Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Monday, June 30, 2014

18 Tips for the Pregnant Bride

Sandra & Harry Choron, Guest Authors

A MaternityBride.com survey of bridal shop owners indicated that one in six brides are pregnant. In decades past, the pregnant bride was cause for scandal, and wedding ceremonies were typically hushed-up and private, hidden from the raised eyebrows of society.

According to Brides magazine editor-in-chief, Millie martini Bratten, “Today we see so many celebrities who are… pregnant at the alter… so it’s something people are talking about openly.” Pregnant brides now beam from the covers of the tabloids, and more and more designers are catering to the new market for their wares. Here are some tips for those who chose to put the horse before the cart.

PregnantBride1. Ask yourself if you are truly up to the many hours of planning – often stressful – at this time. Yes, it’s possible to plan a wedding in just a matter of weeks, but can you handle the pressure? If you’re determined to make your commitment before the baby arrives keep it simple.

2. Decide early on whether you’re going to hide the pregnancy during the wedding or use the event to celebrate two joyous occasions at once. Let your bridesmaids and guests know what choice you have made. If you’re flaunting it, ask your maid of honor to throw a bridal/baby shower. If members of your family are making the situation difficult talk to them before the wedding and ask that they put aside their issues for this one day.

3. Shop on the Internet to save time and energy. Visit websites and make phone calls before you visit local wedding shops.

4. Save money anyway you can; you’re looking at lots of expenses dow the line. Be practical by registering only for items you really need.

5. Get help. Make lists of all the tasks your wedding will entail, and create a team of friends who are willing to take them on. Or hire a Wedding Consultant.

6. Let the bridesmaids choose their own dresses. Delegate tasks and decisions to those bridesmaids who are closest to you and most likely to make the same choices you would.

7. Choose a Wedding Officiant who will preside over your ceremony and meet with him or her to discuss any religious conflicts.

8. Yes, you can wear white.

9. If you are working with a dressmaker for your wedding gown, choose a style that will accommodate last-minute alterations: lacking ties that can be loosened, tabs i the back that can be tightened of loosened as the growing waistline demands, a flowing style to which panels can be added. Empire waists are popular among pregnant brides (think Gwyneth Paltrow in “Emma“) for their elegance and romance.

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Click cover for info!

10. Don’t limit your dress shopping to wedding gown sources. Most major designers offer maternity formalwear that is both stylish and appropriate, and in this day and age of anything goes, you can choose any color you like.

11. You fingers will probably swell during the pregnancy, but if this hasn’t happened yet, get fitted for a ring as soon as possible. You might want to use a fake larger ring for the ceremony or borrow one from a friend. If you’re buying a ring when you’re already into your later months, choose a ring style that can be altered later on.

12. Talk to your photographer about your pregnancy and let him or her know how you want your pictures to look. If you want to play down the pregnancy, suggest that photos be take from high angles.

13. Insist on comfort. Choose undergarments that allow you to breathe and move around freely. Say away from itchy lace and restricting elastic. Don’t try to squeeze yourself into styles that just don’t fit.

14. If the ceremony is to be very long, ask the Officiant to have you and the groom seated for at least part of it.

15. IF reception rituals (raising the bride and groom in chairs during frenzied dancing, for instance) pose a hazard, let the wedding attendants know these will be avoided.

16. Make sure your maid of honor keeps your champagne flute filled – with ginger ale. If nausea is an issue for you, ask the chef to have on hand anything you have been handling well.

17. Choose a spa honeymoon that will give you a chance to relax between one big day and the next, preferably one close to home.

18. Wear shoes with a low, chunky heel, but don’t buy them until just before the wedding, as your feet are likely to swell. If you must buy them early, buy them in two sizes – one larger than you normally wear – and return the unworn pair after the wedding. Or buy a pair of fancy heels for the wedding and good old Keds or even thongs (hot-glue a few silk flower buds to each) for the reception.

Larry’s NOTE: Lots more info about pregnant brides, babies and more at: www.TheBump.com.

choron$sandyCopyright 2014 Sandra and Harry Choron. From the book, “Planet Wedding: A Nuptial-pedia.” Sandra is a writer, editor, literary agent, book packager and designer. She and her husband Harry, a graphic designer, are the authors of “Planet Wedding,” “Planet Cat,” “Planet Dog,” “The book of Lists for Teens,” and “The All-New Book of Lists for Kids,” among other works. Visit their Website at http://MarchTenthInc.com/.

