Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Wedding @ Our Home!

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Home Weddings,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

There’s no place like home! Everyone knows that, however, a wedding at your home is not necessarily a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) project and it is not always cheaper. Having a home wedding will present you with a whole new set of surprises; surprises because of the numerous details that are usually handled by a wedding coordinator at most wedding venues. At-home weddings are intimate, beautiful, but seldom ever easy.

homeHOT TIP: So, the first thing you need to do is to hire a wedding consultant to visit your home and help you make a list of all of the details and develop a timeline. Short of hiring a wedding consultant, if you have friends or family members “familiar” with the wedding process you may want to solicit their assistance, however, I don’t recommend it. If you do, delegate. I cannot stress this enough when planning a wedding.

If you have never planned an entire wedding, you need to know that if your are starting from scratch, it’s more involved than you can imagine. There are so many extra details involved with planning a backyard wedding at home that it can be overwhelming for anyone – but especially those who have a penchant for perfection. You can easily be overwhelmed with everything there is to do and sometimes brides don’t have a lot of time.

The words wedding and home don’t always go together, especially if you have a large guest list. Most home weddings in Arizona are outdoors. If you have an indoor wedding at your home you may need to drastically reduce your guest list. An intimate gathering of close friends and family will have less problems, but a larger guest list requires careful consideration so that your guests can be comfortable without invading your privacy. For indoor weddings, you need to consider:

• Bathroom facilities – Check Portable bathroom regulations
• Protection for valuables
• Available seating
• Floor space
• Furniture arrangement – You may need to move the furniture around to make room
• Protection for carpet
• Sections of the home that are off-limits

Many brides take on too much and end up depressed and even a little nutty once their wedding day has come around. You have to find ways to stay sane during wedding preparation or there is no way you can totally enjoy your big day as you should. Your top priority must be to keep the stress levels down and your relationship strong. The entire process can head to directly to “Stressville;” the solution? Hire a wedding consultant.

At home weddings are not only sentimental, but can be logistically friendly when it comes to such things as choosing any wedding date the couple wants without worrying about their space being “hooked,” avoiding decor or photography restrictions, and potentially eliminating large food and beverage minimums found at most venues and resorts,” says Amina Michele of Some Like It Classic Wedding & Event Design.

What a home wedding most likely will do is this; you can pick your own date without having to worry about competing with any other event on a date the wedding venue already has booked. That is probably the biggest advantage. Most couples think that having a home wedding will save them lots of money. That may or may not be true. Although you will save whatever the wedding venue charges, the saving could soon disappear because of all of the other things you need to do that the venues usually include in their fee. Here are a few things you need to consider:

• Venue: FREE (backyard)
• Music: Disc Jockey, Musicians
• Photography
• Videography
• Wedding Officiant/Minister: Once you decide on a date, the first person to hire is the Wedding Officiant. Remember the good ones often book 6 months to 1 1/2 years in advance.
athometent• Food, Catering, Champagne and d’oeuvres, etc. – Invite your caterer over before the big day so they can scope out your kitchen.
• Wine & Drinks
Cake, Cupcakes & S’mores
• Table, Chair & Tent or Canopy rentals (make sure the price includes delivery, set-up and tear-down) for outside to transform the yard into the reception site area
• Centerpieces & Wedding Decorations
Save The Dates/Invitations/Thank Yous (With Postage)
• Guest book
• Favors
• Servingware
• Fabric For Tablecloths & Runners
• Lighting & Candles
• Flip Flops/Photo Clothesline/Welcome Sign
• Mosquito Sticks/Candles/Spray
• Bouquets for Bride and Bridesmaids
• Attire
backyardPhoto Booth – An extra, and worth it.
• Send animals to a friend or board for the day
• Cleaning crew to make the place spotless before the wedding
• Hire a cleaning service to come a day or two after the wedding to clean up
• Rent a Portable Outdoor Bathroom
• Check Noise Ordinances
• Parking Valet
• Wedding Insurance
• Check with the Police department about parking restrictions
• Check with your insurance carrier regarding your responsibility if you serve alcohol
• It is a courtesy to let your neighbors know that you’re hosting a big reception – better yet, invite them!

cakebackyardUse the above partial list to set your wedding day budget. With such a long to-do list for an at home wedding, you will need plenty of help. A wedding consultant can foresee many issues that you may not be aware of and help you prepare for them so there are no major surprises.

backyardweddingflowersYou may want to display several memory makers:

• Baby photos and old photos of the engaged couple
• Baby Memory Books
• Photos of the parents when younger
• Courtship keepsakes in a shadow box or set out
• Engagement Photographs

Can you take the wedding inside your home? Depending on the size of your house, you may have different options for a “rain date” (not necessarily an issue in Arizona). If it should rain, is your home large enough to accommodate all your guests, or would a back up tent be the better solution? A tent should be considered not only as an in-the-rain option, but also because it provides shade on a sunny day (especially necessary in Arizona). 😉 Make sure you have accommodations available, such as a tent or indoor facility, for possible inclement weather. Always have a “plan B.” With only 7.66 to 8.32 inches of rain per year, our area offers an ideal setting for outdoor weddings. The Greater Phoenix area has more than 325 days of annual sunshine.

