Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Adam and Conley's Wedding at The Pavilion Photo by Katherine Miles Jones

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Will your dog be a part of your big day? Follow this advice for the best possible chance of their participation going smoothly.
Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Celebrating love with your friends and family obviously includes your fur babies, right? More and more people are adding their dogs to their wedding party, so it’s really no surprise that when my fiancĂ© and I began planning our wedding, a common question was “Are your dogs going to be in it?
Which brings me to my very first point about dogs and weddings. The answer to that question for us is no, our dogs will not be at our wedding. Is it because I don’t want them to be a part of our special day? Not at all. It’s because I know they wouldn’t want to be a part of it. Between Sadie’s stranger anxiety, Buster’s overexcitement and Daisy thinking that every person in the world would be there just for her, it would not be a relaxing experience for any of us. They will be much happier waiting for us to come home afterward.
Even if your dog can't be in your wedding, they can be in your pictures. (Photo by Shutterstock)

How to decide if your dog should be in your wedding

If you are considering having your dog be a part of your wedding, there are a few things to think about first:
  • Does your dog have the right temperament to be around that many people? Are they friendly and confident?
  • Do theylisten to commands?
  • Does your venue allow dogs? (Many have a no-pets policy.)
  • Is there someone you trust to “be in charge” of your dog throughout the day, making sure they are in the right places, have bathroom breaks, and get fed?
  • Is there a place where your dog can safely hang out before and after?
Once you’ve figured out those logistics, the fun part begins!

What is he going to do during the wedding?

Just like everyone else in the wedding party, you need to decide what role your dog will have. Some ideas include:
  • Have them walk up with the flower girl (which is adorable, by the way).
  • Tie the rings around their collar and have them be the ring bearer.
  • They could simply be the “Hound of Honor” and walk with the Maid of Honor.
  • Have your dog walk in front of you with a “Here Comes the Bride” sign.
  • If your dog is well-behaved enough, have them sit next to the groomsmen/bridesmaids so they are truly a member of the wedding party.
With a little planning, your dog can definitely be a part of your big day. (Photo by Shutterstock)
With a little planning, your dog can definitely be a part of your big day. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Other considerations

  • While you may get really excited and want to include your dog in every part of the wedding process, have a safe place for them to hang out after the ceremony. The reception can be really loud and a little too much for even the friendliest pups.
  • It’s also important to rehearse with your dog as much as you can. The more they are familiar with the smells and sounds of the venue and the area around it, the easier things will be on the big day. Be sure to have them wear a special collar/sign/outfit before the day of the wedding, too. While it would be cute for your dog to stop in the middle of the aisle to roll around and try to get the sign off of her, I think we can all agree that it’s not ideal.
  • Also let your photographer and guests know that your dog will be there. This way no one will be surprised, and people with allergies will be prepared.
  • Make sure your flowers are dog-friendly. There are some plants and flowers that are actually poisonous to dogs.
  • And last, but not least, make an appointment for the groomer before the wedding. It may sound like common sense, but once you get caught up in everything that needs to be done in the weeks and days before your ceremony, you might forget. As much as we love our dogs, no one wants to actually smell like one on the big day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Courtney and Gil's Beautiful Wedding in my Wedding Garden!

Courtney called me on March 9th about getting married in my garden. She and Gil and their little daughter, London, came over the next day to see it and we signed a contract and started working on the ceremony. 
On Wednesday April 12th, 2017, the wedding garden was all ready for their wedding. Their photographer, Amber Sullivan with AJS Photo Studio, arrived a few minutes early to scope out the setting. All the photos in this blog post are by Amber and they are stunning! Thank you, Amber! 
Their guests started arriving and Courtney hid out in the family room until everyone was there. London stayed close by and was ready to sprinkle the petals! Meanwhile Gil prepared the sand for the family unity sand ceremony.
 Courtney and her father Ricky are ready to enter the garden when given the signal! 
 I asked the guests to stand. Gil was beaming and London was in awe! 
And so we began with a welcome, a prayer, a tribute to the couple's parents and a blessing for London who wanted to know when she could pour her sand!
 Some words on love and marriage and the importance of this commitment they were making to each other. 
 Then they exchanged vows and rings. 
 Finally it is time to pour their sand together symbolizing their family unity. 
 They helped London pour hers in! 
 Next came a closing blessing for our couple.
  The pronouncement of marriage! 
 I invited them to celebrate with their first kiss as husband and wife! 
 The new Mr. and Mrs.! 
 After the wedding in my garden, they went with Amber to the JC Raulston Arboretum for photos. 
 These are so precious! 
 This photo is simply breath-taking! 
Courtney is a beautiful woman and gorgeous bride! 
Gil and Courtney, congratulations! What a wonderful couple you are. Thank you for the honor of joining you in marriage. I wish you health and happiness all the days of your lives!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lilia and Brian's Wedding at Melrose Knitting Mill!

