Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!

It’s never too early in the wedding planning process to start talking about your guest list. First things first. It’s all about the budget! The best way to cut the cost of your wedding is by managing the guest list.

Know what your budget is for food at the reception. Decide how many you want to invite then use the following list to help. If you’re on a tight budget, a smaller wedding may be the way to go. Each guest you invite translates into dollars spent on your wedding.

Here are a few things to think about when you are building your guest list for your wedding and reception. If you are paying for it yourself, you can pretty much invite as many as you can afford. If someone else is paying for the wedding, consult with them about a budget – and stick to it.

Who is so important that you can’t imagine getting married without them there? What can you afford? What is the wedding venue charging per plate? Sometimes a buffet is more economical. Who is absolutely not welcome?

Budget-Wedding-GuestlistRemember: family first!

1. Bride’s list (Family) – Must be invited

2. Groom’s list (Family) – Must be invited

3. Our list (Friends) – Should be invited

4. Would be nice to be invited. If you’re no longer friendly with certain people from your past, don’t feel obliged to invite them.

Narrowing down the wedding guest list is never an enviable task, but since a lot of your major wedding planning decisions are dependent on the number of guests you’re inviting, it’s a good idea to not wait until the last minute to finalize your list. Go through it with a red pen. It is better to first write up a preliminary list, then after a bit of consideration, have a second meeting to finalize the details. There is only one way to include everyone on your wedding guest list and that is increase your budget, which is usually unrealistic. 😉

If your wedding guest list already approaches your budget’s limit, take a step back. You might want to consider making your wedding an adults-only affair. You can trim the reception budget quite a bit if you eliminate having children at the reception. You do, however, run the risk of some close friends who have kids deciding not to show up for the wedding, either because they are offended by your choice or because they have no babysitter. You might want to consider providing guests with the names and numbers of local babysitters.

Kids look cute at weddings in their dress-up duds, but they don’t need to be there if you need to make cuts. It is inappropriate to write “No Children” on the invitations. Note on the reception “RSVP” card that an adult reception will be held after the ceremony. The only correct wording for your “save the date” cards is “Adult Reception,” “Adults Only Reception” or “Adult Only Ceremony and Reception.”

guest_listConsider limiting the amount of people you allow to bring dates. Forget about adding “and guest” indiscriminately to single friends’ invitations.

Will your ex and their date be excluded? Inviting an ex to a wedding is generally considered taboo, however, in some cases it might be acceptable, especially if one partner has an ex with whom he or she shares children.

How about people who are known to always drink to much?

If you see you will be over budget, begin your trims with business associates, then parents of your attendants. The people on your wedding guest list should be people you truly care about, not people you feel obligated to invite.

The first stage of planning your wedding is excitement! Yippeee… it’s FINALLY my turn! You can avoid hurt feelings if you hold off on the big announcement to everyone except your immediate family. I know you’re excited but resist the urge to tell anyone else until you know the wedding’s approximate size and your budget. Remember this is YOUR wedding, not your parents or in-laws. Set limits. I know that may be difficult if one side of the family is paying for the wedding and the other side insists on inviting a bigger share of their friends.

One of the most important first steps is to clearly define your parents’ involvement in the wedding. Odds are, if they’re the ones coughing up most of the cash for your nuptials, then they’re going to be eager to invite everyone on their guest list. And its only proper for the two of you to extend that courtesy.

The easiest way to satisfy everyone and avoid conflict is to set an equal number of guests that each family is allowed to invite. How they choose to select those guests is up to them. Make things clear to both your families early on. Once you have a final number of guests in mind, it’s a good idea to divide the number of invitations by thirds. One for your family, one for the new in-laws and one set of invitations for your friends. Determine how many guests each set of parents will be able to invite. Ask them for a list of names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail that does not exceed the number of guests they are allotted.

Most wedding consultants agree that if you invite 100 guests, about 20% may not respond or show up. Have a small back-up guest list ready for those who decline the invitation. Once the guest list and the budget are determined, you may have to make some adjustments to one or both to accommodate everyone.

It is impolite for a guest to ask if he or she can bring a date, however, it is not impolite of you to refuse. Say, “I’m sorry, Erica, but we have very limited seating at the reception and we just can’t accommodate any additional guests.”

Allow for errors when you order your wedding invitation. By the way, it is always a courtesy to send invitations to those people you know will probably not be able to attend due to great distance or illness. Mail your invitations out at least two to three months in advance for a normal wedding and six months or more if you’ve selected a holiday weekend. Be patient waiting for RSVPs, and don’t hesitate to call unresponsive guests at least two weeks before the wedding.

Plan your wedding guest list according to budget, guest importance and stay with it!

