Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Changing Your Last Name When You Get Married?

Alizah K. Lowell, LCSW-R, CEDS, Guest Author

When Joy got engaged, she was excited and ready to dive into planning her wedding. Questions from friends and family started popping up: When’s the big day? Have you found a dress? Are you going to change your last name?

Joy sat in my office expressing her ambivalence about taking her partner’s last name. She had not planned on doing so, but found herself wanting to consider it. As we explored her thoughts and feelings, we began to understand the complexity of the decision.

WED-NameChangeThe more I listen to people in my practice, and in my life, the clearer it becomes that this decision has a range of meanings, and can be approached in very different ways. Here are some things to consider:

Changing your name can represent a shift in identity.

Our identity forms over a lifetime and is based on different parts of ourselves, including our culture, race, ethnicity, values, spirituality, sexuality, and gender. A person’s identity is what makes them a unique individual—and our names are part of that.

When Eva was born, she was given her mother’s last name as a middle name and her father’s last name as her last name. Her parents divorced when she was in elementary school, and as she got older, using her mother’s last name in certain contexts felt more important to her, as it represented, for her, a way to maintain connection to both parents.

Years later, when Eva was getting married, she decided that this was an important marker of change in her life, and she wanted her name to represent that. She decided to take her husband’s last name, and stopped using her parents’ names altogether. Creating a new family with her husband became the most important part of her identity.

When Mia got married at age 26, she decided not to change her name because she strongly identified with and felt connected to her family of origin, particularly her father’s side of the family. Her last name represented her lineage and the family within which she felt solidly rooted, something she wanted to preserve as a foundation for the family she and her husband hoped to establish.

Is it important for you to share a last name with your children?

Jen wanted formal recognition of her nuclear family by sharing a last name with her husband and children. Her identity as a mom felt compromised to her if she did not share her children’s name. “I didn’t want to call my son’s school and have the school not know who my kid is because my last name is different.” Her decision to take her husband’s last name was an intentional and deliberate way to define her family.

Sara and Emily hyphenated their last names when they got married. When they decided to have a child, Emily carried the baby and the couple gave the girl Sara’s last name. For them, their daughter’s last name represented a connection to Sara as the non-biological mother. Sara’s role and identity as a mother was represented through sharing a name with her child, while Emily’s was established through her pregnancy.

How does your partner feel about the options and what they mean?

Aaron is newly engaged. He feels strongly that neither he nor his partner should change their names. “His name is his name and mine is mine. Why would marriage change that? To me it feels like when people get married and one partner takes the other partner’s last name it suggests that the person who changes their name now belongs to the other person.” Aaron detects a power dynamic embedded in name change and worries it could impact the relationship negatively. He and his partner spoke about what changing their names meant to each other, and together agreed on the decision to keep their own names.

Mark sees himself as traditional: His parents just celebrated their 40th anniversary and both of his siblings have been married for years. In each instance, the woman took her husband’s last name. When he got married, he wanted to follow in that tradition. The custom marked an important milestone for him and asking his wife to take his name held a lot of importance.

Our identity is what makes us who we are. As we move through life’s stages, making decisions that reflect our values and beliefs is essential to feeling good about our choices. No matter what you and your partner decide about the names in your family, be thoughtful about the choice you make and take the time to reflect on what your name means to you and your identity.

BONUS Article: Name Change Checklist for the Bride
Brides: Taking the Name Change Plunge?

Copyright © 2015 – Alizah K. Lowell. Alizah K. Lowell LCSW-R, CEDS, is a clinical social worker and psychoanalyst in full-time private practice in New York City. She is a graduate of the William Alanson White Institute’s Psychoanalytic Program. In her practice, Alizah works with individuals and couples and specializes in treating eating disorders and body image disturbance.

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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: 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.

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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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Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Find Your 1st Dance Wedding Song

First-Dance-Wedding-Song-Infographic

Copyright © 2015 – Ocean Sands Hotel in Sligo. http://www.TheOceansAndsHotel.ie/weddings-sligo.asp

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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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Give a Door Prize at the Reception Instead of Favors

Filed under: Favors,Gifts,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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The cost of a wedding can be astronomical. Depending on your wedding budget and the number of guests, it may be difficult to buy wedding favors for everybody. Although most wedding favors are priced reasonably, the cost can add up if you’re having a large wedding.

