Wedding Band or Wedding “Brand”?

From time to time, we discuss men’s wedding bands. Should they wear them? Do they have to? Should they match the bride’s wedding band? Should they be simple or plain, gold or platinum, yadda, yadda, yadda. Never before has it entered my mind that the wedding band is intended to keep your husband from cheating on you after marriage. I thought it was to signify that your love is like a circle, it has no beginning and no end.  It appears as though someone has other ideas.

Introducing the titanium “anti-cheating” wedding band, which temporarily brands your partner’s finger with the words, “I’m Married.”  The ring is available on, a  website that specializes in inappropriate gifts. Inappropriate?  You bet! Problem solved? Not so much.

One problem is that someone thinks a wedding ring stops cheating. Everyone who thinks this is true, raise your hand ( put your hands down). Do you think Rielle Hunter had no idea John Edwards was Married? Do you think this ring would have stopped her…or him?

Another problem is that if you are placing this on someone’s finger (for real) in a wedding ceremony it means you think they can’t be trusted. If you don’t trust them on your wedding day or in the beginning of the marriage, you don’t have a chance in five years.

Having said all of that, I do think there is a market for everything.  If you are into satire and have a delightfully inappropriate sense of humor, this might be the perfect ring for both of you. Otherwise, you are better off exchanging rings with tracking devices.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


With this ring, I thee view with paranoia: This titanium "anti-cheating" wedding band temporarily brands your partner's finger with the words, "I'm Married."

What Your Engagement Ring Says About You

In most cases, the groom proposes with ring in hand. There are, of course other instances where the bride-to-be goes ring shopping with her future fiance (although I’m not really sure how that works). However you slice it, your engagement ring should be something you love that suits your personality and something you are proud of and willing to wear for a lifetime.

Visit to have a look at the best of diamond rings and choose the one that best suits you.

In reality your fiance should know your personality well enough to know your likes and dislikes, your taste in jewelry is a big part of that. Whether it is a 2 carat or 10 carat ring, it should reflect your personality. Remember, size isn’t everything! So, what does your ring say about you?

Round Cut:  Put together, never boring and always dressed appropriately for any event.

Traditional engagement ring with round diamond solitaire

Oval Cut: Polished to perfection, no detail is overlooked and no one can take the spotlight away from you.

Engagement ring with oval center stone surrounded by smaller diamonds
Cushion Cut: Timeless style and grace are your motto. You can wear everything in your closet because nothing is trendy or outdated…. ever.

Cushion-cut engagement ring from De Beers


Princess Cut: The name says it all – you are a total princess. The glitter, sparkles, ruffles are not lost on you and your wedding will be a fairytale event  not to be forgotten.

Princess-cut engagement ring by Jeff Cooper

Emerald Cut: Stylish and sophisticated. You might have a tendency to upstage everyone in the room and your wedding will be no different.

Emerald-cut engagement ring

Pear Cut: Classic but contemporary and chic. Your closet is filled with shoes and accesories to compliment each and every outfit to perfection.

Pear-shaped engagement ring by Spectrum Diamonds Sylvie Collection

Marquis Cut – Old School glamorous. There is nothing too good for you and you both know it. He won’t have to get down on one knee to propose because he has you on a pedestal.

Marquise-cut engagement ring by A.Jaffe

Heart  Shaped Cut: Although you may be a tough lady on the outside, you are really just a shameless romantic…. and that’s why he loves you.

Heart-shaped engagement ring from Tiffany & Co.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Engagement Ring Etiquette

The most recent celebrity dispute over engagement ring ownership stems an old debate: “Who keeps the ring if the engagement is broken off?” Clearly Jesse James and Kat Von D were madly, desperately in love when he popped the question with a $50,ooo  Neil Lane engagement ring. Now, the wedding is off and apparently so are the gloves. He said she needs to return the ring, she said he cheated, he said it was intended for her to keep only if they got married, she said “No way!”  Much like  the Kardashian/ Humphries debacle (although the wedding clearly took place in the latter example) this is another example of bad judgement and bad manners. To Kim K’s credit, she has offered to buy back the $2 million ring from her husband of 2 months…. it turns out she made arrangements for this in the pre-nup.

