Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Conscious Marriage

Susan Piver, Guest Author

There can be a magical quality to the time between deciding to marry and the actual wedding. If you are able to drop beneath the busy-ness of all the planning and arranging and remember why you have chosen to get married, this can be a precious time that may be filled with excitement, possibility and of course, your love for each other.

You are marking the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of another. Whenever you are able to approach the major transitions in your lives with awareness and intention, you invest the passage with meaning and potency. You each approach marriage with the hope of a deeply satisfying shared life. But you also carry with you the fears and apprehensions of what might go wrong. You have seen too much to be ignorant of the dangers and pitfalls of married life.

ConsciousMarriageBut there is hope and there is help. A good marriage need not be left to chance. You can learn attitudes, skills and practices that can help you deepen and grow in love and satisfaction together, through a lifetime of change. This is the path and practice of conscious marriage.

What does it mean to hold your most intimate relationship – your marriage – as a central part of your spiritual path?

Imagine marriage as a cauldron, a vessel that holds the hearts and souls of you and your beloved… a vessel crafted to withstand fire. The cauldron heats up in the fire of relationship, because there is no hiding in marriage. Your partner will see and receive the best and the worst in you and reflect this back to you, like a mirror reflects back the heat of the sun.

On the spiritual path of marriage you understand this hot fire is like a refinery or alchemical process that helps you see and heal the parts of you that brings suffering to yourself and to those we love. We see how we hold back from life, from truth, from passion. In the fire of intimacy, you encounter places in yourself and in your partner where you may withdraw or lash out in fear, sadness or anger, as well as times when you give everything, stretching beyond your imagined limits to love and to be loved. It is your protective mechanisms, your barriers to love that are purified within the cauldron.

When you understand marriage in this way, as an opportunity to deepen love and wisdom, you can learn to welcome the brilliant intensity of the fire of relationship. And if you dedicate your intention and love to strengthen the vessel of your marriage, it will help to simmer the soup of your shared lives into a deeply nourishing and lasting relationship.

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When others do or say things that upset you, your instinct often is to try to make the other person wrong. In embarking on a conscious marriage, you strive to accept or bow to your partner as you might honor a spiritual teacher. You acknowledge that your partner may well bring you lessons the hard way. You acknowledge that they will see your less enlightened behavior more than others do and that therefore, they are in a better position to reflect this back to you.

Rather than running away, falling apart, or becoming aggressive when things get challenging, you make the agreement to do your best to learn from the difficulties and embrace it as an opportunity for your individual and mutual growth.

As you and your partner approach your wedding, consider discussing what it might mean to be spiritual friends. How can you honor your separateness and your differences, as well as the ways in which you naturally connect? Can you see your partner as existing not only to meet your expectations and fill your needs, but someone on their own path recognizing that you are two unique indivduals with different histories, different gifts, and different dreams?

You support and challenge each other to grow and be the best you can. You give the great gifts of your love and your companionship and the willingness to travel through life together. You can agree to do your best to be skillful and patient in this journey and to do your best to listen beneath awkward or unskillful communication for the jewel of the teaching which may be available. When you are on a spiritual path together, you are choosing to learn not only through the joys and ease of relationship but also through its challenges.

What greater gift can any human being offter to another than the commitment to stay and to keep turning towards one another with an open heart?

Larry’s NOTE: Harville Hendrix, a marriage therapist and American author, describes a conscious marriage as one in which “maximum psychological and spiritual growth is fostered.” It is a marriage created by consciously attempting to become aware of the “emotional baggage” that each partner brings to the relationship; understanding the possible problems that arise from the “clashing together” of each partner’s emotional baggage and then collaborating together to find creative ways of dealing with their own and the other’s baggage.

BONUS Articles: Religion vs. Spirituality
Think Long and Hard…
Everything We Think We Know About Marriage and Divorce is Wrong!!

SusanPiverCopyright 2014 Susan Piver. This article is from Susan’s book. Susan Piver is a Buddhist teacher and the New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including, Joyful Wedding; A Spiritual Path to the Altar. She teaches workshops and speaks all over the world on meditation, spirituality, communication styles, relationships and creativity. In 2011, Piver launched The Open Heart Project, an online meditation community which with nearly 12000 members who practice together and explore ways to bring spiritual values such as kindness, genuineness and fearlessness to everyday life. Visit her Website at SusanPiver.com.

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Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Grooms… Listen up!

Filed under: Groom's Duties,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Recently I had a meeting with a bride and groom and we were talking about all the details that can make a difference in making their ceremony boring or memorable for their guests.

I made a suggestion about doing something a little different than the traditional way and asked them what they thought about it. The bride turned to the groom and said, “I think that is a great idea! What do you think, honey?”

groomsDUTIESHe shrugged his shoulders and said, “I couldn’t care less. It doesn’t make any difference to me.” She was obviously disappointed.

Opps! Bad move! No bonus points for him!

It’s important to start your marriage off on the right foot. If you are a groom, I hope you don’t make this mistake. You make “think” this, but don’t you dare say it aloud. A groom’s role in his wedding is as important as his brides. Showing an interest in planning the wedding that will make you wife and husband will go a long way in demonstrating your love for her. Every bride I know wants to know that you do care and she wants your informed input in putting it all together. You don’t need to be a “yes” man. If there is something you would rather not do or have at your wedding, say so, and express your opinion in the most loving way. Don’t be crude and rude.

Please understand… a wedding is not just about her. Planning a wedding is a team sport! This is no one-woman show. A successful marriage involve two people. So does the planing of the wedding. You have duties far beyond just showing up on time and bringing the ring. She “needs” to know you’ve got her back! She doesn’t need the pressure of doing it alone. She needs you to be a part of this very special day.

Planning a wedding is a tremendous undertaking. It requires working together, patience, lots of time, dedication, and plenty of hard work. She needs your help, so pitch in! There’s a lot expected of you. Show some initiative and handle your groom responsibilities in advance, don’t put everything off until the last minute.

The groom chooses his groomsmen and best man and picks their attire. He buys thank-you gifts for his attendants and for the bride. He arranges and pays for the marriage license and the officiant’s fee and gratuity, and he reserves a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. For more complete list of the groom’s duties, click here!

Your Best Man is your man-slave. ;-) Part of your duties is to coach him on his duties and make sure he follows through. There is a book your Best Man should read, “A Gentleman Walks Down the Aisle: A Complete Guide to the Perfect Wedding Day” by John Bridges and Bryan Curtis. They suggest a few traditional duties for the Best Man:

• Assist in coordinating pickup of formalwear rentals for the groom’s attendants
• Supervise planning of the bachelor party
• Participate in the rehearsal and offer a toast to the bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner, as well as at the wedding reception. Larry’s NOTE: First things first. When a toast is given TO the Bride and Groom they will be seen raising their glasses and drinking to themselves. Wrong!! Proper etiquette says that during a toast “to” the Bride and Groom, the couple should NEVER stand, raise their glasses, or drink to themselves. This is construed by etiquette mavens as patting yourself on the back. Instead, they should stand and respond with thanks or by offering another toast. Suggest that the Best Man read: “Toasting Like a Pro!
• Show up on time, properly dressed for any photo shoots
• Make sure the groom is properly dressed and on time
• Take responsibility for the bride and groom’s rings on the day of the ceremony
• Serve as a legal witness to the signing of the marriage license, if requested
• Coordinate return of attendants’ formalwear the day after the wedding.

