to extremes to own them.

For a long time diamonds were the preserve of the very wealthy. Several factors including how they are mined and their exclusivity pushed the price up so far many people owning diamonds was an impossible dream. But recently all that has changed and now owning a piece of jewelry with a diamond is relatively affordable. The most obvious example is the popularity of diamond rings as engagement rings.

Of course diamonds are still a luxury item with the most expensive easily fetching six figure sums when they are sold. However, the popularity of diamonds has increased since the 19th century and due to an increase in supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques and a methodical grading process there are now diamonds on the market to suit most budgets. Owning a diamond ring for most people is no longer a dream but a reality.

Diamonds are graded according to what are known as the “4C’s”, carat, clarity, colour and cut. A combination of these four factors will determine the value of a particular diamond. The very best, the ones that score highest, will become highly valuable while the ones that do not figure as high up on the grading scale will, in all likelihood, be used to make jewelry for high street stores. It’s these diamonds that are affordable to most people and these diamonds that make up the majority of sales in diamond rings and in particular, engagement rings.

Buying an engagement ring is relatively easy but it’s good to have some knowledge of diamonds before starting a search. That’s not to say you have to have an in depth knowledge of the history of diamonds but it is worth having an overview of the “4C’s” as it will help in you selection.

Carats– Carats are units of mass used to measure precious stones and pearls. A carat measures exactly 200 mg, this is also known as the metric carat and has been widely used since 1907 when it was introduced. The bigger a diamond the more carats it will have. Carats, when referring to smaller diamonds, can also be broken down into fraction, for example 0.3.

Clarity– Diamonds are graded on a clarity scale, with a ‘flawless’ diamond being the highest grade of clarity. Clarity refers to how clear a diamond is and if it has any flaws in it. Flaws occur as part of the diamond forming process. They can look like fractures, stains, or bubbles and are called ‘inclusions’.

Colour– The colour of a diamond has a big impact on its value as well. Colour, or perhaps more accurately, the absence of colour, is what an expert will look for when grading a stone. The most expensive gems will have no colour at all. The lack of color is testament to the quality and rarity of a stone as most diamonds have some colour. Diamonds come in all colours from yellow to grey and although no colour is preferable, pink diamonds are very expensive and highly desirable.

Cut– There are many different diamond cuts; pear, heart, oval, but the most popular by far is the ‘brillant cut’. This type of diamond cut is designed to get the maximum brilliance from the diamond and is the classic shape that most people think of when they picture a diamond.


Cold, Warm or Hot Feet

“Over my 25+ years in the wedding industry I have had a few brides and or grooms get cold feet. Not too many, but I remember them all because it’s just so heart-breaking in almost all cases. And on the other hand, sometimes it’s a blessing.”

Reprinted with permission by author Kim Synder   cold feet2

With the high cost of weddings today, and the even higher cost of divorce, sometimes not thinking marriage through all the way is the worst thing you can do. It can be heart breaking if the bride or groom gets cold feet and calls off the wedding, but is doing so such a bad thing? Everyone needs a ‘before you get married’ list to make sure you are truly ready for the life of holy matrimony.

