Betty called me a couple of months ago to see if I could officiate her wedding to Donald on April 18, 2009 at 7 PM. She explained that they were senior citizens and did not want an elaborate event and that her children had arranged for them to get married at The Umstead in Raleigh, one of my favorite places for weddings and until this wedding, big elaborate formal weddings with lots of guests. Betty and Donald planned to get married in the lounge area in front of the fireplace with their family and closest friends in attendance. We never met face to face but made all the arrangements and created their ceremony together via email and phone. They were delightful to work with and I was honored to be their officiant.
When I arrived at The Umstead I ran into Mark Edwards, their photographer, with whom I have done many weddings. It was good to see and work with him again. In fact, he provided all the photos on this post to me in record time! Thanks, Mark! I also had the pleasure of meeting Carrie, the new Catering Manager at The Umstead who just happens to be the sister of Betty's daughter's husband. I think I got that right! Carrie, thanks for all your help in making this wedding setting ideal.
I met Betty and Donald for the first time and then their family members and Don's good friends who were standing up for him. Betty's brother and his wife stood up for Betty. In fact, we all stood up for the ceremony as you can see in the photos. The weather was so pleasant we decided to do the ceremony outside on the terrace with the pretty landscape of the garden and lake with the fountain in the background. I collected the marriage license and the rings and everyone gathered around. There were some guests of the hotel dining nearby and I think even they enjoyed the ceremony! I welcomed and thanked everyone on Betty and Donald's behalf and then we had a short prayer. I talked about marrying again and how important the relationship was between people who had walked different paths in the past, found each other and then chosen to proceed together on a common path as husband and wife. The sweet ceremony was about 10 minutes and brought forth a few tears from the guests who were so happy for these senior citizens who had found each other and were embarking on a wonderful life together. Congratulations, Betty and Donald!