I would add one more thing for the groom. Make a honeymoon packing checklist. This will get you started:

❏ Airline tickets/itinerary
❏ Hotel reservation confirmation
❏ Traveler’s checks
❏ Credit cards
❏ Cash
❏ Passport
❏ Contact info for key numbers back home.
❏ Itinerary
❏ Prepaid phone card (you might not have cell service)
❏ Read: “Packing for a Honeymoon?

Take it from us, grooms: The more you are involved in the planning of your wedding, the better the “first kiss” at the wedding! ;-)

BONUS Article: Here Comes the Groom! – A Call to ACTIVE Duty!

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

6 Wedding Traditions That Are Fading Fast

Many wedding traditions have evolved from old ideas that we may see as a little strange and out-of-date for today. Some wedding traditions are so hardwired into our brains that they’re just something we’re supposed to do – even if we have no idea why. Today many brides and grooms are side-stepping many traditions so they can do their own thing.

1. Shivaree (also known as a Charivari) ~ Unless you are in your 60’s or 70’s you may not even know about this one. This is probably the most annoying wedding-related tradition. Shivaree is defined as “a discordant mock serenade to newlyweds, made with pans, kettles, etc.” On a couple’s wedding night, a large gathering of friends, family members and other wedding guests would congregate outside the newlyweds’ home and proceed to make as much obnoxious noise as possible. They’d bang on pots, sing out of tune, hollering, hammering on a circular saw, and serenading and do whatever they could to disturb the couple. It often ended with the revelers being invited into the house for drinks, etc.

WEDTradition2Another version of the Shivaree was to have a rowdy parade of cars down the middle of the main street with banners, horns honking and tin cans attached to the groom’s car. Sometimes the revelers stayed behind, and poured cereal in between the sheets of the newlywed’s bed, removed labels from canned goods, short=sheeted the sheets and knotted clothes together. Pranks were a part of it. It was all in fun.

2. Reception Line ~ A receiving line is the best opportunity to greet each guest individually and thank him or her for coming to your wedding. And if you’re having more than 50 guests, it’s considered proper etiquette. The line also guarantees your guests a minute of face-to-face time with you, a chance to hug, kiss, and congratulate you both, and to say things like “The ceremony was lovely. Larry James was terrific!” (Wink, wink) ;-) However, receiving lines are an old tradition that have pretty much gone out of fashion. More and more couples plan to visit each table during the reception instead of a receiving line.

3. Parents seating ~ Tradition says the parents of the bride sit in the front row on the left side and the parents of the groom sit in the front row on the right side. When the couple walks up the aisle, the bride is usually on the left and whoever is escorting her is on the right. Once the groom takes his place next to the bride their backs are to the guests. In my “romantic” wedding ceremony after about 6 minutes into the presentation of the ceremony they are asked to face each other holding hands.

Here’s the problem. When the bride faces the groom, she is facing away from her parents and the only thing they see is her back. The parents of the groom can only see the back of the groom. Solution: Seat the parents of the bride on the right side and the parents of the groom on the left side. I know, that’s not tradition, however the first time we actually seated the parents in this manner, both sets of parents came up to me after the ceremony to personally thank me for allowing them to see the expressions on the faces of their daughter and son as the ceremony was being performed.

4. Best Man and Maid of honor walk in first ~ Although tradition says that the Best Man and the Maid of Honor usually walk up just before Ring Bearer, Flower girl and the Bride and her escort, if you have 3 or 4 (or more) Bridesmaids and Groomsmen on each side, it is often a better idea to have the Best Man and the Maid of Honor walk in after the Minister and the Groom so that everyone else knows exactly where they are suppose to stand.

The traditional way often has the spacing between everyone staggered or off the mark and may show up as loosely organized and bad in the wedding photos. If you decide to do it this way, please remember to tell the wedding venue coordinator because they usually line everyone up to go in the traditional way.

5. Decorating the groom’s car with tin cans, etc. ~ I still run across this one occasionally. As a surprise to the bride and groom, you may find “Just Married,” or “Just Hitched” scribbled in soap or shaving cream on the windows, tin cans tied to the back of the car, crepe paper rosettes, maybe a banner across the back of the car or streamers to the rear bumper. As the bride and groom escape the reception, people honk their horns, scream congratulations out their car windows, or wave from the sidewalk.

6. Seeing each other before the wedding ~ The idea of not seeing each other before the ceremony comes from the days when marriages were arranged and the groom might never have seen the bride. In some religions and cultures the option of seeing each other before is simply not allowed. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families. Not too romantic, right? There was a chance that he might take one look at her and bolt – so it was often safer for them to meet for the first time at the altar. Most admit it’s a bit old-fashioned. Today, however, many couples choose to meet up and even have portrait sessions before the wedding ceremony. “First Look” often replaces this tradition. (See Bonus Article below).

Here are a few other traditions:

WEDTradition1. Tradition suggests that the bride’s parents pay all wedding expenses. A small percent still rely on their parents to fully fund their big event. Today, when couples tend to be older, the majority of couples often share the wedding expenses with their parents.

2. The original purpose of the bridesmaid and the best man was to aid in the capture of the bride, get her to church on time, and keep any hostile family members away! Now the bridesmaids usher the guests to their seats, the best man carries the ring, and offers a toast.

3. Your Matching Bridesmaids Dresses Make Them Decoys. ~ The bridal party is a tradition that has been established for many centuries. For a long time the purpose of the bridal party was to fool evil spirits. The bride’s friends dressed similarly to her in order to confuse any virulent presences that might be lurking about. Today bridesmaids are there to support the bride in the stressful times during the wedding. Read, “Wedding Lore and Traditions” @ http://www.infoplease.com

4. Freezing the Top Tier of the Wedding Cake ! It used to be that newly married couples were expected to have their first baby before their first anniversary, and as a result of that, weddings and christenings were much more tightly linked to each other than they are today — and, as it turned out, both occasions called for cake. (Source: http://people.howstuffworks.com)

5. Giving Away the Bride ! The tradition of the father giving away his daughter has its roots in the days of arranged marriages. Daughters in those times were considered their father’s property. It was the father’s right to give his child to the groom, usually for a price. Today a father giving away his daughter is a symbol of his blessing of the marriage. Read more: Wedding Lore and Traditions” @ http://www.infoplease.com

6. Bride on Groom’s Left ~ Because grooms in Anglo-Saxon England often had to defend their brides, the bride would stand to the left of her groom so that his sword arm was free. Read, “Wedding Lore and Traditions @ http://www.infoplease.com

BONUS Articles: No More “Receiving Lines!”
Who (of the bridal party) Walks Down the Aisle First?
Are You Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding? – “No way!”… However…

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tying Up Loose Ends After the Wedding! – Newlywed To-Do List

Wheew! The wedding and the reception are over. Now what? Honeymoon? And when you return it’s time to get busy again. No rest for the weary, right? Time to get organized. We’ve put together some ideas that may help you tie up the loose ends after the wedding celebration is over.

