Sealed with a kiss!

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In the Midst of a Tornado, Heather and Nathan Create an Unforgettable Wedding Day!

I first met Heather and Nathan almost exactly a year ago. They were planning their wedding for April 16, 2011 at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. They had been together for 4 years at that point and had been blessed with the birth of their son, Riley, in 2009 and wanted to celebrate their loving commitment to each other with a wedding ceremony and fun reception for their friends and family. So, we started planning. Little did we know that their wedding day would also be the day a tornado went through downtown Raleigh! We had our rehearsal the day before at the White Garden. It was a beautiful day but the forecast was ominous for the next day. At 10 AM Saturday morning Heather called to say that they had wisely decided to go with Plan B and have the wedding ceremony at their reception site of the Holiday Inn Brownstone on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh. It was a very wise decision. The Holiday Inn staff got busy setting up the room next to the reception room for the wedding and were still putting up flowers when we arrived.
When Marty and I arrived about 2:15 that afternoon, it was starting to rain a little. Our ceremony musician, Lindsay Skipper with Elegant Violin had set up and was running through the music. She is very talented and very clever. She brought with her an amplifier into which she plugged her iPod with piano accompaniment. So when she played her violin with the recorded music, it sounded very rich and full. I set up my portable sound system on the other side of the room and did a sound check.
Then it was time to begin. The bridesmaids were lined up behind me, ready to go. Nathan and his groomsmen followed me down the aisle.
Behind the bridesmaids, Kim, friend of the couple, was in charge of getting the cute little flower girls down the aisle.
Time for our beautiful bride who was escorted in by her mother. Both fathers of the couple have passed away.
Judith lifted the veil from Heather's face then placed her hand into Nathan's as they turned to face each other.
I walked around to help pull the veil toward the back so that the guests (and our photographer) could see Heather's face during the ceremony.
And so we began. Heather and Nathan's ceremony was quite varied and filled with sweet moments, especially when they read a poem to their son, Riley.
Of course their story was fun and the guests enjoyed hearing about how they met and some of their adventures together. There was one part that I thought was clever. Since Nathan had not dated much when they met at the school where he was a first year kindergarten teacher and she a first year school counselor, they jokingly used the term b.i.t. which means "boyfriend in training" for Nathan. Apparently he was a good student and learned fast though!
They really liked the symbolism of the handfasting ceremony and here I am wrapping the handfasting cord around their joined left hands. The more loops, the stronger the bond.
They wrote their own vows and read them to each other as they exchanged rings.
To symbolize their family unity and include their son in the ceremony, they did the sand ceremony. Riley was too young to participate physically but they poured his sand in with theirs making many pretty layers of colored sand.
Heather wanted to honor her Jewish heritage so she included the glass breaking and the Seven Blessings from the Jewish wedding traditions in the wedding. You cannot see it in this photo but I have just put the glass to be broken at Nathan's feet and told him not to stomp it yet! I have to make the pronouncement first, then the stomp, the guests shout "Mazeltov" then they kiss.
 It's done! They are married!  (We had no idea what was brewing outside at this point!)
This is Derrick Bryant, our photographer, with One Vision Photography. His plans for getting beautiful shots of Heather and Nathan at the arboretum just did not pan out! Could not even go outside the hotel so he had to settle for the lobby and an upstairs conference lobby. He had a second shooter with him and I know the two of them got some great shots despite the circumstances!
While the guests went to the reception, the newlyweds, their wedding party, Riley and his babysitter, Eric, and Marty and I went upstairs to the lobby for photos. Eric is opening the goody bag which is his reward for being quiet during the wedding ceremony!
I think we are all in a bit of a shock as we had just learned that a tornado was expected to touch down in 20 minutes, at the moment Marty snapped this photo. Wow, are we ever glad to be in a safe building on the lower level. Heather and Nathan, I know you won't ever forget your wedding day, and I won't either! It turned out beautifully despite the adverse weather, just as you two have weathered your own challenges. You have the love and you have the endurance to make your marriage a grand success and full of peace, love and joy!


Lindsay said...

thanks for including ElegantViolin in your recap of Heather and Nathan's wedding! I'm glad we were all safe that day despite the tornadoes! It was a pleasure being a part of this wedding with you.

Reverend Kayelily Middleton said...

Thanks, Lindsay! I loved your music and will recommend you for other weddings. I hope we do one together in the near future and that we don't have any more tornadoes, or hurricanes, for that matter!