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Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 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.

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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Thursday, June 26, 2014

To See… or Not to See? That is the Question!

The top reason many couples today seem to keep this tradition alive is because they believe it builds up the mystique before the walk down the aisle. However, more and more couples recognize the time management benefits of seeing each other before the ceremony – meeting earlier for photos gets you to the party quicker. So… photos before the wedding or do you wait for your eyes to meet on the aisle?

ToSeeOrNotThe idea of not seeing each other before the ceremony comes from the days when marriages were arranged and the groom might never have seen the bride. In some religions and cultures the option of seeing each other before is simply not allowed. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families. Not too romantic, right? There was a chance that he might take one look at her and bolt – so it was often safer for them to meet for the first time at the altar. Most admit it’s a bit old-fashioned.

There’s more… the veil the bride wears – its original purpose was also to keep the groom from finding out what the bride looked like until the last possible minute, when it was too late to back out. Brides still often wear veils, however they are usually draped behind the brides head.

It’s typical that most brides and grooms totally miss out on the cocktail hour. Usually they are out taking photos with the photographer immediately after the ceremony. If you choose this way to take photos, remember to give the photographer a complete list of the photos you want taken and stick with a strict schedule. It’s rude to keep your guests waiting too long after the wedding for the reception to begin.

Not seeing each other before the ceremony makes most bride’s more stressed out. There is always the worry of seeing each other accidentally.

First Look is gaining in popularity. Whether the groom sees you in your dress or not has nothing do do with the magic of the moment. Prior to the ceremony, flowers, hair, make-up, clothes, and moods are at their very best. The emotion is still there. By scheduling a “First Look” or “Reveal Moment,” before the wedding ceremony the photographer will be able to capture your special moment of seeing each other privately for the first time. It’s your private moment. From a photographer’s position, there are usually many more pros to seeing each other beforehand than cons, but what it comes down to is your personal decision. Most brides and grooms have anxiety about the ceremony, however, when they choose the “First Look,” once they are together at the ceremony, the jitters melt away and the day becomes much more fun.

You’re able to schedule in extra time to drive to a great location, time to get a wider variety of shots and just have a more relaxed photo shoot. You will enjoy the First Look time privately, away from the crowd, where you can feel free to enjoy sweet sentimental moments together. Meeting before the ceremony, when you’re free from the often strict timelines of the ceremony itself, gives you more personal moments and experiences together, which adds wonderful memories to your day. The bonus is that you can take your formal pictures before the ceremony when everyone’s hair and makeup are going to look a lot fresher earlier in the day.

It can be extremely comforting to have a quiet word and a hug from the most important person in your world as your stress level is mounting before the wedding. Most claim that 10 or 15 minutes alone with their partner calms them for the main event. Having the First Look and spending that quality personal time together earlier on your wedding day ramps up and fuels the emotions to brimming for when the magic moment comes you see each other at your ceremony. Obviously First Look gives you more experiences and adds memories of your day; and in a very heightened way too. Clearly everything that happens during the First Look is a unique experience you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t take that personal time to be with each other. And… that makes your ceremony even more full of excitement, passion and Love.

Another photo-related consideration is light. Many of my wedding ceremonies are outdoors and about an hour or more before sunset. This concern is legitiment. Rounding everyone up for photos after the wedding can be a major chore, one that may mean you might be taking some of your photos after the sun goes down.

Most brides that have chosen First Look at my weddings tell me it was their most favorite moment of the day because it was just about them. If you are a traditionalist and love to play “hide ‘n seek” you may want to save the First Look for when you walk down the aisle. 😉

Never let anyone pressure you on how to make this decision. There are no rules governing when you see you first see your partner, except perhaps one: “Whichever route you take, make sure it is determined solely by ‘your’ vision of your wedding, and nobody else’s.” ~ Lauren Ragland, Wedding Photojournalist Association

BONUS Articles: The Reveal
Should We See Each Other Before the Wedding?
Are You Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding? – “No way!”… However…
Seven Reasons to See the Bride Before the Wedding

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – 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: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. 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.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Creating a Guest Seating Plan for the Reception

Filed under: Guest Seating,Receptions — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Can’t everyone just figure out where to sit on their own? Yep! However, taking the time to develop a seating plan will reduce your guests’ anxiety of trying to find a seat. It also ensures that couples who want to sit together get to. With a little common sense, you can create a seating plan that will make almost everyone happy.

