Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, May 1, 2017


I met Leslie and Pablo last November and they hired me to officiate their wedding on April 22nd, 2017 at the recently renovated and redecorated Doubletree by Hilton.
The reception room complete with dance floor!  Kevin Seifert was generous to come along with me to photograph the wedding since my husband Dave was off on a men's retreat that weekend. Kevin did a superb job taking these photos in the low-light conditions. The couple's photographer was Cassie with FireRose Photography. I am sure she got some wonderful images too.
Eric Hodgden is the owner of All Around Raleigh DJ and a member of the NC Wedding Ring with me and Kevin Seifert and Ed Carpp who owns Watkins Flowers of Distinction and supplied the gorgeous flowers for this wedding. So 4 of us "Ringers" worked this wedding together.
Kevin scouted around the reception area for the nice little touches for the wedding. Here are the place cards. 
Chalkboard flanking the favors. 
Sweet favors! 
The tables are ready! 
The Sweetheart table.
Edible Art supplied the cake for cutting and the cupcakes. 
Can you tell that purple is Leslie's favorite color? 
The guest book and the unplugged wedding sign. Everyone was really good about this. 
Everything is ready but lighting the floating candles and the votive on the Unity Candle table. 
The beautiful flowers flank the Unity Candle table. 
The comfortable lobby of the hotel.
The water feature.
Raleigh people remember this as the Brownstone Hotel which it was for many, many years. A few years ago Hilton bought it and transformed it into the Doubltree by Hilton. They have done a nice job. The hotel is on Hillsborough Street right down from NC State and close in to downtown Raleigh. 
Callie on the left is with the hotel. Eric and I are talking with her about how things were going. 
It was time to light the floating candles but no one could locate a torch-lighter. It is impossible to light floating candles with a cigarette lighter they soon found out! Having had this happen before, I always carry a torch-lighter in my car so I dashed out to the parking lot and got that plus another stick candle lighter and gave one to the staff while I lit the Unity Candle votive.
Staff member returning the stick lighter to me. Sure does come in handy! There is nowhere in downtown Raleigh to buy a torch lighter--no convenient stores, department stores, and the drug store closes early.
So now that the candles are lit, we are ready! 
Leslie's family had brought an iPad to stream the wedding to her grandparents who could not come.
And so it was set up on a table in the back of the room. 
We are getting all lined up now! 
Cassie in action! 
Eric comes over to check and see if we are ready. The order of the processional was changed the morning of the wedding and so we needed to coordinate the music too.
JJ is our director and also sister of the groom! She was definitely a take charge person and good to have direct.  I am pointing out to her that there are many chairs in the front that are empty and could she ask people sitting in the back to move forward? She did. There were Reserved signs in the closer seats that should not have been reserved.
Lemont, our best man, on the left, seems to be deep in thought as Leslie's brother, Lewis, is getting his attention. 
After the groomsmen and I entered, Pablo was escorted in by his parents and they lit his candle and were seated. Then the bride's parents entered and lit her candle and her dad returned to bring in Leslie. Then the bridesmaids entered one at the time.
Then Lizbeth our flower girl entered. 
Time for our beautiful bride and her proud papa! 
They turn the corner and float down the aisle.
As I was welcoming the guests a tear slipped out of Leslie's eye and Pablo reached over and wiped it away with his finger. Time to get out my hankie!
I asked the guests to join me in prayer then we remembered those who could not be with us. 
Then I stepped out from behind the couple to address their parents and pay tribute to them for their love and support of their children who were joining in marriage this day.
The iPad is getting it all! 
Then it was time for their story! It was filled with laughter and tears! 
And a little bit more laughter!
Then I stepped back into place behind them and revealed their secret paragraphs to them. Sweetness and even more laughter!
At this point, I pulled out a second hankie and handed it to Pablo as I said to the guests: "This is a two-hankie wedding!"
They made their vows to each other and sealed them with their rings. 
We stepped back and they lit their Unity Candle. 
"Time to check noses because the kiss is coming up right after the pronouncement of marriage!" 
Yes, their first kiss as husband and wife!
So happy to be married!!
I make my way back to the DJ table to give Eric the body pack then head out to the front of the hotel to catch a photo with the couple before Cassie takes them somewhere else for more photos.
They were so thrilled with the ceremony! 
Congrats, Leslie and Pablo. What a great wedding for a great couple! I wish you the best always.

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