Sunday, February 28, 2010

Joe & Diane's Ceremony witth Blessing Stones

I almost cried. I've married lots of couples, but yesterday was the first time I almost cried.

I had the privilege of being a part of the wedding of a wonderful couple - Joe and Diane. Their story really touched me, not to mention that they are two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet!

For their ceremony, Diane and Joe wrote their own vows. That's what really hit me. They are so deeply in love with one another and their vows were truly the most beautiful I have ever heard. It was hard not to cry, but I managed to keep it together. Barely.

Joe and Diane also opted to include a stone blessing in their ceremony, to which they added their own creative touch. Blessing stone rituals became popular at beach weddings, where guests are given stones upon which they place their blessings for the couple. The stones are then tossed in the ocean.

This ritual can also be done at any type of wedding - it's not limited to beach settings. I've had a few weddings where couples had a blessing stone ritual (or a variation thereof) where the stones are collected as a keepsake for the couple.

Diane and Joe selected rose quartz stones to be given to their guests. Rose quartz is a stone that represents enduring love, and these stones carried the blessings and well wishes of Joe and Diane's family and friends. Their children each selected their own stones, which included Seraphinite, Float Copper, and Azurite. They placed their stones on top of the rose quartz, which had been collected in a crystal bowl. Then, Joe and Diane placed their individual stones in the center. It was really lovely!

After the wedding ceremony, several of the guests were drawn to the table with the bowl of blessing stones. As they commented on the stones, one gentleman placed his hands over the bowl, as if warming them over a fire. Another person joked, "Can you feel the energy?" and he replied, "You know, I really can." You could sure feel the love in that room!

The ceremony took place at the Lincolnshire Marriot. It was a wonderful and touching ceremony - one that I'll remember for a long time.

Congratulations, Diane & Joe! I know you'll have a blissfully happy life together!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Party's Over......

I was recently checking out the website and blog of local Chicago wedding planner, Lisa Gordon, owner of Lisa Gordon Events. Lisa specializes in coordinating non-traditional weddings and commitment ceremonies, especially eco-friendly celebrations.

I saw
this post on dealing with the "stuff" after the reception has ended. Her post goes over such things as what to do with leftover food. Did you know that, in some areas, food can be donated to a shelter? And what the heck do you do with all those decorations?? Read Lisa's post for some great tips!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Q & A - How do you write a "personalized" ceremony?

I thought I'd cover a frequently asked question today.

People often wonder how it is that I can create a "personalized" ceremony for each couple.

Well, I will now divulge my secret..... actually it's not really a secret at all.

Every couple who hires me completes a Couple Questionnaire before I start working on their ceremony. The Questionnaire has tons of questions, the answers of which allow me to get to know each couple better.

Then I start working on the ceremony. I select rituals the couple has requested, or I suggest those that I think they'll like. I also spend time researching elements that will make the ceremony unique, such as lyrics to songs they like, quotes from a favorite author or movie, etc. I'll also look into traditions from their cultural backgrounds if they like.

So... what are some of the questions I ask?
Here is a small sampling:

  • How did you and your partner meet?
  • How did you propose or accept the proposal?
  • What does your partner do that always makes you laugh?
  • In what ways has your life changed since meeting your partner?
  • Would you like to include anything in the ceremony to honor your background?
  • Is there someone special who helped shape you as a person?
  • Do you have a favorite movie or book? Favorite writer?
  • What is your favorite type of music? Favorite performer? Song?
  • Is there a person in history you greatly admire? Why?
  • Who are your heroes?
I then send a couple the first draft of their ceremony for approval. They can edit, delete and/or change to their heart's content. We keep at it until they feel the ceremony is finished - and they LOVE it.

And voila! That's how a personalized ceremony is created.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Words of Love

In honor of Valentine's Day, here are some of my favorite quotes used in wedding ceremonies I've written in that past year:

"When two hands make a stand together on the solid rock of trust, they could be a million miles from each other and still be side by side in love." - Chris Ledoux, from the song,
"Big Love"

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." - Rumi (Persian poet)

"....happiness exists at just one time. And that time is now." - Willie Nelson,
The Tao of Willie

"The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." - Neil Gaiman (from an interview)

"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you brought out." - Erich Fried, from the poem, "I Love Thee"

"I have found for the first time what I can truly love - I have found you. You are my sympathy - my better self - my good angel - I am bound to you with a strong attachment." - Charlotte Bronte, from
Jane Eyre

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Surprise! It's Your Wedding Reception!

