Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Be Practical, Respectful and “Flexible” With Your Reception Timeline

Filed under: Receptions,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Ron Ruth, Guest Author

Begin by developing a timeline that provides an even-paced flow of events. In doing so, you will prevent the most memorable moments of your reception from flying by too quickly.

A comprehensive timeline will also keep your event from coming to a standstill and boring your guests to tears. But, be practical, respectful and flexible with your timeline.

WEDreceptiontimelineIt is a given that, as the Bride and Groom, you are the guests of honor. But, you are also the host of your celebration. Be respectful. Remember that guests are waiting on your arrival at the venue. Work with your photographer to organize and maximize the time for your post-ceremony photos so you can arrive at the reception venue no later than an hour after your guests… 45 minutes would be better.

Visiting every table to welcome each guest individually is certainly polite. However, it adds an avoidable lull that will have many looking at their watches. Refer back to the section where we discussed creating “Moments and Memories.” If you really want your guests to feel welcome and know how glad you are they have given of their time to be with you, keep them entertained.

Be practical in timeline assessments. On an average, it is not necessary to allow more than 45 minutes to an hour for dinner. As the guest of honor, you will most likely be served, first. That means you’ll be done eating first and can move on to fun activities and/or formalities that your guests can enjoy while they’re finishing their meals.

If you choose to include a memory video as a scheduled activity in the reception, limit your video to 7-8 minutes. As entertaining as you may think it is to view every baby photo ever taken of the two of you, guests will quickly lose interest. A short and entertaining memory video, however, can make for a great transition between dinner and toasts.

Always remember that timelines are subjective and the unexpected can cause a need to hold off on certain activities or create a need to move forward, ahead of schedule. Either way, be flexible.

Once you’ve created your plan, share it with every member of your wedding reception team so they can help you stay on schedule. And, finally, assign someone with the responsibility of keeping you on track. But, whatever you do, make sure that “someone” isn’t you… or other family members!

RonRuthlogoCopyright © 2015 – Ron Ruth. Ron Ruth is the only certified, Wedding Entertainment Director™ in the central Midwest and the owner of Ron Ruth Wedding Entertainment; a Kansas City based wedding DJ company. He is a 20 year veteran of the wedding entertainment industry and has helped over 1,000 couples and their guests enjoy unforgettably fun wedding receptions. Ron serves on the WED Guild™ Advisory Board, is a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants and National Association of Catering Executives, and a credited contributor to Peter Merry’s celebrated book of fun wedding ideas, “The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!” Ron is also the author of two highly acclaimed wedding workshops for engaged couples and a nationally recognized speaker in the wedding entertainment industry. Visit Ron’s Blog.

Download a FREE copy of “5 Essential Elements For An Extraordinarily Memorable Wedding Reception.” Click here!

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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.

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

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

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Music at the Reception!

Filed under: Reception Music,Receptions,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

“Did you like our DJ?”

“He was fine. But he didn’t play the songs we asked for, but it was still fun.”

SongRequestsOh, oh!

Obviously, the bride and groom will create a playlist of their favorites and a don’t playlist (the inappropriate lyrics, the songs you hate, hard to dance to, outdated, overplayed, or carry the wrong message, etc.) to keep the “chicken dance” and others from being annoying the guests. The last thing you want to hear is a song you hate. Create a “do not play” list for your band or DJ and you’ll never have to regret your reception music later.

Top 10 ‘Do Not Play’ Wedding Songs

1. The Macarena – along with all those other cheesy organized dance songs (Electric Slide, Chicken Dance, YMCA, Hokey Pokey, etc.).
2. Celebration
3. White Wedding
4. Lips of an Angel by Hinder – and other cheating, breakup, or death-related songs, including Jesse’s Girl, Tears in Heaven, and I Will Survive.
5. The Humpty Dance
6. Love Shack
7. Brick House
8. Who Let the Dogs Out
9. Hot, Hot, Hot
10. Tainted Love – or any ‘bad’ love song.