Put Away Your Wedding Keepsakes ~ Put your favorite wedding photos in frames and display them. Clean and store your wedding dress or tux. If you intend to keep your wedding dress have it dry-cleaned at least six months of your wedding. Use a service that specializes in wedding dresses so they use the right cleaning solvents. Make sure they stuff it with acid-free tissue, avoid using metal pins or buckles, and store it in a box. Once it’s back home, store it in a cool, dry place. Last. but not least, get rid of gifts or keepsakes from ex-partners.

NewlywedToDoListChange Your Name ~ Ideally, you should change all your IDs as soon as possible of getting hitched. Hopefully when you purchased your Marriage License, you ordered a Certified Copy to be sent to you after the Minister/Wedding Officiant registers it with the County Clerk’s office. Once you receive it, change your name with Social Security first. Wait a couple of day then change your name on your Driver’s License, State ID, Passport. Social security and the passport people both require a certified copy of your license. Depending on where you live, you may need to apply at Social Security in person. Call all of your credit card companies to get your name changed. Store your marriage certificate in a safe, easy-to-remember place.

Ring Up the Tax Man ~ Time to check off a new (married) box on your tax forms! Now that the two of you are a legal unit, you need to decide whether you’re going to file together or continue to file separately (joint filing isn’t something mandated by law, though it’s generally recommended). Don’t decide this on your own. Consult your accountant or attorney to see what he or she advises for the two of you. Think about changing your beneficiary to your husband/wife.

Plan and Review a New Budget ~ Take look at your income and set short-term and long-term goals. Begin to pay off any credit card debt that occurred as a result of your wedding. Fast-track any student debt. If you plan on having children, tighten your money belt before the baby arrives. A baby is something you should plan for. You will need to plan for who will be responsible for the bills since it’s now not just your money now. Remember to begin saving for retirement (Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA). One important goal should be to have at least 6 months or more of your monthly non-discretionary spending in an account separate from your checking account. Check out Dave Ramsey’s website for terrific financial information.

Send Your Thank-You Notes ~ While it’s still fresh in your mind, take notes for which gifts you received and from whom. If you don’t want snippy comments from family and friends, toss those thank-you notes in the mail within two months of your wedding. People will be waiting, and wondering if you liked their gift! Do few each night. Share this project with your sweetheart and the job will be half as daunting. It’s important to each sign your names on every card. Print off address and return address labels on your computer.

Give Everyone Your New Address ~ It’s perfectly fine to send a mass e-mail or an e-card with your new address. The traditional route? Buy store-bought moving announcements and slip them in with your thank-you note or have them custom-designed. Make sending thank you notes a breeze by printing address labels. Make sure to inform everyone of your new address. You never know who might be sending along a late wedding gift or card. Check our name-change checklist.

Return Wedding Gifts You Already Have ~ Sick of looking at those three toaster ovens gathering dust in the corner? Bite the bullet and return ’em within two months of your wedding. While stores are likely to be lenient with couples who’ve registered with them, each store will have a different policy on when you need to make returns by and what they’ll take back. Consider a garage or yard sale. Use it as a great opportunity to de-clutter. Put some of your wedding gift money toward

Update Your Employer on Your New Status ~ Remember to notify your employer of your new marital status. They will need to make any necessary adjustments such as changing any information on your W2 form, adding your spouse to your health insurance, and changing beneficiary designation on any retirement or 401k plans you may be enrolled in.

Finalize Your Wedding Album and DVD ~ Your photos from your photographer and guests won’t file themselves. Don’t put off your photo selection and video requests too long! On your first anniversary, wouldn’t it be great to pop in your wedding DVD and flip through your album? Most photographers and videographers issue a standard contract that gives you six months to a year to select album photos and edit footage for your DVD. If you don’t, you may have to pay extra.

Figure Out Your Finances ~ No one likes having “money talks,” but hopefully you had this one long before you walked down the aisle. Many married couples opt to merge their single accounts into a combined one, so definitely bring it up now if you haven’t yet. Decide if you want to keep your bank accounts separate, merged or a combination of both. Take a trip to your bank to fill out the necessary paperwork and get new debit cards and checks made. You may want to designate your spouse as beneficiary on financial and insurance related accounts, draw up a will, and ensure that you are both carrying the ideal amount of life insurance.

Make It Legal ~ When the two of you made it official, it meant more than just a tacit agreement not to hog the covers. In the next two weeks, you’ll want to talk about changing beneficiaries – most newlyweds switch their spouse to their beneficiary on work and life insurance docs. Call your insurance company and HR department at work for these forms. Decide whose work health insurance plan you’ll use by comparing cost and treatment options. If you’re the one making the switch, make sure the doctors you like are on the new plan. Within a few months, talk about drawing up a will that reflects your newly combined asset. Contact your attorney.

Remember Your Wedding Vendors ~ Send thank-you e-mails or cards to your vendors. Include any positive feedback on their services. If you and your guests were happy with there services, write reviews on wedding websites – and recommend your favorites.

Make Sure All Hired Items are Returned ~ Normally your florist or decor supplier will collect hired items from the venue but things like groomsmen suits and post-ceremony games will need to be returned so that you can get your deposits back. Make a checklist before the wedding and delegate this task to your best man or maid of honor.

Establish a Date Night ~ Very Important. Never let the romance fade in your relationship. Promise each other that no matter what you will always make time to be together. Specify at least one night each week to be designated “Date Night!” Read, “Date Night – No Less Than Once Each Week – No Excuses!

Plan Your First Wedding Anniversary ~ Begin to think about what you want to do, where you want to go and how you want to celebrate your first anniversary. Make a reservation or just agree on a plan so that you can have the year to look forward to it.

The wedding may be over, but the adventure of marriage is just beginning. A happy marriage is a fun and exciting time. Now it’s time to get busy again. Embrace and enjoy the change marriage brings and celebrate Love and your life together – remember, you’re only newlyweds for so long.

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Friday, August 29, 2014

Brides: Need Help Planning Your Wedding?

Keeping in mind that your wedding will most likely be the largest and certainly the most emotionally charged party you will ever throw, hiring a Wedding Consultant just makes sense. They should be at the top of your wedding vendor list.

