Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

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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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.

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

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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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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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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
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Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tying Up Loose Ends After the Wedding! – Newlywed To-Do List

Wheew! The wedding and the reception are over. Now what? Honeymoon? And when you return it’s time to get busy again. No rest for the weary, right? Time to get organized. We’ve put together some ideas that may help you tie up the loose ends after the wedding celebration is over.

Put Away Your Wedding Keepsakes ~ Put your favorite wedding photos in frames and display them. Clean and store your wedding dress or tux. If you intend to keep your wedding dress have it dry-cleaned at least six months of your wedding. Use a service that specializes in wedding dresses so they use the right cleaning solvents. Make sure they stuff it with acid-free tissue, avoid using metal pins or buckles, and store it in a box. Once it’s back home, store it in a cool, dry place. Last. but not least, get rid of gifts or keepsakes from ex-partners.

NewlywedToDoListChange Your Name ~ Ideally, you should change all your IDs as soon as possible of getting hitched. Hopefully when you purchased your Marriage License, you ordered a Certified Copy to be sent to you after the Minister/Wedding Officiant registers it with the County Clerk’s office. Once you receive it, change your name with Social Security first. Wait a couple of day then change your name on your Driver’s License, State ID, Passport. Social security and the passport people both require a certified copy of your license. Depending on where you live, you may need to apply at Social Security in person. Call all of your credit card companies to get your name changed. Store your marriage certificate in a safe, easy-to-remember place.

Ring Up the Tax Man ~ Time to check off a new (married) box on your tax forms! Now that the two of you are a legal unit, you need to decide whether you’re going to file together or continue to file separately (joint filing isn’t something mandated by law, though it’s generally recommended). Don’t decide this on your own. Consult your accountant or attorney to see what he or she advises for the two of you. Think about changing your beneficiary to your husband/wife.

Plan and Review a New Budget ~ Take look at your income and set short-term and long-term goals. Begin to pay off any credit card debt that occurred as a result of your wedding. Fast-track any student debt. If you plan on having children, tighten your money belt before the baby arrives. A baby is something you should plan for. You will need to plan for who will be responsible for the bills since it’s now not just your money now. Remember to begin saving for retirement (Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA). One important goal should be to have at least 6 months or more of your monthly non-discretionary spending in an account separate from your checking account. Check out Dave Ramsey’s website for terrific financial information.

Send Your Thank-You Notes ~ While it’s still fresh in your mind, take notes for which gifts you received and from whom. If you don’t want snippy comments from family and friends, toss those thank-you notes in the mail within two months of your wedding. People will be waiting, and wondering if you liked their gift! Do few each night. Share this project with your sweetheart and the job will be half as daunting. It’s important to each sign your names on every card. Print off address and return address labels on your computer.

Give Everyone Your New Address ~ It’s perfectly fine to send a mass e-mail or an e-card with your new address. The traditional route? Buy store-bought moving announcements and slip them in with your thank-you note or have them custom-designed. Make sending thank you notes a breeze by printing address labels. Make sure to inform everyone of your new address. You never know who might be sending along a late wedding gift or card. Check our name-change checklist.

Return Wedding Gifts You Already Have ~ Sick of looking at those three toaster ovens gathering dust in the corner? Bite the bullet and return ’em within two months of your wedding. While stores are likely to be lenient with couples who’ve registered with them, each store will have a different policy on when you need to make returns by and what they’ll take back. Consider a garage or yard sale. Use it as a great opportunity to de-clutter. Put some of your wedding gift money toward

Update Your Employer on Your New Status ~ Remember to notify your employer of your new marital status. They will need to make any necessary adjustments such as changing any information on your W2 form, adding your spouse to your health insurance, and changing beneficiary designation on any retirement or 401k plans you may be enrolled in.

Finalize Your Wedding Album and DVD ~ Your photos from your photographer and guests won’t file themselves. Don’t put off your photo selection and video requests too long! On your first anniversary, wouldn’t it be great to pop in your wedding DVD and flip through your album? Most photographers and videographers issue a standard contract that gives you six months to a year to select album photos and edit footage for your DVD. If you don’t, you may have to pay extra.

