Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, March 20, 2009

Elegant Wedding at The Sutherland in Wake Forest!

Jessica and Mark chose The Sutherland for their wedding venue. It is a wonderful historic estate in Wake Forest that opened last year and this was my first wedding there. I met with Jessica and Mark in November and we hit it off right away. We later realized that I had officiated at the wedding of Mark's sister, Diane and her husband Will, in 2006! Two delightful couples to join in matrimony. So, now it is a family thing!

Jessica and I worked together and came up with their unique ceremony which included having a friend of theirs sing a song during the ceremony that she wrote for them. How special! On the Monday before the wedding I looked at the weather forecast for the wedding day--48 degrees and steady rain all day. I wrote Jessica a note that I was disappinted with the forecast and what was our Plan B. Well, Jessica was right on top of it and told me that she had arranged for a tent for the ceremony in the Walled Garden and another for the reception on the Groom's Terrace. And, it worked out so well. Actually the diffused lighting in the tent made for great photos. The tent was heated and toasty warm. The grass in The Walled Garden courtyard is actually artificial turf that looks so real and the great thing is that when it rains--no mud puddles or water squishing up and wetting your shoes--a great idea for this setting.

Anyway, we had their rehearsal on Friday and I met Jennifer Jones of The Sutherland for the first time who was our director for the wedding. I had previously met Ashlee and her mother, Gayle, of The Sutherland and Gayle was at the rehearsal too. We got it all organized and practiced our parts. It was really good to see Kathy and Paul, Mark's parents, again at the rehearsal and at the wedding. Diane and Will were at the wedding too of course and they looked great and so happy.

So, on the wedding day Marty and I arrived amid steady rain and with the help of Garrett Lamm who was DJ for Touch of Class DJ, I got my wireless mike all hooked in and we did a sound check. The acoustics are a bit tricky in a tent but it sounded good. The Sutherland had a designated "escort" with a huge purple umbrella who walked the guests and wedding party from the side porch of the manor house to the tent in the garden. There were 4 grandmothers who were escorted in and then the parents. Then the groom, best man and groomsman and I entered followed by the matron of honor and the bridesmaid in pretty dark brown dresses. I asked the guests to stand for our beautiful bride and she and her father floated down the aisle to Mark and me. Dad transferred Jessica's hand into Mark's and we stepped up onto the brick patio which made a nice altar area flanked by two gorgeous flower arrangements. (Sorry I did not get the name of the florist to credit them.)

We opened with a welcome to the guests and a prayer for Jessica and Mark. We honored their parents and we had two readings: an excerpt from Gifts From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and "What is Real?" from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Then Jenn Ryan played the guitar and sang her special song to the couple. The couple made their vows and exchanged rings, were pronounced husband and wife and we closed with a blessing and sent the couple off to marital bliss!

The guests departed to the reception area which is a large beautiful brick patio covered by a huge tent. Marty and I gasped with wonder at the marvelous wedding cakes--many of them, some small, some large and all with different icings and embellishments. We were told that they were brought from Canada by family friends and were made by a cakery there owned and operated by a pastry chef and an artist. You can tell they are spectacular looking and word is that they taste as wonderful as they look! Wow!Bob and Nancy of Pendletons Photography transformed one of the rooms of The Sutherland into a studio setting and we began taking pictures. They got my photo with the couple first as Marty and I had to dash off to the next and last wedding of the day back at St. Mark's Chapel in Raleigh. Yep, it was still raining!

Many congratulations, Jessica and Mark, and many thanks for the wonderful review you gave me on!

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