TIME Marriage

Indian Bride Ditches Groom After He Flubs Math Test at Their Wedding

wedding
Getty Images

He failed to add 15+6, and she wasn't having it

Here’s an easy math problem: two lovebirds, minus one bride, is one lonely groom. That’s what happened after an Indian bride ditched her soon-to-be groom at their wedding ceremony for failing to answer a simple arithmetic problem.

At her wedding ceremony in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Wednesday, the bride posed the following math problem to the man she was due to wed: 15 + 6 = ?

The groom answered 17, and the bride fled. The groom’s family tried to get her back, but she refused to marry someone who couldn’t add.

“The groom’s family kept us in the dark about his poor education,” Mohar Singh, the bride’s father, told the Associated Press. “Even a first grader can answer this.” The two families returned all the gifts that had been exchanged before the wedding, and the bride is presumably now looking for someone who knows all their multiplication tables.

According to Indian tradition, most marriages are arranged by the families of the bride and groom, and the pair rarely get to actually meet before the wedding. So the fact that the bride and groom had just met wasn’t that unusual — but the math quiz certainly was.

[AP]

TIME Marriage

This Is How Much an Average Wedding Now Costs in America

It's higher than ever before

The price of weddings has jumped to a new all-time high, reaching an average $31,213 in 2014, new research says.

Surveying around 16,000 American couples, the Knot 2014 Real Weddings Study also found that 45% of weddings exceed a couple’s budgets and, more worryingly, 23% lack a budget altogether. Most brides spent an average of $1,357 alone on their wedding dress.

At the same time, guest lists are shrinking even as costs rise. “The average wedding now has 136 guests, down from 149 in 2009,” says the Knot’s Rebecca Dolgin.

The cheapest place to tie the knot was Utah, where couples spent only $15,000 on the big day in 2014. The most expensive place for nuptials was Manhattan at $76,328.

Read next: Watch This Guy Propose to His Girlfriend 365 Times Without Her Knowing

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME World

This Indonesian House Is for Sale and Comes With a Pond, a Backyard and … a Wife

If you don't talk the price down, you can marry the owner

A homeowner in Indonesia has put her house on the market, and herself with it.

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Sleman — a sleepy district near the Javanese city of Yogyakarta — comes with a fishpond, spacious backyard and a chance to ask 40-year-old owner Wina Lia for her hand in marriage.

The asking price is the rough equivalent of $76,500. “Buyers who don’t negotiate the price,” the sales literature says, “can ask the owner to marry (terms and conditions apply).”

Wina’s online ad went viral, prompting a local news outlet to track her down and confirm that the offer was genuine. “Indeed it’s true, Wina is ready to be married by a house buyer,” the headline says, as tweeted by Sleman’s unofficial Twitter account.

Dian Purna Dirgantara, the realtor who concocted the plan, tells TIME that his advertisement is working.

“Since yesterday morning there are continuous calls, I don’t count how many, there must be dozens or even hundreds.” He clarifies that marriage isn’t a must. “If someone just wants the house, they can have that,” he said.

Wina, a single mother, told news outlet Kompas.com that the idea was dreamed up when she mentioned her desire to once again find a partner.

“Dian suggested I put up the tagline ‘Buy the house and marry the owner at the same time.’ And I said O.K. to it. I’m looking for a husband anyway,” she said.

Read next: Watch This Guy Propose to His Girlfriend 365 Times Without Her Knowing

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME viral

The Dress That Broke the Internet, and the Woman Who Started It All

Caitlin McNeill had no idea she would start something that would be tweeted by Taylor Swift

On Thursday, Scottish musician Caitlin McNeill posted a picture of a dress on micro-blogging website Tumblr with the caption “guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f*** out.”

The Internet freaked out as well, after BuzzFeed posed McNeill’s question to its readers. The post, entitled “What Colors Are This Dress?”, has already been viewed nearly 21 million times and sparked off a heated global debate that saw celebrities, sportspeople and, well, pretty much everyone weighing in.

“What happened was two of my close friends were actually getting married and the mother of the bride took a photo of the dress to send to her daughter,” McNeill, whose band Canach performed at the wedding on the tiny Scottish island of Colonsay, explained to Business Insider. “When my friend showed the dress to her fiancée, they disagreed on the color.”

