The rain continued all day but this did not hamper the joy and jubilation of this wedding! I really enjoyed being a part of Lori and Todd's special day and they planned it so well it went seamlessly. Here is how it all came about and I warn you now that this is going to be a lengthy post. In February of 2008 I officiated the wedding of Sandra and Bill Smith (see photo below of Bill, Sandra and me). That was a special wedding too because Bill is a wedding DJ (Magic of Music) with whom I do many weddings. He also works in the agency from which I retired in 2006, so we knew each other in different roles for us both. Anyway, at Bill and Sandra's wedding last year I met her whole family including her 3 sisters, one of which is Lori. Marty, my assistant, and I even attended Bill and Sandra's reception because we knew so many of the guests--namely most of the other wedding DJs in the area! It was a lot of fun.
Well, in July 2008 I got a note from Lori announcing that she and Todd had gotten engaged and wanted to get married in March of 2009 and was I available. I was delighted to tell her that I was available and that I would be honored to officiate for her. They did not have a place yet for the wedding but she was open to suggestions and had been checking out the wedding venues I have on my website. She and Todd fell in love with St. Mark's Chapel in downtown Raleigh--a city owned property. It is an old historic chapel built in the 1800s and moved to Raleigh from Chatham County and it can accommodate 55 guests. (I do many weddings there and did one earlier today. ) I suggested they contact Ryan at Caffe Luna for their reception which they did and booked it along with a trolley to transport the guests from the chapel to Caffe Luna and back. What a great plan!
So, they asked me to write their ceremony for them. They had heard the ceremony I did for Bill and Sandra and trusted me to decide for them. Then I sent my "proposed" ceremony to them for their review and any changes. Originally we had vows which they were going to read to each other from my book but the closer it got to the wedding, the more nervous they thought they would be so they asked me to change them into a format where all they had to say was "I do." And, so I did. We had a final ceremony and waited for the wedding day. Their guests filled up the chapel and everyone was anticipating these two tying the knot. Lori chose her mother, Lorraine, to be her matron of honor so she did not have to choose among her sisters. Todd's son, Ryan, stood up for him. Lori had a beautiful gown that the wedding cake was copied from. Swanks did the cake and it was not only pretty, it tasted great--a red velvet cake.Back to the wedding...Caleb and Chandler, Todd's grandchildren, were the ring bearer and flower girl, respectively. They were so adorable and did their jobs with aplomb! Lori and Todd asked Todd's buddies who are guitarists, Dennis Forbes, Stan Huges, and vocalist, Brian Harbough, to provide music for their wedding. Guitar music was chosen because that was Lori's father's favorite and so it was in his honor since he has passed away and was with us only in spirit. Celeste Parker was their photographer and she had photos to me for this blog by Tuesday following the wedding. Wow, so fast. And the photos are fabulous. All the ones on this blog post with her logo on them were taken by Celeste. The name of her business is Celestial Expressions Photography and you can't go wrong with her as your wedding photographer. Thanks, Celeste!
After the wedding party processed in, it was time for the bride! Lori appeared in the foyer looking absolutely radiant in her beautiful gown as the guests were standing, all eyes on her, including Todd's. They walked toward each other and met in the middle and then joined me on the altar for the ceremony. By this time, the sweat was pouring down Todd's brow so I used my hankie to mop him off. Everyone thought that was so funny so I said "Gettin' married is tough business!" which further incited the guests laughter. When they had calmed down and Todd's brow was dry, I began with a warm welcome to all, then a prayer, a memorial section remembering both Lori's and Todd's fathers, and then family and community blessings. I spoke about Todd and Lori's beliefs about love and marriage. Then I had to mop Todd's face off again! We got through the beautiful vows and they exchanged rings. I pronounced them husband and wife at last and introduced them to their guests after a closing blessing. Then the guests were off to Caffe Luna on the trolley as the wedding party and I remained behind for photos by Celeste.
When Celeste finished taking the photo of me with the couple, Marty and I took off for the reception. We sat with Bill and Sandra and got caught up on their news. The reception was quite festive--this family and their friends know how to have a jolly good time. After delicious antipasta, salad and tasty Italian bread I was just about full and could hardly touch my entree but it was so good. Then we had the cutting of the beautiful cake and champagne toast. We posed for some photos with Lori and her family (see the 3 sisters and their mom) and it was time to leave. See photo of Marty (my assistant), Sandra and me with the champagne. We really had a good time. I usually don't attend receptions for two reasons: 1) I usually know only the bride and groom who don't need to be worrying about the minister having a good time but should be celebrating with their friends and families and 2) I would be a roly poly if I ate that delicious food very often! But, this time was the exception. Thanks Lori and Todd! Who will be the next person in your family to get married?? Let me know. And, thanks so much, Lori, for the glowing review of me you put on WeddingWire.com. Wow, couldn't get any better and I appreciate it! All the best!