5 Steps to Magical Moments Before and During your Wedding

Magical MoonMagical moments? What is that, you ask? Some synonyms for magical are enchanted, fairy-tale, charmed, exquisite, thrilling, dreamlike, mystic and supernatural. A magical moment in time could be any one of many wonderful experiences in our life. Often they are firsts: your first kiss, your first time down a ski slope, the first moment your mom or dad let go of your bike and you rode on your own. Here’s a secret—magical moments can happen anytime you want them if you take the time to savor what you are doing.

But that can be hard for many of us when we are really busy and feeling stressed out about something big—like a wedding! You might miss the magical moments if you don’t slow down enough to realize how great an instant is. So how can you make each moment enchanted and charmed? Here are five steps to bring more magical moments into every day up to and including your wedding day.

Yellow RoseStep 1: Stopand smell the roses.
Slow down! Stop to reflect on why you are getting married. Oh, right, I am getting married because I love being with my partner! How magical is that thought? I am excited about the wedding ceremony and the party with all of my friends and family! Another magical thought. Yes, thoughts are magical moments and you can have them anytime you want if you stop long enough to relish them. Stop whatever you are doing to give yourself a moment to take pleasure in the experience. At your appointment with the florist, stop and smell the roses. Figuratively and literally enjoy smelling the roses in the shop, enjoy selecting the flowers and designing your bouquet—make the visit to the florist exquisite!

SiddhartaStep 2: Connect—with yourself.
Why would I need to connect with myself—I am with me every second? Actually it turns out that often we are disconnected to ourselves. We go on autopilot and ignore our thoughts and feelings and miss the magic moments. If, instead, you are present to yourself, you will find many opportunities for charmed moments. What I mean by having presence to yourself is being conscious and aware of how you feel—right now. Have presence to what is happening in your physical and emotional experience. Ask yourself: How is this moment impacting you? Is there magic in what is happening this instant?

Conversation ChairsStep 3: Connect—with people you meet.
How does connecting with others encourage magical moments? Well, often we loose touch with our ability to connect with others deeply. We interact with people but we forget to appreciate them and we forget that how we behave impacts their experience. Give your full attention to whoever you are with and let them know you care. When we allow the wonderful feeling of gratefulness to permeate us, that is a magical experience for ourselves and for others.

Beach CoupleStep 4: Connect—with your partner.
Hold hands with your partner to be. Be present to them, show them your love and listen to them. What are you each most excited about? What are you each most afraid of? Connect by sharing your thoughts and connect by giving them a hug or a kiss. Make a magical moment in time happen everyday with your soul mate and you will feel richer and have a better relationship right now and forever.

Balloons in CelebrationStep 5: Celebrate—everything.
Hurray, you sent the “save the date” cards! Let it be enough! Don’t rush to the next “to do” item on the list. I forget all the time to celebrate. As a healing perfectionist, I am someone who gets big things accomplished with barely a pause before I’m off to the next big thing. I know first hand from planning my big 25th wedding anniversary how easy it is to get bogged down in all that must be accomplished by a deadline. There are endless things to do: the caterer to call, the florist to meet, the dress to buy. So I tried celebrating whenever I checked something off and guess what? It was so much more delightful! Celebration is an often-overlooked method to create a magical moment. Celebrate everything you can think off.

In case you don’t believe that having magical moments is important, there is one BIG reason that appeals to even the most A-type person—you are so much more effective in everything you do when you are present to the wonder of the moment. You learn more from the moments, you deepen your relationships with others, you have greater impact on others, and you simply achieve more of what you want.

Sunset BirdSo don’t miss the magical moments day-to-day up to your wedding. Take a new approach to life and to your wedding planning—practice being present to each wonderful moment instead of living in a frenzy of party planning lists and anxiety. And don’t miss the moment of the wedding itself! Are you going to be present to that amazing moment when you make your vows to your beloved? And will you be aware of the magic of each wedding toast made with so much love by your family and friends? I wish you endless magical moments!

XOXO Rachel

How to Stress Less before your Wedding

stressed womanYou were doing just fine for the first few months of wedding planning, still in the glow of engagement. But then one thing here and another thing there added up to STRESS! Your parents have different ideas about who is family (really, is my 3rd cousin twice removed that important?). All the bridesmaids aren’t playing well together. Or you and your partner have different ideas about the reception (a cotton candy machine is cool, but a photo-booth, well that’s just awesome). It’s time to step back and try some techniques that are sure to reduce your stress.

