Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Xiaoxing and Robert Wed at The Butterfly House!

What a truly wonderful wedding for two wonderful people! I did not meet Xiaoxing and Robert in person until the day of their rehearsal. But by then I knew them quite well having worked with them by email to create their most wonderful ceremony that was truly a reflection of the two of them. I thank Kevin Seifert (Kevin Seifert Photography) for these beautiful photos of this wedding.
Their wedding was on April 30, 2017 at the Museum of Life and Science at the Butterfly House. When Kevin who was with me to photograph the wedding for this blog, and I arrived, the couple had completed their First Look and Xiaoxing, looking like a princess, was outside on the bench talking with her friend who was our translator for the ceremony.
The weather was touch and go. It had rained a little bit on me while driving to Durham but when I got there it had stopped and Robert and I agreed that it was back to Plan A instead of the tent! I am fixing his boutonniere here.
A fantastic couple who grew up on opposite sides of the planet and met at Duke. It was destiny! 
The florist was Whole Foods! Beautiful! 
Our translator was going over the mechanics of the devices that transmitted what she was saying in Chinese to those guests who only spoke Chinese. She spoke the script at the same time I did. Cool!
These rented battery-operated transmitters and ear buds are what tour guides use on cruises. I had seen that in 2015 when on a cruise and suggested this solution for a Spanish-English bilingual wedding last year and mentioned it to Xiaoxing and Robert since they had guests who only spoke Chinese. Worked like a charm!
The couple hired Stacy Newburg with Events by Memory Lane as their wedding planner. She attended to all the little details for these very busy two people. Two weeks after this wedding Robert graduated from medical school and Xiaoxing is in the PhD program and travels back and forth overseas for months at the time.
The Butterfly House is the perfect setting for such a scientific couple! And stunningly beautiful as well.
Victor with All Events DJ was all ready for me to plug my mic into his body pack and do a sound check. His assistant was doing a bit of on the job training that day!
Stacy is pouring the wine for the Wine Unity Ceremony. 
During the ceremony they each took a sip from the wine in the glasses representing their separate lives and separate families. Then they poured the rest of the wine into the red decanter. Then I poured the blended wine into the two small tumblers from which they drank with arms intertwined representing their promise of unity from this point on.
Going over our cues. She stood back behind the guests so as not to distract the English speaking guests. I found out that reading the Chinese is faster than reading the words in English. Who would have guessed? As I began a paragraph, she began the same paragraph and I would look up at her and see if she was finished. Always!
This beautiful cake is by Whole Foods as well. 
The couple's photographer was Morgan Henderson and their videographer was K2 Productions. Morgan has already posted some of her beautiful photos on Facebook and I am looking forward to seeing the video.
The tent did not have to be shifted into the ceremony area after all. There were some clouds but the rain did not fall on us!
Before the ceremony these guests are having fun taking a selfie!
Time to begin! Robert's parents entered first then Robert and I followed! 
The wedding party entered and Xiaoxing and her mother Haiying waited for Stacy on the left to cue for her entrance. We were so disappointed that Xiaoxing's father, Lishan, could not make it to the wedding. His Visa application was still pending due to background screening on his research in Material Science.
Xiaoxing and Haiying make their entrance! 
After a welcome to all from all over the world, we remembered those not with us and a blessing for the couple's families. Family is very important to these two people.
Then I got to launch into the story of how these two found each other, fell in love and decided to marry.
Robert was born in China and his parents moved to the US when he was one. So he grew up in the American culture. Xiaoxing was born in China and went to medical school there. They both ended up at Duke in 2013. They met one night when some friends of Robert's threw a party after a big exam. Xiaoxing almost did not go to the party but in retrospect they are both very grateful that she did.
Robert was very intrigued by this beautiful Chinese woman and had a lot of questions about how she happened to be there. The next day he located her on Facebook and invited her out for coffee.
And really, the rest is, as they say, history! They fell hard for each other and the match was perfect. 
Despite rigorous academic schedules they managed to make time to be together and bonded most strongly because of their family values.
There was quite a bit of humor in the ceremony as you can see. The guests were really into it. It is such a delight to tell such a charming and heart-warming story.
After the story came the secret paragraphs that they had not yet heard about what they told me they love about each other, why they want to marry and what they are looking forward to. Very touching.
They read their vows to each other then exchanged rings.

They were really enjoying this! 
Pouring their wine together.....
Then I poured the blended wine into their red tumblers. 
They did that so beautifully! 
After pronouncing them married I invited Robert to kiss the bride. At first I thought they were going to dance! 
Robert had no qualms about making sure there were plenty of photos of the kiss! 
"Ahh! We did it!"
Get your bouquet.....
And away they go! 
They retreated to the dressing area in the Butterfly House while I put away my microphone and talked to guests who came up to me after the ceremony to say it was the most wonderful wedding ceremony they had ever heard. I just love getting these compliments. Robert is SO HAPPY!
Xiaoxing has changed into the traditional Chinese red wedding dress.
Kevin rounded us up for a great group shot of parents and wedding party. Congratulations to you, Xiaoxing and Robert. I adored working with you. Thank you for giving me the honor of joining you in marriage!

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