Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Should You Say “I Do” to Wedding Insurance?

Filed under: Insurance (Wedding),Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

“With this policy, I thee wed!” Better safe than sorry. Yes?

insStatsWedding Insurance is exactly what it sounds like – an insurance policy that covers your wedding and financially protects you against misfortune and mishap. Wedding Insurance policies are relatively inexpensive – a basic policy costs between $180 and up – and can help you have peace of mind.

Contrary to popular belief many people think that the main reason you should purchase is because of the weather. The Greater Phoenix area has more than 325 days of annual sunshine.

Probably the most confusing and often debated weather event in Arizona is our so called “monsoon”. During the wet monsoon (July, August and September) we get 32% of our normal yearly rainfall. Average monsoon rainfall (July, Aug. and Sept.) is 2.45 inches.

As the average cost of weddings rises, now about $27,000 in the US, wedding insurance becomes more of a necessity.

According to Travelers, more than 40 percent of its wedding insurance claims filed during the past two years involved unforeseen problems with vendors and venues, some of which went bankrupt in the worsening economy. Most often, these problems stemmed from caterers, photographers, wedding planners, and other vendors. In some cases, vendors failed to show up on day of the wedding, went out of business suddenly, or experienced some other financial setback.

weddinginsuranceTravelers also said that 22 percent of its claims were the result of a key family members (parent or grandparent) not being able to attend at the last minute for reasons such as sickness, untimely death, and travel delays. Nineteen percent resulted from broken, torn, or lost items such as dresses or rings. Lastly, the insurer said that 15 percent of wedding insurance claims stemmed from weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms as well as water-damaged property. You will not find this kind of extreme weather in the Greater Phoenix area.

Most companies require a minimum of a 14-day purchase of the insurance policy for anything to be covered.

What Is Usually Covered?

Be careful, not all wedding insurance policies are alike, and the cost for a policy naturally depends on the coverage limits you need. Wedding insurance is inexpensive and considering what you are covering it is worth the cost. Some of the areas covered in a typical policy include:

• Weather. Generally, if the policy is purchased more than 14 days before the wedding and extremely bad weather prevents the celebration from taking place or a majority of the guests from attending, the cost of rescheduling the event is covered. You should note that stormy skies and light rainfall alone won’t qualify as reason enough to cancel your wedding.

• Key People. If people crucial to the wedding are unable to attend due to illness or injury, the cost of postponing the event is covered.

• Service Providers. If your caterer doesn’t arrive with the food, for example, or the ceremony or reception site burns down or goes out of business, you’re covered for the cost of your non-refundable deposits paid and expenses incurred so that you can reschedule your special day. Some policies will also include coverage for the increased cost of replacement items or services, if they are available, to avoid a postponement of your event.

• Military or Job. Military personnel may be shipped out at a moment’s notice. Wedding insurance can cover postponement of the wedding due to the bride or groom suddenly getting called to military duty. This can also apply to a last-minute corporate move – i.e. the bride’s company suddenly relocates her to another city.

Here are a few other things you should consider when shopping for Wedding insurance:

• Sudden Illness or Death
• Call of Duty
• Unemployment (if acknowledged by the state)
• Extreme Weather
• Bankrupt Vendors
• Damaged Gifts
• Wedding Attire
• Unexpected Expenses (ie: generator rental in extreme weather)
• Accidents
• Alcohol Related Accidents

NOTE: I had one wedding where the photographer went out of business and the bride and groom did not receive any wedding photos. Insurance may have been a solution. No photos, but at least they could get their money back.

What Is Not Covered

• Cancelling due to cold feet
• Cancelling because of something you already knew when you took out the policy

Additional Coverage

There are a number of additional areas that can be covered by a wedding insurance policy (either as part of a package, or as add-ons at an additional charge). The options include:

• Photographs & Video. If your photographer fails to show, if the film used for your photos is defective, or if the negatives are lost, destroyed, or improperly developed, this coverage allows you to reunite the wedding party for a re-shoot.

• Gifts. This coverage is designed to protect you against the theft, damage, or loss of your wedding gifts.

wedinsurance• Wedding Attire. If your wedding gown or the attire of one of your attendants is lost or damaged, this coverage will provide for repair or replacement.

• Loss of Deposits. If one of your vendors goes bankrupt or ceases doing business, this coverage will reimburse you for any deposits you may lose as a result.

