Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This past Saturday I returned to Chicago after spending Christmas with my in-laws in Florida. It was a rude awakening, coming back to snow and cold after being at the the beach!
Besides having a great time visiting family, I had the unexpected pleasure of happening upon a wedding on the beach!
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we decided to head for the beach. As I was taking pictures of the kids, I noticed that there was something going on at the pier. So, I wandered over, and sure enough - it was a wedding!
When we were leaving the beach a while later, my husband noticed
the bride and groom walking past. He encouraged me (badgered me!) into talking to them. So, I introduced myself and chatted with them for a bit. The bride said that it was her father who married them. Isn't that cool?
They were definitely a lovely couple - and very sweet. I wish them all the best - and a lifetime of happiness!
Monday, December 21, 2009
The Roman feast of Saturnalia honored the God Saturn as a week-long observation of the Winter Solstice. The day was also honored by the Germanic people of Northern Europe with Yule festivals, which brought us the tradition of burning the Yule log.
I have another very special reason for celebrating today - my son's birth 10 years ago today! He has brought joy and light to our lives ever since. Happy Birthday!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Question: Why did you become a Celebrant?
Answer: Becoming a Celebrant was something I had thought about for many years, even way before I even heard of Celebrants! About 15 years ago, someone told me that a notary could sign a marriage license in some states. I had no idea if it was really true, but I made some calls and learned that it wasn't an option in Illinois. Darn. Still, it got me thinking...... how cool would it be to be able to marry people?!
Then, a few years later, a local Chicago deejay married a couple on the radio after being ordained on-line. Again, it got me thinking about being an officiant. But, the whole idea of marrying people without any real training just didn't feel right to me.
Then one day, I was paging through a magazine that I've never read before, and saw an ad for the Celebrant Foundation. I guess that was my "Aha!" moment. The rest is history!
Since then, I've come to realize that I'm doing exactly what I was meant to do. I get to be creative and create unique, special ceremonies for every couple. I love doing research, and continually learn about different cultures and rituals. Best of all, I meet interesting people and participate in the happiest time of their lives. I have the best job in the world!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
One of the best parts of Veronica & Joe's wedding was the music, provided by Rob and Carl of Checkerboard Entertainment.
Not only are they terrific guys, they kept the party going with great music.
I have to say, they scored big points with me for a set of 80's music. See, I had asked Rob if he had the song, "Every Day is Halloween" by Ministry. I figured it would be perfect for a Halloween event - plus it's a great dance song from my club-going days. Not only did they play the song, but they did a whole awesome set of 80's tunes, including "I Melt With You" and vintage Depeche Mode. That alone earned them my undying devotion. Let's just say I danced so much that my legs were sore the next day! (But, it was worth it!)
In any case, I couldn't recommend these guys highly enough. They were so friendly and highly professional throughout the entire process. They came to the rehearsal to scope everything out and go over details. On the day of the wedding they were there early and made sure the ceremony ran smoothly. They also created an amazing, fun atmosphere for the reception - and got everyone out onto the dance floor!
If you need a deejay, be sure to contact Rob or Carl at Checkerboard Entertainment at 847-322-4469 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll be glad you did - and so will your guests!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
A sad day for New York - a sad day for us all......
New Jersey, which has civil unions, will possibly be voting on gay marriage next week.
Let's hope for better results.
Same sex marriage supporters march on the New Jersey statehouse. See the video below.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes from this volume, which I think are great for wedding ceremonies. Enjoy!
"From every human being there arises a light that reaches straight to heaven. When two souls who are destined for each other find one another, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being." Ba'al Shem Tov
"They are not said to be husband and wife who merely sit together. Rather, they alone are called husband and wife who have one soul in two bodies." Guru Amar Das
"The tender words you have said to one another are stored in the secret heart of Heaven. One day like rain they will fall and spread, and your mystery will grow green over the world." Jalal al-Din Rumi
"On this day, two lives join as one. Who can know from where this union comes? Who can know how far into eternity this will go? These are the blessings of Unknowing." Wendy Egoku Nakao, from The Blessings of Unknowing
"When two people are at one in their inmost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze. And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts, their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids." from the I Ching
"Love gives life to the lifeless. Love lights a flame in the heart that is cold. Love brings hope to the hopeless and gladdens the heart of the sorrowful." Abdu'l-Baha from Paris Talks
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Yes, I wanted a pinata. But not a kiddie pinata - a grown up pinata, filled with fancy chocolates, little bottles of scented lotion, some funky wind-up toys. Maybe a few Borders gift cards.