Questions to ask Yourself:
1. Am I in love with the idea of marriage, or am I in love with the (wo)man? Am I just looking at the excitement of everything that it takes to put a wedding together, and not focusing on anything beyond the wedding day?
2. Am I having second thoughts before I even set the date, or even a month before the wedding?
3. Am I ready to be faithful and true to only one person for the rest of my life?
4. How honest am I with myself? What are my true feelings for my significant other?
5. If wedding plans are already in motion, am I just going along with them not for fear of hurting someone’s feelings, or making them feel like they were used for their money, or as if their money was wasted, even though I want to call the whole thing off?
6. Am I emotionally, physically, and mentally prepared for all aspects of marriage?
7. Am I ready to say ‘I do’ without any doubts that I am doing the right thing?
8. If need be, am I willing to pack up my whole life and move away from friends and family if asked?
9. Am I willing to leave my friends behind for my husband/wife or will my friends always come first?
10. Is my significant other accepted by my family? If not, why? Does it bother me if they don’t? Am I marrying him/her just to anger my family?
11. Am I willing to wait longer than I already have to make sure that I am really ready to be married to this person, or do I just want to get it over with?
12. Have we had the important talks about children, and families?
13. Do either of us have any debts, and who’s responsibility do they become once we are married?
14. Do we have the same expectations of marriage?
15. Do I like the way my significant other is around children, will they make the kind of parent I want for our children?
16. Do you see yourself married to this person for 5, 10, 25, 50 years or more?
17. If I am pregnant, am I just getting married because you feel it is the best thing to do for the baby? Am I willing to wait until after the child is born to make sure that I am marrying out of love and not a sense of duty?
18. Have we talked with our religious leaders? Have we made any decisions as to what faith to practice and with which we will raise our children?
19. If we are not currently living together, am I willing to give up my home to move into his/hers, or to give up the space in my home for him/her to move in with me?
20. If I am a virgin, do I really understand what will happen on my wedding night? Am I ready to take that step with this man/woman?
21. Am I getting married just to keep my significant other in my life? Will they leave if I don’t marry them whether I am ready to do so or not?
22. Do I see myself waking up next to him or her every morning? Does the thought put a smile on my face?
23. Do I trust my fiancé with my life, my heart, and my soul?
24. Do I look forward to life after my wedding with a smile on my face, or do I feel unsure and fearful?
25. Am I getting married because all of my friends are married and I feel left out?
26. Can I imagine my life without this person by my side helping me through it?

These are not cold unfeeling questions you must ask yourself; these are questions you need to ask yourself to make sure in your heart that s/he is the one. These questions will potentially save you and everyone involved a lot of pain and heartbreak. It may be difficult to be adult enough to stop the wedding before the date, but it will be a huge emotional disaster (and even more costly) to decide just days after the wedding that you made the biggest mistake of your life.

You really need to ask yourself if you are getting married for all the right reasons. Never allow yourself to be pushed into getting married if you are not emotionally ready to give all of yourself to that person. You can not just go along with marriage. Waiting months, days, or even years to get married is never as heartbreaking as realizing after the fact that you just blew it. If the person you love is not willing to wait, maybe they are not the right person for you.

Talk to your future spouse about your feelings. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, this could be a warning sign for problems ahead. An honest open relationship is the foundation of a happy marriage. If you do not feel you can talk to him/her about your doubts, if they tell you it’s nothing to worry about, if they react badly, or do not respect your feelings, then you definitely should consider postponing or canceling your wedding.

Cold feet1

Sit down and write out all of the reasons you love him/her, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your doubts, and your dislikes. Listen to your heart and pray about it. Talk about it with a trusted friend or someone who is willing to help you see both sides of the question. Make sure you are able to talk freely with this person to see if marriage is really the way to go.

If you decide after answering all of these questions that you just have a case of cold feet and your life as you know it is not ending, go ahead and plan the wedding. Get yourself prepared for the biggest day of your life.

Copyright 2008 Kim Snyder, owner Overall Beauty Minerals. Home of Magic Lash Eyelash Enhancer! Visit her today at

These Little Cuties…

During the winter months Bartlett Hills Golf Club & Banquets will host special events from time to time. These events include Bridal Shows, Crop Parties, Craft & Vendor Fairs and our now famous Girls Night Out, which always takes on a fun theme such as “An Evening in Paris” or “New Orleans Night”. This past winter one of our many clever vendors who typically would do cork art with birdhouses and message boards, spanned her talent to ornaments. I thought they were absolutely adorable! Not seeing a bride or groom I asked the vendor if she would consider making a sample for me. And guess what, she did. Bless you Donna. I love them and think they would make great gifts, cake toppers, package favors and so much more.

