Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Typewriter Guest Book!

Filed under: Guest Books,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Part of creating your own wedding day masterpiece is finding what makes your work of art stand out above the rest. Every couple wants unique ways to remember their big day, without having to wonder if all their friends are just going to do the same thing later at their wedding.

typewriterThe “Typewriter Guest Book” is a Martha Stewart idea for a guest book alternative with a quirky twist. Typewriters are so photogenic – plus it’s a walk down memory lane for some of your older guests. For authenticity’s sake no typewriter font on your computer can imitate a typewriter like, well, a typewriter.

Look for an old-fashioned, inexpensive, vintage typewriter (or two) either online, from a flea market or thrift shop – but make SURE it works – and set it out on a table inside the entry area of the wedding reception.

Load the typewriter with long sheets of paper for guests to type in good wishes to the Bride and Groom along with their name and any sentiment that comes to mind.

wishbasketOr. . . provide a stack of “Wish Paper” sheets. You may want to consider hole-punching them (for your loose-leaf book later) while they are still flat and stackable. Use a good, thick, high quality paper in a color that accents your wedding theme or good ol’ classic white.

Pre-print a heading on each page that defines what you want the guest to write. Provide some goofy examples at the top and instructions at the bottom to explain what you would like guests to do (Write a wish, crumple it up, and toss it in the “wish basket” on the table).

Put a few crumpled up sheets in the “wish basket’ to show guests that we really do want them to crumple their pages up. Make sure your “wish basket” doesn’t get “emptied” by the cleaning staff. 😉 Put someone in charge of making sure the wastebasket is collected before the end of the night.

pinktypewriterHave your disc jockey make a special announcement several times during the evening so that all the guests know what they are suppose to do. Also spread the word with about 10 key people (from different groups or tables) ahead of time with a full explanation of what you’ll want the guests to do. Its not a terribly complicated set-up, so with a few key people with full explanation and a DJ or MC reminder, you should end up with a book-full of crumpled wishes.

After the wedding – if you use long paper – it can be tied into a scroll with ribbon or framed along with pictures taken at the wedding.

Caveat: You may want to assign a “kid guard” to keep the children away from the typewriters unless the parents are with them. Just a thought.

This is a creative way to capture your wedding moments will help you and your loved ones relive your wedding memories over and over again.

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 (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ATTENTION: Wedding Professionals Worldwide!

Filed under: Wedding Articles,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

HOTTGet ready to get Hot, HOTT, Haute!!! Your HOTT (High Octane Twenty Ten) AZ Conference committee is elated to welcome you to the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, AZ) for the 29th Annual Business of Brides Conference on November 7-9, 2010.

DavidTuteraPosterBring your family and plan to arrive early and stay late for conference to enjoy the incredible weather and multitude of activities at your fingertips when you visit the scenic Sonoran Desert! Phoenix, AZ averages over 300 sun-filled days a year with average temperatures in November ranging from 47 – 74 degrees.

Starting with a selection of optional sessions on Sunday, we guarantee a haute time with Sasha Souza, MBC our Monday design presenter, and a HOTT finale with world renowned designer, David Tutera on Tuesday. From sunrise to sunset, there will be lots of hot educational topics beginning Sunday afternoon through our closing session on Tuesday.

10csLarry James will be presenting one of the many breakout sessions:

10 Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal and Professional Connections (for Novices, Consultants, Vendors). There will be two opportunities to hear Larry James speak:

Monday, November 8th Breakout II – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. 10 Commitments of Networking – Larry James. Eucalyptus Room
Tueday, November 9th Breakout V – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. 10 Commitments of Networking – Larry James. Honeysuckle Room

rightarrowNOTE: To order your copy of Larry’s book, click on the book cover! Larry will be signing his books after each session at the ABC Book Store on site!

