December 21, 2011

{Sweet Winter Dreams}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
I will be taking a "winter sabbatical" from my weekly postings on this Letters To A Bride blog! I'm down to the last stage of my new book's rewrite and need to focus my attention there so it will be ready for release in 2012!
In the meantime, enjoy the archives here -- lots to choose from: stories of wedding history and folklore, ideas for aromatherapy and flowers, relaxation tips, bridal mythology that may surprise you, influences of royal brides, and more! And come see me at my upcoming book's companion blog, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride.

I'll keep you posted with the new book and any news that I think you just might want to hear about! For now, enjoy your sweet winter dreams....and go explore some luscious quiet time.
Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia

[Photographs: Daniel Sheenan]

ps: And if you need the perfect gift of the heart for you or another bride-to-be, remember that my current book (and an Amazon best seller!), The Bride's Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself, is a sweet reminder of the intimacy and feminine delight of a woman's bridal rite-of-passage. Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate You everyday...!

December 14, 2011

{The Wish-Fulfilling Tree & the Princess Bride}


Dear Bride-To-Be:
Did you ever read the book or see the film, The Princess Bride? I thought you'd enjoy a post on my "End of the Fairy-Tale Bride" blog that shares the deeper meanings that this fairy tale presents. Sharing the ancient story of the magical "wish-fulfilling tree," it's a reminder that when we trust the messages of our inner spirit -- our intuitive wisdom -- then our heart's desire comes true. (And it may be different from what your mind imagined!)

When you're a bride, your woman's intuition is highly enhanced -- so use it! It's like having your very own "wish- fulfilling tree. (Take some deep breaths, look within and listen.) Trust your heart's intuitive lead and you'll be able to see beyond any limitations....

Click here to read the charming mythology of The Princess Bride. (Enjoy its reminder to look a little deeper at things, people, situations...there is always more than what meets the eye! And be ready to be enchanted.)

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

ps: The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride is also the name of my upcoming book...due for release next spring. Stay tuned for more news!

December 7, 2011

{Attending a Bride}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
     In preparing for my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride (about surprising ways Princess Diana exposed romantic myths that women still hold on to), I read how Elizabeth and David Emanuel, co-designers of her famously sumptuous royal wedding gown, developed a strong bond with Diana. They became personal confidantes in addition to her main wardrobe advisors.

     In my experience working with thousands of brides in my former bridal art-to-wear shop in Atlanta in the 1980s and 90s, I understand how that happens—and how special it can be for the bride-to-be! Here’s an excerpt from my book (to be released next year) that shares about this uniquely feminine and intimate relationship:

For my customers, the gown fittings at my shop gave the bride a chance to “cocoon” a bit; escape into the dreamy, feminine world of silks and laces and be the center of attention. She could tell her story to a rapt audience of designers and costume advisors as well as hear my folklore tales of wedding history. In this secluded haven, the bride could be away from the more mundane decisions in her regular world, and receive counseling and reassurance while freely expressing herself with this new comforting and attentive community of women.

My intention was for the bride’s fittings to be nurturing and self-reflecting experiences; an occasion for the bride-to-be to stand in the midst of her rite-of-passage and “find herself”—becoming more centered and grounded as she learned about her bridal legacy. And in so doing, be reminded that during all the wedding hoopla, the key was to keep her attention on her relationships: her relationship with her heart, with her family, with her partner, and
what they were building together.


   I hope that as a bride you have a chance to enjoy your own “royal” version of escaping into the dreamy, feminine world of silks and laces and be the center of attention. Look for relationships with wedding professionals that nurture and honor you. Be sure that you are lovingly attended to. And have people around that will gently remind you what’s at the heart of the relationship you and your partner are building together. That’s what being attended to is all about!
 
Love. Listen. Let go.
....with love from Cornelia
 
[Bottom Photograph: Jason Hudson]

November 30, 2011

{Be Quiet With Yourself}


Dear Bride-To-Be:
The Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran told the world about a hundred years ago that “your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.” Now I know there is a lot of hustle ’n bustle around planning a wedding, and oddly enough, it doesn’t always include the language of the heart. Sometimes the pressure builds and harsh words are spoken. So perhaps if you included more “silence” as the poet says, words of love become the main language!