It’s one thing to have your DJ announce that he will play requests, but yet another to make it easy for your guests to have him play their favorite dance tune that will encourage them to get up and kick up their heels.

rsvpSongRequestSome couples are including a line on the invitation RSVP for guests to write-in a special request to be played at the reception. Asking guests for song requests on your reply card is a fun and interactive way to pre-plan a perfect playlist. Send your guests a small question along with their invite asking them their favorite song. It’ll get them excited to attend your wedding and contribute to your big day. When the guests hear their song they’ll get excited when their requested song comes on and get up and dance.

It can get a little hectic when guests are running up requesting different songs during the reception. Give this RSVP list of songs to your DJ, along with the name of the person who requested each song. That way, if the dance floor starts to thin out, the DJ can play songs off of the request list and call out their name. This pretty much guarantees that the person who requested the song will get up and dance and encourage others to do so as well.

Top 10 Best Wedding Songs For Reception

1. All of Me – Jon Legend
2. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
3. XO – Beyonce
4. Treasure – Bruno Mars
5. Let’s Get Married – Jagged Edge
6. Who You Love – Katy Perry and John Mayer
7. Marry Me – Jason Derulo
8. Borrow My Heart – Taylor Henderson
9. How Long Will I Love You– Ellie Goulding
10. Somebody Loves You – Betty Who

Keep in mind that the music will have a big influence on the mood of your reception, as well as your guests’ memories of your special day.

BONUS Article: Reasons to NOT allow the guests to make requests!

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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.

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

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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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.

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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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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Father/Daughter Dance Songs

Brides! Your father walked you down the aisle, gave you away, and now it’s time to hit the dance floor. Is there a more emotional moment in a father’s or a daughter’s life than when you dance together at your wedding reception?

fatherdaughterdanceWhat song do you remember your dad singing when you were a little girl? The father/daughter dance is one of the most special and poignant parts of the day for the bride and her dad. Think carefully about whether you want a sentimental ballad or simply a song that makes everyone laugh (see video below).

You could choose to do have the DJ play a remix and do a special dance routine. To avoid being the cheesy/creepy/awkward dad-and-daughter couple, consider one of the fantastic father-daughter dance songs from our list compiled from several DJs in the Greater Phoenix area. So what song will you choose for that special moment?

Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight”
Led Zepplin’s “Thank You”
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man”
John Mayer’s “Daughters”
Heartland’s “I Loved Her First”
Edwin McCain’s “Walk With You”
Rolling Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow”
Taylor Swift’s “The Best Day”
Amos Lee’s “Sweet Pea”
The Cars’ “Just What I Needed”
Natalie Grant’s “I’ll Always Be Your Baby”
Ray Allaire’s “A Song For My Daughter”
Warrant’s “Heaven”
Beyonce’s “Daddy”
Neil Young’s “Here for You”
Tony Ransom & The Heavenly Light Orchestra’s “When Angels Fly”
Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella”
Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable”
Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years”
Bruce Springsteen’s “When You Need Me”
The Beatles’ “In My Life”
Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”
Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”
Frankie Avalon’s “Bobby Sox to Stockings”
Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish”
Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend”
Taken by Trees’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
Guns and Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
Nancy Sinatra’s “It’s For My Dad”
Mark Harris’s “Find Your Wings”
Paul Simon’s “Father and Daughter”
Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”
James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend”
Loudon Wainwright’s “Daughter”
Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl”
Bad English’s “When I See You Smile”
Staind’s “Zoe Jane”
10,000 Maniacs’ “How You’ve Grown”
The Temptation’s “My Girl”
Tom Petty’s “American Girl”
Holly Dunn’s “Daddy’s Hands”
Barry Manilow’s “I Am Your Child”
Otis Redding’s “The Glory of Love”
Suzy Bogguss’ “Letting Go”
Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father”
Al Martino’s “Daddy’s Little Girl”
Michael Buble’s “Daddy’s Little Girl”
Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses”

Larry’s NOTE: If you are at the office, remember to turn down the volume. I especially like this video because it is short and still gives the guests a special look at the daughter and dad.