Etiquette dictates  the rule as follows: If the man breaks off the engagement, the woman keeps the ring. If the woman stops short of the altar, the groom-NOT-to-be keeps the rock.  Size doesn’t matter, whether  it is a 20 carat ring or a diamond chip, the rules still apply. There is only one exception to this rule: family heirlooms. If  he hands you his grandmother’s ring (the one she wore while your grandfather was stationed overseas in WWII, anxiously awaiting his return so they could being their lives together) you are obligated by the laws of morality and kindness to give it back to him.

However, the legal system doesnt always agree with the rules of etiquette. There are a mutitude of cases where the courts have ruled in favor of one party or another, whether they were they were at fault or not. This begs the question, “Why would you want to keep a reminder of a soured relationship?” Because legally, acceptance of the ring represents a binding contract according to legal experts specializing in these type of pre-matrimonial disputes.  Another legal twist occurs when ring was given as a present for a birthday or Christmas. In this case the law in most states declare the ring to be a gift and treated as such.

For me, spending this kind of negative energy and paying lawyers to settle things is a waste of time. However, if I found myself in a relationship where the groom-to-be was  repeater cheater, abuser or basic jackass and it had to be ended (mid-engagement) … I would probably keep the ring and defend myself in court if need be, sans lawyer.

What do you think?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Tis the Season – Holiday Proposals

Whether you opt for the grand gesture, something private or somewhere in between…. this is definitely the most popular time of year to pop the question. But, before you rent the Times Square ticker on New Years Eve, make sure you know your fiance well enough to know what kind of proposal she will be the most likely to respond to in a positive manner. There are only 3 rules to popping the question:

RULE # 1 – Know your audience . I will admit that I watched the Kardashian Khaos long enough to see Kris Humphries on bended knee with rose petals scattered into the words “Will You Marry Me?” A seemingly intimate proposal with a twist: reality tv cameras rolling for the world to see their personal romance unfold.  Ladies, there is some accountablity on your part as well. Make sure your fiance knows your likes and dislikes and what she considers romantic vs. sappy.  The reality: Humphries proposal should have come with a stack of pancakes and it only reinforces my somewhat skeptical view of grand romantic gestures. However, this proposal was designed for a woman who loves the spotlight. He knew exactly what he was doing and who he was proposing to…. a quiet dinner without an audience would have left his future ( and now former) fiance wanting more.

RULE #2 – It’s your proposal, too. If you met at a Cubs game, went on your first date to a Cubs game, have season tickets together and named your dog Wrigley… getting engaged at the season opener is definitely the way to go. If you share hobbies like playing golf or wine tasting, these are great time to incorporate that into your proposal. If you are both wacky, go wacky! If you are both animal lovers – use that. Be careful, though, dogs have been known to swallow diamond rings.

RULE#3 – Never propose without a ring. Every woman is different, we all have different wants and needs, we all have different taste. And trust me, not every woman wants or needs a 10 carat diamond. The 3 month salary guideline was set by the diamond industry not by lawmakers. Spend only what you are comfortable spending, a proposal from the heart with a modest ring beats a sparkly reminder of debt every time. But, make no mistake a proposal without a ring is not a proposal.

One of the most exhilarating and romantic part of your wedding is the proposal; the story will be told re-told for years to come. Of course no matter how you decide to propose, it is important to wait for the right moment and always, always  make sure you know the answer.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Man-gagement Rings…. Yea or Nay?

The practice of proposing with a diamond ring ( to seal the deal) dates back to the 15th century. A practice that until recently has strictly been the job of the man to present his future bride wth a sparkly token of his affection. More than just a token of affection, it is a way of saying “You’re mine, now and you’re  officially off limits to everyone else.”  So, for the duration of the engagement the bride is known to be off-limits and yet the groom has no identifying marks to tell other women “Back off – he’s taken!” Of course this is an over-simplification but, it reminds us that although you are not yet married, the engagement is a serious commitment.

Abut two years ago jewelers started to see a new trend in engagement rings, one they call “man- gagement’ rings. The sales are up over two hundred percent and it seems to be catching on. Although this may seem ludicrous at first, it has caught on to the point where 45% of brides on a survey reported they would be happy to invest in a man-gagement ring. Realisticaly for less than a thousand dollars to ‘mark your territory’ it seems like a bargain. One of the more famous trendsetters is Jennifer Hudson, who slipped a $15,000 Neil Lane ring on then-boyfriend David Otunga.

