The Persian Sugar Rubbing Ritual

Persian Sugar Rubbing Ceremony
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There are several beautiful and meaningful rituals that take place during a Persian wedding ceremony, but none is sweeter than the sugar rubbing ritual that involves several well-wishing women spreading sweetness in the couple’s life and marriage.

During the sugar rubbing ritual, the couple will be seated, and women i women hold the opposite sides of the cloth, and at times, four women can hold each corner of the cloth. Other ladies will come up, and take turns rubbing together large cones made of hard sugar, to sprinkle sweetness onto the cloth held overhead. Another interpretation of this custom is that each sugar cone represents the bride and the groom and this act is in the hopes that every contact between them will result in sweetness

There are differing beliefs about who should rub the sugar cones over the couple. Some believe that the ladies who are rubbing the sugar must be “happily married” so that their happiness and success rubs off on the couple. However, with the rise of multi-cultural and interfaith marriages, this ritual has adapted to embrace the varying demographics of the guests.

During many ceremonies, the bridesmaids are the ones to hold the Unity Cloth, which makes for a uniform and color coordinated effect. And as for who does the sugar rubbing, many families are open to having any woman who so wishes, to come up and take part in this beautiful ritual. In my own opinion and as an interfaith wedding officiant this is my personal choice. I also believe that granulated sugar can be sprinkled in lieu of the rubbing of the sugar cones

To incorporate this or another unity ritual into your wedding ceremony, contact Rev. Connie Jones Steward, www.officiantlady.com

Julius & Adeela at El Pescador State Beach

Julius and Adeela chose to say their “I do’s” and exchange personal vows in an intimate beach elopement on the bluffs overlooking El Pescador State Beach in Malibu, CA. Their only guests were their five year old son and Adeela’s cousin.

Sand blending ceremony, beach elopements

Sand blending ceremony

Initially, Adeela wanted to include a unity candle lighting but I advised her against it, due to the possibility of high winds, and suggested a sand blending instead. Good thing too, because not only were the winds extremely high but there were “No Fire” signs posted throughout the area.

After the marriage, the newlyweds set off to Atlanta, GA to become partners in their own business consulting firm.

Planning a destination elopement ? Contact me via www.officiantlady.com I will be happy to write and officiate your perfect beach elopement ceremony.

Happy National Sunglasses Day

Did you know that sunglasses are so cool that they have their own day? That’s right June 27, 2018 is National Sunglasses Day.

Just because it’s your wedding day is no reason to not practice sun safe behavior and custom printed sunglasses like these will make it easy for you to look “cool” while protecting your eyes at your outdoor reception.

On sites like Etsy you can find shades printed for brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring boys; in other words your whole wedding party can look as cool as you do.

Sunglasses can also be printed with your name and wedding date as a thoughtful wedding favor for guests of your outdoor wedding or reception.

Looking for a wedding officiant who’s cooler than a pair of Wayfarers on a sunny day? Contact Rev. Connie Jones-Steward at www.officiantlady.com

Why Pre-Marital Coaching?

Pre-Marital counseling in Los

Many couples spend several months making meticulous plans for their wedding day. They stress over the bride’s dress, the floral arrangements, seating charts, the paper weight for the invitations and the flavor of the cake. However, the one thing that they don’t prepare for is the marriage that comes after the wedding.. They neglect to discuss the hard questions such as what role spirituality or religion will play in thier lives, where they will live, how the finances will be handled or thier discipline styles when it comes to raising the children.

Pre-marital coaching and counseling is the tool to help you discuss these areas of your upcoming marriage. It is the most valuable investment that a marrying couple can make to ensure a happy and harmonious marriage, The goal of pre-marital counseling is should not be to tell you whether or not the two of you should get married; Ultimately that decision is yours and yours alone. However, pre-marital coaching sessions should help you to become better partners by helping you to identify areas of strength in your relationship as well as potential growth areas concerning communication, money sex, family, spirituality, parenting styles and other areas that will impact your marriage.

Wedding officiant, Rev. Connie Jones-Steward offers pre-marital coaching sessions in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas or worldwide via the Internet. She uses the PrePare-Enrich Model; a system that has helped over 3,000,000 couples to develop their relationship skills and save their marriage. Call her at (562) 967-1091 to arrange for your sessions or visit her website at www.officiantlady.com

Have You Considered A Wedding Pie?

Are you looking for an alternative to the wedding cake? Maybe you’d like to have a dessert table in “addition” to the wedding cake. In honor of Pi Day 2018 here are some ideas to get you inspired. My advice, go with the pie pops.

