How To Throw A Great Wedding

I’ve been many things in my life before, but never an M.O.B (Mother of the Bride). I’m far from a big wedding expert, but I’m passing on a few things I learned from my daughter’s wedding last week.

I openly wanted them to elope….that wasn’t what they wanted…

Incorporate your own traditions.

While it can be comforting to stick to the classics it’s fun to throw in something personal and unique. My daughter chose to go with handmade Hawaiian leis instead of rings.

Choose your right Officiant

My daughter chose her first cousin to perform the ceremony. After following the steps to become ordained in Hawaii and meeting with a Rabbi, he led a service that totally set the tone for the rest of the night. Striking the balance between humor and seriousness, while incorporating Jewish traditions, was crucial in pulling off this event.

The Music

We gave our Irish musician free reign to choose what to sing during the procession, after he rejected all of my ideas. The River is Wide was a perfect ballad for this setting. As long as the song reflects the nature of the relationship, anything goes.

Honor the Seniors

Making this trip for an older person is no small feat! Being lucky enough to see your first grandchild get married is nothing short of a miracle for some.

Casual dress = more fun.

Our dress code was “Aloha casual” – that threw some people off. Despite the confusion, the men were super comfortable in their Hawaiian shirts, as were the women in their flowy dresses and sandals.

Costco Hawaiian Shirt collection in Lihue, HI 

Serve good food and not too much.

Think quality over quantity when it comes to the meal. Don’t fill everybody up on appetizers!

Kauai Blackened Mahi Mahi

Leave enough time for dancing.

Following a good hora make sure you leave time for the Electric Slide. In our case, the Australians stunned us all with Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock is a 70s Australian rock song by Daddy Cool. When that song is played at an event, Aussie men in particular instinctively drop their trousers and dance with their pants around their ankles.

Offer pre-wedding yoga.

This was a highlight at our event. Even laid back weddings can be stressful. Yoga is a perfect break from the formalities. The ancient practice brings the group together and kicks things off on the right foot. Dedicate the class to the newlyweds.

Keep it green

Say no to confetti (unless it’s made of dried leaves), paper invites and plastic straws.

The Couple

No amount of flowers can mask an unhappy relationship. They need to be truly deeply in love for a wedding to soar. Everyone is down for celebrating when two people find each other, fall in love and choose to share it with the universe.

Big shout out to my daughter Lia for contributing to this article. And to my daughter Ayla, who made being the M.O.B. easy by being the most relaxed happy bride ever.

What do you think makes a great wedding?

I’m Changing My Name Again And Here Is Why

I am quite happy with my first name. At birth, I was given the name Ann, an English variation of the Hebrew name Hannah, named for my father’s mother who was killed in the Holocaust. I changed the spelling to Anne to mark a milestone in my life – loyal readers of Love and Medicine know all about it, wink-wink. Anne, or Áine is also the name of an Irish Celtic Goddess. I’m good with Anne.

As an aside, Ann’s height of popularity was in 1959. It has now fallen from the 539th most popular name to an abysmal 1299th…

When I became a writer, I considered pen names like Soferet Tova – I know, so bad, but I was 10! I also considered pseudonyms like Irene Drive – for the subliminal message. A pseudonym was tempting as a writer with young children wanting to write about racy stuff. By the time I finally published my first word on Love and Medicine, my kids were old enough.

Under the 14th amendment, every U.S. citizen is guaranteed the right to change his or her name at will.

I never for a second considered changing my name when I got married. I can’t understand why any woman would choose to follow that patriarchal custom. But let’s move on…

My father was born in Czechoslovakia and given the Slavic name Ludwig Kopolović, pronounced Koplovich. He entered this country in 1947 after WWII. He spelled his name Ludwig Kopolowitz “because they didn’t know how to soften the C”. Americans can’t deal with accent symbols. Right all you Esmé’s out there?

A few years later his brother Benzion Kopolowitz  shortened his name to Bernie Koplin, at the urging of his wife who felt Kopolowitz was too long.  It was important to Bernie that as brothers they share the same name. My dad was reluctant but eventually changed his name to Koplin.

Koplin has always been a pain.  No matter how many times I say “with a K”, it is spelled with a C. It is invariably pronounced cop-lin but it is supposed to be cope-lin.  It has no meaning whatsoever. I feel no connection to the name. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just nothing.

The name Kopolovic, on the other hand, “immediately places your origins in Eastern Europe,” according to my dad. It has depth, history, meaning. My sister, brother and I are seriously considering a name change to Kopolovic. Our kids aren’t thrilled and have no plans to change theirs. That’s fine with me. We don’t have the same last name now either.

My dad might secretly like the idea but gives his usual poo-poo reply “eh, too much trouble, what do you need it for?” That is his response to anything related to the past; like my idea to pursue EU citizenship based on his country of birth and to finally request reparations from Germany that he deserves as a holocaust survivor.

According to research on name changes later in life, it is best to start using the name prior to pursuing it legally. Once we get a consensus on how to pronounce it, you may see my new name appearing first in my writing. My sister is starting with her doorman. In New York, when in doubt, the doorman is a good place to start.

Have you ever considered a first or a last name change?

What Is Mercury Retrograde And What Does It Have To Do With You?

Love+Medicine - Mercury Retrograde

I went to the librarian and asked for a book about stars… The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale that has never left me. Never, ever left me.

