May 17, 2015

{Felt With the Heart}

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 all wedding rituals a kind of fairy tale: folklore from our heritage revealing itself a bit mysteriously.

So as a bride, whatever rituals you choose for your wedding, choose from the wise part of your mind and the generous part of your heart … then you will surely create a wedding celebration full of love and beauty! As Helen Keller reminded us: The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.

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

[Excerpted from my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding.]

April 20, 2015

{A Downton Abbey Wedding}

Dear Bride-to-Be
Couples choose the site for their wedding for all sorts of reasons: sentiment, religious beliefs, intimacy, prestige, to get away from the world, or perhaps to include the people in their world with elegance and grace.

An article in Town and Country magazine recently shared: “What It’s Like to Get Married at Downton Abbey.” With beautiful photographs and text, it showed the splendor this particular American couple chose to incorporate into their English countryside wedding weekend, including using grand historical sites.

Wherever your heart takes you for a wedding location, whether humble or opulent, chose where you feel an intimate sense of place—inclusive of others, expansive of spirit, and a place that fills your heart with the joy of coming home.

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

[Images courtesy of Town and Country Magazine] 

April 2, 2015

{The Honey Month}

I thought you’d like to read an excerpt from my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride ... “The Honey Month” appears in the spring issue of Season Magazine. (With things about the honeymoon that I bet you didnt know!) Enjoy.

 The Honey Month

The word “honeymoon,” in use since the sixteenth century as British historian Ann Monsarrat explains, is a derivation of a much older term, “honey-month,” describing the first weeks of the newlyweds’ life together at home, or at the home of friends or family, with the not so subtle intent of ensuring offspring. But these were considered rather “low-class words.” So beginning in the eighteenth century, when it became fashionable for well-to-do couples to take some sort of trip following their wedding festivities, the occasion was called “going away,” thought a more genteel expression. 

There’s a bit of intrigue associating the honey in “honeymoon” and the ancient legend of the honeybee’s luscious nectar with love and sex. In her book, The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us, Bee Wilson muses how human civilization would have barely survived without the honeybee: its wax was used to create light in a dark world and its honey gave nourishment and medicine. But the honeybee also provided poetic mystery and “food for love”—from the devilish to the divine:

It is “sweet, like true love, and delicious, like carnal love, honey can be treacherous and sticky, like false love,” the author asserts. And there’s more. Its thick, syrupy-ness brings up a “dark side of human desire”—like this from Proverbs in the Bible: ‘the lips of an adulteress drip honey and her tongue is smoother than oil’. Yet “pure honey is precious and good, like married love”—as this line from the poem Rob Roy by Andrew Lang suggests: ‘Or will ye be my honey? / Or will ye be my wedded wife?’

Some believe the term “honeymoon” relates to the ancient Viking ritual when, for their aphrodisiac effects, “the bride and groom would eat honeyed cakes and drink mead for the first month of their betrothal”—truly a honey-month! However, the connection to honey and the name honeymoon or its true meaning “cannot be agreed upon.” Like most early rituals there are hazy origin myths, but what we know for sure is that “the use of honey in marriage rites has been a constant throughout the Indo-European world, and beyond.” (As in an age-old Egyptian marriage contract where the husband promised his wife a yearly gift of twelve jars of honey; or in archaic Hindu wedding ceremonies where the bride’s lips, ears “and beyond” were anointed with the nectar.)

Do we really “fall in love” or do we just “fall into a honeypot”? Do we meet our beloved by chance or are we stung by Cupid’s honey-soaked arrow? In stories of mythology, honey certainly plays its delicious part in romance. Becoming known as the young god of love, Cupid—the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and Mars, the god of war—is not only famous for stealing honeycombs, but he also “fires arrows at his victims, sometimes dipped in honey” and they instantly fall in love with the next person they meet.  Honeypot, indeed! ~

March 17, 2015

{Who's Inside the Dress?}

Dear Bride-to-Be
When I had my bridal “art-to-wear” shop years ago, working with thousands of brides, I would ask them: What image do you want to remain in the imagination of your guests? It’s not the vision of a lovely woman in a beautiful gown that really inspires. What remains unforgettable and inspiring is when that image is infused with the beauty of an open heart. Being included in the intimacy of the day is the real gift people take home and feel when they later picture the bride. Perhaps that’s what makes some wedding dresses themselves so memorable: they were chosen with that same open-hearted, soft-focus attention.

In my new book, explaining how Princess Diana influenced the world of weddings and continues to do so today, I share that while the royal wedding was being planned and arrangements organized, much of Diana’s attention—like for many brides before and since—went to the dress.  Diana chose David and Elizabeth Emanuel to design her wedding gown; the husband and wife team known for their “full blown romantic style” and it seems she innately knew how to present herself with the aura of a fairy-tale princess by the choice of such a feminine, silk taffeta confection. Her striking appearance captured the imagination of the world looking in; it not only started fashion trends, but it, immersed in the magical phenomenon of “time spirit,” also changed something fundamental: women’s relationship with themselves as a bride and as a woman.

Whatever guides you in choosing your wedding gown—fashion trends, dreams from girlhood, goddess nudges, looking like a princess—be sure to let your woman’s intuition have free range and that your open heart is involved in every step of the process!

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

ps: The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding is now available on Amazon.