Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Give a Door Prize at the Reception Instead of Favors

Filed under: Favors,Gifts,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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The cost of a wedding can be astronomical. Depending on your wedding budget and the number of guests, it may be difficult to buy wedding favors for everybody. Although most wedding favors are priced reasonably, the cost can add up if you’re having a large wedding.

Wed-DoorPrizeThe point of a favor is to acknowledge and thank your guests for coming to your wedding. Many couples shell out hundreds of dollars on junky favors that will just get thrown away or left on the table when the guests leave the reception. Instead of buying hundreds of cheap wedding favors, why not consider one big wedding favor as a “door prize” at the wedding reception?

When it comes to the wedding favors it’s completely up to you what you do. Make a note on the invitations that one lucky guest will go home with a very special gift. Ideas for that big wedding favor gift include:

• A large basket filled with a personalized wine bottle, candles, chocolates, wedding napkins, etc.
• A Vera Wang Toasting Flutes Set
• Centerpiece
• A golf bag
• A chocolate basket
• A beautiful pen and stationery set
• A spa package
• A gift certificate to a boutique or restaurant
• Pick up the tab for one night at a nice hotel
• A special portrait session with your photographer

Door prizes should be gender neutral and are usually awarded on a lottery basis to the holder of a certain ticket. An easy way to award door prizes at a wedding reception is to number the backs of all of the place cards that wedding guests will pick up to find out what table they have been assigned to. Then, have the DJ randomly draw numbers during the reception and award fun door prizes that are in line with the theme or destination of your wedding.

One way to do this is to place a sticker underneath one chair at each table and have the DJ make an announcement to check the chairs to see who gets to take the centerpieces home. Or what about the couple with the closest anniversary day to the newlyweds? Ask your DJ if he/she can offer some suggestions.

Or… Instead of giving the guests a small favor, use the money budgeted for favors and make a charitable donation. A charity gift is a memorable way to thank family and friends for sharing this special day with you.

If you need to be frugal or must cut something out completely, favors would be the wise choice. Most people will not even notice if you eliminate favors.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. The idea is to buy one great wedding gift in lieu of hundreds of inexpensive wedding favors. Depending on the number of people at the wedding, those “inexpensive” wedding favors can really add up.

BONUS Article: Do Me a (Wedding) “Favor”… or Not!

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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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Saturday, October 3, 2015

DIY Wedding Centerpieces

Jane Blanchard, Guest Author

WED-CenterPiecesMany couples are trying to cut costs during the wedding planning process and centerpieces are one easy place to save money if you get a little crafty and do-it-yourself. We love finding all of the unique DIY ideas that brides and wedding professional come up with and are sharing our favorites with you. If you’ve chosen the DIY route for your wedding décor, feel free to get inspired by these creative, beautiful and easy do-it-yourself centerpiece ideas.

Recycled and Gorgeous

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This gorgeous centerpiece captures the raw beauty of nature with a sweet feminine touch. Using a basswood or birch slab as your base, top off the wood with a lace-clad Mason jar and twine-wrapped wine bottle. Fresh flowers add a healthy dose of color to this neutral palette, so fill the jar and bottle with roses, baby’s breath and other greenery to brighten it up. All of the materials for this project can be purchased in bulk; and it makes for a great craft night with your bridesmaids! You have to get those wine bottles from somewhere, right?

Gold & Sparkly

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Add an ultra glam touch to your tables without the high price tag. Fill a small round vase with water, and then add a heap of thick gold glitter or confetti. Once the glitter has settled to the bottom, stuff the opening with fresh flowers in colors that complement your wedding palette. You’ll have a chic, modern centerpiece in minutes with this simple DIY.

Mossy Magic

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These are seriously adorable and really easy to create if you live in area with lots of moss (hello Pacific Northwesterners!). Just fill old cans or jars with some cheap filler (like packing materials), harvest moss from your yard or nearby forest and voila! For an even more unique look this couple covered the cans in vintage wallpaper but we think they’d look great plain too!

Ribbon Lanterns

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For a fun bohemian look make some little lanterns out of jars, ribbon and little tea lights. Again, you can coordinate the ribbon colors with your wedding theme or go for a more eclectic look by reusing old ribbons from your craft bin and making each lantern unique.

Book Lover’s Vibe

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Hit up a local book sale, thrift shop or rummage sale to find vintage books to make up this unique centerpiece. Top a stack of old hardcovers with a Mason jar of flowers, and you’ll have an easy yet elegant focal point for your guest tables. Bonus points if you use books beloved to you and your betrothed (that means you’ll get to keep them in the family library!).

