Posts Tagged ‘Larry James’


November 19, 2008

The Do’s And The Don’ts

Giving a wedding toast is a special moment during the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception.  Here are a few tips on toasting etiquette. 


First things first.  Oftentimes, when a toast is given to the bride and groom they will be seen raising their glasses and drinking to themselves.  Wrong!  During a toast TO the bride and groom, the couple should NEVER stand, raise their glasses, and NEVER drink to themselves.


They should thank the toasters or at least smile and graciously nod, however they are not obliged to propose a toast in return.


Toasts can be offered with a sip of champagne, wine, a mixed drink or non-alcoholic punch, but never with tea, coffee or water.  The toasting beverage should be served to the bride first, then the groom, followed by the maid of honor, the parents and lastly the best man.


Traditionally, the first toast is given by the best man.  It’s proper for him to thank the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom.  He should also thank the groom for choosing him as the best man.


A toast should be brief. Never read a lengthy quote or poem, or recount a long-winded story about you and the groom as young chaps.  Get a laugh, get sentimental, be gracious, thank some people, keep it very short and sit down.  Speak slowly and loudly enough for all guests to hear.


Never do a toast impromptu.  Think about it.  Preparation is essential.  Jot down a few notes and remember, you can’t get it wrong, because no one knows what you are going to say.  Practice giving the toast several times in front of a mirror. 


Make sure your toast sounds like you.  It’s okay to have some fun with the toast, but remember that you should generally wind it up in a sincere manner.  The most beautiful sentiment you can express is to discuss what change you’ve seen in the couple since they met.  Use your good judgment about which topics “not” to joke about.  Keep in mind that you are speaking to a wide demographic and some people will take what you say very seriously.  Never share any embarrassing stories. If only a handful of people will understand an inside story, skip it.


If you’re nervous, that’s normal. You may feel the need to have a drink or two before your toast to relax you; but don’t let it backfire by consuming too much alcohol before your toast.  If you are drunk, everyone will know, and you will not leave a great impression on your audience.


Now, let’s get started.  Make sure everyone has their glasses filled, then make a few tink-tink-tinks against a water glass to get everyone’s attention.  Raise your glass with your right hand.  Be sure that the glass is held straight from the shoulder (that’s traditional).  

Your toast should end with wording which makes it clear to the guests that the end has come. It’s easy to do this with a bit of flair, just bring your voice up a notch in volume, and say, for example, “It is with great pleasure that I say congratulations to (Bride) and (Groom). . . may you share many warm days and many warm nights . . . everybody raise your glass . . . here’s to (Bride) and (Groom) . . .”


Lights! Camera!

November 19, 2008

Click, Click, Click!

All you need is to count one, two, pose then S-M-I-L-E for the candid camera!  That’s about all the direction you’ll get in a photo booth. There’s only one little stool inside, so when the curtain closes, it’s time to improvise.  About 20 seconds later everyone gets to see how creative your guests were as the digital camera clicked away.


Photo booths, which come in an endless variety of permutations, are a trendy, new feature at wedding receptions.  They bring style, flair and lots of fun with absolute spontaneity.  It will add a dash of real human interaction to create lasting memories.


Formerly an American tradition at dime stores, malls, arcades and amusement parks, photo booths add a lot of excitement for your guests.  It not only provides a fun activity for your guests, but it provides memorabilia for the bride and groom.


Every guest gets a personal photo strip and you get a duplicate the booth operator puts into a photo album that has space for the guests to write a personal greeting or note.  Photo strips make the ultimate wedding favors.  No need for the disposable cameras anymore.  (Kids use them up; people don’t turn on the flashes; guests take them thinking they’re favors; the whole roll is full of photos of the floor.)  Guests rarely need any guidance with a photo booth once they see how fun and easy it is to make custom pages.


Some photo booth vendors include the favored photo guest sign-in/comment book in their rental package.  Most are custom made at your reception.  The photo guest book will capture the fun and spirit of your reception in a book that you will treasure for years to come.  There is nothing quite like the charm of watching groups of 6 or more friends trying to fit into the booth at once in a dead heat to see who can make the goofiest strip. 


Photos come in retro black and white, digital color or chose from fun frames and hair styles.  Some vendors bring along props such as, hats, glasses, etc.  Look for a photo booth rental company that includes all these features and benefits without charging additional fees.  Typically a four-hour rental package is packed full of options and reasonably priced from $1,195 and up. The fees normally include delivery, installation, and an attendant to ensure the booth works smoothly and your guests are well taken care of.


