November 16, 2015

{A Grateful Heart}

Dear Bride-to-Be: 
Continuing our theme of “gratitude” (and any wedding would definitely lose “style points” without expressing it!), I want to share an excerpt 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. It’s from a section titled, “A Grateful Heart”: 

Diana worked closely with a team of people in preparation for her wedding—a full, busy day where her every move had been followed and commented upon by the worldwide media. Yet those wedding teammates had a surprising end to the long, thrilling and tiring day. “‘I just wanted to say hello and thanks for today,’” Diana told Barbara Daly, her make-up artist, around ten in the evening when she phoned. “There are many beautiful people in the world,” Daly shared in Diana: A Portrait, but Diana had that extra thing, which is really a very genuine warmth because she had a loving and compassionate heart.” In their late-night phone call from the brand-new princess, David and Elizabeth Emanuel were thanked for making her beautiful wedding dress and told “how wonderful she had felt wearing it.” And Diana followed with thank you notes to them all.

The section goes on to explain that “Princess Diana was known throughout her life for her hand-written thank you notes sent immediately following an event, whether a small soirĂ©e or a grand gala—or simply acknowledging a kind gesture paid to her.” Now I’m not suggesting that you become known for writing “thank-you notes”—although it would be a beautiful legacy—but becoming known for a kind heart would carry its own “royal” blessing and I would wager that it would light up your world!

Love. Listen. Let go.

November 2, 2015

{Thank You Notes}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
"Gratitude is the memory of the heart" a wise French scholar once said. And being grateful expresses the tenderest parts of ourselves. So what about those wedding "Thank You" notes? No excuses like "you're too busy" or "they're old-fashioned"writing thank-you notes for gifts and favors and assistance you've received are as essential to your wedding planning duties as ordering the invitations, selecting the cake, or finding the perfect dress!

The editors of Martha Stewart Weddings devoted an entire section to "How to Write a Thank-You Note" ... and here's what they said about getting started:
In the afterglow of a wedding, it can be a joy to write thank-you notes expressing heartfelt gratitude for the gifts you've received. But no matter how genuine your feelings, keeping the sentiment meaningful from one note to the next takes focus and creativity. Plus, you need to be somewhat organized to get the messages completed in a timely fashion.

Continuing with tips about "getting organized," "keeping track," and "what should the notes look like," the magazine editors also remind you that "feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it!" Need I say more?

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

[Top quote from Jean Baptiste Massieu, bottom quote from William Arthur Ward; images from Martha Stewart Weddings.]

October 7, 2015

{Mothers, Daughters and Weddings}

Dear Bride-to-Be: 
I thought youd enjoy my article published in the fall issue of Season Magazine. Click here to read it from the online magazine...and Ive reprinted it below. ’Tis an excerpt 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.

Mothers, Daughters and Weddings

Historically, weddings reflect changes within a culture. And perhaps no relationship is more affected than that of mothers and daughters. It was not long ago (when brides were typically young women not yet out of the “family nest”) that mothers orchestrated the whole affair. But today most brides are independent women who plan their own wedding—only sometimes with their mother’s assistance.

Nevertheless, weddings can still offer the possibility for mothers and daughters to deepen or restore their connection with each other—especially by participating in shared activities that have the quality of ritual. Many years ago this may have been creating the bridal gown together or stitching trousseau linens for the bride’s new home, offering opportunities to chat about life and love and what the future may bring. Today it could be a joint outing to try on dresses. (And if it’s to deepen relationships, I advise leaving judgments at home and taking one’s most diplomatic self along!)

Fashion designer Vera Wang has become an expert on weddings. Not just because she’s designed thousands of bridal gowns—and attended almost as many ceremonies—but also because of her keen observation of relationships. So her take on mothers is worth noting:

Each parent has his or her own distinct part to play. The most complex and challenging relationship, however, is often that of mother and daughter. Differences in style, vision and expectation can begin with the gown and end at the reception, with every issue in between fair game for controversy. A wedding can unleash torrents of emotion, and a bride must balance her own need for control with her mother’s sense of involvement. Sometimes fashion can even become an excuse for unexpressed issues.

The late designer Oscar de la Renta, who had been present for many mother-daughter gatherings in his bridal studio, had “gentlemanly” thoughts about mothers when asked who a bride should bring with her on a shopping excursion:

It would be cruel not to bring your mother along. The wedding is almost as important to the mother as it is to the bride. But brides should prepare their mothers for what they are thinking of wearing. The mother always has a notion of what she wants her daughter to look like, but the daughter is a woman now and she wants to look like one. If I feel like the bride is holding back on choosing something she really wants because she doesn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings, I ask the mother if I can talk to the bride alone.

I recall those daughter-mother encounters in my former shop; some tender, some extremely tense, some remarkably both. At times it was as though I was watching each woman relive her life in an emotional time-lapse montage. A wedding becomes more of a pleasure and a blessing when we remember it’s a pivotal rite-of-passage for both daughter and mother. 
Try a little tenderness.~

[Mother and daughter photo courtesy of BHLDN]

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.]