November 14, 2014

{The Joy of White}

Dear Bride-to-Be
Are you wearing white for your wedding?  Volumes have been written about the mystery and allure of the white wedding dress—as well as the symbolic notions of its pure color. Ancient Egyptians, considering the color sacred, draped their brides in gossamer layers of accordion-pleated white linen. The ancient Greeks and Romans, with their ever-present gods and goddesses, assigned symbolic meaning to everything; the color white represented “joy” and was worn for most festive occasions, including weddings.

Through the centuries various colors went in and out of fashion for brides—in fact, I tell many of their stories in my upcoming book. But a number of European princesses from wealthy kingdoms felt it their right to dress as opulently as possible so were costumed in gold and silver fabrics—sometimes encrusted with diamonds and other precious gemstones

So of course in 1840 when the young Queen Victoria wore “plain” white satin and lace instead of the glittering lavishness of her predecessors, she set a new standard—and the rest is bridal history! (In contrast her gown perhaps seemed “simple,” but both the silk satin and lace were lush, exquisitely handmade, and of great value.)

I’d love to venture inside the head of this much-in-love, girl-of-a-queen bride to know if her desire for an all-white wedding was truly from an idea of “purity” and humbleness or just her uncluttered fashion sense. Or perhaps there was some essence of mythological romance that captured the heart of a young woman deeply in love. Indeed, the only color Victoria wore was near her heart: the large blue sapphire brooch her beloved Albert gave her as wedding present.

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

ps: I’ll keep you posted about the release of my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding

October 30, 2014

{The Bride's Journey}

Dear Bride-to-Be: 
Your wedding day journey is full of expectations, excitement, maybe a little fear, a few do I look just right?thoughts, perhaps some meditative moments and, hopefully, a heart full of love! I thought you'd enjoy reading this excerpt from my upcoming book about the young Lady Diana Spencer's journey to begin her wedding day in front of millions of people. 

Finally, leaving from her future grandmother-in-law’s home where she spent her last night as a commoner, Diana’s world-stage future began. Two of the Queen’s prized bay mares, Kestrel and Lady Penelope, pulled the glass coach that had carried all British royal brides to their weddings since it was built 70 years before, but now it was traveling along a route that was overflowing— beyond anyone’s imagination—with throngs of happily cheering fans. Inside the tiny “pumpkin,” the first English girl to become Princess of Wales in 300 years sat beside her beloved father, Earl Spencer.

Whether a garden path or a horse-drawn coach takes you to your wedding, remember to, in the wise words of Thich Nhat Hanh: smile, breathe and go slowly. And enjoy your journey of the heart! 

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

[The excerpt above is from my upcoming new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding. I'll let you know as soon as it's available for sale!]

October 13, 2014

{Attending the Bride}

Bridesmaids of Victoria, the Princess Royal, circa 1858

Dear Bride-to-Be
The way brides choose their bridesmaids changes just like the fashion for selecting bouquet styles or gown necklines. Brides invite friends and family members to be part of their wedding party for all sorts of reasons—and it’s not always about being “attended to.” Sometimes it’s to “out do” the last wedding in town or copy-cat a celebrity ceremony in the news; or perhaps some brides choose attendants out of a sense of obligation or just whatever it takes to feel like a princess!

Princess Elizabeth and her attendants, circa 1947
British historian Dulcie Ashdown described Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding: “Behind her came a dozen bridesmaids, the daughters of peers dressed in white with white-rose wreaths and carrying her long train.” However, some attendants were heard to comment that if the train was longer they could be more graceful and not have to “bunch up” as they did! Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, had eight bridesmaids in attendance for her 1947 wedding, including her sister Margaret, but it was her page-boys sporting kilts in the Royal tartan who carried her long, heavily beaded silk tulle court train.

Kate Middleton with her sister attending, circa 2011
Over sixty years later, when a poised Kate Middleton wed the Queen’s grandson William, the future Duchess was blessed to have a close relationship with her sister who, as the only adult bridesmaid, was the one to carry the bride’s heavy train as well as attend her sister in other ways. Dressed for the wedding in cream silk by the bride's couturier, Pippa had also been available to help with tasks during the busy months of wedding planning, be good company and offer womanly encouragement—something every bride needs, royal or otherwise!

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

[This is an excerpt from my upcoming book The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding. Stay tuned for publishing news!]

September 26, 2014

{Gracious Destinations}

Dear Bride-to-Be: 
You always want your wedding to be in a beautiful setting: whether a large cathedral or cozy chapel; an ornate temple or a lush blue-water beach; a backyard garden or an elegant historical mansion!

There are many lovely and grand old homes around the world (some are even castles) that have been restored into "destination" wedding venues....places that seem to call forth the beauty and magic of ancient rituals. I just visited one in Mobile, Alabama: the elegant Bragg-Mitchell Mansion in all its antebellum glory, nestled among graceful live oaks and palmettos. (I was there to give my Downton Abbey costume talk and have a book signing.)

Having an intimate "sense of place" for their wedding is important to many couples...a sense that they feel "at home" yet transported to something moving, even spiritual. So wherever you choose to gather for wedding vows and deep connections with family and friendsclose to home or farawaychoose from your heart and that intimacy will guide your strong sense of place all the way "home."

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

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion dining table set for Morning Coffee
during my "Downton Abbey" presentation. 
[Images courtesy of Bragg-Mitchell Mansion]