Build self-confidence for your wedding!

Wedding day jitters is something most brides and grooms experience at some point. So don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself stressing out about—everything! Often couples tell me that their biggest concern is about the actual ceremony. Here are three steps to help you overcome any anxiety you might have about your wedding vows and build some self-confidence for your big day.

Practice Saying Your VowsPractice, Practice, Practice!
If you are someone who isn’t used to speaking in front of an audience (well, even if you are someone who gives speeches for a living), it pays to practice! Stand up straight, don’t lock your knees, hold your written vows and read them aloud. I often use my cat as my practice audience because he is very calming—OK, maybe he is sleeping ☺. The idea is to practice in a low stress environment. Practice smiling while you say the words. Practice the timing and pacing. Practice the volume level. Practice breathing in between sentences. Practice, practice, practice—not only directions to Carnegie Hall—builds your self-confidence!

Visualize Your Ceremony AltarVisualize!
Imagine your amazing wedding day. Imagine getting dressed in your beautiful dress or suit. Imagine getting primped and polished on your big day. Imagine how happy and excited you are on that day. Imagine seeing your love in front of you with huge smiles on your faces. Visualizing is a wonderful way to enjoy your wedding right now. You can stop whatever you are doing and feel the energy as if it is your wedding day. And visualizing is a wonderful way to lessen anxiety because you can imagine how you want it to go. In truth visualization is a form of practice (I told you practice is important) that has remarkable power. Athletes use it so why not give it a try?

You are a gem!Affirmations!
One of the best ways to gain self-confidence is with the help of your partner. Ask him or her to sit down with you for a few minutes and take turns asking each other, “What do you love about me?” You will be showered with affirmations about why you are such a wonderful person and why they want to marry you. It is easy to forget in all the craziness of wedding planning that your fiancé/fiancée gets you and knows how magnificent you are. Share affirmations and remember those affirmations whenever you are feeling anxious about your wedding. (I was tempted to make all three bullets about practice, practice, practice.)

Sure, you are the center of attention at your wedding so it can seem daunting. But remember that everyone who loves you and wants you to be happy surrounds you during your ceremony. They will love you whether you are calm as a cucumber or sweating bullets. Be confident because it is your day and you are beautiful and perfectly you!

XOXO Rachel

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Magical Moment Mondays: First Wedding of the Season!

Wedding Day Style!This past weekend marked the beginning of wedding season for me. Sure, there are plenty of couples that wed during the winter, but the spring is when it really gets going and weekends are filled with lots of ceremony and love. I felt renewed as I pulled out my pretty suits and dresses and shoes and planed my outfits for the big day. And I enjoyed assembling my ceremony materials in my beautiful spring bag.

Pretty in Pink MakeupThe anticipation I experienced for my first wedding of the season was not unlike being a bride.  I had butterflies of excitement.  I planned every last detail so that the day would go as smoothly of possible (and I am delighted to report that it did).  I went through my makeup design.  I tried styling my hair a few different ways.  And I gave myself a manicure too!

To all of you in the business of weddings, I wish you a magical first wedding of the season. And to all the brides and grooms, may every moment up to your wedding and beyond be magical!

It Is Our Wedding
By Gajanan Mishra

It is our wedding
Today is our wedding day
It is our wedlock
Greet with pleasure
Wed with love
Wed with Truth
Wed with eternity
Wed with sincerity
Wed with honesty.

It is our wedding
Everyday is a wedding day
It is new everyday
Everyday is a lovely
And beautiful day
No matter it is what day
But it is wedding day
It is love-day
It is Truthful-day.

XOXO RachelBest Doggy!

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Flower Fridays: Lilac

Deep Purple LilacI love lilac—the color, the scent and of course the flower. Although we still have several more weeks before lilac bloom around here, I am already anticipating with great glee their spring flowering. And although the color of lilac is, well, lilac, in truth the flowers come in colors from lilac to pink to white and even yellow.

Lilac symbolizes youthful innocence and confidence—a wonderful balance! If you are lucky to have lilac in your garden, cut a sprig, bring it inside and you will be rewarded with long-lasting blooms.  Not for the faint of heart, the aroma of lilac is powerful and strong—I might even say confident!