Photo booths virtually guarantee everybody at your event a good time. They are instantly recognizable, immediately accessible, and eternally entertaining.  They spontaneously tap into guests’ creativity and sense of humor, while immortalizing the intimate, hilarious, and unexpected.


Stairs, photo booth weight and small hallways are among the hurdles that may have to be cleared when renting a photo booth. If a photo booth is your heart’s desire, there is a way to make it happen and your vendor will find it.  While a photo booth is perfect for almost every event, not every event venue is perfect for a photo booth. But with a little consideration and creativity, you can add a picture-perfect touch to your wedding or party.


Some of the local photo booth companies are A2Z Photo Booth and Classic Photo Booth.

Rocky Point Wedding

November 19, 2008

Make Your Wedding a Day at the Beach!


If the lure of a tropical paradise with an exotic resort feeling sounds good to you and if you desire a romantic, intimate ceremony on the beach with the sounds of the ocean, consider having your wedding ceremony in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point).  Rocky Point is located on the Sea of Cortez in the State of Sonora, Mexico.


Rocky Point is famous for its clean beaches.  Playa Bonita sweeps in a great golden arc from downtown to Oholla Bay and is the main beachfront for the town’s resorts and condos.  Its far end, Sandy Beach, has the best stretch of sand and sea. 


Los Conchas has many beachfront condos that can be rented (with all the comforts of home) for your wedding and reception.  This gated beach community of beautiful, pristine beaches is a peaceful and relaxing seaside destination.  Away from the downtown noise and traffic, it is a short five minute drive to fine restaurants and shopping.


Arizona‘s beachfront is just a four to five hour drive (about 260 miles) from Phoenix.  Beginning January 1, 2008, a valid passport will be required to cross the border into and to return from Mexico by land.  Puerto Peñasco Airport, about three miles from town, is a small local airport catering to light aircraft.  A new commercial airport will be opening early 2008.


Rocky Point experiences only two inches of rain a year so a dry wedding ceremony with plenty of sunshine is pretty much guaranteed.  During the winter months the days are warm although the nights can get a bit chilly.  The sun shines almost year round. For most of the year the days are warm and sunny.  The water temperature is often above 80 degrees and there is almost always an ocean breeze to produce pleasant romantic evenings.


It is strongly recommended that you obtain temporary Mexico auto insurance. It is not required, however normal U.S. auto insurance is not valid in Mexico.


There is no need for honeymooners to worry about exchanging their money into pesos; American money is widely accepted throughout Rocky Point.  Some businesses accept credit cards and checks; be sure to ask first!


There are many legalities, such as paperwork, blood tests no more than 14 days before wedding date, etc., plus birth certificates apostilized by the Mexican consulate in your home country must be sent preferably 3 months before the wedding.  In Mexico, church weddings do not change your marital status.  You will need to get married by a Justice of the Peace before your church wedding.


That all seems so complex – and it is . . . and expensive.  However, a wedding ceremony performed by a United States Minister/Officiant in Mexico is not a legal ceremony.   Because of the legalities of Mexicican law, you can simplify the process by getting married here.  A brief legal ceremony with witnesses can be arranged anywhere in the Greater Phoenix area (or Arizona) prior to a ceremony in Mexico.  That way your wedding will cost you less, be legal in the U.S., be far less time consuming and will be definitely stress-free!


Make your beach wedding as formal or as casual as you wish.  Shorts and sandals anyone?

Grooming the Groom

November 19, 2008

Take an active interest in your wedding.  Pitch in.  Find out what you can do to help and don’t let your sweetheart bear all the responsibility.  Put her on a pedestal.  Let her be the center of attention. She deserves it.  Never let her hear you say, “It doesn’t matter to me.  Do whatever you want.” This is the day to be her Prince Charming! 


Roll up your sleeves and get busy.  Wedding overload can be a real problem.  Divide up jobs in advance according to which parts you’re most interested in, then agree to consult each other before the final decisions.  Attend the meetings with the minister, disc jockey, photographer, etc., as a team.  You are in this together.


Be romantic. Leave a love note in her room on the morning of the wedding.  Wake her up to her favorite song.  Romantic surprises make the big day memorable.  Be her personal chauffeur for a day of wedding errands.  Never stop being romantic.  She will love you for it.  Send her mother flowers with a note telling her how happy you are to be marrying her daughter.  Take her father to lunch. 


Pay attention to the details. Spit-shine your shoes.  Gas the car.  A week before the wedding, get a haircut.  (This much time is needed to avoid the peeled onion look.)  Today is the most stressful day of the bride’s life.  Roll with the punches and do what you can to minimize the stress factor. 