They can take much of the legwork out of the planning process, allowing you and your fiance to relax and enjoy being the guests of honor at your wedding. Considering that it often takes as many as 250 hours to plan a wedding, I would ask, “How much is YOUR time worth?”

WEDconsultantYou should contact a professional wedding consultant as soon as the engagement ring goes on your finger. Every bridal consultant, event coordinator, wedding planner and wedding specialist is different. From wedding to wedding, the job of a wedding planner is never the same. Some of them work alone, some of them have a part time assistant or two and some of them have a large staff. Some of them will coordinate, oversee, and manage “your plans” and some of them will “create” the wedding that you want from your “wish list.” They make sure that all of their client’s best laid plans are carried out on your wedding day to ensure you can enjoy your day to the fullest.

Hire a competent Wedding Consultant. Anyone that belongs to the Association of Bridal Consultants is a good pick. They are professionals – trust them. They know what is in style and what will look good. A consultant will ease the stress level of everyone involved… including you! They will offer vendor choices to the bride based on that information and will set up and attend interviews along with the bride.

Aside from planning and organizational skills, they have negotiating abilities, and business acumen, budgeting and project management abilities, creative flair, people skills and much more.

Can’t afford one? A Wedding Consultant may be much more affordable than you think. You will save your own time and effort and save money because they know who to call to get the best deals. They will make sure you get all the details “in writing.” No matter how small the detail, make sure it is in your contract. As the bride, you don’t want to be running around taking care of logistics or (worst case scenario) putting out fires.

Wedding consultants not only have a lot of know-how when it comes to coordination, but they also have a lot of valuable relationships with other vendors that can end up saving you quite a bit of money in the long run. They can help you stay on track with your budget, allocate funds correctly, and steer you in the right direction so you won’t have to waste money on having to learn things the hard way when it comes to vendors, deposits, favors, an experienced wedding officiant, catering, etc.

The bottom line is… most of today’s brides are hiring wedding vendors from the Internet rather than at the recommendation of a wedding professional. Most brides do not know how to create wedding day time-lines. Most brides do not know how to manage transportation. Most brides do not know how to write rental orders. Most brides do not understand that DIY (do it yourself) can spell disaster. Most brides think they can manage their wedding planning but as the day approaches, realize how little they have time for.

Most brides do not understand that having a planner with them throughout the planning process will actually save them time, energy and money! There has never been a better time to explain the importance of a qualified wedding planner. Take the time to educate yourself.

abclogoThe Association of Bridal Consultants is the only organization exclusively dedicated to serving wedding professionals worldwide. They have 4,000+ members who encompass the entire scope of the wedding industry and strive to increase wedding industry professionalism. I have been a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants since 2008 and hang out with the wedding consultants in the Greater Phoenix Area. Our monthly meetings are all about training wedding consultants and vendor members to be aware of the latest trends and to help us be the best we can be. If you need a referral to a Wedding Consultant give me a call on my Cell. Need a reference for my services as a Professional Wedding Consultant, click here!

BONUS Articles: 18 Essential Questions to Ask a Wedding Consultant
Hiring a Wedding Planner: Why It’s a Good Idea
New Rules… for Wedding Consultants
Sorry, I Don’t Need a Wedding Consultant… My Venue Has One!
Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner
The Myth of “Day of” Wedding Planning

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wedding Checklist

Filed under: Checklist,Wedding Checklist,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

You have a lot to do before your big day. You do not need to do it all alone. Choose responsible and trusted friends to assist you, including your fiancé. Use this detailed checklist to help you stay on track. Planning ahead is the key.

Delegate tasks to special friends and family members. Accept the assistance of others who offer, but remember, this is “your” wedding. If you have a “controlling” mother, be sure to say, “No, mom, that’s not what I want, however, I would like you to be in charge of (fill in the blank).” Assign your mom an important task that will help her know that she is truly helping you. Don’t be afraid to tactfully decline ideas, suggestions and advice that are not in line with what “you” want.

checklistThe importance of confirming and reconfirming all dates, times and locations with all vendors cannot be over emphasized. You deserve a wonderful wedding day filled with many happy, stress-free memories.

Suggestion: Pick your wedding date, choose the wedding venue, and next, hire your Wedding Officiant. Your wedding ceremony is the wedding! Choose your Wedding Officiant and work with him/her to customize your wedding ceremony. Everything else is the celebration of Love!

Consider this your master list of wedding preparations.

12 to 24 Months Before the Wedding

• Select your engagement ring.
• Announce your engagement
• Schedule your engagement photography and call your local newspaper for guidelines.
• Select a wedding date and time. Consider work schedules and holidays.
• Determine your budget and the kind of wedding (informal, formal, theme, style, etc.); decide where the ceremony will take place.
• Shop for bridal gown and accessories.
• Interview and hire a pre-marital coach. A few states require premarital counseling. Premarital counseling is not necessarily for couples experiencing relationship problems, but often is a wise idea to learn more about the reality of marriage.

6 to 12 Months Before the Wedding

• Changing your name? Click here for a reminder list of businesses, government agencies and financial institutions who may want to know your new name. Complete all the official documents and have them ready to send to the proper places.
• Visit your minister/officiate with your fiancé. Select a ceremony that is you. Pay the officiate a deposit.
• If possible, plan your rehearsal “two” days before the wedding. There are several reasons for this. One, it’s usually party time at the rehearsal dinner. Staying up too late the night before your wedding day can be exceedingly stressful. Two, it gives you a day to relax and take care of late-minute details before the big day.
• Consider writing some of your own personal promises to read to each other as part of the ceremony. (Contact Larry James for some suggestions).
• Plan a reception.
• Choose your reception music. Discuss the type of music the two of you would like and begin making contacts.
• Choose friends or professionals who will do special performances during the ceremony or reception. (e.g., read a poem, scripture, lyrics to your favorite song, sing a special song, etc.)
• Choose your attendants carefully.
• Compile your guest list together with your fiancé. Determine the size of your list and compile names, addresses and phone numbers.
• Draw up your invitation lists; have your partner draw up his or hers.
• Enroll with the bridal gift registry of your favorite department or specialty store.
• Make a household “check list” for home furnishings that are still needed.
• Select your dress, veil, undergarments, accessories and the mother of the bride and bridesmaid’s dresses.
• Consult a men’s formal wear specialist. Tuxedos.
• Plan your honeymoon. Decide the location. Confirm plans with your travel agent. Check out tips #1 and #39 on the “Miscellaneous Tips” list.

Book the following:

• Consider hiring a wedding consultant.
• Choose and reserve your reception site.
• Select a baker to create your wedding cake. Live in the Kansas City area? Click here for Larry James’ favorite cake baker.
• Select your floral designer. Bring color swatches to finalize your selection of flowers, centerpieces, rental items, balloons and favors. Larry James recommends Diane’s of Scottsdale.
• Select a photographer/videographer, deejay, musicians, church, hotel, bartender, etc.
• Hire a caterer. Confirm the menu, beverage service and all the details.
• Hire a makeover professional – hair stylist, makeup artist and nail technician. Some include the mothers and the attendants.
• Choose, hire, book the date and pay a deposit for a wedding minister/officiant.