Father/daughter dances do not have to be about the father. Many people have chosen a step-father, uncle, or close friend of the family. Part of the reason that fathers like the father/daughter dance is that it’s a special moment to have with his little girl. At one time this dance truly symbolized one of the last times a Father would be able to share such an intimate moment with his daughter. It was his chance to “say goodbye” after giving away his daughter in marriage. A father/daughter dance for some men can be a later in life “rite of passage” that they look forward to.

I understand what Brides are going through with having a father and a step-father, especially if you’re close to both of them. There are times when you may be closer to step-parents than our biological ones. You could pick 2 songs and just dance to a few minutes of each song and have the DJ can fade out of one song and introduce the next Dad to the dance floor for the 2nd dance. No one feels uncomfortable when something is done tastefully. I recommend that if you’re close enough with both of them, you dance with both of them.

If your father is deceased, there are other ways to honor him on your wedding day. You can light a candle for him during the ceremony or display a flower in remembrance of him. If dad had a favorite upbeat song, play it at some point in the reception, like during the cake cutting or wedding party dance.

I had a bride recently who had lost her father and chose to dance with another male family member who had been a positive influence on her life. One bride chose a brother to have a special dance with.

The Father/Daughter dance is three special minutes where you can thank your dad for everything, you can share advice, you can both share memories, laugh together or simply move together in sync. It’s an important time-honored tradition. It’s about making a memory to share with others and to remember yourself. Bride’s, don’t miss this special time with your dad.

Would love for you to add your favorite Father/Daughter dance songs in the comments below.

BONUS Article: Top 100 Popular Father/Daughter 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.

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/
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Having a Cash Bar at Your Wedding Reception? Guess What?

Filed under: Receptions,Wedding Etiquette — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Having a cash bar at a wedding reception is a major etiquette error, it’s tacky, in bad taste and a wedding reception faux pas!

Hmmm. Does that answer your question?

The Emily Post Institute was curious if the etiquette around this question is changing. Their poll revealed the following to the question (Total Voters: 998): Is it acceptable to have a cash bar at a wedding?

cashBAR• No, this is the height of bad taste. (41%, 412 Votes)
• I don’t like it but I understand why it might be done. (29%, 291 Votes)
• Yes, people should have the freedom to make this choice. (15%, 153 Votes)
• I think it is fine but I understand that some people might disagree. (15%, 142 Votes)

While the ultimate decision of whether or not to have a cash bar is up to the couple, proper etiquette says that it is not appropriate for a wedding. Alcohol is a must-have expense at any wedding reception, but it can also be a costly one, especially if you are expecting a large number of attendees.

While it is often necessary to find ways to cut costs, a cash bar is never a good choice. Savvy couples are looking for any way to cut wedding costs – and rightfully so. Figure out what is in your budget and offer that. Have a bar that only serves beer, wine and a champagne toast or specialty cocktail.

Having a party at your home? You wouldn’t think of asking someone to pay for a cocktail in your home, so don’t have a cash bar at your reception. People you invite to enjoy your celebration of Love are your guests. Guest don’t pay for drinks! If the couple doesn’t drink it is perfectly okay to have a reception with no alcohol.

DoNotDrinkNdrive8I agree that a wedding is different than a dinner party or inviting friends over. It’s much more formal and should be more elegant. So since we don’t ask guests to bring or pay for anything when we invite them to our home, we wouldn’t do it at an even more upscale event we were hosting.

Consider having a “limited” bar. Serve only soda, beer, wine, spiced and hot mulled cider, coffee, bottled water, and lemonade or have a champagne toast. If you don’t have the budget to provide alcohol for your guests, then simply have a smaller wedding with less attendees. Reduce the number of guests you are inviting before taking away alcohol because the result will be a lot of unhappy guests rather than less guests that are pleased. This often takes out the issue of cash bar altogether.