PopcornStep 1. Watch all the wedding movies you can find. It doesn’t matter which ones you pick because any wedding movie you see is bound to have more drama than anything you are experiencing (and if not, well, I am so sorry). Laugh and cry as much as possible – eat popcorn if you want.

TalkingStep 2. Find a friend who is not in the wedding party, preferably someone who got married recently. Ask them to listen to you vent about everything and I mean everything. They are not to try to solve anything, they are just there to nod their head and agree with whatever you say. Take your time and talk until you barely have any voice left.

Listening to musicStep 3. Pick a time when no one is around and turn up the volume on your favorite music. Sing along as loud as you can, even if you can’t keep a tune – especially if you can’t keep a tune. Jump around and dance and move your body. Test those pole-dancing moves you’ve been dying to try and make a complete fool of yourself. Caution: don’t take any videos that you’ll later regret.

Bubble BathStep 4. Take a bubble bath. Yeah, I mean a bath with bubbles. Find a bottle of kid-style bubble bath that creates gobs and gobs of bubbles and add enough to your bath to have them overflow. Splash around and enjoy.

Now isn’t that better? By giving yourself the gift of some silly playtime and vent time, you will find that your glow of engagement is not gone at all. You just need a time out and you’ll remember why you are going through all this – your beloved is worth it!

XOXO Rachel

Two Tips for Writing Heartfelt Vows

Wedding VowsOnly two? Yes, you really only need to do two things to write your own vows: (1) Step out of your regular day-to-day work to slow down and (2) Write down why you love your partner. Here are some ideas to make this easier for you. Taking a break from your day-to-day responsibilities is hard for most of us, let alone when you are planning a wedding. It takes effort to find a time that you can call your own and get enough quiet to do some thinking. Try one of these activities.

  1. Path in Seattle ParkArrange a time with your fiancé/fiancée to sit together in a park. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just steal away some time for just the two of you to be quiet together, preferably outside.
  2. Go for a walk by yourself. Maybe you are near a walking path, or maybe you are in a town with pretty house-lined streets or maybe you are by the beach (lucky you). Wherever you are, go for a walk to slow down your thinking and get away from your chores.
  3. Put on your favorite music and listen to it – here’s the tricky part – while not doing anything else at all. Listen to the lyrics, feel the rhythm and enjoy the music. Don’t read or watch TV or answer emails or text someone at the same time. The music is the point so let it move you emotionally or perhaps physically (see 4).
  4. Do physical activity that requires you to move but doesn’t require too much thinking. Maybe that’s yoga or dancing or jogging. Or maybe it’s a game of catch with your favorite furry dog friend or favorite human friend. Enjoy the movement and don’t overdo it so that you are too tired afterwards.

OK, now that you have taken time out to quiet your mind and slow down from life, it’s time to go to step (2) Write down why you love your partner. Writing down your feelings about your soon-to-be husband or wife can seem overwhelming. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get your ideas flowing. Just ask yourself the question, write down whatever pops in your head and later you will put it all together. Don’t try too hard and don’t forget to breathe!

  1. Holding HandsHow does you partner make you laugh? Think of the little moments during the day and how he or she has a way of making you laugh out loud. Write down lots of examples.
  2. What are the endearing qualities about your partner, perhaps that no one else gets to see? Think about times when it’s just the two of you. Is he a total goofball? Is he really a romantic gushball under that strong exterior? Is she always a step ahead of everyone, organizing and making plans? Is she always dancing and singing around the apartment? Write down everything you think of.
  3. When you think of your future together, what does it look like? Imagine your life in 5 or 10 years from now: what do you see and how does that make you feel? Excited, grateful, happy, exuberant, whatever emotion you feel, write it down.
  4. If a movie were made about the two of you, what would it be? Is it a romantic comedy, a drama (or melodrama), a thriller or adventure movie or even a sci-fi flick? Describe the characters in your life movie and why you are glad to be making this movie with your partner.

