Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wedding Checklist

Filed under: Checklist,Wedding Checklist,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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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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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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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Think Long and Hard…

We all know what the wedding is. It’s a celebration of Love between two people who love each other and want to be together, raise a family and live happily ever after. However, the wedding is merely a big show that publicly tells everyone that a partnership has been made between two people.

There is one time when the show must not go on. When the wedding ceremony and the celebration ends, the marriage begins. By understanding the difference between the two, many more women and men, might begin the think longer and harder about rushing into a marriage.

ThinkLONGandHardIt is something that should not be taken lightly and should be given much thought because after the dream of a fabulous wedding is over, reality begins to knock at the door, just waiting to enter.

Most everyone who has ever been married will agree that the first couple of years is probably the most difficult. The honeymoon phases hasn’t ended… or has it. The first couple of years should be a great time for the couple because the couple should be enjoying their new lives together as wife and husband. Unfortunately, this belief is not as true as previously thought. Why are the first several years of a marriage between two people who are suppose to be happily and madly in love so difficult so early in their marriage? Perhaps it’s because the newlyweds are finally in a marriage! The wedding is over. Reality sometimes really gets their attention.

Many couples begin to realize that they were so in love with the idea of getting married and having an amazing wedding that they never gave much thought about life after the “I dos!” They finally see that they might not actually know and in some cases even love their partner as much as they thought they did because the desire of a fabulous wedding was what really mattered to them at the time. Love and commitment for their new partner must continue to be a high priority after the wedding for marriage to work. The ceremony IS the wedding, but the wedding in NOT the marriage.

There is good news. It may surprise you to know that the myth that half of all marriages end in divorce is simply not true. According to the Census Bureau, 72% of those who have ever been married, are still married to their first spouse. And the 28% who aren’t, includes everyone who was married for many years, until a spouse died. No-one knows what the average first-marriage divorce rate actually is, but based on the rate of widowhood and other factors, we can estimate it is probably closer to 20 – 25%. For all marriages (including second marriages, and so on), it is in the 31 – 35% range, depending on the study.

According to sociologists Jeffrey Dew and W. Bradford Wilcox, married couples who spend time alone talking or doing an activity together at least once a week were 3.5 times more likely to be happier than those who did not. Learn to communicate better.

Seems pretty easy to achieve, except for the fact that most Americans are extremely busy. Dew also reported that among married couples without children, time spent with each other’s spouse declined from 35 hours to 26 each week. Much of this was due to each person needing (or wanting) to spend more time at work. And those with children saw a decrease of 13 hours per week to nine, likely due to an increase in time spent with their children.

CannotRushA study from the National Marriage Project found that more and more young adults today are delaying marriage because they see it as a capstone that comes after achieving one’s life goals – professional and otherwise. Marriage used to be a given. Now it is a choice. These days, a happy marriage requires a serious commitment of time and energy that can be difficult to maintain.

If you are thinking of getting married… think long and hard about rushing into it. Rushing is a big mistake. Spend some time to be together. Be patient. It’s okay to take your time to really get to know each other. Get to know his/her family. Spend time with happily married couples. Ask questions. Premarital counseling/coaching is always a good idea… before the engagement – not after. Hold off on having children until you are really ready to be a parent. Children truly change the dynamic of marriage. Have you discussed religion, children, careers, division of labor, in-laws and geography with your partner? If not, how do you anticipate that you’ll be able to successfully merge your two lives together?

As a full-time wedding officiant and relationship coach, it raises a red flag for me when I ask a couple who have contacted me to perform their wedding ceremony – “How long that have been together,” and the answer is anywhere from two months to a year. Long engagements are a good thing. Never let fear of being single cause you to move forward with marriage until you are absolutely sure you are ready for a long-term commitment. You must have a healthy respect for commitment.

Marriage makes a relationship Divine. Getting married means that something bigger than both of you is bringing you together. Something wonderful happens after the wedding ceremony and as you walk hand in hand into a new life together. Publicly declaring your love in front of friends and family in a formal ceremony, and then signing a marriage license that legally seals the deal can make your twosome feel meaningful in a way that simply living together long-term might not. Simply using the terms “wife” and “husband” causes couples to think of each other in a more permanent, you’re a part of me/I’m a part of you way.