Don’t wait until the week before your wedding to figure out what you’re going to wear.  Your formal wear should be reserved about 3 months before the wedding.  Send a detailed e-mail to your groomsmen filling them in on the details about the formal wear.  Let them know when and where to get fitted for their tuxes. Keep your sweetheart in the e-mail loop to let her know that you’ve got everything under control.


Many times the rehearsal dinner falls in the purview of the groom and his family.  Have flowers delivered to the restaurant prior to the dinner. Ask the waitress to present them to your bride with a special card signed by you. 


The best man is a reflection of your judgment, your background and your character.  Decide who is going to be your best man quickly, tell him what is expected and make sure he can honor his commitment.


You probably paid for the open bar.  However that is not a license to get blasted into next week. Tequila shots with your buddies would be a terrible idea.


Whatever you do, do not plan your bachelor party for the night before the wedding.  For some really innovative ideas check Charlee Geisler’s article about Bachelor Parties in this issue. 


You will be expected to say a few words at the reception.  It is important to be brief and to the point.  Tell everyone how happy you are to be marrying the girl of your dreams, say your thank yous and sit down.  Practice beforehand.  Remember, practice does not make you perfect, it just makes you better.


Next. . . live happily ever after!

In Her Majesty’s Service

November 18, 2008

To Be in the Wedding Party…or Not

While it is an honor for a bride to ask you to be the maid or matron of honor, you would be wise to consider the many responsibilities that go with this honor. 


As maid of honor – the bride’s chief attendant and personal confidante – you have to keep things organized and under control as well as being her “crisis counselor.”  maids of honor are chosen for their emotional stability and composure.  You will offer moral support and assist with virtually every aspect of the pre-wedding planning all the way to the end of the wedding.  Part of your job is to make the entire process as stress-free as possible. 


You will be expected to give her your full attention on the day of the wedding and be ready to handle anything that comes up. 


Once you have been asked to serve, have a meeting with the bride and ask her to define what she expects from you.  The key is to “ask.”  Be clear about what she expects and be honest with her if you do not think you can live up to her expectations.  When necessary, step in and take control of any stressful situations.  Anticipate any needs the bride may have and take care of them in a positive manner.


Once you accept the honor, try not to ask too many questions unless it is about something very important.  This only adds to her frustration level.  The bride is counting you to take care of pretty much everything.  Be a shoulder she can lean on when things become to overwhelming to bear.  This can take a lot of time, energy and requires lots of preparation.  Be cool, but never outshine the bride. 


You will act as a liaison between the bride and the bridesmaids from the beginning through the reception.  You need to set the tone among the women in the bridal party.  Prep the bridesmaids and make sure they know their duties and show up “on time” for the rehearsal.  Think of yourself as a coach.  You are in charge of the bridesmaids and with their cooperation the wedding will run more smoothly. 


Bring tissues, extra makeup, pantyhose, nail polish, breathe mints and anything else that she might need the day of the wedding.  Put together an “Emergency Checklist” to make sure to avoid any crisis that might come up. Prepare a “beauty bag” (emergency pouch) to bring with you on the big day.  Hold her flowers, straighten her veil and train before, during and after the wedding and especially during the wedding pictures.


One of the most important traditions of a maid or matron of honor is to give the bride a toast at the reception. The best toasts include funny stories growing up with sentimental friendship and love.  Don’t get too wordy.


And finally, if other commitments prevent you from giving the bride the attention she deserves, you may be a better candidate for a bridesmaid. 


November 18, 2008

Blending of the Sands Ceremony

The “Blending of the Sands” ceremony can be a beautiful and meaningful alternative to the unity candle ceremony (often done with children each holding a candle).  The Blending of the Sands concept was originally created by Geneene L. Thornton in 1993 and was used primarily for beach weddings in the San Diego area. The problem with the Unity Candle, especially on the beach, is the least puff of wind and the candles usually blow out.


Like a Unity candle, the symbolism is the same.  The pouring of several different colored sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the wife and husband on their wedding day.  This ceremony is usually added toward the end of the wedding ceremony.


This ceremony requires a small vial or vase for the bride and groom to pour the sand into; and two vials for them to pour the colored sand from.  Containers with small openings make the pouring of the sand easier.


Each of the vials of colored sand symbolizes the separate lives of the bride and groom.  Following the ceremony, the empty vials or vases can be used later to display fresh flowers.  You can put your vase containing your combined sand on display as a constant reminder of your special ceremony.