Female wedding officiant, wedding cake alternative
Wedding getaway pie
Wedding pie, pi day, female wedding officiant
Wedding pie pops
Wedding cheesecake, wedding pie, pi day, female wedding officiant
Wedding cheesecake
Wedding pie, pi day, female wedding
Wedding pie tower
Wedding pie, pi day,  female wedding officiant, los angeles wedding officiants
Wedding pie dessert table
Wedding pie, pi day, female wedding officiant, los angeles wedding officiants
Mini wedding dessert pies

Need a great Los Angeles wedding officiant? Visit http://www.officiantlady.com

Dawn & Mark’s Joyful Seaside Ceremony

Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, Long Beach Weddings

The dating website Match.com boasts about the high number of marriages between its users. Now it can add Dawn and Mark to that number.

Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, African-American Wedding Officiants

Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, African-American Wedding Officiants

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The couple chose to exchange vows at the beautiful Hotel Maya in Long Beach, CA. They chose the location because they loved the gorgeous Spanish theme and the spectacular  views of Long Beach Harbor and the city skyline.

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If Dawn could sum up her wedding day in three words they would be: amazing, loving and memorable Says Dawn “My big day was exhausting but the excitement of going from Ms. to Mrs was exhilarating. I was filled with love, happiness and joy to share my vows with the man I love in the presence of all our friends and family.”

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5 Wedding Poems By Black Poets

In honor of Black Poetry Day, let’s talk about wedding poetry by Black poets. Here are five beautiful selections for your consideration.

Photo credit: http://www.kristenweaverblog.com

1.You Came Too, Nikki Giovani

I came to the crowd seeking friends
I came to the crowd seeking love
I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep
I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears
You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you
I went from the crowd seeking me
I went from the crowd forever

You came, too

2 Desire, Alice Walker

My desire is always the same; wherever Life deposits me: 

I want to stick my toe
& soon my whole body
into the water. 

I want to shake out a fat broom
& sweep dried leaves
bruised blossoms
dead insects & dust. 

I want to grow
something. It seems impossible that desire can sometimes transform into devotion; but this has happened. 

And that is how I’ve survived:
how the hole I carefully tended
in the garden of my heart
grew a heart to fill it

3. Invitation To Love,  Paul Laurence Dunbar

Come when the nights are bright with stars 

Or come when the moon is mellow; 

Come when the sun his golden bars 

Drops on the hay-field yellow. 

Come in the twilight soft and gray, 

Come in the night or come in the day, 

Come, O love, whene’er you may, 

And you are welcome, welcome. 

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love, 

You are soft as the nesting dove. 

Come to my heart and bring it to rest 

As the bird flies home to its welcome nest. 

Come when my heart is full of grief 

Or when my heart is merry; 

Come with the falling of the leaf 

Or with the redd’ning cherry. 

Come when the year’s first blossom blows, 

Come when the summer gleams and glows, 

Come with the winter’s drifting snows, 

And you are welcome, welcome

4. Touched By An Angel, Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life. 

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls. 

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free

5.  And I Have You, Nikki Giovanni 

Rain has drops
Sun has shine
Moon has beams
That make you mine
Rivers have banks
Sands for shores
Hearts have heartbeats
That make me yours
Needles have eyes
Though pins may prick
Elmer has glue
To make things stick
Winter has Spring
Stockings feet
Pepper has mint
To make it sweet
Teachers have lessons
Soup du jour
Lawyers sue bad folks
Doctors cure
All and all
This much is true
You have me
And I have you

The Wedding Guest’s Guide To Bow Ties

Did you know that the bow tie, the platinum standard in elegant wedding attire, has its origins in the Thirty Years War as nothing more than a means for Croat mercenaries to close the necks of their shirts?

In the 18th century the bow tie, or cravat, was adopted by the French who turned into a high fashion accessory.

August 28, 2017 is National Bow Tie Day. So today’s post is all about helping the well dressed wedding guest determine which tie is appropriate to wear to which wedding. Today bow tie options  are plentiful, but the following advice from The Genlemanual will help you choose the right bow tie for the wedding that you’re attending.

1. The White Tie Wedding

The white tie wedding is the alpha and omega of wedding elegance. It requires a black dress coat with tails and black patent leather shoes. A white bow tie is a must for the white tie wedding. White or black dress gloves are optional.

Bow tie vs Neck tie2. Black Tie Weddings

Black tie weddings are generally fancy evening affairs. The dress code calls for a formal black tux and a black bow tie

How to wear a bow tie to a wedding3. Formal Weddings

For a formal wedding a dark suit can be worn instead of a tux and the bow tie can be replaced by a regular neck tie.

How to choose a necktie for a wedding 4. Semi-formal:

Again either a bow tie or neck tie is acceptable. The appropriate choice of suit color is dependent upon the time of day; lighter colors for daytime affairs and darker colors for evening affairs.

5. Casual or Business Casual

For this type of wedding, you may choose to forego a suit and tie altogether. You wouldn’t even be amiss to wear a nice pair of clean, pressed khakis and a polo shirt.