Avoiding marriage before your late 20s and dating a partner for at least two years will greatly reduce your risk of things falling apart in the future. Only fools rush in.

The key is to spend as much time talking together about your marriage – before marriage – as you did in planning all the details of your wedding!

BONUS Articles: Everything We Think We Know About Marriage and Divorce is Wrong!!
Things Someone Should Have Told You Before Your Wedding Day

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
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Friday, August 1, 2014

Opps! Avoiding Basic Wedding Blunders!

Filed under: Wedding Consultants,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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There are many missteps you can make when planning a wedding, especially if you do not hire a Wedding Consultant. It can be a bit overwhelming and stressful. Talk to wedding professionals. They will give you tips and suggestions that can really help as you move toward the big day. Wedding planning is a serious business and it’s important to stick to a plan, a budget and most of all, practical decisions. Watch out for “budget creep.” Sticking to the budget is never easy.

Don’t allow other people to influence your decisions. This is ‘your” wedding… not your mothers, not you maid of honors, your wedding. Listen for ideas, be nice, but you do the choosing.

Opps!Your wedding day should be FUN! If you’re stressed or stressing others out it it will put a damper on the celebration. The bride and groom set the tone for the party so if you’re enjoying yourself, dancing and mingling, so will everyone else.

Here are a few errors that I have seen or heard that brides and grooms frequently make.

13. Be attentive to yourselves. It’s great to make sure that your guests and especially your out-of-town guests are taken care of, but remember to take care of your own well being. Plan a day at the spa. Have a nice breakfast the day of. Pamper yourself. You deserve it. It’s your day… own it!

12. Plan and do everything “in advance” – not at the last minute. The day before the wedding should be a time when you can unwind and know that everything is going to be alright. When you’re planning a wedding, you try to think of everything. Unless you are a wedding consultant, that is not possible. Do not expect everything to be perfect. Stuff happens. Allot enough time for the little things. You must be okay if the 5 year old ring bearer runs all the way to the alter and throws the ring pillow at the best man (this actually happened at one of my weddings). There are numerous details that brides and grooms rarely every consider. See #1.

11. Arizona weddings need special consideration. Given the right weather conditions and location, an outdoor wedding can be as romantic as it is beautiful. Remember to apply the sunscreen before you put on your makeup (for the rehearsal and the wedding). Make sure you have accommodations available, such as a tent or indoor facility, for possible inclement weather. The Greater Phoenix area has more than 325 days of annual sunshine. Arizona winters often require heating for an evening wedding and cooling is a must if your wedding day falls in the heat of summer (June, July & August).

10. Avoid being seen as a cheapskate. Skip the “cash” bar. Offer whatever alcohol at your reception that you choose, but don’t make your guests pay for it. On a tight budget? Find a friend to host the bar. Request that bartenders not put out tip jars. If you are hosting the bar, tell your catering contact that you are happy to pay gratuity to the bartender(s) but that you do not want your guests to feel obligated to tip.

9. Brides, wear comfy shoes. Pamper your feet. You will be in your shoes for several hours and if the shoes you wear are new you will most likely be rewarded with a few blisters. Flats or sandals work well if your dress is long enough to cover them. If not switch to comfortable shoes immediately after the wedding. You may even want to consider changing to a party dress after the ceremony.

8. Don’t plan to leave on your honeymoon immediately. The wedding and reception may cause extreme exhaustion. It’s a big day. The honeymoon is very special so give yourself a couple of days (or more) to rest. Open gifts, write “thank you” notes, sleep late, rest and just be together. When you are fully rested, go for it! Don’t worry about not being able to take a big fancy honeymoon. You have the rest of your lives to make money and take big, wonderful, fabulous vacations. But you only get “one” wedding. Do it well and be happy.