BONUS Articles: Wedding Guest List Mistakes
No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!
6 Questions to Ask Before Inviting Your Ex
The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget
Does Your Wedding Guest List Include Out of Town Guests?

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 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.

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Here Comes the Flower Girl!

Filed under: Flower Girl,Wedding Attendants,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Traditionally, flower girls have been a part of weddings going back as far as the Victorian days. The role was created so that the flower girl could make the guests smile and relax because of her innocent and sweet demeanor.

flowergirlMost flower girls carry a small basket with either flowers or petals to sprinkle while walking down the aisle. The purpose of scattering rose petals along the aisle before the bride takes her walk to the altar is to create a pathway that stands for the beauty of the bride. She helps to put everyone at ease and to bring laughter and humor to what otherwise was sometimes a very formal event. The flower girl often steals the show during a wedding ceremony.

Flower girls are usually between 3 and 9 years old. It is important to remember that flower girls are really just children acting like adults so leniency and contingency plans are the two key words to ensuring the day runs smoothly. Being asked to be the flower girl, often marks the debut of her first formal occasion.

babyflowergirlWhile most of the bridal party is expected to stand at the bride’s side during the ceremony, it’s rather unreasonable to expect a young child to do so, especially if it’s a long ceremony.

Small children in weddings are unpredictable – often with memorable results. Kids will be kids and there is a possibility things will go wrong on the day. There is only so much you can control. Whatever the flower girl does (cries, drops the basket, lifts up her dress, throws the petals on the guests…), her personality and preciousness will give the guests a reason to smile.

Ensure that the children you choose for these roles are confident in performing in front of a large crowd. Rehearsals often aid in ironing out some nerves but cannot be relied on as a foolproof plan.

Seat the flower girl’s parents either on the front row or the second row of the ceremony so she can focus on them and be encouraged by their smiles of reassurance. If she is very young, she may go back to her seat with her parents after she walks; poised and more mature little ladies may stand with the other bridesmaids.

At one of my recent weddings the bride was concerned that the flower girl was so young (a shade over 2 years) that she may not want to walk down the aisle when she saw all the people. I suggested that they decorate a wagon filled with flower petals and have a junior groomsmen (about 12 years old) pull her down the aisle with a “here comes the bride sign” on the back of the wagon. The little girl didn’t throw any petals but she was a big hit with the guests.

smallflowergirlAnother time we had the father of the flower girl carry her down the aisle and help her throw the flower petals.

Some weddings have one flower girl, while others have more than one. Never underestimate the power of the buddy system, especially if the kids know each other. The idea of having two flower girls or pairing up the ring bearer and flower girl so that they can walk side-by-side works very well. Partnering will give them added confidence.

Here are a few ideas and duties to consider for the flower girl:

• Make sure she has a nap before the ceremony or a good nights sleep before the wedding.
• Walk before the bride and throw petals
• Walk down the aisle with the ring bearer
• Hold a basket of rose petals for other guests to throw at the newlyweds as they depart
• Follow bridesmaids up the aisle and depart with the bridesmaids (although she is not required to walk back up the aisle in the recessional)
• Be sure to speak to her parents about the time and financial commitment.
• Attend the ceremony rehearsal, showers, etc.
• Be present for all wedding photos – Take some photos before the ceremony if possible so she won’t be as tired.
• Depending upon her age – stand up with the bridesmaids during the length of the ceremony
• No candy sugar before the ceremony. Some children get hyper and hard to control when they are loaded up on sweets.
• Make sure the dress is comfortable and the length is a reasonable length so she doesn’t trip.
• Remember to show your appreciation to your flower girl by giving her a small gift to commemorate the event.
• Include a coloring book to keep her occupied during the reception.

One Little Flower GirlShe will love “One Little Flower Girl” and it will keep her busy during the reception.

About the book: Come along on this rhyming story as our little flower girl discovers how special her part is in the big day and how much fun a wedding can be. Sweet, delicate art by Janie Bynum takes the reader from dressing to dancing, and everything in between. With a gate fold that reveals at the big “I do” moment, this padded book celebrates an important day, and the little girl at the center of the party. The reusable pouch full of cloth petals allows her to practice for her big part.

BONUS Articles: An Age Guide to the Little Ones in Your Wedding
Here Comes the Flower Girl… Again!
The History of the Flower Girl

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 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.

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inside Weddings: The Wedding Party

Filed under: Wedding Attendants,Wedding Etiquette,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Anna Post, Guest Author

Unless you elope to Las Vegas or slip down to City Hall for a quiet ceremony, you don’t get married on your own – it takes the help of your friends and family. While your guests will support and celebrate with you on the big day, it’s your wedding party that will help you do much of the heavy lifting during the months of planning.

iswintercover2010Choosing Your Attendants

Many of us know exactly who we’d like to be in our wedding party long before the question is popped. It’s okay to ask as soon as the engagement is announced, and aim to have a decision no later than six months out for the average wedding (three months for a short engagement). Most people ask siblings, close relatives, and good friends who are reliable, can be involved, and who will be courteous, extended hosts on the wedding day.