Whether you’re new to the industry or think you “know-it-all,” this session will help you refocus and re-energize your commitment to successful networking ventures. Learn:

• The only profitable definition of business networking.
• How to work together without fear of competition.
• The 10 things you must be committed to for networking to really work.
• How to increase your productivity, profitability and personal prosperity.

tuteraFor more information and to register for this incredible Association of Bridal Consultants National Convention, click here!

leftarrowNOTE: To order your copy of “The Big White Book of Weddings” by David Tutera click on the book cover!

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 (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Confessions of a Boudoir Photographer

Filed under: Boudoir Photography,Guest Authors,Photography Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

1st a NOTE from Larry James: Hey, Brides! Thinking of surprising the groom with a peek at your passionate side? Boudoir photography is a sexy new trend that’s especially popular as a wedding day gift from a bride to her groom. Boudoir portraits or as I call it, “Romantic Glamour” photography is a collaboration between the Bride and the photographer. It proves to be fun for guys, and self-esteem boosts for women. It’s a gift from someone who is taking time to capture their “self” or their essence at a particular time of their life and immortalize it.

It’s probably safe to say that all women have a part of their body that they wish they could change as well as a few that they love. It is the job of the photographer to highlight each woman’s best features while minimizing her least favorite. With flattering poses and lighting, every woman can look her best and overcome any body image issues while seeing herself in a new way.

leannamcdonaldFor a photographer, there is nothing better than helping a woman rediscover her inner and outer beauty through portraits. The thing is that every woman has the potential to look just as beautiful and glamorous as the women in the media. The opportunity exits through boudoir photography. Boudoir photos can be a fun-filled, pampering experience for any woman, and they also make a great gift for the man in your life. Whether you are a size 2 or 20 does not matter. Every woman is beautiful and a great photographer can capture that beauty and give it as a gift to her man or even herself.

Let me introduce my friend, Leanna McDonald, a professional photographer with whom I have worked many times at weddings. Leanna loves the uniqueness of every client and capturing each woman’s own intimate beauty. She is truly the “Phoenix Boudoir Photography Queen.”

For Leanna boudoir photography is about more than providing high-quality fashion portraits – it is about giving each client a priceless look at how beautiful and sexy they are with images that will last a lifetime. Leanna is a professional photographer who knows how to use lighting in flattering ways and discreetly “retouch” photos so that skin tones appear even and blemishes and other flaws disappear.

Confessions of a Boudoir Photographer

Leanna McDonald, Guest Author

Since I do so many other types of photography: weddings, children, pregnancy, high school seniors and even commercial work, the name “Phoenix Boudoir Photography Queen” seems rather limiting. Long, long ago, in the land of the ‘Valley of the Sun’ (Phoenix, AZ) there existed a credo among ‘legitmate’ photographers that photographing women in their underwear was a dirty thing. Not to be talked about or mentioned in the circles of “carriage trade” photography discussions.

But in the shadows there were photographers, including myself, who were legitimate and prosperous and who thought that a client should be able to express themselves to the camera sexually in an artful way. Most of all without being judged as 2nd class or worse yet, low class. Even those who did do it, did not do ‘nude photography’ or alternative lifestyle folks and couples. Boudoir photography was tolerated, but snickered at by my colleagues.

I remember many laughing out loud when I discussed it. When a boudoir photo was entered into a professional photography competition, it was automatically assumed that it was my work. Unfortunately, they were usually right. It was hard to score high in the competitions with boudoir work, and to a certain extent, it still is.

Well, it seems, these same folks are now doing boudoir photography. Some are really promoting it, some are “hiding” it by setting it up in an entirely new business name. If I sound angry, well I’m not, just annoyed. I am also vindicated. I feel I was ahead of my time. I don’t feel, however, that tolerance is revolutionary, or that being open to explore things that make you uncomfortable is something unique to myself. But I do feel that I am more willing than most to be open to what my clients want and to intuit their genuine desires and their image of themselves as sexual beings.

