Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

An Enchanted Woodland Wedding for Cindy and Mark at The Umstead!

Cindy and Mark's wedding was simply amazing--and gorgeous. Cindy put her heart and soul into it! Their wedding was Saturday September 3, 2016. The forecast for Labor Day weekend you may recall was rain. The rehearsal the day before was located inside due to rain and rain was expected to continue much to Cindy's disappointment. But, the morning of the wedding it was just cloudy and so the plans quickly switched back to the garden. 
The Umstead is such an elegant site. Heather Miller with Eclectic Sage was given free reign to do her amazing floral design. The theme was Enchanted Woodland and Heather ran with it.
The beautiful arch was a twig arch Cindy and Mark found on a trip they took to Western NC and brought here for the wedding. It will later grace their backyard. Heather intertwined  beautiful flowers and greenery throughout. Behind the arch is the table with for the Memory Box ceremony. 

The entrance to the ceremony spot was flanked by multiple height natural pedestals and accessories. 
A close up to the engraved box that holds wine and their loveletters to each other to be opened on their first anniversary.
Dave and I went inside to see the reception in the ballroom. The Enchanted Woodland theme was in abundance. Look at that cake by Sky's The Limit Bridal Sweets out of Concord NC. It was amazing and the photo above is a work in progress adding all the flowers to further enhance it.
Hanging from the arch over the cake are glass globes filled with a rose in each one. 
There were fur pelts and antlers scattered about to enrich the theme. 
Another unique feature of this wedding was the Flower Bar on the terrace where cocktail hour would be enjoyed before the reception. Cindy and Mark love flowers so the guests were asked to choose a flower to wear for the reception. There were some assistants there to help the guests choose and make a corsage or boutonniere or bracelet or whatever they could imagine. 
Sally Oakley was our wedding director and helped Cindy implement her ideas for the ceremony. Here is Sally on the left with her assistant and Carrie Cassidy with The Umstead and her assistant on the right. Looks like we are ready to get lined up as the guests took their seats. We were all so happy that there still was no rain although a heavy cloud cover.
Bill Mann provided the ceremony music on his saxophone. 
Mark and I followed by his groomsmen, Nicky and Robin, entered first. 
At The Umstead there are always hotel guests watching the ceremony from their balconies.
After her mother was escorted in and the bridesmaids were in place, it was time for Cindy to enter. 
As Cindy started walking down the aisle, Mark left his position up front with me and started walking toward her down the aisle. They met in the middle and came up to where the wedding party and I were standing. 
And so our ceremony began. After the words of welcome and a prayer, a friend of the bride read a short reading: "The Promise" by Heather Berry. Cindy found it in the ceremony material I sent her and fell in love with the words. 
Then it was time to tell their story. Cindy actually wrote it herself and did a great job and included lots of humor. These two have a great time together and are just meant to be with each other. 
Then they got to hear their secret paragraphs about what they love about each other, why they want to marry and what they are looking forward to in marriage. 
The Memory Box Ceremony came next. 
They placed their loveletters--sealed and not shared--inside the box with the wine. On each anniversary they will open the box, pour each other a glass of wine and read their letters from each other. Then they will write new letters add them to the box with the first ones, replace the bottle of wine, and repeat on every anniversary. I love the legacy of loveletters this ceremony creates.
As part of the closing blessing, I invited them to close their eyes and let the love and happiness of the moment sink into their hearts and minds then open their eyes and gaze around them at their loved ones honoring them on their wedding day. 
Finally I pronounced them husband and wife and invited Mark to kiss the bride! 
I told Mark to make the kiss long enough to get a good picture and he took me to heart! 
And again! 
They made their way back down the aisle together amid all the cheering of their guests! 
We did it! (Still no rain!)
Lots of celebration at this wedding! 
Mark and Cindy, I am so happy that you found each other. It was meant to be. You are truly soulmates and your love radiates all around you. Thank you for giving me the honor of joining you in marriage. I loved being part of your big day and making your ceremony truly YOU! God bless you always!

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