Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, April 19, 2018

8 Ways to $ave on Wedding Costs & Avoid Debt

CreditCards.com, Guest Author

Ask any soon-to-be bride about her wedding plans, and she’ll pull up elaborate Pinterest boards on her smartphone. With so many amazing ideas accessible at your fingertips, it’s no wonder why today’s engaged couples are under pressure to spend more than ever on their big day.

According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in 2016 cost $35,329 (and that’s not counting the honeymoon!). Besides rising prices, part of the reason may be the desire for custom guest entertainment has more than tripled, from 11 percent to 41 percent since 2009, with couples adding special touches, such as photo booths (78 percent), games (18 percent), musical performances (12 percent) and even fireworks (8 percent) to their events.

With good planning and creativity, however, it’s still possible to have a Pin-worthy wedding without going into debt (or over the top), as these experts reveal.

Take a look at some frugal chic strategies to help you save money on your nuptials:

1. Say ‘I do’ to credit rewards.
If you’re a couple with strong credit, the pre-wedding period is the best time to open a rewards credit card. “If you don’t have a credit card that offers hotel discounts, airline miles or other rewards you should get one,” says Anne Chertoff, WeddingWire’s trends expert. “I signed up for a cash back card before I got married and put everything on it from lunches to bigger ticket items like my photographer,” she says.

Some things to keep in mind: You’ll need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the most generous rewards credit cards. When comparing cards, look for ones that align with your spending style, and that have good sign-up bonuses (you’ll have to spend a certain amount within a time frame, such as $1,000 in three months, in order to get them banked). Then, figure out what type of redemption will benefit you the most. If you don’t travel much, look for a card with points that can be redeemed for anything from rental cars, hotels, airfare or gift cards instead of one just focused on airline miles.

Here’s an idea: “You can use points to purchase gift cards for stores that carry products and supplies you might need to create the centerpieces for your wedding reception, or to buy bridal party gifts,” says Dawn-Marie Joseph, president of Estate Planning and Preservation, and founder of Williamston is Your Wedding Destination, a group of wedding vendors in Williamston, Michigan.

Of course, rewards cards only benefit you if you don’t carry a balance month to month. Once you start paying finance charges on purchases, you’ll cancel out your earnings.

“You can use points to purchase gift cards… supplies you might need to create the centerpieces for your wedding reception, or to buy bridal party gifts.” ~ Dawn-Marie Joseph, Founder, Williamston is Your Wedding Destination

If you can’t pay off the balance right away, you or your intended may want to look into getting a card offering an extended 0 percent promotional rate on purchases; just be sure you have a repayment plan set up to get the balance paid off before the promotional rate expires.

2. Minimize wedding-day travel.
If you find a venue that provides space for both your ceremony and reception, you can save a lot, says Sharon Naylor, author of 35 wedding planning books including “1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding.” “For instance, your floral designer will only need to travel to and from one location, so that cuts down on their travel charges,” she says.

It might also mean that your photographer and videographer will spend fewer hours with you. Also, paying for an officiant is often less pricey than ceremony fees in a house of worship. Plus, if it’s all in one place, you can reduce your limousine costs, or maybe not hire one at all.

3. Scale down the food.
You don’t want to risk your guests going home hungry, but you might be able to lower the menu price per head by working with your caterer, says Naylor.

“You can skip the raw bar and just have seafood accents on some dishes, such as a lobster topping for the mac and cheese station. Or, instead of offering a buffet bowl of shrimp cocktail, have shrimp cocktail hand-passed by servers,” says Naylor. You can also opt for noodles, salads, pastas and other lower-cost selections and reduce the number of meat-carving stations.

For your cake, stick with simpler designs and classic cake flavors and fillings. “Some cakes triple in price when you opt for specialty ingredients,” says Naylor.