You don’t have to ask friends for whom you were a bridesmaid, nor are you required to ask your fiancé’s sister to be your bridesmaid, though it’s a lovely and generous way to get to know someone who will be a close part of your life. It’s gracious to allow your potential party members to think about your request before they make a decision; it’s a big commitment of finances and time. There is no requirement for how many attendants to have, and you don’t need the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen.

Your Ladies in Waiting

We’ve all heard horror stories about bridesmaids being “required” to sign contracts, obligating them to responsibilities that should require a salary, and agreeing to ludicrous demands. These are exactly that – horror stories. The reality is much simpler, and much more friendly.

The maid or matron of honor is the bride’s right-hand woman. She helps the bride select the bridesmaids’ attire, lends a hand addressing invitations and place cards, and organizes the bridesmaids’ luncheon as well as the bridesmaids’ gift to the bride. During the ceremony, she holds the groom’s wedding ring and the bride’s bouquet. At the end of the ceremony, she arranges the bride’s train and veil, and then returns the bouquet. She also witnesses the signing of the marriage certificate. During the reception, she stands in the receiving line, gives a toast if she wishes, and helps organize guests. Afterwards, she assists the bride out of her dress, for which she then takes responsibility while the bride departs for her honeymoon.

The bridesmaids’ responsibilities are more general: attend fittings, parties, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. It’s a myth that the bridesmaids must throw a shower for the bride, though showers can be hosted by the bridal party. Bridesmaids stand in the receiving line, mingle with guests, dance, and participate in the bouquet toss. The bridesmaids and maid of honor each pay for their own dresses, alterations, shoes, and accessories, as well as their travel to the wedding and group present to the bride and groom. The couple traditionally arranges for the bridal party’s lodging.

A Few Good Men

The best man has by far the most responsibilities of all the attendants. Among many others, he organizes the bachelor party for the groom and arranges the groomsmen’s gift to the groom. He helps the groom choose the wedding attire and coordinates fittings or rentals for the groomsmen. He keeps the bride’s wedding ring during the ceremony, witnesses the signing of the marriage certificate, and makes sure that the groom’s wedding-related payments are prepared and delivered at the ceremony. He offers the first toast at the reception and dances with the bride and other guests. Like the maid of honor, he takes care of the groom’s clothes after he departs.

The groomsmen attend the bachelor party, their fittings, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. They help escort guests to their seats if there aren’t separate ushers, and then stand with the groom during the ceremony. At the reception, they dance with the bride, bridesmaids, and other guests.

Little Helping Hands

Flower girls and ring bearers make charming additions to a wedding. The flower girl precedes the bride down the aisle holding either a small basket of flowers or a tiny nosegay similar to the bridesmaids’ flowers. She might carry a basket of petals that she sprinkles in front of the bride as she walks down the aisle. (I recommend silk petals, as real ones can become slippery.) She attends the rehearsal, but often not the rehearsal dinner due to her age.

The ring bearer walks down the aisle after the bridesmaids and ahead of the flower girl, holding the small cushion upon which the wedding ring is pinned (not sewn). He stands with the groomsmen or sits with his parents or the groom’s family during the services. He exits with the flower girl, if there is one. These members of the wedding party are usually young relatives of the bride or groom, and typically range in age from three to seven years old.

Wrapping it Up

The best gift you can give your wedding party is a pleasant experience while they help you prepare; however, it’s important to thank your attendants with a tangible gift as well. Jewelry is a popular gift from the bride to her bridesmaids, while classic gifts from the groom include cufflinks, ties, monogrammed flasks, and engraved key chains. The gifts can be the same for everyone, or chosen on an individual basis. The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to present these gifts to the wedding party and acknowledge their help in front of your close friends and family. Regardless of where you present your gifts, make sure your attendants know what you know – that you couldn’t have made it to the altar without them.

Source: This column first appeared in “Inside Wedding’s” Winter 2010 issue.

Anna Post
Inside Weddings

Copyright © 2011 – Anna Post. Reprinted with permission. Anna Post is the etiquette columnist for the magazine Inside Weddings, a national bridal magazine based in Los Angeles. Visit their Website and Blogs.

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 460 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.

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Host a Unique Bachelor Party

Filed under: Bachelor Party — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Andrea Boley, Guest Author

You’re tying the knot and the days of bachelorhood are coming to a close. Commemorating these days is usually capped off with a bachelor party consisting of booze and bimbos. What about something less traditional and a little more you to celebrate your send off into the world of wedded bliss?