• Personal Liability. More and more, wedding couples are expected to carry their own liability insurance to protect their ceremony and reception sites against damage to property and injury to guests. Without such coverage, you may be left vulnerable to expensive bills and/or lawsuits.

• Rented Property. If you are renting a tent, tables, or chairs for the wedding, this coverage will pay for repair or replacement of the rented property.

Before you buy wedding insurance, check with your each of your vendors to see how well they’re covered – your reception site or your caterer may already have their own insurance, so you wouldn’t want to pay for overlapping coverage out of your own pocket.

Most couples will end up owing money for their wedding. If you do not have life insurance, a good “term” life insurance policy might be another good idea in case something happens to one of you.

So, to sum it up. . . wedding insurance coverage is an important element of planning your wedding. Just as a bride-to-be carries auto insurance and takes part in the health insurance plan at work, insuring the various components of the most important event in her life makes sense. Not unlike automobile insurance, wedding insurance plans are geared to cover replacement costs. If covered elements of the wedding are damaged, stolen or go amiss monetary reimbursement might allow for repurchasing those items or rescheduling the event. It’s something to think about.

Bonus Article: Read, “Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. 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 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. 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.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Répondez s’il vous plaît! – RSVP

Filed under: RSVP,Wedding Etiquette — Larry James @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

RSVP. Fr. Abr. Répondez s’il vous plaît!. Literally, “respond if you please.” Often included in wedding invitations, and when included, etiquette demands a response.

RSVPWedding rules typically state that you should be clear in both language and meaning about times, locations, attire, activities, directions or anything else that may or may not be involved in your special day.

Be sure to send out invitations well enough in advance of your bridal shower or wedding for your pending guests to plan accordingly. A rule of thumb says you should order your invitations, etc., at least 4 to 6 weeks before they’re scheduled to be mailed. Mail your invitations at least 6 weeks before the wedding date, and ask for a response at least three weeks before the wedding date.

It’s a good idea to order at least 25 more invitations and envelopes than you think you will need. Why? Because it’s much more expensive to re-order than to order more than you need at the beginning and to cover mistakes in addressing, re-mailing to a current address, etc.

replycardMost wedding invitations have a reply (RSVP) card included. Brides often have a problem on her hands when an occasional reply card is sent back with no names filled in.

Here’s a little tip which will ensure that you avoid this problem all together. Place a small, inconspicuous number on the back of each reply card before enclosing it with the invitation. Use a list to record each guest’s name along with the number on the reply card you are enclosing for them. If someone forgets to fill in their name, a quick glance at your list will tell you precisely who the reply card belongs to.

If you don’t receive a reply from some guests by your reply date deadline, don’t hesitate to call them. An accurate count is vital for food preparation, seating arrangements and other accommodations.

It’s estimated that about 7% to 10% of the guests who respond with a “yes” won’t actually show up at the wedding. In addition, another 20% to 30% won’t make it to or stay for the reception. You may want to have a line to check for “Attending the wedding” and another for “Staying for the reception.” This can wreak havoc when budgeting for a sit-down dinner. You might want to consider a buffet-style dinner instead.

By the way, it’s considered improper etiquette to put registry information on your wedding invitation. Assign this task to friends and family and have them inform everyone. Read, “Honeymoon Gift Registry

Check out Travelers Joy Honeymoon Registry.

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. 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 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. 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.

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

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPod vs. Disc Jockey for Your Wedding? Decisions, Decisions!

How ridiculous is this? You want to save a few hundred dollars and use an iPod on the most important day of your life? Entertainment is one of the most important things that will “make” or “break” your wedding reception. If your iPod stops working – the party is over!

The iPod is a stroke of genius. . . however it is not a reliable substitute for the music at your reception compared to a disc jockey who is an entertainer. Entertainer – meaning: someone who does more than just play music at your wedding. Using an iPod at your wedding is risky business!

I had one wedding where the iPod was planned for the reception music and the connections, etc., were not compatible with the venue’s sound system and they were without music at the reception for over an hour before someone went home to bring a boom box.

Great entertainment isn’t cheap and cheap entertainment isn’t good. If you want to save a few hundred dollars I would cut out something else certainly not the disc jockey. If you want to get a dance floor moving and keep it groovin’, you need a professional wedding disc jockey.