Figure Out Your Finances ~ No one likes having “money talks,” but hopefully you had this one long before you walked down the aisle. Many married couples opt to merge their single accounts into a combined one, so definitely bring it up now if you haven’t yet. Decide if you want to keep your bank accounts separate, merged or a combination of both. Take a trip to your bank to fill out the necessary paperwork and get new debit cards and checks made. You may want to designate your spouse as beneficiary on financial and insurance related accounts, draw up a will, and ensure that you are both carrying the ideal amount of life insurance.

Make It Legal ~ When the two of you made it official, it meant more than just a tacit agreement not to hog the covers. In the next two weeks, you’ll want to talk about changing beneficiaries – most newlyweds switch their spouse to their beneficiary on work and life insurance docs. Call your insurance company and HR department at work for these forms. Decide whose work health insurance plan you’ll use by comparing cost and treatment options. If you’re the one making the switch, make sure the doctors you like are on the new plan. Within a few months, talk about drawing up a will that reflects your newly combined asset. Contact your attorney.

Remember Your Wedding Vendors ~ Send thank-you e-mails or cards to your vendors. Include any positive feedback on their services. If you and your guests were happy with there services, write reviews on wedding websites – and recommend your favorites.

Make Sure All Hired Items are Returned ~ Normally your florist or decor supplier will collect hired items from the venue but things like groomsmen suits and post-ceremony games will need to be returned so that you can get your deposits back. Make a checklist before the wedding and delegate this task to your best man or maid of honor.

Establish a Date Night ~ Very Important. Never let the romance fade in your relationship. Promise each other that no matter what you will always make time to be together. Specify at least one night each week to be designated “Date Night!” Read, “Date Night – No Less Than Once Each Week – No Excuses!

Plan Your First Wedding Anniversary ~ Begin to think about what you want to do, where you want to go and how you want to celebrate your first anniversary. Make a reservation or just agree on a plan so that you can have the year to look forward to it.

The wedding may be over, but the adventure of marriage is just beginning. A happy marriage is a fun and exciting time. Now it’s time to get busy again. Embrace and enjoy the change marriage brings and celebrate Love and your life together – remember, you’re only newlyweds for so long.

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Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
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Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Postage Stamps = An Unexpected Wedding Cost

Filed under: $$$ Tips,Gratuities for Vendors,Postage,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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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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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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Friday, March 15, 2013

Finicky Finances – Who Controls the Checkbook?

MissNowMrs.com, Guest Author

A huge percentage of couples who wind up divorcing do so over finances. In fact a study done by Utah State University in 2009 reported that couples who argued over money at least once a week were over 30% more likely to get divorced than those who only disagreed about money once or twice a month. Those who argued over finances almost every day were over 100% more likely to get divorced than those couples who were able to agree over their checkbook. So if money is the root of all evil, at least in terms of marriages, how can you and your new spouse avoid this marriage pitfall?

checkbookMake a Plan

The only way that you can fight back against falling apart due to money is to have a plan. It doesn’t matter if you have only one income coming in, or two, it’s vital that you both are able to put together a plan that works for the household. And it’s actually a very easy thing to do. The first thing that you should do is to figure out how much money you’ve got coming in, and how much you’ve got going out.

Sit down together and add up how much money you bring home in a month. You then simply take all of the monthly recurring bills that you have and subtract them. Things like cable or internet or cell phone or rent are all things that should be deducted, one at a time, so that you can see how much money you have left at the end of the month. You can also estimate how much you spend a week for things like groceries and gas, and can deduct this amount as well.

The money that you have left over at the end of the money is the “play” money. This is the money that you both need to decide how to use. Some couples opt to give each other a stipend each week that they can spend however they want, while others simply pool the money into one big pile and use it how they see fit. What’s important is that you decide, together, what you want to do.