Sporting Events

A sports enthusiast would appreciate an outing with all his pals to watch the match of his choice. From baseball to tennis to NASCAR, the options are almost endless. Buy tickets for everyone and arrange seating together at the event. Maybe have the groom’s name and the occasion announced over the loudspeaker or displayed on the scoreboard. Depending on the sporting event, you could follow up the game with a tailgate party or a night cap at a neighborhood sports bar.

Guys-gone-crazyFor those who want to get their hands dirty, staging a game or tournament might be the perfect send off. T-shirts in different colors to designate teams could also commemorate the event. A barbeque and a keg could follow the game and you could even toss in a trophy for the winning team. This makes for a warm, casual get together

The Great Outdoors

Bachelor parties don’t have to be restricted to one night. They can be weekend getaways. We’re not talking about lost weekends in Vegas like the movie “Bachelor Party.” These are weekends spent doing something you enjoy with your friends. A camp out that focuses on fishing, hiking or white water rafting might be the perfect getaway and put the groom in a relaxed frame of mind.

Other activities that work well with this plan are horseback trail rides, motorcycle getaways and rock climbing and repelling adventures. Pick the date, tell guys and pack your gear. Then set off for your bachelor getaway that promotes bonding and solidarity. It’s you, your friends and the elements.

Arts and Entertainment

For those whose pastimes don’t pertain to sports and physical activities, there are a whole host of other options. Take in a play at the theater and follow it with a late night supper at a bistro. Take the gang to a concert given by your favorite musician and make a night of it. Score some backstage passes and the evening could be a real memory maker.

bachelorpartySchedule a day at a museum to see an exhibit you’ve been longing to see. Think out of the box. You could visit the Burlingame Pez Museum in California, the UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico or the firefighting Hall of Flame in Phoenix, AZ. These may be out of town trips for you but what a great way to celebrate.

Wineries and microbreweries are all the rage. You could arrange a tour for you and your friends. Hire a limo or a luxury bus with a driver so no one has to worry about driving. Set up a list of wineries or breweries to visit in the geographic location of your choice and spend the day sampling the fine wares of these establishments. Many serve food so you can take breaks to eat lunch and dinner. Some offer nightly entertainment and even cabin or bed and breakfast style accommodations where you can sleep off the day’s activities. Many are situates in scenic locations where you can enjoy breathtaking views while you indulge yourself.

Larry’s Note: Traditionally, a guy’s bachelor party is his one last chance to get out, hit the town and act carefree before the wedding. CAUTION: Throwing a stereotypical bachelor party involving boobs and tons of booze no longer cuts it these days. It should NEVER be a night of drunken debauchery at a strip club followed by a long night praying to the porcelain god. 😉 I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fun, however activities of the groom should be things that he would never be ashamed to tell his future wife. Starting a marriage by keeping secrets from your future wife is a very bad idea! Andrea’s suggestions are far better than having naked women be a part of your bachelor party. If there will be drinking, hire a Limo or party bus so everyone will be able to make it to the wedding rather than sitting in the slammer with a DUI charge looming over their heads.

BONUS Article: 7 Dos and Don’ts for a Perfect STEN Do

Copyright © 2011 by Andrea Boley. Andrea Boley is a writer and blogger with http://www.storkie.com. She has been writing articles and blogging for over 10 years and is always happy to share her passion for life and experiences through her work. Her educational backgrounds in psychology and journalism have given her a solid foundation from which to draw experience and expertise in an array of topics.

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 460 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.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Add Sass to Your Wedding with Clever, Non-Traditional Boutonnières

Filed under: Boutonniere,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags: ,
boutonniere<

Photos (from left to right)~1: Southern Weddings, 2, 4, 6-9: Style Me Pretty, 3: 100 Layer Cake, 5: Flights of Fancy, 10: Grey Likes Weddings, 11: Ruffled Blog

Nothing completes a groom’s outfit quite like a stunning boutonniere on the lapel of his tuxedo jacket. Traditional boutonnières аrе becoming a thing οf thе past fοr today’s groom. Traditional flower boutonnières are great but after a time they show wilt. Boutonnières are a simple detail but are a great way to add a little personality to a traditional suit or tuxedo.

Some couples are opting to personalize their boutonnières with items that represent the groom’s interests or hobbies. For example, if the groom is a musician, glue a few guitar picks together into a fan-arrangement and attach them to a straight pin.

Personalize your wedding and give it style. Customize the smallest detail by adding elegance and spicing up the groom’s attire with a killer wedding boutonnière that he’ll be proud to wear. Guests notice these original design features.