The Sand ceremony can be adapted for second & third marriages for couples choosing to include children from previous marriages in their wedding ceremony.  It is called a Blending of the Family Ceremony with Sand.  God parents also used this ceremony for christening ceremonies.


Some couples pour the sand from several seashells, an excellent choice for a beach wedding.  If your ceremony is being performed on a beach, have the Minister or Officiant scoop up a little sand from the beach with a seashell and pour it into the small bottle to symbolize the building of the foundation of the relationship and to give you a memento directly from the beach where your ceremony words were spoken.


Use several different colored sands, one color for each member of the family.  Let each child choose their own color.  Colored sand from a hobby store like Michael’s is perfect.  Small glass bottles or vials are usually found there as well. 


A nice touch is to pour the colored sand into a small “heart-shaped” bottle.  Later, you can melt some wax to seal it to hold the sand in place, and then seal it with a cork or lid.  Have your names and the ceremony date etched in the glass or on a metal strip to attach on the bottle prior to the ceremony.


After the minister reads the words, the wife, husband and children pour their containers of sand into the heart-shaped container – taking turns to give the colors a layered and artistic look. The combined sand makes a colorful keepsake for the family and a constant reminder of their promises at the ceremony.


The last words of the ceremony usually say, “Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers so will your marriage and your family be blended together.”

The Bridal Show

November 18, 2008

Attending a bridal show can be most helpful in planning your wedding.  They are exciting, festive and full of terrific ideas.  You will be able to meet and ask questions from many wedding professionals all under one roof.  You will want to gather information, compare prices and services, register for prizes, see the latest fashions, get great new ideas and just have fun.


Where else but at a bridal show can you preview ceremony and reception locations, peruse photographers’ portfolios, see and hear entertainers and see if your personalities click with a Minister and their ceremony?  


Here are some tips that will help you get the most from your bridal show experience.


Pre-register before the show.  Some shows offer a discount toward the purchase of your ticket.  It saves you time at check-in, and a few bucks. 


Make a checklist of required services, accessories, the most important elements needed to complete your wedding plans and design questions that will streamline your efforts and help speed things along.  Plan to spend a minimum of 4 or 5 hours in order to see all the exhibits.  Plan a “rest break” about every hour.  Bring some cash for parking. 


If the bridal show has a wedding fashion show, check the times of the shows when you arrive, so you don’t miss out.  Seating is often first come, first serve.


Bring a list of questions to ask.  Ask the hard questions.  The vendors want to help you.  Don’t be shy.  You will know right away if they are someone you would want to work with.


Vendors will talk to you about their products and services in as much detail as you want.  If you find a vendor that you like, set up an appointment and meet with them later.  


Walk up one aisle on one side and check out the vendors, then walk down the other side of the same aisle to make sure you do not miss anyone.  You may miss the very wedding service you were looking for if you try to wander from side-to-side down the same aisle.


Keep your eyes open for ideas to incorporate into your own wedding, such as a type of flower arrangements, color combinations (in photographers’ sample albums, for example), and favors. 


Bring a camera.  Snap a photo of the Minister you spoke to, a cake that looked especially delicious or take a picture of an exhibit that you want to remember.  Use these photos to jog your memory about something that grabbed your attention.


Bring your fiancé with you for at least one trip to the event; do your best to stay together or at least, have cell phones handy so you can arrange to meet at a booth where the vendor is especially of interest.  


If you click with a vendor, put their information in a special bag, not with all the other stuff you collect.  Leave your purse at home in favor of a lightweight carrying bag. 


Make notes on business cards, the brochure or flyer for easy reference later.  Bring a red pen and indicate your level of interest, e.g., Call this one!  


Bring a small notebook and pen.  You never know what tips or ideas you’ll discover. 


Bring your Blackberry or personal planner so you will have your bridal shower, rehearsal, wedding and other important dates handy.  It can also be helpful if you choose to make an appointment with one of the vendors.  Ask about availability if you are interested.


Some vendors offer drawings for prizes.  Prevent writer’s cramp!  Bring address labels to save time in filling out registration blanks.


It is helpful to include your name, the grooms name, complete address, your wedding date and location, phone numbers and e-mail address.  If you don’t bring labels, print very clearly when registering for anything.


Don’t register for everything!  You don’t have to give your contact information out to everyone – provide it only to those vendors that interest you.


Most shows offer a Bride and Groom sticker when you register.  Wear it!  If the vendor knows you are the bride or groom they are more likely to give you that little bit of extra attention.


Material swatches and ribbons that suggest the colors of your wedding are helpful when speaking with florists, bakers, balloonists, gown shops and other professionals. 


