Recently, a friend of mine forwarded me the most ridiculous story about a restaurant in New York. One location of a high-end Japanese/sushi chain cancelled a previously scheduled rehearsal dinner because of the couple’s sexual orientation; the happy couple was two men. Now there may have been some prejudicial viewpoints here, but what really astounded me was that the manager who cancelled the event claimed that it would be bad feng shui to host a celebration promoting same-sex marriage. This is completely ludicrous! Weddings, receptions, and rehearsal dinners held at any venue generally enhance the chi of an area, especially if the couple is truly in love. The positive energy from the wedding party and guests seeps into a place, promoting more prosperity and abundance for all. And this type of beneficial event is not affected by orientation, race, age discrepancy, or religious beliefs. There are a couple of very rare exceptions when a wedding can provide negative energy, but that usually is directly connected to the health of the celebrated couple’s relationship. For example, one part of the couple decides to abandon the other at the altar. This is not usually good, and not a cause for celebration. Another example would be if the couple is being coerced into matrimony under some kind of duress. Rare events like this can attract sha (negative chi) into the environment. According to The Huffington Post, this specific location of the sushi chain has closed down, and a law suit is in place. To read more about it, take a look at the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/new-york-sushi-restaurant-gay-feng-shui_n_1893747.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003.
In October, I attended an amazing wedding celebration of my dear friends Tracy Clifton and Michael Pierce. I was really impressed by the feng shui elements they brought to the ceremony and following reception. They chose to have their wedding at The Vineyards, an event location in the foothills of Simi Valley. Currently it is being used primary for weddings, and will be in operation as a winery in a couple of years when their grape harvests reach full maturity. The nuptials were held in the Vineyards’ lavish garden, where the five elements were in full harmonious play. A beautiful waterfall brought in flowing water energy, while healthy, nurturing trees and plants were the perfect backdrop of thriving wood. An ornate gazebo of scrolled flourishes acted as a metal canopy over the wedding party. The earth was present in the form of garden soil and the lovely walkway (pictured below). As for fire, that was evident in the sun’s rays gently landing on everyone. The ceremony was one of the best I’ve ever attended, being extremely honest and heartfelt. As well as writing their own vows, poetry was also read by various members of the wedding party. When one’s own writing, or writing they deeply connect to, is introduced into a ceremony, it adds a beneficial wood element to the ritual. Wood is the creative element that feeds fire, thus these personal words are feeding the fire here of love and passion. The union was officiated by Tracy’s cousin, Tom McElroy, a Christian Science Practitioner. The wedding party and a couple of guest can be seen in the photo above (that’s me in the brown hat).
After the ceremony, everyone made their way to the Sunset Room, where the reception was to be held. The main building of The Vineyards has many elaborate touches I really liked, including the grand wooden staircase. Elegantly carved, it added an auspicious sense of luxury to the entry hall. I also liked the carpet throughout. Golden leaves on a background of chocolate brown. Earthy in color, this is a great example of bringing outside energy to the indoors.
The theme for the wedding was Old Children’s Books. Not only did I think this a very novel approach (pun intended), It was yet another example of the creative wood element of books and writing. This permeated the event in highly favorable ways. Each table was named after a different literary work. My table (which, I have to say, was the most lively of the gathering-not that I’m biased) was Where the Sidewalk Ends. As party favors, each guest received a small matchbox filled with magnetic poetry, which brought out creative wood energy in everyone. I also liked the thought that was taken as to where each guest would sit. Everyone at each table seemed to get along famously, adding to the prosperous energy of the day.
Each table had a lovely centerpiece made from old books, vintage book paper, and flowers. My friends Kristy and Zach graciously posed behind it. As an avid reader, I love books. One common misconception about books in feng shui is that they should never be stored in the bedroom. Many consultants feel that the creative energy put into process of writing books can damage the occupant’s ability to rest. I disagree with this. If space is limited, or one is sharing a home with roommates, books can indeed be stored in the bedroom. It is just a matter of how. A proper bookcase should be used and placed away from headboard and bed. No one wants books falling on them while they slumber (those headboards with bookcases in them should be removed promptly; they’re no good). If possible, one should get a bookcase or cabinet with doors, to “conceal” the books. And never put books under the bed. This can negatively affect the health and romance of those who sleep there. I have two bookcases in my bedroom, but they are not close to the bed, kept free of dust, and artfully arranged by author.
Rather than use real flowers for the bridal party bouquets, Tracy went with a more literary alternative: paper bouquets made from vintage book paper. I believe she had them specially made from a craftsman on Etsy.com I will have to find out and update this information at a later date.
The view from the Sunset Room was absolutely sublime. Lazy clouds lingered casually over a residential area of Simi Valley. It had rained earlier in the day, long before the ceremony. According to many different traditions including Hinduism, rain on one’s wedding day is a sign of prosperity and fertility. Others feel it is the tears of God blessing the marriage. From a feng shui perspective, rain on the day of the event is very auspicious! Not a lot, mind you, but enough to add a little water influence to the festivities. Water is the source of all life on Earth, and rain on the happy day adds a prosperous, stable element to the life of the marriage. Rain also alters the physical environment of the sky, which can enhance photography for the event (such as the clouds pictured above). And, an umbrella can make for an endearing photo prop.
And then there was the tantalizing meal! Rather than having servers maneuver plates of food around guests, Benni and Tracy chose to have a buffet (We call Michael by his nickname, Benni, because of his love for the comedian Benny Hill). The food, deserts, and appetizers were provided by Dave’s Catering and Event Planning. Every morsel was a taste in heavenly perfection. The filet mignon was tender and succulent. The butternut squash lasagna captivated everyone. The chicken cordon bleu melted in one’s mouth. All of the appetizers were also sinfully good. My favorites were the sliders (I think made of turkey?), Caprese skewers, and this little item to the left. Mouthwatering ahi nestled into a little won ton shell and topped with wasabi mayo. I could have eaten them all day (I consumed at least a dozen). Rather than go with the traditional wedding cake, the couple opted to go with cake pops of varying flavors. They also had chocolate covered strawberries, and these amazing mini cheesecake bites (pictured below). For more information on Dave’s Catering, and some purely intoxicating recipes, one can visit their website and blog here: http://davescatering.wordpress.com/
Another important aspect to any wedding that I have yet to mention is the dancing. I feel dancing at weddings is extremely vital. It speaks to a more tribal element of loved ones coming together in celebration, and adds a wonderful yang energy to the gathering. The dance floor was situated underneath an elaborate chandelier (pictured at top). I was quite impressed by some of the humorous and talented dance moves exhibited by my friends and other guests. I, too, shook my tail feather a bit. As for the chi of this specific wedding and reception, I would have to say they were both highly auspicious. These were the perfect inaugural events to further Tracy and Benni on a lifetime of prosperity, love, and abundance. I wish them all the best in the world, and may their lives be continually auspicious.
*Chandelier photo courtesy of E. Osbaldeston. Ceremony photo courtesy of J. Sosta.