In order to prevent any confusion, arguments or stampedes on your wedding day, do yourself a favor and create a seating chart. Organizing a seating chart is best left until a few weeks before your wedding, after you know who will and will not be attending.

SeatingChartThe reserved tables, located near the head table where the bride and groom sit, is where the parents of both the bride and groom, the wedding officiant, and sometimes grandparents sit during the reception. The bride and groom’s table should be easily seen from anywhere in the room so all the guests can be witness to their expressions of happiness. Usually there are two tables reserved for family members and close friends. If parents are divorced, remarried, etc., each parent may also host his or her own table, smoothly diffusing any awkwardness or discomfort.

Not traditional? Mix it up a little with your seating plan, don’t worry about your guests being surprised. One of the things many people look forward to at a wedding reception is catching up with old friends and family. Make sure the people you are mixing have something in common other than just that they know you; they’re more likely to feel less discomfort if they’ve got more to talk about.

If you choose to invite the wedding officiant to the reception, be sure to let him/her know prior to the wedding and remember to reserve a place for him/her. Usually the seating chart is made up of RSVPs to the invitations and since it is not necessary to send the wedding officiant an invitation, often the bride and groom forget to add the wedding officiant’s name to the seating chart. That’s awkward! Now the wedding officiant has to ask where they want him/her to sit. Opps!

seatingchartEscort cards direct guests to their tables; place cards are displayed at each place setting. Make it easy for guests to find their table. A large seating chart if helpful. Put it somewhere where your guests can see it during the cocktail hour so there’s not a bottleneck when they get the call to enter the reception area. Hopefully they’ll look at it beforehand and know where to go.

Resist the urge to omit the seating chart in favor of placing the names on the table. It’s no fun for guests to wander around the room searching for their place setting. On the seating chart, the guest’s preference is listing the guest’s last name alphabetically which will help them find their table faster. Next, put the number or name of the table next to their name to make it easier to find. You can also choose to place name cards on the table telling them where to sit. Table assignments without a seat assignment is slightly less work for the bride. Never split the guests from their spouses or dates.

You could also have an escort card table where you display cards inscribed with guests’ names laid out alphabetically and each card has the table number and/or table name on it. Remember to check the spelling of all names.

There may also be situations in which certain family members just do not get along. You want to keep them as far apart as possible. Avoid putting guests on the same table as ex-partners, unless you are sure this is okay.

Younger children should be seated with their parents or, a kids’ table is a nice idea for the children who may be at the reception. This is fine if the children are mature enough to handle sitting by themselves. Otherwise you may want to seat them with their parents.

Younger people who love music and love to dance should be seated at tables close to the dance floor and the music makers, while older guests may want a quieter table for catching up with friends. It might not be wise to sit your alcoholic uncle right next to the bar.

Remember to consider special needs’ individuals who may have mobility issues. Such individuals should be seated near doors and restrooms so it’s easier for them to get around once the reception hits full swing.

For guest lists of under 50 or less, generally there is no need to have a formal seating plan. There are so many variable ways to seat the guests. Do a Google search for “Guests Seating at the Reception” to find the way that suits you best.

It’s smart to begin making your seating arrangements as soon as you receive the RSVPs. Allow for last minute changes and once you have your seating chart complete… let it go and focus on having fun at the reception.

BONUS Article: Get Sh*t Done: Seating Chart Tips
Guests: Reception Seating Nightmares Solved
50+ Eye-Catching Seating Charts
More articles about receptions!

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

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Copyright © 2014 – 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: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. 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
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Things Someone Should Have Told You Before Your Wedding Day

Planning a wedding is no easy task. Everything from the check lists to the blogs and bridal magazines, Pintrest, etc., make it almost overwhelming. Take your time. Begin your planning six months to a year before your wedding day.

You would be wise to choose the date of your wedding first, the wedding venue second and the Wedding Officiant/Minister third. As you know I am a wedding officiant and I cannot tell you how many times a bride and groom have hired nearly all their wedding vendors and at the last minute remember that they have not hired someone special to perform the wedding ceremony.