4 to 6 Months Before the Wedding

• Order your invitations, personal stationery and notepaper. Consider ordering extras.
• Begin working on your engagement announcement for the local newspaper.
• Plan accommodations for your out-of-town guests.
• Arrange for your rehearsal dinner.
• Prepare an easy-to-follow map and directions to include with your invitations.
• Make arrangements for accommodations for attendants that live out of town. If your wedding is at a hotel or resort, you may get a discount by reserving a block of rooms.
• Plan accommodations for your out-of-town guests.
• Be sure deposits are paid on time and all contracts are signed and received. Inquire about any restrictions and notify the appropriate vendors.
• Shop for your trousseau. Purchase any special lingerie needed for your wedding gown and your wedding night.
• Visit your doctor for a complete physical examination, set date for blood test (valid time periods vary from state to state).
• Design and print the ceremony program.
• If you or your fiancé don’t dance, begin taking lessons. You will be expected to dance the first dance together at the reception. Make a list of the songs you would like played for the special dances; bride and groom’s first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, etc.
• Reach a decision on living arrangements. Will you buy, lease or rent an appartment or home?
• Arrange for a bridesmaid luncheon or party.

Book the following:

• Reserve a block of rooms for out-of-town guests.
• Hire a Calligraphy expert for your invitations.
• Reserve fountains, ice sculptures, etc.

2 to 4 Months Before the Wedding

• Address wedding invitations and envelopes.
• Complete your list of people you are inviting to your bridal shower.
• Choose gifts for your attendants.
• Reserve rental items: candleabra, linens, chairs, tables, arches, etc.
• Make a date with your fiancé to get the marriage license. (Check your state’s law to see how many days/months a license is valid and also if there is a waiting period).

Book the following:

• Reserve transportation for you, your fiancé, the wedding party and the parents: limousine, carriage, trolley, van or car rental.
• Buy wedding ring; size and order engraving.
• Make appointment with hair stylist. Plan ahead. The good ones often book months in advance.
• Purchase wedding shoes and begin breaking them in. You’ll be on your feet most of your wedding day.
• Buy gifts for the wedding party, parents, spouse, etc.

1 to 2 Months Before the Wedding

• Have final dress fittings.
• Plan how to handle traffic, parking.
• Discuss the ceremony seating with your fiancé and ushers.
• Mail your invitations no less than six to eight weeks prior to the wedding. Remember to use the correct postage to avoid “postage due.”
Have a formal wedding portrait taken. Have it matted and ask your guests to sign the matte at the reception.
• Attend parties in your honor.
• Plan bridesmaids’ party.
• Devise a record-keeping method for gifts as received and thank-you notes. Write thank-you notes promptly.
• Consider selecting special friends to read prayers or passages during the ceremony. Coordinate with the minister/officiant.
• Confirm rehearsal plans with minister/officiant and attendants. Review procedures for your ceremony lineup, processional, recessional and receiving lines.

Book the following:

• Purchase ceremony accessories: unity candle, tapers, candle holders, guest book, pen, ring bearer pillow, etc.
• Purchase personal accessories: garter, cake knife/server, balloons, guest book, aisle runner, birdseed – petals – rice, guest keepsakes, engraved toasting glasses, car decorations, etc.

3 to 4 Weeks Before the Wedding

• Send your wedding announcement to the newspaper.
• Invite the wedding party, guests and minister/officiant to your rehearsal dinner. Include a map and directions from the wedding rehearsal site to the dinner, and confirm date, time and location.
• Decide on seating assignments for your rehearsal dinner and reception.
• Draw up a seating plan for reception; make cards for the bride’s table. If you have invited the minister/officiant to the reception, remember to have a special place for him. If he will be presenting a wedding blessing, be sure he sits close to the bridal table.
• Go over your personal trousseau and take care of any last minute items.
• Have final consultation with caterer, florist, and photographer/videographer.
• Give a list of the photos you would like taken to the photographer/videographer.
• Make arrangements for your gown cleaning and preservation.
• Make arrangement for your floral preservation. Request your floral designer handle this.
• Arrange for your head-table seating. Have a professional calligrapher design special name plates.
• Assign a responsible person to handle your guest book and determine its location.
• Arrange to move your belongings to your new home.
• If the bride has purchased new shoes especially for the wedding day, it is important to begin wearing them around the house so there will be less stress to your feet during the wedding.
• Arrange for a responsible person to take all gifts from the reception to your new home.
• Make a list of all announcements to be made during the evening along with your time schedule of events to the master of ceremonies.
• Coordinate your grand entrance and give the exact order of who will be walking in with whom, along with the correct pronunciation of difficult names.

Book the following:

• Pick up wedding rings. Remember to include your wedding rings in your insurance policy.
• Make final payment to the wedding minister/officiant.
Confirm “all” details with every service you have hired: church, hotel, musicians, deejays, caterer, floral designer, photographer, videographer, bakery and reception facility. Note any changes or sensitive items to avoid.
• Confirm out-of-town lodging for your guests with the reserved hotel(s).

1 Week Before the Wedding

• Pamper yourself with a relaxing massage, a manicure and a facial treatment.
• The groom will want to get a haircut.
• Give final count to the reception facility, caterer and bartending service.
• Remind men in the wedding party to pick up their formal wear and to double-check the fit.
• Prepare your toasts of thanks to family and friends to be presented at the reception.
• Make a schedule outlining the details of the wedding day and give a copy to each person in the wedding party at your rehearsal.
• Pack for your honeymoon.
• Mail “thank you” gifts to parents to arrive just after the wedding.

1 to 2 Days Before the Wedding

• Attend the rehearsal with the minister/officiant, and wedding party.
• Consider scheduling your rehearsal 2 days before the wedding, not the day before. This idea gives you a day of rest between two stressful days.
• Enjoy your rehearsal dinner with family and friends.
• Set aside a quiet time to exchange gifts with your partner.
• Take a long, soaking, relaxing, warm bath before going to bed. Treat yourself to a special treatment.
• Do your best to get to bed early the night before your wedding.

Wedding Day

• Eat a good breakfast. It will be a long day.
• Give envelopes with fees and gratuities to assigned person for distribution to parents and friends.
• Make sure our headpiece and veil make it to your hair appointment.
• Apply fingernail polish and give it adequate time for drying.
• Allow plenty of time for your makeup to be applied.
• Start dressing at least 45 minutes to an hour before you begin taking pictures.
• Remember to pack an “beauty bag” (emergency checklist) to take to the wedding!
Important: Have the best man be responsible for bringing the marriage license to the wedding. Make arrangement with the minister/officiant to sign your marriage license with two witnesses “immediately” after (or during) the ceremony. Invite the photographer/videographer.
• Do your best to relax. If you are nervous, sit quietly alone for five minutes and take a few deep breathes and know that everything is going to work out great.
• Enjoy your very special day!