It’s also important that you decide who pays the bills. Some couples like to sit down and to do them together, while others prefer that one couple be responsible. Even if only one person is actually making the payments, both of you should know what’s going on, so if you’re the bill payer, make sure you tell your spouse when you’re paying this bill or that bill. This way both of you know where the money is going each month. And most importantly of all: no secrets. If your finances are strained, tell your spouse. Tips like these will help to keep money from becoming the big evil that so many couples see it as.

Larry’s Note: Smart couples that I know do their best to save at least 10% of their monthly income every month. I know. It’s not easy, and years from now you will be glad you did!

Listen to this dialogue about separate checking accounts or not and make your own decision:

BONUS Article: Post-Wedding Credit Card Blues? Here’s the Solution!
Get Out of Debt with the Debt Snowball Plan” by Dave Ramsey, author of “The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

moneyheartCopyright © 2013 – http://www.missnowmrs.com/

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/
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Tough Talk “Before” the Wedding!

Filed under: Budget,Guest Authors,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , ,

MissNowMrs.com, Guest Author

When it comes to marriage, there are many matters that could result in power struggles once or several times over the length of the relationship, but there are two very common reoccurring themes that come up in marital disputes. The first has to do with the financial status of the new family unit and the second deals with the matter of time. Learning your fiancé’s take on both topics can help solidify a base for your marriage to stand upon. This post addresses a few of the questions that can be the starting point for these necessary pre-wedding conversations.

african-american-couple-arguingWho does the housework and grocery shopping? Many years ago, the answer to this question was obvious. Today the “little woman” isn’t necessarily in charge of the household. With both the husband and the wife taking on professional roles in this day and age, the rules of marriage have been altered. Suddenly, housekeeping and grocery shopping are eating into everyone’s free time. Because time is valuable to both of you, it is best to be up front about what will be expected from each of you, so don’t be afraid to be specific and outline the chores to be done.

What’s the ultimate income goal and who is going to handle the financial matters? Perhaps even more important than time, is money. At least this seems to be the case in marriages as financial problems are the number one cause of divorce. So, be upfront about your expectations and ask about his or hers. It is better to know in advance where each expects to be financially two-, ten -, and even fifty years down the road. Also choosing the member of your new team who is best able to make that happen, will reduce stress over the length of your marriage.

couple-talkingHow much will our monthly bills cost us? Similarly, it is important to have a true understanding of all expenses that will come with your coming together as one. These costs may not be entirely obvious. It is safe to assume that anyone today will have some debt. He or she may also carry insurance policies (auto, life, home, etc.) that can quickly rack up. Calculating all of these expenses in advance can help to keep everyone on the same page.

What professional goals do you have and will they keep us apart often? Another matter linked to time is the professional aspirations of each spouse. It is important to know what is involved with the career that your partner wishes for. Are the commitments something that you can truly live with? He or she needs to be able to answer the same question about your goals in life.

How often do you expect to see your parents? Mine? Our friends? Finally, the other major claimant of time is the outside relationship. Whether it is parents, siblings, or friends, these outsiders will cost you and your soon-to-be spouse some of your time, but how much? Now is the best time to figure all of that out.

Copyright © 2013 – http://www.missnowmrs.com/

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Best Use of 10% of Your Budget: Hire a Coordinator!

Amy Bacon, Guest Author

Do you need a Wedding Planner? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Be realistic about the time you really have to devote to putting together the sort of wedding you want. If you have lots of spare time, you may be able to pull it off. Interesting enough, most Brides simply don’t think they can afford a planner (silly Brides!), and it’s the one vendor they WISH they’d spent a portion of their budget on. Ask a recent bride, she’ll tell you the same!

Here are some good reasons we believe that tell the story of why you should hire a wedding planner:

• You’re planning your wedding in another city or state.

• You have special needs, such as finding a place of worship that will accommodate a mixed- religion ceremony, or would like to track down a caterer who can prepare a diabetic-friendly, or vegan/vegetarian menu.