I contacted several of the top wedding disc jockeys/entertainers in the Greater Phoenix area to get their take on iPods. Your comments about their comments and comments of your own are always welcome and encouraged!

dj3Curtis Whipple, President of the American DJ Association – Phoenix Chapter had this to say: There is a reason that “i” is included in the name of an iPod. “I” love my iPod! “I” can have my songs my way.

The iPod is a brilliant piece of technology that even after 30 years in the DJ business, my iPod re-ignited my personal love for music and reminded me of well-loved but oft-forgotten songs.

When considering an iPod over a live, professional DJ/entertainer for a social occasion, several weaknesses of the iPod are revealed. A sound system will have to be rented. You’ll need microphones for the minister, readers, musicians or singers at the ceremony and someone who knows how to connect them and place them as needed. Perhaps some microphone stands will be in order?

After the ceremony, the equipment may need to be moved to the patio for cocktails and then again to the banquet hall for dinner and dancing. Will there be any theatrical or dance floor lighting needs? The microphone will need to be set up again for the toasts at dinner.

Does the iPod user have songs that may appeal to the 3 generations of family and friends that may be in attendance? Will there be songs that represent the ethnic traditions and the heritage of the families in attendance? If not, those songs need to be purchased and loaded. In any case, the play list created in advance on your iPod won’t address the mood and energy and flow of the room at any given time and it won’t react and respond to dancing guests.

Someone will still need to make announcements to keep the event moving along- toasts, cake cutting, garter and bouquet toss etc. That someone should have spent some time learning the order of events and some basic wedding traditions and etiquette and certainly he or she will have to learn all the names of family and honored guests to make formal introductions. Unfortunately, it may be a family member who knows those names and will now be burdened with several chores at the wedding instead of enjoying the celebration.

After renting equipment and acquiring the needed songs and burdening a guest with DJ duties, all of the intended savings may be lost.

A professional DJ has the sound and lighting equipment, training, personality, music expertise and desire to really outshine even the brilliant technology that IS the iPod. A professional DJ will turn a wedding from a good social occasion to a GREAT social occasion.

Contact Curtis Whipple at www.CurtisWhipple.com, 480 634 6127. He is Owner of the Wedding and Event Network www.WENAZ.com.

James Mennes, Exceptional Event Productions, had this to say: As a DJ for 12+ years or so, I can say that there really are occasions where and iPod is okay. I had a friend who held her reception in a restaurant and didn’t need anything more than a nice long play list of music. In fact I told her to save the money and use an iPod. However, those situations are few and far between.

My 8 year old daughter had been able to operate my equipment since she was 3 and fade between songs but I don’t know anyone who would want her to DJ their wedding. We are Hosts and Masters of Ceremonies just like you see at the Oscars or Academy Awards. Our primary function is to make announcements and keep people informed of what is happening next ­with both the guests and the other vendors working the reception. Next, we are DJs and our job is to play the right music at the right time. Just like in a movie, DJs provide the soundtrack to a wedding.

For those considering an iPod over a DJ:

• Who will make your announcements and will they even have a microphone?
• Who will run your wedding reception and let people know what is coming up?
• But most simply, who will press “play” for your key and most important songs like a first dance or a bride’s entrance?

Then there are the horror stories of cheesy DJs that become the center of attention, or DJs that just don’t show up at all. But I guarantee you that at the bottom of every one of those stories is a couple that just wanted to save money on their entertainment. In the DJ industry you pretty much get what you pay for. You wouldn’t feed your guests a fast-food combo meal as the main course of their night. Don’t expect much more in terms of quality from a bargain-rate DJ.

But if you take the time to interview quality people and get to know who they are and what they stand for, I’m sure you will find that the service, piece of mind, and entertainment provided by a professional wedding DJ can never be compared to the play list on your iPod.

Contact James Mennes, Entertainer, Master Of Ceremonies, Professional Disc Jockey at www.ExceptionalEventsAZ.com.

Mark Sanchez, Owner of Professional Mobile Entertainment had this to say: An iPod is a great device created for a personal use only, not professional use. In the long run, an iPod will cost you more money than hiring a professional DJ and make your wedding look cheap. To use an iPod for a large group, you will also need an amplifier, speakers, a microphone, cords, and a diverse music library.

Who will run the iPod or even know how to set up all the equipment the correct way, make announcements, direct the guests, take requests, and program the music. Also remember, someone needs to break it down, then return the equipment. Even if you found a friend to make announcements, what will this person know what to say when to say it, or how to say it?