Remember, it is wise to plan and “do” as much as you can – far in advance – so you can rest up the week before your wedding day.

BONUS Articles: Your Wedding is “YOUR” Wedding!
More Checklists
Think Long and Hard…
Why Do People Get Married?

Larry’s NOTE: You are welcome to print my checklist (pdf) by going to “Wedding Checklist” on my wedding website. This printer-friendly page is one that that you can print out and insert into your wedding binder for easy access.

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Your Wedding Should Start at the Time on Your Invitations

Filed under: Invitations,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Always put a real start time on your invitations.

If you’re planning to walk down the aisle at 7 p.m., the time on your invitations should be 7 p.m. I often hear brides or grooms say that their side of the family is always late so they listed the time on the invitations at 6:30 p.m. so they would be there by 7 p.m.

Woah!! Wait a minute! What about the people who show up on time at 6:30 p.m.?

StartONtimeIt’s very rude to keep the guests who arrived at 6:30 p.m. waiting until 7 p.m. just because you want to make sure your side of the family doesn’t miss your grand entrance. Very rude. If someone is historically late… ask them to come early to help out with something before the ceremony begins.

Most guests know better than to show up right at the invitation time anyway, so if you put 6:30 for a 7 o’clock ceremony, some of your guests could be waiting around for as long as a half hour or more before the ceremony begins. It’s never a good idea to give guests a fake start time on the wedding invitations because you could end up with guests who arrive early sitting waiting for the ceremony to begin for put to an hour beforehand.

I perform wedding ceremonies in the Greater Phoenix area (The Valley of the Sun) so is is especially important for the ceremony to begin on time as most of my ceremonies are outdoors at major resorts and sometimes it can get rather warm (and sometimes… hot!).

You would be wise to not be too strict about beginning the ceremony at the “exact minute” listed on the invitations. If guests are still trickling in at that moment, give them a few extra minutes to get settled and take their seats. Anything past a 10-minute late start – in my opinion – is too late. I’ve also heard wedding coordinators at venues tell the brides and grooms to expect to start 15 to 20 minutes late. Not good.

Just as it’s rude to post a false start on your invitations it’s equally rude for guests to arrive late at a wedding. Guests should respect your schedule and know that the wedding starts at the time on the invitation. It is your guest’s responsibility to be on time to your wedding not your responsibility to make sure everyone is there at the start. I’ve received several invitations that list the time for the ceremony as: “7 p.m. Sharp!” to emphasize that the wedding will begin on time. Never feel trapped into waiting for people who may never show up.

Have your ushers tell guests to please seat as close to the front as possible for the benefit of the photos. You might want to cord off the last several rows for late-comers.

Conclusion: You should always start the wedding ceremony at the time indicated on the invitation. It all comes down to manners. Whatever you do, never put a fake time on your invitation.

Your comments?

BONUS Articles: PLEASE Be on Time! (for your own wedding!)

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Sunday, August 17, 2014

No More “Receiving Lines!”

Filed under: Receiving Line,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , ,

A mistake that brides and grooms often make: Not taking the time to greet each guest personally at the reception.

A receiving line is the best opportunity to greet each guest individually and thank him or her for coming to your wedding. And if you’re having more than 50 guests, it’s considered proper etiquette. The line also guarantees your guests a minute of face-to-face time with you, a chance to hug, kiss, and congratulate you both, and to say things like “The ceremony was lovely. Larry James was terrific!” (Wink, wink) ;-) However, receiving lines are an old tradition that have pretty much gone out of fashion.

NOreceivingLinesTraditions can be great, but not all wedding traditions are necessary, or even meaningful, in today’s weddings. With more than 50 guests, it can take time away from taking photos after the ceremony. I say, “Don’t ever make your guests stand in a line at your wedding if you can avoid it, and NEVER do it unless it is for food or a drink.” This outdated tradition eats into your special day leaving less time for “real conversations” with your guests.

Since I am the last person to exit after the ceremony, I often will make a brief announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom request that you offer your congratulations at the reception so photos of the bride and groom can stay on schedule. In the meantime, please enjoy hors d’ oeuvres and something cold to drink at the cocktail hour. Please allow the parents to go before me (that way the parents get to be the first to say congratulations). Let the celebration begin!”

Have an usher escort guests from the ceremony area to the cocktail hour. One couple had the guests go by the guest book table. This way everyone was sure to sign and they will have something to do while waiting for the reception to begin.

More and more couples plan to visit each table during the reception instead of a receiving line. What you don’t know is that most couples never make it around to every table – they often get sidetracked when their favorite song comes on or when their uncle drags them off to the bar for celebratory drinks, and before you know it, it’s time to cut the cake and do the last dance. Some couples walk around the reception with a basket of wedding favors and personally hand them to each guest instead of leaving them on the table.

My advice: Skip the receiving line, since it usually feels outdated, old fashion and takes time away from photos. Although it may not be the perfect situation, when you visit every table every guest will have gotten a greeting and a thank-you, and no one will leave angry that they traveled a long distance and never got to meet the bride and groom. It’s also important to have a “plan” to visit each table to greet guests after they finish their meal.

Have the DJ or Master of Ceremonies make an announcement that the bride and groom will visit each table, personally thank and acknowledge the guests and pose for photos. It’s also very important for the bride and groom to visit each table “staying by each other’s side” because guests will want photos with both. You may also incorporate having your photographer (or someone else) take photos of you with each table. The only downside could be that guests had moved to different tables to mingle or they’d moved on to the dance floor and they miss the appearance of the bride and groom.

More and more couples are choosing to see each other before the wedding for a “first look” or “reveal moment” photo session and take lots of other photos before the wedding so they can meet and greet with your guests during the cocktail hour in a separate area away from the main reception hall.

BONUS Articles: Wedding Receiving Lines
The Receiving Line – “NOT!”
To See… or Not to See? That is the Question!

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Plus 1’s ~ Yes? No?

Filed under: Plus 1s,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

I spoke to a bride recently who said she cut the guest list at the reception by almost 25% by nixing plus 1’s. Her future hubby was not happy to have people at the reception he didn’t know.

On a tight budget? Should everyone get a “plus one?” For the bride and groom it often comes down to cost and shelling out extra money for someone they might not know very well, if at all. A plus-one is a must for anyone who is married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship. No exceptions there! If a guest would rather not attend without a date, they have the prerogative to decline the invitation. Family should always come before friends. After that, it gets a little less clear-cut.

Plus-1sEmily Post says that spouses, fiancées/fiancés, and live-in partners must be invited, issuing an invitation to a boyfriend or girlfriend is up to the bride and groom’s discretion.