Thanks to my wonderful Celebrant colleague from New York, Valerie Coleman, for forwarding this video. It's a surprise wedding reception, staged by Improv Everywhere. It made me day!

In a follow-up from the ImprovEverywhere blog, here is from an email sent by the couple after their surprise reception:
"Whatever becomes of our “scene” we just wanted to say thanks because it was freakin’ hilarious. The most important thing for us is that you gave us just about the best wedding story anyone could have to pass on. Take good care."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Indie Weds - the last word

Okay, I know I've been posting like crazy about some of my favorite finds at IndieWed. But, I really can't help it! This show was chock-full of fun & funky vendors!

So, here is my last post on the subject.....

I loved the ideas of Foodie Registry. What a great concept! Couples can register for gift certificates at their favorite restaurants. This is perfect for couples who have all the "stuff" they need, but family members keep asking, "Where are you registered?" Where was this when I got married??

Another find was the fabulous Love, Lulu Mae. I adored the hats and hair clips. Look at this picture! Who wouldn't be smiling in such a fabulous hat!!

I am also in love with the Frida Kahlo-inspired flower headband I found on the website. The feather hairclips are also Fantastic!!

What's really cool is tha
t Love, Lulu Mae can also create custom designs for your wedding, incorporating vintage items - like that funky old rhinestone pin you love.

I was also intrigu
ed by VaVoom Pinups, a "pinup & boudoir photography studio."

Apparently, many a bride has ventured into VaVoom territory by having a sexy (and tasteful) boudoir portrait done as a wedding gift for her beloved.

Another fun option is a party! A girls' night out would be quite a memorable
experience here! I love the sentiment on owner Agnes Miles' business card: "ARTcessories for the Modern Woman with a Vintage Soul."

Well, all I can say is that, since Saturday, I have been fantasizing about raiding my mom's closet for some funky vintage dresses!

I think I've re-discovered my vintage soul....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Indie Wed favorite - CUPCAKES!!

SO, is there anyone out there who doesn't know that I love cupcakes? Probably not.

Well, for those fellow cupcake-fans who are also bakers, I must introduce you to Layer Cake Shop, an amazing resource for cupcake enthusiasts!

At IndieWed, Layer Cake Shop had the most fabulous display with a dizzying variety of cupcake toppers and paper baking cups. This was one popular booth, too! I guess I'm not alone in my cupcake worship. My favorite were the packages of themed cupcake decor, especially the Rockabilly and the P
irate Cupcake Kits.

If you're planning to make your own cupcakes for your wedding, you NEED to check out the website. It's a baker's dream come true!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Indie Wed favorites - continued (I can't stop!)

Another highlight of my trip to IndieWed was Pollen. I had a chance to chat briefly with owner, Lynn Fosbender, who was just as nice as can be! I decided that her bouquets (see the pictures!) made me want to walk down the aisle again!

Pollen is a local Chicago florist that does custom floral designs. As you can see by the photos, their designs are beautiful!

What makes their bouquets even more spectacular is that they are eco-friendly. Pollen focuses on using organic, locally grown flowers, as well as Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified flowers.

As noted in Kate Harrison's excellent resource, The Green Bride Guide, conventionally grown flowers have a whole host of issues that would make any eco-conscious bride cringe. Pollen is the ideal florist if you're planning a green wedding..... or if you just love gorgeous flowers!

P.S. Be sure to check out the Pollen blog!

Indie Wed favorites - continued

I enjoyed a fashion show at Indie Wed, which included work by several different designers.

One of my favorites was Dame Couture, a local Evanston shop, which had the loveliest wedding dresses!

I learned that the Dame Couture dresses are custom made and that they will even work with brides to create original dresses. So, you could take your mother's
wedding dress and have it "re-imagined" into a style that's all you. How cool is that!?

Although I'm not a very good photographer, I still managed to get a few decent shots of the
dresses. I thought all the dresses were fabulous, but I especially loved the one in the top picture with the striped fabric train. So gorgeous!

I think I want to get married again. I'd keep my husband, but I'd d
efinitely wear a different dress. (no offense, Mom). I'd wear one by Dame Couture!