Mercury & Succulents

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Mercury glass is all the rage right now, but the cost of the real thing has the potential to drive up your wedding budget. Faux mercury glass can be achieved in just a few quick steps, and your guests won’t even be able to tell a difference! Coat the inside of a glass container with Krylon Looking Glass spray paint, then spritz the wet paint with a vinegar and water solution. Dab at the inside of the glass with a paper towel to distress the paint to your liking. Once the paint is dry, add some fresh flowers or succulents and arrange as you see fit!

Clever Paint Stick Box

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Can you believe this beautiful display started as a pile of paint stirrer sticks? This DIY centerpiece is sure to wow your guests, and you’ll be amazed at the simplicity of this project! Just apply wood stain the stirrers, fasten them together with strong glue and a few staples, and you’ll have a fabulous floral display box to decorate as you like. No woodworking classes needed!

BONUS Articles: Centerpieces… Plan With Your Guests in Mind
For the Love of DIY Wedding Flowers!
Get More for Your Wedding Floral Budget

Copyright © 2015 – Jane Blanchard. For more DIY ideas, head to Modernize.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
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

10 Hen Party Tips to Avoid Any Bridal Party Tantrums

Alice Rimes, Guest Author

Banish bridal party tantrums and dramas for good with these 10 top tips for planning the perfect hen celebration!

Make it affordable ~ Your dream hen party may consist of a luxury break abroad, but not everyone can afford such a lavish trip, so be considerate. Hen parties can be expensive, plus your girls may have to take annual leave from work to attend if you plan it on a weekday. Weekend parties at home are just as much fun and cost less.

WED-HenPartyTipsFun for all ~ Not all your hens will be into the same things as you and although it’s your party, try to choose activities you’ll all enjoy. Why not put it to the vote?

Have a pre-party introduction ~ Try to arrange a gathering with your girls before the party so they all get to know one another. This can sometimes be difficult to organize but it will be well worth it if they’re familiar with each other before the weekend away.

Put someone in charge ~ It’s always best to have one person organize the day rather than having several girls arranging different things. Make sure this person is organized but not too bossy, or it won’t go down well. Plus, this person should not be you!

Body hang-ups ~ Hot-tubbing it in a bikini and wearing skimpy fancy dress might sound great to you, but are all your girls happy to flaunt their flesh? That’s something to think about when planning a hen party!

Keep everyone entertained ~ Think about the time in between the activity and the club. Collect up board games, a karaoke machine, iPod player and more for hotel entertainment.

Stay together ~ You must stick together! Not only is it safer and reduces the chance of someone getting lost, it also avoids any awkwardness – there’s nothing more annoying than girls having in-jokes that exclude the other hens.

Get some sleep! ~ We know what you’re thinking – yeah right! But you don’t want Sunday’s activities to be ruined by Saturday night’s hangover.

Larry’s NOTE: If you are going to have a hen party, schedule it several days “before” the wedding day!

Buy them a thank you gift ~ Your hens have spent a lot of money to celebrate with you, so show them how much you appreciate their efforts by buying them a little gift to say thanks. This could be something they can use on the hen night itself. We’ve got some brilliant buys in the Wedding Ideas Shop.

Have a kitty for expenses ~ Make sure you have extra petty cash when planning a hen party. Whether it’s for a taxi or lunch, it’s not fair for one person to pay and be owed money from the rest of the party, so have a pot to pay for minor expenses.

For more hen tips, including our fabulous hen party A-Z list where you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll love, head to our Hen Party section on the website. It’s full of ideas and advice for you and your hens, so have a look!

BONUS Articles: 6 Things Bridesmaids Do That Really Annoy the Bride
Cloned “look alike” Bridesmaids
So, You’re a Bridesmaid… What Now?
Brides! Should You Fire Your Bridesmaid?
8 Things You Should Never Do at a Hen Party

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Copyright © 2015 – Alice Rimes. Amy is a writer for Wedding Ideas Magazine featuring hundreds of ideas for weddings, honeymoons and more.

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Military Wedding Guide

Army Bride, Guest Author

Since today is Memorial Day and I am marrying my very own military man, I decided to write a post about military weddings. I myself am not having a military wedding, since my fiancé didn’t seem too interested in wearing his dress blues. However, there are many people out there that do decide to have one. A military wedding isn’t really too different from a typical wedding.