Weddings are unique events that require planning, coordination, and direction. If that doesn’t happen, guests are lost, formal events will be in vain. The director of a wedding should be the master of ceremonies, a professional MC and disc jockey needs to know about the details of a reception, and will help you plan the agenda, if not how will he know what to say. The right kind of music needs to be played at the right times, with the right volume levels. A professional DJ can read a crowd to play the right music and transition a dance floor smoothly. A pro DJ can build energy in a room just by programming the right music at the right time.

An iPod cannot do this.

Entertainment is so important for a wedding. If entertainment is bad people leave early. Brides need to do their homework and choose the right DJ. My advice would be to seek not only a full time trained experienced professional – not an iPod – but someone that specializes in weddings.

Contact Mark Sanchez, Entertainer, Master Of Ceremonies, Professional Disc Jockey at www.ProfessionalMobileEnt.com.

Tony Laub, www.SoundProEntertainment.com had this to say: Hey, what’s the difference between tater tots and chicken fingers and filet mignon w/ garlic mashed potatoes? It’s all food, right? Some say, “iPod or disc jockey, it’s all music!” Sorry, they just don’t get it.

If you place no value on the quality of your reception, use an iPod. Otherwise hire an entertainer – a professional disc jockey – someone who can add class to your wedding and really get the party started at the reception! iPod = “I Predict Omnipotent Disaster!” 😉

Contact Tony Laub, at www.BestPhxDJ.com, Specializing in Weddings and Corporate Events and www.SoundProEntertainment.com.

Larry’s advice: “Save the iPods for the back yard keg parties and barbeques. Hire an experienced, professional wedding disc jockey/entertainer, one with a great reputation. Leave it to the pros!”

P.S. The four wedding disc jockeys/entertainers who contributed to this article are highly recommended and get 5 stars from Larry James!

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. 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 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. 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.

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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner

Melissa Jill, Guest Author –

Over the nearly seven years I’ve been in the wedding photography business, I’ve picked up on a few things. One of which is the difference between a bride who hires a wedding planner and one who doesn’t. The difference is huge.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best wedding planners in the business and I believe so much in the work they do that I always encourage my couples in my initial meetings with them (before they’ve even hired ME) to hire one. I find myself going on and on about the merits of hiring a planner and then come to my senses and realize that I should probably get back to talking with them about their photography.

I decided one way to get the point across, without letting my sales pitch for hiring a planner take over the meeting, is to include a “top 10 list” of reasons to hire a planner in a new client kit (still in production). This goal ended up on my 101 in 1001 list and I’m excited to say that it’s the first one I get to check off!

top10Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner

10. Sounding Board – Wedding planners are a huge creative resource. They listen to your vision and dreams for your wedding and bring their creativity to the process to help your vision come alive.

9. Big Picture – When you pick a venue they often give you a “wedding coordinator” from the venue to help coordinate the day. This person is NOT the same as an independent planner. He or she is the venue’s catering manager and their job is to make sure that everything having to do with the facilities runs smoothly. While they are helpful, they do not cover the scope of what an independent planner does.

8. Budgeting – Wedding planners have been in the industry for some time. They know what things should cost and the difference in value. They can help you navigate the often confusing waters of wedding industry price tags and balance your budget around YOUR priorities.

7. Enjoyable Process – I’ve observed so many brides through the process of planning their wedding and when they do it without a professional planner, oftentimes by the time the wedding comes around, the process has been so stressful that they just can’t wait for it to be over. Planning your wedding is supposed to be an enjoyable process. A good wedding planner helps you enjoy the journey.

6. Mediator – A good planner serves as a buffer in tricky relational situations. It’s a known fact that it’s impossible to make everyone happy when planning a wedding. A planner is a safe neutral person to point to for direction. It’s easier to tell your future mother-in-law, “My planner thinks we need to…” instead of “I think we should…”

5. Time-line – Your wedding day will involve numerous vendors who need to work together to insure that the day goes smoothly. A planner understands how each vendor relies on the others and serves as the team captain who coordinates the complexities of the timeline with all its moving parts.

4. Knowledge Base – This is likely your first time planning a wedding. Planners have been in the industry for years and are experts in protocol, etiquette and everything it takes to pull off an event of such magnitude. They are a HUGE and readily accessible resource for education.

melissajill3. Background – In addition to possessing a wealth of knowledge, planners have been in the industry long enough to know who the players are — which vendors can be trusted and who has the best business practices. A referral from someone who has roots in the industry is GOLD when you’re having to place such a high level of trust in those you previously had no knowledge of.