IMG_9536All that being said, I am now still ahead of my colleagues in the boudoir arena. I know how to get to the core of how a young lady REALLY wants to look. What will get her to relax in front of the camera, stark naked. To express herself without fear of ridicule, and to help her to revive the inner confidence in her looks, sexuality and more. All the lighting instruction, beautiful sets, sophisticated equipment and yes, PhotoShop™, cannot replace that look in the eye of the subject that communicates her inner ’seductive’ self. Her sexual ‘womaness’ to be expressed in HER style, is what I seek to get through to the camera.

So… there are the divas and various others who are now “discovering” boudoir. But I AM THE QUEEN. The ‘Grand Dame’ if you will. At least in my little corner of the world. I love photographing weddings and children and all the rest, but what I am most known for is my Boudoir Photography. Now I can finally feel really proud to say that.

Also, my blog will be very honest and sometimes probably too personal and blunt. But as a good friend once told me, “Be yourself, you are beautiful as you are.” She knows who she is, and I want to thank her for reminding me that God makes us what we are. Who are we to question it?

How to Prepare for Your Photo Session

I get asked a lot of questions about Boudoir Photo Sessions. Mostly, about airbrushing, or what a girl should bring to a session to wear. But I don’t get as many questions as I used to about how a girl should prepare for her Boudoir Photo Session. Preparation is extremely important. You think it would be obvious for a girl to do her nails, shave her legs, etc. But you would be surprised how often I get a client who doesn’t want to show her hands because of her nails!!!

Really ladies, it’s BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY! That means showing your body! including your hands! More importantly, however, there is some mental preparation. The mental and the physical are linked and can affect each other. Without your nails done and your hair cut the way you like it, it can affect how sexy you feel. Which is the most important thing! I can help you with expression, I have some tricks, but ultimately, the sexy, comes from you!

So below I have a list of the most important things to consider when preparing for a Boudoir Photography Session.

1. Do your nails and toes. It’s a good excuse for a spa day. Get a good mani/pedi or do it at home. Your nails don’t have to be long, just a nice manicure. Color is optional. It’s usually best to stick with a color that’s fairly neutral, so it doesn’t clash with any of your outfits. If you don’t like nails or have a job that isn’t nail friendly, the Lee Press-on type of nail will work. They look very real in photos.

2. Hair. Your hair is THE most important factor in the style of the photo. It affects the entire tone of the picture. I have the most excellent hair and makeup artist, Lorri, who styles the hair and does the makeup for my girls. But it’s best to have a cut you like and to be mindful of your roots.

IMG_9668I do 3 dimensional photography. The top of your head is likely to show, so make sure you have timed your appt with your stylist correctly. Don’t change your style or color right before a session!!!! Also, you know your hair. Is it best freshly washed? Or does it style better after a day? Do you like your hair best right after your trip to the stylist? Or do you like it better after it has settled in for a couple of weeks?

3. Come to the studio with your hair and makeup as you do everyday. We do not need you to come bare-faced, unless that’s what you want. Do come with dry hair, but you can style it normally.

4. Schedule your appt taking into account your ‘cycle’. Not that I care, but I know you will feel sexier without your monthly visitor.

5. Tanning. Ugh! I get asked about this a lot. Tanning is okay, if it’s what you normally do. The most important thing is an even skin tone. How light or dark you are is really not that important. In fact, a very dark tan really does not photograph as well. If you don’t like tan lines, then the tanning bed just to even things out a bit is a good idea. But don’t overdo! I can’t fix a sunburn! Unless you want all black and white photos! You will not feel sexy with a painful sunburn!

6. Working out. If you normally work out or are active, you know what activities will help you to feel sexy and lean. Do that the day before, but not the day of. Your muscles actually swell after a heavy workout. So unless you are doing a fitness shoot, you don’t want to bulge! If you don’t work out, that’s just fine. I KNOW how hide your flaws. And anyway, working out does not guarantee a flawless body.

7. Shave your legs and take care of your bikini area. The camera doesn’t always pick this up, but YOU will feel sexier, and THAT will show.