Conversations With God author Neale Donald Walsch advises us to cultivate the ability to listen to and learn the language of your heart...and let there be quiet:

Listen to your heart. Practice it. Produce it. Perfect it. It is not that difficult. Just be quiet with yourself. And for heaven’s sake, stop listening to your mind. You will not find the truth there. You may find the answer, but it will not be the truth unless it coincides with the answer in your heart.

You think there is more to know about life than this, but there is not. Your heart holds the key. Your heart holds the wisdom. Your heart holds the future. Your mind knows nothing but the past. It imagines the future will be just like yesterday, so it makes it decisions based on that. Only your heart can see beyond memory’s horizon.

Take a deep breath and breathe in and out of your heart until you hear the silence. (The practice can be fun...and it’s worth every quiet, productive, heart-full moment.) Then go and have a beautiful, full-of-love wedding and life...with time to be quiet with yourself.
 
Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
 
[Photograph: The Nichols]

November 23, 2011

{A Grateful Heart}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Do you think that abundance is limited ... that good fortune skips a day in your life? Wise spiritual guides tell us that what we might consider as lack of abundance or a misfortune is actually an opportunity to open our hearts even wider ... a reminder to be thankful for what we do have. It seems blessings come a’calling to a grateful heart!

Over two thousand years ago, the Roman philosopher Cicero said “a grateful heart is the greatest virtue.” We receive gifts each day that we may not recognize as gifts, but anytime we express appreciation for the experience we’ve been given—no matter what it is—then our hearts open that much more.

Keep your heart available for love in abundant proportions . . . and abundance is yours. Remember that it’s a generous dose of gratitude that returns you to the virtue and “fortunes” of love.

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

[Photograph: Sarah Merians Photography]

November 16, 2011

{Easy Does It}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
On your wedding day, set aside a bit of “just for you” meditative time to relax, center yourself and get grounded . . . a moment to simply melt into your heart. For help in relaxing, you can listen to soft music, gently stretch your body, read a favorite love poem, or do a soothing deep-breathing exercise. (Or a combination of all of them!)

As you relax during your little “wedding day reverie,” let go of any noisy thoughts and allow the world to get quieter so you can hear your inner voice. What messages are you hearing? Whatever comes up, just breathe love into it.

Easy does it. As you continue to enjoy your reverie moments, take more deep, slow, soft breaths and relax more deeply and allow your body to remember that sweet moment of “falling in love.” Breathe in the feeling so you can recreate it fresh and new—and take that feeling with you throughout the day. Share it with friends, family, strangers.

Like love, weddings are about inclusion. Be the goddess of love today!

Love, listen, let go.
...with love from Cornelia

[Photograph: Jason Hudson]

November 9, 2011

{Relax & Go Have a Glorious Day}


Dear Bride-To-Be:
There is a wise Chinese proverb that says: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Wherever you are in your wedding planning process—just thinking about it, in the middle of making lists, only a few days away from your wedding—it’s probably a busy time for you! Yet it doesn’t have to be tense; you don’t have to be tense. So take a deep...slow...easy breath and just relax. Although it may seem at odds with how you feel since being tense has become the new “normal” in our hectic world, but be a bold trailblazer! Shine some light in all the frenzy and change your default setting to “relax.” 

I know, I know. In our busy noisy world, we have made relaxation “hard”—but you can make it easy and lusciously refreshing for yourself. One way is to simply sit alone quietly for a few minutes in a peaceful spot ... slowly, softly, deeply breathing in and breathing out. Paying attention to your breathing is a chance to quiet your busy mind and allow your body to be at rest. This little practice would be a gift of ease and heart-opening softness for yourself ... even if it’s only five minutes of quiet solitude a day. (It will make a difference in how you feel, how you look and how you see the world.) Do this for yourself and by doing something relaxing for yourself, you’re doing it for everyone around you.

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” So be your authentically beautiful self and slow down, breathe deeply and relax. Then go have a glorious day.

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

[Photographs: Josie Miner]

November 2, 2011

{Tying the Knot}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
As you're preparing for your wedding, you will hear and see lots of familiar "wedding expressions" in your daily routine that are actually rooted in the past. Like "tie the knot"....

You've probably heard some of the stories of its origin: how a couple would tie a rope or scarf in a ceremonial knot as a wedding ritual, symbolizing their connection and faith to each other. Perhaps you know of someone who has used a version of the ritual in their ceremony.

