September 22, 2015

{A Meandering Path}

Dear Bride-to-Be
I always find my customers and audiences curious about the origin of wedding rituals: tossing the garter; exchanging rings; the “something old, something new” rhyme; the bride’s bouquet. These are rituals and traditions so familiar, even comforting, that we’ve accepted them into our modern celebrations—yet a mystery remains.

Their origins are hazy; different societies added different meanings and their practice usually took a meandering path through the centuries, making some hard to trace. Wedding traditions, as author Carol McD. Wallace shares, have “complicated roots.” That’s why I consider wedding rituals come from sacred legends or a kind of fairy tale: folklore from our heritage revealing itself a bit mysteriously.

Whatever rituals and traditions you use in your wedding ceremony—whether in a gilded cathedral or grand synagogue, on some lofty mountaintop or in a serene garden—choose ones that touch your heart, light up your relationship, and move you to deeper expressions of love.

Love. Listen. Let go.
….with love from Cornelia

[Photograph courtesy of Vogue.]

September 3, 2015

{Breathe, Smile and Go Slowly}

Dear Bride-to-Be
“To be ‘on edge,’ you are literally not centered—not being in your spiritual center,” poet Carrie Latet once said. Planning a wedding can be one of the most “on edge” times. With all the commercial hype, canned traditions, and tantalizing nonsense out there, it’s an extra daunting time for the bride and/or the mother of one doing the planning.

The wise Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh prompts us: “Breathe, smile and go slowly.” This is a perfect mantra for busy brides…especially when you want to stay heart-centered and lovingly connected with your beloved.

Whether we’re planning a wedding, a trip, a charity ball, or what’s for dinner, we can all use support in slowing down, relaxing, and bringing ease to our bodies, mind and spirit. It just makes us happier! So take a deep, slow, smiling breath…and see how it feels. Mmmmm.

Love. Listen. Let go.
….with love from Cornelia

[Photograph courtesy of Vogue]

August 7, 2015

{Love & English Teacups!}

Dear Bride-to-Be
With the popularity of Downton Abbey, all things charmingly vintage and elegantly English have a renewed appeal. (And for some us, such charm never went out of fashion!) I recently met a delightful woman at a wedding event who has a clever new business; she rents out “vintage mismatched fine china” for special events—like for your bridesmaid luncheon or wedding reception. Vanessa Gilbreath is English, ‘natch, and the treasures you can rent are from sets of beautiful china she inherited from her mother, grandmother and great-aunt ... all reminiscent of English flower gardens.

Like a lot of people who watched Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding and were inspired by the brides bouquet or lace-trimmed gown or veil or serene bearing, Vanessa’s idea for her Vintage English Teacup business was also inspired by this splendid yet intimate royal wedding. (And the table designs that can be created with Vanessas plates and teacups and other pretty things are something I’m sure Duchess Catherine would love!) 

Wherever your inspiration comes from for your wedding, be sure to include the elegance and beauty that calls forth your delicious imagination as well as your royally open heart!

Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia

[Images from Vintage English Teacup website]

July 29, 2015

{Bring Intimacy Back to Weddings}

Dear Bride-to-Be
“Weddings are increasingly notable for their amazing lack of intimacy, their evolution into industry,” commentator Jacki Lyden wrote in a report for NPR several years ago. And in our overly-commercialized, up-noised, garish culture, I share this idea over and over in an attempt to urge couples to “look inside” and follow their hearts first when planning their wedding.

In my book for same-sex couples (The Handkerchief Has Been Thrown!—just re-published in print form), I remind the reader of this dilemma. Suggesting ways to return intimacy to the wedding celebration, I encourage gay and lesbian couples to not just follow the fashion of “traditional” weddings, but to set a new standard inspiring all ceremonies to be more real and from the heart.

Unfortunately, Bridal Expos—those big gatherings that bring wedding vendors together with potential brides, grooms and assorted entourages—tend to boost the commercial, big-sexy-party aspect of modern weddings. (I was invited to have a book signing at a first-of-its-kind Same-Sex Wedding Expo recently. Aaaargh!! The epitome of “lack of intimacy.” Please guys, you can do better!)

Whether you’re marrying a man or a woman; whether your wedding is teensy-tiny or ballroom huge; whether you’re on a mountaintop or in a grand cathedral, you may want to hear what journalist S. Bryan Lowder has to say:  “I’m a gay man who wants to get married. But how do I have a wedding that’s not so … straight?” In other words, you don’t have to copy-cat the matchy-matchy, ho-hum aesthetic of many mainstream weddings—trends that have squeezed all the depth and intimacy out of the ceremony and celebratory festivities.

So, planning a wedding? Just don’t forget to bring your good taste, good sense, and especially your good heart along with you!

Love. Listen. Let go.
…with love from Cornelia

[Couples photograph: Courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings]

The Handkerchief Has Been Thrown! 
Something Old & Something New for Same-Sex Couples 
is available on Amazon.