WED-MilitaryWeddingMany decide to have the ceremony and reception on a military base, but it’s not necessarily the location that makes a military wedding. It’s the attire. Each branch has their own rules and uniforms that are to be worn in a wedding. The type of uniform depends on the style of the wedding, the time of day, the season and their government-issued uniform manual.

Below are a few tips, courtesy of The Military Wedding by Vanessa L. Baldwin.

• For very formal or formal weddings (i.e., a white or black-tie affair) a Mess Dress Uniform should be worn. Semi-formal evening weddings should also use the Mess Dress Uniform but for a daytime semi-formal wedding a Class-A or Service dress uniform is appropriate.

• If the groom or groomsmen are military then they must be in uniform. Non-military groomsmen must wear civilian attire of equal formality. Groomsmen who are members of a different service than the groom (Army instead of Navy, for example) must wear a uniform of comparable formality.

• A military bride the option of wearing their uniforms (if applicable) or may elect to wear appropriate civilian attire, a traditional white wedding gown. Although military bridesmaids also have the option of wearing appropriate civilian attire, it is important to note that they must be in military uniform if they are to participate in the sabre arch. Non-military bridesmaids should wear civilian attire of equal formality.

• Active or retired military mothers/fathers of the bride or groom may wear a uniform of matching formality to that of the bride and groom or may wear appropriate civilian attire.

• Guests who are active or retired military may wear their uniforms or may wear traditional formal attire. Be sure to give an indication to the level of formality desired as part of the wedding invitations. Adding “Mess dress uniform invited”, “Class A uniform invited”, or “Service dress uniform invited” will suffice for members of the military.

VanessaBaldwinAnother unique part of a military wedding is cutting the wedding cake with a saber or sword belonging to the groom, if he owns one. Traditionally the groom presents his sword to the bride, and together they cut the first slice of wedding cake. One important note is to remember to have napkins ready to clean the sabre after the cake cutting. If the sabre is placed in its sheath before being cleaned then icing and sugar will dry inside and be a real pain to clean up later.

Another really cool military wedding tradition is the arch of the sabers/swords. The Army and Air Force will use sabers and the Navy and Marines will use swords. The arch is not mandatory but if it is to be done it should include 6-8 officers, usually uniformed groomsmen and bridesmaids but other uniformed guests may participate to meet the numbers. Tradition varies across the branches and those forming the arch, but commonly the arch team leader will announce the couple before they enter the arches and then the last saber pair will lower their sabers and demand a kiss before passing. Some saber arches may even demand kisses at every pass!

BONUS Article: A Guide to Military Weddings

Photo Credit: Gwyneth Colleen Photography

Copyright © 2015 – Vanessa L. Baldwin. Vanessa L. Baldwin is the President and Senior Consultant of Elegant Beginnings, a wedding consulting and planning service in Northern Virginia.Ms. Baldwin is a graduate of University of Maryland BaltimoreCounty and Howard University School of Social Work, Washington, DC. After professional experience as a social caseworker and a social science analyst, Ms. Baldwin was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. Ms. Baldwin retired from the Air Force in 1998.

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

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

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

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Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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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, September 21, 2015

8 Ways to Save Money On Your Wedding!

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Cutting Costs,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 1:18 pm
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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
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Collaborative Wedding Budget

Cherie Johnson, Guest Author

For husbands-and-brides-to-be with large, extended families, they often find that both sets of parents, and perhaps even grandparents, want to chip in to help defray the soaring cost of today’s weddings, which, on average, come in at a whopping $20,000. Many couples, too, are electing to pick up the rest of the slack. Corralling so many people who want to help with the wedding budget can be a virtual nightmare though.

Before simply accepting their good wishes and checks, the very first thing you should do is to sit down with your fiancé and chart a course of action to ensure you’ve covered every element of your wedding that requires a significant contribution. Planning a wedding with a budget in mind comes down to knowing what you’re looking for in terms of venue, vendors, and necessities – this, however, can be easily put to rest with a systematic budget planning roadmap.

WED-Collaborative-BudgetPlanning a Wedding with a Budget in Mind

An itemized wedding budget detailing the specifics – such as the dress, food/drinks, venue, flowers, and band – will ensure you’ve covered all the major aspects of your wedding day. At the top of your worksheet, spreadsheet, or what have you, list what you’ve decided is a reasonable amount to spend on the wedding.