The band (which McNeill told BuzzFeed almost didn’t make it on stage for their performance because they were so busy arguing about the dress) posted the article to their Facebook page with the caption “It seems like we’ve caused quite the stir online! This is madness!”

Of all the celebrities that tweeted about the dress, McNeill said she’d love to meet Taylor Swift the most. “That would be something,” she told Business Insider.

As for the dress, which she actually saw on the bride’s mother at the wedding: “Obviously it was blue and black.”

Read next: This May Be Why You’re Seeing the Dress as White and Gold

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

MONEY Weddings

12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring

diamond ring in box
Jeffrey Coolidge—Getty Images

Get a great ring without blowing the whole wedding budget.

Planning to pop the question? You’ll need a ring before you get down on bended knee, and when it comes to buying jewelry, it’s easy to make costly mistakes (especially if you don’t know what you’re doing). (See also: This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands)

To ensure that you’re getting the best value for your budget, here are 12 engagement ring tricks from leading industry experts. Former diamond cutter and third-generation jeweler Anubh Shah of Four Mine jewelry, and Andrea Novella, creative director at Gemma Jade Jewelry, divulge their insider secrets to help you get the most brilliance for your buck.

1. Buy Diamonds Just Shy of Critical Weights

Carat weight and size are important in the ring-buying process — at least they are to your girlfriend — and jewelers know it. That’s precisely why most diamonds are cut in half and whole increments, as pricing is based on those thresholds.

“Instead of shelling out for the full 1.00 carat diamond, try to find something around 0.95 carat,” advises Shah. “Manufacturers do everything they can to cut to critical weights because the pricing is tiered on those values. If a diamond is cut to less, the value is lost and therefore price can be significantly less.”

Novella agrees, calling this “the best tip of all.”

“Diamond prices increase exponentially for each carat,” she says. “So if you want one carat, buy a .97. If you want 2, buy 1.95. It’s essentially the same thing but much cheaper.”

2. Buy Diamonds Online

We buy everything else online these days, so it only makes sense that you can find great deals on diamonds at Internet retailers.

“Buy diamonds online, even if you want to browse in store,” suggests Anubh. “Prices are significantly less and selection is far larger. You can see upwards of 20% price differences between online and in-store prices. Online jewelers are extremely price competitive and so the markups are actually very low. Jewelers make their margins on the setting, so buying the diamond loose then having it set in a ring locally is also a great idea.”

There’s another important tip that you don’t want to overlook, and it can save you hundreds of dollars.

“Also, buy one from a jeweler that’s out of state so you save on taxes,” Anubh adds, “which can be an 8%+ difference.”

3. Plan Your Purchase for the Summer

June through August is unofficially known as wedding season, so you probably assume that’s the worst time to buy an engagement ring. The exact opposite is true, in fact, because while the actual weddings are taking places during the warmer months, most engagements are established throughout the rest of the year.

“Summers are a good time to buy — summers are slow for most jewelers and wholesalers so they’ll be more price flexible to try and push inventory,” says Anubh. “Pricing is volatile around Christmas and can either go drastically up or down. Avoid the volatility and buy during the summer days. Plus it’s wedding season so people aren’t generally buying as many engagement rings at that time.”

4. Opt for a Non-Traditional Shape

Would your lady prefer a round diamond? Unfortunately for you, she’s in the majority, which drives the price up due to demand. To save some coin — if it won’t leave you single, of course — look into more non-traditional shapes.

“Fancy shapes (shapes other than traditional round) are significantly less expensive and more trendy — why?” asks Anubh. “Because round is the most popular shape so it’s most in demand — simple economics. Also, a diamond cutter’s job is to preserve the maximum amount of weight. Rounds lose much more carat weight than other shapes, so they carry a premium.”

5. Consider Alternative Stones

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But isn’t it interesting how there’s no famous idiom that equates diamonds to a dude’s worst enemy? If you’re feeling the pinch on the prospect of buying a diamond, perhaps you can consider alternative stones, like precious gems or even a manmade, eco-friendly diamond-esque stone. (Tough sell, I know, but it’s worth a shot.)