8. Eating before a session. I like to do Boudoir Portraits first thing in the morning. Most ladies are thinnest then and they feel thinner. But it is good idea to have a little something before the session. Also, if you want a glass of wine to relax you, you really need to eat a little. I don’t want to scrape you off the floor!

IMG_89309. Clothing selection. This is probably the hardest for most ladies. When you are doing what is probably a once in a lifetime photo session, you want to get the most out of it. So, try on a few things and see what you like. Think of clothes and lingerie as a ‘tool’ to make you look sexy. Check out my post “What to wear for your Valentine’s Day Photography” for some descriptions of different lingerie, and what it can do for you.

Also, use your imagination! I think it was Einstein that said: “Imagination is more important than intelligence”. Look at magazines to see what you like. Raid your closet and your friend’s closets! Play on his profession or yours. I once had a client who worked at the county morgue. She brought a body bag in for her session, and we made it sexy! What does he like? What do you like about your body? Use lingerie and other clothing to show off. You are in the spotlight! Model for the day! Work it!

10. I have saved the most important thing for last. Your mental ATTITUDE! Sometimes a client is just determined that she will not look good. She will tell me about every part of herself she doesn’t like. Point out every flaw (perceived flaw). I will attempt to change her mind, and I am usually successful. But this must occur BEFORE the session is finished. If I haven’t changed her mind about herself before the session is done, it will show in the photos.

No matter how beautiful she really is, you will see in her own eyes what she feels about herself. THIS is the key to good Boudoir Photography. So, my advice here is to believe me when I say, no matter what you think your flaws are, I can make you look your absolute best. Not because I am a magician, but because I see the real beauty that you are. I am not shackled by your preconceived notions of your self image. I simply see what is in front of me, and it is beautiful. Only waiting for me to expose it.

NOTE: All photos by Leanna McDonald.

BONUS Article: The #1 Piece of Advice (+ 12 Others!) for Girls Considering Boudoir

leannaCopyright © 2010 – Leanna McDonald. Reprinted with permission. Leanna McDonald, an Arizona native, has been a professional photographer here in the Valley of the Sun for over 20 years. Her talent and flexibility allow her to expertly photograph weddings, boudoir, bellies and babies, families and children, as well as high school seniors. She was President of the Arizona Professional Photographers Association (AZPPA) for 2 consecutive years. She has received the APPLE award from the AZPPA for leadership and photographic excellence and has received numerous awards including the Fuji Masterpiece Award, Art Critic Award and Judges Choice Award. Leanna has a commercial studio located near 24th street and Indian School Road in Phoenix, but often prefers to photograph her clients on location or in their homes for a more natural feel. Visit her Website (http://www.photosbyleanna.com/) and BLOG (http://blog.photosbyleanna.com/)

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 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 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.

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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I’m Late… For a Very Important (Wedding) Date! I’m Late!

Filed under: Wedding Articles,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

I often get asked about the start time of a wedding.

Should it say 6:00 p.m. on the invitation if you don’t intend to start until 6:30 p.m.?

iamlateAbsolutely not!

I suggest you list the start time on the invitation and start at that time. Sometimes there are 5 to 10 minute unavoidable delays, but rarely ever 30 minutes! Especially if the wedding is in the Greater Phoenix area and outdoors. We are in the desert. You do not want to keep your friends and family waiting in the heat!

Emily Post (her daughter, Peggy) says, “There is absolutely no reason to wait for, let alone plan for, late arriving guests. The ceremony should start on the dot of the time stated on the invitation as a courtesty to all the guests who did arrive on time.

Imagine , as a guest, arriving at 5:45 p.m. for a 6:00 p.m. wedding, only to wait 45 minutes for the ceremony to begin. Intentionally making the guests wait would be rude on the part of the hosts.

Far better to instruct staff or ushers on how to deal with any latecomers. There are a variety of possible options ranging from not allowing latecomers to enter at all to establishing times during the ceremony when they may be discretely seated at the back.