Signature cocktails are another great idea and are the epitome of fun and creativity so, the garnishes and accoutrement you use to adorn them should be something that also shows your flair, fun and festivity. How about fruity ice cubes and cocktail stirrers for summertime drinks? Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries will all light up a lemonade or sweet tea as well as a wine spritzer!

Consider choosing a wedding venue that allows you to bring in your own alcohol. Confirm whether you have to buy your alcohol from the place where the wedding reception will be. You may have signed a contract that says so, but if not, it’s generally much cheaper to buy your own liquor, wholesale – you can get more for your money, and get what you want. Believe it or not, there are venues that do not have liquor licenses and will allow couples to bring in their own. Anything unopened can be returned for a full refund after the wedding.

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Food Station Ideas for Your Reception

Arizona’s Finest Wedding Sites and Services, Guest Author

If you like the idea of food stations, but are unsure what types of food are ideal, take a look at a few of the suggestions below. So many possibilities!

Falafel Station

falafelstationFor a Middle Eastern treat, consider a falafel station. Foods might include falafels, pita pockets, Greek salad, Lebanese tabouleh, couscous and macaroon cookies.

Mashed Potato Bar

You say “potato”, we say “potato bar!” Guests fill a martini glass with mashed potatoes or sweet potato mash, then add toppings of their choice. Toppings might include sour cream, chopped scallions, sauteed mushrooms, crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, whipped butter – whatever you dream up!

Taco Station

Always a fun a popular choice, tacos can be served with a fresh ingredients including shredded lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes, black olives, Spanish rice, refried beans and home style tortillas. Ole!

Wok Station

Bring the Orient Express to your reception! Crisp stir-fry vegetables, beef, pork or chicken, a variety of sauces, friend rice and lo mein noodles. Don’t forget your fortune cookie!

gnocchistationPasta Station

Pasta ia a carb lovers delight! Choices might include angel hair, fettuccine, tortellini, bow tie, rotini or penne. Delicious sauces such as marinara, pesto, alfredo, bolognese, basil cream, white wine or cajun cream sauce will make your pasta come to life.

Gnocchi Station

With a dumpling dish as delicious as gnocchi, this station is sure to be a hit! The main ingredient is of course gnocchi. Sauces could include roasted garlic, vodka, bolognese or pest with clam. Condiments choices may include parmesan and roasted peppers. Not that’s Italian!

Children’s Buffet

afws&sOCTcover

Click cover for info!

No kidding, these dishes are sure to please the under four-foot crowd! Dishes could include meatloaf, chicken fingers with dipping sauces, spaghetti, pizza, french fries, macaroni and cheese and fruit. Avoid the candy and chocolate, kids have tons of energy and they don’t need to be revved up with lots of sugar and caffeine. No the question is, how to keep the adults away!

Sweets

For your guest with a sweet tooth, this station is the sweetest. Besides your wedding cake, you might want to include a candy buffet, cake pops, chocolate fountain, mini-cupcakes, s’mores, caramel popcorn, cotton candy, nuts, truffles, mini-mousse, carmel apples and funnel cakes. Now that’s sweet!

Larry’s NOTE: If serving your guests a buffet seems unappetizing and a sit-down meal seems too expensive, then isn’t it time to find a stylish, sophisticated alternative to the tried-and-true ways to feed your guests? The possibilities for food stations are endless. One of my favorites is a Salad Station ~ Cascades of Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons and Classic Dressing, Mesclun Salad with Pear Tomatoes, Goat Cheese Medallions & Balsamic Vinaigrette, Pencil Thin Asparagus with Fresh Raspberries & Sliced Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad. Yummy! In Arizona the Taco Stations are very popular.

Copyright © 2013 – Arizona’s Finest Wedding Sites and Services. Reprinted with permission (A special “thank you” to Teri Ambrose Posegate, Publisher). Arizona’s leading magazine for wedding venues and wedding services. Visit their Website: http://www.FinestWeddingSites.com/

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

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

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this 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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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can You Have a Wedding Reception a Couple Weeks After the Ceremony?

