Here's to an informative and amazing 2017!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A blessed and joyous 2017 to you, your family, and loved ones! The past 6 months have been chock-full of new beginnings, with the start of a graduate program in Expressive Arts Therapies and Licensed Mental Health Counseling, as well as many wedding ceremonies, family events, holidays and gatherings. My resolution this year is to post once every week, with information relating to wedding traditions, special pieces to consider for your ceremony, as well as interesting tidbits and fun facts.
Here's to an informative and amazing 2017!
The beginning of Wedding Season always gets me thinking about anniversaries and the couples I have been honored to marry in previous seasons. (I can't believe in June 2016, I will be wishing a Happy 5th Anniversary to my first couples!) There are a lot of people who remember the significance of the First Anniversary; those who remember that the 25th Anniversary is Silver and the 50th is Gold (there have only been a few couples I know who have reached that milestone, my grandparents being one of them). But, in reality, every day is an anniversary if you are married to the person you love, cherish, honor and support. Marriage is a celebration of the big moments (the birth of a child; purchasing a home or a new car; finishing your degree), but also the smaller moments (holding hands as you fall asleep at night; a delicious dinner and relaxing moments after a challenging week)
Take time to make each moment an anniversary in your marriage. In this way, you will strengthen your marriage and help your love carry throughout the seasons, one anniversary after another.
"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, but always with the same person"
Speaking of anniversaries, today, May 20th, 2016 is the Eleventh wedding anniversary of my beloved sister, Ericka, and brother-in-law, Steve. Happiest of Anniversaries to these high school sweethearts, who make everlasting love look effortless.
(By the way, did you know the 11th Anniversary is Steel? I certainly didn't.
Check out this Hallmark link for other Wedding Anniversary symbols and gift ideas.)
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's finally here... that time of year affectionately known as "Wedding Season." While I have already officiated 8 weddings in 2016, the month of May seems to be the unofficial "kickoff" for weddings here on the North Fork of Long Island. Limos and party buses abound; couples, along with their families and friends flock each weekend to the wineries, farms, and summer homes.
Love is truly in the air!
May you all have a wonderful, joy-filled
and blessed 2016 Wedding Season!
This morning's unexpected chopping down of a huge maple tree in front of my residence has me sitting and contemplating new blog topics for your wedding ceremony; for you and your beloved as a couple; some unique rituals and their history in wedding lore; and some fun items for your enjoyment.
STAY TUNED!!! NEW POSTS COMING SOON!!!! (Promise!)
I'm Irish… and on this St. Patrick's Day, I would like to wish everyone bright and joyous tidings with a traditional Irish blessing (coincidentally, it is the closing to an upcoming wedding ceremony I am officiating on March 20th).
May the meaning of this hour be fulfilled through the days and years to come.
May the love of this man and this woman, their unity of spirit, grow deeper and stronger in the uncertainties and changes of life they will share.
Loving each other, may they love all persons.
Trusting each other, may they learn to trust life.
May their love reach out to the love of all, that their lives may bless all whose lives they touch.
May they find comfort together in shared hours of shadow, as well as in the bright sunshine of joy.
May they be to each other both strong and gentle.
May all who follow their lives with interest and affection have cause to rejoice not alone in their happiness, but in their brave and generous living, which makes life beautiful and significant.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!
So, you just got engaged and everyone is asking the question of the hour, "So when are you getting married? When is the big day?" We all know that weddings, whether big or small, take planning (even though I went from engaged to married in 10 short weeks, every single day was full of planning, whether cake tasting, or talking to the DJ, or having a mid-week meeting with the caterer). Most of the time, if you go to a venue that you both really connect to, their "prime wedding dates" are already taken (sometimes, for the next 2 - 3 years!) Have you ever considered the opportunities that exist in having a winter wedding?
Just a couple of great reasons to consider a winter wedding:
When I think of winter, I think of pine cones, snowflakes, snowmen, cranberries, hot chocolate, candles and fireplaces. I think of the brightest color palette possible to stand out against a white snowy winter backdrop (evergreen, cranberry red, midnight blue, silver, gold). Have a hot chocolate bar; have the bridal party engage in a snowball fight for the pictures; include candles and fire for the prettiest glow. For more ideas, check out this link from Buzzfeed: 42 Lovely Ideas for a Cold-Weather Wedding
How can I best serve you in creating a ceremony for your winter wedding ceremony?
There are many couples, particularly here on the Eastern End of Long Island, who have begun opting for beach, vineyard, or farm wedding ceremonies; ceremonies containing more rustic and outdoor elements, those of air, water, sky and earth. For those couples who want a more personalized touch to their wedding ceremony and are in a “nature-based” frame of mind, the Sand Ceremony is an excellent item to incorporate. Not only does it allow for each of you, as partners, to add your own individual touch; it also allows you to incorporate your respective families, children from previous marriages, as well as all of the long-standing relationships that have come before you.
