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Posts tagged ‘Tohono Chul Park’

Daisy + Hodge = International Beauty

Yes, they are a totally dashing couple. And yes, their wedding celebration was exquisite, set amidst the springtime blooms at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson. We were surrounded in beauty on this cool April day!

What I’m eager to share with you though, is how they choose to believe in the beauty of their dreams. Daisy and Hodge met improbably, while she was touring Europe with a student group and he was the tour guide. He is from England and she is from the U.S. (Now, quite happily, they are living in Switzerland as I write this.) They are both fiercely intelligent, glowingly romantic, and highly cosmopolitan all at the same time.

Here are two excerpts from the narrative I wrote for their ceremony:

As you may be familiar, this story began eleven years ago, during a touring experience in Italy and Austria, when these two hearts made an instant connection. As Hodge explains, “It wasn’t physical or emotional or cognitive; for me it was totally timeless, in a place where the spirit resides.” He knew there was “something very special about Daisy” and even quipped that “the man she married would indeed be a very luck man.” And as Daisy shares, “When we first met, we felt a deep connection, but we were too young to understand what it meant or act upon it.”

and  . . .

No lavish logic stacks into a rational case for our couple standing here to become married. Daisy says, “being together was neither practical nor very affordable, but we each believed in the beauty of our dreams about one another, and somehow we managed to be brave enough to take a leap and make those dreams a reality.” You both are so thankful you believed. You accepted invitations to sustain your friendship for a whole decade until last year, as Hodge offers, “a deeper love took its place at the seat of the table of our friendship and dawning romance.”

The ceremony overflowed with romantic reflections they shared with me so eloquently. In total, their Couple Reflections reached nearly 20 pages! I had a wealth of material to weave into their Love Story and oh so heartfelt Vows. I’m not sure who enjoyed their vows more: the couple or their guests! Hodge also asked for three excerpts from the Tao Te Ching to be read by friends. Here is a great image of their dear friend reading with gusto Tao Te Ching Section 16.

Hodge’s best friend Ian shares a reading and laughter

In addition to believing in the beauty of their dreams, Daisy and Hodge shared similar losses in life. During a remembrance I shared this passage:

You share an uncommon thread: having both lost a parent to brain tumors at formative stages in your lives. Both of them were brilliant beings with high IQ minds. You have experienced these similar, albeit separate, losses in your lives. Yet as Daisy so eloquently states, you “allow these difficult experiences to add to your depth” as human beings. And as you face any loss in the future, you will meet it with double your own strength, by standing together.

This deep and strong love takes work. It takes humility. And it takes courage. During their Love Story I shared how not only does this couple dare to dream, they stretch into big invitations for growth:

As your relations may have witnessed during your romance and we certainly witness during your wedding today, you share a vibrant ‘awakeness’ and highly attuned consciousness. You are ambitious and hopeful. You see the best of what is possible in each other and the world. You live in a dance with the possible, not fearing invitations for growth. This passage from author John O’Donohue speaks to the grace of your connection: “For the person who lives time consciously, there is a continuous undertow of possibility always at work. Accordingly, it is received and appreciated as continuous invitation. To live like this is to experience time as a constant invitation to growth – to become more than you have been, to transform loss into presence, and to allow what is false to fall away. At the gates of time, blessing waits to usher toward us the grace we need.”

Tying the knot with a Handfasting cord Daisy made to symbolize their joining.

They also chose to share a handfasting ritual. Daisy made a beautiful and symbolic cord to visibly keep in their home for years to come. One last unique and exciting dimension of this celebration I need to mention:  friends and relatives witnessed it live from multiple continents via livestream video. This service was provided by Glen and Annyce at Beyond Video. It frankly boggled my mind how people throughout the UK, Chile, Australia, Alaska, and many other places were watching from afar. How fantastic and earth-friendly is this?

I felt enormously thrilled to compose and lead this ceremony . . . what a blessing to know we have people like Daisy and Hodge living out loud in the world, isn’t it? I wish you continued blessings of connection and grace as you pursue the beauty of your dreams, dear Daisy and Hodge!

(And I offer much thanks to Daisy’s friend and talented photographer Lorenzo De Gregorio in Chicago, for sharing his gorgeous images.)

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A Vision of Your Wedding

Phew, April! What a creatively full month. I shared enormous happiness working with nine couples to compose and lead their weddings. Through my attentive process as a Life-Cycle Celebrant®, we brought their uniquely personal ceremony visions into reality. These couples chose spaces ranging from a sweet living room with pooches and babies (plus east coast folks joining via ichat!) to a 100+ celebration perched at the Skyline Country Club lower terrace to an internationally live-streamed ceremony held at Tohono Chul Park, to an exquisitely intimate ceremony at the historic Arizona Inn.

I’m excited to receive photos and post more details soon! For now, I’m putting my creative energy into May and June weddings. Plus, meeting with couples about their upcoming fall and winter weddings. (Summer slows down just a tad here in Tucson, with our crispy-hot summer temps!)

Throughout the joy of this work, I assist couples in making authentic and fun expressions about themselves during a wedding celebration. This definitely keeps me on my toes! (Just as no two couples are the same, no two of my ceremonies are ever the same, either.)  Choosing just the right venue and sense of place play a role in expression. Creating a real and relevant ceremony takes it a step further and amplifies the power of collective experience between a couple and their guests. To create a timelessly memorable experience, a ceremony you and your guests cannot stop talking about because you LOVED it so much, it helps to set intentions at the outset.

It is in this ‘setting intentions’ realm where I’ve noticed something interesting lately. During an initial meeting with a couple, if I say “What is your vision for your ceremony?” — some “ums” likely ensue, followed by explanation of small familiar elements or “well, we haven’t gotten concrete about that yet.” Sometimes, descriptions of what they don’t want arise. (Read: boring, too long, overly religious, or wrong names. Yikes!)

Instead, when I ask, “What four words best describe your ceremony?” — light bulbs seem to flash on!  This is a fun exchange I’ve borrowed from my savvy Celebrant colleague based in Canada. (Thank you, Barbara Densmore!) I’ve noticed how this brainstorm helps clear through cobwebs amidst the clutter, you know? Couples seem to cut through the overload of ideas, familial ‘shoulds’ or mass wedding media. I witness them revealing what really matters – for them as individuals and a couple. The folks with whom I work often offer up these clues:

Arizona Inn garden, Tucson

Arizona Inn garden, Tucson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Warm and celebratory
  • Lighthearted (not too casual though)
  • Meaningful and intimate
  • Real
  • Grateful
  • Playful
  • Authentic
  • Fun!

Words readily jump out onto a fairly blank canvas. And those four simple words become helpful guideposts for me and a couple when we co-create their ceremony. The four words turn into a ‘vision snapshot’, if you will. To take it a step further, into setting a foundational vision for a whole wedding celebration, this article is super helpful. I love the author’s formula for ‘seven words’. How easy is that to remember and carry with you everywhere as you plan your special day?!