Carl Sagan

Mercury in retrograde comes up in conversation too many times for me to ignore. It seems to be the default scapegoat when you’re having a bad day, your computer crashes or if you have to explain doing something really impulsive (like texting an ex). Before we start judging it as fact or folly, L+M wants to know what it actually means. It suits me as a once aspiring astronaut who always wondered about astrology.

Mercury Retrograde. Take a deep breath. And don't text your ex.

Mercury is a tiny planet that moves super fast. When Mercury zips around the sun, as it passes Earth it appears to be moving backwards, from Earth’s vantage point. This optical illusion is what is known as Mercury retrograde. This happens about 3-4 times a year and lasts three weeks each time.

Stargazers have always been fascinated by retrograde motion. “As above, so too below” is the cardinal astrologic rule. When Mercury speeds by, it creates a sort of disruption or turbulence that is thought to affect us on earth. In astrology, Mercury is associated with communication, relationships, travel, contracts, and computer codes. The 1st century poet Marus Manilius called it the “inconsistent, vivacious and curious planet.”

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Magic Dust & Artichokes

When my year of no shopping ended, like a prisoner released from captivity, I couldn’t wait to bust out and buy something. I fell right into the trap! What a sucker. You wouldn’t believe what my first purchase was: Dust. I did not know that Gwyneth Paltrow touted it in her painfully misguided bullshit celebrity retail outlet called Goop. I read about it on a blog I once respected, called Cup Of Jo. There was one line…

“Psst, my friend says this …really works,”

…with a handy hyperlink directly to the Nordstrom website. For $39 I was the proud owner of a tiny jar. My partner just heard me reading this aloud and mumbled, “That useless shit was $39”?

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Ask Dr. Annie K: Breaking The Cycle

I lack trust in my boyfriend of 7 months. This has been caused by his total and complete honesty of his past relationships, which honesty is a good thing, but it has triggered my insecurities, fear of being hurt and that bad feeling in my stomach. When he brings up his past flings in causal conversation or accidentally calls me by his exes name, is still friends with the opposite sex that he has had history with…it is testing my insecurities. As of recent, his ex girlfriend reached out and I wanted to know the extent of the message she sent him so I went through his phone. This lead me to finding promiscuous photos of other past exes (none of which were sent during our time together) and several pictures of other woman that look like screenshots from social media. He was single for three years prior to our relationship so I am unsure and feel weird about what I found. Everything outside of this is good. We have a lot in common and care about each other very much. And he is not in the wrong for having a history before me. I am just not sure what to do and how to address why I feel this way about our relationship. It probably has something to do with things I need to fix about myself, but want to make sure I am not missing any signs.

Also, I have come to realize that I have a vindictive side of me. Ive been reflecting on past situations and I know it comes out full force when I feel bad/disrespected because I think something is happening to me. I hold grudges, punish people for past situations, I resent them without communicating how I feel. I need to stop doing this or I will lose and push away everything and everyone near and dear to me. I resent my family, I resort to acting like them – defensive, passive aggressive, non-commutative, selfish. It’s not right and makes me feel horrible. I need to communicate better and use the “I feel” method with all my relationships. I think I am ready to put in the work to fix myself so I don’t resort to how I was taught to deal with conflict. I think I can do this, I want to be better, to do better. I know I have a good heart and have a lot of love to give. I just need to let the resentment go that I’m holding onto with my family so there’s room for growth, peace and happiness. Is this fix something I do when another situation happens and I hold my actions accountable or is there something else I can do so I can be better?

Thank you for listening and possibly any guidance you might have.

Someone who wants to break the cycle

We have no secrets
We tell each other everything
About the lovers in our past
And why they didn’t last…

Carly Simon

Dear Someone who wants to break the cycle,

Thank you for reading loveandmedicine and for reaching out.

Both of your questions address relationships. Let’s start with your new boyfriend.

Being in a mutually caring relationship is a wondrous thing. Things are good

Whomever we meet will have a past. He is being painfully honest about his, which is stirring up feelings of insecurity in you. These feelings are so strong they led to invasion of his privacy in a big way. Doubt and anxiety are setting in.

Your feelings are entirely normal in this situation. It is not easy to hear about old girlfriends and imagine him with anyone else. He has been in other relationships – they are over. The fact is he has chosen you. These are the early stages – try to keep the focus on trusting your feelings when you are with him. As long as he is monogamous now, then these thoughts are based on irrational fears. Focus on the positives in your relationship. As you gain confidence in him and in the relationship, you’ll have less of a need to snoop around. It is hard to build a relationship based on trust when you are, at the same time, violating that trust.
Flow with it. Try to focus more on the present, rather than the past or the future. Practice gratitude every day.

Regarding the family conflict, your desire to repair it means that it matters to you. You don’t want to lose them. I can see you have insight into your challenges and that is half the battle. You also have the tools to follow through with your plans to repair it. 

The common thread to both questions is insecurity. This makes you doubt your partner and family. It leads to ineffective communication which then leads to grudges. Holding grudges are a manifestation of suppressed communication. 

You may benefit from one to one personal attention to break this pattern. Bouncing things off a caring friend or professional can offer other perspectives. You are insightful and intuitive. That is on the cerebral level. Practicing mindfulness, self trust and gratitude should be part of the plan also. 

You are on a new journey that can be scary but is also exciting. You are brave enough to reach out for help. Trust yourself. 

Dr. Annie K