Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gayle and Mark Wed at Umstead Park!

Gayle and Mark live in Virginia but wanted to get married in Raleigh because it is a central location between their families and friends. They chose Umstead Park, Shelter 1, for their venue because they are nature lovers and wanted to get married surrounded by the majesty of nature in a casual setting where everyone could relax and have fun and where they could have their 3 beloved canine children in the wedding! The wedding date was May 27, 2012, Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend. We initially corresponded by email and then they traveled to the Triangle to view the park and I met them there one morning in February. All the other arrangements they made via email and phone. They chose some very high quality vendors like Irregardless Cafe to cater the reception, Jess Levin of Classical Photography to photograph the wedding, Edible Arts for the wedding cake and Pratie Heads to provide the music. Mark, Gayle and I worked together to create the perfect wedding ceremony for them and I loved their creativity and willingness to step out of the box and make their wedding ceremony uniquely theirs. We rehearsed the day before and then were all set for the wedding. The weather cooperated beautifully and everything came together. I was so impressed with the way their friends transformed the old stone shelter into a festive reception site so I am including some photos of it for you to see what is possible.
Normally rather dark under the shelter, the white table covers brightened the picnic tables up considerably then were set complete with runners, real silverware, wine glasses and flowers! I have never seen it so fancy!
For favors, they had little jars of honey that were labeled: "Life is the flower for which love is the honey," a saying by Victor Hugo!
They even thought to bring candles to put into the fireplace! 
 Irregardless was there setting up a buffet table of wonderful food. 
I was delighted to see Jess Levin at the rehearsal as well as at the wedding. It has been a while since I last saw him. Jess and I have done many weddings in the past 12 years and one of the first photographers I met when I started doing weddings. He is a musician at heart and plays violin with the NC Symphony, and being artistically creative, he is a great photographer too. His business is Classical Photography.
 Mark and Gayle brought this lovely framed photo for their guests to sign as a guest book.
The flowers arrived but I don't know who provided them. I have become quite experienced pinning boutonnieres on the guys.
The lovely wedding cake by Edible Arts.... 
Jane Peppler and Bob Vasile are the talented duo who call themselves the Pratie Heads who play Celtic and other eclectic music which was perfect for this wedding. They also have a website called Wedding Music in NC which includes more musicians. Jane arrived early and Bob later and for a while there we thought he might be lost in the woods! But Jane kept on walking around playing her violin so he could hear it and follow the music to where we were and he did!
The guys and I hid out behind the stone attachment to the patio while our director, Stephanie, shooed the guests into their seats so we could begin.
Mark and his best man, David, Groomsman, Greg, and ring bearer, John. 
Stephanie kept us all in order all while keeping an eye out for the bride who was being driven to the shelter. Their dogs, Nigel and Lance, wait with Margeaux and Nikka. Behind them are Hali and Ned that you can't see here.
 Here is Ned! He is an elder while the other two are rambunctious pups!  
 Debbie and Jeanne then enter followed by the flower girl, Hanna. 
 Gayle is escorted in by her father, Jim.
 What a beautiful setting! 
 Mark's brother, Jeff, read a tribute to those who have passed on before us. 
Of course Gayle and Mark, being dog lovers, chose to have the whimsical witty poem by Taylor Mali, "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog," in their wedding and asked their friend Lisa to present it.
Their love story started out like this: "This love story we celebrate today began in early 2011 when Mark was ready to give up on ever finding someone with whom he wanted to share his life. Then he saw Gayle with her handsome pup, and his hope for a life-long partner was revived." They both waited a long time to find each other which makes their love even more precious to them.
 They read their beautiful vows to each other then sealed them with their rings. 
We had not planned on breaking the glass but since Mark is Jewish, I asked him about it. He said he would really like to do it and so we sacrificed a wine glass and napkin and made it happen. I had just done a Jewish wedding the day before so the words were fresh in my mind.
 They kissed....
 and kissed some more...! 
Mark and Gayle, it was so great working with you to make your vision of your wedding come true. You truly thought of every detail which is no small feat especially with your wedding out of town. I am so happy you finally found each other. Congratulations on your marriage. I feel very confident that you two, along with your menagerie of animal companions, will be very happy! May all your dreams come true!

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