Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Beautiful Wedding for Ali and Tom at Fearrington!

Ali and Tom chose the beautiful Fearrington County Inn and its landmark barn for their glorious wedding. The ceremony took place in the Garden Terrace and the reception in the spacious barn.
Before the ceremony Dave wandered around the village and got some great photos of the grounds. 
This is the entrance to the barn with the place cards ready for the guests to pick up and find their table after cocktails on the patio in front of the barn.
Their band is setting up on the stage. The tables and chairs, place settings and centerpieces are ready. When you have your wedding at Fearrington, they furnish the wedding director (Gilda McDaniel), the florist, the cake, and the catering. The only separate vendor needed is for music and make-up.
 On this overcast day the famous "oreo cows" are taking it easy. 
 And they also have "oreo goats!" 
 A great metal sculpture hangs on the barn! 
The beautifully appointed Garden Room is where the wedding party gathers after the ceremony for champagne, the signing of the license and for photos nearby while the guests enjoy cocktail hour in front of the barn.
Before the ceremony the bride and her maidens get ready and relax in the bridal suite and the groom and his guys hang out in the Red Room. When it is time to get ready for the processional, Gilda moves the groom and me to the restaurant waiting area and the bride to another spot out of sight while the groomsmen and bridesmaids get lined up. Here are Tom and I in the waiting area just outside the Garden Terrace where the ceremony will be.
Arioso Strings quartet have begun the prelude music and are ready to swing into the first number for the processional when Gilda cues them.
 The guests are seated. The fire is burning brightly and warmly! Ready for the processional to begin.
 First in are the grandmothers of the bride.
 Then Tom's parents, Jackie and Bill.
 Colleen, mother of the bride, is escorted in by Vance. 
 The music changes and Tom and his groomsmen and I enter around from the side and take our places up front.
 Bridesmaid Lindsey processes in. 
 Then Leigh.
 Then our Matron of Honor, Mary. 
 Our two sweet little flower girls made an impressive entrance and could not have done a better job!
 Mary intercepts them and directs them to their seats for the ceremony. I know she is so proud of them! 
 It is time for the bride and her father!
 Steve and Ali make their way to the Garden Terrace. 
 Gilda (in the red coat) watches the perfectly timed entrance while her assistant straightens Ali's train. 
Once the bride was presented and the guests seated, we began with a warm welcome to all then a prayer and remembrance of loved ones not with us. Then a surprise tribute for the parents of the couple. Always touching!
Ali and Tom's story of how they met and fell in love was fun to relate and I could tell the guests were having a great time. I brought the story to the present time including telling the guests about how Tom proposed on the land they have chosen to build their dream house on. Then it was time for the "secret paragraphs."
This is the sweet moment in the ceremony where the bride and groom get to hear for the first time what the other told me they love about them and what they are looking forward to in marriage. Ali hears first.
 Now Tom's turn to hear what Ali told me. 
Our esteemed photographer was Dennis Kwan from Hollywood where he photographs celebrities and destination weddings. Dennis and Tom grew up together in Ohio and Dennis was more than happy to come to NC and capture the images of his childhood friend's wedding. His very tall too!
 And now for the vows.
 The best man, Jonathan, handed me the rings.
  Tom says the words after me as he places the ring on Ali's finger. 
 Then Ali reciprocates as she places the ring on Tom's finger. 
I placed my hand on theirs and pronounced them husband and wife and invited them to share their first kiss as husband and wife!
 They were a little shy about this at the rehearsal but must have practiced afterwards! 
 The kiss is always followed by this amazing moment when the reality that they are married sinks in.
I couldn't see his face but I think some lip color must have gotten on his lips so he is wiping it off for the photos that come next!
The presentation of the newlywed couple to their guests with an invitation to stand and join me in congratulating them!
 And here they go--stepping into their new life as a married couple!
 Outside the Garden Room, Dennis has assembled the wedding party for photos. Happy group! 