4. Fine-tune your flower budget.
“The majority of people don’t know how much flowers cost,” says Joseph. While she recommends going online to get ideas about the bouquet shape and colors you like, don’t get hung up on particular types of flowers unless they have a special meaning to you.

In fact, ask your florist to recommend “nonwedding flowers,” says Naylor. “Gardenias, stephanotis, callas and some other traditional bridal blooms cost a bundle. Your floral expert can suggest some blooms that are not only in season and more affordable, but are super-pretty and can often be acquired in larger masses for more effect,” she says.

Bonus tip: Bridal bouquets can pull double duty as centerpieces or to decorate the head table when placed atop clear cylinder bases or pedestals, says Joseph, and florists often have these inexpensive items on hand.

5. When it makes sense, do it yourself.
“A lot of people think they can save with DIY, but test before you invest,” says Chertoff. She’s seen many brides attempt to do their own wedding accents, and end up paying for professionally designed items at the last minute.

Here are some DIY dos and don’ts:

“A lot of people think they can save with DIY (Do It Yourself), but test before you invest.” ~ Anne Chertoff, Wedding Wires trend expert

  • Do consider DIY favors. If you have an idea that’s nonperishable or can be done well in advance of the event, go for it. Whether it’s creating a custom USB of music or packaging up food that will last (like chocolates), you can find discount supplies and enlist your bridesmaids to help you package them up, says Chertoff.

    But don’t… try to DIY anything that needs to be done during wedding crunch time. Making baked goods or trying to create your own bouquets the day of the event can turn into a disaster.

  • Do a DIY photo booth. Guests will have a blast if you put up a backdrop poster, and set up a prop table with a few selfie sticks (Etsy.com has lots of customizable and affordable ideas). Then, you can ask guests to use a custom wedding hashtag when they post photos so you can see them.

    But don’t… try to get away with not hiring a professional photographer or videographer, says Naylor. “Your wedding photos and video become so much more important in the years to come. Hire a reputable pro, even if prices are higher than some hobbyists you may see advertising out there,” she says.

  • Do create your own signage. There are lots of great ideas online to create customized table seating cards, table numbers, and ceremony and reception signs. If you’re crafty and have the time, you can pull these off with low-cost supplies.

    But don’t… think that doing invitations or programs on your own will save you money. “You might not be aware of just how much ink goes into your invitation, program and other print items until you get started, and by then it’s too late,” says Naylor. Still, there are large price variations based on types of paper and print processes, costs for inserts, and whether you bundle your invitations with your programs, so shop around.

6. Don’t be a designer snob.
For many brides, it’s all about the dress, but finding one that flatters you is more important than the name that is on the label. “There’s nothing wrong with looking at stores like David’s Bridal. Dresses are totally affordable and fashion forward. And high-end designers are creating selections that are stunning,” says Chertoff.

She also recommends shopping sample sales, but only after going dress shopping to try on different styles and see what you like. Otherwise, you’ll end up settling for a gown you’re not crazy about, and cave in to buying a second dress you find later on.

Although it’s unconventional, Joseph says it’s possible to save a lot of money by considering a consignment dress purchase, which is sometimes offered in her boutique, The Wedding Gallery. “I just took in a $2,500 ballgown dress in perfect condition – there’s not one bead out of place,” says Joseph. If you can get past the fact that the dress was already worn – literally for a few hours – you can save a lot.

7. Learn how to manage extras.
Many couples go over their wedding budget by at least 10 percent, says Chertoff. To not have to rely on credit cards, she recommends putting $1,000 into a do-not-touch fund for last-minute surprise costs – such as having to buy large umbrellas if rain is in the forecast, or items for guest hospitality baskets in the restrooms.

Of course, don’t forget that extras are optional. “Your wedding is not the last party you’re ever going to throw,” says Chertoff.

8. Read your contracts carefully.
Another way to get in over your head with wedding spending is by ignoring the fine print. “Make sure you know what’s included, such as if you have to pay extra for valet service; what the payment schedule is; and if credit cards are OK, or do they charge a processing fee,” says Chertoff.