Alas, my pinata never materialized. That's because I didn't plan a party. My wonderful husband wound up planning a surprise party at my dear friend's house. And I was completely, utterly surprised! He still questions whether I suspected anything. Trust me - if I expected a party, I would definitely have worn a much better outfit!
Imagine my delight when I saw a wedding pinata posted on the 2000 Dollar Wedding blog! Guest poster Linda and her groom, Chad, decided to have guests take swipes at a pinata during the wedding reception. The pinata, which was made by one of their friends, was a big hit. Be sure to check out the post - it even has instructions for making your own wedding (or birthday!) pinata.
I'm thinking my next birthday may now involve swinging at a paper mache pony!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The event will take place at Sweet Remembrance, a wonderful new coffee shop in downtown Des Plaines. (I'll be writing more about it in the future, because it's fabulous!) The shop's gracious owner, Randy Toelke, has allowed me to use the space to host the event. Thank you, Randy!!
Here are the details:
Bead for Life Open House/Bead Party
Saturday, Dec. 5th from 2 to 5 pm at Sweet Remembrance
614 Lee St., Des Plaines (just north of the Metra station)
Come check out the gorgeous bead jewelry, handmade from recycled paper. You can finish up your holiday shopping and help a worthy cause. These make wonderful, meaningful gifts. A necklace and bracelet set would be perfect for your bridal party.- and affordable for you! Or, think shower favors - bracelets are only $5.00!
Best of all, your purchase makes a huge difference to the beaders in Uganda, who are working diligently to lift themselves out of poverty. You can learn more about Bead for Life by visiting the website.
Come have a cup of coffee (and maybe one of the amazingly delicious cookies!) and check out the bead jewelry. Join the fun!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The Celebrant (in the light blue top) officiated the ceremony, as the flower girl (in white, holding greenery in lieu of the more traditional flower bouquet) observed from the background. The Celebrant and the flower girl look suspiciously familiar.
The bride and groom are animal lovers and own several pets - two parrots and two horses - and they all attended the ceremony. The guests included an intimate group of family and friends, who enjoyed the wedding immensely. Especially the horses, who neighed their approval.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I plan to check out IndieWed on January 30th. This is the wedding show hosted by they same folks that offer the cool & funky Renegade Art Fair.
The show will feature various wedding vendors, many of them being the "off-beat" variety.
It looks like it will be pretty amazing!
Friday, November 6, 2009
In the meantime, I have the happy couple, Veronica & Joe, with me talking to the guests - and Veronica's sister Gretchen observing. Isn't the black & orange theme great?!
Next, is a shot of Veronica and Joe sharing a chocolate, which was part of a food sharing ritual. In this ritual they shared chocolate and apple cider, perfect for the season.
After the ceremony, I dashed off to change into my Bride of Frankenstein costume. Below, I am with Veronica and then with my family. My daughter was the "flower witch" in the wedding and she seems to have perfected her scary face. My husband dresses as Dog the Bounty Hunter and my son was the elusive ninja.
Finally, I have a shot of the lovely ladies from my book club. Just like during our book discussions, hardly anyone is paying attention. And if I'm not mistaken, our group was infiltrated by a little witch.... and one of us came dressed as a bride! Weird.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The wedding was held at the beautiful and funky Architectural Artifacts, with the ceremony taking place outside in the courtyard. The bride and groom wore tradition Indian attire for the ceremony, and Felicia carried a gorgeous fuchsia bouquet - which she made herself. I couldn't help myself - joining in spirit of things by wearing a red and gold salwar kameez that I had my mom sew for me (thanks, Mom!) and I had my hands hennaed.
The couple exchanged vows under a Chuppuh which was custom-made and included bits of fabric from both the bride and groom's clothing. Felicia's friends read a version of the Seven Blessings, during which the couple shared a glass of milk (a Hindu tradition). Felicia and Imtiaz took the idea of a stone blessing ceremony and turned it into a wonderfully personal and unique ceremony where guests placed blessings and well wishes on packets of soil, which were collected while dj Harsh Singh played "Your Good Name" by Mychael Danna, from the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack.
Felicia's parents joined the couple for a water pouring ceremony, which involved them pouring water over Imtiaz and Felicia's hands, and into the potted plant, to which the packets of soil had just been added. It was a beautiful way to tie together traditions and actively involve guests and family in the ceremony.
Following the vows and ring exchange, Felicia and Imtiaz exchanged fresh flower garlands made by Imtiaz's aunt. The ceremony concluded with Imtiaz breaking a glass (the same glass from which they drank the milk earlier) and guests shouting out "Mazel Tov!"
