Posts Tagged ‘heritage’

A ginger-headed Brit and a dark-haired American–sound familiar? Yes, Harry and Meghan, but not so long ago this dark-haired American married her own Brit.  Apparently fair-headed British guys can’t quite resist us brunettes, American or not (we won’t mention the fact that Meghan and Kate are probably a good six inches taller than I 🙂 ).

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But in case you’re somehow clueless about what I’m going on about, Prince Harry, grandson of the current British Monarch, and American actress Meghan Markle’s wedding is coming up this Saturday, May 19. Another wedding as grand as this one won’t be seen until wee Prince George gets married. So whether you consider yourself an Anglophile or a fan of the Royal Family or not, no one does pomp and circumstance quite like the British, and I’m sure the wedding will be full of fairytale magic aplenty–though all in tasteful British style (unless Meghan decides to add a bit of American sparkle to the affair!).

So just for (so much) fun, my friends, plus a few tips on throwing together your own wedding breakfast tea party to celebrate, here are a few facts and speculations about Harry and Meghan’s upcoming big day . . .

1The Location – Harry and Meghan will be married at neither Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Catherine Middleton said their vows, nor St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles wed. Nope, Harry and Meghan’s “cozy” wedding will be at St. George’s Chapel, and the reception (for around 600 guests) at St. George’s Hall, both at Windsor Castle, a royal residence in the south of England. No Buckingham Palace means no iconic balcony kisses, such as we saw with William and Kate and many royals before (awww). And while royal weddings are traditionally held on a weekday, they are also breaking tradition by getting married on a Saturday. Following the reception, around 200 have been invited to a private reception given by Prince Charles at Frogmore House on the castle grounds (where Harry and Meghan took their engagement photos). 

 Your own living room, dining room, or sun porch will be just perfect for your wedding tea party (somewhere you can see the T.V.!). Don’t forget to add some British style bunting for a real British tea party effect.

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A snap I took of Windsor Castle and gardens when we visited before emigrating to the States

2. The Decór  –  London-based florist Philippa Craddock was chosen by Meghan and Harry to design their flower arrangements. And the bouquet? White garden roses, peonies, and foxgloves (two of the flowers I chose for my own wedding day!). The flowers will be locally sourced, in season, and reflect the wild and natural landscape of the surrounding English countryside. But one thing Meghan will have that I did not is sprigs of myrtle–from the very same plant used by Queen Victoria for her own wedding. Quite the family tradition! And of course there are speculations as to whether Meghan’s bouquet will pay tribute to Princess Diana’s.

 For your own wedding tea, why not gather wildflowers that reflect the beauty of your OWN local countryside?

@happylittlesighxt (5)Princess Diana, Harry’s mother, at her 1981 June wedding

3. The Reception  –  Though we won’t get a balcony scene to ogle over, Harry and Meghan will have a carriage procession through Windsor immediately following the ceremony. Afterwards, rather than the sit-down lunch for 650 guests that William and Kate held for their guests at Buckingham Palace, Meghan and Harry have chosen “bowl foods” for their wedding reception, with “mini main courses” (not sure about you, but if I were somehow lucky enough to be invited, I’d be terrified of dripping something down the front of my dress!). But a standing reception will allow Harry and Meghan more of a chance to mingle with their guests compared to a traditional sit-down event. I was a little surprised at this choice for a royal wedding, though it reflects Harry and Meghan’s less-fuss approach. And it seems that as sixth in line to the throne, Harry and his bride had more flexibility.

And on the menu? According to royal chef Mark Flanagan, Meghan and Harry have “been involved in every detail.” And apparently the local vegetables are all doing their part and coming into season just in time to land on the royal wedding table–er, in the royal wedding bowls. While the exact dishes to be served remain a secret, Mr. Flanagan did say that tried, true, classic foods will be most likely. One thing we do, know, however is that Meghan and Harry’s wedding cake, which will also be served to guests, is lemon and elderflower with a buttercream frosting and fresh flowers to decorate. Sounds delish, and much nicer than the traditional British wedding fruitcake!

The wedding will be early in the morning for us here in the States, so why not serve lemon pound cake or lemon poppyseed muffins (as tribute to the lemon wedding cake), along with fruit salad, sausages, quiche, and other breakfast foods for your guests to enjoy? You could also try to locate some sparkling elderflower juice for something new!

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Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s 2011 wedding cake

4. The Dress  –  The style and designer of Meghan’s wedding dress is undoubtedly the biggest secret of the day–and the most fun thing to speculate about! In a Glamour interview about her Suits television character’s wedding dress, Meghan said, “my personal style—wedding or not—is very pared down and relaxed. Classic and simple is the name of the game, perhaps with a modern twist. I personally prefer wedding dresses that are whimsical or subtly romantic.” I’m willing to bet her dress will have less lace and beadwork than sister-in-law Kate’s–but will she be modern and relaxed enough to go for silky fabrics and a skinnier silhouette? There is also debate about whether or not Meghan will be wearing a tiara. I hope she does–a fairytale wedding wouldn’t be complete without one! And what about her hair–up or down? So much for us to wonder about, so much for us to look forward to seeing on the big day. 

