Celebrating Holiday Memories

One trick to creating your own “new family” holiday memories is to revisit was was special and wonderful in your own holiday history. Even the most horrible childhoods had some great memories, even if sadly they they were at someone else’s house!

The fact is you’ll do better building new memories if you start from realizing what was the sweet thing at the heart of your memory. I recently heard a woman tell the story of how her parents made a big red ribbon line that she followed around the house until she discovered her present… a great big cuddly bear. She got the bear when she was 4 and has him still. Part of what made that particular bear a great gift was the build-up… (Hint: build up costs nothing and requires simply a little inventiveness and a bit of humor.) The bear represented companionship.

If you discover the heart of the memories, then the plans you make can grow out of the positive things: Rather than, let’s not spend any money on gifts because we don’t have any: Let’s not spend money on gifts because what we want are gifts from the heart. And we’ll give gift money to someone else. Or, it may be that this is the year to give one another sparkly shiny things because your love is sparkly and shiny. But whatever it is, spend some time remembering and sharing what was best for you about the holidays.

Tip: Create the holidays you want to have not the holiday everyone thinks you should have. And base your plans on what was wonderful for you when you were a child.

Start to Develop your Holiday Traditions

Here’s a great way to start figuring out what really matters to you in your life. If you do the work for the holidays, you’ll have a headstart when you start planning your wedding. What? You didn’t know you get to have your wedding be about your values? Now you do!

Before you start making a lot of holiday plans that you might get stuck in forever, why not figure out what makes each of you and both of you happy about the holidays?

  1. What do you like to do? What are your favorite holiday memories? How can you repeat them?
  2. What do you care about? From cookies, to caroling to volunteering? What do the holidays say to you?
  3. Who do you want to spend time with? Are holidays about friends? family? people in need? You get to choose!
  4. What holiday traditions would you like to establish in your own home? When you’re newly engaged or newly married, it can be easily assumed that you’ll go to other people’s houses. That may not be the only way you want to have the holidays.

Tip: Talking about these things and planning ahead will serve you in very good stead in  the years to come. It will also establish a pattern of discerning what really matters to you which will be great for the wedding and for your life. Why not have yourselves a happy little holiday season?

No, you can’t Twitter at the Altar

Sarah (thanks my dear!) posted a link on Facebook about a bride and groom twittering and facebooking at the altar. There’s a video which I can’t bear to watch which shows a young (too young?) minister/celebrant/officiant/something looking on.

Someone else can address the religious aspects of this. If this is a religious ceremony, is it respectful? Clergy, please weigh in on this. If you’ve invited the Divine to show up at your wedding, should She/He have to wait around while you get in touch with people who don’t care because people who do care are at your wedding? I know that there’s a craze in certain traditions for people to twitter during church about church. um, the multitasking thing? not paying attention! um, marriage? really, really important!

The groom said he did it to be funny. Not paying attention at your wedding ceremony to the vows you’re making is not funny, it’s just immature. And there’s that other thing. It’s impolite. To your community, to your celebrant and to that person who just said she/he wants to spend the rest of their life with you.

And why do I think that this is a picture of a wedding where the couple are “cutely” tweeting their vows to one another. Do you see anyone at the table who cares?

Tweet, tweet love aint what it used to be

Tweet, tweet love ain't what it used to be

Tip: Sorry, the Wedding Priestess disagrees. This is not a sweet personal touch in a wedding ceremony. When technology gets your grandma in the nursing home at your wedding, that’s a good use of the tech. When you take time off to show everyone how cute you are, whether that’s with technology or a piece of string, that’s inappropriate!

No, Really, Carry a Fan, Not a Bouquet at Your Winter Wedding!

I’d done some research about fans for my column over on Examiner.com (you can find this by scrolling down and checking out the right hand column). I’d started thinking about fans as something to carry at winter weddings when flowers are, shall we say, scarce!

There are lots of fun things to do with fans. Victorian women (of the leisure class, which would leave a lot of us without a feather to flutter) had an entire language of fans. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to excavate some of the language of flirtation to start having more fun in your play life with your partner.

