Handkerchiefs and weddings—along with the likes of languid moments, love and courtship, soft sighs, and “taking one’s breath away”—have a long poetic history together. And if you were lucky enough to have a close relation skilled with a needle (and many people did up until the middle of last century), then you’d have your own special handmade wedding handkerchief to sigh over. Perhaps made from near translucent Belgium linen or fine cotton from Portugal with a lush border of rose point bobbin lace for her and for him, a spacious, white lawn handkerchief with hand-rolled edges and embroidered with his initials.
Beautifully fetching handkerchiefs may evoke a more leisurely era as well as their costumed weddings; however, there’s a romantic melodrama that spins around weddings of any era. Weddings of the past and present are like a microcosmic slice of real life magnified and when planning a wedding (no matter how small or quickly assembled—even if it’s “Let’s hurry over to the courthouse!”), emotions swirl and time seems to speed up and slow down all at the same time. In our hurry-up world, whatever the occasion, maybe we need to stop and sigh every now and then. Oh, not for any melancholia—but just to enjoy the beautiful, take-your-breath-away blessing that life is.
When I had my bridal shop years ago, to help my customers ease the pace, relax into their bodies, and enjoy their rite-of-passage ahead, I would tell stories taken from wedding folklore, adding my own twists with a bit of goddess legend and mystical mythology woven in. I didn’t wave a hanky for dramatic effect, but I did take slow, unhurried breaths—with exhales not unlike a sigh—and soon my listeners were breathing deeper as well; they became more relaxed, even more sympathetic to mother or daughter or partner or whomever appeared as the source of their anxiety. Sometimes we miss life’s magic if we don’t slow down (letting go of the drama) and take a deep, long, easy breath.
So keep a pretty handkerchief handy—even if just as a reminder to take a few soft, languid moments to look within and refresh, relax and regroup.
Love. Listen. Let go.
...with love from Cornelia
[Handkerchief images: Karen Augusta]