Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Adam and Conley's Wedding at The Pavilion Photo by Katherine Miles Jones

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Another Wonderful Spring Wedding at Highgrove!

Dennis and Barclay chose the lovely HIGHGROVE ESTATE for their wedding venue. I've been doing weddings there since they opened many years ago and have always found the site very lovely and the staff wonderful! Their wedding date was Friday April 14th 2017. 
 The garden ballroom was all decorated and ready for the reception. 
 Sweet Memories produced this lovely wedding cake. 
 The sweetheart table in front of the fireplace adorned with eucalyptus and roses! 
Jason Huggins with STYLUS provided the music for the ceremony and the reception. Always a pleasure working with Jason. He even provides a Countryman E6 ear mic for me! He is such a pro!
Back inside the house Dennis' parents, Linda and Denny, and Dennis' children, Kaitlyn and Andrew, along with Mary Laura the Maid of Honor and another young lady I did not know are gathered before the ceremony.
 I took a few moments to relax on the front porch in one of the rocking chairs to review the ceremony. 
Meanwhile, Dave went out back to the ceremony area. From the pergola, Lake Laurel is very placid and all the leaves have come out for the spring and summer. In the fall, it will be a sea of orange and yellow.
View of the covered terrace on the right and the garden ballroom on the left. The guests are beginning to arrive for the ceremony. FLOWERS ON BROAD did all the florals. They were gorgeous.
In 2016, the manor house at Highgrove underwent redecoration. It is beautiful and fits the vintage of this old home.
I put in this photo to show you the Countryman E6 ear mic--my favorite--and Jason got one for me to use! 
The guests are being seated. The photographers for this wedding are Hugh Simmons and his wife Katharine who are friends of the couple and came all the way from Maryland to shoot this wedding.
Dennis, his daughter Kaitlyn, son Andrew and Maid of Honor Mary Laura have processed in are we are waiting for the bride!
Here she comes with her parents, Joe and June. They are some pretty tall folks! 
They presented Barclay and gave their love and support to the couple. 
We began with a welcome to all who traveled from far and near and thanked them for their love and support of our couple.
Following the welcome was a prayer and remembrance of loved ones no longer with us. 
At this point we recognized Kaitlyn and Andrew and on behalf of Barclay and Dennis I told them how loved and important they were in the marriage we celebrate today.
Then a tribute to their parents for their lifelong support and unconditional love. 
Then it was time to tell Barclay and Dennis' story. It was a good one filled with humor and sweetness. They are such a good match! Dennis was shedding some tears at that point.
So I handed him my hankie although he had already been using one he had in his pocket! 
They each shared with me in confidence the things they love about each other and their hopes and dreams for their marriage. The big reveal is in this moment!
And then it was time in the ceremony for their promises of marriage to each other which were printed in my book facing them.
Dennis surprised me by memorizing his and he never once looked down at the words! Amazing! 
As he finished his vows he slipped the ring on her finger.
Barclay placed the ring on Dennis finger.
Then she said her vows--not quite memorized but close! 
A closing blessing for the couple as they embark on their marriage.
I pronounced them husband and wife! 
Finally sealed with a kiss! 
The happy couple recesses amongst cheering and applause from their guests! 
This photo is a little blurry but I love it! 
Hugh captures the newlyweds!
Kaitlyn and Christian followed Mary Laura out. 
Joe and June exited. 
Dennis and Barclay, congratulations! It was beautiful and I hope all your dreams were fulfilled! I wish you the best always!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

DOGS IN WEDDINGS!

How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Will your dog be a part of your big day? Follow this advice for the best possible chance of their participation going smoothly.
Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Celebrating love with your friends and family obviously includes your fur babies, right? More and more people are adding their dogs to their wedding party, so it’s really no surprise that when my fiancĂ© and I began planning our wedding, a common question was “Are your dogs going to be in it?
Which brings me to my very first point about dogs and weddings. The answer to that question for us is no, our dogs will not be at our wedding. Is it because I don’t want them to be a part of our special day? Not at all. It’s because I know they wouldn’t want to be a part of it. Between Sadie’s stranger anxiety, Buster’s overexcitement and Daisy thinking that every person in the world would be there just for her, it would not be a relaxing experience for any of us. They will be much happier waiting for us to come home afterward.
Even if your dog can't be in your wedding, they can be in your pictures. (Photo by Shutterstock)

