Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fun, Sweet, Joyful Rainy Day Wedding for Sarah and Justin!

I got to know Justin and Sarah quite well during the course of working with them to plan their wedding and their marriage. We first met on September 27, 2011, a year and two days before their wedding on September 29, 2012. They envisioned having their wedding ceremony in the lovely gardens of the Mordecai House campus in downtown Raleigh. They wanted to get married under the shade of a huge oak tree surrounded by their friends and family. When we heard the weather forecast the week of the wedding, they wisely rented a 20 foot by 30 foot tent for Plan B in case of rain. On their wedding day, when I got to their venue one hour ahead of time, it was raining steadily and the decision had been made to do the ceremony inside St. Mark's Chapel, Plan C, because it was cold and the rain too heavy. Trouble was the chapel can accommodate up to only 55 people and they had many more guests. I did not count but we were all scrunched in, standing room only. Marty, wielding my camera, did not have the opportunity to move around and get many good photos. Our musicians, a string trio, from Arioso Strings had to move to the back of the chapel in order for the wedding party to gather on and around the altar. But, you know, it worked and it was really really fun. There is something about human nature that when packed into close quarters, people really bond with each other. Sarah and Justin both went to ECU and so they had tons of friends there who have known them for many years and were so thrilled to be at their wedding! The mood was quite festive and we were all thankful to be inside the cozy little chapel.
I want to credit Nicole McMillan Conder, owner of Premier Party Planners, whom Sarah and Justin hired just a few weeks before their wedding, for pulling this wedding all together. She helped them make the last minute decisions with her expert advice and then ran around in the rain making sure everything got done and people found the chapel. Then after the wedding she cleaned up all the rose petals on the floor and made sure nothing was left behind and then headed over to the Museum of Natural Science for the reception. Thanks so much, Nicole, we could not have done it without you!
Mary Page Block, owner and mastermind of Arioso Strings, and her two musicians were troopers as well. They arrived 30 minutes before ceremony start time and set up their chairs and music stands up front. But they had to move to the back because there was not enough room for them and the wedding party up around and on the altar. We had to create an aisle for the procession so Mary moved to the other side and kept on playing! The music was wonderful despite the close quarters and limited elbow room!
Mother of the Bride, Karen, was escorted in by her son, Brian, as we moved aside to make room.
 Then Justin's parents, Richard and Beverly, entered and were seated. 
I am instructing Justin that I will step up onto the altar but he is to wait in front for the bride.
 Let's go! Time to go get married! 
Lindsay, Jamie, Stephanie, and Elizabeth enter assisted by Nicole--excuse the blurry photos--Marty was crunched in between the guests! But, I'm putting these pictures in anyway!
Nicole is dripping wet but now the bride is in the building and she can relax as I take over for the ceremony.
 Happy bride, gorgeous dress! Happy Daddy! 
At the last minute Sarah asked me to add something about the significance of rain on the wedding day so I said: "Across the world many believe that rain on the wedding day is lucky because a wet knot is harder to untie. In some cultures rain is good luck, and can represent cleansing or stronger unity in the marriage.  Yet others say the raindrops are God’s tears of happiness for the couple. Whatever your belief, I know that none of us here will allow a little rain to dampen the celebration of this marriage here today!" And it surely did not!  I think a few claps of thunder came along right then and everyone got a good laugh.
This is an accidental shot of our photographer, Amy Turner, with Your Still Life Photography, moving  from the front to the back of the chapel. She also brought David and Scott, two other shooters.
Justin and Sarah wanted to pay tribute to their parents and so after an opening prayer I thanked them and reminded them that this marriage also joins their two families.
And then I got to present the whimsical and funny poem by Taylor Mali, "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" which Sarah and Justin dedicated it to their two fur children, their pooches, Sophie and Meela!  It was very well received and I had fun reading it, always do!
Then it was time for the guests to hear their "story." In a nutshell, they met at ECU about six years ago when they were both students. Sarah first spotted Justin at a dodge ball game and thought he was pretty hot, but when she tried to strike up a conversation afterwards, he blew her off. A few weeks later, they officially met in his dorm where he noticed that Sarah was really cute and rather hot herself! They found a lot to talk about and after about a week of spending every free minute together, they began dating. Sarah knew that Justin was a keeper when, after one week of dating, he survived Christmas Eve dinner with her whole family and did not run away screaming! They graduated college then moved to Raleigh, began their life together and planned this wedding.
I moved back behind the couple to read their secret paragraphs to them which were surprises from each other--something really special I add to wedding ceremonies. Theirs had lots of sweet humor as well and truly touching words.  Justin looks forward to a wonderful life together and not ever, ever, ever planning another wedding!
 Getting ready to exchange rings after reading their vows to each other.....
The magic moment their marriage is legal and they are now husband and wife! Sarah's sister, Elizabeth, our maid of honor, is looking forward to her wedding this December in England! It will be in a church and a lot more formal than her sister's though.
Out they go--into the pouring rain! The plan was for them to congregate in the building next door while the guests went to the reception at The Museum of Natural Science then come back into the chapel for photos. 
I could see out the doors of the chapel that it was just pouring buckets of rain so I held the parents and grandparents back and invited the guests to leave. It took a while but all the umbrellas were claimed and we sent a message to the wedding party to return to the chapel. 
Sarah's holding up her beautiful wedding gown so she does not drag it in the puddles and get it all soppy wet.
Sarah's birdcage veil was folded up then she remembered to unfold it for the rest of the photos! 
Sarah and Justin, you are such a great couple! I really enjoyed working with you and getting to know you both. I know you will have a wonderful marriage adventure if you can roll with the punches life sends your way the same way you handled all the last minute challenges of your wedding ceremony logistics! It could not have turned out better though, in my opinion. The guests were really close and really involved and will never ever forget your wedding! Happy Honeymooning!

1 comment:

sarah Southard said...

Thank you for everything! It will always make for a good story that is for sure!! We will never be able to forget our wedding day that is for sure. I guess now rain is our thing!

Love the Bride!