2. Save $ – I have had the planners I’ve worked with tell me that they can actually help their clients save enough money on their wedding to cover the cost of hiring them! How unbelievable is that!?

And the #1 reason to hire a wedding planner is… (Drum roll, please!)

1. Stress – The difference in the stress level of a bride who has a professional planner and one who doesn’t is palpable. When it comes to the day of your wedding, the most important thing is that you are able to relax and enjoy it. You are the bride. You don’t want to end up being the point person for issues and questions that will inevitably arise. Hiring a planner frees you and everyone you love to live in the moment on your wedding day.

melissajillCopyright © 2010 – Melissa Jill. Melissa Jill is a wedding photographer based out of Gilbert, Arizona. She has been shooting weddings for 7 years and specializes in capturing emotions and moments in an artistic way. Visit her Website at: http://www.MelissaJill.com and her BLOG.

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.

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, April 12, 2010

Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony (Revisited)

Here’s an idea that will certainly grab the attention of the guests, add some pizzazz to your ceremony and incorporate a new twist into your celebration.

Here is what you will need:

  • A wooden wine box or a custom-made Wine Box
  • A bottle of your favorite wine
  • Two love letters sealed in separate envelopes
  • A small hammer and several nails, or a custom-made Wine Box with two keys. (Pictured)

winebox2A few weeks before the wedding, take some time to each write a letter to one another, expressing your thoughts about the good qualities that you found in your future partner, the reasons for falling in love with them and your hopes and dreams for the future. In other words, you write a “love letter” to each other and place it in a sealed envelope, with the name of your partner on the outside. Do not read what the other has written. Both love letters are placed in the Wine Box.

You can also include CDs of your favorite music, favorite pictures of you together, and other mementos making it your own romantic time capsule. Keep the box in a place of honor as a constant visual reminder of your love and commitment to each other. The box can be a life preserver in years to come.

The Wine Box should be opened on your 5th wedding anniversary.

winebox4There is only one other reason the box should be opened before your anniversary. If there should come a time when you hit a bumpy road in your relationship, before you give up or make any irrational decisions, open the Wine Box. The hope is that there will never be a reason to have to open the box except on your anniversary!

Hit a rough spot in your relationship? Sit down together, open the box, uncork the wine and unseal the envelopes that you wrote for one another before your wedding, go to separate rooms and quietly read the love letter.

Even if you are not seeing eye-to-eye at that very moment, it will remind you of all the reasons you choose this person as your partner and all the things that helped shape the life they’ve created together. Never take your blessings of being together for granted.

winebox5The romantic sentiments you wrote, the declaration of love, the clear thoughts about why you chose this person as your life partner will help put you back on even ground. This is the perfect ritual to remind you of your wedding day and your intention to love and cherish each other in good times and bad for as long as you both shall live.

Toward the end of your ceremony the Officiant will state the purpose of the “Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony.”

The Officiant will elaborate on the reasons for the sealed love letters, place the sealed envelopes in with the wine bottle and will speak about the exercise that you went through. It should be emphasized that the letters have not been read by the Officiant or by anyone else.

The box will then be nailed shut. The Officiant begins with the first nail, followed by the Bride and Groom sealing the box shut. You can have each member of your wedding party step up and nail the box shut. If you use a custom-made Wine Box with two keys, the bride and groom each use a key and lock the box.

pruskowski5

Lizzette & John Pruskowski about to lock the “Love Letter & Wine Box” to be opened on their 5th anniversary! This wine box was made by John Pruskowski.

Your guests will be pleased to have been a witness to something so unique and different at your wedding ceremony.

The walnut Wine Box featured on this page was created by wood artist, Tim Nederhoed, Lowell, Michigan and is available for purchase. For more information or to order a Wine Box for your wedding, call Tim Nederhoed. 616-897-7474.

A Special Word from the Artist: “A friend from work was part of a Love Letter and Wine Box Wedding Ceremony. His gift to the couple was the wine box. He wanted an heirloom quality box that was like none other, also he needed it to be locked with two locks keyed different. One for the bride and one for the groom to lock the box. On this box I carved in the lid the initials of the bride and groom the same design they used on their wedding invitation.