As for long-term boyfriends and girlfriends, it’s more or less up to you, but it’s smart to go with a hard-and-fast rule – all or none – to keep things fair across the board. Some couples give a plus one to singles over 18. Others decide to include dates for anyone in a relationship, while others draw the line at just couples who have been together for a year or more.

How do you make it clear to people that they do not get a plus one? If a guest is invited with a plus one, the invitation will state that explicitly: Jane Doe and Guest. Don’t see those words? Sorry, they are just going to have to make friends at the reception. On invitations to guests without plus 1s try “_____ of 1 guests will attend. That’s pretty clear. Wedding websites can be incredibly useful too – it gives you the room to explain what’s going on, including that there are firm limitations on how many people you can have at the wedding. Make it very clear, “Sorry, we just don’t have room for extras – if we allow Plus 1s, we have family members who won’t be able to come.” Consider seating singles thoughtfully with other singles. Let your whiny friends know that sometimes fabulous meet-ups can happen at a terrific wedding.

Whatever you decide, consistency is the key. The exception is your bridal party members – if you can swing it, allow your single bridesmaids and groomsmen to invite dates if they choose to do so.

If there is no plus one but your guest wants to bring someone, they could politely telephone asking if they can bring a guest and must be okay with the answer. However, etiquette guide Debrett’s (the trusted source on “British” social skills – keep in mind they do things different there), says asking is always a no no. As Anna Post writes in the Emily Post etiquette guidelines and agrees, “It’s not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won’t be rude in the least to stand by your guest list.”

You also may have guests assume they can bring a date, despite your clearly addressed invitation to the contrary. You may need to pick up that phone. Emphasize the fact that it was clearly a misunderstanding and apologize, but make it clear that you won’t be able to accommodate extra guests, and stand firm.

Response cards are one of those notoriously painful tasks in planning your wedding. Not only will you need to chase a few people down when they respond late, but decipher chicken scratch and missing names. TIP: number each response card in pencil and keep a personal list of which numbered response is for which guest.

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Saturday, August 9, 2014

20 Table Etiquette Mistakes To Embarrass Yourself

Filed under: Etiquette,Manners,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Lisa Stewart, Guest Author

So you think you can eat? Politely? If you’ve been spending too much alone time shoving food down your pie hole or hanging with friends whose careers don’t require adult behavior, your manners’ hard drive may be corrupted. It’s time to pull the napkin out of your collar and get serious again about good table manners.

Larry’s NOTE: Although this article was not necessarily written for weddings, it may shed some light on some special skills required when dining at a reception or at a fancy restaurant.

1. Don’t Rush the Table ~ A simple meal at a friend’s home is a great place to practice etiquette skills. Hopefully, you brought along an offering of wine, etc. and once there, are engaged in frivolity. But don’t get too comfortable too fast. Your hosts have some expectations. Let them lead the event including the gesture for seating. Musical chairs ended in grade school and it’s best to wait for their direction on when and where to sit. And naturally, ladies first.

DiningEtiquette2. Can you hear me now? ~ Thinking of putting your phone, keys, or purse on the table? This is a clutter free zone, not your kitchen counter. Pack away your muted devices after taking the requisite photos and doing the check in which should be no more than 30 seconds. It’s now considered acceptable to photograph your beautiful food or table mates if the host is doing it, otherwise, save the updates for later. Sara Rimer was dealing with this a few years ago and her advice is still timely.

3. Napkin Etiquette ~ It’s so much easier when the napkin is directly on your plate, otherwise panic sets in if you’re confronted with beautifully folded linens placed around the table. Yours is on the left which leaves your right hand free to use your eating utensil. Apologies to the lefties but this was decided long ago by royalty. Napkin History. Wait until your host is seated and takes his/her napkin. You may then proceed without great flourish… no snapping or flapping among the refined! Most cloth napkins are big enough for a half fold on your lap while paper napkins can be completely unfolded. A napkin is for keeping hands and face neat; any attempts at using it for a handkerchief will get you promptly moved to the kids’ table.

#44. Place Setting Cheat Code ~ Both hands in front of you now while making this symbol to the right. Look down. Do you see the letter “b” on your left? That stands for bread and that’s where your bread plate is located. The letter “d” is on your right and it means drink. No excuses now for scarfing down your neighbor’s bread and water as you’re in the know with this tricky cheat code.

5. Focus on etiquette, not plates ~ You’re seated without your technology which makes googling this puzzle impossible but don’t fear, the wait staff/hosts will guide you at this level. Napkin in place, the service begins and order replaces confusion. You’re the smart one now who recognizes that all the drinks will be offered to your right and your bread will be placed to your left. Soups or salads begin using the dish/bowl directly to your front and possibly on your entree plate. They’ve made it easy to find the appropriate utensils as they are placed on the outside to be used first. Notice the far left fork (salad) is shorter and wider so as to grab the greens more efficiently. The soup spoon to the far right is longer and wider to dip down into the bowl for every last drop. When getting that drop, you may tilt the bowl but don’t pick it up or even think about bringing it to your mouth!

When service of your entree begins, your used dishes and utensils will be removed (don’t forget to leave them on those dishes to signal that you’ve completed this course.)

The entree arrives which leaves the remaining utensils at the sides for your use. The smaller ones at the top of the entree plate are waiting for the final course which will be dessert.

Don’t even worry about the various water and wine glasses placed near you. The staff/host will offer and typically pour your beverage in the appropriate glass saving you the concern over which one to use. But in case you’re a worrier, the water glass and white wine glass are usually simple, tall and slim allowing these clear liquids to be highlighted . Short and wide wine glasses allow red wines to expand their surface while you have room at the top to breathe in their bouquet. Understanding the reasoning behind a shape or placement will help you remember its purpose.

6. Chew and listen. Swallow then talk. ~ Eating together is fulfilling. The breaking of bread in either a business setting or at home with friends and family touches something in our spirit. The ceremony of a meal is conducive to sharing and with that comes a multitude of etiquette mishaps. The most important (and perhaps most abused rule) is DO NOT EAT WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN! It sounds simple but as we get excited sharing our conversation, we forget to chew and listen, swallow then talk. No matter what you are sharing, it gets lost as the audience watches the food in your mouth rather than listening to the content of your words.

7. Etiquette Food Sneaks ~ It seems so harmless at first. The hostess is speaking or saying grace at a large dinner and you think no one will notice that nibble of bread you’ve slipped into your mouth. People notice and make an internal judgment that you’re ill-mannered. You are welcome to sip your beverage but DO NOT start scarfing your meal if you should be listening to a speaker. Only when the speaker urges you to continue eating are you allowed to CONTINUE EATING!! Put your fork down but not on your plate (the wait staff sees that as a signal you’re done) and listen. Besides, your chewing is never louder than when you are the only one doing it at the table.