Filed under: Post-Wedding Reception,Receptions — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: ,

Where is it written that you must have the reception right after the wedding?

Some Wedding Consultants will say, “It’s perfectly acceptable.” I agree. Of course you can! It’s your wedding you get to choose. Others may disagree. Some will even consider it “rude” or “tacky.” I say there are only “your” rules.

WeDidre·cep·tion [ri-sep-shuhn] noun
1. a function or occasion when persons are formally received: a wedding reception.

You don’t have to call it a reception. One couple I know announced it by saying they were foregoing the reception in favor of a “Celebration of Love.” She and her husband wore what they wore at the wedding – she in her wedding dress and he in his wedding suit – but for the guests it was dress casual. The bride and groom wanted them to know that the wedding was the reason for the get together. I’m guessing that one thing that was missing was the stress of going through a rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony, then straight to the reception. They ended the evening with a brief “thank you” and a fireworks display.

Some couples prefer a quiet, private wedding ceremony with limited guests – family and a few close friends – then plan to party with friends on a later date, perhaps to accommodate people who unable to attend your wedding, e.g, grandparents who can no longer travel, etc.

This also happens when brides and grooms have destination weddings. They come to Scottsdale, get married with a very few close friends, e.g., the maid of honor and the best man who will also act as witnesses then return to their home town. (Most states require at least 2 witnesses to witness the signing of the marriage license – AZ does).

Believe it or not, couples still elope for various reasons. Most will have the reception when they return home with the good news! It may not be “good news” for some, but it’s what the bride and groom wanted.

Take a breather. You will be more relaxed and be able to focus on having meaningful conversations with your family and friends. It’s just a thought. It depends on whether you are willing to break with tradition.

Some will argue that a wedding is a one day event, it includes a ceremony and a reception. That works too! The final decision will only be made by the bride and groom.

I’m told that post-wedding receptions tend to have a higher showup-rate which may mean more gifts for you! 😉 Of course, that’s not the reason you would do it. (Heh heh)

BONUS Article: Need help with etiquette for a DW with a reception 2 weeks later…

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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. 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 (96 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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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Before You Book Your Wedding Venue…

Filed under: Receptions,Wedding Tips,Wedding Venues — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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First tip: Bring a camera with you to every wedding venue you visit. Second tip: Bring a notebook and take copious notes. The photos and notes will help with the final decision making process.

It’s no secret that wedding planning is full of surprises and hidden fees. If you haven’t hired a wedding consultant (I recommend that you do – call me for recommendations), it can be hard to know how to avoid bumps along the way, especially when choosing your wedding venue.

ChoosingWedVenueAsk if you can check out the venue during another wedding – from a distance, of course. It’s not nice to be a wedding crasher. 😉 You can get a feel for the place with a bar, tables and maybe seeing the guests will give you an idea of how the setting will look with your guests. Always ask permission.

How early can arrive on site to set up and will they have people to help you? Reception halls generally allow you ample time for this.

If you’re booking a large wedding, will there be more than one event scheduled on your day. How many events do you host a day? It’s important to know if there will be another wedding or event held on the day of your wedding. If another reception is taking place at your site, ask what steps the staff takes to keep the parties separate. Will the wedding coordinator be present to supervise your wedding? If not, who will be supervising and troubleshooting before the day of your wedding? Ask to meet them.

What is the maximum number of guests they can accommodate? Often the maximum number of people is based on fire code.

Will they provide a shuttle to and from a nearby hotel for your guests to the ceremony and reception? If not, you may need to rent your own shuttle service.

Do they provide a coat check service (especially important for winter weddings)? If not, is there an area that can be used and staffed for that purpose?

Are there any additional costs – cleaning fees, insurance – fee waivers, etc.? You don’t want any surprises. Asking for references can be helpful. It allows you to ask specific questions and get an unbiased answer.

chairbacksAre their any restrictions you need to know about. For example, candles are gorgeous and most brides would love candles all around their reception room. Are candles or other open flames allowed? Some venues restrict things like throwing rice or confetti, or bringing in outside beverages or rental items. There may be rules about decorating, like no hanging decorations or fabric from the ceilings. Ask about time restrictions. Some sites charge up to $500 an hour for overstaying.