Being on time, whether as host or guest, is the right thing to do.”

Guests. . . PLEASE arrive on time! Get there at least 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. Never arrive late. Take into account extra time for traffic snarls, bad directions and last minute runs to the convenience store. Do a MapQuest for specific directions. Unfamiliar with the location of the venue? Do a trial run.

If you do arrive late, approach with caution! Wait quietly at the back of the room until an appropriate moment.

If the ceremony is underway, the processional may also be in progress and you really don’t want to be strolling down the aisle beside the wedding party. If an usher is available, make your presence known and ask for assistance finding a seat. Never walk down the center aisle after the bridal party!

If the processional is underway, please wait quietly and patiently in an area outside and/or out of the way until the processional has been concluded.

runninglateIdeally, there should be someone to direct you as to when you may enter and take a seat. Use a side aisle rather than the center aisle. Always exercise discretion.

Although you may prefer to be seated up front, arriving late greatly diminishes that opportunity so locate a seat quickly and quietly in the back and avoid drawing any attention away from the ceremony that is underway.

If you have arrived after the ceremony is underway at an indoor wedding and cannot find an open entrance, avoid the temptation to knock! You may feel badly that you are missing the ceremony, however, you will only make matters worse by interrupting the ceremony.

Bonus Articles: “Tips for Wedding Guests: How to Avoid Embarrassing Faux Pas,” “Planning a Summer of Love. . .,” “Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!“ and “PLEASE Be on Time! (for your own wedding!).”

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 (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” 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, July 13, 2010

American Wedding Trends for 2010 – 2011

Filed under: Guest Authors,Wedding Trends — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Tiffany Hurd, Guest Author

Would you consider 2010 the decade of the woman or possibly the decade of the financial rise of women? Approximately 80% of financial decisions are made by women. There are more woman millionaires in this country than ever before. Take note, this trend will effect more than weddings.

Wedding Planners

Brides ages 35-50 are on the rise, whether first or second marriages. Women age 35-55 are ready to spend on luxury items and will pay more to have someone handle all the details for them. They prefer service & expect quality. Brides are more knowledgeable & informed than ever before, with WE tv & wedding specific DIY programming, it is a wonder the wedding planners are needed at all. However, the brides want help & expect to leave the work to others. After making personal selections, previewed by the planner, they are able to focus on career & personal development.

moonbeamVaried Seating

From Royal Tables to an assortment of square and round tables almost anything goes. There is a distinct trend toward maximize the venue space as well as creating a dynamic look for the space. Chiavari chairs have become a normal visual, while still very much THE choice for a chair upgrade many brides are seeking the next HOT look. Many are using benches for the ceremony or at a royal table. Others have selected the Chameleon Chair for their unique a la carte design.

Colors

If you want to be in the know for next wedding season’s color, just watch all the bridal magazines right now. Brides are planning the wedding 6-18 months out. So naturally, what’s in the magazines now will start to materialize 6-12 months down the road.

DavidTuteraPosterHighly Themed

The most notable trend is theme weddings. While color has been the dictator of “theme” in the past; now the couple expresses themselves through strong themes over color. A great example of this was revealed in the premier episode of “My Fair Wedding” with David Tutera. Who has ever heard of a Swamp theme prior to June 6, 2010?

Simply create a memory to reflect on through the times of celebration and be a support during times of trials. This is one day, the cornerstone for a lifetime together, “you and me against the world”, let the little things blend into the background and bind together the important ones. Let’s start a new trend toward forever.

abclogoCopyright © 2010 – Tiffany Hurd. Tiffany Hurd is the Marketing Coordinator for Tri-Rentals, a Classic Party Rental Company.

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 (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips written by Larry James listed in this Wedding BLOG 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 as a “friend” 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, July 9, 2010

Religion vs. Spirituality

Filed under: Spirituality,Wedding Articles,Wedding Video — Larry James @ 7:00 am

peanutsWhen I perform my “romantic” wedding ceremony, I always ask the Bride and Groom about their spiritual beliefs. I get a wide assortment of answers which often leads to some very interesting conversations.