To sum up home weddings, if your guest list is around 25 to 30, saving money by having a home wedding may be for you. You need plenty of room to say, “I do.” Depending on how elaborate the wedding is, a home wedding can be more costly and stressful than a wedding elsewhere. Larger home weddings could quickly eat up the savings you might get by avoiding the fee from a wedding venue and resort.

Photo Credit: Cake photo by Photography by K.E.S.

BONUS Article: Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!

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.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Don’t Say, “I do!” When You Should Say, “I don’t!”

Filed under: Cancel the Wedding,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:00 am

Instead of “Here comes the bride”… it’s, “Here comes the break-up!”

scaredBRIDE30% of all divorced women who dawn the white dress and walk down the aisle – even though they had a sinking feeling that their marriage wasn’t going to work – do it in spite of that feeling!

Some brides go into marriage thinking, “If it doesn’t work out I can always get a divorce.” I’ve been a relationship coach since 1995 and you should never underestimate the pain of going through a divorce even if you are the one who serves the divorce papers. Regardless of the reason for the divorce… it hurts and it is often difficult to know how long it will hurt, how long it will take you to work through this hurt.

It’s true that some women are more in love with the idea of getting married than who the groom is. The bride’s reasoning, faulty at best, includes:

#1 – I don’t want to waste the time I’ve invested in this relationship.
#2 – All my friends are getting married, I don’t want to be alone.
#3 – He’ll change after we get married.
#4 – It’s too embarrassing or expensive to call off the wedding.

runawayGROOMAnother part of the reason is “Wedding planning fever.” The brides get so caught up in the $42,000,000,000.00-a-year wedding industry that we all know so well. That’s BILLION not million. They get wrapped up in the excitement of planning the wedding – the “fairytale fantasy – that they lose track of what they are doing and why they are doing it – they miss seeing the BIG picture.

It’s not only brides who call the wedding off. Sometimes guys do it do. Their reasoning:

#1 – I don’t want to disappoint this women.
#2 – I don’t want to disappoint her family.
#3 – I don’t want to look bad to all of my friends.

How can you tell the difference between wedding jitters and cold feet? According to the American Heritage Dictionary:

Jitters are defined as nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness.
Cold feet is a slang term that means fearfulness or timidity preventing the completion of a course of action.

By definition, cold feet is more specific as it relates to taking (or not taking) an action. Having the jitters means an overall sense of nervousness. It’s not at all unusual for couples to experience doubts about marriage. It’s perfectly normal. It happens. There is a lot to think about when making sure all the details of the wedding flow together. Those are temporary concerns. Be sure you draw the distinction between being “nervous” and “cold feet!”

HowNotToMarryTheWrongGuyOften these symptoms signify a more serious problem and deserve immediate attention. If you are getting cold feet, it’s best to save yourself a lot of headaches, attorney fees, etc., confront the problem head on and/or call off the wedding beforehand when you feel that you would rather say, “I don’t!” instead of, “I do!” Another option is to get coaching. Talk to someone who can help you work through any issues that may surface before the big day. If you still are uncertain after coaching… call it off.

Rachel Safier, author of “There Goes the Bride: Making Up Your Mind, Calling it Off and Moving On,” called off her wedding two weeks before the big day. Since then, she’s talked to a lot of runaway brides and says that none regrets canceling her wedding. Their only regret is not stepping up sooner. “People know what they need, but finding the truth is not as hard as accepting it.”

Here is a book that could help. How NOT to Marry the Wrong Guy: Is He “the One” or Should You Run? A Guide to Living Happily Ever After!” by Ann Milford and Jennifer Gauvain. This book is not just for engaged women! This book will help EVERY woman who is struggling with her relationship.

BONUS Article: Engagement Issues: Dealing With Cold Feet

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.

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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/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Monday, November 21, 2011

When to Schedule Your Wedding Rehearsal…

Filed under: Rehearsals,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 9:00 am
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In my many interviews with brides and grooms I often discover that they have booked the date, the venue and just about everyone else… then they book the wedding officiant or minister last… but they have also failed to book the rehearsal.

RehearsalScheduleFor those of us who are very busy with wedding ceremonies (for me, about 75 wedding ceremonies each year), you also need to remember to schedule the wedding rehearsal at the time you book the wedding venue. Some venues, however, do not like to book the rehearsal very far in advance because there is always the possibility that they could book a wedding on that date. For the venues and for me too, weddings are always booked before rehearsals.

