Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Carmen and Jim's Travel Theme Wedding at Second Empire!

Carmen and Jim came to see me in December of 2009 to talk about their wedding and see if I would officiate. The wedding was planned for Saturday morning, September 4, 2010 at the Second Empire, a fine dining restaurant in a beautifully restored historic home in downtown Raleigh where I do many weddings.

Carmen and Jim are a delightful couple and I looked forward to their wedding which was sure to be unique to them. Carmen told me that she had written a novel about a woman who had compiled a list of the characteristics she wanted in the man of her dreams. It is called The List. Well, since I have my students make the same kind of  list in relationship classes I have taught and had made one of my own in the past, I just had to read her novel. So right after our meeting I ordered it and  thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I suspect it is somewhat autobiographical in theme as Carmen has surely found the man of her dreams in Jim!

Carmen told me when we met that she and Jim loved to travel and she wanted their wedding to reflect that. I had no idea how far she would go with this theme but I gave her free reign to do whatever she and Jim wanted. She actually arrived for the wedding in this classic automobile, the Excalibur Phaeton, provided by Classy Transportation and they will leave in it after the reception.  They created a delightful ceremony crafted almost from scratch. She included the poem "Oh the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss, a quote by John Steinbeck about how a journey is like marriage, and a quote from Robert Updegraff: “Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.”
No, this is not Carmen and Jim. As an aside, when I arrived for the wedding on Saturday morning I was greeted by Lanakila, a friend of Carmen's and also a bride I married on July 14, 2007 in their back yard with a Hawaiian theme since Lanakila is Hawaiian. I remembered her and her husband, Reed, and their wedding well and dug up this photo of them on their wedding day. It was great seeing you again, Lanakila! 
This amazing wedding cake was created by Donna Ford of Sweet Memories Bakery. She can do anything! Isn't it clever? Donna is the top cake baker in this area.
The table decorations also reflected the theme with an airplane in each glass. Someone told me that Carmen was afraid of flying which is hard to believe considering the amount of travel she has done by plane! Is that true Carmen? (Later: She says that it is is--ironic for a travel fiend!)
They had a metal tree that they asked their guests to hang notes on for them.
The wedding program is so clever and creative. It resembles a brochure for a travel destination. It is a tri-fold publication on glossy paper with the most interesting information about Carmen and Jim, their travels, and the ceremony order. You can click on the photo and enlarge it but remember to click the "back" button to come back to the blog!
After Jim and I, and Monica, their "best person" had entered and taken our positions, Carmen was escorted in by her father, Allen. The flowers were by Victorian Seasons.
Carmen did not want to stand in the traditional position in front of the minister. So I suggested that she and Jim stand to one side of me and face their guests until we got to the vows and rings. This way they could see their guests easily and their guests could see them from the front.
I was delighted that they both love humor and put quite a bit of it in their ceremony. They also mentioned a lot of the places they had traveled to and incorporated some of the customs. The flowers were tulips symbolic of their trip to Holland.
They included the "Arras" or Thirteen Coins Ceremony from Mexico and Barbados in which the groom gives the bride 13 gold coins to represent his ability to support and care for her.

Then she gives them back to him in a reciprocal gesture that means that she also supports and cares for him. Jim had a piece of iron in his pocket which is a symbol for good luck in Italy, their honeymoon destination.
Then I had them step around in front of me for their vows and ring exchange.

Our very capable photographer was Brian Mullins, one of my favorites! (Brian, Carmen told me she would only have you as her photographer because she knew you could make her look beautiful in her pictures! Certainly not a difficult job because Carmen is naturally beautiful!) Brian was hard at work taking so many pictures. He put up this sneak peek of their kiss on his Facebook page the afternoon of the wedding and I "lifted" it for my blog! (All the other photos on this post are taken with my small digital camera. See the professional ones on Brian's website or on his Facebook page when he posts them .)
 They're finally MARRIED!!!..........................
The evening of their wedding day, Carmen wrote me this note:

You did such an amazing job with our ceremony. Jim wasn't so sure about putting the jokes in the ceremony, but he said that really made him more comfortable, and he liked how you read all the readings. :) I will look forward to seeing your blog post. I can also share some of Brian's photos with you when we get them back. The certificate of marriage you made for us is also so beautiful!
Thank you again.

Carmen and Jim, you are an amazing couple! It was such a pleasure to get to know you and officiate your wonderful wedding ceremony. Bon Voyage and I wish you many happy trails in your life. Please keep in touch and let me know when your next book is published!

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