Tag Archives: planning

Mindful Consumption and Wedding Registries: What are some good things to ask for?

12 Jul

Others have written about wedding registries for those who feel hesitant about creating one. Faith Durand encourages asking questions like ” Is there anything that would make it easier to help others or to be more hospitable?” and ” How can I make my kitchen greener or more sustainable?” and I think those are wonderful guiding inquiries.

Meg Keene writes, “The registry has nothing to do with the wedding. Our great-aunts and grandmothers are on to something when they insist that you register so they know what pots you want. The registry is not about the wedding, the registry is about the marriage. For us, we hope that means a long life with a passel of kids, a ton of family gatherings, and lots of cooking. So for us, that’s what a registry is about – letting our friends and loved ones build that home for us. The registry is like a barn raising.”

Not only can your loved ones’ generosity help you provide hospitality or live more sustainably, but their gifts can make more visible a very Zen idea– When we are using gifts from our community every day, we can see how everything we do is connected to those around us.

That being said, not everything on our registry was picked with these things in mind. Part of my practice though, is trying to be more mindful without being too hard on myself. Here are a few of the better picks:

Heart Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

I hope this book will be a good resource for creating healthy and compassionate meals that we, and maybe even meat eating friends will enjoy.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner

We put several natural cleaning products on our registry, as they are safer and healthier for ourselves, our pets, guests, and the environment. Maybe they will even encourage us to clean more!

Simplee Cleen Microfiber Refills

We bought a Swiffer sweeper a while ago, and felt bad when we realized we hadn’t even thought about how wasteful the refills are. With these, we could sweep away and not worry about waste.

Tofu XPress Gourmet Food Press

We eat a lot of tofu, and the way we press it– with paper towels, is a habit I’d like to change. This baby could save some trees!

Fiesta Dinnerware

Fiesta ware comes from my home state of West Virginia, and many people there, including my mom, collect it. This is one of those items that will remind me every day of my connection to my family and home.

Did you or do you plan to make a registry? What was or is on it?


Friday Wedding Meditation: Joining Families

7 Jul

Today Jared and I got our marriage license, and got to write down our new names. We are both going to use both of our last names and will be Firstname Middlename Mylast Hislast. I am happy we’re doing this. Apart from the woman taking the man’s name being kind of an outdated tradition, I would be sad to lose what I feel is a connection to my mom, my dad, and my sister. We already live across the country from my family, and in some physical ways it feels like I have joined Jared’s family. We go to their houses for most holidays, we hang out and watch tv on their couches when our dryer isn’t working. I love this, and am so glad we have them nearby. At the same time, I need the symbolic connection to my family through my name. I want us to have the same name, though, since we are forming our own family with this marriage, too, and feel really lucky that Jared has been open to changing his name too from the day we got engaged. Even with this egalitarian approach, changing names is a little scary. That’s why I’m choosing to think of it as adding to my name rather than changing it, since that is actually what we are doing, and because it is more representative of what we are actually doing. Neither of us is leaving our family of origin for another– we are adding each other’s families to our own. This is what is on my mind as I write today’s wedding meditation, which combines some of my experience at a Quaker college with the regular Zen exercises.

Begin, as always, by paying attention to your breathing. Wait until your mind calms before you continue. When your mind wanders, bring it gently back to your breath.
Think about your family. Begin by considering those closest to you– perhaps your mother and father, your siblings and grandparents. Notice how your body and breath respond to these thoughts. If you feel any tension, bring your breath to that part of your body.

Sit for a moment, and hold each of these people in the light, one by one.  Start with those you have the best relationship with. Try to envision their face, their voice, how you feel when you are around them. Smile to them and send them happy thoughts. Next, move to anyone you may have a more difficult relationship with. Again, bring your breath to any points of tension in your body. Breathing in, remember that just as we can accept all parts of ourselves, we can learn to accept others. Don’t try to change yourself or the person you are thinking of; just hold them in the light in your mind. Breathing out, release your pain surrounding this relationship.

After holding each of the people in your immediate family, living and dead, in the light for a few moments, you can begin to expand the circle, bringing in cousins, aunts and uncles, and going further back to ancestors you may never have met. Breathe in their love and connection and breathe out anything painful or difficult.

Next, move on to your partner’s family. Begin by sending light and love to your partner and move outward to his or her family and ancestors. You can begin to see the lines that led to his or her manifestation and how he or she is still connected to all of his or her ancestors. Breathe in appreciation for all of the people and conditions that led to each of your existences in this current form. Breathe out any fear or anger.

Now, hold yourself and your partner in the light. This time, when you expand the circle, include both of your families and ancestors. You are connecting all of these people through your new family, at the same time that you are all already connected.

Friday Wedding Meditation: Breathing through a to-do list

15 Jun

So I think, partially in an effort to write here more frequently, and partially to encourage my own meditation practice, I am going to try to write a little Zen meditation related to wedding planning each week. Here we go.

Put away your to-do list and sit in a comfortable position. Take a few seconds and notice your breath. Is it deep or shallow or somewhere in between? Don’t try to change it; just notice it. You may feel very busy and like there is a lot for you to do. Realize, with an in breath, that there is nothing  you need to do in this moment except to pay attention to your breathing.

Breathing in, I am happy
Breathing out, I release my tension surrounding my to-do list

Breathing in, I feel the support and love of those around me
Breathing out, I let go of my judgment of myself

Breathing in, I smile to my partner
Breathing out, I surrender to the process

Take a few more moments to watch your breath. When you are ready, take out your to-do list again. Look at the first task you will take on. Remember as you set out to accomplish it, you need to think only about that one task. If you feel yourself getting tense, come back to your breath.

Asking for help

28 Mar

I have heard several times now, while wedding planning, that it is important to ask for help, and that when people offer help, to say yes. And yet, I almost did what the people giving this advice did (which is probably why they gave me the advice). Every few weeks during wedding planning I’ve had an evening or afternoon when I’ve gotten really overwhelmed. Usually it is a bit after completing a major task. After each of these, booking the venue, buying my dress, signing the catering contract, I’ll get a rush…”We are checking things off! We are making this happen!” And then comes the panic, “But there are so many more things to do! I thought I was checking something off but really I was just adding a million little things on!” For example, after our meeting with our new caterer, I was excited, but then I realized we now had to schedule a tasting, figure out the champagne situation, acquire a cake knife, figure out what our nieces want to eat, ETC.

A lot of people have offered to help with crafting. My major crafting project has been origami flowers and I’m actually almost done! Yay! I didn’t really want help with those anyway. It felt like a personal goal I had to meet. I wanted to say I folded all the flowers for our wedding. Also, I was reading in the APW book about different purposes of crafting, one of them being to keep your hands and mind busy while processing a major life transition, and I think the flowers have served that role for me. When I finish those, the boutonnieres and place settings might fill in, but I am not as emotionally attached to those so I may end up asking for help.

Other people, though, have told me to tell them how they can help in general. And until now, I hadn’t asked them to do anything, as the major things felt like things I needed to do alone or with Jared, and the smaller things didn’t feel like as big of a deal. Then I realized that if I ask for help with the smaller things, the ones that I don’t feel need my personal touch, or I’m not as emotionally invested in, the bigger things won’t seem as overwhelming. So I started by asking my sister if she would be responsible for making sure my attendants have ordered their dresses and shoes. And she said of course! So that’s one less thing I have to worry about. 🙂 So now I have to think of some more things I can ask for help with. Here are my ideas so far:

  • Set up and clean up of the venue
  • Making sure the hotel accommodations are set
  • Decorating for the ceremony and reception
  • Addressing and stamping invitations

This will already make things easier. 🙂