May 27, 2010

{Smile, Breathe and Go Slowly}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
I think these words by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, “smile, breathe, and go slowly,” become a perfect mantra to use while planning your wedding. (And perfect words to live by at any time!)

Wedding planning time is a busy-busy time, yes? And if you tend to start multi-tasking and your actions get on speed-dial, your breathing becomes shallow, and you get wound really tight! And when you’re tense and speeding around, you’re usually “in your head.” And when you’re inside your noisy thoughts, you’re not present—nor are you inside your heart. And when you’re not thinking from your heart, you’re not fully connected to your relationships. YIKES!

Slow down, take a deep breath, and smile.

Smiling helps release tension and brings you back to yourself. Smiling relaxes the body, slows down your breaths, quiets your thoughts, radiates warmth and connection, and creates the world anew. It’s hard to be angry or jealous or bent out of shape with a big smile on your face.

The wise Thich Nhat Hanh also said: “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” So…smile, Girl, smile! And be a beautiful, relaxed bride…with a more beautiful life ahead.

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

[Photograph: Marla Aufmuth]

May 20, 2010

{Lit From Within}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Are you still busy looking for the “perfect” wedding dress? Or have you found the gown that simply calls your name . . . that you feel beautiful in inside and out?

No matter what stage you're in with your wedding activities, remember that “a wedding gown does not a bride make”! I’ve worked with brides of all ages—from seventeen to eighty-seven, from first marriage to more than three—and every bride in love is lit with a “fairy tale quality” no matter what she was wearing. Being loved and being in love does that: lights you up from within, surrounds you with blessings, raises you above the mundane.

So it's not a beautiful gown that makes a woman a beautiful bride. That glow of beauty comes from wearing her love like a warm, generous embrace. . . and sharing it with everyone along the way.

What do you need to put into place in your life right now so you don’t lose—or at least so you can recapture—that “lit from within” feeling after the wedding . . . when life settles down and becomes “normal” again? What do you call on at those times when love doesn't feel so special . . . when you don't feel beautiful in whatever you are wearing?

Look inside yourself to find your light, your magic. . . that place where love resides. Then breathe that light in so you become familiar with how being present to your “inner light” feels. Make it a practice so you can return to that essence at any time—especially when life feels more like a fractured fairy tale than that falling in love lightness! And remember, even at those stressful times, your inner light is always available to call on . . . just look inside and fall in love with yourself and the whole wide world over and over again.

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

[Photograph: Missy McLamb Photography Studio]

May 13, 2010

{Leaving Blessings in Her Wake}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Wearing a gown with a train has such a fairy tale quality. I enjoyed watching brides-to-be trying on gowns in my former shop as they twirled and turned in front of the mirror, craning their necks like some exotic bird attempting to see how their train magically draped and “puddled” behind them.

During this “mirror ritual,” I shared a pretty notion with each bride, embellishing a quote from former editor-in-chief of Bride’s magazine, Barbara Tober: The train of the gown is an extension of the presence of the bride . . . on her wedding day she moves amongst her friends and family, leaving blessings in her wake.

(Close your eyes and slowly breathe that lovely image deep into your heart.)

Weddings offer many opportunities to leave loving blessings trailing behind your bright aura! How do you intend to make your wedding a ritual of love for everyone present?

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

[Photograph: David Willems]

May 10, 2010

{Ribbons & Favours & Blessings}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Did you know that brides and grooms are thought to be “blessed” on their wedding day? This is a belief with origins in ancient superstitions, so for wedding guests to be “favoured” by the bride and groom with a token or charm was a blessing indeed!

British wedding historian Ann Monsarrat tells of an aristocratic wedding in the sixteenth century when ribbons of the bride’s gown were cut in little pieces and given out to guests for good luck tokens. A custom that followed (to protect the bride's outfit as well as to provide souvenirs) was for friends of the bride to assemble pretty little “knots of ribbon”—in the bride’s chosen colors or perhaps in the colors of the family crest—as “favours” for the wedding guests. It became a sign of status and honor for the guests to wear the charming bouquet of knotted ribbons on their arm or tucked into their hats after the wedding event.

Also, through the centuries and in many cultures, the groom and his attendants wore fanciful ribbon and flower “favours” in their jacket’s buttonhole. Later these were simply called buttonholes or boutonnieres.

Don’t you love hearing origin stories of wedding celebrations to see how customs or rituals that you might take for granted were created? Most customs were created in a very different time and place, but can still hold something dear for your wedding at this moment. Sharing “favours” from the heart is a blessing that's always in fashion!

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

[Photograph: circa 1910 image—note groom's elaborate “favour”—courtesy of the Goldstein Museum of Design]

May 3, 2010

{Wedding Rules or Choices?}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Are you giving wedding favours to your guests? It's always a lovely gesture, but do remember: like so many ideas used for wedding ceremonies that became a custom over the years—it’s not a “rule.”

It helps to know that you are at choice in the matter regarding your wedding. Learn about old customs and new ideas, and then choose for yourself. What wedding traditions or rituals truly express you—your spirit and your budget?

The giving of favours has its roots in ancient superstitious cultures as tokens of good luck, but wedding favours became popular again in modern times only in the last couple of decades when weddings became big business. So don’t get lost in the business of weddings; make choices from your heart!

And remember, after the wedding, you’re just as married whether you gave favours or not to your wedding guests! A heart-felt “thank you”—with an embrace, or kiss on the cheek, or hand shake—can be the best gift of all.

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

ps: I love to share origin myths for wedding customs and rituals so you can enjoy the stories of history, then choose for yourself what ideas and traditions serve you! So stay tuned for my next LETTERS TO A BRIDE blog post for some intriguing stories about those wedding favours!)

[Photograph: Jason Hudson]