A bit of haggling can go a long way, too. “Ask for a discount if you pay in cash, or are buying in volume,” Joseph says.

There’s no getting around the fact that planning an elegant affair is expensive, but by employing some of these frugal tactics and sticking to your budget, you’ll start your new lives together with not only a grand celebration, but on the right financial footing.

BONUS Articles: 8 Keys to a Harmonious Money Marriage
9 Hidden Wedding Expenses That Caught Me by Surprise
Financial Infidelity Is Cheating!!!
How to Make Money Talks Less Awkward

Copyright © 2018 –  CreditCards.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: 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. Check Larry’s availability

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentContact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

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

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Monday, September 21, 2015

8 Ways to Save Money On Your Wedding!

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Cutting Costs,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 1:18 pm
Tags: , ,

It’s your wedding and you get to say! In my conversations with brides after the wedding, many have told me that they wish they would have skipped some of the smaller stuff so they could have afforded someone who was really great but thought they couldn’t afford them because their fee didn’t align with their budget. Rank your priorities. So, I say to you… Never skimp on what you truly want!

Here are several ways to save money on your wedding without any of your guests noticing.

WED-Save$Cut out the Favors ~ If you have a big wedding, you can spend a lot of money of “personalized” wedding favors. The least expensive way to do wedding favors is not to do them at all. I perform about 70 to 80 weddings a year and recently have noticed that most of the favors are still on the table when the party is over. Most guests won’t miss them.

Reception Shortcuts ~ For most couples, food is their biggest wedding expense. You want to serve something your guests can enjoy, but it’s not necessary to go broke doing so. Go appetizer-only: At an early afternoon wedding, your guests won’t expect a full meal. Serve tasty hors d’oeuvres and save money.

Trim the Guest List ~ This will slash your catering costs and save on invitations and more. Announce your save-the-date by e-mail or phone call. For every 8-10 guests you can remove from your guest list, not only will you save the cost of their meal and bar package, but you will also be able to remove a whole table – including the centerpiece, rental chairs, specialty linen, menu cards, place cards, table number, welcome bags and favors. Keep the numbers down for your wedding party as well: Fewer attendants means less money spent on bouquets, boutonnieres, presents, and transportation.

Skip Anything That’s Not Important to You ~ There is absolutely no reason to purchase something if you truly would prefer not to have it. DIY whenever possible. Utilize discount sites. Do away with aisle runners and programs.

Purchase Flowers by Seasonality, Not Type ~ Work closely with your florist to design your florals based on a style you are looking to achieve rather than favorite types of flowers that may or may not be in season at the time of your wedding. A simple and elegant single stem can make just as strong a statement as a large bouquet. Your florist will be able to offer you flowers you might have never heard of that can help create your look without the excessive cost.

Buy Bridesmaids Dresses in a Department Store ~ If you and your bridesmaids are lucky enough to find a dress you like, in the right color and sizes off the rack in a department store, you might be able to save a bundle this way. Look into stores that are going out of business and ask for a discount price on the last of all of one stock. Bridesmaid dresses are expensive because they are custom and anything custom comes with an increased cost. There is a big opportunity to save here.

Belly Up to the Bar ~ Forget about hard liquor: Hard liquor and mixed drinks cost more than other alcohol. Cut them out and offer choices of beer, wine and soft drinks instead. You can cut this cost altogether by not serving alcohol at all. Consider having a coffee bar with a barista who can whip up espressos, lattes and other specialty coffee drinks.

Hire a “Great DJ” Instead of a Mediocre Band (Emphasis on “Great!”) ~ A great wedding band, like the ones you see in the movies, will cost up to $5,000 and more. Save a bundle by selecting the best DJ you can find who will be professional and can read your crowd. Check references. Skip the friend with a boom-box!