It was a gorgeous wedding for a wonderful couple who touched my heart from the moment I met them - and who I know will enjoy a lifetime of happiness and love.
Thank you to photographer Chris Ocken from Ocken Photography for sharing the lovely photos!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
My Celebrant colleagues are fantastic people! I love that they are open to sharing ideas and giving advice.
Well, recently one of my colleagues was looking for funny readings for a couple she was marrying. Several people gave her suggestions, but my favorite came from the wonderful and creative New Jersey Celebrant, Cristina Kollet.
She suggested using a selection from the book, I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. I love this! Thanks for the idea, Cristina!
Here are some excerpts, which I think would be wonderful for a wedding ceremony:
Sometimes we don't say a word
We snurkle under fences. We spy secret places.
If I am a goofus on the roofus hollering my head off, You are one too
If I pretend I am drowning, you pretend you are saving me
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
then you are getting ready to jump HOORAY.....
And I like you because when I am feeling sad, You don't always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
You can't stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute
You want to think about things. It takes time.
I like you because if I am mad at you, Then you are mad at me too
It's awful when the other person isn't
They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about punch them in the nose….
On the 4th of July I like you because it's the 4th of July
On the fifth of July, I like you too
If you and I had some drums and some horns and some horses
If we had some hats and some flags and some fire engines
We could be a HOLIDAY
We could be a CELEBRATION
We could be a WHOLE PARADE
See what I mean?
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you. And you would go on choosing me.
Over and over again.....
Monday, October 26, 2009
People need to speak out - especially here in Illinois. Please stay in contact with your representative - and don't give up the fight!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Today I received the most beautiful thank you card from a couple whose wedding I officiated a few months ago. Getting a card in the mail is a treat in itself, but a handwritten note that expresses heartfelt thanks is beyond compare. This one actually brought tears to my eyes and had me in a wonderful mood all day.
So, just a reminder - a thank you note goes a long way. Make someone's day and let them know they're appreciated.
You'll be glad you did it - and so will they!
Monday, October 19, 2009
My dear husband has been dying to see the movie, Zombieland. As much as I agree that it looks great, I cannot handle blood and guts in movies. So, I have refused to go with him.
In honor of my sweetie's plans being thwarted by my squeamishness, I present you all with ...... the ZOMBIE CAKE!!!
This cool cake, posted on flickr by noblerobinette, was created by Mike's Amazing Cakes in Seattle. The chainsaw-wielding couple on top was made to look like the actual bride and groom. The zombies are "undead" representations of the bridal party.
This one's for you, honey! It may not be Zombieland, but it is pretty darn cool!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I came across Mazel Tov Glass when researching Jewish wedding traditions online - and was completely awestruck!
I just love this concept. You order a beautiful, delicate, hand-blown glass for the glass-breaking ritual at the end of your wedding ceremony. The glasses are available in a variety of colors and are sent to you in a velvet Mazel Tov bag imported from Israel.
After the ritual, the glass shards are collected. You send them back to Mazel Tov Glass and they use the broken pieces to handcraft a stunning glass keepsake. You can choose from a variety of vase or bowl designs, or you can choose to have a glass creation custom made, such as the glass flowers in the bottom photo.
What a lovely way to celebrate a wonderful wedding ritual - and to have a keepsake that will always be a reminder of your wedding day.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Answer: As anyone who reads my blog knows, I'm not a fan of couples being told how to do things. There is no right way, as far as I'm concerned. But, there are several options.
- The attendants can walk in as pairs.
- The groomsmen can walk in with the groom (often from a side entrance) and stand up front at the beginning of the ceremony. In this scenario, the bridesmaids walk individually.
- The bride may be escorted by a parent, both parents, siblings - or no one at all.
- I've also had some couples opt for walking in together.
- In very small weddings, some couples opt to have everyone gather together in circle, and do away with the processional altogether!
Monday, October 12, 2009
My son is a huge Lego fan, and my daughter has begun to follow suit. Having been surrounded by tons of Legos lately (my daughter just had a birthday), and since I'm a bit of a nerd, I decided to google "Lego wedding." Call it boredom - mixed with curiosity - but, surprise! I found some pretty cool stuff!
My biggest thrill was that I found the post, One Bride's One-of-a-Kind LEGO Theme Wedding, which has a interview with the Lego-loving bride. The couple sent out Lego invitations, and even had fishbowls filled with Legos as table decorations - which guests proceeded to pour out and build! The bride's mom even got into the spirit and ordered the customized Lego wedding topper for the cake.
