Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tonia and Doug's Fabulous Wedding at Caffe Luna!

Like many good love stories, Tonia and Doug were not expecting to meet someone special at work. Tonia kept coming up on Doug's radar very strong, but she blew off his invitations to dinner multiple times before succumbing with encouragement from her best friend who said "It's only Doug!" Mr. Harmless! Doug told me that he had thought twice about robbing the cradle before he convinced Tonia to go out with him but he thought to himself that if she did not mind going out with a "seasoned warrior," who was he to complain! So she finally said yes and they closed the restaurant down laughing and talking on their first date.  She liked his charm, his personality and his kindness in always helping others unselfishly and began to think differently about him. From then on, it did not take long for these two to become inseparable. Tonia loves being treated like a queen but she really treasures that Doug honor and respects her as a person because he has never tried to change her. She knows that this is one of the major hallmarks of a healthy relationship. Doug proposed to her by surprising her with a hot air balloon ride above Asheville and popped the question and the ring at 3, 014 feet in the air! (14 is Doug's favorite number.) Tonia is afraid of heights and was hanging on with both hands but was forced to let go to put the ring on! When they got back on terra firma, there were 14 lavender roses waiting for her. Lavender is Tonia's favorite color of rose.

So, it was fitting that these two fun-loving people chose Caffe Luna as their wedding venue. The owner of the popular downtown Raleigh restaurant, Parker Kennedy, welcomes weddings. There are several rooms available depending on the size of the wedding and the atmosphere is casual and just plain fun. Oh, and did I mention the food is delicious? I always enjoy doing weddings there and besides, Parker is my neighbor! So, when Marty and I arrived at Caffe Luna on Saturday evening January 14, 2012, the main room was full of restaurant customers and we passed through the archway into the middle and last rooms which were set up for the ceremony and reception. Parker had a beautiful massive mahogany door put in the archway between the main dining room and the smaller private rooms so it really is pretty darn sound proof from the noise of the regular customers. I was pleasantly surprised. I got my sound system set up and did a sound check. 
 Then I spoke with our musician, Gene O'Neil, guitarist, about the cues. 
All seats were filled and we were ready to begin. They probably had about 75 to 80 guests. Doug and I walked down the aisle first. Then Tonia appeared and walked to the back of the chairs. I asked the guests to stand and Doug walked toward Tonia, they met in the middle and came together to be married.
Doug's nieces, Lauren and Kristyn, followed. They were our ring bearers. 
Of course Doug and Tonia's ceremony had lots of humor. The guests really enjoyed hearing their story and all about the proposal during the surprise hot air balloon ride.
Tonia and Doug enjoyed hearing it again too. I also worked with each of them individually to write a paragraph about why they wanted to marry each other which they did not hear until the ceremony.
I don't know if this is the second or third kiss! I kept telling them to kiss again so that our photographer, Chad Williams, could get a shot of it! (Let me tell you about their photographer: Chad is 16 years old and the former neighbor of Tonia and Doug. They were at his Bat Mitzvah and needed a photographer for their wedding. He agreed to do it. This is his first wedding. Let me tell you something--this young man is very talented and is going places! Click on his name above and see his photos of the wedding on his blog. Impressive.) 
So here they are---finally married! They are so good together. I can tell they are going to have a great marriage and have a really good time together.
Don't you just love Tonia's "fascinator" hat? It fit her so perfectly and she had on stockings with seams up the back. Classy! Right here she was telling me that a guest was raving to her about the ceremony and asked her "where did you find her?" (I was referred by Parker! Thanks, Parker!)
Tonia and Doug, I had a blast working with you and officiating your fabulous wedding! (Note Doug's lavender rose boutonniere!)

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