The current incarnation of the Sand Ceremony can trace its roots back to the Native American culture, either through Hawaii’s indigenous peoples or Native Americans from the mainland. Colored sand dyed with various natural elements (i.e. gypsum for blue, ochre for yellow, etc.) was used to create sand paintings part of spiritual healing ceremonies. In keeping with this tradition, in a “typical” sand ceremony, each member of the couple is asked to choose a color, one that resonates with a personality trait, is a “power color”, or simply their favorite color. A third color of sand (typically standard beach sand or plain white) is chosen to represent the friends and family of the couple, the “foundation” on which each individual stands. The officiant (or family member) begins the sand ceremony by pouring the “foundation” sand into a vessel the couple has chosen [I have seen vessels ranging from heart shapes to simple bowls to frames]. The couple then pours their colors of sand on top, creating a unique one-of-a-kind pattern, symbolizing the combining of two lives into one. Once the sand colors are poured into the Unity Container, the belief is that, as long as it should take for each grain of sand to be extracted from one another and brought back to their separate containers – that is how long you should be together. The couple, now in a physical representation of the vows they have just spoken, is forever joined and entwined like the grains of sand.
For some more in-depth information on the Unity Sand Ceremony, check out these links. They will help you begin to think about colors, vessels, ideas, and allow you to make this ancient ritual your own, either as a couple or a family.
SHARON VAZ – UNITY SAND CEREMONY
SANDSATIONAL SPARKLE – CHOOSING YOUR COLORED SAND
KENSINGTON CLASSICS PINTEREST PAGE (Ideas for vessels and colors)
Dun-Dun-Da-Da – “Here Comes the Bride”
Who among us doesn’t know the traditional notes of “The Wedding March” signaling the entrance of the bride, providing the background for her walk down the aisle and the start of the wedding ceremony? Yes, this music is significant; yes, this music speaks to years of wedded bliss and millions of ceremonies between two beloved parties. What happens, though, when these dulcet tones don’t speak to YOU and YOUR day of celebration? What notes can you turn to?
Traditionally, when working on a ceremony, there are 2 to 3 pieces of music you will want to incorporate – the processional (the entrance of the bridal party); the bride’s song; and the recessional. Some of the questions you may want to ask yourselves when delving into the music realm are as follows:
Once you have answered any or all of these questions, now it’s time to have some FUN! Go on to YouTube and type in the names of some wedding songs you have heard. Listen intently and see yourselves either walking down the aisle or recessing together as husband and wife. What do you envision? In some of my previous ceremonies, people have used traditional instrumental pieces (Canon in D, Pachabel’s Canon, The Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream); a great many have used non-traditional pieces, such as “Somebody’s Getting Married” from The Muppets Take Manhattan, the Theme from the Legend of Zelda, and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars.
When you begin to think about your unique relationship and what you truly want to remember for your special day, the sky’s the limit! Be creative! Be yourselves! Express it in music!
"Signs, signs, everywhere are signs... "
One of the most popular trends I have seen in both the weddings I have performed as well as those I have had the honor to attend as a guest for family and friends are signs. These signs range from the simple "Here Comes The Bride" that the littlest of participants carries down the aisle in the procession (to the ooh's and aah's of all in attendance) to the intricate... the personalization and uniqueness of the couple's love is reflected in these seemingly simple items. They add a one-of-a-kind flavor to your ceremony and are a wonderful way to involve your guests.
Buzzfeed posted 40 of the most awesome signs they guarantee you will want to see and use in your ceremony. Check them out here.
What awesome signs have you had the pleasure of seeing at weddings? I would love to see them. Contact me and let me "read the signs"!
"Who... who... who wrote the book of love?"
Catchy song lyric, and very poignant and proper for this very day, February 14th, when we celebrate the Feast of St. Valentine. Millions of people purchase flowers, chocolates, items dotted with hearts of pink and red... all in the effort to say "I love you" (and make sure they are not in 'the dog house' the next day!). However, did you ever wonder where exactly this holiday came from? Where does it find its roots? What is the origin of this fluffy, seemingly saccharin and Hallmark-ian holiday?
According to The History Channel, there are those who claim that the Christian church placed the Feast of St. Valentine in the middle of February to "christianize" the Pagan holiday and celebration of Lupercalia.
"Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage."
During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
Want more amazing tidbits on Valentine's Day? Check out this link at The History Channel's website, where you will find videos, pictures, quotes, and awesome love stories.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE!!!!!
An Ordained Interfaith Minister & Licensed wedding officiant.