On the left-hand side, make each specific and significant element that you must or would like to have a line item. For instance, the ceremony, which encompasses the venue/place or worship, wedding officiant, and any licenses, would be listed here.

Decide on a true and honest estimate of what you’re willing to spend planning a wedding on a budget, and then, at a later date, add what you actually spent so that you can keep accurate track of your finances. Other items in the left hand column should consist of things such as the reception (food/drinks, cake, favors, venue, etc.); wedding attire (bride’s clothing and shoes, makeup, hair, groom’s clothing and accessories); rings/jewelry; flowers (for the entire party and at both venues); music/band/DJ; photography; transportation (if applicable); invitations and signage; and anything else that would cause a significant dent in your wedding budget.

Remember to include such essential fees as tips for vendors (about 15 to 20%), trial hair and makeup sessions, and dress/tuxedo cleanings and pressings.

As far as planning a wedding on a budget with your parents, his parents, and any other well-wishers (step parents perhaps), show them your finalized wedding budget at an informal, yet constructive meeting. Discuss costs and who can realistically afford what. In days past, it was common – and expected – for the bride’s parents to pay for everything, a modern dowry in a sense.

Today’s weddings no longer involve such a considerable sacrifice, though it is still carried out by many traditionalists. At this meeting, you’ll want to discuss how the payments will be made; maybe your parents would like to split something or pay for one segment of the wedding entirely. Will they be giving you one lump sum in a check or visiting vendors with you to pay upfront? Such concerns about planning a wedding on a budget should be dealt with by a frank talk that involves all parties.

Many wedding budget planners suggest opening a separate wedding account at your bank that’s not linked with any of your personal accounts. This simple action will help you more carefully figure out what’s been spent on the wedding and where the funds are going. You should also set aside an additional 5 to 10% of your overall wedding budget should mishaps arise.

The likelihood that you will go over your budget is almost a given; the amount to which you do can be controlled, in most instances, by careful wedding planning, and that budget of 5 to 10% extra you’ve stashed away will come in handy. Scaling back from the get-go is a huge help; this includes things like not having a buffet (wasted food), having fewer bridesmaids, and offering just wine and beer at the reception (alcohol is a major expenditure).

Still, if these are must-haves, just be cautious of vendors who try to upsell you to some better, improved service that you probably don’t need. Research is a crucial part of planning a wedding on a budget, so make sure you do your fair share before visiting vendors and venues.

Fine-tuning Your Wedding Budget for Success

Far too many couples forget about planning a wedding with a budget in mind and have a bang-up, blow-out bash that ends up putting them in the red. Add that to any other debts, and you’re starting your marriage – which should be thoroughly exciting – with a gray cloud over your heads. A well-planned wedding budget that’s done from the start – with nothing unaccounted for – will ensure that you can mosey off to your honeymoon with nothing else to worry about but enjoying yourselves.

BONUS Articles: How to Make Money Talks Less Awkward
Beware of “Cheap” Wedding Vendors!
Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!
Post-Wedding Credit Card Blues? Here’s the Solution!

Larry’s NOTE: This article was originally published at http://Blog.WeddingPlanningInstitute.com.

cherie-johnsonCopyright 2015 – Cherie Johnson. Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, the premier site for unique anniversary, baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceañera, and wedding favors. Her wedding ideas have also benefited readers of many websites, including Women Of, Wedding Lenox, and The Wedding Guide. Before establishing Creative Wedding Favors in 2006, she worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing all the special moments of the nuptials and ceremony. Cherie live in the York, Pennsylvania Area.

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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.

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, September 13, 2015

Treat your Wedding Vendors with Love!

You’ve had your big day! No unexpected hitches! Everything flowed smoothly. And then… hopefully a terrific honeymoon. What’s next?

Hmmm. Let’s see. Perhaps you should first jot out a few “thank you” notes for all the great gifts your guests gave you.

Here is a quick gift tip: To keep track of gifts, place the name, address and phone number of each guest on a 3 x 5 index card. Store the cards alphabetically. As you open your wedding gifts, list the gift information on the appropriate card. When it comes time to write your thank-you notes, all the information you’ll need will be at your finger tips.

One hundred dollar billsPlan this one in advance: It is a common courtesy on your wedding day to make sure your wedding vendors are fed at the reception. You should expect to feed your photographers, videographers, DJ, Wedding Officiant/Minister, and musicians. Most caterers will usually ask you what provision you want to be made for these service providers during your wedding reception and will make some suggestions as to menus and seating arrangements.