NOTE: When interviewing your wedding officiant or minister, be sure to ask if attending the rehearsal is included in their fee. I do not charge extra for attending the wedding rehearsal, however some wedding officiants and ministers do.

You are encouraged to plan the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner two days before the wedding (instead of the day before the wedding) to give you time to work out all the details, to do things that you may have forgotten and to have time for all to recover from the rehearsal dinner. It’s never a good idea to come to the wedding with a hangover. 😉

HOT TIP: Consider scheduling a Wednesday rehearsal for a Friday Wedding and a Thursday rehearsal for a Saturday wedding. This idea separates two stressful days and give you a day before the wedding to get last-minute things done. I do not schedule rehearsals on Fridays any later than 1:00 p.m. because Friday evenings are reserved for weddings only. My attendance at a Friday rehearsal for a Saturday wedding is subject to whether I have a Friday wedding scheduled. Most rehearsals should not take longer than 30 minutes (provided everyone arrives on time).

If some of the Bridal party are coming in from out-of-town and will not arrive in time for a rehearsal scheduled two days prior to the wedding, not to worry. If only one or two are not able to be there, have someone stand in for them at the rehearsal. Usually myself or the bridal consultant at the wedding venue can lead those not present for a rehearsal through the process on the day of the wedding. If, for any reason, I am unable to attend the rehearsal, I will schedule an early arrival the day of the wedding to coach those not present at the rehearsal through the necessary steps. I always arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the wedding.

Your wedding rehearsal is really only for the people who are in your wedding party and the bride and groom’s parents. Of course, you can invite anyone you choose. During your wedding rehearsal, your officiant, your wedding consultant (if any) or the coordinator at the venue will guide you through the ceremony and explain everyone’s roles. My part of the rehearsal usually takes less than 10 minutes to hit the high points of the ceremony – those places where the bride and groom have to say something.

quicktipsFour Quick Tips for those in the wedding party:

1. Don’t lock your knees! Have you have every watched those funny TV shows where you see someone in the wedding party passing out? Here is what happens. IF you are a little nervous, your heart is beating faster (that’s normal at a wedding) and you lock your knees, you slow down the circulation of blood to your brain. Your brain needs that extra oxygen to help you maintain your equilibrium. So… do not lock your knees.

2. Remember to breathe! Regardless of whether it’s your first or second marriage most brides and grooms are a little nervous and some become emotional. This tip will help you calm down. Breathe in through you nose and out through your mouth. Why? Because we usually breathe in and out through our nose and when you have to THINK about breathing another way it short-circuits your brain and actually has a calming effect.

3. Have something to eat before the wedding! Put something in your tummy before you walk down the aisle. Crackers, cheese and a Pepsi are better than nothing.

4. Don’t worry about making a mistake during the wedding! Why? Because the guests do not know what we are going to do. If you make a mistake, don’t call attention to it. I’ve had rehearsal go one way and the actual wedding go another, however the guests were totally unaware of the mistake.

IMPORTANT: Remember to provide the venue wedding coordinator (and the Wedding Consultant/Planner) at your wedding venue ALL the details of the rehearsal BEFORE the rehearsal NOT at the rehearsal. Example: Names of Groomsmen, Bridesmaids, who seats the parents and grandparents, are the guys walking up first or will the Groomsmen walk with the Bridesmaids, names of the ushers (if any), etc. This will help make your rehearsal go much smoother and a lot less time consuming. Most brides wait until the rehearsal to begin telling the venue wedding coordinator the names of those in the wedding party. Telling them in advance saves about 15 to 20 minutes at the actual rehearsal.

rehearsaldinnerI give the brides and grooms a “Wedding Party List” for them to complete and send to me and the venue wedding coordinator two weeks before the rehearsal. It is a complete list of everyone in the wedding party, including the names and both parents, grandparents, ushers, etc. The venues love it because when everyone arrives for the rehearsal all they have to do is to call out names and line everyone up.

If you don’t send a list 2 weeks before the rehearsal, either call the coordinator with the names or better yet, send e-mail a day or two before the rehearsal. A well-coordinated rehearsal should not take longer than 30 minutes provided everyone arrives on time. Please encourage those who will be in the wedding party to be on time. That is important to me because I will often have more than one rehearsal in a day.

Once you’ve taken care of the rehearsal business, it’s time to celebrate! Get your wedding party together, along with any other special guests and head off to your rehearsal dinner party – your time to unwind before the big day. The rehearsal dinner should be more intimate than the reception. It is a celebration usually reserved for the couple’s closest friends, relations and the wedding officiant.

NOTE: The best wedding officiants are usually very busy and book weddings anywhere from 6 months to 1 1/2 years in advance. It is also wise to book the wedding officiant right after you book the wedding venue if you want the best. Each year I have to turn down many requests for my “romantic” wedding ceremony because the bride and groom waited until the last minute to book the wedding officiant.

BONUS Articles: Do You Need a Wedding Rehearsal?
The Rehearsal & the Rehearsal Dinner! It’s Fun Time!