I need to know because each ceremony is always customized to their complete satisfaction. They always get to choose just how spiritual they want their wedding ceremony to be. My belief is that what is in the wedding ceremony should only and always be the choice of the Bride and Groom, not what the Minister thinks should be in it. I never push my beliefs off on anyone. They get to choose.

It is also my belief that you must never forget the importance of the spiritual side of your relationship.

“My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn’t.” 😉

Affirmation ~ My love partner and I share similar spiritual values. Higher spiritual values give meaning and purpose to our relationship. They determine what we will turn away from and what we will move toward. Shared spiritual ideas are the basis for a lasting, fulfilling love relationship.

Marriage is sacred. So are the vows you make. Making a relationship work should not be totally dependent upon what you or your partner do or do not do.

God, a Higher Power – or whatever you choose to call what you believe in – can only inspire you to make the right choices. He alone cannot do it for you. You and your partner must do the work.

Listen for God’s soft whisper. He speaks to you in the stillness of daybreak and in the midst of conflict.

mosesemailAre you listening?

I highly recommend the following list of priorities for your relationship: God, you, your relationship and your work – in that order!

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~ Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Here is my take on Religion and Spirituality:

Religion is a specific church’s organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of rules, narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, not unlike a “how-to” guide, that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to God or a higher power usually within that church’s denomination. Most religions and denominations are about conformity and the leadership has the right to demand such. However, it puts limits on us and often traps us in its dogma. God is too big to be confined to any one religion or denomination.

To me, spirituality means that, once one has accepted his or her faith in God, Great Spirit or a Higher Power (or whatever they choose to call it), how they personally choose to express it is their own personal choice not particularly what a church denomination chooses to impose on their followers. Spirituality is natural. We all have it, whether we know it or practice it, it is in us.

“Spirituality is NOT a Religion. Being spiritual just means you are in touch with your own divine self.” ~ Anna Pereira

Spirituality has to do with what we make of what religion offers us and what we make of our place in life relative to the Divine, to self and to others. Religion could be thought of, at least in very general terms, as a large shared human activity organized and passed along in time to help individuals in their relationship to the Divine and to one another.

InGodWeTrustSpirituality is all about finding the truth that resonates the highest with you. Religion is based on a fixed belief-system, and to be included (or to be saved) you need to adopt this belief system.

childprayingSo to some, to be spiritual may mean the individual expression of their faith without religious interference from a church or any reference to God. It is only and always a personal choice. It is the connection we feel to something greater than ourselves. In a sense, spirituality is personalized religion. It also means that you recognize and acknowledge a power or sensibility within yourself and outside of yourself, beyond the purely physical or mental.

“Every religion on the planet, and there are so many more than you are even aware of, has the potential of absolute thriving. But when you think that you must prove that you have the only one that is right – and you use your condemnation to push against the others – your condemnation separates you from your own Connection that, before your condemnation, you were finding in your own religion.” ~ Abraham

It is your way of loving, accepting and relating to the world and the people around you. It cannot be found in a church or by believing in a certain way. It is independent of religious beliefs, dogma or doctrine.

Spiritual beliefs are developed individually and quite often deal with issues of a more personal or intimate nature than those addressed by religious doctrine.

Many followers of religion feel that only their path can lead to salvation. They have tremendous faith in their own religion, but at the same time they feel other religions are wrong and cannot lead a seeker to God.

Religion“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness should be part of our daily lives.” ~ Dalai Lama

Spirituality feels that all religions are valid. Spirituality knows there are many paths to the same goal. Spirituality embraces all the world religions, but at the same time, is not constrained by any religious dogmas or forms. It does not require membership in any group.