• Both you and your fiancé work long hours and/or travel frequently for business, and you want a big, blow out event; but who can make the time for all the detail work AND end up a nice woman, when it’s all said and done?

• You don’t particularly like hassling with little details; you’re a “big picture” person.

• You want someone else to do the leg work for you! As an example: your coordinator/planner, after spending time with you knows what your budget and needs are and sets appointments with vendors they think will be a good match. You don’t waste your time looking for vendors by going on appointments that are a total waste of time based on price points, or your budget/vision.

• You’d like to be able to purely enjoy your day with no worries regarding any issues that will undoubtedly transpire.

A wedding planner can actually SAVE you money – Most planners will be able to get you discounts with different vendors that they work with on a regular basis (baker for your cake or cupcakes, catering, photography, flowers, videographer, officiates, and even at venues)!

Brides: You need a “Day-Of” coordinator; you just don’t realize it!

Why? Well firstly, you’re hosting the biggest party of your life! (How many people can you imagine would throw a formal, sit-down party for over 50 people and not hire help? Exactly!). Secondly, we know how perfect you’d like everything to be and we know after years of experience, a Bride cannot sanely be in 8 places at one time and truly enjoy her day. Thirdly, your choice of reception site may have a Catering Manager, but it’s really not her job to be sure you stay on schedule or to wrangle!

Our “Day-Of” Wedding Consulting Service will afford you a sense of control and ease, allowing you the opportunity to relax, enjoy and be in the moment:

• Complete oversight for your Rehearsal and Wedding Day

• On-site meetings prior to the Wedding to ensure placement of flowers, gift books, etc

• We’ll keep you completely on Schedule the Day-Of

• We’ll make sure each attendant knows their role for the ceremony

• Ring Bearer and Flower Girl Tutoring

We communicate with every contracted Vendor prior and the day of, ensuring all requirements are met. They will know exactly where to be and what the bride’s and grooms expectations are.

We’ll make sure your photographer and videographer get the Photos and Reel from your Shot Lists, etc.

Cuing the music, the procession and more.

Why Hiring a Wedding Planner is imperative…

While you may not need someone to assist with the menu or your dress or color choices or any number of your dream desires for your wedding day, we strongly advise hiring a “Day-Of” coordinator, who at the very least will assist you for some months prior to and the Day-Of; we’re here to assist and as much or little as you like!

What is a “Day-Of” Coordinator? For example: a month out we will meet with you, help finalize contracts and your desires for placement and decoration; the time line on your wedding day and so much more. We make all the follow up phone calls, we do all the organizing so that on the Day-Of your wedding, you’ll have one or two main people (depending upon the size of your wedding), to answer any and all questions, maintain the day’s flow and to be sure you and your groom really enjoy your day.

If you’re thinking you can handle all this yourself; consider that it may sound easy; certainly seems like something you can handle and it very well may be, but if you want people running up to you the whole day asking:

• “What time will the limo be here?”

• “Aunt Jo and Uncle Charles from NYC are lost; how do they get here?”

• “Little Eric, where’s the ring pillow?”

• “When are we supposed to line up?”

• “Where’s Tiffany; your Mom, your Cousin Ilene, the Catering Manager?”

• “What time are you going to throw the bouquet?”

• “Should we ask Earl (who drank too much and is disrupting guests) to leave?”

• …and more; then by all means, run your wedding day yourself!

If, however, you’d like to be kept out of this mix, free to spend time with your attendants, your guests and your new husband, then please reconsider. Even if you’re the “Anti-Bride”, there are still lots of things you’ll really want help with and with the cost of an average “Day-Of” coordinator being typically less than approximately 10% of your overall budget; it’s really affordable. We can save you money, too! Ask us how.

amybaconWe will be sure everything runs smoothly, that you are insulated from the stress that transpires on your Wedding day; when it’s all about you, not about everyone and everything else.