“Non-conventional brides might want to consider alternative stones to diamonds, or use a diamond setting but another stone for the center stone,” Novella suggest. “Asian cultures highly value imperial green jadeite, for example. It’s more rare than diamonds but still more affordable.”

(P.S. If your bride is non-conventional, consider yourself an even luckier man.)

6. Go for the Gold

Yellow gold went out of fashion for a while over the past couple decades, but its back with a vengeance now that it has an enviable price tag. And Novella wants you to hone in on it for investment’s sake.

“Gold provides the best value. Prices have steadily risen over the years so it’s a good investment metal, but more affordable than platinum,” she explains.

7. Look for 14k Instead of 18k Gold

While you’re concentrating your efforts on gold, you also should know that there’s a better value between one karat weight and another. It may seem like 18k gold is the best buy given the higher number, but that’s not the case.

“Generally, you can consider 18k like a brand name; it’s purer than 14k, but adds little to no extra raw value,” says Anubh. “The longevity of 14k is high, and simple ‘servicing’ (yes, like with a car) can keep it looking brand new. Just polishing out scratches or rhodium plating restores shine as if it were new. Do this once year — it should only cost about $10 to $20.”

8. Steer Clear of the Brand Name Rings

I didn’t have to buy an engagement ring because I married a dude (we’re simple like that), so I had no idea that there were brand-name rings. Now that you are enlightened, you should stay far away too.

“Avoid brand name rings and branded designs,” Anubh warns. “Any ring can be custom made and any design created as close to the original as possible. There are huge savings when custom making a branded design so I definitely recommend that route if you like something branded outside your budget.”

9. Look for Diamonds in the H/I Color and S1 Clarity Range

Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of engagement ring buying with a quick lesson on diamond color and clarity.

H/I Color is an “average color, middle of the road, greatly abundant, and consistent color in nature,” according to Jewelry Secrets. In laymen’s terms, the color is a little bit off (a bit of yellow in the mix), but hardly noticeable. The SI Clarity range on the other hand includes three levels — SI1, SI2, and SI3 — which equate to flawless to the naked eye, flawed to the naked eye, and “this is probably a diamond, but it’s definitely not the best one,” respectively.

If you want to spend less, this is where you can make some concessions, says Anubh.

“Diamonds in the H/I color and SI clarity range offer the best value,” he explains. “The imperfections are rarely visible to the naked, untrained eye and the color is hardly distracting. Round diamonds mask color much better than fancy shapes.”

This is another slippery slope, gentlemen, so proceed with caution.

10. Seek Out GIA-Certified Rings

Did you know that there’s, like, a governing body on diamonds? There are a few, actually. But the Gemological Institute of America is the only one you need to know.

“Only buy GIA-certified diamonds, if you’re truly looking for value for money,” Anubh advises. “GIA is the most consistent grading lab and has the highest grading standards. Other labs are inconsistent and carry noticeable discounts for a reason. Don’t be fooled!”

11. Put Away the Plastic and Pay Cash

Given the high cost of engagement rings, your plan probably is to pay for it with credit. That’s not the best idea for two reasons — you can easily rack up interest charges if you let the balance drag on, and you may be missing out on savings. A better bet is to hoard cash until you can afford it outright. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that you don’t have another huge bill looming over your head, it’ll give you enough time to make sure this is definitely the right relationship for you, and you’ll keep more money in the bank because of a potential kickback.

“Buy your engagement ring via bank wire or check from a wholesaler,” Anubh recommends. “There’s almost always a discount because no credit card processing fees are involved.”

While we’re on the subject of diamond wholesalers, Novella thinks you should seriously consider this route over a local jewelry store.

“Buy the diamond wholesale or through a broker, and then have it set with the jeweler,” she says. “You’ll save on the markup for the center stone, which is the main part of the cost.”

12. Stick to Your Intended Budget

It’s really easy to go over budget when you’re blinded by love — but you need to keep it together, man. Set a max amount that you’ll spend and make it your goal to find the perfect ring by coming in under that threshold.

“Unless you’re blowing out your budget, the odds of getting something significantly better for a small increase in budget are low,” Anubh imparts. “It’ll make you feel bad in the long run. Stick to a number and stay under. Everyone is happy when they find an extra dollar in their jeans pocket.”