Boutonnières can now be as varied as a sprig of rosemary or a chocolate cosmos tied with a midnight blue ribbon. Clever boutonnières are special and stand out. What better way to spice up your groom’s attire than with a pinwheel or cotton bloom or a fishing lure or peacock feathers or a simple red heart? They can be whimsical, something different, a little funky and add a special flavor to the wedding. This kind of creativity gives the boutonnières a personality of their own.

Add a fresh twist by using a succulent or cloth flower in lieu of a classic bloom. Boutonnières are a simple detail but are a great way to add a little personality to a traditional suit or tuxedo. The following pinned on pretties truly are unique. Favor your groomsmen by selecting boutonnieres that will not only fit the theme of your wedding but last from first kiss to last dance.

Who wears boutonnières at the wedding? Usually it is the groom, the groomsmen and the men of the immediate family (including parents, step-parents, siblings, grandparents and sometimes the minister or wedding officiant). The boutonniere should be worn on the outside of the buttonhole of the left lapel, and not in it. It is common to secure it in place by using a pearl-headed pin from the back of the lapel. The pin will then be invisible from the front.

A new crop of boutonniere designers is starting to emerge — selling their handmade products on Websites like Etsy.com. One particular designer, Fritts Rosenow, creates some fabulously quirky ones. Visit his samples at http://bit.ly/do6wtw.

BONUS Articles: The Simple Boutonnière
21 Offbeat Wedding Boutonnières

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 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.

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
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?

Filed under: Disc Jockeys - DJs,Guest Authors — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Stacie Tamaki (The Flirty Blog), Guest Author

Honestly? Probably more than you were planning to pay.

Why? Because this isn’t easy to say, I don’t say it lightly: When it comes to Wedding DJ’s, Brides and Grooms can and should expect more professionalism than the status quo that has been perpetuated as “acceptable” for far too long.

the_bar_is_too_lowAnd that’s not just my opinion. Over the years I’ve talked to brides, grooms, friends, other wedding professionals and even wedding DJ’s and everyone seems to agree that the bar for Wedding DJ professionalism has been set (but even more oddly, accepted) at an often shockingly low level of expectation. In many cases the quality of the service provided falls well beneath the level of mediocrity. IMO that’s not ok because the reputation of the entire DJ industry is damaged every time a DJ falls short. It’s created an atmosphere of apathy where people in need of a DJ often hope to pay very little for one simply because they expect so little in return.

This post isn’t about bashing what I consider to be average or stereotypical Wedding DJ’s. For the most part I don’t think there’s anything particularly deceptive about how most of them run or market their companies. It’s not a bait and switch scenario. Clients hire them with their eyes wide open, understanding the level of service they will receive. Some are willing to contract an average DJ because they think what they’re seeing is “as good as it gets.”

In some cases their expectations are so low they don’t even try to find a qualified DJ or MC because they don’t realize good DJ’s exist. Recently I stumbled upon this blog post on Vegan Bride titled “Phil Birdsell Saved the Day!” written by her real life groom. It’s a perfect example of what this article is all about. He and his bride weren’t going to hire a Professional DJ… Until they met Phil Birdsell who completely transformed their perception of what a wedding DJ can be and exceeded all of their expectations.

piggy_bankI know a common misconception is that all DJ’s are “cheesy” or as MC’s they are “obnoxious” on the microphone. So the logic is: Why pay a lot for someone who is most likely going to annoy or disappoint you? For some companies those may be accurate descriptions of the types of services they provide. But I want to share with you today that not all DJ companies are like that…

Some are good.

Some are really good.

A select few are truly great.

Considerations: IMO the major factors that really matter when it comes to price are:

Budget

If a particular DJ doesn’t fit your budget, keep looking for the most qualified one who does. You want to choose the right DJ to entrust your reception to: One who is going to try their hardest and do their best for you, not the first one you talk to or the most convenient one.

What is a DJ Worth?

The answer to this question varies based on your needs, expectations and priorities and the level of talent, skills and customer service a DJ is able to provide to you.

The funny thing (as in ironic not ha ha) is that I have worked in the wedding industry for 13 years and by far know more vendors who do not charge enough for their services than those who overcharge. So many people who work in the wedding industry do so because they love to make people happy, they’re really not in it for the money. Some barely charge enough to break even on the cost of their labor, supplies and equipment. (When I was a custom bridal accessory designer I spent a lot of energy talking brides out of things they didn’t need because imo when it comes to wedding accessories, less is more. Less will always look classic and elegant while too much can look costumed or silly.)

Are DJ’s Who Charge More Worth More?

They can be but it may take research on your part to verify if a company is charging what they’re worth or if they are simply being opportunistic. The sad truth is that any company can “look” legitimate. All they have to do is build a nice looking website, print up some business cards and brochures and start advertising. They may even have some impressive credentials. But those things alone aren’t a guarantee of anyone’s current level of professionalism or your satisfaction as their client.