Prior to the wedding day be sure to agree with the caterers and confirm to the individual service providers where they will eating at the reception. You will also be expected to bear the costs of drinks for the above mentioned wedding suppliers on your wedding day. Remember to invite your Minister/Officiant and his partner to the reception. He is usually seated at a reserved table with the parents of the Bride and Groom or nearby.

Some venues reserve a table at the reception for the vendors. It is not considered good wedding etiquette to seat your Minister at the vendor table. Request that your Minister be seated with the guests. This is a better idea and is a sign of respect. It allows your family and friends the opportunity to offer their “thank yous” for a job well done.

IMPORTANT: By the way, if the minister is invited to the reception and you have assigned seating, be sure to add the minister’s name to the guest list. (It’s embarrasing for the minister to have to ask where he should sit if you forget to have a place card with his name and table number on it.)

Most likely you have already expressed your gratitude with a generous tip for their services. Other than the bride herself, it’s the wedding vendors that make a wedding truly beautiful and special. Wedding tips are commonly overlooked when couples set up their wedding budget. It is important to calculate as much as possible prior to your wedding how much you can afford to tip your wedding suppliers.

Next, how about taking a few minutes and writing a few “thank yous” (I call them Love Notes) to all the vendors that did their part to make your wedding a great success. Is this a “have to?” No, however it’s a nice gesture that tells them that you are grateful for their participation in your wedding.

Wedding professionals do a lot of behind-the-scene work that if done properly, most people won’t even notice. That fact by itself is a reason to send them a quick note of appreciation. But, what if your vendor went above-and-beyond what you would call exceptional service?

Want to know a secret? Wedding professionals LOVE testimonials! It is a great reminder of happy clients and let’s face it, it’ll help them book future clients.

One great way to show a wedding vendor some gratitude for their outstanding service at your wedding is to post some stellar reviews of them on some popular wedding vendor rating websites such as Wedding Wire, Project Weddings and other Wedding Websites. Unlike personal written thank-you notes, customer testimonials are a public recommendation to potential clients that a certain vendor is professional, reliable and newlywed approved.

These sites have become popular resources for planning couples that are trying to decide which vendors to choose and work with in their local area. Your online review and testimonial not only helps build their professional credentials, it creates an atmosphere of helping, support and guidance. Every planning bride would appreciate seeing more of that.

I frequently post these “Rave Reviews” on my Wedding Website at: http://www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com/ravereviews.html.

BONUS Article: Grandma Betty, Thank You for Your Thoughtful Wedding Gift!

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

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
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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Duties of a Bridesmaid

WED-BeingABridesmaid

Being-a-Bridesmaid

BONUS Articles: Prepare a “Must Have” Wedding Day Emergency Kit
Brides! Should You Fire Your Bridesmaid?
6 Things Bridesmaids Do That Really Annoy the Bride
Cloned “look alike” Bridesmaids
So, You’re a Bridesmaid… What Now?

Copyright 2015 – Loyes Diamonds. Visit their Website @ www.LoyesDiamonds.ie/type/wedding-rings

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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.

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.

letsbefriends2

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

Saturday, September 5, 2015

7 Dos and Don’ts For an Adults-Only Wedding

Ivy Jacobson, Guest Author

Simply put, your wedding guest list is ultimately up to you. If you want a child-free celebration, do it. That said, there are a few sticky scenarios that tend to come up when kids aren’t welcome at the wedding. Our advice? Tread lightly and follow these tips.

Adults-only wedding invitation wording

WED-NoKidsDO properly address the invitation

To make it clear from the start that your wedding is adults-only, address your invitations to exactly who is invited – or some guests with children might assume their whole family is invited. You can also go the extra mile and write in their exact names on the response card (just like you addressed them on the outer envelope), and then all they’ll have to do is check “will attend” or “will not attend.” That way, it will be clear that “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” are the guests invited.

DON’T print “adults-only” on the invitation

Even if you want to go one step further to specify that your wedding is adults-only by writing it on the invitation, that’s an easy way to hurt feelings. Having a child-free wedding can be a very sensitive issue to some — especially with family members and close friends with multiple children. For a more tactful approach, have family members, wedding party members and friends spread the word to other guests so they have lots of time to secure a babysitter.

