Thursday, December 20, 2012

The long, dark night

For those of you who read my other blogs, you've probably already seen this.  Sorry.

Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. This year, we are faced with a darkness in hearts as well as the natural dance of the Earth between shadows and light.  It's important to remember to turn on those twinkling lights, to light the candles, to burn the Yule Logs, sing songs, feast, dance, and give of yourself.  These acts are heavy with symbolism, heavy with hope, and we all need them. They remind us that darkness, has no power, but that we ascribe to it.

This year, please remember to hold your loved ones, to be kind to strangers, to embrace love and light in every place you find it.  Don't let evil acts dim your light.  Fight back and spread warmth, because that is the most powerful and most effective way to defy the Darkness. However you do it, celebrate life and light, and the don't let despair smother you.

I wish each and every one of you love, strength, light and hope this Winter Solstice. I hope that healing finds us all, but especially those families who have lost loved ones this week to terrible tragedies.  Tomorrow, when the sun rises, stronger and and for longer than today, we need to remember that we can do the same. Our light will grow stronger if we let it. Blessings to all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A little wedding music silliness

I really like cello music, but there are certain pieces that due to long exposure to the wedding business, I don't particularly care for anymore.  This is a cute and funny response to that same feeling from a cellist.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012


I have never been to to a wedding that didn't have some sort of crisis.  My wedding, the minister was late due to a car accident that tied up traffic around Lake Tahoe. A friend of mine found herself wondering where her mother and son were for half an hour before they showed up.  Another friend began hyperventilating so badly she almost fainted, and we couldn't find a paper bag anywhere (FYI- a thick scarf works, too).  I've seen zippers fail, wedding party members so hung over they can't stop vomiting. Weddings are the perfect place for Murphy's Law to occur, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world.  A little planning can prevent many of these from disrupting your day.

First, try not to plan your hen night/ bachelorette party/ bachelor party/ stag night for the night before your wedding. Try to remember that getting obscenely drunk the night before will make the next day miserable.  It rarely ends well.  Also, don't try out a new sleeping pill or anti-anxiety drug the day of the wedding.  Remember "Pretty in Pink"?  Things like that really do happen. Second, pack an emergency kit (list at the end of this post). Third, don't forget to eat and drink a little that day.  Fainting is no fun.  Wedding professionals can also be a huge help when something gets out of hand.  My mom, who was a wedding photographer for nearly 15 years, carried a bizarre assortment of things in her camera bag to deal with all sorts of emergencies.  If nothing else, good professionals can help smooth over the rough spots during an event so that your guests never know anything was ever going wrong. Finally, maintain a sense of humor.  Stuff goes wrong at weddings, all the planning in the world can't stop every variety of disaster, but keeping calm, remembering what's important (being married to your wonderful partner at the end of the day), and laughing will make it far less traumatic.

Weddings are stressful , but a little preparation and the right attitude can make a huge difference in how things turn out.  Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice, and don't be afraid to take a few minutes for yourself.

Emergency kit ideas:

  • pain killers
  • breathe mints
  • extra pantyhose
  • clear nail polish
  • nail polish remover
  • extra mascara
  • eye make up remover
  • hair spray
  • a small paper bag
  • sanitary napkins and/or tampons
  • calming music and/or a calming scent
  • a small sewing kit with white, ivory, black, and clear thread
  • a small bar of hard white soap (hotel toiletries come in hand some times)- rubbing a dry bar of soap over a stiff or stuck zipper can, in many cases, fix the problem.
  • an umbrella
  • an extra plastic dress cover
  • snacks 
  • water
  • a list of all your wedding professional's numbers
  • tissues
  • mints, ginger pills, or candied ginger (for nausea)
  • rubbing alcohol (a number of stains can be lightened with this)
  • deodorant (many brides forget this and end up borrowing)
  • lip balm
  • aloe vera gel (reduces redness of burns, cuts, and pimples)
  • translucent powder
  • concealer (a shade darker than your skin)
  • translucent powder
  • bobby pins
  • safety pins
  • a copy of your vows and ceremony plan, just in case

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Children and weddings

I like kids, a lot.  They see the world through eyes that have not learned to ignore the mundane, and their attention flits from place to place in the most unexpected fashions. When including children in your wedding ceremony, it is important to remember that they are not cuter, little adults, they are children.  Their ability to stand still, remember instructions and pay attention are not fully developed.

I'd like to share a few tips about helping kids get through their role in a wedding without driving you or anyone else crazy.