Tom and Ali! Great wedding! Thank you for choosing me to join you in marriage. I loved working with you to create the perfect wedding ceremony and then delivering it to you and your guests! I wish you all the best forever!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


I've known Cara who owns f8 Photo Studios for many years. We have done at least 20 wedding together, probably more. I love arriving at a wedding and seeing her as the photographer. So I was so thrilled when she and the love of her life, Brad, asked me to officiate their wedding. The wedding was Friday March 9th, 2018 at The Umstead Hotel and Spa--one of the most prestigious places in the Triangle for weddings.
So what was the first thing we saw when Dave and I arrived for their wedding??? Well, you can't keep a great wedding photographer down. Although James Walters was the photographer Cara engaged to photograph her wedding, Cara could not keep her hands off her camera. So here she is photographing Brad while James (and Dave with my camera) photograph her doing her thing!
Getting in really close here. I think she is really sneaking a kiss with her hubby to be at this moment! 
Yep, that laugh and that "cat who swallowed the canary" grin on her face tells me that it was a kiss! 
I guess Brad has gotten used to being her "subject!" He was such a good sport. 
And there she is getting a photo of the wedding site before the sun goes behind the building and the guests arrive.
The day was a bit chilly--temps in the low 50s--with a little breeze blowing. But the grass was so lush and green and the florals by The English Garden were perfect for their small family wedding.
Nathan of Oak City Films videoed the wedding and put a microphone on me to capture the words of the ceremony. Randy Bennett with Bunn DJ Company was our wonderful DJ and furnished my sound.
James Walters of Walters and Walters--the official photographer for this wedding. James and I do many weddings together too.
Amanda with The Umstead is our director for this small wedding. She was all ready to direct the processional. 
The folks in the processional are assembled inside the lower foyer from which we process into the courtyard. Brad's daughters: Ashley, Julia and Brooke are ready.
And so we began. Brad's parents, Lynn and Johnny, entered with their granddaughters. 
Then Cara's mother, Colleen, is escorted in by her son, Max. 
My turn! 
Brad's turn! 
Brad's brother and best man, John, escorts in Cara's sister and maid of honor, Taylor. 
And now I invited the guests to stand for the entrance of the bride. 
Cara and her father, Craig, make their trek down the aisle.
And so the wedding ceremony began as the sun slowly set behind the hotel. 
After a warm welcome and an opening prayer, it was time to for the children's blessing and the parents' blessing. 
Here I am addressing Brad's daughters and telling them how much Cara and Brad love them and how important they are in their marriage. I had special very sweet words from Cara for them.
Then I addressed their parents and thanked them for all their support of Cara and Brad. 
Then on to their love story! It was quite comical because Brad and Cara have a great sense of humor and they are fun-loving people who are so thrilled to have found each other. The proposal that Brad staged on a Disney Cruise that Cara arranged for the whole family was truly a surprise for Cara who had gotten wise to his former attempts to surprise her.
And they are so suited for each other. They took my compatibility inventory which confirmed what they knew in their hearts--they are meant to be together.
After their story, I revealed what they had each told me in confidence that they love about each other and what they look forward to in marriage.
I welcomed them to the unparalleled promise that is marriage.
Brad read his vows to Cara from my book as he placed the ring on her finger. 
Cara reads her vows to Brad and placed the ring on his finger.
After a closing blessing, I placed my hand on them and made the pronouncement of marriage--pinnacle moment!  And, invited them to share their first kiss as husband and wife!
Yay! Married! Two kisses! 
I invited the guests to stand and join me in congratulating our newlywed couple!
And they danced down the aisle! 
And danced! 
The family returned to the foyer and guests went to the herb garden for cocktails.
Brooke is so happy to have a new mommy and ran over to give Cara a big hug! So sweet! 
Cara and Brad, I am honored to be the one to join you in marriage! So happy for you. Thank you for choosing me and working with me to create your unforgettable ceremony. You two are the best!