Here’s 2 pictures (as it is, my Olympus camera just does not do these cuties any favors):

Wine Cork Bride & Groom           Bride & Groom Cork Figures

Are they not adorable! Can’t you think of at least a dozen uses for them.

If you would like more information on cork art  you can contact:

Donna Zommer at

Many Shades of a Wedding


A new trend we saw quite a bit of at Bartlett Hills this past wedding season is what is known as a “Ombre Wedding”. Many brides were probably not even aware that they were having an ombre themed wedding. Ombre in French means shade. Designers are predicting that this trend will be very popular in 2013 as well.

Following are some sample pictures:

Ombre purple        Shades of Blue     Ombre Candy Station in Pinks

Wedding Flowers-Centerpeices

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I advise my couples to visit with their Wedding Florist before their tasting here at Bartlett Hills. We offer fresh flower vases for all your guests tables and it will be helpful for you to have already chosen the blooms you will be using for your bouquets, boutonnieres and other floral needs.

With so many choices I can see why my brides’ are so overwhelmed when it comes to their centerpieces.

Try to incorporate some fun while you are preparing for your first florist appointment. Here are a few ideas to help make your first florist appointment go smoothly and to be sure that you are prepared, so that you can enjoy your first appointment rather than worry about what is going to happen. Here are some fun and unique ideas to prepare you for that first appointment.

Dream a little or dream it big.  Make a list of every single type of flower you absolutely love. Write down the color scheme you plan on using. Make a list of every possible place in your wedding that you can use flowers. Then think about how you would like to include those floral favorites into your bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, altar flowers and centerpieces.

Have your flowers express your love, Your wedding day is the perfect day to express your love. Why not show your love through your flowers? Flowers tend to symbolize certain feelings. For example, red roses represent love, passion and desire. The Calla Lily symbolizes magnificent beauty, orchids represent ecstasy and pansies symbolize the ‘unspoken’ thoughts between lovers. Your florist will be able to help you to select the flowers special to you and your fiance that will share your feelings with all of your friends and family.

Let the ‘true’ experts of the past be your role model – Ivy was carried by Greek brides as a symbol of never-ending love. Orange blossoms were carried by Queen Victoria as a symbol of happiness and fulfillment. Now, look back at your own ancestors or family traditions. This is a great way to bring in beauty and special meaning to your special day.


What is your vision? Know your tastes. Are you looking for bold or simple? What about elegant or extravagant? If you have some idea of what you are looking for, you will be able to spend more time on creating the style you are looking for, rather than deciding on a style. Of course, you could change your mind altogether when you go to that first appointment, but at least you have considered your own tastes.

Determine your wedding style, Your style is not the same as your vision. Are you intending to carry a dramatic, long bunch of flowers or a tight posy of blooms? Plus, carry this same wave of thinking into what the other members of the wedding party will have. Should your mom wear a corsage or carry a nosegay? Should the bridesmaids carry a single stem flower or a bouquet? Your style could not match your budget. However, a creative florist will find something within your price range to create the style of wedding you have dreamed of

If you take some time to figure out your style and vision, you will be that much more prepared for that first florist visit. The more you can decide before you get to that appointment, the less overwhelming it will be. You will be able to enjoy selecting colors and bouquets, rather than rushing in these decisions because you are so completely unsure of your own tastes!

The Ultimate Maid of Honor Speech

This article has some great ideas for speech giving:

The Ultimate Maid of Honor Speech.

Bartlett Hills Awarded “Best of the Knot” for Wedding Reception Venue 2013

Image representing The Knot as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It is with great pleasure that I share with you that Bartlett Hills Golf Club & Banquets has been chosen as one of  Chicago suburbs “THE BEST OF THE KNOTwedding reception venues for 2013.

We would like to thank all our amazing couples who took the time to rave about their wedding day experience at Bartlett Hills.  This highly prestigious award will be featured on The Knot starting January 23, 2013.


Blue Knot Badge