“Fashions come and go, but style is timeless.” How often have we heard this! We all remember “Lady Di” whose fashion influenced a whole generation of young women worldwide. But there were others before her, most notably “Jackie O.”
Born Jacqueline Bouvier and nicknamed “Jackie,” she married John F. Kennedy, and with his presidency became the youngest US First Lady in history, at a mere 31 years old.
Her tenure lasted only three years, until the fateful day her husband was assassinated in Dallas, dying in her arms, on November 22, 1961.
As the First Lady, Jackie was expected to choose an American designer to design her official wardrobe, and she chose the then-darling of Hollywood’s greatest stars – Oleg Cassini. Together, the two were to create a “Thousand Days of Magic” (the aptly chosen title of Oleg Cassini’s gorgeous book on their collaboration).
In stark contrast to the matronly looks of previous (much older) First Ladies, Cassini created for Jackie Kennedy clean, simple silhouettes in sumptuous fabrics – geometric lines, big buttons – a total of 300 outfits in just three years. He made her the most copied woman in the world.
Probably the most famous dress of all Cassini creations was a white Swiss double satin gown which Jackie wore to the Inaugural Gala Ball in 1961 as her first appearance as First Lady. The dress was soon named one of the 50 Dresses that Changed the World by the Design Museum in England.
Interested? This book is worth reading – I have it and still enjoy it tremendously!
Have you ever wondered where hair spray comes from? We are using it day in, day out (at least many of us) – so… here are your answers, courtesy of Wikepedia!
Hair sprays typically consist of several components for the hair – concentrate, plasticizers, luster agents, and fragrances, as well as propellants (unless a pump mechanism is used to deploy the product). Polyvinylpyrrolidone is a common component of hair spray that confers stiffness to hair.
The concentrate comprises only a small volume of a can of hairspray. Most of a canister is filled solvents such as isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) and ethanol.
Early hair sprays were developed in Europe in the 1920s. In the US, hair sprays were developed around the time of the aerosol can in the 1940s, and the first patents describing copolymers for hair styling were also published at that time.
In the US, hair spray became increasingly popular and mass-produced from the late 1940s, as updos and other such hairstyles were created – from “Bouffants” – see below – to the infamous “Beehives.” By 1964, it became the highest selling beauty product on the market.
Sales of hairspray declined in the 1970s as hairstyles became predominately worn straight and loose. By the 1980s, hairspray’s popularity came back as big hairstyles resurged with the glam metal scene.
In 2007, hair spray (the product) became famous as Hairspray (the movie) starring John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer. So – now you know! What’s YOUR favorite hairstyle, with or without spray?
All weddings, as celebrations of union between two individuals, are filled with ritual. Some rituals are, for the most part, universal, such as wearing white by the bride, or the exchange of rings and exchange of vows. Some rituals vary depending on the cultural backgrounds of the families. Many rituals of food are used during the ceremony, to symbolize sweetness (sharing honey) or the bitter-sweetness of marriage (sharing sugar-covered almonds), etc. Some rituals symbolize the binding of the union of two individuals (hand-fasting, lasso-ceremony, chuppah or the sugar-rubbing cloth held overhead the couple) and some rituals highlight the coming together of two families and communities (unity candle lighting, ring warming ceremony, etc.).
The Iranian (Persian) ceremony is full of beautiful, meaningful rituals, all of which point to nature, love and the spiritual world. And, unlike many wedding ceremonies worldwide, where religion plays a central role, the Iranian (Persian) ceremony is entirely secular. All of its elements point to nature, beauty and love between the couple. Additionally, there is great emphasis on the importance of literature by reciting beautiful love poetry of classical Persian poets such as Khayyam, Hafez, Rumi and others.
During their nuptials, the couple sits in front of a decorative spread, Sofreh Aghd, with items symbolizing well-wishes for their married life. These include a mirror (for reflection), candles (light in the universe), crystalized sugar (sweetness), eggs and nuts (fertility), flowers (beauty), herbs and fruit (health), bread (sustenance), spices (to ward off any negative energies) and a book (usually poetry or holy book depending on the preferences of the couple). In addition to these items, two large sugar cones as well as a container of honey will adorn the Sofreh and will be used during the ceremony. The cones (which represent the couple) will be rubbed together over a cloth held over their heads, in the hopes that every contact between the couple will result in sweetness! The honey will be used by the couple to take turns feeding to one another with their pinky fingers and also symbolizes sweetness for their marriage.