Wedding vendors were busy getting set up behind the scenes for this wedding when Dave and I arrived to join in the preparation for Lily and Brian's wedding on April 8, 2017 at the historic Melrose Knitting Mill. 
Babylon was catering and Mark with Bunn DJ Company was providing the music. 
Mark got my mic connected into his system and we were doing a sound check when Wil, our videographer with Cinema Film Production, approached to give me the video microphone to put on. HERE is a video of this wedding! Good thing the flowing dresses I wear to weddings have two deep pockets to hold all this technology!
Expressions of Love did the lovely sweetheart table and all the gorgeous flowers! 
The person from Duck Donuts was assembling the pyramid of doughnuts and the aroma of sugar and cake was intoxicating all of us who were assembled in the back area.
Publix furnished this elegant small cake for cutting. I bet it also tasted very good too! 
Greeting guests before they are seated is the mirrored announcement. 
When our photographer, Hooman with Vesic Photography, had finished with the wedding party, I rounded up our best man and maid of honor to sign the marriage license for me.
Janna, on the right, is assisting Jessica Tilton with Chad Biggs Event Planning & Design. She is here in the back room behind the drapes with me and the groomsmen who will enter from this point. Chad is sneaking in from behind the back drop on the left and on the right is Nathan Morris with Oak City Films provided his Slow Motion Booth for the reception fun.
On Dave's way out to the ceremony area to capture the processional, he caught Chad circling around making sure everything was flowing smoothly! Such a pro!
So the guests have been seated and it is time for the processional. 
Lily's grandmother, Lilianna, is sitting until her turn while Brian's grandmother, Betty, is ready to process in with Brian's father, Richard.
Jenny, Mother of the Bride, escorts her mother Liliana in and then returns. (Her mother is from Bulgaria and speaks very little English.) 
Mother of the Groom, Mary, is proud to be escorted in by our Groom, Brian. 
Then Lily's mother, Jenny, is escorted in by Ray, Lily's stepfather, who returns to escort Lily. 
All the guys and I entered from the side in front of the guests and took our places. 
After the bridesmaids processed in one at the time and got into their places, it was time for Lily. 
They pause for Jessica to straighten out the bride's veil. 
And down the aisle they go. The guy on the right is the second shooter for the videographer. 
So beautiful! I can see Chad in the mirror looking on. 
"Who presents this woman to married to this man?" Ray replied: "Her mother and I do." 
We began with a warm welcome to all who came from near and far, even out of the country. 
Then a prayer and remembering Lily's father, Boris, and their grandparents who were with us in spirit. 
I stepped out to address their parents and thank them for all their love and support. A few tears flowed!
Then I launched into the story of how they met 10 years ago in upstate New York and how they got to North Carolina. There was lots of laughing and cheering! 
Then I revealed to them what each had told me in confidence they loved about their partner. Sweet moment. 
They read their vows to each other from my book.
Then they exchanged their rings. 
I pronounced them husband and wife and invited them to kiss!
Yay! Married at last! 
The wedding party and parents followed then the guests were invited downstairs into the Hanging Garden while the upstairs was being flipped for the reception.
Lily and Brian, what a wonderful wedding. I hope it fulfilled all your dreams. Thank you for giving me the honor of joining you in marriage. I wish you the very best always!