Be sure to get a list of all the things that are NOT included in your venue package. Ask about extra items that could mean additional costs, such as a corkage fee for the champagne. Request that they eliminate features in your package that you don’t want. If they can’t be taken off the list, ask for a discount.

Some venues will expect you to use their caterers, florists, etc. If you are buying an all inclusive package and after you have interview one of the vendors find out they are not a good fit, can you bring in your own vendor? Your venue will probably give you some information on the food and beverage details up front, but hidden costs are very likely when dealing with food and alcohol. If your venue does not give you the food and beverage minimum up front, always ask for it. Most venues have something written into their contracts to ensure your vendors get a meal, often at discount prices. Make sure to ask about the price of these meals. If you are required to pay the full cost of the meal, you may want to factor that price into your budget. It is a common courtesy to invite the wedding officiant and/or minister to enjoy a meal at the reception.

What is their food and beverage minimum and what are the consequences of an overage?

Are there rooms available where the bride, bridesmaids and groomsmen can get ready before the ceremony?

If its an outdoor location, do they have any back-up plans for rain or other inclement weather?

Do not assume that parking is included in your cost. Most venues charge a fee for their valet service as well as their parking garages. Will there be ample parking for your guest list? Will it be complimentary or will the guests have to pay to park?

Is the wedding venue wheelchair accessible?

Does our venue have liability insurance? If someone gets injured during the reception, you don’t want to be held responsible – if the site doesn’t have insurance, you’ll need to get your own.

WedTastingIf they have there own in-house caterer, or cake baker, will there be a tasting? Is a tasting included as part of the wedding package? Is a tasting available before you book? Who can participate beside the bride and groom?

If your venue is a hotel, do they have any special discounts for rooms for your guests? If a country club or golf resort do they have any affiliations with local hotels for wedding guests?

Do you have to be a member of a country club to have your wedding there? Since country club memberships are usually very expensive, most clubs let outsiders hold events there if they are sponsored by a member. Before you even visit any club spaces, inquire about the membership requirements.

What security services do they offer? Do you need to hire your own security guards, or does the site hire them or have them on staff? In general, you should have 2 security guards for the first 100 guests and 1 more for every additional 100 guests. Gifts have been known to disappear from the gift table.

Do you have signage or other aids to direct guests to my wedding and reception?

Is a dance floor included at the reception? If not, what is the cost? What is the size?

Do you have a recycling policy? It’s not easy being green. 😉

Are there any sound equipment restrictions (e.g., noise ordinances) that you should know about for your band or disc jockey? Event spaces, like ballrooms and country clubs, often have built-in speakers, so all the band will have to do is bring their instruments and plug in. Most DJs have their own sound equipment, lights, etc.

If you are looking for other wedding vendors, ask for referrals. Your venue probably works with specific cake bakers, rental companies, wedding officiants, photographers, etc. Some venues will give you a list of “preferred vendors,” if not ask for specifics. When they recommend a vendor it usually means that the vendor already knows the lay of the land, has worked there before and has a good working relationship with the site coordinator. I recommend hiring a Wedding Consultant to assist with the many details of your wedding that you may never have thought of.

What is the staff’s dress code? What is the server to guest ratio?

receptionTableIs there an in house pastry chef? Is an outside cake allowed? Is there a cake cutting fee?

In your search for a wedding venue, there will probably be even more questions that arise for you personally. For example, you may want the menu to reflect your heritage, or with a large wedding party, you may need ample parking for limousines, trolleys, etc.

Request a proposal with all the pricing and policies, including the tax and service charge, so you have an idea of the basic cost. You will need a bottom-line fee. Never assume anything is included. Before you sign the contract, read it carefully. Is there a payment schedule? What kind of deposits are required? Your wedding date is not officially reserved until you sign a contract and, in most cases, give a deposit – even if the venue wedding coordinator says you don’t need to worry about it.

You may want to ask your venue for a sample contract before you sign your own contract.

It’s wise to document all your conversations in e-mail and keep your correspondence. Before you sign the final contract, read the fine print and make sure it includes everything you and the wedding coordinator agreed upon. Ask about any other hidden fees. As new things are added or changed in your contract, have the updated version printed out and signed by you and the wedding coordinator.

It may seem that there are a lot of questions to ask, but by asking, not only are you avoiding surprises, you are showing the venue that you are a serious customer and that they should treat you accordingly.

If you think of other questions that may be important to you, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. 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 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/
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Clever Ways to Release the Tables at the Reception

Filed under: Buffet Line,Receptions,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

The reception is a great time for friends and family to get to know each other. For food choices, buffets are usually the less expensive option, and most preferred by guests. You can still experience high class, gourmet cuisine, even if the way it is being served is less formal than a full wait-staff. Guests can easily go back for seconds at any time throughout the duration of the reception.

buffetlineThe main advantage of serving buffet-style is that it’s easier to offer a broad selection of food to choose from, which can be a good alternative for a diverse group of people having widely varying tastes. Due to the fact that guests are forced to get out of their seats and interact while in line, buffets foster socialization. Having the hotel staff set up the buffet line so guests can get their food from either side will speed things up a bit.

Often the guests will wonder when they should go through the buffet line. You will want to avoid the problem that had everyone standing in a 150 person line that extends all the way around the wedding hall. The bride and groom are served by the staff from the buffet or they may choose to go through the buffet line. Next, the parents, the bridal party and then the guests.

Often someone from the catering staff will go from table to table telling each table when to join others in the buffet line. Each table can have a different color and the DJ simply calls out the color name at various intervals. Here are a few creative ways to have the disc jockey release tables to control congestion in the buffet line.

One of the most common ways to release the tables is to have the disc jockey or MC will call a table number at various intervals and those at that table will head for the buffet line. If number system on the tables does not thrill the bride and groom, you could put the numbers underneath the flower arrangements, or under one of the guest chairs.

Write the name of a song on the back of each of the table numbers or table names. Have your disc jockey make an announcement that when the guests hear the song designated for their table that they then can “dance” their way to the buffet. This only happens after the wedding party and parents have been released. The titles can reflect a theme or it could be a selection of songs from a particular band or artist. Instruct the guests that they will know it’s their turn to get in line when their song is played. This is a clever way to dismiss tables without having to have someone physically dismiss them or announce that they can go.

For a fun effect, Have your disc jockey call a flower name instead. For example, a table will have a centerpiece of calla lilies while another table will have roses, and so on. If you only want one kind o flower, you can have different types of roses – red roses, white, pink, yellow, etc. As long as the other parts of the table décor are coordinated it will work. For example, if you have a white tablecloth and green napkins – or all white, it will coordinate with virtually any flower arrangement. Instead of table numbers, you could name each table a term of endearment or words of love – love, hugs, caring, kisses, adore, etc., – name each table a different flower or an exotic location – Paris, Venice, etc.

endearmentTableName that tune. Before your wedding day, have the disc jockey create short song clips using favorite tunes enjoyed by the bride and groom. Play one song clip at a time and ask that guests stand up if they recognize the song. Guests are asked to stand up once they are sure they recognize the song. Pay close attention to who stands up first and give them the first chance to guess. If the table guesses correctly they will be the next to join the buffet line. If they guess wrong they’ll have to point to another table that will get to go up ahead of them as a consequence.

Have your guests sing for their supper! The disc jockey goes from table to table and asks the guests at each table to sing a few bars of a song with “Love” in the title.

