Monday, May 27, 2013

Tips for Planning a Cheap Wedding by Miss Know It All

Yes, that is right. I said, “Cheap Wedding.”  Do not stand on ceremonies when it comes to saving money. Why spend humongous amounts of cash, refinance a home, or use credit cards on a wedding that might not last for more than a second.  

In New York City, the average wedding can cost $77,000. If you have disposable income, then go ahead and plan that extravagant affair. However, if you are in a financial hole, as most of us are in this economy, you can still have a fabulous wedding without going into debt.

Following are some ideas to help you plan that extraordinary and penny-pinching wedding. The extra cash you will save can go toward putting a down payment on a house, investing in the stock market or buying a certificate of deposit, even if you are only getting a one percent return. At least, you will have extra money for that rainy day.

Rather than have fancy and expensive invitations printed by a vendor, print the invitations yourself on plain 20 lb. paper, and do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope for your guests to RSVP. Chances are they will remove the postage stamp, never reply and still show up at your wedding.

You can save money, pain, and suffering, brought on by family, friends, and future in-laws, by going straight to City Hall.

If you must have that designer wedding dress, rent rather than purchase or ask to borrow a friend’s or relative’s dress.

Instead of having an elaborate reception at some exclusive banquet hall, celebrate your union at McDonalds, Burger King or KFC, and let your guests pay at cost.

Use fake foliage instead of fresh flowers.

Forget the eight-tier wedding cake. Serve cookies or cupcakes.

If you want to save money on food and drinks, have guests bring their own dish and/or liquor.

Instead of hiring a stretch limousine, use public transportation, roller skate, bike, walk, or jog to your destinations.

For music, bring a radio and tune into a station that plays non-stop melodies.

Ask your guests to take photos and videos of your wedding ceremony and reception. You will save a fortune. Chances are the photographer and/or videographer will end up taking lousy images, go out of business, or disappear with all of your money.

For your honeymoon, rent a travel video of the place you would like to visit, and pretend you and your mate are there.

In lieu of gifts, ask for cash.

Well that is it. These tips may sound tacky, but your wedding will be the talk of the town.

If you have some money-saving tips for a great wedding, we would like to hear from you in the comment area.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Lobola, a Common Practice between Families of the Bride and Groom by Vivienne Diane Neal

I am hooked on Generations, a popular soap opera that comes out of South Africa. The drama centers on men and women from diverse social and economic backgrounds and deals with love, romance, relationships, power, greed, money, and all the good stuff that human beings face on a daily basis.

Awhile back, one of the storylines focused on two characters, Sibusiso, a successful businessperson, and Ntombi, an independent and no-nonsense journalist who are planning to tie the knot. The bride’s father is a well-respected leader in his community. The couple had to participate in Lobola, which is a century old custom practiced in many African countries and is similar to a dowry observed in various Asian societies.

The Lobola process is sometimes baffling to many contemporary couples since they must follow certain protocols. The families may have known each other or lived side by side for many years, but they do not know each other on the level of the Lobola exchange. Since parents are not acquainted with each other at the height of the seriousness and sanctity of marriage, all discussions between them must be in writing and not by telephone, email, or via a swift visit.

Because the extended family is an important element in the African culture, especially in the institution of marriage, relatives, typically uncles of the groom perform the negotiations and not the groom’s prospective parents.

An impressive observance with dignity is involved when the negotiating "sides" from the families come together. The tension between the two parties involved in the negotiations is often broken by a bottle of brandy placed on a table. Even though the bottle may be unopened, it indicates the least amount of anxiety and an acceptance of the guests.

The talks can take a couple of days and will usually center on the number of cattle paid as the bride price. There is a current variation to this theme.  Commonly, it is not cattle but the talk of money. Cattle are symbolic and represent certain amounts of money. Once the bride price or Lobola is established, the dialogues are formally over. Still, before the actual wedding, the following of certain rules is mandatory. The young couple cannot meet until the actual wedding ceremony.

Lobola is still popular because it promotes harmony between the married couples and their families and upholds a sense of dignity and support, which can aid the marriage and encourages a harmonious union.

To find The Africa Channel on your Cable TV, visit The Africa Channel

Monday, May 13, 2013

What You Should Know before You Buy That Diamond Ring by Miss Know It All

You know the old expression, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” but they can also be her worst nightmare if she ends up with two carrots instead of two carats.

Before you purchase your diamond, certify in writing the Four “C’s”: Cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Have your gem appraised by an independent and reputable gemologist, not one recommended by the jeweler.

Be aware that appraisals can vary as much as 25 percent. If you have a problem after purchasing your trinket, file a written complaint with all of the following:

Department of Consumer Affairs
Complaint Division
42 Broadway
New York, NY  10004

Jewelers Vigilance Committee
25 West 45th Street, Suite 1406
New York, NY  10036

The Better Business Bureau
30 East 33 Street
New York, NY  10016

Monday, May 06, 2013

“Unmarried, Over Thirty Professional Women: Why Not Seek A Blue-Collar Man?” by Urenna Sander

It’s almost spring and some of your friends have completed plans for their wedding. You’ve received an invitation for a wedding in May. Another overzealous friend from college has sent you her August wedding invitation. Yet, you haven’t found that special man. Nevertheless, your biological clock is ticking…In September, you’ll turn thirty-two. You’ve achieved your Master’s degree, or medical residency training.

Lately, you’ve tried to interconnect with men on the internet, but felt disconnected when you met them. Maybe they weren’t a good fit; too superficial. You’re looking for the best provider. Maybe you’ve dated too many egotist who wore Zegna suits and drove a Mercedes-Benz. Maybe their view of a mate is a trophy wife. If so, you need to take a good look at the blue-collar man. Not wearing a white shirt and necktie doesn’t mean he’s dull.

Jacquelyn Smith wrote an article in Forbes Magazine ( on “America’s Best Paying Blue-Collar Jobs.” Her list describes the top paying 20 jobs.

Perhaps socio-economically you’re considered upper middle class or middle class. However, did you know elevator installers and repairers make over $73,000.00 a year and the top 10 percent over $105,000? Smith suggested you think about that the next time you have to walk up 20 flights of stairs. In addition, transportation inspectors and telecommunication equipment installers make decent salaries too.

It’s possible family and friends might be dismissive of your relationship with a blue-collar worker. Your professional and social network might have nothing in common with your new beau.

Don’t try the Pygmalion effect on your relationship with this man. Don’t try to make him over. Don’t try to make him anybody when he’s already somebody. Examine his work ethic, compatibility and values, because they are more important than his rank.

He didn’t graduate from high school and become a high salaried blue-collar worker. He has specialized training and education. Respect and accept him for who he is.

Your blue-collar man might be just what the doctor ordered: A loving, passionate, humorous man, who makes you laugh, loves animals, enjoys books, a good beer, sports, motorcycles, soul or rock music. Moreover, he might enjoy a glass of Condrieu; listen to your eclectic mix of Vivaldi, Leontyne Price, Nina Simone, and Diana Krall.

Take your time; don’t rush. If he’s the one, and the chemistry is right, he’ll give you fathomless love and happiness, and deliver a great ride.

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Bio: Urenna Sander is the author of “True Season of Love,” a love story with many surprises concerning the characters, Olivia and Ptolemy.