Wed-DoorPrizeThe 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. Instead of buying hundreds of cheap wedding favors, why not consider one big wedding favor as a “door prize” at the wedding reception?

When it comes to the wedding favors it’s completely up to you what you do. Make a note on the invitations that one lucky guest will go home with a very special gift. Ideas for that big wedding favor gift include:

• A large basket filled with a personalized wine bottle, candles, chocolates, wedding napkins, etc.
• A Vera Wang Toasting Flutes Set
• Centerpiece
• A golf bag
• A chocolate basket
• A beautiful pen and stationery set
• A spa package
• A gift certificate to a boutique or restaurant
• Pick up the tab for one night at a nice hotel
• A special portrait session with your photographer

Door prizes should be gender neutral and are usually awarded on a lottery basis to the holder of a certain ticket. An easy way to award door prizes at a wedding reception is to number the backs of all of the place cards that wedding guests will pick up to find out what table they have been assigned to. Then, have the DJ randomly draw numbers during the reception and award fun door prizes that are in line with the theme or destination of your wedding.

One way to do this is to place a sticker underneath one chair at each table and have the DJ make an announcement to check the chairs to see who gets to take the centerpieces home. Or what about the couple with the closest anniversary day to the newlyweds? Ask your DJ if he/she can offer some suggestions.

Or… Instead of giving the guests a small favor, use the money budgeted for favors and make a charitable donation. A charity gift is a memorable way to thank family and friends for sharing this special day with you.

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.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The idea is to buy one great wedding gift in lieu of hundreds of inexpensive wedding favors. Depending on the number of people at the wedding, those “inexpensive” wedding favors can really add up.

BONUS Article: Do Me a (Wedding) “Favor”… or Not!

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Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. 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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

DIY Wedding Centerpieces

Jane Blanchard, Guest Author

WED-CenterPiecesMany couples are trying to cut costs during the wedding planning process and centerpieces are one easy place to save money if you get a little crafty and do-it-yourself. We love finding all of the unique DIY ideas that brides and wedding professional come up with and are sharing our favorites with you. If you’ve chosen the DIY route for your wedding décor, feel free to get inspired by these creative, beautiful and easy do-it-yourself centerpiece ideas.

Recycled and Gorgeous

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This gorgeous centerpiece captures the raw beauty of nature with a sweet feminine touch. Using a basswood or birch slab as your base, top off the wood with a lace-clad Mason jar and twine-wrapped wine bottle. Fresh flowers add a healthy dose of color to this neutral palette, so fill the jar and bottle with roses, baby’s breath and other greenery to brighten it up. All of the materials for this project can be purchased in bulk; and it makes for a great craft night with your bridesmaids! You have to get those wine bottles from somewhere, right?

Gold & Sparkly

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Add an ultra glam touch to your tables without the high price tag. Fill a small round vase with water, and then add a heap of thick gold glitter or confetti. Once the glitter has settled to the bottom, stuff the opening with fresh flowers in colors that complement your wedding palette. You’ll have a chic, modern centerpiece in minutes with this simple DIY.

Mossy Magic

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These are seriously adorable and really easy to create if you live in area with lots of moss (hello Pacific Northwesterners!). Just fill old cans or jars with some cheap filler (like packing materials), harvest moss from your yard or nearby forest and voila! For an even more unique look this couple covered the cans in vintage wallpaper but we think they’d look great plain too!

Ribbon Lanterns

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For a fun bohemian look make some little lanterns out of jars, ribbon and little tea lights. Again, you can coordinate the ribbon colors with your wedding theme or go for a more eclectic look by reusing old ribbons from your craft bin and making each lantern unique.

Book Lover’s Vibe

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Hit up a local book sale, thrift shop or rummage sale to find vintage books to make up this unique centerpiece. Top a stack of old hardcovers with a Mason jar of flowers, and you’ll have an easy yet elegant focal point for your guest tables. Bonus points if you use books beloved to you and your betrothed (that means you’ll get to keep them in the family library!).

