April 27, 2011

{Royal Bouquets}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
There is always a bit of mystery surrounding a wedding, yes? What's her dress going to look like? What are the bridesmaids wearing? What flowers did the bride select for her bouquet? All these choices are part of the magic of the ritual of "ceremony." Maybe you're at a stage in your wedding planning that all these decisions are still a mystery!

I've been amazed that as much media attention on the upcoming royal wedding as there is, that Kate has been able to keep as many things secret as she has! Although we don't know (unless you're reading this "after" the wedding) the flowers she's selected for her bouquet (the experts say they'll be white & creamy), but there's one thing that's not a mystery about her bridal bouquet.

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All royal British brides (or brides who have married British royalty) since Queen Victoria's wedding have included a sprig of the folkloric shrub myrtle. And not just a sprig from any ole myrtle bush, but from the "royal myrtles" at Fulham Palace gardens. There are four famous bushes at the east end of the palace, facing the gardens, that grew from cuttings, as the story goes, from Victoria's own bouquet! And all royal bouquets of British brides since -- including the lovely Kate's -- have included a sprig or two of the royal myrtles.

The fragrant Myrtus communis  -- with its petite waxy green leaves and delicate creamy white "eye lash" blossoms -- has a mythological history. The tender perennial is associated with both the Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman goddess Venus -- the goddesses of love, beauty and laughter. Through the ages, this legendary botanical has symbolized love and desire, marriage and fidelity, good luck and abundance.

Although you may not be able to have a sprig of myrtle from royal bushes growing in a palace garden, but your bouquet deserves a bit of mythological magic! So include a sprig of myrtle in your bouquet and become a legendary bride!

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

ps: You can read more about the "royal myrtles" in a reprint of an article I wrote, "The Legend of the Royal Myrtles." I posted it on a blog page at my new upcoming books' companion blog, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Enjoy!

[Bridal Photograph: David Willems]

April 20, 2011

{Springtime & Weddings}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Springtime and weddings have been a perfect combination for centuries. In fact, the word "bride" comes from the nickname for the Celtic Great Goddess Brigit, who was also known as Bride, the Maiden Goddess of Spring.

Like Springtime and its flowers, brides through the ages have been representative of "life's renewal" and "hope for the continuity of life."  So brides and flowers have also been a perfect match...and a feminine expression of intimacy and beauty.

What flowers are you carrying for your wedding? What do they symbolize for you?

With the approaching royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in the news (and one that perhaps will become the most famous Springtime wedding in history), I'm reminded of other royal wedding bouquets.

For her winter wedding in 1840 wedding, Queen Victoria carried a nosegay of snowdrops, her beloved bridegroom's favorite. Prince William's grandmother, the current queen, carried three types of British-grown orchids in her wedding bouquet in 1947 when she was still Princess Elizabeth. Grace Kelly, from movie-princess to real princess, selected lilies-of-the-valley for her bridal bouquet in 1956 for her wedding in the tiny country of Monaco to Prince Ranier. When she became a princess bride, Lady Diana Spencer carried a large spray of mixed cream and yellow flowers, each chosen to honor English and royal traditions.

Whatever the season you've selected for your wedding, enjoy the lightness and brightness of Spring wherever you are this moment...and bring that abundance into your wedding day.

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

ps: What flowers will Catherine Elizabeth Middleton carry in her wedding bouquet? Tune in next Wednesday to learn of a treasured royal botanical tradition that she will continue as a princess-to-be bride. 

[Photograph: Princess Diana and Prince Charles, circa 1981]

April 13, 2011

{Listening for Stillness}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Yes, you O Beautiful, Busy Bride! Take a few minutes each day to listen for stillness to help ease away stress and keep your inner voice tuned to your joy channel! If it’s your pattern to stay revved up, spinning into a busy swirl—thinking that you don’t have time to relax because there is so much to do—then you actually may accomplish more if you took at least one three-minute quiet break during your day. Work Efficiency Experts that know about these things declare: Slow down and accomplish more!

Here’s a little exercise you can do as often as possible to help slow down and relax:

•    Find a quiet, comfy place where you won’t be interrupted. (And if you can’t do that, just sit in your desk chair.)
•    Sit with your spine as straight as possible and close your eyes.
•    Put attention on your breaths—if possible, breathing through your nose for more relaxation—and slow each breath down so that you feel your belly gently rise with each deeeeep, slow inhale and fall with each sloooow, soft exhale.(Inhale, 1-2-3-4. Pause. Exhale, 1-2-3-4-5.)
•    Keep doing this until you feel yourself relaxing. Drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, stretch your fingers and toes as you continue keeping your attention on each breath.
•    And listen. Listen for the stillness inside each breath. Listen for the stillness inside your heart. Listen for the stillness deep in your body.

And as you listen within, what you just might hear is how deliciously sweet stillness sounds when you’re not focusing on your busy mind chatter. As you breathe slowly and deeply, listening within, you realize the messages of your joy channel are just a breath away!

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

[Photograph: Priscilla Wannamaker]

April 6, 2011

{The Intimate Wedding}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
A lot has been written about how intimacy is missing at weddings these days. In a special feature titled, "The Spectacle of Matrimony," Jacki Lyden of NPR News described it this way: "Weddings are increasingly notable for their amazing lack of intimacy, their evolution into industry....they've evolved into must-haves and appointment-list mega-spectacles."

Okay. I know that planning a wedding is a busy-busy time: growing to-do lists, details to handle and then handle again. You want your wedding to be beautiful -- you want to be beautiful -- so, of course, you put attention on your dress and hair, the flowers and food, the photographs and favors...the special trappings of a wedding that we all love.

But sometimes "relationship" gets left out. That can sound like an oxymoron given that why people are getting married in the first place is about, well, relationship! Brides can get so caught up in the frenetic swirl of "planning" the wedding, that sometimes not only do they get lost, but their connection to their partner gets lost -- or at least a bit strained -- and intimacy is squeezed out.

So no wonder that intimacy is missing at the wedding ceremony if it goes missing in your connection to your partner and family -- the real heart of the matter of weddings, yes?

Slow down, take a deeeeep breath, relax, feel into your heart, listen to its message, and recalibrate your priorities. (Those details can wait for awhile!) Then go give some love pats to family and friends and that sweetie of yours! (They've missed you.)

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

[Photograph: Missy McLamb]