My Best Bonus Tip! Hire an expert to help. Save money by spending it on a wedding planner? It sounds counterintuitive, but wedding planners are not shy when it comes to haggling, can draw from years of experience working with brides on budgets, and have working relationships with vendors – all of which can amount to big bucks shaved off your final bill.

One more thing. A wedding is an incredible celebration. It’s a time to get together with old and new friends to have a really good time. It’s important to be very clear about one thing. The wedding ceremony is the wedding! Most of the wedding details that you work so hard on will be mere memories the next day. Some you won’t even remember. The food will be eaten, the dress put away, the monogrammed napkins crumpled, the flowers wilted, favors left on the table and the party of the year – your reception (intended to celebrate the wedding ceremony) – will be a distance memory. Be smart. The reception is not the most memorable part of a wedding! Even the guests will tell you that. Sure, it’s great to have a terrific party but when you hire the right wedding officiant, the buzz at the reception should be about the wonderful wedding ceremony. Take the time to find the right wedding officiant. I promise… it will be worth it.

BONUS Articles: Save $$’s With a Cake and Punch Reception!
“Oh, About the Reception…”
Is There a Shortage of “Professional/Qualified” Wedding Officiants?
No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony!
Is a Memorable Wedding Officiant Worth the Splurge?

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Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Friday, July 3, 2015

“Oh, About the Reception…”

Larry’s NOTE: Here are a few money saving tips about receptions from the article, “101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding!” Use some of these creative and often non-traditional ideas to cut costs so you can better afford someone whose fee may be out of range without cuts to the budget elsewhere. It’s about reassigning priorities when it comes to who you want to hire and what you can afford. Always hire the best vendor you can afford.

Have a lunch or an afternoon tea reception instead of a sit-down dinner. Guests tend to drink less during the day, so you’ll save on liquor costs.

WEDReceptionTipsIf you prefer an evening reception, but still want to stick to a budget, consider a desserts-only reception. Specify on the invitation that you will be serving desserts, so that guests don’t expect a full meal. Offer a delicious array of sweets: pastries, pies, mousses and a dramatic flaming treat like Bananas Foster. To accompany, serve champagne or prosecco and specialty coffees and teas.

Another increasingly popular choice is the cocktail party reception. Event planner Harriette Rose Katz notes that you’ll save thousands on food and decorations; after all, you can forgo big floral arrangements for your tables and adorn small cocktail tables with candles and modest bunches of blooms.

Hand pass hors d’oeuvres like mini hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and mini quiches. On a multi-tiered table offer finger foods like Italian breads, olives, artichoke hearts and cheeses (at room temperature), finger fruits and salads.

Consider a chic wine-tasting reception. Guests can sample from an array of small dishes at food stations, each matched with a special wine. Printed cards can explain the pairing.

For savings of up to 20 percent, consider family-style dishes: platters of pasta or sliced meat that guests can pass around.

Beware the buffet option. It won’t necessarily cost less than a sit-down dinner because you have to supply more food than you would for a plated meal. Do a cost comparison before you make a decision.

Consider a modified DIY approach: One groom’s cousin baked enchiladas, and the couple ordered more food from local Mexican stores. Hint: Don’t make the wedding meal yourselves — that’s too DIY for your own sanity!

Less is more. The more elaborate the arrangements at your reception, the higher your bill. For simple elegance, consider a few roses, tulips or even orchids submerged in water. Rose petals floating in water in clear bowls are pleasing to look at, too. Be sure to use all kinds of candles to good advantage: Place votives, pillar candles or tapers between floral arrangements and create a stylish look on a shoestring. Must you place flowers on tables? Of course not. Pick one focal point – perhaps the entrance or the front corners of the room – and place just one gorgeous arrangement there.