But did you know that the original ceremony -- from the ancient Celtic culture -- was a very intricate weaving that would entwine the couple's hands within the knot at the same time? This Celtic love knot pattern consists of complete loops that have neither a beginning nor an end. It was difficult to do and took a lot of practice by the couple, becoming like a meditative rehearsal for intimacy. The purpose was not only to create a "symbol" of the continuance of life and love, but was actually to help create or deepen an intimate bond between the couple.

Imagine doing this ceremony with your beloved: you are standing face to face; you feel the cording on your skin as it connects the two of you together; your hands become entwined; you are drawn even closer as you look into the eyes of your beloved, that intimate moment of looking into the "mirror of your soul" through another.

This is the purpose of all ancient wedding rituals: to create an intimacy of connection for the couple; to connect hearts for a lifetime. And the wisdom of the Celtic love knot ceremony takes it even deeper: entwining the heart of your relationship for inner-growth and self-discovery ... and the experience of practicing unending love together. Relationships don't always last, but the love that brings people together can indeed be everlasting with a little bit of practice.

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

 [Photographs: April Groom]


October 26, 2011

{Wedding Memories & Dr. Seuss}


Dear Bride-To-Be:
You never know what your wedding guests will take away from your wedding. Of course, you're planning a ceremony of the heart for your rite-of-passage into marriage; an event filled with love and reverence and all you hold dear. And when you do that, your guests also take away something deeply moving and life changing for them as well!

Here is what author and counselor Arielle Ford wrote about being at her niece's recent wedding:

We just returned from Dallas where we attended the wedding of our niece Sarah and her beloved, Mark. It was a beautiful garden affair, at sunset, with a brass quartet and a very enthusiastic, loving and gracious minister.
The bride was stunning, the groom beaming, and one of the highlights of the ceremony for me was a recital of Sarah's all-time favorite Dr. Seuss poem that expressed the depth and the whimsy of the happy couple:
I will love you in the park, and I will love you in the dark.
I will love you through good or bad,
When you're happy and when your sad.
I will love you when you're rich or when you're poor and in a ditch
And I will have and I will hold,
Ten years from now a thousand fold.
And now we're here at this new start,
So I'll start by loving you with my whole heart.

Whatever poetic readings you choose for your wedding -- from Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare -- be sure you include your "whole heart" in all of your wedding plans so everyone involved gets to share the love!
 
Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
 
[Photograph: Ian Grant]

October 19, 2011

{The Princess Bride & Her Tiara}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
Tiaras have been associated with brides since ancient Rome with their classical, elegant style. And “by the early 1300s a jeweled crown for a bride was a symbol of the marital state” of aristocratic women, according to Carol McD. Wallace in her book, All Dressed in White. Following Princess Elizabeth’s wedding in 1947—the future queen of Englandbeing a “princess bride” became the fashion and tiaras, of course, were the headpiece of choice even for “everyday” brides.

Although Diana Spencer wore an exquisite family heirloom tiara for her royal wedding in 1981, the bridal fashion for tiaras didnt catch on again until the late 90s. By the time Princess Dianas daughter-in-law, the lovely Kate Middleton, became a bride in the spring of this year wearing a borrowed diadem from the queens family collectiontiaras had been back in vogue for years. Something about that “princess bride” sensibility had captured the fancy of the times and went deep into the hearts of many brides. 

Whether you wear a diamond, paste or glass tiara; or a wreath of fresh flowers or just one fragrant rose tucked behind your ear; whether you wear a jeweled ornament, or a crown of vintage wax orange blossoms, or no headpiece at all when you are a bride; you wear a regal legacy!


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

ps: If you’d like to read more about princess brides and tiaras, click here to read a reprint of my article Tiaras and the Real Princesses.

October 12, 2011

{Bridal Gown as Art}


Dear Bride-To-Be:
Most brides put lots of attention on finding or creating the dress to wear for their wedding. Wearing it makes them feel beautiful...even looking at it makes them feel special!

Since the wedding dress takes such a beloved place in the hearts of brides, there are several ways to be sure that it remains special. And even have it be a work of art to enjoy long after the wedding ends.

Here are some creative ideas by wonderful artists:

Fashion illustrator Anne Underwood can create a lovely pencil, ink & pastel drawing of you in your wedding dress (from your favorite photograph.)

Photographer Dorothy O'Connor re-creates a wedding gown into a beautiful still-life image.

And if you want to preserve your gown yourself, click here for tips from assistant museum curator, Steven Rosengard.