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

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Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tying the Eco-Friendly Knot! – The Simplification of a “Green” Wedding

Filed under: Green Weddings,Guest Authors — Larry James @ 9:00 am
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Hollie Dunn, Guest Author

We all know how this story begins, as it has for so many happily married couples. The future groom pops the question, champagne is poured after an ecstatic bride emphatically yells “yes!” over and over in response, and congratulations are officially in order for the newly engaged pair. You tell all of your family and friends as does your future husband, and as the bride you begin planning the biggest day of your life with all the bells and whistles you’ve always imagined.

WEDecoFriendlyYou flip through all the wedding magazines and attend every expo trying to put together your ultimate wedding, and then you come across an article that reminds you that every item you put into your ceremony and reception will ultimately end up in the trash after the party ends. Your gorgeous wedding just went from a beautiful dream to filling a dumpster or four in quite a hurry.

So now you have something else to worry about with planning your beautiful, one-of-a-kind, thought-about-this-since-before-you-can-remember wedding. You have so much on your plate already with just planning the ceremony and reception, you’re probably asking how you are supposed to make sure that your wedding not only fulfills every dream you’ve had about this day since you were a little girl but is also designed and planned sustainably so as to avoid filling up those dumpsters at the end of the night?

EcoweddingsNow we’re guessing that you have the “hopes and dreams” portion of this question covered, so today we want to spend some time talking about the essentials of planning a sustainable wedding and how easy it is to incorporate green components into your big day.

So, onto our first piece of green wedding advice: You can make the task of greening your special day much simpler by splitting your wedding’s needs into categories. Start by writing down the general things you anticipate you will need for your wedding. You’ll probably wind up with a list that includes your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception venues; lodging for traveling guests and possibly the wedding party; wedding party and guest transportation; food and beverage; floral for handheld arrangements and possibly venue decoration; printed materials such as invitations, thank you cards, and menu cards; the attire for the full wedding party along with the bride’s gown; and the audiovisual equipment and décor for the venue and entertainment needs.

Looks like quite a bit, huh? Well, yes, it does look like a lot; however, it’s really a matter of asking a few additional questions when coordinating each of these wedding components to figure out how to make each a little more earth friendly.

We’ll begin with the venues, which really starts with deciding on your wedding destination. Will you be having a local wedding or a destination wedding? What destinations are you considering? No matter where you decide to have your wedding, there are three questions to consider when choosing the destination: is there appropriate lodging within walking distance of the venues you are interested in, how accessible is transportation between the airport and the hotel, and does the destination employ a recycling program of any kind?

Try to minimize the need for guests to have rental cars and create options for walking to additional offsite locations such as restaurants and shopping retailers. When it comes time, confirm with your wedding venues that they participate in the local recycling program and that your wedding’s refuse will be included in this effort.

Speaking of the venue, there are some additional questions you will want to pose to them beyond the recycling programs they support. Find out about their stance on conservation and if they participate in an eco-friendly purchasing program. For instance, do they use low flow toilets and hand dryers in the restrooms? When purchasing products and services for the venue, do they strive to procure post-consumer recycled materials and Energy Star certified equipment? Are the vendors who they purchase from locally based, or do they implement any green initiatives themselves?

greenbrideFinally, do they hold any environmental or LEED certifications? You can incorporate these same questions into those you ask the hotels for your lodging accommodations. Hotel conservation efforts can include things like towel reuse programs, energy efficient room lighting, and paperless guest services for things like registration and checkout.

Remember to also ask about the hotel’s onsite amenities as this is the best way to green your wedding by limiting the need for guest’s to be transported off hotel grounds during their trip.

When it comes to your destination, venues, and lodging, an optimal scenario would be having a wedding in a location that really focuses on conservation and sustainability at a place that serves both your venue and lodging needs and is within a half mile of most amenities a person could wind up needing so as to limit transportation.

When the optimal is not in the cards though, aim for an alternative that mirrors this scenario as closely as possible. From this point, you are ready to begin tackling your individual vendor needs for the wedding.

There is a golden rule that applies to all vendors when it comes to having a green wedding, and that is to always contract those vendors that are either locally owned and operated or integrate eco-friendly practices into their products and services. Hiring local vendors helps to cut down on transportation requirements for the wedding, and if you are having your wedding in your home community then your state’s economy will also benefit from you spending the money locally.

Beyond the golden rule, there are additional considerations you will want to take with each vendor you have a need for at your wedding. Let’s begin with your wedding’s food and beverage services. Similar to your venue and accommodations, you will want to ask your food and beverage suppliers about any environmental certifications they value related to their banquet options; this can include USDA organic, sustainable wine, or wildlife certification amongst many others.

Focus on using those vendors that offer locally grown and sustainable foods with organic options. Go the extra mile by asking them if they compost their organic food residuals in a local program to reduce waste and benefit nearby farming initiatives through future reuse.