Trim your bar tab. Cut out the bubbly; guests can toast with whatever they’re drinking. Don’t forget to have some inexpensive (non-alcoholic) drinks on hand. Consider fresh lemonade in tall, sugar-rimmed glasses for a warm-weather wedding or sparkling water with colorful wedges of orange, lemon or lime. Eliminate shots or any drinks that make use of a number of liquors – these all raise your bar tab and aren’t necessary for guests to have fun.

Close the open bar an hour early and offer coffee. You’ll save hundreds of dollars; even better, guests will have a chance to sober up before they head out to the road.

Consider cupcakes. These save money because they require less intricate decoration. Have a dessert buffet. Mini pastries and other tiny sweets are crowd-pleasers. Save money by having only a small cake for your cake cutting.

BONUS Articles: 101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding!
Save $$’s With a Cake and Punch Reception!
Booze: To Serve or Not to Serve
How Much Do You Charge to Perform a Wedding Ceremony?

Copyright © 2015 – BridalGuide.com. BridalGuide.com is a great resource for brides. Hundreds of articles and ideas about all aspects of a wedding. Available at: BridalGuide.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: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Should Married Couples Merge Finances or Keep Them Separate?

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

“Though separate finances have worked for our marriage for nearly 20 years, most people prefer to merge their money when they marry. Some couples keep a single joint account where they put all their money. Others have a seldom-used joint savings account for certain needs but otherwise maintain complete financial autonomy. Most couples fall somewhere in the middle. There’s no one right way to do this; each relationship is different, so the correct choice is the one that works best for you and your partner.

MERGEFinances• If you and your partner make roughly the same amount, you could contribute equally to the joint account, and then keep what’s left over in your personal accounts.
• If one partner makes significantly more than the other, she could fund the joint account entirely on her own and keep the remainder in her personal account. Her husband could simply keep his own income in his personal account to do with as he wishes.
• Some couples use a proportional system: If one partner earns two-thirds of the household income, say, he contributes two-thirds of the joint account. After funding the joint account, the partners can do whatever they want with the leftovers.
• A final option is to use the “adult allowance” system. In this case, both spouses put their entire paycheck into the joint account, and then withdraw a fixed amount into their personal accounts every month.” ~ J.D. Roth

Would love to hear what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the comments section below.

Read more of J.D. Roth’s work here!

BONUS Articles: How to Make Money Talks Less Awkward
Finicky Finances – Who Controls the Checkbook?

Copyright © 2015 – J.D. Roth. J.D. Roth is an accidental personal-finance expert, e.g., a regular guy who found himself deep in debt. After deciding to turn his life around, he read everything he could about money and finance. In 2006, he started the award-winning blog Get Rich Slowly, which Money named the Web’s most inspiring personal-finance blog. Get Rich Slowly has grown into an active community in which thousands of readers every month share ideas on how to improve their financial lives. Roth is the author of Your Money: The Missing Manual and writes for AwesomePeople.com. He lives with his wife and three cats in a hundred-year-old house in Portland, OR.

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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

9 Hidden Wedding Expenses That Caught Me by Surprise

Jennifer Calonia, Guest Author

Anyone who has planned or will plan a wedding can empathize with the horror of seeing expenses creep over their budget. The Knot revealed that the average 2013 wedding cost $29,858 – and that’s not including honeymoon expenses. In my hometown, Los Angeles, the average cost to host a wedding is $38,735 – and that only makes it the 11th most expensive place in the U.S. to get married, according to the survey.

HiddenWeddingExpensesMy wedding isn’t until November 2015, but my fiance and I mapped out a 27-month engagement that would give us time save money for the event. Like any newly engaged couple, we asked ourselves how much we were willing to spend on our big day, but we knew that our large Filipino families would expect us to extend invitations to distant relatives and friends with six degrees of separation from us. My mom’s contribution to the list of guests we needed to invite, for example, included one of her high school friends, that friend’s entire family and her friend’s daughter’s long-term boyfriend.