After your wedding is complete -- settling back into your "un-bride" routine as well as adjusting to married life -- can be just as busy as the time planning your wedding. So before you let that lovely gown languish for too long on the back of a chair somewhere, be sure to have it cleaned and put away -- and perhaps even create a precious piece of art out of your memories.

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

October 5, 2011

{Choices of Your Heart}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
Wearing a wedding gown is so weird,” a bride was quoted in The Bride Revealed, a book by photographer Leslie Barton. It’s not like any other dress. I felt so grown-up and elegant in it. At the same time, it felt like a costume. Even during my wedding, when I saw my reflection, I was startled. Who is that?’ It’s such an important transformation, from the usual jeans and T-shirt to a formal wedding gown. I felt it strengthened the commitment, that what I said on this day would be with me for the rest of my life.”

This bride reveals something that you might soon find out for yourself. That your wedding gown, and all the other rituals you use for your wedding—the music, flowers, exchange of rings, even your vows—are all outward expressions of your inner self. They are a reflection of what you hold in your heart and meant to, as this bride said, “strengthen your commitment” to all you hold dear.

And you thought your wedding dress was only to make you look like a dream! It’s not only a transformation from jeans to formal gown,” but also a transformation of your heart—deepening your commitment to your best self. Make the things you choose for your wedding, choices of your heart.

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

[Photograph: Leslie Barton]

September 28, 2011

{Thank You!}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
There simply cannot be too many thank-yous spoken in the world. (Nor too many hearts full of love!) Many people assisted you in getting to your wedding day...keep the generosity and gratitude going. Say “thank you” to the first and last person you see today—and everyone in-between—and really mean it.

Notice how a little from-the-heart “thank you” lights people up. In fact, make it your job to light people up today. “Thank you!”—it feels great. And you’re the one who just might get the biggest reward.

“Gratitude is what returns us to love,” writer Lisa Clapier reminds us, and love is abundantly endless. You won’t run out—just keep giving it away!

Have your wedding be remembered for the gifts everyone else takes home—your love and gratitude.

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

[Photograph: Brian Wagner]


September 21, 2011

{Time Is Breath}



Dear Bride-to-Be:
Planning a wedding is a busy time – whether you’re doing it all by yourself or in partnership with your mother, sister, friends or fiancĂ©. Everything gets amplified during wedding planning; your to-do list keeps growing and there just never seems to be enough time

So do you want to know the secret to having more time? Slow down and breathe!

The more stressed you are, the tighter your body gets, the more shallow your breathing becomes – and it appears that there is not enough space or time. And the tension cycle continues! So the pleasure of planning your wedding suffers – and perhaps some of your relationships suffer as well – and your overall health and happiness pay a heavy price.

There are lots of great tips out there from relaxation experts and meditation gurus to help you learn how to slow down, be more attentive and take deeper, fuller, longer more relaxing – even healing – breaths. (See a suggestion below.) But right this moment, as you’re reading, do this:
Inhale through your nose slowly, deeply, softly, gently and hold; what do you notice? Release your breath, exhaling through your nose slowly, deeply, softly, gently and hold; what do you notice?

As you go about your day, keep noticing your breath and if you feel you’re holding it when you’re tense or taking shallow breaths, do the little exercise. Just by putting attention on your breath, you’ll take deeper ones – which also takes better care of you.

Then just notice if your relationship to time has changed – and even if it seems you have more of it! (Breath and time!)

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

ps: “Time is breath” is a quote from Russian teacher G.I. Gurdjieff as cited by Dennis Lewis in his wonderful book Free Your Breath, Free Your Life. Thanks to Dennis for inspiring this post!

[Photograph: Julie Mikos]

September 14, 2011

{Heart-Full of Rituals}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
What’s a wedding without some sort of ceremony, and what’s a ceremony without a ritual or two, and what’s a ritual without a bit of mystery? The rituals of wedding ceremonies—such as exchanging rings, repeating vows, dressing in special clothes, sharing a big cake—are all intended as outer expressions of your inner transformation. Subtle changes that are close to your heart. Rituals act as guideposts on this rather mysterious transformational journey called being a bride, this womanly rite-of-passage.

In my book, The Bride’s Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself, I share the most feminine of wedding rituals that are inspired by the charming wedding rhyme: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence for your shoe. Don’t miss connecting with other women with these essentially “being a woman” rituals and gestures that hold a bit of that feminine mystery.