DO feel free to put a note onto your wedding website

Your wedding website is a place to put catchall information about your wedding, like your registries, transportation options, dress code and other pertinent items. This is an appropriate place to also mention that your wedding ceremony and reception are adults-only and provide any babysitting options in the area.

Children in the wedding party

DO have a flower girl and ring bearer (if you want!)

It’s fine to have as many flower girls, ring bearers, junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen as you want – they’re part of the wedding party, after all. But if you don’t want them at the reception and just at the ceremony, remember they’re kids and they’ll feel like they’re missing out. In that case, it’s good to come up with a plan or treat for them instead, like throwing them a small pizza party and hiring a babysitter and a magician or face painter to entertain them.

WED-NoKids3DON’T make it an “adults-mostly” reception

And while you can have children in your wedding party and still have an adults-only reception, you have to be mindful not to bend the rules for other people with children. If you let some guests bring their families and not others, it might look like you hand-selected which children were and weren’t invited – and that could lead to a pretty uncomfortable situation. Inviting children just to the ceremony isn’t a good solution either, since they might see other kids going to the party when they have to go home or to a babysitter.

Dealing with hurt feelings

DO call any guests who assume their children are invited

This is the hard part. If you do hear from family members who are questioning why your younger cousins, nieces and nephews aren’t allowed to come, that’s normal. To clear up the sensitive issue, call them and explain that you can’t invite everyone you’d like to due to “budget constraints.” Even if it’s not true, it’s always the best excuse to ward off any further questions or protests.

DON’T back down

It might be an uncomfortable chat, but don’t back down. You and your partner get to decide who’s invited to the wedding, period. It’s completely fair to want an adults-only wedding. But if you have a truly angry guest on your hands, it’s a kind gesture to look into hiring a babysitter to watch a few children during the evening at the hotel. They can have a party of their own with kid-friendly food and fun activities.

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

Copyright 2015 – Ivy Jacobson. This article by Ivy Jacobson originally appeared on TheKnot.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: 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.

letsbefriends2

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Celebrate the Spirit of Aloha at Your Wedding!

Have a Hawaiian themed wedding! It’s the next thing to being in paradise! There are lots of ways to thrill and excite your guests at the wedding and the reception. If you aren’t able to have your wedding in Hawaii you can still make your dream Hawaiian wedding come true!

WED-HawaiianThemeEncourage your guests to wear aloha attire; Hawaiian shirts & skirts. This lets them know they can show up in the aloha spirit instead of the usual formal wedding attire, plus it adds a ton to your reception’s island atmosphere and the photos of your wedding.

Begin by sending Hawaii theme invitations to your guests. You can make them yourself or buy some really fancy invitations with a Hawaiian theme. Dress up Hawaiian, take a photo and order PhotoStamps for your invitations. Have the invitations sent from the city of Bridal Veil, Oregon (See link below in BONUS Articles) to your guests in the Greater Phoenix area or anywhere in the US.

In the Hawaiian Islands leis are given as a symbol of love, respect and appreciation. There is no wrong way to incorporate leis in a wedding. Have your wedding party wear Leis. The Wedding Officiant too. For a Hawaii theme wedding a bride can wear a lei on her head rather than a traditional veil. The head lei is know as a haku and sits like a crown of flowers on the brides head. Have a hula girl greet your guests with leis.

A tropical alternative to the flower girl dropping rose petals is to have her drop lifelike silk plumeria blooms. The flower girl can carry the orchids in a traditional basket or for more of a beach theme in a beach pail. Be sure to bring in plenty of beautiful flowers as they will help to capture what this wedding theme is all about. Exotic, tropical flowers and plants help to make a beautiful backdrop and so do some gorgeous eye popping colors.

I did a Hawaiian themed wedding recently at the bride and groom’s home. They had a truck deliver a load of sand in their back yard and invited the guests to feel the sand between their toes by going barefoot during the ceremony and reception. It made it feel like a wedding on a Hawaiian beach. They added tiki lamps, had chocolate covered macadamia nuts as favors, and a signature drink like a pineapple martini. They hired several Hawaiian belly dancers and Fire dancers to put on a 30-minute eye-popping show for their guests.

Rather than the ring bearer using a pillow for a more tropical twist have him carry the rings in a real sea shell, coconut shell or tropical wooden bowl. An abalone shell or a oyster shell work great.