Click out the hilarious video below by GloZell to assault your senses if you think you can get away with being a Food Sneak!

8. Time to Make a Pass ~ It’s going so well and then you’re challenged to make a pass. Salt and pepper move as a set regardless of what is asked for…don’t separate these savory lovers when responding to a request. Also, it is acceptable to ask someone else to pass them if it’s still too far for you to reach. NEVER reach across a table!

Some will argue that it is rude to enhance the cook’s meal with salt and pepper. The cook/chef/host does not put condiments on the table unless they think you may want to add them to your food. It is very rare to find a home cook or restaurant chef’s table without condiments which means it’s completely appropriate. Asking for something unexpected to flavor your food though is a no-no and may get you a frosty glare if mentioned.

Eating family style? Passing of the bowls is entirely appropriate side to side. Do not extend bowls across the table. Also, the serving spoon/fork is an indication of portion size. Dole out ONE portion for yourself; if there is extra food after everyone has been served, it will be appropriate to ask for seconds.

9. Run for it ~ Your mother always said you couldn’t finish a meal without needing a bathroom break. If that’s still true OR you need to step away from the table for other reasons, do so without bringing much attention to yourself. The entire table does not need to know your business. Instead, excuse yourself quietly to those sitting nearest you, place your napkin ON your chair and quietly exit. Expect to be missed if you are absent for more than a few minutes and if so, expect to be quizzed by your table mates upon your return.

10. Conversation Etiquette ~ You converse everyday and it should be so simple but dinner conversation can be tricky if you’re with a business group, contentious friends, or dramatic family members. Alcohol, comfort level (because you feel so good about your etiquette) or being unfamiliar with your table mates can turn you into that person who causes cringes and rolled eyes. According to the Etiquette Scholar, it is key to Stop, Look, Listen, and Watch as you embark upon engaging your fellow diners. Stop talking if it isn’t well thought out, look at your listener’s expressions, listen as much as you talk, and watch whomever you are speaking with.

11. Hand Jive ~ Everything is going so well. You’re talking, eating, and drinking without fear of embarrassment until you notice someone watching your hands. Are you using the Caveman grip? There are two basic styles, Continental and American which are both acceptable. View Here Don’t make excuses for yourself if you’re not utilizing these. Regardless of your intellect and conversation skills, if you eat like the Flintstones, you’ll be treated like them.

12. Space… it’s personal ~ Personal space can be challenging at a crowded table which makes it even more important to follow acceptable boundaries. Keep your elbows tucked in when leveraging your utensils while cutting food and definitely DO NOT place them on the table until it has been cleared completely. Hands can be placed upon the lap when not eating or rested at the wrist on the edge of the table. Moving your chair too close to another can cause angst when either of you have to leave the table. Diners with mobility equipment should always be given preference to an end seat or the placement of their choosing for easy table access.

14. Don’t step in the etiquette land mine ~ How can we even be discussing this? Because it has happened too often! Dinner guests with all the right moves above the table get tripped up being too comfortable underneath the table. No matter how uncomfortable those new shoes are, DO NOT remove them under the table. Can there be anything more embarrassing then having to explain why you’re in bare feet when you rise to leave the table?

15. Polite Decline ~ With today’s myriad of food allergies, diet requirement, etc., it’s logical to communicate with your host pre-dinner concerning your needs. Most are happy to accommodate but mistakes can occur. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to respond amiably if your choices can’t be met. Restaurants can typically provide vegetarian fare but if you’re at someone’s home, show your class by letting the hostess know you’ll be doubling up on side items and bread. Making a scene about your inconvenience will get you on the “Do Not Invite” list for many.

If you have no reasonable requests but simply dislike the fare offered, put on your adult demeanor and make the effort to try a bit of everything. Taking obligatory bites and then slyly moving your food around your plate without eating it will go far in maintaining the respect of your host.

16. Utensil Morse Code ~ The restaurant servers or home hostess keep an eye on your utensil placement near the end of a course or your meal. They want the flow for everyone to be consistent so that conversation stays uninterrupted by a wholesale moving of dirty dishes. The simplest code is using your plate as a clock. Place your utensils parallel across your plate with the handles resting near four o’clock. A tip to remember: Your workday typically ends near four or five just as your meal is ending.

There are more specific details for formal dining. See the Etiquette Scholars for more information concerning these as well as International rules.

17. Let’s Share ~ Coffee and dessert? Maybe you’re feeling that you deserve a final treat after minding your manners. Private dinner parties will typically bring out the sweets now but at a restaurant, follow your host’s lead. If the hour is late, they may wave aside dessert but if everyone is ordering so can you.

Sharing desserts can be a pitfall for etiquette mistakes. At business gatherings, it is not even recommended. For hygiene purposes, once you and others have decided which dessert(s) to share, also request extra serving plates and utensils. You can then divide and conquer the sugary delight with everyone getting a bite and not sharing germs. But remember, you’ve asked the server to go above and beyond as you should for their tip when the bill comes.

18. Food isn’t free ~ The meal is coming to an end and if the bill is divided among the diners, there are a few points to remember:

a. Splitting a bill evenly should have been decided before the meal and the waiter informed.
b. Don’t penalize the non-drinkers; ask that beverages be charged separately.
c. For separate bills, remember that the wait staff has extra steps to keep it clear and should be rewarded with an extra tip.

Read more here about the touchy subject of Dividing the Bill

19. Giving thanks for no mistakes ~ A meal in which you have stretched your new found etiquette wings deserves a proper thank you. Although a text or email might be convenient, it’s the handwritten note that will get you noticed and invited to more wonderful gatherings. Networking isn’t just in the cyber world; it continues to be a personal experience. But, if your host has a strong online presence, be kind and thoughtful if you blog, FB, or tweet about your evening.

All of your well earned manners credit will be lost if you DO NOT send some form of thanks. Don’t delay or forget…that is the ultimate embarrassment.

20. Pay it forward and avoid embarrassment ~ Those beautiful flowers or nice wine that you brought to the dinner party…enjoy the feeling of getting your own. It’s one thing to be a polite and respectful guest who livens up the group and is often invited out, but how embarrassing for you if there is no reciprocation. If your living situation is not conducive to dinner parties, restaurants abound as well as other venues where you can host your own gathering. Museums, ballparks, theaters, can help you host your own dinner party. Be creative and adventurous and remember, there’s a whole new set of etiquette rules to conquer when you play host. Hostess with the Mostest.

LisaStewartCopyright 2014 – Lisa Stewart. Lisa is almost 50 and currently writing, modeling, adventuring and becoming enlightened. She was once a teacher, interior decorator, SAHM and trailing spouse for 23 years. Diagnosed with MS in 2006 and began a lifelong commitment to wellness and a stubborn streak to find “lifehacks” around her illness. So far, so wonderfully good… see her at www.afeatheryleaf.com

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