The religious beliefs of spiritual groups do not necessarily lead people to the same conclusions as organized religions, but that doesn’t make them less religious. Being religious or spiritual both usually connote belief in a Higher Power of some kind. Both also imply a desire to connect or enter into a more intense relationship with this Higher Power.

Although this may be controversial thought, it also seems to me that some atheists are spiritual, in their own way. If being spiritual also means following good, life-affirming principles, then any atheist would be thought of as a spiritual person who passionately believes in, and lives, a life that includes helping others, being honest, and sharing oneself.

Few men are so obstinate in their atheism, that a pressing danger will not compel them to acknowledgment of a divine power. – Plato

By the way, neither religion or spirituality are bad because what you personally believe is what is true for you. Both give order to a world in chaos; they provide a moral foundation upon which to base behavior. Religion is a path to God. Spirituality is also a path to God. However there are differences in the approach.

Holding on to your religious beliefs can often inhibit spiritual growth.

religionMy friend, Jennifer Scott put it this way: “I deeply believe in God but only through my personal relationship. I believe that God is everywhere and in every living thing. I personally do not believe in the rules of any church yet strongly support those who do.”

I concur.

You choose!

Seen on a bumper sticker: “My car ran over your dogma!”

God is smiling.

Religion is for people who are scared to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there. – Bonnie Raitt

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

BONUS Article: Vows, Parents & Religion: Conundrum!

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 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted on this wedding BLOG every 4th day. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Hey Guys! Surprise Your Wife on Your Anniversary!

Filed under: Wedding Articles,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Anniversary coming up soon? (Opps! Almost forgot, eh?) Don’t know what to get your wife to truly express the love you have for her?

First things first. The most important thing about anniversaries, guys, is to remember them! Anniversaries come and go but the main intention should be to rekindle the love you have for each other.

Here’s a great idea! Wedding anniversaries are very special events. This time really celebrate your marital milestone! Surprise her with a “Renewal of Vows Ceremony!

Hot Air balloon KISSSeveral years ago the Connoisseur at The Boulders Resort, Scottsdale, called to say that a husband from Las Vegas wanted to have me perform my Renewal of Vows Ceremony in a hot air balloon as a surprise to the wife. We met at 5:30 a.m. (YES… a.m.!!) at Deer Valley Airport where Hot Air Expeditions (Phoenix) took us to the lift-off site. The wife thought I was just another passenger.

At about 4,100 feet, with their backs to me, I heard him say, “Isn’t this romantic? Would you marry me again?” I took my tourist hat off and the Captain handed me my notes. She replied, “In a New York minute!” He gave her a kiss and said, “Why don’t we renew our vows right now?” as he turned her around to see me standing on the other side of the balloon basket ready to perform the ceremony.

You should have seen the look on her face. Talk about surprised! I added a part to the ceremony where the husband said a few words of his own to his wife. She experienced about every emotion you can imagine. After that, the Captain handed me two long-stem red rose buds which I presented to them as part of the ceremony. It was one of the most romantic surprises I have had the pleasure to be involved in.

kirshnerThe husband (Dan Kirshner) of a couple that I married five years ago called recently to ask me to perform my Renewal of Vows Ceremony for them as a surprise to his wife, Brianna. We met at Sassi Ristorante, Scottsdale. His wife knew that they would be having dinner for their anniversary but she didn’t know that I would be waiting to greet them in the bar. When they walked into the bar, at first the husband pretended to be surprised to see me there.

While we were greeting each other I said to the wife, “Happy Anniversary!” She was surprised when her husband told her that it was no accident, that I was there to perform a 5-year Renewal of Vows Ceremony. I had married them at Sassi Ristorante almost exactly 5 years earlier. After the ceremony we met in the bar and I had set it up with the singer to sing the song that was their “first dance” at their wedding – “At Last.” Everyone in the bar applauded and a few came over to say congratulations. More photos on Facebook.

Diana & Todd AndersonRecently another very smart husband (Todd Anderson) called to hire me to preform a Renewal of Vows Ceremony for he and his wife. They invited a few close friends to a local resort for the ceremony. I met with both the husband and the wife to customize the words of the ceremony especially for them.