Bring your credit card – not your checkbook.  You will often find discounts that are available only at the show.  A word of caution. . . although most vendors are reputable, if a wedding vendor goes out of business before your wedding you can usually get your money back if you use a credit card but you will be out of luck if you pay by check.   


People often walk fast past booths because they fear the vendor will pounce or be overly aggressive.  Some are.  If a vendor tries to “pressure” you into booking their services or placing a deposit with them “right now,” keep walking! 


Ask for referrals from vendors you’ve booked.  They may have worked with others at previous weddings and can make a valuable referral.  Wedding venues often have “preferred vendor” lists available upon request.


You should always feel comfortable with a vendor’s attitude toward your event.  Personality and communication play an important role as well.  Chat with the vendor to see if you feel comfortable with their personality, and if they will be easy to work with.  Notice which vendors “listen” to your needs and ask what “you” want.


Leave the children at home!  Hire a baby sitter.  You will be glad you did.  


Bring bottled water and a few snacks so you don’t spend most of your time in line at the concession stand.  This will give your tummy room to enjoy the cake tasting and other catered food samples.  


Wedding shows are not supposed to be stressful or overwhelming.  Taking your time to view each exhibit will help reduce the stress. Remember wedding planning is preferably done over time, not in one day.


Many of the exhibitors book up rather quickly on choice wedding dates.  There is usually a rush of appointments and their calendars fill quickly immediately after a show.  Act quickly.  Don’t procrastinate or you may end up with your second or third choices.


Remember, you cannot have a wedding without a ceremony!  Lots of couples wait until the last minute to book the minister.  First, choose your wedding date, second, book the wedding venue, and third, book the minister.  Those of us who are busy performing ceremonies often book wedding dates as much as 6 to 9 months in advance.


Dress casual and wear comfortable shoes.  Leave your heels at home.  You will be doing a lot of walking.  Be prepared for sore feet.


Grooms take note!  You may want to make arrangements for a foot massage for your future bride or arrange a visit to the hot tub when the day is through.

Encore Weddings

November 18, 2008

When promises to have and hold, until death do us part fizzle, and the rings go from the left hand to the back of a drawer somewhere often we begin to search for someone new to love.  Second marriages have become so common they’ve gotten a trendy name: encore weddings.


According to the U. S. National Center for Health Statistics, more than four out of ten marriages in the U.S. involve an encore marriage for the bride, groom, or both.


The United States is a marrying country, with almost three-quarters of Americans marrying by their thirty-fifth birthday. And when we fail, we don’t give up.  Psychology Today states that a whopping sixty percent of remarriages fail.  


Leslie Parrott, author, “Saving Your Second Marriage,” says people go into their “encore marriages” with “a mythical sense of security that they won’t make the same mistakes again.  Some gravitate toward people who are similar to their previous spouses. Others get remarried to ‘get even’ with a former spouse, or for financial reasons. Still others rush into another marriage because, being divorced, they feel out of step with the community or wonder if they are ‘bad’ people.”


Frank Sinatra sang, “Love is lovelier, the second time around.”  Is it really lovelier?  It can be.  You will have to be very focused on the relationship. Often, a measure of how far you’ve come is to see if you have the same problems you had this time last year.  Marriage can actually be harder the second time around, burdened with pressures that the first marriage didn’t have. Perhaps it depends on what you learned the first time.


Once the couple gets engaged, the children should be the first to know. After telling the kids, then the couple should inform their parents. 


The bad news is this. Encore weddings often involve such issues as blending children from two separate families and the role of ex-spouses.  If children are involved, that increases the probability that divorce will happen again, according to a Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. Children who grow up in a household in which the parents are not married or even living together are cheated out of lessons that could help them in their own marriages some day.


According to industry estimates the average second wedding costs about the same as most first weddings. Funding the second time around should come directly from the bride and groom. The average encore honeymooner spends almost twice as much as the first timer.


A formal or casual wedding is perfectly acceptable.  When it comes to the ceremony, the choice is yours.  Find an Officiant/Minister who will allow you to customize your ceremony.  Consider doing a “Blending of the Sands” ceremony by including the children and a different color of sand for each child.  Have the children usher their parent down the aisle, read a verse or poem or include the children in the vows. 


Most traditions for first-time weddings apply to encore marriages at the reception. However, tossing the bouquet and throwing a garter are unnecessary but optional. Both customs started as symbols for good luck to either the new couple or their friends.  Many brides and grooms enjoy coming up with new ways to celebrate.