Wooded GazeboYou should have many rambling sentences to work with at this point. If not, repeat the two steps on another day. Re-read everything and refine the language you want to use in your actual vows. There really are no rules to what you include in your vows, but be sure they are something you are comfortable with sharing publicly and shoot for a length of about the magical number 7+/- 2 sentences. Your Celebrant/Officiant will be glad to provide suggestions so just ask for some help. And know that no matter what the words are, if they are true to what you feel for your partner, they will be heartfelt and perfect for your wedding ceremony. XOXO Rachel

Wedding Readings That Will Make Your Guests Smile or LOL!

Creating a wedding that is unique and that captures your style is easy when you add a reading or two to the ceremony. But, you ask, how can I come up with something that isn’t too—unoriginal? Here are some ideas for finding readings that you will find meaningful and fun. In general you want to shoot for a reading that is about 10-20 lines in length—just long enough to have some significance, but not so long that you loose the audience’s attention.

Children's BooksIdea #1. Look at children’s books. What did you love to read as a kid? Maybe it was a book that you made your mom or dad read to you over and over again. Go find it and read it right now. Look for a paragraph that evoke lots of emotion and try it out as a reading. Even if you can’t remember what you loved as a child, there are so many wonderful children’s books out there so get to a library or bookstore and browse! I could sit in a kids book section for hours and just look at the pictures. Take your time and enjoy!

CDsIdea #2. Read lyrics to your favorite songs. Are you a big Springsteen fan, or maybe Adele is more your style. Try reading their lyrics to see if something speaks to you. Using songs as poetry or prose can be a fun alternative to the usual wedding fare. Have fun choosing a reading that expresses the sentiment you want for your wedding.

PoetryIdea #3. Consider classic love poetry. Rumi, Shakespeare, e.e. cummings, Byron…the list goes on forever. I am a poetry lover so I have many poems that I love to read about—love. But even if you aren’t very familiar with poetry, there are many wonderful books that contain large collections of love poems. They are often divided into themes, like poems about declarations or celebrations or first love. Read a bunch until you are weepy with ideas for your ceremony.

Idea #4. Ask your celebrant for suggestions. As your celebrant gets to know you, she or he will probably suggest a few readings that are fitting to your style. Celebrants have many resources for interesting and different readings, so use their expertise to help you find the perfect reading for your wedding ceremony.

I am sure that you will find something that truly speaks to you whether deep and soulful or something that might make your guests laugh out loud! Play a little with what is expected in a wedding and you will come up with some wonderful choices for your readings.

XOXO Rachel

Three Ways to Calm Yourself On Wedding Day—No Matter What Happens!

Your wedding day is not going as planned. The weather is not cooperating. Your bridesmaid spilled something on her dress. Your aunt Ruth is acting up—you get the picture. I have good news! Whatever happens on your wedding day, it will be a wonderful day. Really, no matter what! But to help you prepare for when something doesn’t go quite as planned, here are 3 things that you can do that will help to calm and cheer you. Instead of saying something only a bridezilla would say that offends others when something goes wrong, you will act with calm and grace!


Sure, you can’t help but breathe, but what I mean is to really take in a deep inhalation and enjoy the air. Take a slow inhale and then exhale—count it as one. Then take another slow inhale and then exhale and count it as two. Do this for ten times and if you need to repeat, go ahead. You will feel calmer no matter what in no time.

Smile like a happy Buddha!Smile.

Smile, even if you feel like frowning or—perhaps—crying. Because you can’t help but feel like you are happy when you force a smile on your face. It’s true! Try making a smile on your face this moment to test my theory. Isn’t that much better?


Move.Move those feet!

Roll your head, wiggle your hips, shake your hands or do an all-out dance. Whatever you choose, make your body move and you will feel more relaxed physically and mentally. One of my never-fail ways to cheer myself up is to put on one my favorite songs and listen to it with a headset. Hearing the song in the headset is key for me—it blocks out the rest of the world so that you can concentrate just on the music—and naturally you start to sway.

Be prepared for anything to happen on your wedding day and handle it with ease and grace. Know that this day is a wonderful day and you will have lots of amazing memories no matter what comes your way. And best of all, this is the just the beginning of your married life with your love!

Tell us what you do to calm down when something doesn’t go as planned—we’d love to hear from you!

XOXO Rachel