On June 19, 2010, Diana and Todd Anderson celebrated their 10th Wedding Anniversary with a “Renewal of Vows” ceremony at the Orange Tree Golf Resort, Scottsdale. As a surprise to Diana, after Todd made his Personal Promises of renewal, he dropped to his knees and asked Diana to marry him again. He then presented her with a new wedding ring! More photos on Facebook.

Throw a surprise anniversary party! Ask a close friend to host the party at their home. An advantage is that you won’t have the stress of planning the party. Have them send invitations to all your friends and you and your wife. She will think it’s just another party. After everyone arrives, surprise your wife by having the Officiant show up after everyone gets there. Have the host invite everyone to gather on the back patio. When everyone is on the patio, have your friend invite you and your wife to come forward and have everyone sing, “Happy Anniversary to you!” Meanwhile the minister comes forward while you announce that you have a very special surprise for your wife. . . a Renewal of Vows Ceremony.

BONUS Article: Read, “Ideas for Renewing Your Vows!”

A couple of other ideas:

anniversarybillboardHire a billboard in a prime location and advertise your love for your wife on your anniversary. Then arrange an outing that takes you and your wife past the billboard.

If you haven’t written a lengthy love letter to your man for a long time, your anniversary is the ideal opportunity to compose one. Do not send it by e-mail (boo, hiss!). Old-fashioned love letters have never lost their romantic appeal. Take some time to sit down and think of the ways your sweetheart is special to you. You may not want to do this in one sitting. Take your time. Write. Edit. Write. Edit, until it’s exactly what you want to say. Put it in writing and send it by “Priority Mail” to her office or home. You may want to have one “I Love You!” long-stem, red rose delivered with a note.

Read what others have done to surprise their partners on their anniversary.

http://melissaanddustin.blogspot.com/2009/08/anniversary-surprise.html

http://www.excellent-romantic-vacations.com/romantic-surprise-vacation.html

http://www.helium.com/items/1698687-how-to-throw-a-surprise-wedding-anniversary-party-for-your-spouse

http://www.unforgettable-anniversary-ideas.com/romantic-surprise-ideas.html

NOTE: Photo (upper right) is of Brianna & Dan Kirshner @ Sassi Ristorante, Scottsdale.

HappyAnniversaryHeart

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 (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” 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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Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Bridal Shower “Brunch,” Anyone?

Filed under: Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Depart from the traditional afternoon or early evening bridal shower and hold your bridal shower in the late morning hours with a brunch. It lends itself to contributions from family and friends. Most food and beverages served for a bunch are easy to make and many can be made ahead of time.

brunchUsually on a weekend, a brunch can start around 10:00 a.m. to Noon and last into the early afternoon. Great for either all-female or co-ed. Sit-down or buffet food. They often are more relaxed than evening showers, and take place in a smaller, more intimate setting. They can be indoors or outdoors. Formal or informal. A Continental breakfast is also a great idea.

Be sure to provide a sufficient range of food options without complicating the menu. Look for seasonal fruits and vegetables and make a platter with dip. Fruits are always good with chocolate dip or a flavored yogurt. Serve vegetables with a light dip.

There are many good egg recipes that can be made in advance. Quiche with ham, bacon and broccoli is a good option for a brunch. Other casseroles might include an egg strata made with sausage or a layered potato and ham casserole. Muffins, breads, bagels, sausage links, finger sandwiches and desserts are other ideas for a brunch.

If you will have a cake at the shower, how about an ice cream cake? Anything cold, cool, light, and fruity is ideal for a shower brunch.

No bridal shower would be complete without a variety of yummy drinks to accompany the meal. Mimosas and bloody Marys are popular options for the morning hours, while spritzers and fruit juices are good non-alcoholic alternatives.

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 (90 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 – written by Larry James – listed in this Wedding BLOG 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 as a “friend” 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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