Mercury & Succulents

Mercury6-tiff

Mercury glass is all the rage right now, but the cost of the real thing has the potential to drive up your wedding budget. Faux mercury glass can be achieved in just a few quick steps, and your guests won’t even be able to tell a difference! Coat the inside of a glass container with Krylon Looking Glass spray paint, then spritz the wet paint with a vinegar and water solution. Dab at the inside of the glass with a paper towel to distress the paint to your liking. Once the paint is dry, add some fresh flowers or succulents and arrange as you see fit!

Clever Paint Stick Box

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Can you believe this beautiful display started as a pile of paint stirrer sticks? This DIY centerpiece is sure to wow your guests, and you’ll be amazed at the simplicity of this project! Just apply wood stain the stirrers, fasten them together with strong glue and a few staples, and you’ll have a fabulous floral display box to decorate as you like. No woodworking classes needed!

BONUS Articles: Centerpieces… Plan With Your Guests in Mind
For the Love of DIY Wedding Flowers!
Get More for Your Wedding Floral Budget

Copyright © 2015 – Jane Blanchard. For more DIY ideas, head to Modernize.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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

10 Hen Party Tips to Avoid Any Bridal Party Tantrums

Alice Rimes, Guest Author

Banish bridal party tantrums and dramas for good with these 10 top tips for planning the perfect hen celebration!

Make it affordable ~ Your dream hen party may consist of a luxury break abroad, but not everyone can afford such a lavish trip, so be considerate. Hen parties can be expensive, plus your girls may have to take annual leave from work to attend if you plan it on a weekday. Weekend parties at home are just as much fun and cost less.

WED-HenPartyTipsFun for all ~ Not all your hens will be into the same things as you and although it’s your party, try to choose activities you’ll all enjoy. Why not put it to the vote?

Have a pre-party introduction ~ Try to arrange a gathering with your girls before the party so they all get to know one another. This can sometimes be difficult to organize but it will be well worth it if they’re familiar with each other before the weekend away.

Put someone in charge ~ It’s always best to have one person organize the day rather than having several girls arranging different things. Make sure this person is organized but not too bossy, or it won’t go down well. Plus, this person should not be you!

Body hang-ups ~ Hot-tubbing it in a bikini and wearing skimpy fancy dress might sound great to you, but are all your girls happy to flaunt their flesh? That’s something to think about when planning a hen party!

Keep everyone entertained ~ Think about the time in between the activity and the club. Collect up board games, a karaoke machine, iPod player and more for hotel entertainment.

Stay together ~ You must stick together! Not only is it safer and reduces the chance of someone getting lost, it also avoids any awkwardness – there’s nothing more annoying than girls having in-jokes that exclude the other hens.

Get some sleep! ~ We know what you’re thinking – yeah right! But you don’t want Sunday’s activities to be ruined by Saturday night’s hangover.

Larry’s NOTE: If you are going to have a hen party, schedule it several days “before” the wedding day!

Buy them a thank you gift ~ Your hens have spent a lot of money to celebrate with you, so show them how much you appreciate their efforts by buying them a little gift to say thanks. This could be something they can use on the hen night itself. We’ve got some brilliant buys in the Wedding Ideas Shop.

Have a kitty for expenses ~ Make sure you have extra petty cash when planning a hen party. Whether it’s for a taxi or lunch, it’s not fair for one person to pay and be owed money from the rest of the party, so have a pot to pay for minor expenses.

For more hen tips, including our fabulous hen party A-Z list where you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love, head to our Hen Party section on the website. It’s full of ideas and advice for you and your hens, so have a look!

BONUS Articles: 6 Things Bridesmaids Do That Really Annoy the Bride
Cloned “look alike” Bridesmaids
So, You’re a Bridesmaid… What Now?
Brides! Should You Fire Your Bridesmaid?
8 Things You Should Never Do at a Hen Party

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Copyright © 2015 – Alice Rimes. Amy is a writer for Wedding Ideas Magazine featuring hundreds of ideas for weddings, honeymoons and more.