Did you know that the questions you ask your caterer or banquet manager are the same questions you will need to ask your florist? Flowers are very similar to foods in that they can be grown locally, sustainably, and organically. They can also be composted following a wedding if they are not taken home by guests or preserved by the happy couple.

ecoweddingfavorsWhen you make your decision to select a florist, remember to ask them these same questions to determine who will have the least damaging environmental impact when providing your wedding requests. Above all things, be sure that whoever you select does not import their flowers from international locations as other countries often have loose guidelines for growers and allow chemicals to be used in the growth process that are banned due to environmental hazards in the United States.

As we move on to your save-the-dates, invitations, announcements, table cards, response cards, and every other printed item you could possibly need for your wedding, you probably expect to hear advice on how you shouldn’t print anything and everything should be done without paper in one manner or another, right? Wrong! There is nothing tackier to a guest than their spending both money and time on your wedding simply to receive a digital thank you card in their e-mail. Advocating a green wedding does not mean advocating the removal of etiquette, and so printed materials are absolutely necessary to your ceremony.

When it comes to finding a vendor to design and print your wedding materials, begin by finding one who specializes in eco-friendly printing. Their design process should focus on printing styles such as offset, letterpress, and engraving and should avoid options like thermography and foil stamping. The design should also limit the need for large surface space printing such as using ink to print a solid background.

They should offer paper options that are high in post-consumer recycled content and can be recycled again for further use, and their inks should be vegetable or soy based. A really great option is to request that the printer use seed paper for your materials, which guests can bury following the wedding in order to grow wildflowers out of the paper.

Onto what many people believe is the epicenter of any wedding, and that is the bride’s gown. There are many green options for gowns, whether it is purchasing a vintage gown or looking into something newer that is made with environmentally friendly fabrics and materials. One of the most important aspects of being green when it comes to the gown is not so much of the procurement of the gown but what happens with it after the wedding.

Many brides will take their gown to be preserved, but if you are not in the mood to keep your wedding dress then you can also look into a dress exchange. A dress exchange is this genius little idea someone thought up after having to purchase too many bridesmaid ensembles that will never be worn again. You take your wedding dress, bridal gown or bridesmaid dress, to a place that exchanges it for a new dress you can actually wear for a night out. Then the wedding dress you brought in can be resold to someone who needs it. Talk about being rewarded for recycling!

green-cakesThen lastly you have the audiovisual equipment and décor, which can encompass your linens, tables, chairs, archways, china, glassware, flatware, lighting, staging, pipe and drape, and centerpieces just to name a few. There are two rules to remember when planning for these items in your wedding: try to limit how many vendors you contract to provide everything you need and always rent wedding items over purchasing them unless you will use the item in question again in the future.

Very few items are worth purchasing over renting for many brides and grooms, and renting them allows you to send them back to a vendor instead of a landfill. As for limiting the amount of vendors you use, this will significantly reduce the amount of travel that is involved with designing your wedding.

Speaking of travel, we’ve touched on transportation and why it is important to limit this as much as you can during your wedding. Sometimes this just isn’t an option, though. People need to get from Point A to Point B, and in some cases those two places cannot be close enough together to eliminate a need for transportation.

If you find yourself in one of these situations, don’t give up on making this aspect of your wedding sustainable. Instead, look into green transportation options such as electric and hybrid vehicles or limousines, biodiesel trolleys and coaches, or carriage and buggy rides. There is always a method of transportation that will lend itself to your wedding’s green qualities one way or another, so get creative when thinking of how you prefer to transport your guests when needed.

Now that you are armed with this information, planning a green wedding probably doesn’t seem as painful as it did a few minutes ago. There are definitely a number of other aspects to consider and questions to ask when it comes to figuring out all of the details of your wedding and how to make it sustainable, but this information will give you the basis from which you can create the green wedding of your dreams.

If you are ever in doubt about something, go back to the basics of reduce, reuse, and recycle by asking yourself if the item in question is necessary or important on your wedding day. If it is then think about how to incorporate this element in a way that allows it to be reused or recycled into something new for the future. It’s all about going back to basics when it comes to a green wedding.

BONUS Article: The Green Bride Guide: How to Plan a Green Wedding

hollyCopyright © 2011 – Hollie Dunn.

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Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guestbooks Go Green!

Filed under: Green Weddings,Guest Books — Larry James @ 9:00 am

GreenGuestBookIf you’re searching for a great modern alternative to a wedding guestbook, how about an eco-friendly option that uses less paper. It helps in reducing your carbon footprint.

How about a fingerprint guest tree? It allows guests to leave a “personal touch” by leaving a finger print that simulates a leaf on the branches of their wedding tree. They then can sign their name under their fingerprint. This lasting memory can hang as a piece of original artwork in your home with a simple frame. More and more brides and grooms are searching for earth-friendly inspiration for their weddings.