Some friends recommended that we dodge a traditional wedding by eloping on the cheap. This would save us from spending the equivalent of a home down payment on a single night, but we knew the importance of tempering family cultural expectations with our modest budget.

At this point, we’ve locked in the venue and most of our primary vendors. But along the way, I’ve encountered more than a few surprises and budget-busters.

To read the rest of the article, please click here!

BONUS Articles: Tying Up Loose Ends After the Wedding! – Newlywed To-Do List
10 Hidden Wedding Costs to Watch Out For
30 Unexpected Wedding Costs Brides Forget to Budget For

Larry’s NOTE: It’s very important to have a wedding budget. Not all vendors charge based on those discussed in this article. Please check your contracts with wedding vendors to keep you from experiencing hidden wedding expenses.

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Copyright © 2014 – Jennifer Calonia. Jennifer Calonia is a Los Angeles-based journalist covering consumer tips about banking, savings and other personal finance topics that matter most to your wallet. Her features and savings advice are featured on GOBankingRates, U.S. News, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money. More about Jennifer!

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

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
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Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Postage Stamps = An Unexpected Wedding Cost

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Gratuities for Vendors,Postage,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,

Although postage is one of a very small hidden costs of your wedding, if you are on a tight budget, here are a few things to think about.

extrapostageHopefully you have budgeted enough for the most beautiful letterpress invitations with multiple inserts, including the map, reception card, wedding website card, photo cards, but that’s not the only expense a couple will have when considering stationery and invitations. Remember to budget for postage, additional stationery required, etc.

When setting your invitation budget that you need to not only consider the cost of your invitations and save-the-date cards, but the cost of postage, as well as any additional stationery you may need. Using an example budget of $450 for 100 invitations, consider that you’ll need to budget at least $0.92 minimum (if you are in the US) for postage, since you need a stamp for both the outer envelope and the RSVP envelope.

You may also need to include extra postage if you have an oddly shaped, sized or overweight invitation, which happens fairly frequently. Stationers don’t often advertise the shipping costs; if they did, you might decide to go with less expensive invitations.

You may want to skip the fancy boxed invitations and multilayer cards, which can bulk up quickly and cost a lot more than you bargained for. Those invites are gorgeous, but that awkward square shape means you’ll be paying extra postage per invitation. Even if it’s just 92 cents per invitation, that can add up pretty quickly: It’s an additional $99 for 150 invitations. The cost of oversized, awkwardly shaped and bulky invitations will most often run you as much as $2 each to mail.

Another way to save – consider putting an odd-shaped invitation into a standard-size envelope, so you won’t pay extra. Or skip boxed invitations and cards with multiple layers of paper, which can bulk up quickly and cost more than you have in your budget.

If you’re hoarding your Forever stamps, a regular envelope will cost you 46 cents (2 ounces, 66¢, 3 ounces, 86¢, as of August, 2013 rates) to mail. If you want to be really thorough, remember to budget yet another 1st class stamp for thank-you notes.

Hot Tip: Sometimes people forget to write their name on the RSVP card before returning it to you, so spend a few extra minutes numbering the backs and keeping a corresponding list. This will be a big time saver in the long run.

Here is another item that couples often forget to add to their budget:

Gratuities and Tips ~ Just like tax, gratuities and tips are often left out of the initial wedding budget. Your caterer may tack a whopping 25 percent gratuity onto your bill for the privilege of serving their chicken skewers and manning the beef carving station. It’s in the fine print, so be sure you read over your contracts and estimates carefully. According to some industry insiders, it’s customary to also have tips ready for the wedding officiant/minister, band, DJ, photographer, florist, cake delivery, hairdresser, coatroom attendants, limo driver, bartenders and servers.

BONUS Articles: 10 Hidden Wedding Costs
DIY Invitation Tips from a Hindsight Bride
Tipping Your Wedding Vendors is a Common Courtesy
Accuracy of Your Wedding Guest List Helps You Stay On Budget
The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget
The Best Use of 10% of Your Budget: Hire a Coordinator!