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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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Friday, September 25, 2015

Military Wedding Guide

Army Bride, Guest Author

Since today is Memorial Day and I am marrying my very own military man, I decided to write a post about military weddings. I myself am not having a military wedding, since my fiancé didn’t seem too interested in wearing his dress blues. However, there are many people out there that do decide to have one. A military wedding isn’t really too different from a typical wedding.

WED-MilitaryWeddingMany decide to have the ceremony and reception on a military base, but it’s not necessarily the location that makes a military wedding. It’s the attire. Each branch has their own rules and uniforms that are to be worn in a wedding. The type of uniform depends on the style of the wedding, the time of day, the season and their government-issued uniform manual.

Below are a few tips, courtesy of The Military Wedding by Vanessa L. Baldwin.

• For very formal or formal weddings (i.e., a white or black-tie affair) a Mess Dress Uniform should be worn. Semi-formal evening weddings should also use the Mess Dress Uniform but for a daytime semi-formal wedding a Class-A or Service dress uniform is appropriate.

• If the groom or groomsmen are military then they must be in uniform. Non-military groomsmen must wear civilian attire of equal formality. Groomsmen who are members of a different service than the groom (Army instead of Navy, for example) must wear a uniform of comparable formality.

• A military bride the option of wearing their uniforms (if applicable) or may elect to wear appropriate civilian attire, a traditional white wedding gown. Although military bridesmaids also have the option of wearing appropriate civilian attire, it is important to note that they must be in military uniform if they are to participate in the sabre arch. Non-military bridesmaids should wear civilian attire of equal formality.

• Active or retired military mothers/fathers of the bride or groom may wear a uniform of matching formality to that of the bride and groom or may wear appropriate civilian attire.

• Guests who are active or retired military may wear their uniforms or may wear traditional formal attire. Be sure to give an indication to the level of formality desired as part of the wedding invitations. Adding “Mess dress uniform invited”, “Class A uniform invited”, or “Service dress uniform invited” will suffice for members of the military.

VanessaBaldwinAnother unique part of a military wedding is cutting the wedding cake with a saber or sword belonging to the groom, if he owns one. Traditionally the groom presents his sword to the bride, and together they cut the first slice of wedding cake. One important note is to remember to have napkins ready to clean the sabre after the cake cutting. If the sabre is placed in its sheath before being cleaned then icing and sugar will dry inside and be a real pain to clean up later.

Another really cool military wedding tradition is the arch of the sabers/swords. The Army and Air Force will use sabers and the Navy and Marines will use swords. The arch is not mandatory but if it is to be done it should include 6-8 officers, usually uniformed groomsmen and bridesmaids but other uniformed guests may participate to meet the numbers. Tradition varies across the branches and those forming the arch, but commonly the arch team leader will announce the couple before they enter the arches and then the last saber pair will lower their sabers and demand a kiss before passing. Some saber arches may even demand kisses at every pass!

BONUS Article: A Guide to Military Weddings

Photo Credit: Gwyneth Colleen Photography

Copyright © 2015 – Vanessa L. Baldwin. Vanessa L. Baldwin is the President and Senior Consultant of Elegant Beginnings, a wedding consulting and planning service in Northern Virginia.Ms. Baldwin is a graduate of University of Maryland BaltimoreCounty and Howard University School of Social Work, Washington, DC. After professional experience as a social caseworker and a social science analyst, Ms. Baldwin was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. Ms. Baldwin retired from the Air Force in 1998.

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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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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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
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Monday, September 21, 2015

8 Ways to Save Money On Your Wedding!

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Cutting Costs,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 1:18 pm
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It’s your wedding and you get to say! In my conversations with brides after the wedding, many have told me that they wish they would have skipped some of the smaller stuff so they could have afforded someone who was really great but thought they couldn’t afford them because their fee didn’t align with their budget. Rank your priorities. So, I say to you… Never skimp on what you truly want!

Here are several ways to save money on your wedding without any of your guests noticing.

WED-Save$Cut out the Favors ~ If you have a big wedding, you can spend a lot of money of “personalized” wedding favors. The least expensive way to do wedding favors is not to do them at all. I perform about 70 to 80 weddings a year and recently have noticed that most of the favors are still on the table when the party is over. Most guests won’t miss them.