B4YOURweddingI’ve made a list of things that I hear brides say that they wish they would have known before the wedding. Contrary to popular belief, most brides have not been thinking about the details of their wedding since they were a little girl. Another reason this list may be helpful. (NOTE: You will find various links in this article that will expound on some of the topics. Every link opens in a new browser window so you won’t lose your place.)

1. Want a really great marriage? It begins when you get serious about working on you – FIRST! Have you dealt with your issues? Your wedding day is one day of your life. Your marriage is long-term. You may have a near-perfect wedding, however, that’s not the marriage. A marriage is the ultimate commitment. You both will have to change to make the marriage work. Believe me, marriage is always a work in progress. Be sure you are ready for it.

2. There is no perfect wedding. Believe me, sometimes things mess up. Be prepared to roll with the punches if something does go wrong. The groomsmen forgot the rings. The wedding cake didn’t arrive on time. One of your bridesmaids or groomsmen is MIA. The flower girl refused to walk down the aisle. The maid of honor had too many drinks and starts making a teary scene at the reception. Your florist used roses instead of peonies for your bouquet. Things may run behind schedule. Make sure everyone knows what time to show up on your wedding day. Be a good example. Don’t be late for your own wedding! It’s happened.

3. Tell your photographer key information in advance. From special family situations like divorces and mobility limitations, to special details you want to make sure are captured, there are several things you need to share with your photographer in advance. Photographers always work better when you have provided a list of the special photos you want taken. You’d be surprised how many guests just assume they’re going to be in pictures and stick around, and how many guests who are close family that just take off to the cocktail hour. Let close friends and family know to stay close after the ceremony for photos.

4. Plan some quiet time before the ceremony. You need reflection time. Take time to break away from the crowd and be quiet somewhere if only for ten minutes. Drink some water and collect your thoughts. I’ve had brides and grooms tell me they hardly remember anything about the ceremony if went by so quickly. It’s like an entire day in fast forward. Pay attention during the ceremony.

5. Spend some time thinking about what you want your wedding ceremony to say. The ceremony IS the wedding. It is the heart and soul of the event. Write some of your own vows. You don’t want empty words – they must mean something.

6. Hire a professional Wedding Officiant – one with experience! Forget uncle Harry – who had never done a ceremony – and who wants to do your ceremony for free. I repeat… The ceremony IS the wedding. Why would you want to cut corners with the most important part of your wedding day? Want to hear from horror stories? Give me a call. I’ve heard it all. Hire the best! There’s a reason they are the best. There’s a reason everyone wants them. So they get booked soon, and early. They might be available when you make your inquiry but your wedding date is not secure until a deposit is paid and an agreement is signed. When you feel good about a choice, make a decision.

7. Choose your bridal party carefully. Take your time picking your wedding party. You should spend some time thinking about who you really want to share this day with you. Be willing to choose someone else if your maid of honor or best man are not helping you with what you need help with. Never assume your wedding party knows what is expected of them. Know what their duties are and talk with them about what you expect. Have your Maid of Honor “practice” bustling your dress before the wedding day. Don’t take on too many duties yourself. Delegate! Give everyone in your bridal party something to do.

8. Talk about money with your partner. How much debt are you and your partner bringing into this marriage. Be honest. It’s better to find out now rather than be strapped with debt after you tie the knot. Save your money for wedding expenses and go lite on credit cards. Your parents may contribute some, but nowadays many brides and grooms are paying their own way. It is very easy to develop bad financial habits while planning a wedding. Be certain you have a budget for your wedding and be prepared to shift money around if something or someone you want exceeds the money you set aside for them. The easiest way to trim your wedding budget? Cut your guest list.

HireConsultant“For the love of all that is remotely holy in this world, do NOT go into major debt to pay for your wedding.” ~ Melissa Lafsky

9. When in doubt… don’t! If you have any doubts in your mind about whether you should get married, a postponement is much less expensive than a divorce. Listen to your gut or intuition! Trust it! If you have major issues that you think will disappear after you are married, think again! I’ve been a relationship coach since 1995 and the one thing that I am saddened to hear is: “I though he/she would change after we got married!” That seldom works out. Have issues? Get relationship coaching BEFORE marriage. It is perhaps the most vital thing you can do before marching down the aisle.