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

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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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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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stats Show the Average Cost of a Wedding in 2012

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Budget — Larry James @ 7:30 am

Are wedding costs declining?

There are many who think so. However, The Knot’s founders say, “No!” Brides are pressing on with having the wedding of their dreams. Here are the average costs of what the approximately 17,500 brides in the survey spent on their weddings in 2012.

2012WeddingCosts

There’s more. Survey finds that wedding budgets continue to rise, brides are focusing on guests; plus first-ever same-sex wedding statistics! Click here!

Copyright © 2013 – The Knot.

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
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Make Money Talks Less Awkward

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Budget,Financial Infidelity,Money Matters — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

Aly Walansky, Guest Author

You can talk to your significant other about what they love, what they hate, where they want to travel and what they want to accomplish. But talking about the root of all those things – money – can be difficult. Financial experts say money and money problems are the leading cause of divorce which means communication is key. Make those money talks less awkward with these tips.

Money-TargetPlan for It

daveramseyHaving a conversation about money isn’t something you want to spring on someone. Instead of bringing it up in the heat of the moment or just before bed, plan your chat ahead of time. Tell your partner you want to go over your finances next Tuesday or Saturday afternoon. Write it down on your calendar in ink. That way you can both be prepared and focused.

Read more of this article. . . Click here! (Not to worry, the article opens in a new browser window).

Larry’s NOTE: Don’t be blindsided by your partner’s debt. If you or your partner are knee deep in credit card debt, you need to talk about it “before” you tie the knot. Waiting until after marriage and then finding out that your partner has $45,000 in credit card debt could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. You must learn to discuss your money as often and thoroughly as necessary and the earlier in your relationship, the better. Financial counseling can help couples with different styles meet somewhere in the middle. Please be honest about money!

BONUS Articles:100 Ways to Cut Wedding Costs
Splitting the Wedding Costs
Get Out of Debt with the Debt Snowball Plan” by Dave Ramsey, author of “The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

alyCopyright © 2013 – Aly Walansky. Aly is the beauty and fashion editor for MyGloss.com, a style columnist for SheKnows.com as well as a contributor to publications ranging from Huffington Post to About.com. While she is well-known for her beauty and style writing — New Beauty Magazine rated her one of the top four beauty bloggers on the web in their Winter 2010 issue and Star Magazine rated her the hottest blogger on the Internet this summer – she’s rather diversified in the blogosphere – she’s been hired to live-blog from locations ranging from the Miss America pageant to the Emmy Awards. Diversified, sure, but her true passion exists in the worlds of beauty and style, and she is quoted in countless publications on a weekly basis, and has appeared as a beauty expert on the FOX network and various radio programming. Aly currently resides in New York City, where she focuses on the travel, beauty/spa, and fashion writing realm. Visit Aly’s BLOG.

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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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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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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Average Wedding Costs in Maricopa County, AZ

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Budget,Vendor Fees,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Every bride is faced with a million choices and let’s face it, she really doesn’t know what to do with all of them. She wants a beautiful wedding and so assumes that she wants all the bells and whistles. In reality however she couldn’t afford the bells and whistles and probably doesn’t even need them. Starting your happily-ever-after with a stack of bills can add an incredible strain to your relationship.

On average, couples that live in Maricopa, AZ (County) spend between $19,175 and $31,959 on their wedding. You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services. The amount you pay may also be affected by the number of guests you invite.

weddingcostsThe average wedding cost is based on number of guests estimated between 120 and 140. A single guest could add between $177 and $216 to the overall cost of your wedding. The best way to save money on your wedding is to control the number of guests. You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services. Investigate all options and choose products and services that best meet your needs.