On the flip side of buyer beware is knowing that paying a premium price for something doesn’t always mean it’s overpriced. Whether or not something costs “too much” can be determined by the answer to this question: Is it worth what it costs? You can spend $5,000 dollars on something that’s worth $10,000 and get a great deal. Or you can spend the same $5000 on something that’s only worth $50 and be completely taken advantage of.

My pov is: “Value is not relative to price but to the quality of the product or service you receive in return for your investment.”

DJ as MC

And what about their Master of Ceremonies skills? Especially if you haven’t ever seen them perform before I urge you not to just send out an email or chat on the phone before hiring a DJ because they will almost always be acting as your MC. You need to meet them in person. During your face to face consultation you can see their personality and even ask them to stand and do an introduction for you. When they do, watch for the following elements to see if they have mastered the MC skills needed to do a great job at your wedding:

• Facial expression and demeanor: Do they smile and look happy to be there?
• Body language: Do they slouch, rock or shift about nervously once they begin speaking? Or do they stand straight and tall with confidence?
• What are their speaking skills like? Do they talk so fast you can barely understand them? Or are they so timid you can’t imagine them getting everyone out on the dance floor?
• Do they sound engaged, interested and excited to be there or is their voice flat as if they are reading a nutrition label on a box of breakfast cereal?
• What does their voice sound like? Do they speak with sincerity in their own voice or turn on a different affected performance voice once they’re speaking into a microphone? (Or spoon or ballpoint pen, whatever is handy during your consultation.)

After taking Mark Ferrell’s MC workshop it is now much more apparent to me how undervalued and overlooked MC skills have been in both the past and present. It’s all the more shocking because everything the MC does is an integral part of your wedding reception and should be considered when you are choosing your Wedding DJ.

Who Do You Hire?

The first and most important question would be: Were you referred to a particular DJ by someone you know and trust, who hired them for an event and were thrilled by their service? Or were you impressed when you saw them successfully performing at another event? If your answer to either question is yes, that may be all you need to know when it comes to selecting who to hire.

If you’re starting from scratch, here are some tips that may help you decide if a company is going to delight or disappoint you. If you can answer “yes” to all or most of the questions below you’re definitely on the right track to finding a DJ of quality.

Does the DJ you are considering hiring:

• Have a Business License?
• Use a Written Contract? Do they guarantee the date, their arrival and departure time and the rate they are charging you?
• Have Quality Equipment?
• Are They Insured?
• Own a Vehicle Large Enough to Transport all of the Needed Equipment? Or will they forego the correct equipment because they don’t have the space to transport it?
• Come Prepared with Back Up Equipment?
• Dress Appropriately?
• Not Use Inappropriate Language?
• Not Drink Alcohol on the Job?
• Bring an Assistant When Necessary? i.e. not enough time allowed for set up before guests arrive or lots of stairs that their equipment must be carried up and down.
• Are they a member of an organization that has real standards for business practices and ethics? A group where not just anyone can pay to be a member.

DJdidn'tShowBut here are the intangibles:

These are the things that you can’t always discern from a website. These are the things a trusted testimonial from someone you know or an eyewitness account can confirm. Does the DJ you are considering hiring:

• Rely on Expertise not Ego?
• Deserve your trust?
• Have Solid MC Skills?
• Know how to Use Their Equipment Properly?
• Understand the Pacing and Timing of the Reception?
• Have a personality that reflects your own and/or the type of event you would like to host for your guests?
• Care About Your Wedding? Are they honored to be a part of your special day or is it just a job to earn money?

There is a Big Difference Between how “Professional” and “Stereotypical” DJ’s View Weddings!

To me there are no exceptions, every DJ is one or the other. It comes down to integrity and the choice they make when it comes to how do they approach your wedding day? You will find both types of DJ’s within owner operated and multi-op companies. Professionalism is defined as competence and skill. The Professional understands and cares that your wedding is special and will use their competence and skills to help make it enjoyable and memorable. For the Stereotypical DJ’s, the common perception is that they treat weddings as just another “gig” on their calendar.

Do you remember in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding” when Julia Robert’s self centered, no frills character makes the analogy that she is “Jell-O” and in the same breath labeled Cameron Diaz’s sincere character as being “Creme Brulee?”

Professional DJ’s are the Creme Brulee

They are honest, have integrity and treat being a DJ as an occupation, not a hobby. Professionals know that their business requires commitment, effort and integrity to be successful. They treat their clients with appreciation and respect because they care about the fact that weddings are special events.

I’ve noticed over the years that because they get to know their clients so well, many owner operated “Professional” vendors in all categories, often create friendships with their clients that may last for years or decades. That’s a great thing!