All photos from The Gentlemanual

The Art Of Hosting The Office Bridal Shower

How to host an office bridal shower

So your office mate is getting married. Congratulations! You now have a reason to eat cake at the office. Not only do party calories not count but it’s  a nice gesture to throw a shower in the brides honor. She will feel appreciated  “and” it’s always good for co-workers to have a chance to celebrate over happy work place news that offsets all of that time spent jointly commiserating over work place woes. In general a work place bridal shower is not much different than any other bridal shower but there are some points that set them apart and should be remembered.

  • The general rule of etiquette is that only those who are invited to the wedding are invited to the bridal shower; However this rule does not apply to work place showers. In these cases everyone, men included, in the office should be invited, but in larger organizations the guest list may be limited to the department in which the bride works.
  • Gift giving to a bride that you don’t know well can be awkward, especially if there is no registry. If that’s the case, then a gift card or general household item in a neutral color is a safe bet. If there is a registry, then perhaps the shower organizers can ask the attendees to each chip in to buy one large item such as that $400.00 set of chef quality kitchen knives.
  • Skip games that focus on knowing the bride well. Instead opt for games like “Bridal Word Scramble” or “What’s In Your Handbag” where  each participant gets a number of points for having certain items in their purse. The rarer the item, say a silver dollar, the more points awarded. The winner is the one with the most points at the end of the game.
  • Ask each participant to contribute a food item or to make a monetary donation towards purchased food. Also try to take into account any special dietary needs of those who are donating. No one wants to help fund a party only to arrive and find out that there’s nothing for them to eat.
  • Avoid serving alcohol. It’s never a good look to be tipsy in an office setting. Serve punch, sodas or other non-alcoholic drinks instead. Alcoholic gifts to the bride are OK.
  • Lastly, do not shame or cajole anyone into participating in the shower. This should be a fun event, not another workplace obligation.How to host an office bridal shower

    Bridesmaids, What Are They Good For?

    Before writing this post I spent some time lurking in bridal forums. Whenever the question of what constitutes bridesmaids duties came up, the answer was invariably that they are there to support the bride. The problem I saw was that many brides-to-be seem to set a pretty low bar when defining support. For more than a few brides, support from bridesmaids consisted of nothing more than showing up to the wedding, standing there and looking pretty (as long as they don’t look prettier than the bride).

    According to tradition and etiquette, there are customary duties with which  your bridesmaids and maid of honor should  be willing to assist you and I don’t mean just holding up your dress when you have to go to the ladies room. I’ve included a list of a few of those duties here. In today’s busy world it may be unrealistic to expect any one bridesmaid to be able or willing to help with everything; However, if you have a bridal party,  or individual member of the party, that consistently refuses to help with “any” of these duties then you can save yourself a lot of aggravation by letting that member go or by foregoing the idea of a bridal party altogether. Just be sure to do so before they start purchasing their dresses. At a minimum, your bridesmaids should be willing to do the following prior to the wedding day:

    Attend bridal shows with you: Part of the excitement of planning your wedding is attending at least one bridal show, However having to attend them alone is no fun at all. When deciding which bridal show to attend, it’s best to choose an event that’s far enough in the future that it will give your ladies time to work it into their busy schedules.

    Throw you a bridal shower or bachelorette party: The maid of honor should be in charge of throwing the bridal shower or bachelorette party. But your bridesmaids should be willing to help out by chipping in cash, helping to send out invitations, setting up and taking down the decorations and all the other details that go into throwing the party.

    Actually attend your bridal shower or bachelorette party: After all, how can you trust someone to show up for your wedding if they can’t show up for your pre-wedding parties.

    Show up for the rehearsal: With the exception of out of towers, your bridesmaids should show up for your wedding rehearsal. Failure to do so can result is a less than smoothly running bridal entrance and exit.

    Help you choose your wedding dress: You can’t realistically expect your bridesmaids to accompany you to 15 different bridal boutiques, but you should be able to count on your maid of honor to assist you in deciding between the final three or four choices. You may also want to include your mother and at least one sister in this decision because nobody will be more brutally honest about what does or doesn’t  look good on you than a mother or sister.

    Help you address wedding invitations: This is a classic bridesmaids task. However it should only be trusted to those with good penmanship and attention to detail because you only get so many envelopes with your order of invitations.

    Pay for their bridesmaid dress and shoes: Some brides can afford to and will pay for the dresses that their ladies will wear. If that’s  not you then it’s perfectly acceptable to expect each bridesmaid to pay for her own dress and shoes. On the other hand,  you as the bride should not choose bridesmaids dresses that will put a financial strain on anyone. As a gesture of appreciation, you could gift them each with a necklace, pair of earrings or a bracelet to wear on the big day. It’s also nice to choose bridesmaids dresses that can be worn for other occasions.

    Lastly, your bridesmaids should provide plenty of emotional support:The weeks and days leading up to your wedding are going to be fraught with anxiety. You are going to need someone to bitch to regarding your groom, your future in-laws, those last five pounds, etc. So make sure you choose bridesmaids who will be there when you need a sympathetic ear.