Another idea I saw recently was where the bride and groom had a customized, large wine bottle that the guests signed with a gold felt pen. The bride and groom told everyone that they intended to open it on their 5th anniversary.

winebottleConsider enlarging an engagement photo and setting it in a wide matte with a frame. The photo should already be in the frame as some guests may write close to the edge and when framed you won’t be able to see all of what they wrote. There should be pens close by, so your guests can sign around the picture on the matte. This makes a very nice photo for the entry way of the new couple’s home.

For those wanting something different – how about a guest book platter or plate. It’s pure, simple, and personal. These are the traits that define the guest book platter – a creative new approach to the traditional wedding guest book. An ordinary platter becomes extra special when the thoughts and signatures of your loved ones are added. See link below. Guests can sign their names to create a one of a kind gift.

Have guests express their wishes live to your videographer and forgo the whole book concept. Pros: tear-filled eyes, cute kid stuff, knee-slapping sentiments. Cons: slurred words and shy relatives.

BONUS Article: To Have a Guest Book. . . or Not!
The Wish Tree – A Guest Book Alternative
Signature Plates! Another Guest Book Alternative

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.

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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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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Chocolate Lover’s Wedding

And now… for something completely different!

Since 2002 I have been performing “romantic” wedding ceremonies. Recently while interviewing a couple they told me that they both had a passion for chocolate and instead of adding the Unity Candle or the Blending of the Sands ceremony to their ceremony they wanted me to come up with a way to have chocolate be a part of the ceremony.

WEDChocolateThemeAfter a little brain-storming with the bride and groom our creative juices began to flow and we came up with “A Chocolate Lover’s Wedding!”

I suggested that their invitations, their guest book and pen set, the ring pillow and the flower girl baskets be a light shade of brown. The guest pen wrote with brown ink.

chocolateheartsToward the end of their wedding ceremony I had the bride and groom profess their love for each other by offering each other a taste of their favorite chocolate truffles.

Two hand-made Romànicos chocolate truffles were presented by the mothers to the bride and groom and were wrapped in a tiny box with special paper with the word “Love” all over it. I called this part of the ceremony “Chocolate Unity.” They each took a bite from one truffle and the remaining truffle was put back into the box to be enjoyed on their first anniversary. Larry’s Note: I doubt seriously if it lasted past their honeymoon. 😉

“Chocolate Unity” was a simple addition to the regular wedding ceremony and was a fun idea of how couples can customize a ceremony with fresh words to make it memorable. The guests loved the brief ceremony and each guest was given a chocolate truffle to share with their partner as they left for the reception.

hersheykissThe colors at the reception were a milk chocolate brown. Ceremonial chocolate kisses were scattered over each table. A white chocolate dove on a nest of dark chocolate twigs was the centerpiece at each table. The children were served an iced chocolate drink with chocolate chip cookies.

There was an ice cream sundae bar with vanilla and chocolate ice cream and bowls set out with different things for the guests could add to their sundaes; chocolate sauce, sprinkles, nuts, cherries, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and much more.

chocolatefondueThe adults offered a special toast to the bride and groom with their choice of a Godiva Chocolate Liqueur or a shot of Vincent Van Gogh Chocolate Vodka.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic chocolate wedding “favors” was the chocolate fountain. Holding court at the end of a table with a chocolate-colored table clothe, this aromatic structure invited the guests to grab a fork and dip an array of chocolate-friendly treats, fondue style.

A 4-tiered chocolate cake was served with some of it ending up on the bride and grooms faces as they each took a bite. The wedding cake topper featured a chocolate statue of the bride and groom in an embrace.

chocoatetoufflecakeA beautifully wrapped box of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolates was presented by the bride and groom to the parents at the reception.

The creativity expressed during the ceremony and the reception was a terrific way for the bride and groom to demonstrate their love of chocolate and their love for each other in very unique ways. It also illustrates the ways – that with a little imagination – wedding ceremonies can be customized. It was definitely a wedding and reception their guests will not soon forget.

chocolatebottleAfter the wedding another couple told me of a wedding they attended that also used chocolate. The groom was in the Navy and they were married on a boat in front of the Statue of Liberty. They wrote a love note to each other, put it in a chocolate bottle and tossed it into the water.

chocolatehotelAnd the honeymoon? They honeymooned at The Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth, England, the only chocolate themed hotel in the world! The boutique hotel has 13 unique chocolate themed bedrooms which provide accommodation for up to 25 people ensuring a great night’s sleep.

chocolate_cover.JPG

Click book cover for info!

If you want to know more about chocolate, the book to the right will tell you more about chocolate than you could ever imagine. Larry’s Review: Cal Orey’s book, “The Healing Powers Of Chocolate” blends my two favorite things. . . chocolate and romance (not necessarily in that order). This book will rev up your romance and titillate your sensibilities. Treat yourself and your partner to all the truth about chocolate that’s fit to print! P.S. Check out page 147.