What rituals are you using for your wedding? Give them special attention like wise gifts from the past and see how their magic goes deep into your heart.

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

[Photograph: Priscilla Wannamaker]

September 7, 2011

{True Love-Knots}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
Here’s a romantic “something blue” idea! Make a “Love Knot Bow” to wear pinned to your wedding day lingerie out of narrow blue ribbons: tiny loops with knotted streamers called “true-love knots.” There is an ancient legend that the Danish phrase meaning “I plight thee my troth”—used in early wedding vows—was the origin of the expression “true-love knots.” As far as legends go, one might say that “true love” is untying all the knots to your lover’s heart!

And just a little reminder. If your love is indeed true, then it comes with a heart full of forgiveness. Love can get “tangled” at times, but as wise voices tell us: When we learn how to forgive, then we learn how to love.

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

ps: this is an excerpt from my book, The Bride's Ritual Guide: Look Inside to Find Yourself.

[Photograph: Lacour Photography]


August 31, 2011

{Veiled in Mystery}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
What has come to be known as a “bridal veil” in European-American heritage has its own unique story, borrowing the best from both Eastern and Western cultures. From Eastern tradition, you inherit a sense of being veiled as capturing a meditative space for your own private reverie. The Western lineage of the veil takes inspiration from the prestige and grandeur of past traditions from the royal courts. Together they create an elegant heritage and a pensive beauty for today's brides.

Whether you are aware of this legacy, or whether you wear a bridal veil or not, you are stepping into the past touched by women of the ages, offering a bit of themselves to your life. Open your heart and let that womanly support of strength and mystery in!

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

[Photograph: Kimberly Sayre & Shannon Stellmacher for Shannon Stellmacher Photography]


August 24, 2011

{Listen to Your Heart}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
When the busy-bustle of wedding planning spins you away from yourself and you’re feeling a bit frazzled, what do you do to ease back into your heart center? It’s important to take a quiet moment to listen to your heart each day. Close your eyes and take a few deep, soft breaths...long, slow inhales and exhales...and listen in. What’s the message you hear?

Slow down, be patient. Listen deep into the stillness so the message can get through. (Fine-tune your heart channel!) Listen for what soothes and supports your best self. Allow yourself to let love in from all directions and from all of life’s voices. When you find the quiet inside, you realize you’re not alone . . . your inner spirit is always there to guide and nurture you.

However, it’s not always easy to find that quiet moment of relaxation and contemplation in your day or evening. Yet your spirit and well-being calls for it! Take a walk in the park, in the woods, down the street, along a lane, beside a lake. Go sit by a tree or in a corner . . . or at least somewhere by yourself for a few moments of quiet each day. (Even a closet will do!) And listen for love.

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

[Photograph by Priscilla Wannamaker]

August 17, 2011

{Pocket-Full of Love}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
Are you planning to have a “sixpence in your shoe” or perhaps a “penny in your pocket” on your wedding day? Or maybe, like a lot of practical modern brides who like to follow some of the quaint old customs, you will tuck a lucky coin of some sort into your wedding purse!

History tells us that the first coins date back almost 3000 years, used by people who live in the area now known as Turkey. So if you use an old or new coin of any origin, you’re bringing a long lineage of riches and abundance into your wedding day from around the world!

But whether you use an old or new coin—or a dime or a franc—as your bridal token of abundance, remember that it’s only a “token.” True abundance is a full heart of love that you give away unconditionally and receive completely.

Now, that’s a pocket-full of riches!

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

[Photograph: Julie Mikos]


August 10, 2011

{Your Fabled Dress}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
There is a great deal of romance and juicy energy around the fabled “wedding dress.” These costumes with a past have become mythical creatures, described as “gowns of ritual” by historian Carol McD. Wallace in her book All Dressed in White. Wedding dresses—whether you wear something old or something new—connect women in an echoing sisterly heritage.

Share with a girlfriend or aunt or your seamstress or any woman in your life how wearing your wedding dress makes/made you feel. Soak in feeling feminine and luscious and gorgeous in your own eyes. Enjoy “playing dress-up” in your princess gown and take that womanliness into “regular life” so you can draw from that delight—especially on one of those “frumpy” feeling days!

Slow down during your wedding planning time and wedding day. Savor it. Breathe deeply and easily into your heart center and just hang out there for a bit. And in this soft and sweet place, remember the “feeling beautiful” feeling and carry it with you no matter what you are wearing.