Read more articles from Wise Bread:

-10 Awesome Sites to Shop for Affordable, Cool Jewelry
-5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers
-This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands

TIME relationships

Utah Woman Seeks World Record for Most Wedding Bouquet Catches

The irony, of course, is that Jamie Jackson is still single

If wedding bouquet-catching were an Olympic sport, a special spot would be reserved for Jamie Jackson at the top of the podium.

The 37-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah, woman has been to more than 80 weddings, catching the bridal bouquet a record 46 times, edging out other single women in the room like a defensive back intercepting a touchdown pass.

The irony, of course, is that Jackson is still single.

“I’ve pretty much crushed that ‘next-to-be-married’ myth,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’ve had boyfriends, sure. But I’m liking the single life. Besides, if I were married, I’d have to give up my favorite sport.”

Read the rest of the article at People.com

TIME celebrities

Johnny Depp Just Got Married to Amber Heard, Say Reports

Cast member Amber Heard and her fiance, actor Johnny Depp pose at the premiere of "3 Days to Kill" in Los Angeles
Mario Anzuoni—Reuters Actress Amber Heard and actor Johnny Depp at the premiere of 3 Days to Kill in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2014

The nuptials come ahead of a party to be held on Depp's private island in the Bahamas

Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp tied the knot this week with Friday Night Lights actress Amber Heard in a surprise ceremony in Depp’s Los Angeles home, PEOPLE and E! Online report, just days ahead of a planned celebration on Depp’s 45-acre private island in the Bahamas.

The couple met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2010 and began dating in 2012 after Depp broke off a 14-year partnership with French singer Vanessa Paradis, the mother of the 51-year-old’s two children, Lily-Rose Melody Depp and John Christopher “Jack” Depp III.

Heard and Depp got engaged last January. This is Depp’s second marriage. He divorced his first wife, Lori Anne Allison, in the 1980s.

Last year, Depp described his 28-year-old wife on NBC’s Today show as “a Southern belle and sweet as can be, and very good for me.”

TIME celebrities

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden Have Tied the Knot

There's something about married

After a day of rumors and reports, it has been confirmed that Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden have tied the knot.

The two “were married [Monday] evening in an intimate ceremony in their home in Los Angeles” their rep told People.

Diaz and her Good Charlotte hubby have been dating since May and reportedly got engaged just before Christmas.

“We couldn’t be happier to begin our new journey together surrounded by our closest family and friends,” the couple told People.

Read more at People.

TIME Soccer

Soccer Stars Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco Wed

Alex Morgan of the USA Women's National Team at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2013.
David Madison—Getty Images Alex Morgan of the USA Women's National Team at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Oct. 26, 2013.

Two leading footballers just scored

Soccer players Alex Morgan and Servando Carrasco sealed the deal on New Year’s Eve Wednesday, when they married in front of 180 guests in Santa Barbara, California.

Morgan, 25, led the U.S. women’s soccer team to a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Carrasco, 26, plays midfield for the Major League Soccer team Houston Dynamo.

Read more at PEOPLE

TIME Bizarre

Obama’s Golf Game Prompts Couple to Relocate Wedding Set for Next Day

US-MALAYSIA-OBAMA-NAJIB-GOLF
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama jokes with reporters as he plays golf with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razzak at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Dec. 24, 2014

The President called the bride to apologize

President Barack Obama’s golf game in Hawaii forced a military couple to relocate their wedding a day before their planned nuptials on Sunday.

Natalie Heimel and Edward Mallue Jr. had just finished their rehearsal at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course, located on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, when they were informed they would have to move their planned ceremony at the 16th hole because the President would be playing through the holes, Bloomberg reports.

Wedding organizer Naile Brennan said anyone who plans an event there while Obama is in town is warned ahead of time about the chance of an 11th-hour rescheduling. The ceremony was moved to a “much prettier and much nicer venue,” she said. “It’s more secluded and there are no golfers yelling ‘Fore!'”

Even though the newlyweds knew Obama was in town — they invited him to their wedding but received a congratulatory no-show letter in response — their relocation still came as a shock. After Obama found out what happened, according to Jamie McCarthy, a sister of Mallue, “he apologized and congratulated them” in a “wonderful” personal call to the bride.

[Bloomberg]

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