  • Very young children often still need naps.  Try to make sure that your little ones will be well rested for the ceremony; this may require a few days of schedule changes or arranging for a quiet corner for them to nap in.
  • Start talking about what's expected from them well in advance.  Not only will this help them remember what to do, it will help them develop confidence.  Explain what things are important and why, and don't forget to tell them that you still love them even if they goof up a bit.
  • Make them feel special: go with them when it's time to pick out their clothing or send them a note if you can't.
  • Have a sense of humor.  Things happen, if you laugh it off, it will make a better memory than something you get upset over. Kids trip, teeth fall out at the most inopportune time, and shoes get forgotten, but it doesn't have to be blemish on your day.
  • Bribes are a good way to get boisterous or nervous children to behave. Your attendants can help with this. (The Royal Wedding last year had Prince Harry doing a wonderful job of this).
  • Rehearse everything!
  • Don't forget to thank your littlest attendants; they remember events like this for a long time.
  • Never, never, never give a child your actual rings to carry!  Your officiant or attendants can carry the real ones and offer them up at the last minute, but finding a wedding band in sea of grass or sand after they've been dropped is nearly impossible, not to mention scary.
  • Make sure someone has some activities to keep the little ones happy during the reception.  A friend of mine, who had a Winter Solstice wedding, not only ordered special food for her child guests, she also made them little stockings with a small, inexpensive game, a coloring book, crayons, and a snack inside.  It kept the kids happy and quiet and made them feel very welcome as guests. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

"Greening" your celebration

For many Pagans I know, caring for the earth is not only a life style choice, it is part of their religious practice.  Being green is an everyday choice, so their celebrations should reflect that, too.

Here's a few simple and somewhat straightforward ideas for having a greener wedding, handfasting, or commitment celebration.  The list is by no means exhaustive, but they can serve as a starting point for planning.


  • Less travel= less CO2 emissions
  • Local flowers not only require less travelling, they are less likely to spread nuisance pests and non-native seeds into new areas.


  • Living plants can not only make your celebration lush and beautiful, they can double as gifts and favors, and they live on long after the day is over. You can also try reselling potted trees and shrubs locally to another couple celebrating or plant them at your home.
  • Cloth napkins and real dishes can be rented from party suppliers, and they are used hundreds of times by the time they meet the end of their life.
  • Look for decorations that might be put to use for other celebrations: buntings can be rehung at barbecues, candle holders can be incorporated into your home decor or holiday decorations.
  • Tulle, burlap or muslin can be used to fill in center pieces, spruce up chairs, decorate tables, and hide unsightly areas.  They also can be reused for craft projects later.


  • If you must have non-reusable tableware for your event (no, I'm not judging, I'm just pointing out that it does happen), think about recyclable and/or compostable products.  You can find them at party supply stores, or get customized versions through etsy. Also look for the Forest Stewardship Council stamp for items manufactured without harming old growth forests.
  • Wedding stationary is notorious for not being recyclable.  When you're looking, look for items that don't include plastic coatings or foil.  Many stationary suppliers now offer recyclable and eco-friendly papers.


  • Seasonal foods and flowers require less travel, and therefore, less fuel.
  • Seasonal foods are also less hard on the climate than items that have to be forced to grow in greenhouses or factory farms. These methods also contribute significantly to global warming.
  • Seasonal often means more abundant, which also tends to equal savings.  
Also, I put together an etsy treasury for some "green" wedding ideas.  Take a look:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Series: Unique Ways to Make Your Wedding Special

My parents spent fifteen years photographing weddings and it always amazed me when a couple added that little something that made their wedding unique, personal and very romantic.

This gown was created out of the silk from the groom's parachute, that saved his life in World War II. The dress later went on to be worn by the couple's daughter and daughter-in-law before being donated to the Smithsonian.

When I was selling wedding gowns, one of my favorite brides, incorporated a bit of her love story into the flower arrangements.  On the couple's first date, the groom, a very big, stern looking police officer, had brought hot pink tulips.  Two years later, she walked down the aisle carrying a nearly identical bouquet.

One of my parent's couples left their wedding reception at Lake Tahoe in her family's restored antique boat.  Another family (for whom my parents photographed all four weddings) used Dad's prized antique car. Another bride, a pre-school teacher, invited 20 something preschoolers to take part in her wedding as attendants.  The wedding was a bit chaotic, but the couple's love of children and incredible sense of humor shined through every photograph.

A dear friend of mine married her sweetheart five years to the day after their first date, on Winter Solstice. They incorporated Christmas trees, customs from both of their ethnic backgrounds, and stockings for the children who attended.  It's one of the most memorable weddings I've been to because it was one full of love (her dad's toast made everyone cry) and their sense of fun.

Whatever part of your love story you chose to incorporate, it will add to the uniqueness, the sweetness and the joy of your clebration.