Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wonderful Wedding Ceremony for Sarah and Nirav at The Butterfly House!

After the wedding at 4:00 at Duke Gardens on April 23, 2011, Marty and I scooted on over to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. It was a short drive and so we arrived with time to spare for Sarah and Nirav's wedding just outside the Butterfly House. The weather was gorgeous and Marty got so many good pictures it was hard for me to leave any out so this post is really filled with photos not only of the wedding but of the venue as well.
I have done several weddings inside the Butterfly House but the area outside the facility has been recently landscaped creating a beautiful setting for an outdoor wedding. Sarah and Nirav had told me about it when we first met in March of 2010 to plan their ceremony but I just could not picture it.
Here is the view from the tent down the aisle. After the ceremony, the tables will be spread out and the chairs put at the tables.
This is the view from the "altar" area to the tent. 

Through the tent and to the right is the terrace of the Butterfly House in front of the main entrance where the guests will have cocktails after the ceremony. Durham Catering was busy setting up for the reception.
This is the view of the entrance from the hill above the Butterfly House.
Sarah and Nirav are both geneticists and infused the scientific theme by pairing the pretty colorful Gebera daisies with various size beakers and graduates from the lab filled with colored water. How clever and symbolic! Sarah and Nirav did not want a religious ceremony but they did want to include some of the customs of their diverse backgrounds--Hindu and American. So, we set about designing a ceremony to be exactly what they wanted. The result was a very unique ceremony rich in symbolism and meaning for this couple. I'll explain more later when we get to the ceremony part of this post!
Sarah's father, Joe, is a graphic designer and made all these fabulous wedding programs. They are some of the best I have ever seen! You can see that the color scheme was teal and yellow which made a stunning combination.
One of their guests baked their wedding cake. She is with Tier Bella . The colors followed their theme and there was a pair of butterflies on top!  
Lenny Fritts with Touch of Class DJ was on hand at both the rehearsal and the wedding and helped direct the wedding party in for the processional. I love Lenny! He is such a big help for me at weddings. We have done so many together I can't count them all. Thanks, Lenny!
Sarah and Nirav decided to see each other before the ceremony. I am sure they did the "First Look" ritual that is becoming so popular now. The photographer sets it up by having the groom in a private setting facing away from the direction the photographer will then bring in the bride. This way they have their first moments of seeing each other on their wedding day in private and the photographer gets some terrific photos this way. I saw them in one of the Museums electric golf carts going up the hill into the wooded area so I decided to follow a little later after setting up my microphone with Lenny. I discovered a whole new world back there! I felt like I was walking in Jurassic Park or something. I expected a dinosaur to pop his head over the trees at any moment. Thankfully the only ones I saw were inanimate objects!
On down the wooded path was an overlook of a beautiful lake I had no idea was back there. There was a winding wooden walkway going down and around.
Their photographer, Riley MacLean, and his second cameraman, Elliott, were there with the couple taking some amazing photos. I am sure he will get some awards and make some covers of wedding magazines! Can't wait to see them on his blog when he gets them posted.
Riley moved to the Triangle last year from the Reno/Lake Tahoe area where he was a very sought-after wedding photographer. So, why did he leave? Well, his fiance started school in Chapel Hill and he followed her here. We are so fortunate. I met him when he was photographing a wedding of a couple (Danielle and Chris) who are friends of Sarah and Nirav for whom I was officiating last summer at Duke Gardens. I was not surprised that Sarah and Nirav also chose him for their photographer.
Now it is time to begin the processional. Lenny started the music "Bella Notte" and cued us in.
It was Canon in D for the Bride and her parents. That is Kelly Taylor watching in the background. She is the event manager for the Museum. She was so helpful and on the ball making sure everything was going perfectly.
We started the ceremony with a warm welcome to everyone. Then the Mangalsutra, a ceremonial necklace which the groom gives the bride symbolically similar to the wedding ring, was passed among the guests for them to infuse with their blessings.
Then we had a prayer followed by a blessing for the parents of the couple. We also remembered family members who could not be with us.
About this time in the ceremony I recounted the story of how Sarah and Nirav met while at graduate school in Ithaca NY.  There were some funny stories leading to their move to North Carolina to get "real" jobs!
The couple then lit a sacred fire representing the Hindu tradition of Phere. They took their marriage vows while walking around the fire four times. Each round had a specific significance.
 Then they spoke their vows to each other where they were printed in my book facing them.
Nirav retrieved the Mangalsutra and placed it around Sarah's neck. This symbolized the strength of their union: physical, mental and spiritual. Then they exchanged rings in the American tradition.
I don't know what Riley is doing, most likely some sign for Elliott, but I was unaware of him during the ceremony where I have just made the pronouncement of marriage and it is time for the Kiss!
 Here it is!
The newlyweds recessed out to the end of the aisle followed by the wedding party and parents.
Then I asked the guests to turn around and face the back so that Riley could get a group shot. Looks like it worked!
Nirav and Sarah, I loved everything about your wedding! It was fabulous. You did a wonderful job integrating your two traditions into your ceremony and making it uniquely yours. Congratulations and I wish you all the best!

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