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

[Photograph by Sarah Merians and Company]


August 3, 2011

{Remembrances}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
Last week marked a pivotal anniversary in the world of weddings. The 29th of July would have been the 30th anniversary of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles' legendary wedding. Even if you were unaware, couldn't care less, or not born at the time -- that wedding, and its shimmering bride, changed your world right this moment and altered how women looked at being a bride ever since.

If you want a little background history, check in to one of my other blogs that is the companion to my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Diana Exposed the Princess Myth for All Women. In honor of the anniversary that galvanized a very dull wedding industry thirty years ago, I began posting excerpts from my book's prologue that describe the glittering event and its impact on the world. (The descriptions of the wedding day itself are coming up in the next few posts.) Enjoy!

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

July 27, 2011

{Let's Talk About Those Strapless Dresses!}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
One of the things I liked about the recent royal wedding (and there were many features I adored) was that the lovely Kate Middleton did not wear a strapless dress! Now, before you get your noses out of joint, all you strapless gown lovers, hear me out!

I wrote a long article years ago offering some tips with things a bride could do and/or remember so she looked fabulous all day or evening for her wedding when wearing a strapless style gown—if I couldn’t talk her out of  wearing one! I realized that when it came to selecting one’s wedding gown, it was hard not to get carried away with some starry-eyed, romantic notions that sometime blur a bride’s vision. For instance, when you’re trying on dresses, you’re not always thinking about practical considerations, like how it will “move” on you (or not move on you); or how revealing it is (the good, the bad, and the unflattering).

Therefore, if you want to get some friendly “360 degrees” (a view you can’t see yourself—even in a three-way mirror!) of advice on wearing a strapless dress because you may not know how to move in one (trust me, it’s different from other styles!) ... or you may not realize some things not to do so you can always look graceful and beautiful—you just may want to read the article, Consider Not Wearing a Strapless Dress, Unless... (Because sometimes a more informed bride is a more beautiful bride!) 

So ladies—let’s talk about those strapless dresses!

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

[Photographs: Jason Hudson]

July 20, 2011

{Celebrating YOU Every Day}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
I’ve interviewed hundreds of women through the years with questions about their wedding (or weddings.) Some of them were brides only a few months before and for others it had been decades. Women usually remember the moment they first saw themselves in their wedding gown. Some recall that it was like seeing a cherished, intimate part of themselves seldom shared with anyone.

Wedding dresses can evoke deeply personal, interlinking stories as women wistfully describe details of the design of the dress or how wearing it made them feel. “Every woman should see herself looking uniquely breathtaking, in something tailored to celebrate her body,” Susan Jane Gilman exclaims in her entertaining book, Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress.

There is something extra feminine about being a bride that you don’t want to miss ... a chance to explore a sense of outer and inner beauty, tenderness and strength, and a nurturing spirit. These wedding planning times are precious moments that invite you to celebrate your womanliness. And you don’t have to wait for your wedding day, or stop doing it on your wedding day, or even have a wedding day for such a celebration! You can celebrate you every day—body and spirit.

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

[Photograph: Julie Mikos]

July 13, 2011

{Wedding Guest of Honor}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
Weddings are undeniably about relationships—the relationship of the bride and groom, the couple with their family and friends, the relationship between the two families coming together—even including the bride’s relationship with her special dress.
This is a unique relationship, intriguing to artists and scholars alike, that has been written about over and over through the years. The connection of a bride to her gown is at times poignant, wistful, intimate, joyful—and many times one that can get a bit over-the-top!
California wedding photographer Leslie Barton remarked: “It seems to me the gown is really the guest of honor. It is treated with a delicacy and respect that few humans experience.”

A gentle reminder, dear bride: Love your dress; treasure how it makes you feel, even feel like a princess; celebrate your day; honor your heritage; and treat all of your wedding guests as the “guest of honor”! You’ll feel even more beautiful....

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

[Photographs: top, Josie Miner and bottom, Jason Hudson]

July 6, 2011

{Celebrities, Wedding Gowns & You}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
There was a lot of attention on celebrity weddings this past weekend and the custom-made couture gowns the brides wore.

The marriage of super model Kate Moss -- wearing a shimmering, slim, sleeveless, rhinestone-covered gown -- brought friends, family and lots of famous folks to Southrop, England for the ceremony. Her John Galliano created, floor-length (and rather sheer) dress was accessorized by a vintage-style lace veil worn over her long, loose wavy hair.