With a little imagination, a Hawaiian themed ceremony can be as distinctive as the couple getting married. There are all sorts of creative ways to personalize your wedding ceremony. Learn to say, “I love you” in Hawaiian and say it to each other during your ceremony. Click here to listen to how to say it. In Hawaii it is common for the wedding couple to have a circle of blooms mark the spot where they will exchange vows. I suggest a heart-shaped circle of flowers. The circle of flowers is symbolic of their never ending love for one another and their eternal pledge they commit to one another in the circle. The wedding couple stands in the circle and the wedding officiant stands outside the circle.

The bride and groom can have the Wedding Officiant ( The big Kahuna 😉 ) perform a simple binding of hands during the ceremony using a maile lei (a flowering Hawaiian vine, of the genus Alyxia, used to make lei), symbolizing their sacred union. (Similar to the Handfasting Ceremony).

HawaiianCakeHave a hula girl greet your guests with leis and invite them to sign the guest register. Rather than wearing leis from the start of the wedding some wedding couples incorporate a lei exchange as part of the wedding ceremony. Like the exchange of rings the exchange of leis symbolizes love, respect, appreciation.

It is easy to turn a simple cake or a formal wedding cake into a Hawaii theme cake by adding an adorable Hawaiian kissing couple cake topper, lifelike silk plumeria blooms, lifelike silk leis, or fresh tropical flowers to the cake. The top of the cake can be decorated in plumeria and hibiscus sugar flowers. While the other tiers include various Hawaiian themed items like flip flops, the Hawaiian islands, a ukulele, turtles and of course the traditional Hawaiian Lei. My friend, Sue Jacobs, Master Wedding Cake Designer @ Sue Jacobs Cakes can fix you up!

Acknowledge special people at the wedding with Leis. For significant people who will be attending the wedding but who are not in the wedding party like the parents and/or grandparents of the wedding couple, children of the wedding couple, god parents of the wedding couple and have the wedding officiant offer a special way to acknowledge them and have them stand out as special people at the wedding.

Incorporate the Blending of the Sands ceremony as part of your Hawaiian themed wedding. Go overboard. Contact someone who lives in Hawaii and have them send you several ounces of sand from a Hawaiian beach to be used in the sand ceremony. The Wedding Officiant can start this part of the ceremony by pouring the “Hawaiian sand” and tell your guests where the sand came from.

Have your DJ play romantic Hawaiian music before, during, and after the ceremony. Here is a list of Hawaiian songs compliments of www.AlohaFriends.com.

AlohaHawaiian Wedding Song performed by Elvis Presley
Ke Kali Nei Au – The Hawaiian Wedding Song performed by Makaha Sons
Love and Honesty by The Hawaiian Style Band
I’ll Weave A Lei Of Stars For You by the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders
Kiss You In The Morning by Kalaeloa
Stuck On You by Ekolu
Honestly by Ekolu
Better Together by Jack Johnson
My Best Friend – Keahiwai
• For the First Time – Keali’i Reichel
In My Life – by The Beatles; performed & interpreted by Keali’i Reichel
Mele ‘Ohana – by Keali’i Reichel
Somewhere Over the Rainbow & What A Wonderful World – performed by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (Larry’s favorite!)

The true Hawaiian theme is about a beach, beautiful colors, a few exotic twists, and making this a gorgeous backdrop for your special day. You will never forget it and your guests won’t either!

Why go to Hawaii when you can experience the islands right here in Arizona? The Hukilau Hawaiian Village features cascading waterfalls, koi fish ponds, authentic tikis, and live entertainment. You’re sure to feel the spirit of Aloha as if you were in Hawaii.

So… where do you go for your honeymoon? I recommend Hawaii – the Big Island of Hawaii. I love Kona, Hawaii.

OR… plan a destination wedding “in” Hawaii and invite me to perform my romantic wedding ceremony on the beach! I will go anywhere your budget allows. 😉

Larry’s NOTE: A very special “thank you” to Mike & Kim Crinella of http://www.AlohaFriends.com for allowing me to borrow some of their ideas from their Hawaiian website. Visit their shop for items that are appropriate for Hawaiian weddings below.

HawaiinClothing

BONUS Article: Pull Off a Hawaiian Luau Wedding Reception Anywhere – With Ease
How to Throw a Hawaiian Wedding Reception
How to Send Your Wedding Invitations from Bridal Veil, Oregon
Hawaiian Words and Phrases to Add to Your Ceremony ~ (Listen to how they are pronounced)

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Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

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.

letsbefriends2

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

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