The bride mentioned that she was inspired by the LEGO wedding cake created by Eric Harshbarger, which I was compelled to check out. As you can see by the photo, the cake is brilliant! It was even built so that slices could be removed from the bottom tier. Incredible!!
Finally, the bride mentioned that her ceremony was inspired by A Lego Wedding, a post from Livingroom, a blog by Aussie Darren Rowe. My favorite points:
"Lego uses the ordinary to make the extraordinary. Whilst individual Lego pieces seem quite ordinary, small and insignificant by themselves they actually have incredible potential to create amazing things which are only limited by ones imagination. The same is true for our friends who are in the process of building an amazing relationship which is exciting for us as friends and family to watch grow."
"Lego's strength is its diversity. Its pieces are all different shapes, colors and sizes. When these diverse pieces come together they actually create some dynamic things. The same is true for our friends who are two unique people. They have different personalities, have had different upbringings, experiences, struggles, achievements etc. Today as they continue the process of 'becoming one' they do not cease to be two - they don't ignore their individuality, but rather their differences are to be celebrated and looked at as strengths. The challenge is to give space for their individuality to blossom and to encourage each other to reach their potential."
Finally, my search led me to Lego wedding rings, posted by Elzabeth Oakes. Created by German company Edition Mathea, the rings are available in silver or platinum - and best of all, you can actually pop a Lego brick on top!
I knew I loved Legos for a reason!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Planning a fall wedding? Just imagine wearing a charming maple leaf hairpin for your ceremony.
Need something nice for your wedding rings? The personalized Love Letter coin purse would be perfect.
For the bridesmaids, the cherry blossom hairclips would be really sweet. But, I think my favorite is the Pink Rose brooch - it's perfect for a simple bridesmaid dress. And, I think it would be perfect for my favorite black pantsuit!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Answer: It wouldn't be weird at all to skip a bridal party. I have married several couples who decided to have a ceremony involving just them - no attendants, no flower girl, no ringbearer. A few opted for just a Best Man and Maid of Honor, but several decided to forgo attendants altogether. It's really up to you! Do what makes you most comfortable, and what feels right.
Two things to consider if you decide to skip the bridal party:
The bridal bouquet - Is there somewhere to put your flowers when you exchange rings? You may want to consider a small table placed nearby, so you can set the flowers down. This past weekend I had a wedding in a mansion. The bride passed her flowers to me and I placed them on the fireplace mantle behind us. It worked perfectly.
The rings - Will someone present the rings if there is no Best Man? I've had couples have their parents hold onto the rings and bring them up for the ring exchange. A recent couple had each of their nephews bring up a ring. Another possibility is to use a table (also used for the flowers) and have the rings there at the beginning of the ceremony.
So, yes, you absolutely can have a ceremony without the bridal party. And if you plan ahead, no one will notice the difference!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
One of my favorite days of the year is Halloween. I'm not a fan of the gory, scare-the-daylights-out-of-you stuff, I lean more towards the cute & fun Halloween decor. Plus, the candy is an added bonus.
So, imagine my delight when I my friend asked me to officiate her Halloween wedding. And - it's a costume party wedding. I have died and gone to heaven!!!
So, for the ceremony, I think I'm going to keep it simple and wear my black pantsuit, but with some Halloween touches. I think skeleton earrings are in order, as well as an orange scarf. Maybe a spider pin?
But the big question is...... what do I wear for the reception? I dressed as a pirate wench last year. A gypsy queen the year before that. I'm thinking Bride of Frankenstein may be the way to go this year. I had better get to work!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Since many venues don't allow rice throwing after a wedding, it has become necessary to get creative for the grand finale.
I have had several couples whose guests blew bubbles as they walked down the aisle together, and the effect was beautiful - and really fun!
Here are some other options:
- Rose petals - Guests can shower the bride and groom with flower petals as they sashay down the aisle
- Confetti - Distribute little packets of confetti before the ceremony. You can even shred your junk-mail or old magazines for a colorful, recycled alternative. It's fun and eco-friendly!
- Streamers - Tossed streamers can be a beautiful effect, especially when the colors coordinate with your theme. Just make sure your nephew doesn't try to show off his pitching arm.
- Kazoos! - instead of throwing stuff, why not make a little music together? I'll bet your Uncle Ernie would love to play the kazoo as you walk down the aisle. And keep playing it..... all night long! (Um, you may want to think twice about this one.)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Two weeks ago, my kids and I released the butterflies we raised from caterpillars. As our painted ladies fluttered away, I marveled at their delicate beauty. I was reminded of Mrs. Donahue, an elderly neighbor from my childhood, who had an amazing collection of butterfly brooches. It was a lovely morning.