7. Put your money towards what you care most about. Prioritize! Even on a tight budget, you’re much better off paying a vendor with experience to take care of the details. Always hire the best wedding vendors you can afford. Remember, the ceremony IS the wedding. It’s the the main event! Hire a full-time, professional Wedding Officiant. Uncle Fred, who has never performed a wedding ceremony and offers to do it for FREE is almost always sure to disappoint. This is probably one of the top wedding planning mistakes. There are always places where you can cut a few corners and shift around some money of your budget to hire someone that may cost a little more. Always factor in gratuity and taxes on your budget.

6. When possible, schedule your rehearsal two days before the wedding, not the night before. Consider scheduling a Wednesday rehearsal for a Friday Wedding and a Thursday rehearsal for a Saturday wedding. This allows for a day of rest from the stress of having two busy days in a row – the rehearsal and the wedding. This may not work if guests who are in the wedding party do not arrive in time, however, if only one or two out-of-town bridesmaids or groomsmen cannot be there, have the rehearsal anyway and catch them up on the details when they arrive.

5. Plan any parties waaaay ahead. Do not commit yourself to social events the day before your wedding. If you must have a bachelor or bachelorette party, plan it several weeks “before” your wedding day. The last thing you need is to have you or your wedding party show up on the big day with headaches, hangovers, puffy skin, fuzzy head, or worse, an upset stomach. Agree not to do anything that you would not feel comfortable in telling your partner. It’s called, “r-e-s-p-e-c-t!”

4. Never toast yourselves! During a toast to the Bride and Groom, the couple should NEVER stand, raise their glasses, and drink to themselves. It’s considered bad manners. They should thank the toasters or at least smile and graciously nod. They are not obliged to propose a toast in return.

3. Last minute things can get hairy! Make sure that you have a practice hair session at least a month before the ceremony, and the final cut no less than two weeks before the wedding. On the day of, be sure to schedule your hair and nails appointments in plenty of time before the wedding. Remember to bring your wedding veil so you will have a true idea of the final effect. Never make big changes such as getting a perm, coloring your hair, etc., right before your wedding.

2. Choose talented pros who understand your vision, and let them do their jobs! Don’t try to control every detail. Know your deadlines. Plan ahead. Get to know your Master of Ceremonies. Your DeeJay is probably the most micromanaged by couples. Too many song requests may actually impede the flow of your party. Limit your DeeJay request list to a few favorites and a do-not-play list of only the songs you cannot stand.

1. 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! 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.

A marriage is a commitment to spend the rest of your lives together. It is an exchange of vows and a bonding of families. Something very special happens during your wedding ceremony. Once you say, “I do,” and step out into the world your life with your partner becomes very different. Marriage is a very special spiritual connection of two people united for a common purpose, bringing love and trust together into single focus. It’s difficult to put into words, but you will feel it and know what I mean as soon as you walk into your new life together.

I’m sure you can think of a few other bright ideas to pass along. You are encouraged to do so in the comments section below. Thank you.

BONUS Articles: Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!
Romantic Arizona Sunsets
When to Schedule Your Wedding Rehearsal…
Listen Up Guys! – Planning a Wedding is a Team Sport!

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, July 28, 2014

Choosing Your Wedding Invitation Ensemble

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

Treasia Stepp, Guest Author

Your wedding invitations are the first thing your guest will see with regards to your special day. Choosing them will be a very important part of the marriage process. Choose with style and great care. Ask yourself?, what do you want your guests impression to be of your big day? What do you want to express to them with regards to it? Express yourself and your fiancé through your invitations.

First off you need to make your guest list. This will be to determine how many invitations should be ordered. You would be wise to order an additional 25 – 50 invitations over the amount of guests you have listed on your guest list. You should count every couple and single guest, parents, clergy and also their guests.

invitation2All children over 16 should also receive an invitation. Give yourself plenty of time as well as the designer you have chosen. Your invitations should be ordered well in advance give or take four to six months. This will ensure less stress for you in the long run.

The invitation should be chosen carefully and thoughtfully, as it will give the perspective guests a brief preview of what to expect of the wedding. Selecting the right materials to use whether it’s the paper, style, wording or font all add to the important process of planning the perfect wedding.