O were my love yon Lilac fair
by Robert Burns

Lovely LilacO were my love yon Lilac fair,
Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,
When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d.
O gin my love were yon red rose,
That grows upon the castle wa’;
And I myself a drap o’ dew,
Into her bonie breast to fa’!
O there, beyond expression blest,
I’d feast on beauty a’ the night;
Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley’d awa by Phoebus’ light!

Old Lilac BushXOXO Rachel

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Topics you should discuss before you get married (or even engaged) #3

HouseToday’s Wedding Wednesday blog is the third in a series of posts on topics you should consider and discuss before you get married (click to read #1 & #2). If you are thinking about getting married, having these conversations with your partner will deepen your relationship and start you off on the right foot.

# 3. Should we live together before we get married or not? (Or, are we compatible?)
There is much controversy on this topic. It is up to the both of you to decide if you should live together before you get married. From my view there is one critical reason why living together first can be so helpful to determine if you should get married—compatibility. There is no better way to determine how you will get along in the day-to-day aspect that makes up all of life and marriage then experiencing how you get along day-to-day!

Old HomeYou might think that you know how someone lives their life when you are really close to them. Or you may feel that you have stayed over enough nights to know how your partner really behaves in everyday life. However, you will likely get a very different perspective once you are sharing—the bathroom, cooking, the remote control, the closet (yeah, this is important) and any number of other real-life activities every day.

Most studies of happily married couples list being simpatico as the number one reason why the marriage succeeds. Successful couples make tons of little decisions each day—to get up early or not, to eat dinner early or late, to stay in and watch TV and DVDs or go to the movies, yet they rarely have to negotiate the decision. Because if they have similar outlooks, then they both want to get up early, or eat dinner early or whatever. Live together for some time and you will learn if you are compatible fast!

Row House on CanalEven having the conversation about whether to live together or not is bound to bring up other associated topics that you didn’t think to discuss. For instance, where do you want to live after you are married? Do you want to have pets and if yes, are you a cat or dog person (or both)? Having conversations with your partner is a great thing to get in practice with right at the beginning of your relationship. Over your lifetime together you will have many, many opportunities to discuss and negotiate, so start learning how to have the deep and important conversations right now!

XOXO Rachel

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Magical Moment Mondays: Liftoff

Flying at SunsetLast week I had the pleasure of taking a few days off to fly out to California and visit my husband Andy’s family. There were many magical moments on the trip—moments with family members eating, chatting and sipping wine to name a few. In addition to the time with family, the actual trip from coast to coast had lots of opportunity for magic.

I know that not everyone feels the same as me, but I love to fly—literally and metaphorically (see Cloud Hopping and Free falling and improv up on high). One of my favorite moments is liftoff. There is magic in that moment just after accelerating when the airplane takes off and I have a sensation of floating upward. What also adds to the magic for me is the relaxing feeling I get from having a gravitational pull backwards. As the aircraft inclines, my body reclines into the chair and I seep into a naturally calm and somewhat weightless state.

Above the cloudsYou might call that moment takeoff, but whether you call it takeoff or liftoff there is so much conveyed in that word.  Consider all the wonderful metaphorical meanings: launching into the new, departure for the future, setting sail to what’s ahead, and lifting off into the unknown. Yes, there is so much magic in that moment of starting a new adventure, opportunity or direction at liftoff.

Balance
By Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh

View from aboveI watched the arctic landscape from above
and thought of nothing, lovely nothing.
I observed white canopies of clouds, vast
expanses where no wolf tracks could be found.

I thought about you and about the emptiness
that can promise one thing only: plenitude—
and that a certain sort of snowy wasteland
bursts from a surfeit of happiness.

As we drew closer to our landing,
the vulnerable earth emerged among the clouds,
comic gardens forgotten by their owners,
pale grass plagued by winter and the wind.

I put my book down and for an instant felt
a perfect balance between waking and dreams.
But when the plane touched concrete, then
assiduously circled the airport’s labryinth,

I once again knew nothing. The darkness
of daily wanderings resumed, the day’s sweet darkness,
the darkness of the voice that counts and measures,
remembers and forgets.

