Sealed with a kiss!

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sarah and Shawn Tie The Knot!

On November 11, 2017, Sarah and Shawn joined their lives in marriage and I was delighted to have officiated their wedding at 214 Martin in downtown Raleigh.
The ceremony space was all decked out with a pretty arch and florals provided by Kelly Kennedy of Teacup Floral. She always does such a great job. Bethany Joy Photography was our professional photographer and Complete Weddings was their videographer, DJ, and photo booth.
There were many cute signs for the guests. 

And more signage! 
Catching up with Jenny, our honorary director and friend of Shawn's mother. 
Billy Ezzel of Complete Weddings was the DJ. Billy and I have known each other for years and love working together at weddings. I plugged my microphone into his body-pack and we did a sound check. This venue shares the building with another venue (Market Hall) and the walls are very thin and the sound from one bleeds over into the other. Our ceremony was timed to start at 6:00 sharp to avoid interference from sound through the wall behind the ceremony altar which was due to begin at 6:30. Billy assured me he could drown out any sound that came from next door!
I pinned the boutonnieres on all the guys. Shawn first.
Checking that the runner is taped down securely. A loose runner is a tripping hazard.
It is 6:00 and time to begin. The guests are all seated and waiting! Jenny starts getting the grandparents, parents, and wedding party lined up. 
Meanwhile I am keeping Shawn sequestered so he won't glimpse his beautiful bride prematurely!
And so we are all lined up and Jenny has gone up the stairs to get the bridesmaids. 
The grandparents and parents are on their way and Shawn and I followed by the groomsmen are next. 
The bridesmaids take their places. 
Jaci, our Matron of Honor, processes in with her sweet baby girl who is handed off to Jaci and Sarah's mother!
Jenny cued Billy then it was time for Sarah and her father, Frank, to enter. 
The guests were standing in their honor!
Everyone was seated and given a warm welcome followed by an opening prayer. 
We remembered the loved ones who are no longer with us physically but who are here in spirit.
I spoke to the parents and told them how much their children loved and appreciated them. Evoked a few tears from the two mothers!
Then I got to tell the story of how Sarah and Shawn had met when they were both students at East Carolina University back in the summer of 2011. Shawn went on to become a professional athlete and that has taken them on many adventures together.
Shawn proposed in August of 2016 and they began planning this wedding!
Sarah gets to hear now what Shawn told me in confidence he loves about her and why he wants to marry her. 
Then it is Shawn's turn to hear what Sarah told me about him!
I don't have the photos of them exchanging their vows, the rings, lighting the unity candle, the pronouncement and the kiss but here I am presenting them to their guests as husband and wife! (I am hoping Bethany Joy will send me her photos to fill in these gaps.)
And out they go into their new married life!
The wedding party recessed followed by the parents and grandparents.
Their unity candle is shining brightly as are their individual candles which do not cease to burn just because they are married.
While the guests enjoyed cocktails and the room was being flipped, we caught some photos up front.
Sarah and Shawn! Great wedding despite the sound distraction at the end. You are now married and your course is set for a grand adventure in life together. I loved working with you and I wish you the best always!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kaitlyn and Cody's Wonderful Wedding!

Kaitlyn and Cody met in Raleigh on a blind date back in March of 2015 arranged by a friend who even guaranteed it would go well! And it went extremely well! The attraction was immediate and they have been inseparable ever since. They now live in Tennessee for the time being but wanted to get married in the city where they met and fell in love and so they chose the historic Melrose Knitting Mill in downtown Raleigh for their wedding on November 11, 2017. 
Here are almost 200 chairs with a nice wide aisle. The chandeliers give this old mill with arched windows just the right touch of bling to add to the quiet elegance. The side on the right is draped to conceal the other half of the room for the ceremony.
Expressions of Love Florist created the beautiful backdrop for the ceremony. Note the chalk marks on the floor so that the wedding party knows where to stand.
Ed and Craig with Arioso Strings are tuning up. It was good to be working with them again. They are a great duo.
Simply Cakes provided this stunning cake which is hidden from view on the other side of the drapes.
The tables are all set and ready to be moved out into the ceremony area after the ceremony. The band, Bantam Rooster, is getting ready too. Our professional photographer for the wedding was Kelsey Nelson.
In the back of the space is the bar where the groom and groomsmen and I hang out before the ceremony. We will enter from the side and take our places up front. Steph and Emily, our two venue coordinators are talking logistics. Love the weddings here and the professionalism of the wonderful staff that direct the activities.
The guests are arriving and being seated. 
I am ready!
Emily keeps the guys talking in whispers so the guests can't hear! They are so excited to be in this wedding and to see their buddy, Cody, get married!
It is almost a full house with guests still arriving.
Time to get the groom and groomsmen all lined up. Two of them are escorting the mothers and will join us in the line up.
Here we go!
Then the bridesmaids process in one by one!
Steph peeks out to see when to send the next two bridesmaids, sisters of the bride.
Our Maid of Honor, Alyson.
Our sweet flower girl begins her trek down the aisle!
Oops! She threw all the petals at once! Steph is trying to signal her to go on down the aisle. 
But she stalled! Father of the bride, Craig, watches while Steph helps our flower girl retrieve a few petals then process in. 
She made it and rushed up to Cody for a hug then he directed her to her mom waiting in the second row!
Here comes the bride!
The wedding began with some good laughter because the father of the bride nervously answered my question "Who presents this woman to be married to this man?" with "My mother and I" which he quickly corrected to "Her mother and I!" Then he transferred his daughter's hand into Cody's, almost tripped on the bride's dress on his way to his seat, and everyone was seated. 
We began with a warm welcome to all who had come from all over the state and all over the country and even some from out of the country.
I stepped out and addressed the parents of Kaitlyn and Cody and congratulated them for providing such wonderful role models of marriage for their children.
Then I told the story of how they met and fell in love and recognized Breada in the guests--their friend who set up the blind date and guaranteed it would go well. The story continued with their move to Tennessee and concluded with the surprise proposal in July of 2016 at the Jersey Shore with the help of Kaitlyn's sisters.
Kaitlyn hears for the first time what Cody told me in confidence that he loves about her and what he is looking forward to in marriage.
Cody was enjoying watching Kaitlyn's reaction to what he had told me. 
Then it was Cody's turn to hear what Kaitlyn had told me she loves about him and what she is looking forward to in their future.
They exchanged their promises to each other then sealed them with their rings.
I asked them to think of the happiness they were feeling in the moment and to close their eyes and let it really sink in to their hearts and minds.
I asked them to open their eyes and gaze around them at their friends and family honoring them on their wedding day.
A closing blessing......
The pronouncement of marriage! 
Followed by the kiss!
That exhilerating moment when reality sinks in! 
Presentation of the Newlyweds!
Kaitlyn and Cody! Such a grand wedding--all planned from afar! I loved it and I loved working with you to make your ceremony so specific for the two of you. Thank you letting me be part of your big day! I wish you health, happiness and love all the days of your lives!