Sealed with a kiss!

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Erica and Justin Wed at The Oaks at Salem!

It was Friday May 20, 2016 at The Oaks at Salem--a day with rain in the forecast so wisely the decision was made to have Erica and Justin's wedding under the tent but leave the sides rolled up so that we could have the pretty view and the light. It was a good decision because just after the ceremony ended, the raindrops began to fall.
Erica and Justin met almost 10 years ago when they were in high school. Erica was the new girl at school and Justin definitely took notice. They met somewhere along the way--the cafeteria or at a bonfire after school. They lived within walking distance of each other and the friendship was born.
They both went to the same college so they stayed together for many more years working in the kitchen of the college making pizzas and pursuing their studies. Justin graduated first and moved to North Carolina to pursue his career. Erica stayed behind to finish her degree.
Frank Meldau with Joe Bunn DJ Company was all set up to do the ceremony music and the reception to follow. 
As the ceremony time drew near, the candles were lit and the chairs were lined up for the guests. 
Tre Bella furnished all the florals. 
Near the ceremony site, I placed the Cord of Three Strands to be braided by the couple during the ceremony. In the background you can see the beautiful area where the ceremony would have been if the weather had been more favorable. 
Inside was this beautiful cake by Ashley Cakes with more sweet desserts to be put out later. Yummy! (This photo was taken after the ceremony--see the braided cord of 3 strands in front of the cake.)
Upstairs in the bridal suite, Erica was ready to get married! Her bridesmaids were all ready too! 
Their bouquets are all lined up ready to be picked up. 
Carly Abernathy with La Fete Events got us all lined up inside then cued Frank for the processional music. Always a pleasure to work with Carly! 
After the parents and Justin and his guys and I entered, it was time for the lovely maidens in their blush pink! 
Then Erica and her dad, Jerome, started down the aisle. 
After answering my question to him, Jerome placed Erica's hand into Justin's hand and took his seat. 
And so we began this lovely ceremony for our so-in-love couple who collaborated with me in creating exactly what they wanted. We began with a welcome to all and then a prayer.
We remembered those who were no longer here on earth and those that could not attend. Then we paid tribute to their parents. 
Our groomsmen seem to be paying attention while I told their love story! 
And so do our pretty bridesmaids!
Christobal Perez with Azul Photography was their professional photographer and I love working a wedding with him. (My friend Susan took the photos on this blog for me since Dave was out of town. Thank you, Susan!)
After Erica graduated, she was accepted into grad school at NC State and joined Justin in North Carolina. 
Justin found the perfect opportunity to propose on January 1, 2015 while they were visiting his parents in Virginia. Of course Erica said yes and the wedding planning commenced!
Looks like they were having a few laughs while I was relating their story to their guests. 
A sweet moment to remember! 
Erica hears for the first time what Justin told me he loves about her, why he wants to marry her and what he is looking forward to in marriage.  (They chose my "Bells and Whistles" style of ceremony so that their story and secret paragraphs were included.)
Now Justin's turn to hear what Erica told me! 
They exchanged their vows and rings. 
Then it was time for the Cord of Three Strands Unity Ceremony. 
Erica braided the three cords together: White for the bride, Purple for the groom and Gold for God. 
The symbolism is that a cord of three strands is inherently stronger than just two just as a couple and recognizes God as an integral part of their marriage. Words from First Corinthians fit perfectly while Justin held the ring and Erica braided.
The pronouncement of marriage followed a closing blessing! 
Nice kiss, Justin! 
All smiles as they head back down the aisle for a group shot before the raindrops begin! 
Yeah! Christobal is up on the deck shooting from above while Susan got this great shot from the tent. 
Erica and Justin! Congratulations--on your marriage, on your wonderful wedding, on your future endeavors! You are a great couple and I wish you the best of everything!
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