During the Persian wedding ceremony, the Officiant asks the couple for their declaration of consent. While the groom answers with a loud and resounding “ba’leh”, or “Yes!”, the bride traditionally would not respond the first nor the second time that the question is asked. During this silence, her girlfriends would chime in and say, “the bride has gone to pick flowers” or “the bride has gone to bring rosewater”. In the old days, the groom would be seated outside of the ceremony room (which was traditionally a female space) and the bride’s girlfriends would tease him and say “she’s not here, she’s gone to pick flowers”! Another reason for this delay may have been to allow the bride to consider the decision that would forever change her destiny.
After the couple has given their consent, they share their vows and rings and feed each other honey! At the end of the ceremony, the close relatives of the couple will present their ceremony gifts (usually jewelry or envelopes with cash) before the couple is announced and shares their first kiss as married!
Today many couples choose to modify the ceremony to fit their wishes, beliefs, budgets and preferences. Some will have an elaborate Sofreh of considerable proportions, and some will display a modest version with a few key items. For couples who are celebrating a mixed union, coming from different traditions, many times on the Sofreh will be displayed items reflecting their backgrounds. For example, in my work with mixed/fusion couples, I have seen everything from an Irish horseshoe and Child of Prague statue, to a Mexican lasso and coin, to the Native American basket, to the Jewish wine glass and the African American broom, among other items. These objects fit beautifully together and are a testament to love, union and mutual acceptance between two individuals, their families and communities.
Every wedding is so very special and such a happy occasion. Afterall we are celebrating the greatest force in the universe, Love! So regardless of size, venue, expense and any fanfare, the true essence of every wedding is the celebration of a union, and the coming together of families and communities. Rituals help to make this special occasion even more meaningful and memorable.
Fourth of July – Independence Day. Who wouldn’t know? Every school child learns about it. It is the National Day of the United States. It commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, the motherland of the colonists. It commemorates the end of the American Revolutionary War, in which many thousands paid the ultimate price to attain their new country’s independence.
Independence thus is a value deeply rooted in American history and culture. It is a defining element of the American self-image.
The idea of independence, though, is not restricted to the political realm alone. It is likewise perceived as a value in its own right in the fabric of our society: women have fought a valiant battle for their legal and financial independence from their male family members – fathers, brothers, husbands – for their right to make their own decisions, choose their husbands themselves or live on their own, be the masters of their own fate. The idea of independence is ranking high in our perception of moral values.
And yet – every single day more than 12,000 US citizens voluntarily give up a good part of their personal independence: they get married! (Which brings us to our main subject here at Wedding Woof).Have you ever looked at weddings from this aspect? Bride and groom are giving up the freedom to do as they like, to go out when they feel like it without asking anyone, to travel whenever wanderlust strikes without having to consider someone else’s feelings or schedules. Thankfully by today those tying the knot do so on their own accord and from their own free will. So – why are they doing it?
Brian Lyke, a minister in Carmel-by-the-Sea who officiates at many weddings, put it this way: ” When we get married, we’re not just fulfilling a social expectation. “Everybody my age is getting married, so that is the normal thing to do!” No, I firmly believe that the reason for getting married lies a lot deeper. Most human beings feel a deep loneliness, feel that something is missing from their lives without a counterpart. Knowingly or unconsciously, they are longing for another human being to share their joys big and small, their frustrations, their successes and failures, in short, their everyday lives. Without this partner, they feel incomplete, and they are searching for completeness, looking for wholeness…for fulfillment, and I believe that that longing for wholeness is part of our nature. Simply put, we’re made for each other, we’re made for relationship.” And that entails a mutual give-and-take, entails voluntarily giving up some of our hard-earned independence – for love.
And that’s not the only area where people give up part of their independence for love: every month more than 7000 dogs are brought into someone’s household, be it adopted from a shelter or bought from a breeder. (Which brings us to the other focus of Wedding Woof…) Taking up responsibility for a pet automatically means a dramatic change in lifestyle: you can’t leave the house any more for hours at a time, you can’t travel as you used to… you always have to be mindful of your pet’s needs and happiness. And yet – ask any dog owner, and they will assure you that relinquishing part of their independence is double-and triple-rewarded by the love their pet gives them every single day. Here you have it again: sometimes love trumps independence.
Cheers to all those who courageously relinquish some independence in favor of love – for someone two-legged or four-legged… Which should not preclude you from celebrating Independence Day as well!