BONUS Article: Chocolate Themed Wedding, Destination: Belize

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

letsbefriends2

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Top 10 Most Important Things for Your Wedding Day Morning

Filed under: Guest Authors,Hair Style,Makeup — Larry James @ 8:00 am
Tags:

Jacki Norrie, Guest Author

What is supposed to be the most glorious day of you life can begin with a morning of stress and frenzied activity. To help you create that atmosphere of excitement, anticipation and relaxation you have been envisioning (yes, you really can relax on your Big Day!), I have put together a Top 10 Most Important Things for Your Wedding Day Morning list. These items focus on the most important part of that time – your beauty of course – and are based upon the many, many wedding day mornings at which I have been present (Yikes! That number must be close to 2 thousand by now).

Top 10 Most Important Beauty “Must Do’s” for Your Wedding Day Morning are…

bridegettinghairdone1. Hire Beauty Professionals to come to you. This is the most precious gift you can give yourself on this day – by having your pros come to you you are allowing yourself time to sit back, relax and enjoy the moment.

2. Have a professional do your makeup. While you may be the professional at doing your own face, the pros know all the things you don’t. They know the tricks that make you look fantastic with flash photography while still looking yourself in person to your guests. They are masters at applying and choosing the correct makeup for your skin to resist sweat and tears (and there will be both!). Think of it this way – you are paying how much to have your pictures taken? And you will pay them how much to use Photoshop after the day to correct the images? ‘Nuf said.

3. Ask your Beauty Team for a schedule of the day’s appointments ahead of time so you can assign each person to a specific time. This cuts down on the “no, you go first – no, really you go… I’ll wait” conversations that are volleyed back and forth like a tennis ball eating up valuable time.

4. Let everyone who is receiving beauty services know any instructions you are given by the Beauty Professionals as to how to prep their skin and/or hair prior to receiving services. This will vary based upon the practices of the pros.

bridemakeup5. Tell each person to arrive 15 minutes before their time on the schedule. There is always someone who is running late…

6. Place your lipstick and pressed powder in your bridal purse before you have your makeup done. This ensures you are not running around looking for it in all the commotion at dressing time – or that you simply forget about it all together.

7. Set out your veil, head piece, and jewelry. This allows the hairstylist to see the items for a memory refresher on the size and scale of the items prior to starting your hair. It also lets the photographer have access to them for pics while you are finishing up with your beauty services.

8. Eat and brush your teeth before you sit down to have your beauty services done. Even though you may not want to eat, you must. It is a long day and you may not get a chance to eat much at the reception so get a bit of protein in early.

9. Keep a few straws in the room to use after your makeup is done. You will undoubtedly have a mimosa or two and a straw will help you keep your makeup picture perfect.

10. Last but not least, have your gratuity envelopes ready before the beauty pros arrive. The last thing you want to do when it is time to dress is worry about calculating an amount, collecting money or writing a check. It is uncomfortable for your Pro and an unnecessary item to worry about when the Time has come.

Oh, and one more thing that I simply can not leave out…

10 + 1. Be sure you have plenty of time to “run behind” built into your day. This is my formula and it works perfectly. Counting backwards (insert your own times into the formula):

bride• What time do you need to be at the ceremony? 4:00 p.m.
• How much time will it take you to get to the ceremony? 30 minutes with traffic.
• Subtract that amount of time from 4:00. = 3:30 p.m.
• Subtract 30 minutes to dress (Yes, it does take that long.) 3:00 p.m.
• Subtract the amount of time the photographer wants for pictures (if any). 40 minutes = 2:20 p.m.
• Subtract 30 minutes “just in case” time (beauty pro might run late, traffic, interruptions while you are receiving your services…). 1:50 p.m.
• The finish time for you to tell your beauty pros that you would like to be competed with all of your services = 1:45 p.m.

JackieNorrie

Jacki Norrie with Bride!

While every wedding is unique, every one of them really does begin with the same basic steps. Here’s hoping your experience is smooth, relaxing and enjoyable!

BONUS Articles: How to Have a “Good Hair Day” at Your Wedding!
Secrets From a Makeup Professional

Copyright © 2011 – Jacki Norrie. Reprinted with permission. “I adore what I do. I have spent the better part of two decades working to understand intimately the relationship between bone structure, hair design and makeup artistry. It is my pleasure to impart what I have learned to allow others to feel their most beautiful,” Jacki Norrie, founder and Lead Designer of Wedding Tresses, a company based in New England who specializes in bridal hair and makeup. With offices on Newbury Street in Boston and Bellevue Ave in Newport, Jacki’s company works with more than 200 brides each year, and she is often found working with brides all over the country and in far off destination wedding locations. Visit Jacki’s Website & Blog.

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 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.

