Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gorgeous Wedding of Ashley and Sean at The Oaks at Salem!

Ashley and Sean's wedding at The Oaks at Salem in Apex was simply gorgeous, picture perfect. Although the rain clouds were pursuing us, they never dropped any rain, or at least not while I was there. Their wedding day was April 18, 2015 at the new ceremony site for this lovely venue. Well, it is not really a new site having been home to a big oak tree that sheltered many weddings for many years in the past. But the tree had been struck by lightning and just did not survive so in its place the owner, April Maness, had this elegant "wedding wall" constructed. It is so fantastic for weddings and I actually prefer it to the tree. 
Set across the lake from the manor house and reception area, the ceremony site is beautifully landscaped and new lush grass is underfoot. Striking! Do you see the DJ set up and speaker to the left? Very nicely out of the wedding photos but perfect to provide the music and power my microphone. Ronnie with The Perfect Beat was a great guy to work with and the sound was perfect. Thanks, Ronnie!
Brides and Bouquets provided the wreaths and sprays, glass vases of flowers hanging from shepherds hooks flanking the aisle and a scattering of white rose petals. It could not be any prettier! They also provided the centerpieces on the reception tables and the bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party.
Here is the view from the ceremony site and you can see the looming darkening clouds. 
Back on the other side of the lake under the reception tent, the tables are all laid with flowers and place settings and the "tree guest book" for the couple.
These cupcakes and the cake for cutting were provided by Gigi's Cupcakes. "Love is sweet!" Beau Catering was providing the delicious menu.
On an easel was this sign. 
View of the ceremony site from the reception area. 
The guests have arrived........
The latecomers are rushing to grab a seat! 
And here come the guys and me followed by the parents. The grandparents were brought over by golf cart by our wedding director, Joslin with The Oaks, and the designated groomsmen escorted them down the aisle. It is a long walk around the lake.
What a handsome bunch of guys! Sean included both his father and stepfather and his brother as groomsmen. 
And now the girls make their long walk around the lake. Caleb, ring bearer, takes up the rear. 
Caleb follows our maid of honor, Brittany, as she carefully walks in the soft grass. Although the girls had those protectors on their heels, it is easy to sink into the grass. Just one of those things we sacrifice for the beauty of the green green grass!
I asked the guests not to stand so that the groom could see the bride making her walk around the lake, then I invited them to stand as she came down the aisle.
Ashley is simply beautiful and her dress is stunning. Her father, Perry, loved escorting her in. 
"Who supports and blesses Ashley as she comes to join in marriage to Sean?" Perry responded: "Her mother and I do." Then he transferred the bride's hand into the groom's and was seated.
Don't forget to give Daddy a little kiss! 
At this point when Ashley turned to face Sean, her veil fell off on top of her train. I reached around and retrieved it and her mother Peggy stepped up and placed it back on her head! Then she helped the maid of honor straighten the train. These little things happen from time to time but no big deal!
Okay, ready? 
Welcome to all remembering those who are not with us....
...then a prayer. 
I stepped out to address the parents and tell them how grateful their children are for their love and support. 
Then it was time for their story, how they met at work in 2012 and were really smitten with each other from the beginning. 
They dated for a year then Sean planned a surprise proposal in Savannah, one of their favorite places to visit. So romantic! 
I had asked each of them in confidence to tell me what they loved about each other, why they wanted to marry each other and what they were looking forward to in marriage.
And now it is time to reveal to them what the other told me. 
They wrote their own vows and read them from my book where the words were printed facing them in large bold font.
The symbolism of the rings was next. 
Exchange of rings.....
A closing blessing in which I invited them to gaze around them at their loved ones who were there to honor them on their wedding day.
The pronouncement of marriage legally binds them in marriage--a pivotal moment!
A great kiss and the veil stayed put! 
There is that "after-kiss" moment--so sweet as the reality of the marriage sinks in! 
Let's go! 
Presentation of the newlyweds to their guests! 
And away they go! 
The wedding party went one direction for photos and the guests went the opposite way around the lake for cocktail hour. The Carolina Mediastar Photography team of Joshua and Sarah were there to capture this beautiful wedding in photographs. It was good to work with them yet again! 
We reconvened at the ceremony site for some more photos. Congratulations, you beautiful couple! Ashley and Sean, you were a delight to work with and I know your marriage is going to be wonderful!
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