10. Hire a Wedding Consultant OR at least a day of coordinator! Are you ready for the truth? You are not a professional event planner so please stop acting like you know everything about weddings after reading two blog articles and surfing Pinterest. Your wedding is your big day. You shouldn’t have to worry if everything is going just right! Most wedding consultants know where to get the good deals. They are there to help you bring your dream wedding to life. They can make recommendations to quality wedding vendors and watch over all the details of your wedding as they are happening. When you hire a wedding consultant, you can relax, knowing that everything will work out fine. Call me if you need referrals.

11. Don’t skip breakfast on your wedding day. With all the morning jitters, you’re likely to forget. Put something in your tummy to absorb all the nerves that might show up. 😉

12. Put a dab hand lotion on before heading down the aisle. Whether it’s the heat or stress, you or your partner’s fingers could swell a bet, giving you a hard time trying to get that ring on. Remember to pass this tip to the groom.

13. Remember to put together an “Emergency Kit” to bring to the wedding. Oh, and don’t forget the Marriage License!

14. Always remember… this is YOUR wedding, not your mothers! You cannot please everyone. Pick the few people you want to please – at the top of the list is your partner and then you have 5 more spots. After that everyone else can sit down and shut up. 😉 If your mom or the groom’s mom or anyone else suggests something that you do not want, be tactful, however, never be afraid to say, “No.”

15. Carry an emergency contact sheet on your wedding day. Keep the paper with names and phone numbers of all your vendors in your purse or give it to your maid of honor to hold in case you need to contact a vendor. It could come in handy.

16. Give yourself plenty of time to plan your wedding. Some people can do it in 6 months. Others require a year or more. Do as much as possible and get it all ready BEFORE the morning of your wedding. Anything else should be delegated to someone else you trust to follow through.

If you have topics that brides and grooms should know about before their wedding, please list them in the comments! Sharing is a good thing!

BONUS Articles: Serving Her Majesty the Bride: To Be a Maid of Honor… or Not
Set Some Wedding Priorities – First Things First!
Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!
I’m Late… For a Very Important (Wedding) Date! I’m Late!
Sorry, I Don’t Need a Wedding Consultant… My Venue Has One!

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – 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: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. 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

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Shopping for Your Wedding Dress

Filed under: Wedding Dress — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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eleGALA.com, Guest Author

Shopping for a wedding dress is slightly more complex than you might think. We’ll walk you through it.

You’ve done the research. You’re an expert on wedding dress styles and wedding gown designers. Now the time has finally arrived: It’s wedding dress shopping day! But before you begin, make a plan…

WEDDressShopping• Decide where to shop

Independently owned full-service bridal shops ~ These stores offer a full range of services for the bride and the wedding party, with designers and prices ranging from moderate to high end. While off the rack is possible, these stores typically special-order wedding gowns for brides and attendants, so you should be prepared to wait a few months for your gown to arrive. You will mostly likely be able to purchase all of your bridal accessories, such as shoes, veils, undergarments, and jewelry, and an in-store seamstress will consult with you on custom alterations.

Couture bridal shops ~ Couture bridal shops represent a subsection of independently owned full-service bridal shops. Offering the same range of services, they carry exclusive designer labels at higher-end prices. These bridal boutiques are usually found in major cities.

Department stores ~ Department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and JCPenney offer wedding gowns, while others such as Lord & Taylor and Hecht’s only offer bridesmaids’ dresses. These gowns are usually bought off the rack; however, your wedding dress may be specially ordered from another store if your size is not in stock. Most of these stores offer in-house alterations.

Discount bridal outlets ~ Discount bridal outlets offer a mix of discontinued national brands and privately labeled merchandise at reduced prices. While you will not find the same level of service found at privately owned bridal shops, you may be able to find the designer wedding dress of your dreams at an affordable price. Dresses are bought off the rack, so you may take the gown home the day your purchase it. Since these stores typically do not offer on-site alterations, make sure you can find a trusted seamstress.

Nationwide bridal chain stores ~ Bridal chain stores manufacture, import, and sell their own private label wedding gowns. While the style selection is more limited than in other types of stores, the prices are usually lower. Be prepared for a lower level of service and little sales assistance, but the ability to buy off the rack at a reasonable price can be a good option for short engagements.