I’d seen some fairly jeweled and ornamental fans and admired them. But now I’m totally in love. Isn’t this gorgeous? Wouldn’t it have looked fabulous against my black velvet wedding dress? How about against your white satin one? Flowers, they’re so summer!

you can find lots of fun ways to use this over at http://handfanpro.com

Tip: Go ahead and play at your wedding. Look your best and have a good time.

In Great Gratitude: Happy Thanksgiving

Last night on Facebook I noticed one of “my” brides celebrating her husband, with whom she was happily keeping promises. I got the goofiest smile on my face.

Just so you know, there is no greater joy than your success as individuals, as couples and as families. Thank you for letting me play a role in celebrating your lives.

Tip: Let’s hear it for Love and its infinite power to change things. And let’s hear it for the daily gratitude that keeps our hearts overflowing.

Give up the Holidays Fraught with Tension

Are you dreading the thanksgiving dinner with all the family dynamics?

Why?

It’s just food and family. There’s nothing more wonderful.

If there’s too much tension going on, dial it back. Dial back your expectations of the meal, dial back everyone’s contributions.

Are you prone to the “if i don’t have this side-dish, it’s not Thanksgiving” syndrome? Remember that you can make side dishes another day. You can visit other families another weekend. Don’t consign thanksgiving/Thanksgiving to a single date. Eat and be happy with the people you love. And if you can’t be there, set up the camera and skype. Let your families be together, wherever they are!

Tip: consider making Thanksgiving a celebration for which you are grateful. Beautiful table settings, family recipes, family time — these are not things we have too much of in our lives. So instead of thinking about the possible horrors, move into pollyanna mode (anyone remember who she was?) and start being grateful. Have a blessed day, my friends! (and here’s a NY Times article about what you can learn from Turkey Day at home.)

Money Matters

I recently heard from a bride who had money regrets. Somewhere in the midst of the wedding planning process she had slipped on the “oh, let’s make this more and more beautiful” banana.

End result, she outspent her budget. She’s not the first and she’s not the last.  Unless you decide to make it different. It’s not a great idea to combine wedding party post partum slump with how do I manage my life. It can easily become a bit overwhelming, and lead to tussles with your new spouse.

Tip: As with everything else, a little planning can help this. And that’s not just wedding planning, it’s life and marriage planning. What’s important in your wedding? You’re marrying your beloved. Your job, together with your partner, is to figure out what’s really going to make that work. And then design a celebration that suits the life you’re going to build.

What Does It Mean to Be Engaged?

Once you get engaged, it seems all the focus goes on the wedding. Brides and grooms bustle about getting this and that in order for the big party.

What they don’t do enough of is be engaged in the relationship. This is a time period best used to work out issues, establish patterns and deepen your relationship.

Planning a party is fun. Planning your wedding ceremony is important. But planning a path for your love to grow? It’s essential. And it’s the goal.

Tip: What were the most important moments of your engagement period? How did your relationship deepen over this time? (other than the financial ties you built when you took out a second mortgage to pay for your wedding?)

Last thought on Wedding Programs

You don’t need to have a wedding program. They seem to be a fairly recent trend. All through the 80s, when performing weddings in non-church locales, people managed to get married without them.

I succumbed, I admit it. But my wedding ceremony was involved and had responsive readings. (I am the Wedding Priestess, after all!)

But if your wedding ceremony is straightforward, you don’t have to have one. Your bridal party will be introduced at the reception. And they’re not inexpensive, even if you design them.

Tip: consider whether or not you’re having wedding programs because you need them or because the wedding industry thinks you need them.

Working Partnership

Patty Potter Fichett, wise woman, wrote these words from Stephen Sondheim  on her FB page yesterday:

It’s hobbies you pursue together, savings you accrue together, looks you misconstrue together that make marriage a joy….

It struck me as useful advice — advice you don’t want to postpone following.  These things don’t only make marriage a joy, they make it a marriage. Togetherness is the goal of your marriage.

That’s why it’s really dangerous to have only one person doing all the wedding planning. Plan your wedding and your marriage together. Wedding planning is a great crucible for forging a working partnership. A wedding isn’t the “bride’s special day,” it’s the event that moves you from engaged to married and celebrates that transition with your friends.

Tip: Want to build the best marriage possible? Start working together at the very beginning… and then share the laughter and the tears that accrue through a lifetime of living into that sharing!