Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Siena Hotel Hosts the Wedding of Rabia and Jon!

The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill holds many fond memories for me going back 12 years ago when I officiated the wedding of Laura and Gus, one of my first weddings. Their rehearsal dinner was at the Siena. (Back then I attended rehearsal dinners.) The Il Palio chef prepared Laura's family's favorite dessert from the recipe given supplied by her mother. It was layers of lady fingers and whipped cream drizzled with an amazing home-made chocolate sauce. Yummy. So fantastic that I asked for the recipe and still treasure it today! Since that time I have done many weddings at the hotel, some big and some small. They can accommodate just about any size wedding and the staff and hotel are wonderful to work with. 
This is Arie, the events manager with the Siena. She is great to work with and took care of all the details of the wedding day!

Jon called me in mid-November to see if I was available to officiate his wedding to Rabia on December 3, 2011 at the Siena--just a few short weeks away. Fortunately, I was available so we scheduled a meeting quickly.  We did not have a lot of time so I crafted a ceremony based on what they told me they wanted, sent it to them and they loved it. They really liked the parts reflecting their different family heritages (Rabia is Muslim and from Pakistan and Jon was raised Christian and American although he was born in Germany) making it an interfaith ceremony. Rabia particularly liked the idea of using a poem by the Persian mystical poet, Rumi, as a meditative prayer. She told me that her parents who traveled from Pakistan for the wedding love the works of Rumi and would be very pleased (and they were). For a closing blessing, we used a prayer based on First Corinthians. We also included a tribute to both sets of parents who have intact marriages and serve as wonderful role models for our bride and groom. 
Marty and I arrived at the hotel at 10:15 for the 11:00 AM wedding. This gorgeous cake by Sugarland was hidden away in the reception room. Needless to say, the wedding color was a beautiful pink. 
The Fisher-Park String Quartet from Greensboro was already there and warming up. They were very good!
This the room all set up for the ceremony. I am amazed that my new camera got this low light shot without flash! Wow!
These are our flower girls all lined up early! 
Jon's parents, Helga and Dean, process in first followed by Rabia's mother, Tehseen, escorted in by her two sons.
 Then Jon and I.
 The cute (unrehearsed) flower girls trickled in slowly! 
Rabia was escorted in by her father, Javed, then he transferred her hand into Jon's.
I don't have any photos of it but we did a "water pouring" ritual after the wedding address, the vows and ring exchange. "We honor water, to clean and soothe your relationship that you may never thirst for love....Together may you always share kindness with one another that will ease any pain that may come between you. With all the forces of the universe, we pray for harmony and true happiness for you both." 
Joining hands again after drying their hands. 
"It is my pleasure and my honor to recognize you as husband and wife!"
Their kiss was so brief I had them kiss again but still we got no photo of the kiss! I think they were a bit shy about kissing in front of everyone.
Waiting for the quartet to start the recessional music. Isn't Rabia's ceremonial dress beautiful?
 And out they go!  
Jon and Rabia, I am so happy that you called me that day and that we could work together to make your ceremony so special for you. I wish you all the best always!  Thank you for your note the next day that said: "I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you did on our wedding ceremony yesterday.  So many people came up to us and told us how much they liked the ceremony - you really made it memorable. We even had one guest say that she and her husband would like to do their wedding over again with you as the officiant! So thank you very much."


Rabia Ahmed said...

What lovely pictures! Thank you for getting this together so quickly, Rev Middleton, particularly since those of us unable to attend were so looking forward to seeing them.

Reverend Kayelily Middleton said...

Thank you, Rabia. Sorry you could not be with us on that special day--a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple! I really enjoyed working with Jon and Rabia to create the perfect ceremony for them. They have the final script and would probably be happy to share it with you.