Reception Shortcuts ~ For most couples, food is their biggest wedding expense. You want to serve something your guests can enjoy, but it’s not necessary to go broke doing so. Go appetizer-only: At an early afternoon wedding, your guests won’t expect a full meal. Serve tasty hors d’oeuvres and save money.

Trim the Guest List ~ This will slash your catering costs and save on invitations and more. Announce your save-the-date by e-mail or phone call. For every 8-10 guests you can remove from your guest list, not only will you save the cost of their meal and bar package, but you will also be able to remove a whole table – including the centerpiece, rental chairs, specialty linen, menu cards, place cards, table number, welcome bags and favors. Keep the numbers down for your wedding party as well: Fewer attendants means less money spent on bouquets, boutonnieres, presents, and transportation.

Skip Anything That’s Not Important to You ~ There is absolutely no reason to purchase something if you truly would prefer not to have it. DIY whenever possible. Utilize discount sites. Do away with aisle runners and programs.

Purchase Flowers by Seasonality, Not Type ~ Work closely with your florist to design your florals based on a style you are looking to achieve rather than favorite types of flowers that may or may not be in season at the time of your wedding. A simple and elegant single stem can make just as strong a statement as a large bouquet. Your florist will be able to offer you flowers you might have never heard of that can help create your look without the excessive cost.

Buy Bridesmaids Dresses in a Department Store ~ If you and your bridesmaids are lucky enough to find a dress you like, in the right color and sizes off the rack in a department store, you might be able to save a bundle this way. Look into stores that are going out of business and ask for a discount price on the last of all of one stock. Bridesmaid dresses are expensive because they are custom and anything custom comes with an increased cost. There is a big opportunity to save here.

Belly Up to the Bar ~ Forget about hard liquor: Hard liquor and mixed drinks cost more than other alcohol. Cut them out and offer choices of beer, wine and soft drinks instead. You can cut this cost altogether by not serving alcohol at all. Consider having a coffee bar with a barista who can whip up espressos, lattes and other specialty coffee drinks.

Hire a “Great DJ” Instead of a Mediocre Band (Emphasis on “Great!”) ~ A great wedding band, like the ones you see in the movies, will cost up to $5,000 and more. Save a bundle by selecting the best DJ you can find who will be professional and can read your crowd. Check references. Skip the friend with a boom-box!

My Best Bonus Tip! Hire an expert to help. Save money by spending it on a wedding planner? It sounds counterintuitive, but wedding planners are not shy when it comes to haggling, can draw from years of experience working with brides on budgets, and have working relationships with vendors – all of which can amount to big bucks shaved off your final bill.

One more thing. A wedding is an incredible celebration. It’s a time to get together with old and new friends to have a really good time. It’s important to be very clear about one thing. The wedding ceremony is the wedding! Most of the wedding details that you work so hard on will be mere memories the next day. Some you won’t even remember. The food will be eaten, the dress put away, the monogrammed napkins crumpled, the flowers wilted, favors left on the table and the party of the year – your reception (intended to celebrate the wedding ceremony) – will be a distance memory. Be smart. The reception is not the most memorable part of a wedding! Even the guests will tell you that. Sure, it’s great to have a terrific party but when you hire the right wedding officiant, the buzz at the reception should be about the wonderful wedding ceremony. Take the time to find the right wedding officiant. I promise… it will be worth it.

BONUS Articles: Save $$’s With a Cake and Punch Reception!
“Oh, About the Reception…”
Is There a Shortage of “Professional/Qualified” Wedding Officiants?
No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony!
Is a Memorable Wedding Officiant Worth the Splurge?

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Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. 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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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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
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Collaborative Wedding Budget

Cherie Johnson, Guest Author

For husbands-and-brides-to-be with large, extended families, they often find that both sets of parents, and perhaps even grandparents, want to chip in to help defray the soaring cost of today’s weddings, which, on average, come in at a whopping $20,000. Many couples, too, are electing to pick up the rest of the slack. Corralling so many people who want to help with the wedding budget can be a virtual nightmare though.