A few things we do know–one tradition the couple will be keeping is that Prince Harry won’t see his bride in her wedding dress before she walks down the aisle. Also, Meghan will probably have two dresses–one for the ceremony and one for the reception. And last, but apparently not least, Meghan–along with Kate and the Queen–will most likely be wearing pale pink or clear nail polish. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a photo of Kate Middleton with red fingernails (although she sometimes wears it on her toes 🙂 ). And reportedly, the Queen has been wearing the same pale shade of polish, Essie’s Ballet Slippers, since 1989. A small thing for a girl to give up in exchange for being a royal. 

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William and Kate’s balcony kiss

You may decide to watch the royal wedding with your favorite mug . . . and in your favorite PJs. But if you are throwing a wedding breakfast tea, don’t forget to dust off your hat (or pick up one from a thrift store). You can always add lace, netting, or flowers. Or buy a headband and make it into a fascinator, taking inspiration from Prince William’s cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie. Don’t forget to paint your nails a delicate shade of pink!

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Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie at William and Kate’s 2011 wedding

Whatever ends up inside those bowls of food, whatever the shape of the dress, whatever the color of those soon-to-be-royal nails, the day is sure to evoke a few wistful sighs from us all. I’d so, so love to hear your thoughts and best guesses for the day! Also, I’ll be joining a few friends to celebrate, and would love to have you along! Comment below, or find me on Instagram or Facebook @happylittlesigh. 

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Me with my ginger-headed Brit on our own May wedding day

Avonlea xo



Finding beauty in the everyday 

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I’ve never had to wrestle a pair of tights onto kicking, squirming legs. Never had to untangle and braid a head of baby-fine hair. Never had to search through vacuum cleaner dust for Barbie’s other shoe.

No, these blessings have never been mine.

But also, I’ve never looked into my daughter’s wide-eyes face and caught surprising glimpses of my grandmother, sisters, mom. Never curled up with my daughter to watch Anne of Green Gables. Never got to lay into her arms my favourite childhood doll.

And probably, most probably, I never, ever will.

Because I have sons, you see.

Three of them.

And two weeks ago, in the cool, dim room at the doctor’s office, my stomach smeared with sticky gel, for the fourth time in my life I heard the words “It’s a boy,”

and with those three small words came the death of a dream.

I didn’t realize it at first.

Yes, I wanted a girl. To dress in tutus and lace, as opposed to dinosaurs and sharks. To shop with. Drink tea with. A little girl who would be like me in ways my wonderful sons could not.

But it’s taken a week

or more

to realize how much more than all that it meant to me.

Taken a week to realize the lifetime of hopes, plans, and expectations that I will have to bury along with my dreams.

When I was 13 I was given a journal. Instead of filling it with the usual teenage drama, I dedicated the book to my future relatives with love. I counted the pages, divided the book into thirds, and over the years filled the first section with photographs of myself, favourite quotes, and information about myself and my family. I planned to pass the journal on to my own daughter on her 13th birthday, and the middle section would be for her to fill out. She, in turn, was meant to give it to her daughter, my granddaughter.

I’ve always been aware of my heritage. The Brazilian side of my family. The Swedish side. And my place in the long line of women whose blood and genetics I carry in my own body. Those women who sailed to a strange new land to endure the harsh winds of a Minnesota winter. Contend with murderous Frenchmen and barn fires and drought. Or face the cramped conditions and sheer terror of being a foreigner in New York City.

I’ve heard their stories, watched the battles and triumphs that my own mother, aunts, and sisters have faced. I’ve felt my place among them. And I always thought I would one day add to that line with my own daughter.

She’d have my curls, I imagined. And when I married, I imagined those curls would be a wonderous, Scottish red. And when she was old enough, I’d tell her the stories of the women who had gone before her. The Brazilian side, the Swedish side, and now the Scottish side, too.

I’d tell her of the wonderful tapestries that God wove with the lives of these women, and paint pictures in her mind of the beautiful things she, with God’s help, would one day do.


Now I wonder what to do. What to do with that book? Or with the box of dress-up gloves, hats, and scarves? With my American Girl doll? My Mandie book collection?

What will I do with the name? With her name. The name I’ve whispered to myself, scrawled along the margins of my journal. The name of the little girl who will never come to be?

I’ll love my fourth son. Oh, how I’ll love him.

But having a daughter, I’ve realized, was an integral part of all I hoped my life would be. Like getting married, or writing, or seeing the world. It’s hard to imagine a life without any of those things, and it’s hard to imagine my life without her.

The day after I found out, I rose early. Crept through the house, my black Bible in hand, and went to the porch. Sat there a while in the refreshing morning coolness, with the song of the birds and the breeze in the trees.

And I cried. And I asked God why. Why, when I wanted it so much? When it came so easily to others. Even others who didn’t even want their girls.

But I know, from experience, that when God’s providences are not in line with our own desires, that it’s easy to seethe. Rage. Grow bitter inside. And I know all the damage that can do.

And so I’m choosing, though it hurts and I don’t understand it, to accept God’s will for my life. Knowing, believing, though I cannot see it, that God is in the habit of making beautiful things out of dust. Of weaving together strands, which to us seem fragmented and broken, and creating pictures more lovely than we ourselves could ever dream.


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