A Professional DJ will incur many overhead expenses to maintain their company and the high level of service they provide to their clients. These costs have to be factored into the price they charge for their services to create a profit margin. The expenses may include but are not limited to:

• An annual business license
• Registering their business name (DBA) with the city
• Business Insurance
• Association Fees
• Computer and needed software
• Collateral/Printshop: Brochures, business cards, letterhead, etc.
• Website which includes: Design, development, monthly hosting fees, annual renewal for their domain name, periodic updates to their webmaster, etc.
• Continuing Education: Attending educational industry events, workshops, seminars and conferences
• Graphic Designer: Logo design & collateral development
• Equipment: Initial purchase, maintenance and repair
• Company Vehicle: A DJ has to own a vehicle large enough to transport their equipment to and from your event. Some own a dedicated vehicle and others purchase a larger personal vehicle than they actually need on a day to day basis simply to be able to transport their equipment on the weekends.
• Gas and mileage: Some events and consultations may entail a 4+ hour round trip to reach the wedding venue
• Vehicle maintenance and repair
• Paying assistants when required to do their job properly
• Advertising: Bridal shows, magazines, etc.
• Hiring a book keeper or accountant

Stereotypical DJ’s are like Jell-O

Sometimes Jell-O does hit the spot, it can have its moment. But as Julia said in the movie: “Jell-O can NEVER be creme brulee!” The Stereotypical DJ’s have made being average an accepted standard. Many often treat being a DJ like a hobby. Their most common offenses, many of which you may have witnessed in person or have seen portrayed in movies or on tv that have helped to perpetuate the stereotype are: Being late, incorrectly pronouncing the bride or groom’s name during the introductions, not knowing how to properly use their own equipment, not following the timeline for announcements, dressing or acting inappropriately; hitting on guests, drinking on the job, using inappropriate language or using inappropriate humor.

I know. I get and empathize that these are the reasons that some of you are considering making your own mixed music cd or playlist and may forego hiring a DJ. You just don’t want to risk “that guy” showing up and ruining your wedding reception. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you didn’t before I hope you now realize that there are highly skilled, experienced, talented, caring Professional DJ’s out there. They do exist!

how_much_to_pay_for_DJSo, How Much Should your Wedding DJ Cost?

Because different areas of the country have different price ranges, and different couples have different needs and budgets, it isn’t possible for me to give you a definitive amount.

The best guidance I can offer is directly related to the following factors:

• Do you want your guests to be able to hear the ceremony and vows by using an additional sound system not provided by your venue?
• How important is the success of your reception to you and your fiance? Do you want classy intros, someone who entertains (as opposed to interrupts) your guests, unobtrusive sound systems that won’t look tacky in photos and great music & dancing for your reception? How things sound and how successful the dancing goes is especially important if you’ve hired a wedding videographer.
• If you haven’t hired a professional wedding coordinator, do you need the DJ to help you create and execute your wedding day timeline to make sure all of the introductions and announcements are made at the appropriate times? Are you going to count on them to ensure that the photographer and videographer are in place for elements like the toasts, cake cutting and first dance?
• Do you want a DJ you can trust? That knowing they are there will give you peace of mind that everything is going to go smoothly and that their presence will positively impact the success of your wedding and reception?
• Have you ever hired the wrong person to do an important job? You didn’t realize until things went wrong how important it was to you. Or maybe you were just too busy to be overly concerned and thought you could get by. Whatever the reason, regret basically sucks when you know you could have had a better outcome if you had done things differently.

If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, you will want to hire the best, most Professional DJ you can afford. What do good DJ’s charge? I will say while there is always the possibility you can find a better than average DJ at any price point, if you want a really good or great one they will probably charge at least twice as much as the average estimates you’ll receive.

I hope this post has explained why and that I’ve made the process of locating, recognizing and qualifying a good DJ easier for you.

If you are a DJ and would like to link directly to this post please use the direct URL: http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-much-should-your-wedding-dj-cost.html

NOTE from Peter Merry: The only missing advice I noticed in this article was suggesting that couples should demand to see uncut video footage of the DJ performing their duties as the Master of Ceremonies in order to see what their performance style “on-stage” will really be. Anyone can show footage of the guests dancing… but listening to what’s being said and and HOW things are being said will go a long way towards establishing the level of skill and talent a wedding DJ has to offer.

BONUS Articles: Hire a DJ Just for the Music? I Don’t Think So!!
Perception of a Wedding Disc Jockey: The Myths & The Truth
Hire a Disc Jockey “Just for the Music?” NOT!
iPod vs. Disc Jockey for Your Wedding? Decisions, Decisions!