As you can imagine, when I saw this butterfly bouquet at the Martha Stewart Weddings website, my heart skipped a beat.
So pretty - and simple to make on your own. And if a whole bouquet of butterflies is a bit too much for you, maybe just one or two would do the trick. Our painted ladies would appreciate it.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I checked it out on snopes.com where I learned that it was worn by professional belly dancer, Anna Atamanchuk, for her civil wedding ceremony in 2007.
This photo shows her performing in the dress. Now, imagine this dress as she walked down the aisle....
So, any brides out there daring enough for a gown like this one?
Friday, September 18, 2009
Answer: The easy answer is to have blue decorations, blue in the bridal bouquet, a blue cake.... you get the idea.
Since blue is so special to you, you may want to take it to the next level. In literature, blue often represents wide open spaces - the ocean and the sky.
If you like the ocean, you may want to consider a beach theme. Your ceremony can include a sand ceremony, with different shades of blue sand. Another option is a blessing ritual in which guests make a wish or bestow a blessing on seashells. The seashells are collected and placed in a decorative container which is then a pretty and meaningful keepsake for you.
A water-themed reading you can help you illustrate your blue ocean theme.
A great example is the poem, "Beach Chairs" by Joyce Ebrecht:
Sitting on the beach chairs
watching the setting sun
holding hands and reminiscing
how it all begun
Sitting on the beach chairs
watching the ships out on the sea
holding hands and smiling
together we're meant to be
Sitting on the beach chairs
watching people walking past
holding hands and knowing
that our love will always last
Sitting on the beach chairs
watching the waves along the shore
holding hands we realize
our love is stronger than before
Sitting on the beach chairs
watching the changing tide
holding hands with happiness
to be by each others side
Sitting on the beach chairs
watching the sunrise
holding hands with tears of joy
there are no more good-byes
Don't be afraid to be creative. But most of all, let your personality (and your love of blue!) shine through on your wedding day.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The class will be offered at 7 p.m. on October 7th at Maine West High School and again on November 19th at Niles West High School. You can register for the class online by clicking here.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I know, I know - I'm weak!
Well, I just about fainted when I was waiting in line at the grocery store checkout and saw these in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings.
Curse you, Martha!!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Answer: Absolutely! I have worked with several couples who did not want a religious ceremony. We were able to create meaningful, personal ceremonies in every instance.
Recently, I married a couple who enjoyed a lovely ceremony (one of my favorites!) that was completely secular. I shared some funny anecdotes about how they met (a great story that had everyone in stitches) and how their relationship blossomed into love. They also participated in a Tasting Ritual, which none of their guests had ever seen before. After the ceremony, they received many positive comments. A few guests told the bride that theirs was the best ceremony they had ever witnessed.
So, don't worry that your ceremony will seem like something's missing. There are many rituals that are non-religious, so you have many, many options. Look into handfasting, wine sharing, exchanging leis or garlands.... be creative!
Most importantly, your ceremony should be a reflection of you. If you don't want a religious wedding, there is no reason you can't have an amazing, sacred ceremony - minus the religion.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Ben & Jerry's changed the name of Chubby Hubby to Hubby Hubby for this month in celebration of Vermont legalizing gay marriage. Although I'm disappointed that it will only be sold in Vermont, I think it's a wonderful expression of support - and celebration!
Now, if only I had a carton of Hubby Hubby to display next to my "Americone Dream."
Monday, September 7, 2009
I have seen this lead to a few (unintentionally) memorable moments during the ceremony!
But, none have been quite like this. Notice the bride's reaction when the groom says "waffly wedded."
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Question: I never heard of a Celebrant until recently. Why should I hire a Celebrant for my wedding?
Answer: A Celebrant is an professional who works with couples to create a personalized ceremony that will reflect you and will represent your unique love story.
When asked how I'm different from a minister or a judge, I explain that a minister is an expert in his or her particular faith; a judge is an expert in the law; and a Celebrant is an expert in creating ceremonies and rituals. I was trained and certified by The Celebrant Foundation and Institute, of which I remain a member.
As for the details - a Celebrant will give you ownership. You will have complete authority over what is said and done during your ceremony. There are no strict rules to which you must adhere, so with a Celebrant, no one will tell you that you must do or say certain things - it's all up to you. If you have ideas for your wedding day (no matter how off-beat or non-traditional they may be) a Celebrant can help you make it happen!
In short, a Celebrant will help you make your wedding ceremony exactly the way YOU want it!