James' best friend, Jill, was his "best woman." Iona had seven flower girls she called "the flower girl gang" who entered after the groom and best woman and I entered. The youngest one just barely made it almost all the way down the aisle before she ducked into the row where her mother was sitting. She was so cute. Iona entered solo in her custom made beautiful and one of a kind wedding dress with hot pink shoes and bouquet. When she got to the back of the rows of chairs, to the delight of their families and friends, James started walking toward her and they met in the middle and processed up the steps for the ceremony together. You can see in the pictures that the late afternoon sun was beaming in on the right side of my face and right into the groom's eyes. I could not tell if his tears were from the intense sun or tears of happiness--probably both!
James' sister-in-law, Dana, had memorized the special reading they had chosen for their wedding day and presented the humorous poem "Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali with feeling and flair. This was so appropriate since the couple and their families are dog aficionados! James and Iona knew just what they wanted for their ceremony and they put together words that conveyed who they are and their views on love, life and marriage. It was a pleasure to deliver this service and the guests were very attentive to every word I spoke.
When the ceremony was over and the bride and groom had left for photos with the photographer, Tracey Franks, I invited all the guests to go up to the next level for cocktails and toasts. The downstairs area was set up for a sit-down reception catered by Caffe Luna later on and I was able to chat with Ryan, their catering manager, after the ceremony as she was putting on the final touches to the tables.
Their wedding cake was one of the most spectacular I have ever seen--covered with chocolate covered strawberries. It was tucked away in a utility closet to be moved out after the dinner for the cake cutting. The closet was filled with the rich aroma of the chocolate and I was able to get a good photo by holding my camera directly over the cake. It was prepared by friends of the family who live in Greensboro and brought it all the way to Raleigh. After stopping by for a photo with the couple, Marty (my roadie) and I left a good party that was just beginning! It was a great wedding. Congratulations, Iona and James!