The man-gagement ring is not the same as it’s female counterpart in many ways:
It is not to be worn with the wedding band on the same finger. It is generally switched to the other hand after the wedding.

The diamond industry has yet to impose a 2 months salary guideline for the purchase price.

The rings are usually very masculine and although some may feature diamonds, the diamond is not the focal point.

Jewelers speculate this trend stems from two things: the legalization of gay marriages and the rise of women proposing to men. Whatever the reason, the jewelry industry is reaping the benefits, reporting that they can’t keep these rings on the shelves.

Of course not all men are into this trend, especially those who don’t even plan to wear  wedding band but, I can name five men who would wear one in a heartbeat…. and do so proudly. I can also name five men who wear diamond pinky rings and one of them has a pinky ring featuring three 2 carat flawless diamonds. If you are counting, that is 6 carats of diamonds  and he is not an Elvis impersonator. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with a man who would wear a diamond ring… to me they are just secure with their masculinity. I love this trend and I hope it continues to grow.

Engagement Ring Dilemma!

What do you do if your fiance gives you an engagement ring and you hate it? It is hard to imagine but, this does happen. I can tell you firsthand that being on the receiving end of an expensive engagement  ring that you do not want to wear or that you really do not like is a sticky wicket. Do you declare your feelings up front, learn to deal with it or subversively create your own solution? Whatever the situation is you can rely on the engagement ring designs from Metal Couture to choose as per your style quotient.

In my case, I waited. Picture this: I open a small jewelry box, knowing what was inside and opened to find the most hideous thing I had ever seen. There was white and yellow gold, pave diamonds, brushed and satin finish combined all together in this giant lump. It was like a diamond turd, no kidding. When I saw it I cried, literally tears came rushing down my cheeks. My (now) husband thought they were tears of joy and I did not want to destroy the moment for him. I wore it for months. I wore it and waited until the opportunity presented itself for me to tell him it was not suited to my taste. I went back to the jeweler where he got it and exchanged it for a simple diamond band. The new ring I selected was supposed to come in a set of three but, I left the other two behind feeling like taking all three was a bit much. Unbeknownst to me my husband went in hours later and bought both remaining bands which he presented to me years later, at the birth of each of our two children. He may have bizarre taste in jewelry but, he has impeccable timing and great planning skills.  I love my rings, but I love my husband more and his feelings were important to me. Important enough that if the appropriate opportunity had not come up I woud still be wearing the diamond turd and probably loving it by now.
My story has a happy ending but what do you do if the solution is not so simple, your fiance is sensitive, he doesn’t have a friend who owns a  jewelry store or there is just no way you can bear to wear the ring?

Don’t hold back.  When people hold things in, eventually they come out and you’d hate to be arguing one day and go off because you’re steaming about your ring.

Don’t waste any time. Most stores have a 30 day policy regarding exchanges. After that you will be paying considerably more to get something you like. Costco diamond jewelry comes with  open end guarantee. You can bring it back for any reason at any time for a full refund or exchange.  Who buys their engagement ring at Coscto? Don’t laugh- their  diamonds have been rated as high as one (much pricier) major jewelry company in many independent surveys.

Be sensitive.This is especially true if it is his grandmother’s ring, or a family heirloom. Subtly ask if you can have it re-styled to suit your hand. Maybe you have tiny hands and it is large ring, or vice verse. Here are some fool-proof (and often true) excuses that ease the burden for the gentleman in question:

It’s top heavy and spins on my finger

Baguettes get cloudy too quickly

Channel set diamonds are too hard for me to keep clean

The prongs keep getting caught on things (followed by ) and I’m afraid the diamond will fall out

Marquis cut diamonds make my fingers look fat

My skin reacts to yellow gold.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that this is now your responsibility, you  have to either wear it as is or “speak now or forever hold your peace”. You cannot have it both ways. If you decide to hold onto it, you are not allowed to bring it up years later or throw it in his face constantly, this is a recipe for disaster.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago