Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Amanda and Chris' Amazing Wedding at Market Hall!

Amanda and Chris chose Market Hall, a wedding and event venue in City Market in downtown Raleigh. The building has been many things in its long historic life including the original farmer's market, a restaurant and brewery. But that is all gone now and it is a wide open space that allows couples to create the wedding they have dreamed of. 
The wedding day was June 23rd, 2018. The tables had been pushed to the side and the chairs readied for the ceremony in the center of the room.
Looking from the other direction you can see the bar area in front of the windows where the guests will enjoy cocktail hour while staff is flipping the room for the reception to follow. 
Amanda and Chris chose a simple copper tubing structure focal point for the "altar" area of the ceremony draped with simple greenery flanked by tall floating candles. I brought my handy dandy table for the Anniversary Box to sit on.
The Anniversary Box holds a bottle of wine and during the ceremony the couple will add their sealed letters to each other to be opened on their first anniversary.
This dessert table was furnished by Bittersweet and includes a small cake for the traditional cutting of the cake. 
The Stone Age Romeos band was set up for their reception  on the opposite side of the room from the tables. 
Our wedding planner and director was Aneesa Glines with Harmony Weddings. She did a great job pulling all the elements of this wedding together. Thanks, Aneesa!
I paid a visit over at Woody's across the side street where the groom and groomsmen were hanging out.  The bridesmaids and bride were in an upstairs room over the venue getting ready.
Almost two years prior in July of 2016, I officiated the wedding of Muffy and Adam. Amanda and Chris were at their wedding, loved their ceremony, and that is what prompted them to hire me as their officiant. It was great to see Muffy and Adam again and learn that they have since had a little girl. Congrats!
The weather suddenly went from a bright sunny day to a hard downpour of rain. The guys were still over at Woody's and that is Aneesa running from there back to Market Hall having bid the groom and his guys to come on over. Fortunately most of the guests had already arrived before the storm.
Our photographers with Paul Seiler Photography are safely inside and dry! Paul is on the right.
Jon Clark is our videographer and he has his tripod set up behind the guests for the ceremony while he roams around with the mobile camera.
The couple asked me to make an announcement before the processional requesting all cameras and cell phones be put away so that the guests could truly be with them in their hearts for the ceremony.
Then the wedding party processed in and took their places up front with me. 
Amanda and her dad make their grand entrance! 
The guests are standing in honor of the bride. 
"Who gives their love and support to Amanda as she joins in marriage with Chris?"
After the presentation of the bride, all the guests were welcomed and thanked for making the journey to be with us this day.
"I ask all of you now to go to your hearts and open them as wide as you can as we join together in a moment of silence to raise your spirits high and become fully present to honor Amanda and Chris as they join their lives in marriage."
The next thing was the tribute to their wonderful parents--a sweet surprise for them. 
Then I had the joy of telling the story of how Amanda and Chris met--at a dog park! In fact they credit their dogs for getting them together.
Once they connected they soon became inseparable. They eventually combined their canine households and went on many adventures.
Chris cooked up an elaborate proposal that took months of careful planning to pull it off--and he did! 
One of the sweetest parts of the ceremony is when they each hear what the other told me about their love for each other. 
The guests seem to be paying attention! 
My sound kept cutting in and out. I tried adjusting my microphone but I later found out that this area of town has many broadband frequencies that interfere with the signal between my battery pack and the speaker.
Chris reads his vows to Amanda from my book. They wrote really funny vows and had to pause frequently because of the laughter from the guests.
Amanda read her vows then they exchanged rings. 
Words of wisdom about marriage and their future......
The pronouncement of marriage and invitation to share their first kiss as a married couple!
After the kiss I presented them to their cheering guests and out they went! 
The rain had stopped! Jon and Paul were poised to record this moment in time! 
While the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the wedding party were enjoying hugs all around outside prior to some photos.
What an amazing wedding party! 
And then the Raleigh Trolley Pub came down the cobblestone street to cheer them on! 
