January 26, 2016

{Handkerchief-Inspired Wedding Cakes & More!}

Dear Bride-to-Be:  I've made no secret that I love handkerchiefsespecially white, delicately-embroidered vintage ones...and those with a beautifully-stitched, scrolling monogram, well, even better! My former bridal art-to-wear shop in Atlanta was famous for having a fetching selection of vintage handkerchiefs; they're still my favorite personal gift for a bride; one of my Pinterest boards is dedicated to them; and I often write about the charms and indispensability of handkerchiefs in my books and articles! (There is even a three-part series featuring hankies on this blog.)

So of course I was delighted to see this from Martha Stewart: "Wedding Cakes Inspired by Heirloom Handkerchiefs." Each cake design has an heirloom elegance as feminine as the real thing! See Martha's array of delicious-looking cakesshe calls them "sew sweet!"  

Whatever type of cake you choose for your wedding celebration (from old-fashioned motifs to sleekly modern), always choose to have a pretty hanky on hand for happy tearsyours or his or hers!

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

ps: My first book, The Bride's Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourselfthe perfect gift for every bridehas at least three stories dedicated to handkerchiefs...including why you should not go down the aisle without one! 

[Top image courtesy of Augusta Auctions; cake image courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings]

January 2, 2016

{Victoria's Choice}

Dear Bride-to-Be: 
I thought youd enjoy my article, “Victorias Choice,” just published in the winter issue of Season Magazine. Click here to read it from the online magazine...and Ive reprinted it below as well. ’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.

If you know one thing about wedding gown history, I would wager that it has something to do with Queen Victoria beginning the fashion for brides wearing white. (And now, thanks to her, it has been a tradition of sorts for 175 years.) But I would also wager that most people don’t know the real reason the 20-year-old monarch broke the precedent set by earlier royal brides—“dressed in their usual cloths of silver or gold”—and chose the color white for her wedding gown. Victoria even chose a crown of fanciful, yet wax orange blossoms instead of one of her dazzling diamond diadems!

Her choices have been regarded as representing simplicity, modesty and purity—and indeed the young queen was sentimental with an “uncluttered fashion preference,” according to costume historian Kay Staniland. However, Victoria was deeply in love, and this became her guiding inspiration for her wedding attire. Therefore, with much consideration—taking into account her duty, her position and her subjects—“the queen decided to make her marriage vows to her ‘precious Angel’ as his future wife rather than as the monarch,” wrote V & A museum curator Edwina Ehrman. So Victoria not only opted against wearing the ornate silver and gold of royalty, but also her regal “crimson velvet robe of state” feeling “it would only emphasize her seniority, and overshadow the role of her future husband,” Staniland added.

Victoria’s all-white bridal costume may have been without the usual glittering royal accoutrements, but it “was actually exquisite and of great value,” explained Maria McBride-Mellinger, author of The Wedding Dress. Underscoring “patriotic spending,” the queen commissioned her country’s renowned textile artisans. The rich silk satin for the gown and its 18-foot court train was woven in Spitalfields and the beautiful, lyrically-patterned lace for her veil and gown embellishments was hand made by two hundred women in a Devon village employed for eight months. The only color Victoria wore was near her heart: a large, brilliant blue sapphire brooch which had been Prince Albert’s wedding gift to her.

On the day of the wedding, Victoria’s adoring subjects happily received their queen’s choices, cheering her carriage on its way to the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace. Dressed in these creamy shades of white and tufts of orange blossom, I doubt that Victoria had a sense of the remarkably romantic lineage she was about to inaugurate. Nor could she ever know that her queenly exemplar: “Keep your relationship top priority,” would make fine advice for today’s busy wedding-planning brides. 

It seems for this young bride (who just happened to be ruler of an empire), that it came down to choosing the feelings of her future husband over her own ego. Victoria’s heart-centered choice changed bridal history and, in turn, illuminated the supreme sovereignty of a woman in love. ~

[Enjoy your own copy of The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding....easy to order from Amazon with a speedy delivery!] 

December 10, 2015

{Heart Words}

Dear Bride-to-Be
With our “gratitude” theme from last month, I was reminded of another excerpt from my new book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. I love how this little story expresses the importance of sharing from your heart…no matter how busy or tired or preoccupied you might be. The setting here is following a most momentous wedding in 1947:

...then there are always some “heart words” sitting there, waiting to be said or put into a letter, no matter the circumstances, even for a busy and tired king. Following a grand November wedding; after waving to cheering crowds from the central balcony of Buckingham Palace; after a wedding meal “including twelve wedding cakes, the main one nine feet high” where five kings, eight queens, eight princes and ten princesses were present; after the newlyweds, the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, left for their honeymoon in an open carriage; later that evening, as historian Dulcie Ashdown shared, “King George VI sat down to write to his daughter.”

I was so proud of you and thrilled at having you close to me on our long walk in Westminster Abbey, but when I handed your hand to the Archbishop, I felt I had lost something very precious. You were so calm and composed during the Service and said your words with such conviction that I knew everything was alright.

This letter may have been written by a king to his daughter on her wedding day (a princess who only four years later would take her father’s place on the throne, becoming Queen Elizabeth II, and who has now surpassed her great-great grandmother in longevity of service as British monarch), but at its heart, the letter’s loving sentiment is a message that any daughter would be pleased to hear from her father or mother on any given day.

On this day, at this moment, share from your heart. We all need some “heart words” about now!

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

[Enjoy your own copy of The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride {Volume One} For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding....easy to order from Amazon with a speedy delivery!] 

[Images above from Queen Elizabeths wedding day.]

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.