Sealed with a kiss!

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We Are So Honored!

Late last summer, Craig Carpenter, a very fine photographer who owns Luster Studios, approached me about doing a photo shoot and article for his blog about local wedding officiants. He and I have worked many weddings together and I am always blown away by his ability to capture unique moments in weddings. Besides, his photos of me are my favorites, and I admit that I am a bit picky about that. I have used them on my blog and website for years. He has also worked with Rev. Robin Renteria and Rev. Barbara Lodge and thought it would be fun to get the three of us together, especially since we are very good friends and colleagues rather than competitors. I immediately jumped on this great opportunity to be photographed by Craig and contacted Barbara and Robin who immediately agreed.
Barbara, Robin and I frequently get together for lunch at P.F. Chang's at Southpoint Mall to share experiences, discuss policies and services, and brainstorm any problems. So, after lunch on November 3rd we met Craig at this picturesque spot nearby behind Doubletree Suites where I have seen other photographers take couples for wedding photos. I just love the waterfall and the backdrop of the trees and the lake. It was a chilly day and the rain was just barely holding back. However, that also makes a wonderful setting for photos as there are no shadows or squinting and the colors are much more saturated. He told us to wear our favorite wedding outfits and bring our ceremony books. Craig is such a wizard in his field. No wonder he is internationally known and travels to photograph weddings all over the world. We were so honored to be his subjects for a couple of hours!
There was this beautiful graphic sunburst design on the patio which Craig took advantage of by posing each of us in the middle. I love purple so for my signature officiant dress, I donned my purple dress and put over it the beautiful purple velvet beaded robe and my matching purple shoes. 
Craig wrote: I’ve had a unique opportunity to work with some fabulous wedding ministers in North Carolina and the three officiants that I encounter most often are Kayelily Middleton, Robin Renteria, and Barbara Lodge. While each wedding officiant takes a slightly different approach to wedding ceremonies, there are a few key similarities that make them some of the best in the area.

Firstly, they are organized and quite thorough with their preparation in the days leading up to the wedding. I’ve often noticed how smoothly everything seems to happen, even during last minute changes. Having a reliable officiant is a no-brainer, but working with someone that is flexible, can think on their feet and has a ton of experience makes all the difference in the world.

Secondly, I’m always amazed at how well they actually know each couple. They don’t simply learn a few facts and fill in the blanks with their own agenda, but rather take the time to create truly unique ceremonies that reflect the couple’s beliefs and feelings about one another. I can tell that they enjoy incorporating a lot of personal details into the ceremony to create a wonderful story about the couple with a perfect blend of traditional or non-traditional elements.

And finally (and I feel most importantly) they simply bring with them a positive energy that is quite palpable throughout the entire ceremony. Honestly, it’s the little things that matter… They speak with a loud crisp voice so wedding guests can hear. They back their words up with powerful emotion and are often caught carrying a light-hearted smile. I can often see the affection, laughter and sentiment that they help create on the faces of wedding guests.

As a wedding photographer, I can’t express enough how important these components are for your wedding ceremony photos. I sometimes find it hard to capture the true emotions that couples, their family and friends have toward each other if they aren’t truly engaged with the moment. Time and time again, I’ve found that these wedding officiants help create the perfect environment to create expressive memories that will last a lifetime.
I am the "elder" of the three of us. I started my wedding ministry back in 1997 after being ordained and put up a website in has grown to 8 ministers who do weddings in 8 different areas of North Carolina. In 2003, I married Barbara's daughter, Becca, and her husband, Ben, at Coker Arboretum in Chapel Hill. When Barbara and her husband, Bill, moved to Chapel Hill a few years later, at Becca's encouragement, she contacted me about the wedding business and we have been good friends ever since. Becca said that she just knew we would click together! She was right. Barbara was no novice in officiating weddings as she had previously done weddings in Hawaii.  Robin, who was ordained in 1994, geared up her wedding ministry business in 2008. I was introduced to her by a mutual friend, Anita Vick--a former wedding planner, who felt that we would really like each other. Right again! Barbara and I quickly assimilated Robin into our circle and we have been friends ever since, even having regular potluck dinners or dinners out including our sweethearts who have also bonded. This month we all celebrated my husband's birthday together and had a blast.
These two wonderful women have graced my life in so many ways. We all work in very similar ways. We send our overflow to each other knowing that the couples will be in good hands! What a treasure to have such great friends and colleagues!
I tell you, getting out on those concrete pallets is fairly precarious! The rushing water was so loud we had a hard time hearing Craig giving us directions on which pallet to stand, which way to face, what to do with our hands, etc. but it was great fun too.

In the fall of 2009, I did what I call a Cinderella wedding at Doubletree Suites. The bride was brought to the ceremony by a white horse and white carriage that started at the waterfall and came around on that path we are walking above, went all around the lake circling to where the guests and wedding party were awaiting her. It was so visually and emotionally stunning and sooooo romantic!
Here we are at the Doubletree Suites terrace that overlooks the lake. You can see the waterfall in the background.
Barbara is also a photographer and has a really good eye for a shot. She suggested this one when she noticed that the sides of the arbor made a perfect picture frame!
So, three women out standing in their waterfall! We felt like fashion models! Thanks so much, Craig.


Carmen said...


Rev. Barbara Lodge said...

What a wonderful post, Kayelily. Wasn’t it a fun day!