The Power of Place: 3 New England Venues

An elegant mansion. A working vineyard. An historic hotel. A venue’s design, geography, purpose, and history speak volumes about the power of place. Here are three examples.

Lauren enters with her dad

Lauren enters with her dad

The Lord Thompson Manor: Dreams Come True
http://www.lordthompsonmanor.com

The historic Lord Thompson Manor in Thompson, CT, is known for its romance, aristocratic grace, service, and exquisite attention to detail.

Bride Groom and bridal party pretty in blue

Bride Groom and bridal party pretty in blue

Wedding rituals included a handfasting and parental blessing with bread

Wedding rituals included a handfasting and parental blessing with bread

Earlier this year, I was honored to officiate for Lauren and Brian. Their ceremony was held in the Manor’s garden. The box elder, stone walls and statuary speak of stability and history. A petal strewn path and chandeliers hanging from the wrought iron gazebo and from the limbs of stately trees affirm that the fairy tale wedding comes true here. I suspect husband and wife owners, Andrew and Jackie, have a magic wand.

Feel the enchantment. Continue reading

Posted in Ceremony Ideas, Seasonal, Uncategorized, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Power of Place: 3 New England Venues

SUMMER SOLSTICE ~ WATER and FIRE

Yellow flowers represent the Sun

Yellow flowers represent the Sun

In June of 2015, I led a Summer Solstice ritual at Meg’s, a gift shop and spiritual boutique in Manchester, CT. With my European ancestors in mind, we envisioned people living in ancient times and imagined their anxiety as the sun’s light diminished with each passing day. Would there be enough light to grow food? Or would they starve? Would there be enough heat to say warm? Or would they freeze? Once winter came, would it ever leave? It’s no wonder the ancients held rituals to honor the sun, to plead for its return.

A ritual is a visible act performed with invisible intent. What kind of rituals did the ancients create for the Summer Solstice? They lit bonfires to connect with the powerful sun. They drank from sacred wells to connect with the tender moon. Why both the sun and moon? Because people whose lives were entwined with the land knew that too much fire burns, that too much water drowns. Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Traditions, Life in General, Seasonal | Tagged , | Comments Off on SUMMER SOLSTICE ~ WATER and FIRE

CHUPPAHS, ARCHANGELS, ASTROLOGY, AND THE FOUR ROYAL STARS OF PERSIA

I’m often asked to create a ceremony for a couple who come from two different spiritual paths or follow no particular path but want spiritual elements to make the ceremony comfortable for their parents. Such was the case in a recent wedding of a Jewish bride and a Catholic groom.

The bride’s family wanted her to be married under a chuppah. While the groom’s family had no objection whatsoever, the mother of the bride was sensitive to their feelings. What follows is an amended version of the language I wrote for their ceremony: Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Traditions, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on CHUPPAHS, ARCHANGELS, ASTROLOGY, AND THE FOUR ROYAL STARS OF PERSIA

Handfasting: Tie the Knot

You don’t have to be Celtic to include a handfasting ritual in your wedding ceremony. Tying the knot is something any couple can do. For the guests, my adaptation adds surprise and a little humor. For the couple, a handfasting links them to a tradition both ancient and timeless.

Custom Celtic handfasting cord in red, green, black, white of Hindu ceremonial silk

Custom Celtic handfasting cord in red, green, black, white of Hindu ceremonial silk

Couples didn’t always exchange rings. Before that tradition became popular, a couple might stand at the hearth of a family member’s home, or gather in a place their community considered sacred, often a grove of old trees. Or, they might gather around an object considered significant to the community’s well-being, such as the blacksmith’s anvil. Why the blacksmith? He was the one who forged links and tempered metal to make it strong. Before a family elder, village official, or blacksmith, the couple would declare themselves united. To symbolize the commitment, the person in authority would use a cord to fasten, or “fast,” their hands together. The couple would then work to free their hands. Continue reading

Posted in Ceremony Ideas, Cultural Traditions, Handfasting, Life in General, Weddings | 2 Comments

My Couples Inspire My Rituals

IMG_8126

Laurie takes in the joy of the moment / Photo by Carol Chaput

When I meet with a Couple, I ask dozens of questions. What are their hobbies and interests? Do they like to cook? Garden? Do they connect with their cultural roots? Is there a place they consider sacred? I use their answers to write their love story, a key element in their ceremony. Sometimes, their answers inspire me to create a new wedding ritual — like this one about the magical properties of trees. That was the case with Laurie and Alan. Continue reading

Posted in Handfasting, Life in General, Seasonal, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on My Couples Inspire My Rituals

The Wedding Cake – Beyond Butter Cream and Fondant

Executive Chef Matthew Seguro of Vida Doce in Newington, CT, is an expert on wedding cakes. In this segment of Weddings with Zita,

Weddings with Zita logo

Logo – Weddings with Zita show on YouTube

Matthew talks about traditional cakes and trending cakes, flowers and frostings, and how to have an elegant display cake even if you’re on a cupcake budget.