Still another popular option for moving people easily to the buffet line: play the bride and groom trivia game. This idea is usually a crowd pleaser because it’s fun and gets everybody involved and working together. Prior to your wedding reception, write down some questions for your guests to answer. Your band’s leader, disc jockey/MC, or a member of the wedding party can ask trivia questions (about the Bride and Groom) and based on the winning table can tell them the order in which they will be released to the buffet line. This way, each table competes as a team to see in what order they get to hit the buffet. Doing it this way will keep it orderly and allow the catering staff to refresh the buffet after each eight to ten person team comes through the line. The winner of the first spot can proceed to the buffet while the game is still being played.

There are many other creative ways that you can come up to release the tables for the buffet line. The important thing is that the guests have fun and go home with their bellies full and satisfied.

Bonus Tip: This tip has nothing to do with releasing the tables at the reception but I like the idea and you will too. It’s a fun twist to the familiar tapping forks against glasses to see the bride and groom kiss. At various times during the reception – between dances and courses – have the disc jockey ask a couple of guests to go to the “Kissing Table” and each couple must roll a pair of dice just once. If they roll an even number, then the bride and groom kiss but if they roll an odd number, the dice rollers must kiss. The bride and groom can give the disc jockey the names of several couples to call on.

BONUS Article: Brilliant Ideas for Table Numbers at the Reception

Photo Credit: Top left, Morgan Trinker.

Copyright © 2012 – 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 Cell: 480-205-3694. 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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Monday, December 17, 2012

Here’s a Secret About Wedding Music

Filed under: Music,Receptions,Wedding Music — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Great wedding music has nothing to do with hiring a live band over a Disc Jockey or vice versa.

Planning the perfect wedding day soundtrack – the kind that will have guest tearing up during the ceremony and packing the dance floor until the last song is played at the reception – has everything to do with keeping your guests happy and “entertained.”

dancingHow do you do this? Take a cue from the latest entertainment trends and work with your DJ or band to map out your wedding music – from the time your guests are seated at the ceremony to the last dance of the evening.

Struggling to conjure up thoughts of what you and your guests will be up to once your reception meal is over, and the night becomes young? Whether it’s putting your dancing shoes on for a live band, or dancing to the latest DJ CDs, there’s plenty of options to undertake to keep the action flowing. Many couples think that simply having a DJ, or bringing in a friend’s amateur band is a great and cost-effective way of saving money. Believe me… it’s never a good idea!

If you will be hiring a DJ, make sure that he/she is someone more than someone who just plays music. It’s not rocket science, but it takes skill, experience and a great personality to make a party happen the way you want. An in-depth interview is good but it will not tell you how good a DJ will interact behind the mike in front of a crowd. If he doesn’t have a “great” video showing him in action, shout, “NEXT!” and move on.

A cringe-worthy DJ can cause the reception to be a disaster! Weddings should focus on the bride and groom, not a DJ eager for the spotlight. He should be a Professional – a DJ/Emcee/Entertainer! Pick a DJ who can loosen up a crowd and pick up a lull in the party. He needs to be able to deal with a crowd that just won’t dance, while keeping the reception enjoyable. It’s his job to get the party started and keep people on the dance floor. No cheesy or out-of-date songs. Let the DJ know the kind of genre you’re interested in, but allow him to choose the best way to mix the music.

There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to your wedding music. Collaborate with the DJ. Talk about the music you like and dislike. It takes careful preparation. Coordinate a precise sequence of events for him to follow during the reception. Give him a “no play” list. If a guest requests a song on the no play list he can diplomatically explain to guests that the song they requested is on the no-play list without making the requester feel bad.

Nothing can beat the quality of listening to a professional live band. You might be surprised by the musical depth a “good” band can offer. One indication of a bands versatility: the number of singers. If a band has both female and male singers chances are pretty good that they can perform a wide range of songs.

It’s always worth going the extra mile when it comes to evening entertainment. Spend some money for the very best entertainers you can afford.

Another reminder: Never hire a professional DJ at the last minute. Most of the really good ones book months in advance.

BONUS Article: Hire a DJ Just for the Music? I Don’t Think So!!

Copyright © 2012 – 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 Cell: 480-205-3694. 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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