Each Love Box has a small glass window to catch a glimpse of the contents. This will also invite people to ask questions. They are lined with the finest velvet and I use solid brass hardware and locks. I only use certified or sustainable yield Mahogany hardwood. Also available in Black Walnut. Each piece is hand stained, hand wiped and polished to a fine finish. Two wine glasses are included.” – Tim Nederhoed

For more about the Love Letter and Wine Box ceremony, click here!

BONUS Article: Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony
Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony (Script)

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. John Pruskowski. Lizzette Eurique-Gonzalez & John Pruskowski were married at 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club, Gold Canyon, AZ.

Your comments are always welcome!

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. 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 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. 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.

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, April 8, 2010

The Myth of “Day of” Wedding Planning

Jenne Hohn, Guest Author –

One of the biggest illusions in the wedding industry is entitled “day of” wedding planning. The premise of this type of planning consists of a bride hiring a wedding planner to show up on her wedding day with little to no prior history of the event, and execute the wedding day’s activities.

The bride does the front-end of the planning to the best of her ability: hiring her own vendors, putting together her own rental orders, creating her own time-line, managing her own transportation, and communicating layouts to the venues, just to name a few. The wedding planner arrives on they day of the wedding to pick up all of the pieces.

Unfortunately, most brides don’t have the experience to do the front end of the planning, which leads to potential disaster for the planner, the bride, and the event.

ANYONE CAN DO IT?

“Day of” planning became overwhelmingly popular when the economy took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, struggling event planners, weekend warriors, caterers, venues, DJs, florists and even photographers jumped on the bandwagon and started offering “day of” planning services as a way to stay afloat. These vendors not only offered the service, but at a vastly reduced cost. Most of these vendors do not have the experience to plan and execute a wedding. This inexperience and price deflation has been poisonous to experienced wedding professionals and has devalued the wedding industry overall.

“Day of” terminology has taught today’s bride to equate wedding planning with “cheap” and/or “what’s the least amount I can pay if I want a wedding planner?” Many brides no longer take the skills of a professional wedding planner seriously.

But wedding planning is not a profession to be taken lightly. Experienced wedding professionals deserve the same respect and recognition as a doctor or accountant. A well-executed wedding is just as important as a clean bill of health and proper tax reporting!

Why do we go to any professional? We go because we are not trained to do what they do. For example, we go to an accountant to prepare our taxes because we are not tax specialists. We work with lawyers to prepare contracts that protect us from litigation. Lawyers are to contracts as wedding planners are to weddings. Brides need to be taught that an experienced planner will go out of their way to create her perfect wedding day.

EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER

The time has come to eradicate “day of” terminology from bridal vocabulary. The key to doing so is education–education within the wedding industry and educating brides directly. Wedding professionals can continue to educate themselves by attending events hosted by associations such as ISES (International Special Events Society) and WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association).

In addition, there are a number of respected planners that have put together regional education platforms. The Academy for Planners and Designers by Wedding 360 was recently hosted in San Francisco. Celebrity event planner Sasha Souza has taken her skills on the road to numerous ISES chapters and is now hosting “Sashapalooza,” an intensive training seminar. The by-product of this education trickles down to bridal clientele. Educated planners mean educated brides.

Wedding professionals must explain to potential clients the importance of working with the bride along the way. Obviously not all clients require full-service attention, but there are steps to guide them as they progress to the wedding day. Share your preferred vendor lists, work with the bride to create her time-line, talk about the venue layout, and find a way to insert yourself into the planning process along the way so that you have some control over the final outcome. Explain to clients why utilizing shuttles for transportation takes longer than driving in cars.

If she’s DIY, DIWH (Do It With Her). Incorporate her design elements and creativity by mindfully weaving them into the wedding day. If anything goes wrong, you’ll know how to handle it, as you’ve been a part of the planning process.

DIY OR DI-ASTER?

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

Most brides do not understand that having a planner with them throughout the planning process will actually save them time and money! There has never been a better time to explain the importance of a qualified wedding planner. Take the time to educate yourself, and your bride. Now is the time to restore credibility to the wedding industry, and it starts with you.

Larry’s Note: The Association of Bridal Consultants is a great organization for anyone in the wedding business. I am a vendor member. They have terrific education programs, designations you can earn through continuing education, and more.

jennehohnCopyright © 2010 – Jenne Hohn. Jenne Hohn Events is an innovative award-winning event management company located in the Napa Valley. From corporate events and groups to spectacular weddings, we are known for creating an exemplary, unforgettable experience. Visit her Website and BLOG!