XOXO Rachel

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Flower Fridays: Daffodil

Yellow and orange daffodilOne of my favorite things to do in the fall is look at bulb catalogs and dream of spring. The catalogs are filled with all types of bulbs, from little blooms like crocus to larger blooms like tulip and everything in between. I am a sucker for all of the lovely pictures of what I could have in my garden that I have in some years gotten more bulbs than is good for me—planting bulbs in our rock-ridden soil is a big job. But love them I do and so I will dig!

I have tried to grow many varieties of flowers from bulbs but unfortunately the deer love a lot of bulbs as much as I do (though I don’t eat them). Fortunately daffodil is a bulb that I can enjoy that the deer ignore. And daffodils are amazing plants because they come in so many different sizes, shapes and colors. I even have pink daffodils in my garden!  Quite often associated with Easter and of course early spring, daffodils are a symbol of new beginnings and rebirth. Let spring spring!

The Daffodils
by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloudDaffodil in the sky
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

XOXO RachelDaffodil

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Most Romantic Lines from Movies

Admit oneI am a fan of movies of all kinds. I love Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Comedies, Dramas and most of all—Romance (Drama or Comedies). I am a particular fan of movies that have lots of conversational banter, so I tend towards the more indie type films and classics. Nonetheless, I also love the more mainstream movies about love. Here are some of the most romantic lines from film. They also make great quotes for weddings!

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds and that’s what you’ve given me.”
The Notebook

“It seems right now that all I’ve ever done in my life is making my way here to you.”
The Bridges of Madison County

“You make me want to be a better man.”
As Good as It Gets

“Love is too weak a word for what I feel–I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F’s, yes I have to invent, of course I do, don’t you think I do?”
Annie Hall

“When You Realize You Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life With Somebody, You Want The Rest Of Your Life To Start As Soon As Possible”
When Harry Met Sally

“Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry”
Love Story

“You Complete Me”
“You Had Me At Hello”
Jerry Maguire

“I Like You Very Much Just As You Are”
Bridget Jones’s Diary

“I’m Also Just A Girl, Standing In Front Of A Boy, Asking Him To Love Her”
Notting Hill

“Make of our hands one hand.
Make of our hearts one heart.
Make of our vows one last vow.
Only death will part us now.”
West Side Story

“We’ll Always Have Paris”
Casablanca

“You Should Be Kissed, And Often, And By Someone Who Knows How”
Gone with the Wind

What are some of your favorites? Share with us below in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you!

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XOXO RachelFilm

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Magical Moment Mondays: First Day Gardening

Last seasons BuddleiaHurray!  I spent my first day in the garden this year.  And what a wonderfully magical moment it was!  Although there were still patches of snow around our yard and in parts of our garden, the main flower gardens were clear enough to let the gardening begin!  The day was warm enough to go outside in just a sweatshirt and jeans (the next day was another story).  And of course I got to use all the requisite garden tools like clippers, loppers, rakes and brooms!  It was time to start the spring cleanup.

The before and after photos of the yard pretty much tell the tale.  (And I love to look at the photos as reward for the amazing transformation).  We like to leave the prior year’s garden pretty much untouched in the fall to add some design to the winter landscape.  So when spring comes round, there is a lot to do.

Iris bed before the cleanupAfter nipping back spent buds of Buddleia, Iris, Penstemon, Black-eyed Susans and other miscellaneous flowers, I set about pruning.  First off was the Rose of Sharon bushes that I pruned to within arms-reach length and to keep tidy.  Then with my husband Andy, we took on the Japanese Maple to keep it from getting too tall.  A final raking out of the beds and we are off to a great start for this year’s garden.

Tidy spring gardenThere will be many more magical moments in our garden to come, but after a winter as brutal as this one, nothing can quite beat the magic of the first romp in the garden.  I wish everyone a happy gardening season—and I hope you have fairies to help you out!

 

 

from Fairies
by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

2

Fairies begin their day by coming together a moment and sharing joy.