Then there was the beautiful former Olympic swimmer, Charlene Wittstock, who became a princess when she married Prince Albert II in fabled Monaco wearing a stunning off-the-shoulder Armani gown "cut from 130 metres of duchesse silk and studded with 40,000 crystals." The bride wore her blonde hair pulled back, sleek and held in place with dazzling diamonds.

You may be wearing something less grand for your wedding, but no less special. Your gown may be borrowed from a friend, it may be re-designed from your mother's gown or something designed just for you, or it may be your brand-new, off-the-rack dream dress! And it may not even be a dress. You may be wearing silky pants, a suit, a vintage kimono, or blue jeans!

Whatever you wear, wear it with a big celebrity smile! Wear it and feel like a princess! Wear it and open your heart and put your attention on how beautiful everyone else looks looking at you!

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

June 29, 2011

{Five-Minutes to Ease}

Dear Bride-to-be:
Yes, you’ve heard me say over and over how important it is to have a little quiet reverie in your day during your busy wedding planning time. And you’ve said, “I want to, but just don’t have the time!”

Okay, try this. And don’t add it to your “to do” list—a list that’s much too long anyway! And don’t think of it as “something else to do,” but more like a luscious gift to give yourself. Just say: “I’m taking care of myself inside and out today!” (And did you know that when you are more relaxed and centered, you are also more creative and loving?)

Start now...it only takes five minutes, or less. YOU deserve it!

Sitting quietly with your eyes closed and breathing through your nose, count each deep, slow inhale (one) and long, soft exhale (two), inhale (three), exhale (four); continue slowly until you get to thirty. And if you lose count, just start over at number one. (Like planning your wedding, it’s not a race to the finish line; it’s a journey to enjoy as you explore your true heart’s desire....which tends to show up inside that inner quiet.)

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


[Photo: Cheryl Wiles of arisit i]

June 22, 2011

{Less is More}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
There are more and more eco-friendly ideas available to inspire “eco-chic” weddings: using recyclable materials, organic flowers, reusable decorations. Here’s a twist. Your “something borrowed” could mean using flowers from a friend’s backyard, linens from an aunt for the reception, serving utensils and vases from neighbors. “Be a champion of recycling,” Emily Elizabeth Anderson prompts us in her book, Eco-Chic Weddings.

Also, be sure that your reception venue is equipped with ways to recycle anything that fits the category...and then has the man-power to handle the follow through.

It’s easy to let weddings get a bit over-the-top, but there is a growing awareness—once again—that less is more. “Borrowing” thoughtful values from simpler times . . . it just feels good, don’t you think?

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

[Photograph: Jason Hudson]

June 15, 2011

{Divine Connections}


Dear Bride-to-Be:
The color blue, long considered a "bridal" color, has divine connections. Blue is the color associated with Mary, mother of Jesus, and with Brigit, the Celtic goddess of healing and the arts. Brigit, called the maiden goddess of springtime, was also known as Bride -- who gave her name to a woman about to wed. Therefore, as a bride, you are the namesake of a legendary goddess!

Use your time well in this legendary bridal spotlight. Start or continue practices that take care of you...mind, body and spirit. Journaling, eating healthy foods, doing fun exercises, breathing slower and deeper, meditating each day. This helps keep your mind clear, your body vibrant, and your heart open to receive and give love. It's just naturally what a goddess would do!

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

[Photograph: Priscilla Wannamaker]

June 1, 2011

{Take a Deep Breath & Choose with Love}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Be patient with yourself during this busy wedding planning time. Sooooo many decisions to make--don't let frustration take over. Trust your intuition and keep your vision on the bigger picture--your well-being and your relationship--and allow the love and support you find there be a buoy for you. What you need will show up at the perfect time.

Here's a tip: Use the power of your breath and take a thoughtful pause before making a decision. Breathe deeply and slowly (inhaling and exhaling through your nose when you can). Let your breath settle you, and in that quiet space, pause. Inside that pause is the here and now...the present moment...a gift...all you need to know...the perfect you. Now, choose with love. (And see what a pleasure your choices become!)

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

[Photograph by: Brandon Bannon]

May 25, 2011

{Your Wedding Crown}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
Even if your wedding gown is new, it has roots in the past. Today’s bridal “ball gown” styles borrow from thousands of years of fashion design. So you may be wearing a style of gown inspired from something worn by a queen or empress or even a goddess.