Amanda and Chris, I loved working with you! And your wedding was spectacular. I know you have a wonderful future ahead of you and I wish you all the happiness in the world!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Ashley and Justin's Fabulous Wedding At Highgrove!

Ashley and Justin planned a gorgeous wedding all the way from New York City where they live and where they met. They chose the historic Highgrove Estate in Fuquay-Varina for their wedding on June 2nd, 2018. The day was beautiful but on the warm side.
Highgrove is a great place for weddings. They make planning your wedding as easy as possible so it was perfect for Ashley and Justin since they did not live locally.
Flowers on Broad furnishes the florals many times at Highgrove because they are also located in Fuquay-Varina. The portico is beautifully decorated with swags, lanterns and greenery.
The Arioso Strings quartet has been setup in the shade under the overhang of the garden ballroom.They provided heavenly music for the ceremony and cocktail hour. 
In lieu of wedding programs this lovely poster gives all the particulars of the ceremony. 
Back in the manor house, the dining room is set up to receive the gifts and cards from the guests. 
Sweet!
After doing a sound check for the ceremony, Phil with Twenty-One Films videography wires me for sound. We work together on a lot of weddings and I always have a pocket or loop to wear his recording device for the video sound.
The florist has hung mason jars of pretty flowers on shepherds hooks flanking the aisle. 
Justin and Ashley chose to do the Anniversary Box. The night before the wedding they wrote love-letters to each other, sealed without sharing, then placed in this box which holds a bottle of wine to be shared on their first anniversary and the letters opened and read. Then they write another and seal without sharing to be read on each subsequent anniversary. A real legacy of their love!
Pretty hanging lanterns in the portico. 
View of the house in the center, garden ballroom on left, and covered terrace with bar on the right. 
Back inside the house, the guests can enjoy a glass of wine and sweets before being seated for the ceremony. 
Angela Wright and her mother Vickie own Highgrove and have made it a beautiful choice for a wedding in the Triangle. They furnish the wedding director, the catering, the bartending, the venue with a Plan B in case of inclement weather, and parking for all. It is an all in one venue.
The guests are arriving and making their way to the ceremony area. 
Jason Huggins, owner of Stylus DJs adjusts my microphone. He is so conscientious and I really appreciate his professionalism. He will be the music for the reception.
Grabbing a quiet moment to review the ceremony script. 
I entered first to begin the processional.
Justin was escorted in by his parents in the Jewish tradition then they were seated and Justin joined me up front. 
The bride's parents entered then the groomsmen and bridesmaids entered as couples. The two cute ring bearers were next.
Our beautiful bride was escorted in by her father. 
Hooman Bahrani our photographer with Vesic Photography gets a good shot. 
And so we began with a welcome to all the guests who had traveled from near and far. Ashley's family is from the Raleigh area and Justin's family are from New York.
After the prayer and in memoriam section I stepped forward to address their parents--a surprise to them. Usually evokes some sweet tears.
Then I had the great fun of telling the story of how Justin and Ashley met. It was a great story to tell and quite involved but so good that I could not leave anything out.
There were a lot of funny parts of the story 
Ashley blots Justin's face as he has begun to perspire a little!
Justin took over.
And now to reveal to them what the other told me they love about them. A tender moment. 
They read their vows to each other from my book where the words were printed facing them while placing the rings on each other's fingers. Justin goes first.
Now Ashley says her vows and places the ring on Justin's finger. 
My turn to mop Justin's face! 
They place their love-letters in the box with the wine. 
An explanation of the breaking of the glass in the Jewish tradition.
I placed the glass wrapped in a cloth at Justin's feet. 
I pronounced them husband and wife, asked Justin to break the glass and kiss the bride. 
The guests and I shouted Mazeltov! 
They turned and faced their guests and I introduced them to their guests for the first time as a married couple.
And away they go!!
The wedding party recessed. 
Parents of the bride! 
Parents of the groom! 
Justin and Ashley! Congratulations! What a fabulous wedding! I hope your dreams were fulfilled. I loved working with you and making your wedding ceremony unforgettable. Best wishes always!