Diamonds Are Just the Beginning of Getting HItched in LA

After being single in LA for what seems like forever, I met the love of my life, Dan Mapes. We had a wild ride of a romance, with a couple of snags along the way, then we moved in together. Much to some of my friends disgust, the last two or so years have been a love-fest. Introductions have always been weird, because there really is no perfect term for the guy you love and live with, so I chose “MFM”, My Fabulous Man, whenever the social thing came up. But it never really seemed to properly convey the love, bliss and great union we have. ‘Boyfriend’ didn’t seem grown up enough. ‘Partner’ seemed to cold and business like. Lover… well after Saturday Night Live parodied that word it’s hard for even me to say without cracking up. But, that’s all changing, because we’ve decided to take the leap into marriage. So now the ‘title’ problem is solved. He’s my fiancee and if things don’t melt-down by next year, my husband. Little did we realize, the saga was just beginning. We’re not in any way a traditional couple, but somehow, all the little ‘wedding’ things are creeping up on us.

One of our first wedding ventures was to find a ring. He checked out one place with me and after spending two hours looking at various rings, begged off for a meeting. Suddenly I was on my own, he felt I should figure out what I wanted and then he’d step in.

A girlfriend of mine then dragged me to Beverly Hills where I visited Tiffany’s, 14 Karats and several other high end diamond places. Yikes! I felt ill. Most rings were too…. I don’t know… almost normal in their traditional settings and the rings I kind of liked were $60,000 to $80,000. I swear the cheapest I saw was a bargain at $5,000! Now, I’m as romantic as the next girl, but to imagine my love dropping that kind of dough for a ring just wouldn’t do. I’m way more practical than that. Besides which, I’m not attracted to the big diamond in the middle thing. So, my quest began.

I had to find a designer. And as for stones, well, I grew up in the Florida Keys. There’s a color of water there that is a brilliant, pyschadelic turquoise. It’s also the color of the water in the Bahamas where MFM and I have lolled around quite a bit. That’s the color I wanted and after looking around I found the exact hue in a gem called, “Tourmaline”. Of course the color really rocks when it’s surrounded by diamonds. Hey! I like a little sparkle, just not a big hunkin’ rock on my finger.
Another far more practical girlfriend turned me on to a diamond broker from the jewelry district downtown LA who supplies other brokers with diamonds. After meeting with him and looking at unbelievably beautiful stones and finding out that diamonds are marked up like 100 times…. seriously, they are so much cheaper than they are in retail stores that it’s sick, I knew I’d hit pay dirt.

I’d give you his name and number, but he asked specifically that I not publicize his biz, cuz he only supplies other brokers. However, if you are interested in getting a deal, I can say that if you cruise downtown to Hill Street and walk between 6th and 8th street, you’ll find some real bargains. There’s some on the street, but if you go up into the buildings, there’s lots of brokers and jewelry places that had great stuff. And you’ll save big time.

Next we had to find a designer. I hunted through stores and found nothing. Then I cruised the internet, googling “LA Modern Jewelry Designers” and after a hours of perusing, found Sue Ann Dorman. I met with her, she was cool, had great ideas and she got it! Even had tourmaline for me to look at. I was done.
Or so I thought.

We also loved the designs of a guy in Venice, who used to be on Abott Kinney, D. Joeseph Bortolli, but when we crusied down there, his shop, Naugual, had disappeared. But after searching, once again with my trusty computer, I found an email address and sent him a note. Ater weeks and weeks, he responded telling me he closed his shop, and was now going world-wide with another company with his designs. He agreed to meet with me and perhaps do a special design. I met with him and he ALSO had great ideas! Damn! Who to pick? This wedding business is way more complicated than I thought. And I haven’t even begun to check out what dresses!
As for my fiancee, even when he’s a husband, he’ll always be MFM to me. At least I hope so!

11 thoughts on “Diamonds Are Just the Beginning of Getting HItched in LA”

  1. An additional recommendation for anyone diamond shopping- please oh please make sure you find out the origin of the stone. Candadian diamonds, for instance are better than ones from, say, Angola.

    There are still a fair amount of “blood diamonds” that are sold in the States, so please try to be responsible by buying from ethical sellers.

  2. I am hoping this is a wedding series of posts…do you have a location yet? How about a great LA historical site?

    The Los Angeles Police Revolver And Athletic Clubin Elysian Park. Great prices, beautiful setting and they stop shooting before your wedding. And if Marilyn is still the event manager, you can’t go wrong. She is fabulous. And I mean that in a down to earth, no bullshit, let’s just get this done without any hard sell, kind of way. Plus she wears bright orange Lee-press-on-nails! (and that’s a good thing in this case…)

    I would be happy to show you pictures…

    Most of all, congratulations!

  3. Congrats!

    But the decision is easy… clearly picking the guy who took weeks to respond to your email is a VERY bad idea.

    Just common sense. If he takes this long to respond before he has your money, how long’s he gonna take after he has it?

  4. yes… thanks all… don’t know if it will be a series (might be deadly boring, but there ARE something like over 100,000 weddings a year in LA, and it certainly is ripe for humor) and Julia…no, we have not picked a place…I’d love to see your pix!

  5. We got married at Occidental College (neither of us are alumni). They have a couple of Beautiful venues. We used the Adobe-style alumni house garden. Best of all, they can handle everything from venue to food, including the cake. Students work the event. It was a TON cheaper than most places.

  6. Hi Tammara,

    First off, congratulations! I’m right in the middle of wedding planning myself and can definitely point you in the right direction for some great LOCAL wedding websites which contain reviews for vendors in our area. Second, my fiance is a jeweler downtown and I’d be happy to introduce you to him, if you’d like. In addition to their in-stock items, his company custom designs jewelry and manufactures it for you. Seems like you might already have a few options, but at least you’re on the right track and not paying the exorbitant mark-ups at some of the well known jewelry stores.

    Good luck!

  7. Congratulations!

    Sue Dormann is my teacher… she’s a very talented woman and a wonderful human being. She’s also a good laugh!

  8. Congrats!

    And I am SO glad that I have absolutely no interest in an engagement ring. My only fear is that my guy doesn’t actually believe me.

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