Sealed with a kiss!

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Amy and Hank's wedding in Fuquay-Varina

Amy and Hank planned their wedding on May 31st to be held their home in South Raleigh but decided to move it a couple of weeks before the wedding to a house that Hank, a contractor, had built and has for sale in Fuquay-Varina. With about 50 guests in attendance, we had their wonderful ceremony in the back garden. It was a ceremony to which the couple added many personal stories and a quotation from one of Dani's favorite authors, Shel Silverstein, about "hug o wars!" Hank and Amy made vows to Dani and she reciprocated with vows of her own to them at her request. The ceremony was touching and sprinkled with funny quotes and stories about the couple's experiences together. I received many comments from the guests on how wonderful and refreshingly different the ceremony was. One couple told me they wished they had had me for their minister at their wedding a few years ago but will call me when they have their 10th anniversary for a renewal of vows ceremony. The ceremony was followed by a delicious pig pickin' and celebration and in the 90 degree weather, the shoes and coats came off fast!

Ruth and Gary marry in Kayelily's Wedding Garden

Ruth and Gary decided it was time to get married so they scheduled their small intimate wedding in my wedding garden on May 31st. It was a sweet ceremony attended by Gary's daughter, Laura, his friend Tracy, and his brother surprised them by flying in from California for the big event! Despite the humidity of the day, they were radiating happiness as they exchanged their vows and rings. My wedding garden is in my backyard and will accommodate about 15 guests for small private weddings.

Barbara and Jordy's wedding at Snipes Farm Retreat

Saturday morning May 31, 2008 on a grassy meadow in front of an old oak tree in the middle of the rolling countryside, Barbara and Jordy were married with their family and friends in attendance. It was a beautiful day with overcast skies and a refreshing breeze making it perfect for photographs. I am sure their photographer, Tracey Franks, got many wonderful pictures of the beautiful affair. Tracey is so much fun to work with and has such an eye for getting great shots. It was good to see her again.

Barbara and Jordy planned an informal garden wedding with about 80 guests. You can see in the photographs that the big old tree, the rolling meadows and the pond make a lovely backdrop for a wedding. They cleverly put hanging baskets of purple flowers on shepherd's hooks for a simple but elegant frame for the ceremony. Yep, purple was the color scheme. Her bridesmaids wore varying shades of purple, I dressed to match, and they even had a wedding cake with purple trim icing! Have fun and I wish you all the best, Barbara and Jordy!

Snipes Farm Retreat was originally an old dairy farm years ago but Roger Snipes has turned it into a wonderful party place. It is located in Chapel Hill but one must go through part of Carrboro to get there off Hwy 54. It is quiet and serene but also casual and laid back. A great place for a wedding and I have done many there through the years! .

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Retirement Day for Mary and Family

This post may seem unrelated to weddings, but read on! Yesterday, 5/29/08, I went back to the place from which I retired in 2006 to celebrate the retirement of a good friend, Mary. She and I worked for Disability Determination Services in both Georgia and NC, and what's more amazing is that her husband, Dave, and I went to high school in Georgia together and we have all ended up living in Raleigh!

In August of 2003, I officiated the wedding of their daughter, Jennifer, to Martin, which took place at Long View Center in downtown Raleigh. Long View Center is one of the most elegant church-like settings in this whole area and I love doing weddings there. I even go there just about every Sunday because the church I belong to, Unity Church of the Triangle, is also located within Long View Center. Jen and Martin had a beautiful wedding with a musical interlude played on the grand piano by her brother, David, who is a classical pianist, readings by family members, the unity candle, and celebratory trumpet solo for the exit of the newlywed couple followed by a festive reception at the Velvet Cloak. So, I got to see all of them again at the party this week. Jen and Martin and their adorable son, Edison, traveled from New Jersey where Martin is a professor at Princeton to be with Mary on this wonderful day, a new chapter in all their lives.

Congratulations on your retirement, Mary! It was so good to see you, Jen and Martin and Edison! You too, Dave!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Heather and Travis wed at Doubletree Suites on May 25th

Heather and Travis planned a beautiful wedding at Doubletree Suites in Durham with the help of Amy Acosta, the catering director there. And, brides, they have a white carpet runner which I was so glad to see! The big reception tent at Doubletree has been "renovated" and now has billowing ceiling drapes and chandeliers and can be air conditioned and heated. It was beautiful!

I was delighted to see Lenny Fritts, one of my favorite DJs there too. We all love working together and making the wedding ceremony and reception flow behind the scenes so the couple can have a fabulous wedding experience. The lake and patio area for the wedding was beautifully decorated and after a rehearsal on Saturday morning, we all knew what to do.

I have so many great photos of this wedding I could not eliminate any of them. The colors of the wedding were the lovely "clover green" that is so popular this year and it is a great color for everyone. Way to go, Travis and Heather!

This must be the weekend for flower girls! Heather and Travis' flower girl, Kayla, was a little princess and I know she will grow up to be a movie star or model. She walked down the aisle with such poise and confidence. I couldn't help taking more pictures of her for the blog.