Feeling “regal” as a bride is part of your natural inheritance. No wonder that tiaras—elegance borrowed from another time—remain a favorite bridal headpiece today. Throughout history, there have been wedding ceremonies that “crown” the bride and groom, like in the Russian or Greek Orthodox services, symbolizing the “royal” blessings of their wedding day. Undeniably, your wedding costume brings out a bit of princess fantasy—like a little girl playing “dress up”—and combines it with something grown-up and royal like the beautiful goddess you are!

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

[Photograph: Laurie Lambrecht]

May 18, 2011

{Does This Path Have a Heart?}


Dear Bride-to-Be: This may sound a bit strange to say, but when you're planning your wedding, remember it's all about the love! Yes, there's the dress and the cake and the band and the flowers and the shoes and the vows and the list goes on. There are scads of "things" to be included and make decisions about.

But remember, that's only the "stuff" -- the trappings of the wedding. It's easy to get so caught up with the "things" that you lose your connection to your relationship, your family, your friends -- your focus on the love that brought all of this together. And a wedding that's been planned without the open heart of inclusion is a wedding where intimacy is missing.

“Weddings are increasingly notable for their amazing lack of intimacy, their evolution into industry,” NPR commentator Jacki Lyden stated in her story, “Spectacle of Matrimony,” leading up the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in the summer of 2010. Speaking about weddings in our celebrity-driven, appearance crazed culture, she explained how “they’ve evolved into must-haves and appointment-list mega-spectacles.”

But Chelsea's wedding -- a large, celebrity-list affair -- as well as the recent wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton -- an even larger, celebrity-list and royal affair -- were intimate, deeply personal expressions of love and relationship. Grand and regal, yes; however, you could feel the love and intimacy, the sense of relatedness, and the open-hearted connections throughout the celebration.

So it's not about the size of the wedding; we see that large weddings can be intimate and tender. It's all about you opening your heart (to everyone) and have your love come first in all the decisions you make. Keep this quote at your wedding planning fingertips: "Look at every path closely … then ask yourself one question: Does this path have a heart?"

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

[Top Photograph: Genevieve de Manio]

May 11, 2011

{Set the World on Fire}

Dear Bride-To-Be:
The words of a wedding -- whether from ancient texts, or poetic literature, or something composed by you and your partner -- can set the pace for not only a moving and tender ceremony, but also for a marriage of deep commitment and love.

This is how the Lord Bishop of London opened his address last month at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. Quoting St. Catherine of Siena, he shared: Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. Then added that "marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves."

Choose words for your wedding that call forth your "deepest and truest" self; that remind you each day to "seek to bring one another into fuller life;" and that "move you toward your partner in love" in every moment, no matter the circumstances.

You don't have to have your wedding in a thousand year-old cathedral to stir your soul or "set the world on fire." But a start for such passion is to choose words that show you are "committed to the way of generous love."  

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

[Read the entire text of the Right Reverend Richard Chartres' message posted on my blog, End of the Fairy-Tale Bride.]

May 4, 2011

{Language of Flowers}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
One of my favorite parts of the recent beautiful royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was the couple's choice of "organic and local" themed flowers and other botanical features inside the Abbey -- all with a romantic and old-fashioned touch as well.

With a nod to the Language of Flowers, Kate selected a small bouquet design (a "shield-shaped" wired confection) of mixed delicate white and cream flowers and greenery. The flowers were chosen for their meaning and significance to both families:

~ Lily-of-the-valley signifies a return to happiness.
~ Hyacinth means constancy of love.
~ Sweet William stands for gallantry (and, of course, was added to celebrate the groom!)
~ Ivy is for fidelity.
~ Myrtle is also a Victorian symbol for fidelity as well as having close connections to goddess mythology. Kate's sprigs came from the "royal myrtles" at Fulham Palace in London, grown from cuttings from the wedding bouquet of Queen Victoria, William's great-great-great grandmother.

"In a sense, every wedding is a 'royal' wedding," the Lord Bishop of London declared to the world in Westminster Abbey at the grand, yet deeply personal wedding ceremony. So as a bride, wherever your wedding, not only are you regal and "royal," but you can use the precious and intimate language of flowers that was dear to a future queen on her wedding day.  

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

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]