WEDDressShopping2Custom gown designers ~ For a one-of-a-kind wedding gown, you can collaborate with a custom gown designer to specially create a wedding dress just for you. You can find such gown designers in most major cities. Be sure to select a designer whose vision you appreciate and trust.

• What to expect once you’re there…

Make an appointment… and, if possible, try to shop during a weekday. You will receive more attentive service if your sales associate can dedicate his/her time especially for you.

Bring Undergarments ~ Consider bringing the lingerie that you will wear at the wedding. This will help you determine exactly how the wedding dress will look and feel on the big day.

Bring Trusted Companions ~ Bring someone with you whose opinion you respect and trust, but avoid bringing an entire brigade of “experts.” Too many opinions will distract you.

WEDDressShopping3Communicate with Your Consultant ~ Many bridal boutiques will not simply allow you to browse through the selection of wedding dresses; rather, they will bring gowns to you one at a time. A sales associate will sit down with you to discuss your style and will bring you dresses that reflect your vision. That said, allow them to bring you many styles. While you may have an idea of what you want, you never know what looks best on your body style until you try it.

Don’t Overanalyze the Fit ~ Most likely, you will not try on dresses in your actual size. Stores typically carry sample sizes (8–10), and the sales associate will pin it to your body. Once you decide on a gown you will have to be fitted up to three times before your wedding dress fits perfectly. If the store has an in-house seamstress, ask for an alterations estimate. Also, wedding dresses tend to run small, so be prepared to order a size that is larger than you normally wear.

Trust Your Instincts ~ Go with your gut! If you need to be convinced that a wedding dress looks good on you, it’s probably not “the one.”

Alterations & Accessories ~ When determining the cost of your wedding dress, remember to factor in the cost for alterations, the veil (which can run up to $1,000) and other accessories, such as shoes, headpiece, etc. If there is a specific feature you want changed, you can usually request it. Keep in mind that any design changes will increase the cost of the wedding gown. Your dress usually takes a few months to be made, so make sure you leave enough time for said alterations.

Don’t Rush ~ Sleep on it. Most stores have a no-return policy, so you want to be sure before making your final decision.

Wedding Dress Deposits ~ Once you have found “the dress” and made your final decision, be prepared to at least pay a 50% deposit.

BONUS Articles: Things To Know Before You Shop For Wedding Dresses Online
10 Mistakes Brides Make When Dress Shopping
“What Am I Going to Do With My Wedding Dress?”
So, What About Wedding Gown Sizes?

Copyright 2014 Hawthorn Publications. eleGALA.com (pronounced elle-ah-gal-ah) is a comprehensive, ad-free wedding resource featuring a nationwide directory of the top wedding venues and their recommended vendors, along with planning articles, expert advice, checklists, and photo galleries to lead brides through every step of the planning process. eleGALA.com is the only online resource to offer site-specific tools to help brides plan events at their chosen wedding venue.

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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: 480-998-9411 or 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.

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, June 6, 2014

First Dance. . .

Filed under: First Dance,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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A special part of any wedding reception is the wedding first dance that the newlyweds share as man and wife. When compared to the other traditional formalities of the evening, the first dance is the one that can create a memory that will last forever. The origin of the first dance is said to come from eastern European immigrants in America – perhaps dating as far back as the 17th century – who danced at their weddings. As post World War 2 immigration slowed down and those immigrants grew into the middle class they brought the dance with them to the point of it becoming mainstream.

FirstDanceIt was custom for the guests of honor or the hosts to have the first dance of the evening at a ball. Once the first dance had been completed, everyone was invited to shake their corsets and powdered wigs on the dance floor. As it is with so many wedding traditions, this social norm of old eventually migrated to wedding receptions.

Today, the bride and groom typically perform the first dance at a wedding reception, signifying the beginning of the party portion of the celebration before the guests are invited to dance the night away.

Traditionally, when people got married their first dance as husband and wife would be a waltz. However, today that is not necessarily the case. Recently, brides and grooms have mostly skipped this “bridal waltz” tradition and have elected to dance the Foxtrot, Merengue, Swing, or even slow dance together. Some wedding couples even decide to perform for their guests for their first dance, and they do a humorous or shocking choreographed routine.

