Sealed with a kiss!

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

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Elizabeth and Ismail Have the Hottest Wedding of the Year!

I know Ish and Elizabeth's wonderful wedding certainly set a record as the hottest wedding I have ever been a part of. The temperature was 99 and the heat index 107 last Sunday June 27, 2010 at 2:00 in the afternoon at Duke Gardens in the pergola. Amazingly we persevered and made it all the way through. Everyone had a great attitude and we had a lot of fun.  My hat is off to Ish for wearing that tux with tails the whole time. I never saw him take it off. Well, his family heritage is Egyptian and he must have inherited the genes that tolerate desert heat!

At the rehearsal on Friday evening we planned to have the wedding facing the usual way with the couple and me at the top of the pergola steps, the attendants along the handrails and the guests on the grass on either side of the aisle. However, that meant that the guests and attendants would all be in the blazing sun for the ceremony. Elizabeth's mother, Kathleen, wisely suggested we consider turning it around so that everyone could at least be in the shade under the pergola. So, on the wedding day, we had Ellie, the staff person in charge of chairs at the garden, set the chairs up inside the pergola facing out onto the gardens. We still had the processional from the usual spot behind the bushes below then turned around and faced the guests after the bride was escorted in by her father. It worked out quite well and the backdrop of the wedding was the beautiful vista of the gardens. Quite unique. Of course, Elizabeth and Ismail are quite a unique couple themselves. I will tell you more.....but let's get on with the wedding!
Ish with his men before the start of the ceremony...note they were spared wearing the tux jackets. We later pinned their boutonnieres onto their pretty lilac shirts. Handsome bunch of guys, don't you think?
Beautiful violin music was provided by Savannah and Meredith Gaylord, sisters, and friends of Elizabeth. They were great and hung in there just fine.
Father of the bride, Rob, escorts in his wife, Carolin, Elizabeth's stepmother. Rob was so wise to wear his hat!
Samira and Said, parents of the groom stand by to enter.
Mother of the bride, Kathleen, was escorted in by her two sons.
The three bridesmaids are queued up to enter. Sanjina, our honorary director, did a great job learning  how to direct the wedding party in at our rehearsal on Friday. Our Maid of Honor, Nicole, was supposed to do a reading during the ceremony but it got scratched due to the heat to shorten the ceremony. She was happy about that!
Originally there were 3 flower girls but we ended up with one spectacular little girl who was dressed like a fairy! She was so sweet and did her job so nicely without complaining or fussing. I did not get her name. She was adorable.
We are all enjoying watching her make her way up the aisle to the pergola. Looks like I am reaching in my pocket to turn on my microphone. I was using a new sound system this day and it worked perfectly and is so much more portable for weddings at Duke Gardens where we have a long way to trek to the pergola.
And now it is time for the bride to make her entrance. Elizabeth's dress was so gorgeous. Sanjina straightens her train. Rob and Elizabeth are ready to walk and get in the shade. 
We all then did an about face and faced the guests for the ceremony. Did you notice that someone had given the wisteria of the pergola a severe haircut? It usually trails down about two feet from the top.
Ish looks out at the guests and takes in the moment. He and Elizabeth were so happy to be getting married.

All the couples who have met via e-Harmony that come to me for pre-marital counseling are off-the-chart compatible. More so than other on-line matching services although is close behind. When Elizabeth and Ish told me how they met, I knew for sure they were quite compatible. And, I could tell just being around them when we first met in February to plan this wedding ceremony. Nicole, Elizabeth's best friend and maid of honor, told Elizabeth right before Elizabeth met Ish for the first time: "I bet this time next year I'll be in your wedding." And, she was right! They both emphasized to me how comfortable they are together and that they can completely be themselves. After that first meeting they were practically inseparable and were soon engaged having located a unique ring and embarking on an adventure to Virginia to get it. Everyone enjoyed hearing their story during the ceremony.
They read their sweet vows to one another from my book then exchanged their beautiful rings.
After the rings, they planted two Japanese Maple saplings, symbolic of their lives coming together in marriage like the roots and branches of the trees. "Each of you has contributed to the lives of this couple, supported them, inspired them, raised them, and helped them become the people they are today. Therefore, you are all a part of the foundation of this tree and this marriage."
Then while they put the two saplings together in the pot of soil, I read this wonderful poem, author unknown:
"A marriage is like two trees rising from the sacred earth,
That grow close together, but from different roots,
Different colors of leaf, different textures of bark,
Different flowers in the spring,
Yet the same bees drink their nectar,
The same birds nest in their branches
And sing the spring into their unfolding buds,
The same shower of leaves falls in autumn
The same flood of cold brings winter sleep.
And sometimes, two trees may entwine so closely
That we who watch them see only one tree
With different leaves and wonder at the miracle,
For miracle it is."
 Yea! They are married now! The guests cheered and as soon as the wedding party recessed down the steps for photos, I invited the guests to go to the Grand Marquise Ballroom in Garner for the cool reception. I know they had a great time because the next day I met with an engaged couple about doing their wedding and they were at Elizabeth and Ish's reception but not the ceremony. Ish's grandmother who traveled from Egypt for the wedding wisely skipped the ceremony due to the extreme heat. 
All done and time to celebrate! Elizabeth and Ish, you are a fantastic, amazing couple and I loved marrying you. Please keep in touch! I know you are going to have a great marriage and happy life together. My congratulations and best wishes to you both and your families.

(I want to thank Ellie, Duke Gardens staff person, for letting Marty and me ride with her on the golf cart to the parking lot after this photo. We were beat and needing to get out of the heat!)

Our photographer was Emily Collins of Emily Collins Photography and the videographer was Christopher Zinkle with Preserved Memories.  The flowers were provided by Watkins Florists.

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