• Dress accessories includes; Tiara, Combs, Hair Pins, Garter, Shoes, Jewelry (not the engagement ring or wedding bands), etc.
• Tuxedo/suit/other accessories includes; Cuff links, Cummerbund, Tie, Pocket Square, Shoes, Jewelry (not the engagement ring or wedding bands), etc.
• Ceremony accessories includes; Aisle Runner, Ring Pillow or Box, Unity Candle, etc. not flowers or decorations
• Wedding Officiant includes; Justice of the Peace, Officiant, Ordained Friend or Family, Pastor, Minister, Priest, etc.
• Other transportation includes; Shuttles, Antique Car, Horse & Carriage, etc.
• Reception accessories includes; Toasting Flutes, Cake Topper, Serving Set, etc. not flowers or decorations
• Reception rentals includes; Lighting, Tent, Tables, Chairs, Photo Booth, etc.

Cities Included in the above: Aguila AZ – Arlington AZ – Avondale AZ – Buckeye AZ – Carefree AZ – Cashion AZ – Cave Creek AZ – Chandler AZ – Chandler Heights AZ – El Mirage AZ – Fort McDowell AZ – Fountain Hills AZ – Gila Bend AZ – Gilbert AZ – Glendale AZ – Glendale Luke AFB AZ – Goodyear AZ – Higley AZ – Laveen AZ – Litchfield Park AZ – Mesa AZ – Morristown AZ – New River AZ – Palo Verde AZ – Paradise Valley AZ – Peoria AZ – Phoenix AZ – Queen Creek AZ – Rio Verde AZ – Scottsdale AZ – Sun City AZ – Sun City West AZ – Surprise AZ – Tempe AZ – Tolleson AZ – Tonopah AZ – Tortilla Flat AZ – Waddell AZ – Wickenburg AZ – Wittmann AZ – Youngtown AZ. (Source: http://www.costofwedding.com)

A Wedding Costs a House Down Payment

These are the numbers. According to CostOfWedding.com, which is produced by a market-research company collecting information for the wedding industry, the average wedding in the U.S. costs about $25,631, possibly more depending on where you live. That is a down payment on a very nice house here – or the whole house, in large swaths of the country – and an amount many claim they just can’t manage to save up.

creditcarddebtSo ask yourself: You want to take that amount and blow it on a one-day party, or you want to use it to create an investment that’ll end up paying your kids’ tuition if you play it right? And if your answer is the former, holy crap. Are you bipolar?

The website goes on to list all the expenses you should take into account when planning a wedding. Things like gifts for the parents, wedding favors, a “traditional leather bound album” for the photos, flower-girl petals. According to the Association of Wedding Professionals, the wedding industry nets about $86 billion per year. That’s billion with a “B.”

That is a lot of people counting on you getting starry-eyed about your wedding. Just like Las Vegas counts on chumps who think they’re going to beat the craps table, and the tobacco industry counts on weak-willed copycats who feel rebellious when they emulate Courtney Love.

jackzieglerCartoonThis idea that you deserve a wedding is not the point; of course you deserve a wonderful day. But what you deserve even more is financial security and a debt-free future. So plan a wedding based in reality, and who you are and what kind of wife you want to be: supportive, smart and with two feet firmly in reality.

You’re not a princess, princess. He’s not a prince. You’re both smart cookies. Choose your wedding vendors wisely.

Your wedding budget and spending styles should be discussed before you tie the knot, and communication about money should be maintained throughout your marriage. Remember, pretending money issues don’t exist doesn’t actually make them disappear.

Larry’s NOTE: A special “Thank you” to Amy Keyishian for her contribution to this article. She has been a staff writer for Cosmopolitan Magazine, a freelance writer for Glamour, Self, Maxim and other magazines, and now blogs for Learnvest as well as Recipe.com, Kveller and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family in San Francisco.

BONUS Articles: Post-Wedding Credit Card Blues? Here’s the Solution!
5 Tips To Help Safeguard Your Wedding Day
How Much Do You Charge to Perform a Wedding Ceremony?

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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