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

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

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hire a Professional Photographer. . . or Friend?

Your wedding photographs are a precious keepsake. Your wedding day can never be repeated. Many couples often consider having a relative or friend who is “getting into photography” document their special day.

This is a disturbing trend. I often hear couples say that they’re going to have a friend take their wedding photos. Please don’t do that! It’s a bad idea!

I know. Everyone has been tightening their money belts these days. However you don’t want to do that when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime event – like your wedding.

Due to digital photography, the barrier of entry to become a wedding photographer has also become much lower, and more than ever clients have to do their homework before hiring their wedding photographer.

Many amateurs, equipped with sophisticated equipment, are capable of taking decent photographs. However, there is much more to wedding photography than knowing how to operate a camera. Beware. There are many part-time hobbyist out there that claim the title as a full-time devoted wedding specialist. If you hire a budget wedding photographer, you’ll get budget wedding photography. Remember, “cheap is not good and good is not cheap!” The photographs of your wedding will become permanent reminders of what should be one of the best moments of your life.

Wedding photographerWedding photography has truly become it’s own art form. Wedding photography is about seizing moments, capturing emotion and creating memories. The technical skills required to do this are essential, but it doesn’t stop there.

petalsAn experienced wedding photographer knows the flow of the wedding day. They know when to anticipate those special candid moments, and how to pose a large wedding group. They are experienced at knowing where to be and when to be there to get the best shots and angles. It also takes a certain personality and finesse to deal with the many people that the photographer will interact with during the day.

A professional wedding photographer does more than just take pictures. Most professional photographers spend anywhere from 10 to 20 hours or more carefully editing your wedding day portraits. The beauty of the photographer’s work extends into the way they process their images, not just showing up on your wedding day. They have pride in their quality of work, and their ability to produce images you’ll cherish.

Family members and friends rarely have the professional caliber photography equipment that is necessary to record an event as special as a wedding. If they get distracted during the ceremony or have inferior equipment, your memories of your special day could be compromised, ending in a large amount of disappointment for the bride and groom later.

While there are alternatives to having a professional wedding photographer, they should be used in addition to the professional, not instead of. A professional will be able to provide you with the high quality images that you will want, not the random, often inferior photographs that should never appear in your wedding photo album.

Proper planning and a focused effort in choosing your wedding photographer will allow one of the best moments of your life to be captured perfectly. How do you know a photographer is right for you? Before you hire a photographer, know who you are hiring. Check their references.

chirello5You can never ask too many questions. Ask questions about equipment, the time it takes to edit, products, travel fees, how long they’ve been in business, how often they shoot, etc. Make sure that they have a great tract record. The best method to find out about your photographer is word of mouth and former clients.

Never make your decision to hire a professional photographer on price alone. That’s a “no no.” Check out the quality of work first. The wedding images should catch your eye and make you want to see more. If the images don’t do that for you then inquiring about pricing is a moot point.

You absolutely need a photographer who knows their equipment inside and out and has photographed weddings before. If you don’t feel comfortable with a person you interview to photograph your wedding, don’t hire them. Sometimes personalities just don’t “click.”

Give your photographer a list of photos you would like taken. If you specifically want shots of your hands with your wedding rings, put that on the list. If you want images of you and a friend who isn’t in your wedding party, just make a note. Remind close family members and friends to stay close to the wedding party after the wedding so they can be available for photos when the photographer is ready to take their photos. Nothing slows a photo shoot down more than having to run around looking for the people you need. Your photographer will have a list of standard poses he/she shoots, but most are flexible with adding others.

photographersPhotography in its purest form is all about emotion. A photograph has the power to move us in many different ways. Make sure your photographer shares your vision.

Never mix business with friends and family! Your wedding photos are simply too important to leave to amateurs. Hire the best, full time wedding photographer because those pictures are very important and eventually they will become the time-keep of your marriage. When you see the photographer nearby, remember to smile for the camera. This is hopefully a one shot deal, so don’t take any chances.

NOTE: The photo (above right) was taken by Larry James at Anushka Turner & Jason Ray’s wedding, March 19, 2010 at Sassi Ristorante, Scottsdale. Jason Ray (right) and one of his Groomsmen. Photographer: Kelli Leslie of Kelli Leslie Photography. Videographer: Clyde Jones.

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. 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 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. 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.

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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