Secondly your theme and colours of the wedding should be incorporated into the final design, whether you decide on a more traditional approach or a more unique and contemporary design it should compliment your own personal tastes. Many more brides today are choosing to go with the more unique invitations as a way of self expression. Once upon a time pure white and cream were traditionally used, now there is no limit on the colours and designs being included on wedding invitations.

Flowers and bells are extremely common yet always the favorite for couples who wish for their wedding invitations to be as elaborate as possible. Now brides have a choice of more color styles, font styles and paper options. Choose with care. Is your wedding going to be timelessly tradtional and formal, or comtemporary and unique? Whatever your style make it your expression of your wedding day.

Thirdly. Choose your font style, text style and color. Old English and Roman Capitals are were once favored for effectiveness and clarity, now it is almost limitless as to your options. There are hundreds of font styles to choose from. Make sure it matches your invitation theme.

For instance, you wouldn’t want an informal outdoors wedding invitation to depict French Script or say, Wedding Text script. Make sure the two work well together. Ink color should also match the basic design or the border color as well.

invitationWedding invitations should generally consist of 10 – 14 lines. If they exceed this then the font chosen should be less elaborate but if there is not much wording then fill the invitation with a different font style. Make it a full bodied font. There are even more numerous types of embellishments one can add to their invitations as well. Many brides opt for ribbons, pictures of the bride and groom, crystals and many more. Express yourselves through your invitations.

Fourth, choosing your wedding invitation wording. Do you want to add both sets of parents to the wording? Would you like it to have a poem added before the invite wording? Something else to consider is this. If you have children are you planning on them being in the wedding? If so you might would like to add their names to the invitation as well.

More weddng invitation experts should be able to provide you with this type of wording. I have seen more and more invites (as well as designed them myself) by incorporating the children’s name into them. Especially if you and your groom plan on having the children light the unity candles, do sand ceremonies and such.

Fifth, ask your wedding invitations vendor for references. Why you ask? No one is perfect!! This will provide you with a better peace of mind that you are choosing the right person for the job. Brides love to talk about their weddings, so ask them how the printer done.

Did they provide your invitations timely as was stated to them? Were there any grammar errors? Were they pleasant to deal with? Did they provide them with several options to choose from? Does your invitations person provide you with a picture of your invitation to check for errors? Do they mail you one for this to be checked? Which would you prefer? If it is a reputable invitations expert they should be happy to provide you with references and any information you should request. They should also provide this to you in a timely manner.

Lastly, try to order your invitation sets well in advance. Most invitation designers would prefer about 4 – 6 months of time. If at all possible allow them this. Your invitations should be mailed out to your guests about 4 – 6 weeks prior to your wedding day. This allows time for your guests to make any arrangements needed to attend your wedding. If you are inviting guests from out of town or out of state, it might be a good idea to mail their invites out about 8 weeks in advance.

Enjoy your time choosing the perfect wedding invitations ensemble. Your invitations person should make this as stress free for you as possible. Remember to express yourself and your day through your invitations. And always remember that if you allow yourself plenty of time for choosing the perfect invite, that you have also managed to make this part of your wedding planning process less stressful and more enjoyable for yourself as well as your future husband.

BONUS Article: What to Include (Etiquette Wise) With Your Wedding Invitations

TreasiaSteppCopyright 2014 – Treasia Stepp. Reprinted with permission. Helping brides-to-be get the elegant invitations of their dreams.

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

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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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Don’t Do Me Any Favors…

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

Unless the favor is a food — like some delicious cookies, double fudge brownies or chocolates the guests can eat right then – it’s a wedding expense you can forgo. And all the traditionalists say, “Tacky!”

Not really. They aren’t really necessary. The point of a favor is to acknowledge and thank your guests for coming to your wedding. Many couples shell out hundreds of dollars on junky favors that will just get thrown away or left on the table when the guests leave the reception.

FavorsSome think that the expense of a nice meal at the reception is great way to say thank you. Others say the invitation to the wedding is a gift in itself.