Copyright © 2009 – Mrs. Amy Bacon. Reprinted with Permission. You will find Mrs. Hancock’s Wedding Planners and Consultants, kind, professional, knowledgeable, helpful and excited to be of service. They won’t break your budget either! Please contact their office at 602-234-1200 and speak with Mrs. Hancock or Mrs. Amy Bacon for a free consultation. Visit their Website at: www.MrsHancocks.com

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 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 for your wedding.

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 written by Larry James listed in this Wedding BLOG 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

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget

Filed under: Budget,Guest Authors — Larry James @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Amy J. Chung, Guest Author
Ramblings from Amy Jean on her “Relentless Bride BLOG” (A bride-to-be)

I was discussing with one of my BFF’s (MLL), wedding “research” and planning. We were going through the number crunching phase of one venue to see if it’s an option for her to put on her list of possibilities. MLL is in the “researching” phase of wedding planning, but this phase of “researching” that we are currently in made me realize that wedding planning has various stages that I think all Bride-to-Be’s (BTB) go through.

The First Stage is excitement! Yippeee… it’s FINALLY my turn. {Keep in mind “finally” is all relative and I think all BTB’s feel it no matter how young or less young they are when the day comes to start planning for one’s wedding.} Images of excited bride in her white dress on the “happiest day of her life.”

The Second Stage would be confusion. Where do I start? What do I want? WAIT, he wants WHAT? I didn’t think he’d care about that! What do my parents want? Where do I start? Just how this picture depicts a bit (or a lot) of confusion, i think we start off just sitting still in front of the computer “where do i start?” Maybe at this point you start asking close friends for advice.

The Third Stage is determination. Feeling equipped with a few good words from friends who have ventured into this arena before, google becomes your best friend and you are determined to find some possible locations to hold your ceremony and/or reception. Just like this Ronin Warrior, ready to go to battle, the bride-to-be is ready to tackle any thing that comes her way.

The Fourth Stage is overwhelm. This is where you realize how huge the wedding industry is and that the choices are endless. There are so many venues, so many packages, so many options, yet so few beaten paths that will actually work… You realize at this stage that you may need a little help… or make that a lot!

For me the Fifth Stage was the hardest. Realization of REALITY! This is the stage where you realize, holy crap… how am I… my family… I… we gonna actually pull this off? This is where all the times you’ve heard “weddings are expensive” or “just saying ‘wedding’ brings the price up” is very true… and you realize for the first time, and reality starts to set in!

This is where that time you went to that one wedding 5 years ago and you weren’t given a “plus one” and you complained… now you began to understand why the bride and groom did what they did. This is where you question… can we afford to pay over 25k for 250 people on just food and drinks (but not full bar tab)? This is the stage where the calculator gets busted out and then…

Stage Six doesn’t always express itself in the same way, but to make it easy to understand, we’ll just say its the stage of crying, angst or depression. This is where you just want to pull out your hair. You curse the wedding industry and all the people involved. You question over and over again “Why is it so expensive?” or you curse and say “It’s such a money making monster”.

Stage six can involve tears and sadness or complete anger aimed at your loved ones that you weren’t born into the Hilton family and able to afford anything you wanted. (Don’t worry, after stage six, you are very thankful you weren’t born a Hilton and regret even admitting that the thought crossed your mind). Stage Six needs to be expressed and I think any bride on a budget goes through some emotion during this stage.

Stage Seven is the resolve. You are now resolved to find an answer. You began to brainstorm and ponder various different alternatives. This is the stage where prioritizing things on your “must have at wedding” list becomes reexamined.

Stage Seven and Stage Eight overlap a bit, as Stage Eight is persistence. This is where you realize there has to be an answer and you just have to find it. You are resolved with your reality and persistence sets in so that you can continue to figure out your solution! You will problem find and there WILL be a solution!

Stage Nine is real wedding planning. This is where you now have a more realistic idea of what you want, need, must have, can do without. This is the whittling down stage. The guest list will have been whittled down. Your venue options will whittle down. The “to do” list will whittle down. Your “must have” list will whittle down and now you get your hands REAL dirty… you cut out places from mere glances at the package plan or you add them to the list. You visit venues.