Weddings with Zita features interviews with wedding experts. Launched in August 2014, Weddings with Zita is the newest show on the Zita TV Network, home to Page 1 (the show for writers with the reader in mind) and Full Bloom (the show that celebrates life). Eventually, all the interviews on the old channel (Zita Christian) will be moved to Zita TV Network. The website is being built at this very moment!

Zita TV logo

Zita TV Network is home to 3 shows on YouTube.com/ZitaTVNetwork

Posted in Interview on Weddings with Zita, Weddings | Tagged , | Comments Off on The Wedding Cake – Beyond Butter Cream and Fondant

Please — I Need Your Vote

For the first time, I’m stepping into the world of wedding awards. I would greatly appreciate your vote.

Each year the Wedding Industry Experts Awards attract an impressive list of world class wedding professionals and related businesses from across the globe. The awards are now the largest international competition for Wedding Professionals worldwide. Voting begins May 1 and closes May 31.

As with any industry, it can be daunting to be compared to others who have developed their business over many years. Fortunately for me, Wedding Industry Experts offers a category for professionals who have been in business for three years or fewer. I’ve entered the category for Celebrants/Officiants.

In describing my service, I say that I’m a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who caters to the unchurched, those couples who want a unique, professional, and genuinely personal ceremony without elements of a specific religion. I am a proud supporter of marriage equality.

The beauty of the Wedding Industry Experts Award competition is that voting is not restricted to only those couples whose weddings I’ve performed. My family can vote. My friends can vote. Your friends and family can vote!

Here is the link to my vote page at Wedding Industry Awards.

Voting is simple. One vote per email address and you can register quickly with one click via your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin accounts. They won’t send you spam! It’s just to keep the voting honest. Voting opens on May 1 and closes on May 31.

Thanks for your consideration, your time, and your vote.

"And so the binding is made..." all part of the handfasting ceremony

“And so the binding is made…” all part of the handfasting ceremony

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Please — I Need Your Vote

The Wedding Jar

Even the shortest, simplest wedding ceremony deserves to be special. It is, after all, a celebration of love and a commitment intended to last for life. It was for these simple ceremonies that I created a ritual I call “The Wedding Jar.”

A Wedding Jar to contain wishes and blessings for the couple

A Wedding Jar to contain wishes and blessings for the couple

I initially designed this ritual for same-sex couples who came to Connecticut where marriage equality is honored, where residency is not a requirement, and where there is no waiting period. I quickly discovered how easily the ritual can be adapted for use in traditional ceremonies, not only for the couple, but as a way to involve their parents, or the maid of honor and best man, or children when families are blended. Continue reading

Posted in Marriage Equality, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Wedding Jar

Game of Thrones and the Wedding Ritual of Circling

He calls her his “Moon.” She calls him her “Sun and Stars.”

He is Khal Drogo, the testosterone heavy, alpha male leader of the Dothraki warrior tribe – proud, fearless, and ruthless, at least in the beginning. Very Mars. She is Daenerys Targaryen, his wife – estrogen aplenty, beautiful, compassionate, and submissive, at least in the beginning. Very Venus. Theirs is an arranged marriage. These characters are from Game of Thrones, a television series on HBO based on the fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin. I’m a latecomer to the series. Watching season one last week, I was struck by the symbolism in the names Drogo and Daenerys have for each other and in what I see as a connection to the wedding ritual of “circling.” Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Traditions, Weddings | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Why Carry A Bouquet?

A Bride in her early thirties asked me if she had to carry a bouquet. She and her Groom had planned a small ceremony in the home of his parents. Fewer than ten people would attend. With international travel scheduled for the following week, the important item on their agenda was having a legal ceremony. They would have a big, traditional wedding next year, after the baby was born. Rather than hold flowers for this small ceremony, she would hold the Groom’s hands. I assured her there was no requirement that she carry flowers. I also explained why she might want to reconsider her decision. Continue reading

Posted in Ceremony Ideas, Uncategorized, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments