Sealed with a kiss!

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brooke and Robert's Wonderful Wedding Despite the Rain!

Brooke and Robert met in grad school at UNC. Although neither of them was looking for love at the time, they shared a few classes and got to know each other as friends. Soon it was evident to both of them that they were a really good match and strong feelings knit them together so much so that even after Brooke took a job in South Carolina while Robert was finishing up school in Chapel Hill, they managed to be together every weekend. They decided to marry and set a date of May 5, 2012 for the ceremony at Coker Arboretum followed by a reception at Top of the Hill, which has become a fairly new wedding venue since expanding into the space that once was occupied by the Carolina Theater. When we met in January, Brooke and Robert became very excited about the prospect of writing their wedding ceremony and poured their hearts and souls into choosing the words I would speak and crafting their special words for each other.

Friday afternoon was a beautiful day as we rehearsed at Coker Arboretum, but the forecast for the wedding day was looking iffy. Top of the Hill wanted Brooke to decide by noon if the wedding would be there so they could set up. Saturday noon came and went and I had not heard from her so I assumed we were going for outdoors. She called me at 4:30 as I was en route to Coker. It had rained hard earlier, cleared, but was beginning to sprinkle again. She said she really had her heart set on being married in the beauty of the garden and was still going with having the wedding outdoors. When Marty and I arrived, the rain was increasing and the chair rental people, Careli Rental Services, were unloading and diligently setting up the chairs in the garden regardless of the rain. Ed, our guitarist from Arioso Strings, arrived about 5:00 for the 6:00 ceremony. Then it really started raining hard and the paths in the garden were turning into little rivers of run-off rainwater and we were getting soaked despite raincoats and umbrellas. At 5:10 it was obvious that there was just no way we could do the wedding outdoors. I called Brooke and left a message with Trisha, her maid of honor that we were headed for Top of the Hill. I felt bad for the Careli people who worked so hard.
When Marty, Ed and I arrived at Top of the Hill after parking a couple of blocks away and hauling the sound equipment and Ed his guitar and equipment in the rain without an umbrella, we found a bustle of activity going on as the main room was cleared of tables and set up for the ceremony.
Ed got set up and Marty and I set up my sound system as the DJ for the reception was not set up yet and with this sudden change in plans, I did not know if he would be ready by the time the ceremony started for me to plug my microphone into his system. At first we were told the ceremony would begin at 6:30. Ed was worried because he had another gig and had to leave no later than 6:30. He said he could delay 5 minutes and play for the processional if the DJ could do the recessional. As it worked out, the ceremony actually started at 6:15, Ed played the prelude music and processional then quietly slipped out for his next gig. 
My thanks to Danielle Olcott with Top of the Hill for doing an outstanding job changing gears to accommodate the ceremony and finding an extension cord for me. Her staff was impressive. 
Our DJ was Steve Max from Island Sound & Video, right, and his assistant, Sam, on left. They were set up in no time and Steve was ready to do the recessional. 
Whole Foods was the florist. This is one of the pretty centerpieces. 
Brooke and Robert had a Wishing Tree upon which guests wrote and hung notes. I did not know it was a Dutch wedding tradition.
Sugarland created this arrangement of delicious looking cupcakes with a wedding cake for the couple to cut at the top.
Rob Miracle was our photographer. He was everywhere! 
The guests were sequestered in a room in the back while everyone was getting ready and the wedding party was arriving. When the bride was hidden away, the guests took their seats for the ceremony and our very excellent wedding director, Beth Brandon, got the wedding party all lined up. Beth lives in California where she is a television producer, so we were in very capable hands.
Robert and I followed by all but one of the groomsmen, Eddie, took our places up front from the side of the room. Then Eddie escorted in Robert's mother, Denne, and joined us up front.
Brooke's parents, Tom and Barbara, were next to enter and Tom circled back to bring in the bride.
At the end of the line were our sweet little flower girls ready to go. They did a great job!
Despite the rain and moving to Plan B, Brooke was absolutely beaming. Her dress was stunning and I shudder to think what it would have looked like in the rain and mud!
Because this was Plan B, the backdrop of nature was not possible, but the Top of the Hill has such character and is a popular gathering place. 
The mothers of the couple shared the reading of "The Art of Marriage" by Wilfred A. Peterson.
 Their ceremony was a lot of fun, especially their story and their words about what they love about each other and why they decided to marry. Brooke said about Robert: What she is most looking forward to is living together in one place at last, and if you take care of her the way you lovingly take care of your plants, she knows she will be one lucky woman. 
And off they go into their future and their life together as a married couple!
Marty and I hung around for a while afterwards (it was still raining!) and got some photos of the activities Rob was setting up. They were having a lot of fun at that end of the room as the staff was quickly returning the tables to set up for the reception at the other end. And although Brooke did not get the wedding she had envisioned, the rain did not dampen their spirits one little bit!
Robert and Brooke, what a wonderful wedding anyway! I loved it. You are troopers! Congratulations and have a lot of fun in Greece! 

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