Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Another Wonderful Wedding at the Majestic Duke Chapel!

Sally Oakley of Sally Oakley Weddings & Events contacted me in January to see if I was qualified to officiate weddings at Duke Chapel. Well, yes, I am! So she referred Liz and Chris to me for their wedding March 14, 2015 at Duke Chapel. They live in Michigan but were in town on the 20th of January and we were able to meet and plan their ceremony.
Weddings at Duke Chapel are rather spectacular! But rarely do we fill it up. 
Most weddings only have enough guests to fill the rows of chairs in front of the pews and Liz and Chris' wedding was like that. Both of them went to Duke and in fact, Liz's parents and her Maid of Honor were married in the chapel as well.
This is the huge wonderful organ that graces the back of the chapel. We are milling around before the guests arrived.
Sarah and Chris on the right are with the chapel and together orchestrate weddings there. They were saying that the chapel will be closed from May 11, 2015 for a year for restoration of the stone walls, ceilings, etc. and the first wedding after that will be July 2016. It really is necessary to do the required maintenance to preserve these historic buildings. I noticed that the buildings on the sides of the chapels are having work done on them as well.
Sally is tying the photo charms on Liz's bouquet. Tre Bella did the flowers. Then the groomsmen came in, got their boutonnieres pinned on and Sarah led us down into the basement to what I would call the "man cave" where we waited until Chris came to get us lined up to enter for the ceremony. 
Liz's grandmother, Chris' parents Patricia and Steve, then Liz's parents Diane and John entered. Then Chris and his groomsmen and I processed in from the side and took our places on the chancel.
The bridesmaids made the long walk down the aisle and took their places and then it was time for Chris' nephew Henry (age 2).
Henry is almost a blur because he ran all the way down that long aisle! Then he ran up to Chris and gave him the ring pillow. He did not know where to go from there but his dad retrieved him!
The guests were invited to stand in honor of our beautiful bride. 
She was proudly escorted in by her father, John. 
The parents gave their blessings and our couple stepped up onto the chancel. 
The pretty green theme was chosen because of the proximity to St. Patrick's Day and looks really pretty in the chapel.
The guests were welcomed and then we paid tribute to their loved ones who were not able to be with us in person but were surely with us in spirit.
I stepped out to address their parents and pay tribute to their love and support of Liz and Chris throughout their lives.
Then it was time for their story. It was a fun one to tell. They met in DC at a party of a mutual friend. Liz was living back home in SC at the time, having just graduated from Duke. She decided to move to DC to work and they had some fun times with Chris being in awe of Liz's beauty and her accomplishments and Liz getting used to Chris' love of surprising her!  Chris was accepted into Duke's Business School and they spend the next 2 years in a long distance relationship traveling back and forth between Durham and DC and lots of Skyping. Chris planned a surprise proposal in 2013 at his grandparents' place on Priest Lake Idaho, one of his favorite places on the planet. Of course Liz said yes! When Chris graduated in 2014 and went to work in Michigan, Liz made the big move to be with him there and the wedding planning commenced!
For the first time they are hearing what the other told me secretly that they loved about each other and what they are looking forward to in marriage. Such a sweet moment. Then they said their vows as they exchanged rings.
As part of the closing blessing, I invited Liz and Chris to gaze around them and feel the love of their family and dearest friends surrounding them as they honored them on their wedding day.
Then it was time to pronounce them married! 
Sealed with a kiss! 
We did it!! 
After the guests departed to the reception at The Cookery, we gathered up front for photos. Here we are standing around with Dara Blakely, one of my favorite photographers.
Dara, with her second shooter Kathy, looking on is getting a photo of Liz's pink nail polish with glitter on her toes, significant for the time she painted Chris' nails with the same polish for a Halloween costume very early on in the relationship.
Chatting with the parents.....
Liz is stunningly beautiful and Chris is not too bad looking either! Handsome couple and a good match. Liz and Chris, congratulations, best wishes and may all your dreams come true!!
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