If you need to be frugal or must cut something out completely, favors would be the wise choice. Most people will not even notice if you eliminate favors.

Here’s an idea. Forgo favors in “favor” of making a donation in honor of your wedding. Write a note to each guest and leave it at their place setting, letting them know you’ve donated to a charity in lieu of a traditional wedding favor. (Do not put anything about the donation being “in honor of” your guests or in their name.) Some larger charitable organizations such as the American Cancer Society will even do the work for you by printing favor cards or tags announcing your donation. The actual amount contributed should be kept private. Mentioning a dollar amount or directly collecting donations from your guests is considered an etiquette no-no.

The Knot says, “If you want to announce it, do one discreet sign that is in a high traffic area (like cake table or guest book table) and be done with it. Plastering announcements all over your reception is very “look at how awesome we are” and also makes your wedding look like a fundraiser.”

Oh, yes, one more thing about donations. Give serious consideration to the organization you choose. For example, weddings are not, in my opinion, the place to advertise political or religious donations that could spark unpleasant conversations during your reception. Some say donating to a cause YOU support is not a favor to anyone else. Hmmm.

What is important to you as a couple is what really matters. It’s “your” wedding… do what ever you want! If you decide that you must have favors, remember, favors do not need to be extravagant or expensive… it really is the thought that counts.

There are many ways to cut down on the expense of a wedding… no favors is one of them.

BONUS Article: Instead of Buying Wedding Favors – Try This…

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
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Music at the Reception!

Filed under: Reception Music,Receptions,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

“Did you like our DJ?”

“He was fine. But he didn’t play the songs we asked for, but it was still fun.”

SongRequestsOh, oh!

Obviously, the bride and groom will create a playlist of their favorites and a don’t playlist (the inappropriate lyrics, the songs you hate, hard to dance to, outdated, overplayed, or carry the wrong message, etc.) to keep the “chicken dance” and others from being annoying the guests. The last thing you want to hear is a song you hate. Create a “do not play” list for your band or DJ and you’ll never have to regret your reception music later.

Top 10 ‘Do Not Play’ Wedding Songs

1. The Macarena – along with all those other cheesy organized dance songs (Electric Slide, Chicken Dance, YMCA, Hokey Pokey, etc.).
2. Celebration
3. White Wedding
4. Lips of an Angel by Hinder – and other cheating, breakup, or death-related songs, including Jesse’s Girl, Tears in Heaven, and I Will Survive.
5. The Humpty Dance
6. Love Shack
7. Brick House
8. Who Let the Dogs Out
9. Hot, Hot, Hot
10. Tainted Love – or any ‘bad’ love song.

It’s one thing to have your DJ announce that he will play requests, but yet another to make it easy for your guests to have him play their favorite dance tune that will encourage them to get up and kick up their heels.

rsvpSongRequestSome couples are including a line on the invitation RSVP for guests to write-in a special request to be played at the reception. Asking guests for song requests on your reply card is a fun and interactive way to pre-plan a perfect playlist. Send your guests a small question along with their invite asking them their favorite song. It’ll get them excited to attend your wedding and contribute to your big day. When the guests hear their song they’ll get excited when their requested song comes on and get up and dance.

It can get a little hectic when guests are running up requesting different songs during the reception. Give this RSVP list of songs to your DJ, along with the name of the person who requested each song. That way, if the dance floor starts to thin out, the DJ can play songs off of the request list and call out their name. This pretty much guarantees that the person who requested the song will get up and dance and encourage others to do so as well.

Top 10 Best Wedding Songs For Reception

1. All of Me – Jon Legend
2. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
3. XO – Beyonce
4. Treasure – Bruno Mars
5. Let’s Get Married – Jagged Edge
6. Who You Love – Katy Perry and John Mayer
7. Marry Me – Jason Derulo
8. Borrow My Heart – Taylor Henderson
9. How Long Will I Love You– Ellie Goulding
10. Somebody Loves You – Betty Who

Keep in mind that the music will have a big influence on the mood of your reception, as well as your guests’ memories of your special day.

BONUS Article: Reasons to NOT allow the guests to make requests!

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

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