Wedding Bonbonniere

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Need Some Drama in Your Life? Have A Ritual!

No, this is not a new form of alcoholic drink, or a super vitamin, but rather an old-fashioned idea of setting aside some quality time to: Turn the ordinary into something special, and the something special into the extraordinary.

When last did you do that? I want 100% here, please.

Other than the obvious –weddings, 21st birthdays, there are many places and times we can mould the occasion into a meaningful moment. 

Our photo albums are tokens of our commitment to recording the special moments in our lives.  But why not turn the simple act of taking a photograph and storing it away for memory recording purposes, into something so much more? 

But how do we do this? Why don’t we pursue occasions of Reality Ritual?

We are entirely capable of shaping the meaningful moments of our lives because we know what is best for us. Or if we don’t know this as yet, we are working towards it.

We are constantly told to listen to our inner voice and to trust our instinct; to follow our intuitions and free our spontaneity so that we can become masters of our own universe.

If we develop a sense of appropriateness in our rituals, we develop confidence in ourselves and in our systems of celebration.  If we look at the way we have created our lives in a social and private sense, we will see that we have an established system of rituals or celebrations actually in place. The trick is to make them real.

And we know intuitively what is appropriate in our design of a celebration or a ritual.  We don’t, in this century need to be told what rituals or celebrations to follow.  We can, with confidence and without any spiritual conscience, do this ourselves and we can do it creatively and spontaneously.

Just follow your instinct. Your own ceremonial ability is waiting to unleash itself.

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When last did you give a gift spontaneously without a reason, or turned an ordinary day into an extraordinary one?

Our rituals can be re-invented. So can our special moments in our lives. Or what about simply adding meaning and energy to our daily doings? Yes, with some planning and thought, these can be achieved.

When I am asked about my religious beliefs, my common reply is that I follow Mother Nature and behave appropriately.  The best gift you can give me is a beautiful sunset and an afternoon of rain.

So when I got married, guess what? -it rained. My best wedding anniversary, (I won’t mention which) was sitting on a warm granite rock, in the Seychelles, sipping a glass of champers, watching the sun go down with my true love at my side.

The ritual of celebrating a wedding or anniversary is one we know well. Nevertheless, it is how you do it, where you do it and what depth and drama you add to it, which makes it a meaningful one.

The photo of the occasion reminds me of how thin I was, and how much prettier my hair was. But the meaning will be with me forever.

How my husband arranged the whole scene; making sure that we were sitting in the appropriate spot, with the appropriate drink in hand and a perfectly directed sunset in our view.  A ritual that was turned into a precious moment in time.

But the story is not finished.  What he did next was truly amazing.  He took that special photo and got a wine packaging company to design it as a wine label.  Shortly after our return home, a case of personalised wine arrived on our doorstep.  Memories are made of this folks.  Every year we open a bottle in celebration.  Sometimes we have more than one! After all, we can always package some more.

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3 Memorable Ceremonial Gifts I Have Received and Given for the Rites in My Life and Those of People I Know

1. A Commitment Ceremony from My Friends – A Hot Air Balloon Ride!

This is a sad but true story.  When my childbearing age passed by and there was no pitter-pattering of little feet in our home, my best friends got together and organised a hot air balloon ride for me.

They wanted me to see the big picture and to look at life in a different way. It was a celebration of life itself and we had lots of fun, lots of laughs, lots of champagne which they had packaged especially for this soaring rite of aging passage.

The ceremony, as it was referred to, was all about getting me to understand that having no children was not the end of the world, but rather the acceptance of the fact that it was a beginning of a new era. Their intention was for me to see it from then on differently. It was about their commitment to me as friends and my commitment to myself to moving on.

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2. High Achievement – My Family Jewels Were the Commemoration

My niece graduated with distinction. I was so proud of her and decided not to give my gift to her at the party she was throwing, but rather to give it in a more meaningful way.

She had not known her great-grandmother, my grandmother and nor had she really known my mother.  My gift to her was my grandmother’s pearl necklace, my mother’s gold broach and my first bit of jewellery that I had bought for myself- a silver bracelet.

I wrapped these up in my grandmother’s velvet evening bag. I organised that we would go together to the nursery school that my mother had set up and still stands to this day.

The children sang for her and over a quiet lunch I gave her the gift and told her how proud I was to have her as my niece. She says that it was a profoundly moving day and that the ceremony I had arranged was better than her graduation.  Knowing that she will pass these on to her daughter, makes it all that much more special.

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3. Nuptials of A Different Kind – A Weekend Celebration Away Bird Watching

45 years old and getting married for the first time!  My husband and I were the first to hear of it. They are our best friends and for this reason, we decided we were going to have a hand in organising their celebratory union.  And it was going to be unique and custom designed for them.

They are a gay couple and did not want any conventional function, nor a song and dance.  They wanted to observe the ritual of marriage, without the formality and who-ha that goes along with it. They also did not want 150 of their very best friends to attend.

So, we booked and paid for a secluded farmhouse up on the hill of a wine farm. 8 people were invited to share the occasion, including the true loves.  We got the farmer to supply the custom wine bottles for bonbonniere gifts, (he wrapped the personalised wine bottles labelled with our signs and names on it), and the farmer’s wife to supply the feast and one of the guests played the guitar.

Their wedding gifts to one another were top-of-the-range birding binoculars.  The farm was chosen, not only for the wine but because it was a birding paradise.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

It was a quiet affair and plenty of reflection was the common denominator amongst us. Indeed, the vows taken had serious intentions and the ritual of exchanging rings took the customary place, but when we all look back on the occasion, the laughter and happiness that was created over this weekend, still ring so true in our minds.

An extraordinary affair!