As you plan your first dance, think about what music is especially meaningful to you. Was there music playing the first time you kissed, or when you got engaged? Are there lyrics that instantly make one of you think of the other? Is there a passage of music that always makes your heart swell? If your parents have a happy marriage, maybe you want to dance to the same music they did?

Still unsure? Consult your your wedding band or DeeJay. They most likely have suggestions in their repertoire that might work. You may want to Goggle “first dance songs for weddings” to get some ideas.

If you are unsure of where to start or how to choreograph a wedding first dance, there are plenty of dance studios that offer wedding dance lessons and first dance choreography.

If you’re not big on being the center of attention make the first dance be the only dance instead of father/daughter dance, mother/son dance and last dance.

BONUS Articles: Put on Your Dancing Shoes!
It’s Your 1st Dance as Wife and Husband – Make it Special
Interesting Choices for First Dance Songs

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Copyright © 2014 – 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: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. 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.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

How NOT To Negotiate With Your Wedding Vendors

Susan Southerland, Guest Author

You have the ring and you’ve set the date, but now the rubber is meeting the road and you’re running around doing tastings, viewing venues and looking at photography and video samples, figuring out who you want hire for your big day. There’s a huge difference between talking to someone about their products and services and actually signing on the dotted line on a contract that puts money on the line. Every bride wants to feel as if she is getting a good deal on the products and services that she needs for her wedding day. After all, weddings are expensive!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYet many brides fall into some classic negotiating mistakes when contract time comes. Most first-time brides aren’t experienced negotiators and repeat brides who have done this before can go over the top trying to demonstrate knowledge and aggressiveness in negotiating.

The good news? Most wedding vendors have some things that they are willing to offer deals on, especially if the bride knows how to properly negotiate. Here are some thoughts on what not to do when negotiating for your wedding.

Don’t be unreasonable: A vendor who charges $2,000.00 for something is not going to give it to you for $1,000.00, so don’t insult him by asking.

Don’t make threats. Saying you’re going to go with another vendor if your demands aren’t met won’t result in a deal.

Don’t lie. The wedding industry is very small. Chances are the vendors you are interviewing know each other. You won’t get away with saying, “Well, so and so is charging me $1,000.00 less,” if it isn’t true. Vendors talk.

Don’t make comparisons between vendors who don’t give the same type of product or service. You wouldn’t expect to pay for a Volkswagen and get a Mercedes — the same is true for wedding vendors. Sometimes you can expect to pay more because of name and reputation, but more often you will pay more for experience and expertise.

Don’t beat around the bush with your budget. When you make your budget a secret, a vendor may propose something to you that is way out of your price range. This can be aggravating to you and a waste of time for her. A good wedding vendor will give you suggestions on how you can use her services while staying within your budget, or she will simply tell you that the two of you aren’t a good match. She might even make helpful suggestions on another vendor who might be better for you.

Don’t just ask for discounts. Vendors who don’t give money off may have some items that he can give you to beef up the package for which you are paying full price. Some examples are overtime, dessert, additional bar time, extra prints, a toss bouquet and thank-you notes.

When it comes to negotiating, you need to remember the old adage; “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Most wedding vendors will go out of their way to work with a sweet, well-mannered bride. Transforming into “Bridezilla” will more than likely get you an extra nuisance fee, or an invitation to hire someone else.

BONUS Articles: The Do’s & Do Not’s of Working Successfully with Your Wedding Vendors
Treat your Wedding Vendors with Love!
Tipping Your Wedding Vendors is a Common Courtesy
Beware of “Cheap” Wedding Vendors!
Trust Your Wedding Vendors

SusanSoutherlandCopyright 2014 Susan Southerland. Uniquely geared to service the everyday bride, Susan Southerland is one of the foremost experts in the wedding industry. Her experience includes planning thousands of weddings around the country and the world in which she carefully executes each detail with passion and precision. What challenges drives her to achieve at such a high level? Her basic philosophy that smaller budget weddings require much more creativity and original thinking to formulate unique memories and experiences.

Susan is president of Just Marry!, a full service wedding planning company with offices in Orlando, Florida. She is also the national wedding expert for Perfect Wedding Guide, where her entertaining and informative blog regularly dispenses excellent advice, ideas and photos to readers. Couples can also find a wealth of information at SusanSoutherland.com.

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 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.

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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