You have a can-do attitude that is based on the realistic situation of the means allowed for this extravaganza… and you are OK with that. In fact even with complaints still abundant, overall you are ready to get this show on the road. At this stage you either have a wedding planner (which I highly recommend and please feel free to ask me why) OR you are your VERY own wedding planner!

commentStage Ten is the actual Wedding. I have yet to really pass Stage Nine and often go back to Stage Six, so I can’t really elaborate on Stage Ten, but I can not wait to get there!

So, what stage are you in?

Copyright © 2009 – Amy J. Chung. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Amy Chung was born & raised in Orange County, currently living in Washington, DC by way of Indiana. She is a bride-to-be with a LONG engagement (23 months). She’s planning her wedding from DC with the help of her Wedding Coordinator, Paola Spagnoletti, owner of “Just Chic Events.” Visit Amy’s BLOG

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 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 for your wedding.

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 written by Larry James listed in this Wedding BLOG 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 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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Money Saving Tips to Help with Your Wedding Budget

Filed under: Budget,Guest Authors,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , , , ,

boojumtree2Natasha Miller, Guest Author

Decide what is most important to you and your fiancé. It is common to hear brides say, “He doesn’t care about the details.” Have you asked him if there is a certain thing that is truly important to him? Well you should. You may be surprised! This simple question will help you know to which you should target your budget.

The guest list: make a few decisions first:

1. What number of guests do you feel would be too many?
2. Kids – Yay or Nay?
3. Do both of your parents get to make a list?

Then both the bride and the groom make three lists. List one, the must attend list (immediate family and close friends), list two, people you would like there (extended family, other friends and coworkers) and list three, it would be nice but not heart breaking if they weren’t invited.

Also have this in mind, fewer guests means less food for the caterer, less alcohol for the bar, less favors, less tables for dinner, in conclusion LESS.

You may also want to think of a smaller bridal party. Fewer people standing equals fewer gifts to buy.

Pass on some of the smaller more pricey details: you might notice them but your guests probably won’t. Or if they do notice them, they wouldn’t get the recognition that they deserved for how much was spent on them.

When choosing your invitation, take in consideration the size and shape (postage on some envelope sizes costs more). Also keep in mind the heavier the paper, the heavier the total package will be, which also means more postage.

When selecting your flowers, think of substituting for less expensive choices. Such as flowers that are in season opposed to the flowers that will have to be special ordered. There are some fabulous flowers that are in your wedding colors that will cost you half as much as the ones you may have had your eye on.

When ordering your cake you do not need to have a cake that will feed your entire wedding. Some people do not eat cake and some will have left by then. Wedding cakes are not cheap, so you may even go with a smaller decorated cake and some pre cut sheet cakes in the back. Again no one will notice this detail.

There is always at least one toast at a wedding and it is tradition to have champagne for that. However, most people do not like champagne or like to mix different types of alcohol so you may consider having champagne available at the bar but let your guests choose if they want that or what they are already have in their hand.

Favors: If you would throw it away so would they! Fabulous ideas for favors are ones that they can use or eat, giving money in their name to a charity or for fun give them lotto scratchers.

Selecting a site for your dream day: Pick a place that already is beautiful. A place where you don’t have to get flowers and decoration, and if you do this you are already saving money!

Time to say goodbye, choose a smaller get away car. A fully loaded limo may be sweet but its cost, not so much.

Your comments are always welcome!

boojumtree

Copyright © 2009 – Natasha Miller. The Boojum Tree’s Hidden Gardens is Arizona’s most unique and exotic wedding, reception and corporate event destination. While you enjoy your stroll through their property, you’ll be in awe of the thousands of tropical plants, multiple water features and our new Palm Forest. Visit the The Boojum Tree’s Hidden Gardens.

NOTE from Larry James: Tasha is fun to work with, is very detail oriented and is one of the best venue coordinators for weddings in the Greater Phoenix area. The Boojum Tree’s Hidden Gardens is one of my favorite wedding venues.

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