What do you want to see reflected in your work?
I always try to model the principles and behaviors for a healthy and strong marriage: listening, compassion, conflict resolution, patience, forbearance, supportiveness, forgiveness, and turning off my mobile device if you’re talking to me! Also, a sense of humor and a sense of perspective. I aspire to bring it all into my work so my clients can learn how important these things are, whether in their personal interactions with me, our business agreement, the research and creation of ceremony materials, or during the ceremony itself.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
I often hear from couples many years after their weddings (they email or find me on Facebook) recounting something they remembered from our interaction that helped them. That’s always lovely, but I think the nicest thing is to see the faces of a gathered community during a wedding and taking in how intently they are listening, really engaging with this ritual and giving of themselves emotionally for the couple’s sake. Those are unique and elevated moments, memorable for everyone there–me included! Also, you can’t stand next to a couple who truly love each other as they profess their devotion and not be affected by that. It’s so beautiful; it fills my heart and informs my own marriage.
Who or what inspires you?
First, my husband Samuel, who has taught me so much about what unconditional love is. He has been stalwart yet flexible, patient, kind, and embracing of all my quirks and difficulties–honestly, I don’t know how he does it. I constantly aspire to be as wonderful and loving a spouse as he is.
Second, in a sort of reverse-inspiration way, my parents’ long, toxic marriage. It was horribly damaging to my entire family. It took years for me to finally learn how to be in a healthy, loving relationship, and to trust others (and to learn who is worthy of trust). These life experiences remind me how important it is to foster and encourage healthy relationship practices in my own marriage and through my work.
What is your favorite place or thing to do in Los Angeles?
That’s tough because I’m a native Angeleno and there’s much I love here, but I really love being near the ocean–performing weddings on the sand, cycling, or hanging out enjoying the sea and sky. I also love our public and private gardens and museums, whether old institutional ones like The Huntington or modern pop-ups like The Museum of Ice Cream. I appreciate contemplative spaces of all kinds, because I think we need them as an antidote to the anxiety and high-pressure of L.A. Living.
If you could pick a place to teleport to right now, where would you go?
Muir Woods. Spending time in the redwoods is church for me.
What’s your motto for life?
This was a phrase that leapt out at me from a little meditation book I was flipping through at a friend’s house:
“If you want to end suffering in the world, you have to end your own first.”
That really stuck with me. You can’t guide people through their drama or grief or anger if you haven’t wrestled with your own first.
Also, when I get worn out, I remember what Duke Ellington said near the end of his life, when he was very ill but still working and crazy productive:
“Every day you wake up and see the day, that’s a good day.”
It reminds me to be grateful for this life I have and to work hard to leave some kind of worthy legacy.
We believe in creating really personal pieces of wearable art. For some, it’s a reflection of a personal truth they hold dear or a reminder of inner strength. Is there a piece of jewelry or some other personal talisman that reflects you, gives you strength, or tells something of you?
My wedding ring, which is a simple gold band with intertwined grapevines. It reminds me of our home (we garden and have many grapevines), the abundance love brings, and our interwoven lives. Not fancy, but it reminds me on a daily basis how lucky I am, and encourages me to share the love just like I share the other fruits of our garden.
Is there anything else we should know?
I’m so grateful to Claudia for the many gifts of her friendship, artistry, and wisdom over the years. I adore and admire her, and was deeply honored to have been part of her wedding day. She’s an inspiration! Thank you, Claudia.