Ted and Emily's Wedding at Fearrington on May 25th

It is hard to find a wedding setting more beautiful than the gardens of Fearrington House Country Inn and a wedding director more experienced and on the ball than Gilda McDaniels, Special Events Manager! I always enjoy the weddings I officiate there.

Emily and Ted's wedding in the Crabtree Courtyard flowed smoothly amidst the sweet fragrance of the flowers surrounding us. Even Fei Fei, their very young flowergirl, Emily's niece, amazingly made it down the aisle all by herself. See photo of Gilda cueing her to start walking down the aisle! Fei Fei is the daughter of Emily's brother (best man) and Li-Ling (maid of honor). Shortly after the wedding ceremony started I saw her scurry over to join her Grandmother Jane on the first row. Emily's father was a bit nervous as he "handed her over" to Ted so fast I did not have time to ask him THE question until he was already seated!
It is not often that the groom writes the wedding ceremony but Ted is the exception. He practically wrote the whole ceremony using my material and adding in his own, with Emily's approval, of course. The vows he wrote with touches of sweet humor were so fitting for them. I could tell that the guests thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony. The music was provided by a string trio arranged by Corda Entertainment. They were spectacular. After the ceremony all the guests adjourned to The Garden Terrace for lunch.
Lynn Loomis of Lynn's Traditions provided the beautiful wedding cake. You can see it in the photo taken before the flowers were added. It was great to see Lynn and her husband, Bill, again.

A couple I married a few years ago, Ann Marie and Sean, who referred Emily and Ted to me, came up to say hello after the ceremony as I was packing up my sound system! I loved seeing them again! I remember their ceremony in May 2004 so clearly and since then have performed baby blessing ceremonies for their two daughters. Thanks, Ann Marie and Sean!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wendy and David wed at The Landmark

Memorial Day weekend is quite a popular time to get married. It gives your guests an extra day of travel and the couple a longer weekend for their wedding festivities. Consequently it is one of the busiest weekends of the year for me!

Wendy and Dave had a gorgeous wedding on Saturday May 24th at The Landmark Hall and Garden in Garner, right off I-40. It was evident that they put a lot of time and thought into their wedding day. Wendy made the wedding programs and they rank as one of the best I have seen--and I have seen a lot! I collect extra leftover wedding programs to share with my couples for ideas for theirs. Wendy and Dave also provided their guests with straw fans and the guests turned the fans in as they left the garden to go to the reception. Now Wendy has a lot of straw fans and she would be happy to share with another couple for their wedding! Anyone interested, just contact me! (These fans are not available in stores locally so you can't wait to the last minute to get them --unless you make a deal with Wendy!)

On with their wedding...........DJ Phil Matthews provided the ceremony music via Landmark's built in sound system and he helped me hook my wireless theater mike into their system. Thanks, Dr. Phil! He was DJing the reception too. Karen Harmych, the wedding director--new to this area from Orlando--did a superb job of organizing the wedding party and prompting them to process in. The photographer for the wedding was Sarah Taylor and the videographer was Neal with whom I have worked before.

Wendy's 3 daughters Amanda, Samantha, and Madeline (yes, triplets!) age 5 stole the show! See photo of them waiting in the parking lot before the wedding and again just before they entered. Wendy was escorted in by her Dad, Ken, who is a college professor of geology in Iowa.
Dave's brother, Stace, was his best man and Dave's good friend Sandra was the "groomswoman." You can see them in the photo with me before the wedding.

Wendy and Dave chose to have the sand ceremony to include their triplets. Wendy's sand was from California, Dave's was from Florida, and the girls' sand was from their sandbox! Part of the words of the sand ceremony goes like this "Since these grains of sand can never be separated and placed into separate containers...." After the wedding, Wendy's dad whispered to me that he specializes in earthquakes and volcanos and he could actually separate those grains of sand! He was a funny guy! It was indeed a beautiful wedding and a great setting for the nuptials.

One thing that we do that the photographers encourage is to have the wedding party sequester themselves after the wedding out of sight of the guests while the guests to proceed to the reception. This way, right after the wedding, we can get all the pictures done before the wedding party scatters then they are introduced as they enter the reception area. After Wendy and Dave's wedding we actually had to shoo the guests out of the pretty garden area before we could do the photos! All the best, Wendy and Dave and family!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Christie and Charles wed in the Raulston Arboretum Rose Garden

Today was a wonderful day for Christie and Charles's serene garden wedding surrounded by their families and closest friends in the Finley-Nottingham Rose Garden at NC State’s JC Raulston Arboretum. In their ceremony we remembered Charles' daughter, Isabella, who unfortunately could not be with us for the wedding and paid tribute to all the grandparents and parents who were with us. We also included a cup of wine ceremony in remembrance of Christie's grandfather who has passed on but was with us in spirit. They read their beautiful vows to each other and exchanged rings. The pronouncement was made followed by their first kiss as husband and wife and it was time for picture taking and a reception celebration at La Residence in Chapel Hill where I also do a lot of patio weddings. Thanks to Amanda Byrne (sweetheart of Christie's brother) for these great photos! She really has a good eye for composition! Amanda told me that she enjoys taking pictures as a hobby on the side of her regular work at a non-profit and would be happy to work with couples on a limited budget for their wedding.