Before simply accepting their good wishes and checks, the very first thing you should do is to sit down with your fiancé and chart a course of action to ensure you’ve covered every element of your wedding that requires a significant contribution. Planning a wedding with a budget in mind comes down to knowing what you’re looking for in terms of venue, vendors, and necessities – this, however, can be easily put to rest with a systematic budget planning roadmap.

WED-Collaborative-BudgetPlanning a Wedding with a Budget in Mind

An itemized wedding budget detailing the specifics – such as the dress, food/drinks, venue, flowers, and band – will ensure you’ve covered all the major aspects of your wedding day. At the top of your worksheet, spreadsheet, or what have you, list what you’ve decided is a reasonable amount to spend on the wedding.

On the left-hand side, make each specific and significant element that you must or would like to have a line item. For instance, the ceremony, which encompasses the venue/place or worship, wedding officiant, and any licenses, would be listed here.

Decide on a true and honest estimate of what you’re willing to spend planning a wedding on a budget, and then, at a later date, add what you actually spent so that you can keep accurate track of your finances. Other items in the left hand column should consist of things such as the reception (food/drinks, cake, favors, venue, etc.); wedding attire (bride’s clothing and shoes, makeup, hair, groom’s clothing and accessories); rings/jewelry; flowers (for the entire party and at both venues); music/band/DJ; photography; transportation (if applicable); invitations and signage; and anything else that would cause a significant dent in your wedding budget.

Remember to include such essential fees as tips for vendors (about 15 to 20%), trial hair and makeup sessions, and dress/tuxedo cleanings and pressings.

As far as planning a wedding on a budget with your parents, his parents, and any other well-wishers (step parents perhaps), show them your finalized wedding budget at an informal, yet constructive meeting. Discuss costs and who can realistically afford what. In days past, it was common – and expected – for the bride’s parents to pay for everything, a modern dowry in a sense.

Today’s weddings no longer involve such a considerable sacrifice, though it is still carried out by many traditionalists. At this meeting, you’ll want to discuss how the payments will be made; maybe your parents would like to split something or pay for one segment of the wedding entirely. Will they be giving you one lump sum in a check or visiting vendors with you to pay upfront? Such concerns about planning a wedding on a budget should be dealt with by a frank talk that involves all parties.

Many wedding budget planners suggest opening a separate wedding account at your bank that’s not linked with any of your personal accounts. This simple action will help you more carefully figure out what’s been spent on the wedding and where the funds are going. You should also set aside an additional 5 to 10% of your overall wedding budget should mishaps arise.

The likelihood that you will go over your budget is almost a given; the amount to which you do can be controlled, in most instances, by careful wedding planning, and that budget of 5 to 10% extra you’ve stashed away will come in handy. Scaling back from the get-go is a huge help; this includes things like not having a buffet (wasted food), having fewer bridesmaids, and offering just wine and beer at the reception (alcohol is a major expenditure).

Still, if these are must-haves, just be cautious of vendors who try to upsell you to some better, improved service that you probably don’t need. Research is a crucial part of planning a wedding on a budget, so make sure you do your fair share before visiting vendors and venues.

Fine-tuning Your Wedding Budget for Success

Far too many couples forget about planning a wedding with a budget in mind and have a bang-up, blow-out bash that ends up putting them in the red. Add that to any other debts, and you’re starting your marriage – which should be thoroughly exciting – with a gray cloud over your heads. A well-planned wedding budget that’s done from the start – with nothing unaccounted for – will ensure that you can mosey off to your honeymoon with nothing else to worry about but enjoying yourselves.

BONUS Articles: How to Make Money Talks Less Awkward
Beware of “Cheap” Wedding Vendors!
Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!
Post-Wedding Credit Card Blues? Here’s the Solution!

Larry’s NOTE: This article was originally published at http://Blog.WeddingPlanningInstitute.com.

cherie-johnsonCopyright 2015 – Cherie Johnson. Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, the premier site for unique anniversary, baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceañera, and wedding favors. Her wedding ideas have also benefited readers of many websites, including Women Of, Wedding Lenox, and The Wedding Guide. Before establishing Creative Wedding Favors in 2006, she worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing all the special moments of the nuptials and ceremony. Cherie live in the York, Pennsylvania Area.