NOTE from Stacie Tamaki: My thanks to Mark Ferrell, Jason Spencer of Jason Spencer Weddings and Entertainment, Carl Mindling of I MC Events, Ron Grandia, Leonard Ybarra of Music Plus Events, and to the other DJ industry professionals who helped contribute to this article by allowing me to consult with them. Their insights and perspectives are very much appreciated.

kitai_and_stacieCopyright © 2011 by Stacie Tamaki. Stacie Tamaki blogs on The Flirty Blog. It is a multi-niche, inspirational blog about living in the San Francisco Bay Area, entrepreneurial suggestions for small business owners, wedding and event ideas, lots of food posts (what and where to eat and how to cook and bake), bone marrow registry advocacy and advocacy for shelter dogs and my everyday highs and lows as a Bay Area Designer, Creative Consultant, Foodie, (Amateur) Photographer and Geeky Girl.

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 460 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.

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

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ushers: Do You Know How to Usher?

Filed under: Guest Authors,Ushers — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Muriel MacRae, Guest Author

Here is everything your ushers need to know for your wedding ceremony from what is expected of them at the ceremony to guest–seating etiquette. In fact, you might want to print this article off and simply give it to your ushers.

One of the main jobs of an usher is to welcome the guests at the wedding ceremony and make sure that they are seated correctly. The number of ushers depends upon the number of guests. Usually two ushers are fine for less than sixty guests. The number of ushers increase as the number of guests increases. Traditionally, the ushers are friends of the groom but it is a good idea to choose them from the bride’s family as well. That way there will be someone who recognizes most of the guests.

All the ushers should arrive at the ceremony location about 45 – 60 minutes before the ceremony starts. When they arrive, they should put on their boutonnieres or get someone to help them put it on. (It should be placed on a slight angle on the left of the lapel of a man’s formal jacket or sports coat with the stem facing down.)

escortNext, the ushers should familiarize themselves with the guest list, the seating arrangements, and seating etiquette. In more traditional ceremonies, the first pews are reserved for the immediate family of the bride and the groom and the parents sit in the first pew. They should also be prepared to answer questions such as:

• Where are the washrooms?
• Are guests allowed to use flash photography in the ceremony location?
• How does one get to the reception location?
• Can one throw confetti in the venue or outside the building?
• What time does the cocktail party or the reception begin?

Once the guests start arriving, the ushers should greet them with a smile, be friendly, hand them an order of service, if there is one, and escort them to their seats. If the guest is not recognized, it is appropriate to ask if they are family or friends of the bride or the groom. Traditionally, the usher offers his right arm to the woman (usually the senior woman in the group is being escorted), but he can also choose to walk the guests to their seats without offering his arm.

Friends and family of the bride are usually seated on the left side of the aisle facing the altar and the groom’s friends and family are seated on the right. Ushers should be alerted about elderly or handicapped guests who may need help in reaching their seat. If one side of the church (or venue) fills up, it is fine to begin seating guests on the other side.

If the parents are divorced, be sure the ushers know ahead of time who should be seated where. One way to handle this is to seat the divorced father in the next pew behind the mother. Mothers with babies should be seated near an aisle towards the back of the church so that they can get up and leave if the baby starts to fuss or cry.

After all of the guests are seated, grandparents are seated next, then the step parents, followed by the parents of the groom . Ushers escort parent s and grandparents to their seats. Even if a mother or grandmother is with her husband, the usher escorts her to her seat and her husband follows behind.

Next, the bride’s mother is escorted into the church or venue indicating that the ceremony is about to begin. There are no fixed rules on who escorts the parents. During the service, one usher should sit towards the back of the church so he can quietly greet late comers and usher them to a seat near the back.

Once the bride and groom are in place at the altar, the ceremony is ready to begin.

After the ceremony is over, and the wedding party has walked back down the aisle, the ushers will escort the mothers back down the aisle. Sometimes the mothers want to walk back with their husbands. In that case, the usher simply leads the couple out. The ushers help the other guests depart by starting with the guests at the front of the church (or venue) and working back from there.

Once the bride and groom have left for the reception, the ushers can relax and enjoy the rest of their day as their job is done!

Larry’s Note: When it comes to dress, traditionally ushers are considered the groom’s attendants and required to dress in the same formality as the groom. If the groom wears a tuxedo, the groomsmen and usher should also wear a tuxedo. Contemporary wedding etiquette has relaxed this tradition for ushers. It is now acceptable for ushers to wear the same degree of formality as the groomsmen, however is is always the bride and grooms final decision.

MurielMacRaeCopyright © 2011 – Muriel MacRae. Reprinted with permission. Calgary Wedding Planner, and Destination Wedding Specialist with Creative Weddings and Occasions where she plans weddings in Calgary and Banff area for couples who want a wedding that is unique and personal to them. She is also the owner of Del Sol Travel where she creates lifelong memories, one vacation at a time for discerning coupes who want to travel to luxurious romantic getaways.

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.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: