Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Sara and Jeff met online in Raleigh during a snowstorm when they were both snowbound. They had been matched up and the attraction was instant. A few days later they met in person and the attraction continued. It was not long before they were inseparable. A job offer took Jeff (a golf pro) to Boston where he is from and the relationship became long distance until Sara finished her term as a school teacher and could join him. On a return trip to Raleigh to be with their friends, Jeff surprised Sara with a proposal and of course she said yes! The wedding planning began in earnest. They chose Market Hall, a venue in City Market, downtown Raleigh. It was perfect for them. The date was July 22, 2017 and the weather was hot. Everyone was thankful they had chosen to have in indoor wedding! (I am so grateful to my friend and professional wedding photographer Kevin Seifert who came with me and took all these beautiful professional photographs!)
This brick building has had many lives--brewery, restaurant, meeting hall, you name it. Great place for a wedding and reception with plenty of parking and downtown scenes for pictures.
 The welcome table with guest book and programs. The color scheme is navy and coral. 
 The program is very original and creative with lots of humor--so reflective of Sara and Jeff!
The center of the area is cleared for the ceremony. After the ceremony, it becomes a dance floor surrounded by the tables and chairs.
The tables are flanking the sides, already set and ready to be moved after the ceremony. The couple and their families did all the florals themselves.
 Doing a sound check with our DJ.
Victor, on the right, and his assistant, Chance, learning the ropes on the left. Victor is the owner of All Events DJ and we do a lot of weddings together. It is so nice to work with the same vendors. Victor and his fiancé and DJ partner, Nina, are getting married soon but they have decided to elope to Jamaica and so they don't have to choose between friends in the wedding industry!
 Our Maid of Honor and sister of the bride, Jennifer signs as a witness on the marriage license. 
 Then it is Jeff's brother, Rob, our best man who signs next. 
This is our little flower dog, Lexi. She is adorable. So sweet and so friendly and calm, cool and collected!  
We are upstairs in an enclosed loft area overlooking the ceremony and reception area. This is where the wedding party hangs out before the ceremony.
 "Sara, I will see you at the end of the aisle!"
I sat down for a few minutes to review the ceremony script while the guests are hanging out in the back of the room.
A few words with David, the caterer with The Farmers' Table Restaurant Group. We did a wedding together Memorial Day weekend when Quentin was in charge. The food is exceptional. I was looking to see if I could see the strawberry shortcake in mason jars that Sara and Jeff chose to have instead of a wedding cake. But they were in the refrigerated truck outside.
Jessica with Happily Ever After Events got the guests seated, brought the wedding party and parents down the stairs to the sidewalk where we got lined up. Some of the groomsmen's boutonnieres were wobbly so I secured them with some extra pins I had in my book.
 And here we go! 
We had 4 groomsmen and a groomswoman, Juliana, on Jeff's side. They each had a special handshake for Jeff!
Nick--with Walker and Juliana looking on. 
 Colby had a handy towel to mop Jeff's face! 
 And then the bridesmaids processed in with Lexi and Jennifer last. Look at that little dress on Lexi! 
 A sniff of my hand and she took her place at the end of the row of bridesmaids where her bed awaited her. 
 Here comes the bride!
 Sara's father (also Jeff) answered my question and transferred Sara's hand into Jeff's then took his seat. 
 A warm welcome to everyone and remembrance of those who could not be with us. 
 Their professional photographer was Annie Watts and her second shooter. 
 I stepped out and asked their parents to stand. 
 On behalf of Sara and Jeff, I thanked them for their love and support all their lives. A tearful moment.
 And then it was time for their story. A good one too with lots of humor. 
 They are such a good match for each other! 
 Then they got to hear what they had each told me in confidence that they love about each other. 
 They exchanged their vows.
 Then their rings.
 Jeff says the words after me to Sara as he places the ring on her finger. 
 Then it is Sara's turn....
A closing blessing, the pronouncement of marriage then I invited them to share their first kiss as husband and wife.

 What a kiss, Jeff!!!
 Invitation for the guests to stand and join me in congratulating our newlyweds! 
 Good job, Lexi! 
Well, Jeff and Sara! You did it! Great wedding--a perfect reflection of the two of you. Thank you for choosing me to join you in marriage! I am honored. I wish you the best forever!!

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