They love the feeling, which dew on the leaves draws from grass, lilacs and the response of meadow and flowers to the dawn.

Diminutive green sylphs now run in the grass, whose growth seems intimately associated with theirs, a single line of concentration.

They talk to themselves, constantly repeating, with an intensity causing their etheric doubles, grass, to vibrate as they pass, vivifying growth.

To rabbits and young children they’re visible, but I see points of light, tiny clouds of color and gleams of movement.

The lawn is covered with these flashes.

In low alyssums along a border, one exquisite, tiny being plays around stems, passing in and out of each bud.

She’s happy and feels much affection for the plants, which she regards as her own body.

The material of her actual body is loosely knit as steam or a colored gas, bright apple-green or yellow, and is very close to emotion.

Tenderness for plants shows as rose; sympathy for their growth and adaptability as flashes of emerald.

When she feels joy, her body responds all-over with a desire to be somewhere or do something for plants.

Hers is not a world of surfaces–skin, husks, bark with definite edges and identities.

Trees appear as columns of light melting into surroundings where form is discerned, but is glowing, transparent, mingling like breath.

She tends to a plant by maintaining fusion between the plant’s form and life-vitality contained within.

She works as part of nature’s massed intelligence to express the involution of awareness or consciousness into a form.

And she includes vitality, because one element of form is action.

Sprouting, branching, leafing, blossoming, crumbling to humus are all form to a fairy.

XOXO RachelIris beds ready to go!

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Flower Fridays: Crocus

Early yellow crocus budsDepending on where you live up or down the east coast, you may have the early signs of crocuses or the full effect of their pretty blooms. Planted in large masses, they are so amazing and offer so many different color combinations. For a spring wedding, little potted plants of crocuses set in the middle of each table would make a beautiful addition to your reception and a lovely gift for the guests to take with them. Crocuses are light and airy so it should not be surprising that they signify smiles and cheerfulness! I think I will plant some additional crocus this year (in the fall) so that next spring I will be rewarded with more smiles!

The Year’s Awakening
by Thomas Hardy

How do you know that the pilgrim track
Along the belting zodiac
Swept by the sun in his seeming rounds
Abundance of crocusIs traced by now to the Fishes’ bounds
And into the Ram, when weeks of cloud
Have wrapt the sky in a clammy shroud,
And never as yet a tinct of spring
Has shown in the Earth’s apparelling;
O vespering bird, how do you know,
How do you know?

How do you know, deep underground,
Hid in your bed from sight and sound,
Without a turn in temperature,
With weather life can scarce endure,
That light has won a fraction’s strength,
And day put on some moments’ length,
Whereof in merest rote will come,
Weeks hence, mild airs that do not numb;
O crocus root, how do you know,
How do you know?

Purple striped crocusesXOXO Rachel

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Topics you should discuss before you get married (or even engaged) #2

Seeing eye to eyeToday’s Wedding Wednesday blog is the second in a series of posts on topics you should discuss before you get married (click to read #1). As with all of these topics, find a location to be with your partner where you feel safe and comfortable and give yourselves enough time to really get into a deep conversation. There are no right or wrong answers and you might not see eye to eye so these conversations will probably bring up a lot of emotion. It is important that you are clear about your feelings on the topic and that you are also open and listening intently to your partner’s perspective. And most of all, be kind and gentle with each other.

#2. Children—to have or not to have?
Perhaps an obvious topic for conversation, the decision of whether to have kids or not isn’t as simple as yes or no. Let’s say you decide not to have children, you may want to discuss how you handle when family and friends make inquiries (and they will).

Conversation in the parkLet’s say that you decide to have kids, there are many issues to discuss. How soon after you are married do you want to build a family? How many children do you want? What will you do if you have fertility issues? Will you consider medical options? Will you consider adoption? If yes to adoption, will you consider adopting from another country? How will you raise the children (religion, education, parenting practices, childcare)?

The clearer you are about your wants and feelings on the topic, the better you will be able to navigate whatever choices you make together about children. I wish you a heartfelt and productive conversation.

XOXO Rachel

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