How to decide if your dog should be in your wedding

If you are considering having your dog be a part of your wedding, there are a few things to think about first:
  • Does your dog have the right temperament to be around that many people? Are they friendly and confident?
  • Do theylisten to commands?
  • Does your venue allow dogs? (Many have a no-pets policy.)
  • Is there someone you trust to “be in charge” of your dog throughout the day, making sure they are in the right places, have bathroom breaks, and get fed?
  • Is there a place where your dog can safely hang out before and after?
Once you’ve figured out those logistics, the fun part begins!

What is he going to do during the wedding?

Just like everyone else in the wedding party, you need to decide what role your dog will have. Some ideas include:
  • Have them walk up with the flower girl (which is adorable, by the way).
  • Tie the rings around their collar and have them be the ring bearer.
  • They could simply be the “Hound of Honor” and walk with the Maid of Honor.
  • Have your dog walk in front of you with a “Here Comes the Bride” sign.
  • If your dog is well-behaved enough, have them sit next to the groomsmen/bridesmaids so they are truly a member of the wedding party.
With a little planning, your dog can definitely be a part of your big day. (Photo by Shutterstock)
With a little planning, your dog can definitely be a part of your big day. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Other considerations

  • While you may get really excited and want to include your dog in every part of the wedding process, have a safe place for them to hang out after the ceremony. The reception can be really loud and a little too much for even the friendliest pups.
  • It’s also important to rehearse with your dog as much as you can. The more they are familiar with the smells and sounds of the venue and the area around it, the easier things will be on the big day. Be sure to have them wear a special collar/sign/outfit before the day of the wedding, too. While it would be cute for your dog to stop in the middle of the aisle to roll around and try to get the sign off of her, I think we can all agree that it’s not ideal.
  • Also let your photographer and guests know that your dog will be there. This way no one will be surprised, and people with allergies will be prepared.
  • Make sure your flowers are dog-friendly. There are some plants and flowers that are actually poisonous to dogs.
  • And last, but not least, make an appointment for the groomer before the wedding. It may sound like common sense, but once you get caught up in everything that needs to be done in the weeks and days before your ceremony, you might forget. As much as we love our dogs, no one wants to actually smell like one on the big day.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Courtney and Gil's Beautiful Wedding in my Wedding Garden!

Courtney called me on March 9th about getting married in my garden. She and Gil and their little daughter, London, came over the next day to see it and we signed a contract and started working on the ceremony. 
On Wednesday April 12th, 2017, the wedding garden was all ready for their wedding. Their photographer, Amber Sullivan with AJS Photo Studio, arrived a few minutes early to scope out the setting. All the photos in this blog post are by Amber and they are stunning! Thank you, Amber! 
Their guests started arriving and Courtney hid out in the family room until everyone was there. London stayed close by and was ready to sprinkle the petals! Meanwhile Gil prepared the sand for the family unity sand ceremony.
 Courtney and her father Ricky are ready to enter the garden when given the signal! 
 I asked the guests to stand. Gil was beaming and London was in awe! 
And so we began with a welcome, a prayer, a tribute to the couple's parents and a blessing for London who wanted to know when she could pour her sand!
 Some words on love and marriage and the importance of this commitment they were making to each other. 
 Then they exchanged vows and rings. 
 Finally it is time to pour their sand together symbolizing their family unity. 
 They helped London pour hers in! 
 Next came a closing blessing for our couple.
  The pronouncement of marriage! 
 I invited them to celebrate with their first kiss as husband and wife! 
 The new Mr. and Mrs.! 
 After the wedding in my garden, they went with Amber to the JC Raulston Arboretum for photos. 
 These are so precious! 
 Beautiful! 
 This photo is simply breath-taking! 
Courtney is a beautiful woman and gorgeous bride! 
Gil and Courtney, congratulations! What a wonderful couple you are. Thank you for the honor of joining you in marriage. I wish you health and happiness all the days of your lives!