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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, November 1, 2011

An Age Guide to the Little Ones in Your Wedding

Filed under: Child Attendants,Children or No Children?,Flower Girl,Ring Bearer — Larry James @ 7:00 am

How will the little ones fit into your wedding and your wedding party?

Kids are fun as members of the bridal party. They often provide a few laughs due to their unpredictability. They are often the high-point of the wedding.

kidwithBIGhatI have listed some of the roles that can be given to children in your wedding, including approximate age guidelines to help make things go smoother. The age, maturity and personality of the child should be considered when making your choices.

Ages three and under are sometimes pulled in a wagon or pushed in a stroller, then seated with family; dressed in tiny, adorable formal wear. Keep in mind that often small children (under the age of five) become distracted easily and notoriously have small attention spans during the ceremony. They often become bored and restless. Be sure to let the parents know that if that happens it is okay with you to have them seated after they walk up the aisle.

Preteens and teens (11 to 15 years old) could be assigned to watch after the registration book, accepting gifts from guests to gift table, be ushers, passing out bubbles or birdseed, wedding programs, distribute wedding favors to the guests at the reception, etc.

Ushers is a category designed to create a special place in your wedding party for kids who are too old to be flower girls or ring bearers (4-8 years old), but too young to participate in all of the rituals of the adult honor attendants.

Junior bridesmaid or junior groomsman, usually ages 11-15, stands with the wedding party at the end of the row, dressed in child version of wedding party attire and often the same wedding attire.

Flower girls are generally between four and eight years old. Sometimes, “mature” two and three year olds pull it off quite charmingly, possibly with parents or other children they know escorting them down the aisle. If the girl is a bit older, you might consider making her a junior bridesmaid – junior bridesmaids wear dresses similar (or often the same) in color and style as the bridesmaids, they walk down the aisle in the procession, and they stand at the altar with the other attendants. A young girl over the age of eight could walk down the aisle as a junior bridesmaid instead of a flower girl. The flower girl tosses petals on the aisle before the bride walks down it. You can have as many flower girls as you would like.

flowergirl:ringbearerAppropriate ages for ring bearers range anywhere from four to eight years old. Anything younger can pose problems due to unpredictable behavior – it may be difficult to coax them down the aisle, and they may not be able to stand through the duration of the ceremony. Some think that children over the age of eight may be too old to serve as ring bearers. It may be more appropriate for a boy older than eight to serve as a junior groomsman or an usher. You may have two ring bearers if desired.

Ring bearers often carry a white pillow with faux rings attached to it. Sometimes, depending upon the age of the child, it may be wise to have the best man actually carry the real rings. To those who may want the best man and the maid of honor to each carry a ring I would remind you that the maid of honor usually carries a bouquet and at some point during the ceremony may also hold the bride’s bouquet and she doesn’t have pockets. So… I vote for the best man to carry both rings.

A gift attendant (ages 12 and up) is responsible for the gift table. He or she watches the table during the reception to insure that gifts remain on the table. After the reception, he or she helps to load the car with gifts. This is a simple role that is great for the responsible child.

The guest book attendant’s (ages 14 and up) job is to get people to sign the guest book. He or she should be in a location where this is feasible, and should ask each person that enters to sign the guest book. This is not a role for a shy child, but should be reserved for someone who is friendly and reasonably outgoing. Instruct this attendant to ask each guest to “please sign the guestbook” or “will you sign the guestbook” for best results.

kidwatchcakecuttingA Junior Attendant (ages 8 to 14) is the perfect title for a young girl in the groom’s wedding party or a young boy in the bride’s wedding party. See junior bridesmaid and junior groomsman usher for role description.

A Junior Bridesmaid (ages 8 to 14) is reserved for girls who are too old to be a flower girl and too young to be a bridesmaid. In most cases, her only duty is to come to the rehearsal and to walk down the aisle. Some couples do include junior bridesmaids in other festivities such as showers.

Junior Ushers (ages 8 to 14) is reserved for boys who are too old to be a ring bearer and too young to be a groomsman/usher. As a junior groomsman, his duties include going to the rehearsal and walking down the aisle. As a junior usher, he helps to seat wedding guests.

The personal attendant (ages 14 and up) is expected to help with the preparations before the ceremony and/or reception. The role varies, but this person (boy or girl) is a “wedding helper” and helps the bride or groom where needed. He or she can also be called a Bride’s Attendant or Groom’s Attendant.

Consider hiring on-site sitters during the reception. Provide toys, coloring books and crayons, etc. The children’s parents will be grateful.

Provide kid food for the children. Hamburgers, french fries and pizza will suit their palates much better than filet mignon and will be far less expensive. Most caterers can arrange a special menu of food more suited to children.

Although it is not necessary to have children to fit into each of the above categories, these are some positions that others have filled. Generally speaking, the two most often filled positions are for the flower girl and the ring bearer.

BONUS Article: Children at the Reception?
No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!

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.

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

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