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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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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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
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Treat your Wedding Vendors with Love!

You’ve had your big day! No unexpected hitches! Everything flowed smoothly. And then… hopefully a terrific honeymoon. What’s next?

Hmmm. Let’s see. Perhaps you should first jot out a few “thank you” notes for all the great gifts your guests gave you.

Here is a quick gift tip: To keep track of gifts, place the name, address and phone number of each guest on a 3 x 5 index card. Store the cards alphabetically. As you open your wedding gifts, list the gift information on the appropriate card. When it comes time to write your thank-you notes, all the information you’ll need will be at your finger tips.

One hundred dollar billsPlan this one in advance: It is a common courtesy on your wedding day to make sure your wedding vendors are fed at the reception. You should expect to feed your photographers, videographers, DJ, Wedding Officiant/Minister, and musicians. Most caterers will usually ask you what provision you want to be made for these service providers during your wedding reception and will make some suggestions as to menus and seating arrangements.

Prior to the wedding day be sure to agree with the caterers and confirm to the individual service providers where they will eating at the reception. You will also be expected to bear the costs of drinks for the above mentioned wedding suppliers on your wedding day. Remember to invite your Minister/Officiant and his partner to the reception. He is usually seated at a reserved table with the parents of the Bride and Groom or nearby.

Some venues reserve a table at the reception for the vendors. It is not considered good wedding etiquette to seat your Minister at the vendor table. Request that your Minister be seated with the guests. This is a better idea and is a sign of respect. It allows your family and friends the opportunity to offer their “thank yous” for a job well done.

IMPORTANT: By the way, if the minister is invited to the reception and you have assigned seating, be sure to add the minister’s name to the guest list. (It’s embarrasing for the minister to have to ask where he should sit if you forget to have a place card with his name and table number on it.)

Most likely you have already expressed your gratitude with a generous tip for their services. Other than the bride herself, it’s the wedding vendors that make a wedding truly beautiful and special. Wedding tips are commonly overlooked when couples set up their wedding budget. It is important to calculate as much as possible prior to your wedding how much you can afford to tip your wedding suppliers.

Next, how about taking a few minutes and writing a few “thank yous” (I call them Love Notes) to all the vendors that did their part to make your wedding a great success. Is this a “have to?” No, however it’s a nice gesture that tells them that you are grateful for their participation in your wedding.

Wedding professionals do a lot of behind-the-scene work that if done properly, most people won’t even notice. That fact by itself is a reason to send them a quick note of appreciation. But, what if your vendor went above-and-beyond what you would call exceptional service?

Want to know a secret? Wedding professionals LOVE testimonials! It is a great reminder of happy clients and let’s face it, it’ll help them book future clients.

One great way to show a wedding vendor some gratitude for their outstanding service at your wedding is to post some stellar reviews of them on some popular wedding vendor rating websites such as Wedding Wire, Project Weddings and other Wedding Websites. Unlike personal written thank-you notes, customer testimonials are a public recommendation to potential clients that a certain vendor is professional, reliable and newlywed approved.

These sites have become popular resources for planning couples that are trying to decide which vendors to choose and work with in their local area. Your online review and testimonial not only helps build their professional credentials, it creates an atmosphere of helping, support and guidance. Every planning bride would appreciate seeing more of that.

I frequently post these “Rave Reviews” on my Wedding Website at: http://www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com/ravereviews.html.

BONUS Article: Grandma Betty, Thank You for Your Thoughtful Wedding Gift!

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. 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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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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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
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Duties of a Bridesmaid

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Being-a-Bridesmaid

BONUS Articles: Prepare a “Must Have” Wedding Day Emergency Kit
Brides! Should You Fire Your Bridesmaid?
6 Things Bridesmaids Do That Really Annoy the Bride
Cloned “look alike” Bridesmaids
So, You’re a Bridesmaid… What Now?

Copyright 2015 – Loyes Diamonds. Visit their Website @ www.LoyesDiamonds.ie/type/wedding-rings

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CiWblue1

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: 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and 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.

letsbefriends2

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
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

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