Best of everything, Christie and Charles!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Interfaith Wedding May 17th at Rose Hill Plantation

Ben and Diane live in Virginia but fell in love with Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville NC and wanted to be married in this beautiful setting. They found me by internet and we made all arrangements months before we actually met in person. E-mail is a wonderful thing! Although we rehearsed Friday night in the rain, their wedding day was clear and crisp and just enough breeze to keep the bugs at bay--for the most part! They wisely had some bug spray handy near the guest book. Diane's father is deceased and her lovely program told the guests that the special floral arrangement on the gazebo was in his honor and for others in their families who had passed on.
Diane's mother and grandfather escorted the radiant bride down the brick aisle into the hands of Ben who towers over her but is oh so gentle! For the Christian component of the ceremony we had a reading of First Corinthians and from the Jewish tradition Ben got to "put his foot down" and crush the glass as we shouted Mazeltov followed by the kiss! I had given them homework at the rehearsal to practice their kissing for the ceremony and you could sure tell they had been "practicing!" Mike and Kristi Brantley of Brantley Studios out of Nashville did the photography and a string trio provided the music.

A Very Special Wedding in Durham

I had not met the bride, Ann, or the groom, Paul, before the wedding on May 17th but I had corresponded by email with Ann for several weeks prior to their wedding getting the ceremony just right for them. She explained to me that she had been born with out hands and fingers and therefore Paul was giving her a bracelet instead of a ring in the ceremony. She explained that she has learned to use a keyboard and gets along wonderfully despite her physical deficits. When I arrived for the wedding I also observed that she had artificial legs as well. But with help she walked out onto the deck and joined Paul for their ceremony. It was very special, as you can imagine. She wore a lovely off white dress that was new but looked retro to 1940, especially with the hat and veil! I felt so honored to be a part of their lives and joining them in marriage. Their guests--about 40--watched from the backyard as the two exchanged their promises to each other. I watched with fascination as Ann placed the ring on Paul's finger. She is amazing! They seem very happy and contented with each other and their love for each other just radiated from them. What a happy day! Way to go, Ann and Paul!

Wonderful Wedding under the Wisteria!

Lynn and Richard have been together 10 years and decided to make their commitment to each other in front of their family and friends. They were joined in marriage in a beautiful and touching ceremony with about 80 guests as witnesses on May 17th. Lynn's twin brother, Lee, was the best man and the maid of honor was Lynn's older sister, Melanie, who is also a twin. Lots of twins run in her family! What a sparkling day for a garden wedding. The wedding was held in Willow Springs on a terrace adjoining an elegant villa used as a wellness center. The ceremony took place under what must have been a very old wisteria arbor judging by the size of the trunks of the vine! It was a stunning venue.

Special wedding ceremony before Groom is deployed...

Kat and David contacted me about 10 days before they wanted to get married. David is in the Army and being deployed 5/21. They did not want to go to the courthouse and be married by a magistrate in a 5 minute standard ceremony but wanted to be surrounded by their family and friends to celebrate this momentous occasion in their lives. We made all the arrangements to have the wedding in her parents' front yard in North Hills and her sisters all managed to find lovely red dresses!

So, on May 17th we had a beautiful and memorable wedding celebration for Kat and David with their family and a few friends. They will take their completed marriage license to the Wake County Register of Deeds Monday and get it processed on the spot so that Kat can be recognized as David's wife by the military. Wake County also gives the couple a free certified copy because they are active military. All the best, Kat and David!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weddings at Beautiful Crenshaw Hall in Wake Forest

At the invitation of Anna Aycock, wedding director at Crenshaw Hall on Old Hwy 98 just minutes from Raleigh, Marty (my roadie) and I were treated to a tour of the property. The old Southern Mansion and Estate was inherited by Joyce and John Bennett (read the fascinating history of this 200 year plantation on their website) and they have been working diligently to turn it into one of Raleigh's most elegant wedding venues. In the photos you will see the pavilion which is not quite finished, the bell tower, Louisa Room downstairs, and the Bride's dressing room upstairs--it's the photo that Anna is trying to back out of! (She did not plan on me bringing my camera today!)

I officiated the unforgettable wedding of Ann Marie and Sean Kernick there four years ago almost to the day (see photos) and wondered what had happened to the estate. Today I saw that since then lots of renovation and restoration work has been done to both the interior and the exterior including construction of a pavilion for outdoor weddings that can be moved to different sites on the 5 acres of land. The Louisa and Eliza Rooms of the mansion can accommodate lovely indoor weddings during the winter months and inclement weather. A large tent will be erected on the side yard for receptions and the original kitchen building is upfitted for caterers.

Brides planning weddings for the fall of 2008 and in 2009 and beyond should definitely check out Crenshaw Hall for their wedding!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Sweet Thank You Note from a wedding couple...

I got a thank you note today from a couple whose wedding was on May 3rd. (See earlier post.)


Straight from our hearts

This thank you is sent

To tell you how much

Your thoughtfulness meant.

Thank you for the beautiful service.

Much love,

Dan and Muneeba

May 2008"
Thank you, Dan and Muneeba!