Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Heather and Chris Get Married at Bella Napoli!

Last May I met with Heather and Chris to plan their wedding ceremony for September 28, 2008 at Bella Napoli, an Italian restaurant in Cary. Originally their plans were to have the ceremony outside on the patio but they later decided to have it inside the restaurant. They planned on having about 50 guests for their festive celebration. It was a second marriage for both of them and they wanted a ceremony that spoke to their hearts. So, I wrote a special ceremony for them and emailed it to them for their review and changes. Together we created a final ceremony which acknowledged the choices they had made in the past and the lessons they had learned that had shaped and re-shaped their hearts. Theirs is not just another relationship; it is the consequence and fulfillment of all those that have gone before. It is the last and the best.

When I arrived for their wedding everyone was almost ready. Their photographer, Jeffrey Huber, was on board but had a limited amount of time he could be there. At 1:00 we were all ready to begin but the musician had not yet arrived. We waited about 10 minutes and he called and said he was stuck in the traffic of the golf tournament going on that afternoon. We waited another 10 minutes but because of the photographer's limited time with us, Heather and Chris decided to do the ceremony without the music. Lucia, the owner of the restaurant was great! She was very accommodating and pushed the dining timetable back to allow for a later start and provided background dining music for the processional and recessional! Thanks, Lucia.
After the ceremony was completed and the couple and I were going outside for photos, the musician showed up! Althouh he missed the ceremony, he was there to provide music and vocals for the reception. The delicious aromas of the food wafting through the restaurant assured everyone that they would enjoy the reception immensely despite the musical glitch!
Congratulations and all the best, Heather and Chris!

Michael and Leslie Wed at the Page Walker Gallery!

Caroline Sewell of Encore Events contacted me in June about officiating the wedding of her clients, Michael and Leslie at the Page Walker Gallery in Cary on September 27, 2008. She explained that she normally does not handle wedding events, but had found me on the internet and later spoken with her friend and colleague Angie Wright of Chic Details, a wedding planner, who told her that she had found the right minister! So, we got the paperwork done and I started the ceremony creation process with Michael and Leslie via email. We did not meet until their wedding day. They wanted something short and sweet. Michael also happened to mention in our correspondence how funny he thought the wedding was in The Princess Bride. Hmmm.....having done a quote from that movie in a previous wedding, I wrote a ceremony for them that included “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethaw today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam...” my opening words of the ceremony. He loved it and Leslie said go for it! I just knew from that they would be a fun couple to marry.

The wedding day of September 27th arrived. My husband Dave and I arrived about 30 minutes ahead of time and got my mike and receiver plugged into DJ Jerry Reid's sound system and did a sound check. I spoke with Keith Papke, the photographer. I met Michael in the parking lot, got the marriage license, and we stood around waiting for Leslie to arrive. Michael was so excited and a bit nervous, of course, as he should be!

There were about 60 guests and they stood on the lawn of the courtyard forming an aisle for the bride who did show up much to Michael's relief --although she was not late! She and her father swept down the aisle and after her dad gave her hand to Michael, they stepped up onto the terrace with me for the ceremony. At that moment I started speaking the words from The Princess Bride! I loved doing it! I would say that most of the guests were familiar with the words and just cracked up! Michael and Leslie did too! Those who did not get it, just thought I had a terrible temporary speech impediment! After I spoke a few words normally, I asked the guests did they really think they had to listen to the whole ceremony the way it began--another good laugh! As I said, the ceremony was short but very sweet and endearing and everyone loved witnessing the bride and groom get married. Apparently it had been a long time coming!

Have a great mawwiage, Leslie and Michael!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

After Hurricane Hanna Spoiled Their Plans for a September 6th Wedding, Jane and Jim Got Married on September 21st!

Jane and Jim were referred to me by a friend at Unity Church of the Triangle where I am an active member. They had both been married before and wanted a small intimate wedding with just family and friends. They loved my wedding garden so we made plans for their wedding on September 6th. They also wanted premarital counseling to make sure they were not overlooking a stumbling block in their relationship and were on solid ground for marriage since they had been disappointed in the past. They took the inventory I sent them online and their couple profile was generated which measured their compatibility and predicted the viability of their partnership. I was delighted to tell them that they were extremely compatible with each other and that this marriage was surely made in heaven for them! They were thrilled and really enjoyed our sessions in which we went over all 15 areas critical to the success of a marriage partnership. We also worked together to create a wonderful ceremony for their wedding which would express their love for each other and their belief in their relationship. They wanted the sand ceremony and the blessing of the rings included. They told me that they did not want artificially colored sand but natural sand and found some at Petco in the reptile department for aquariums. It was coarser than the craft store sand and in a pretty sand color and rust color. In the meantime the wedding date was drawing near and Hurricane Hanna was gaining strength and heading straight for Raleigh. We hung on until the last minute then decided to postpone. It was a disappointment but necessary since Governor Easley announced that no one should be on the road that day. After exploring my busy wedding schedule this month we decided on Sunday morning the 21st. It turned out to be a most glorious day weather-wise and wedding-wise! While I was delivering the ceremony a bird just burst into song! I thought, how appropriate! It was such a happy wedding. We lined up and had Jane and Jim walk through our lines while we blew bubbles on them. Afterwards Jane wrote me "It was the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to!" Well, you two deserve it! Congratulations and best wishes always!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Gorgeous Wedding at Raleigh Country Club!

Carrie and Brandon had a wonderful wedding celebration at Raleigh Country Club on Saturday September 20, 2008 at 6:30 PM. What a great place for a wedding and reception and the weather was perfect--a bit overcast and low humidity! I brought my Fender sound system, Shure receiver, Countryman wireless theater mike, and battery pack and Marty and I set it up about 45 minutes before the wedding and did a sound check. Their wedding ceremony took place out behind the clubhouse on the green with a lovely floral backdrop designed by Kate Foster who also directed and coordinated the wedding with the help of her assistant, Lilly. Thanks, Kate and Lilly. It is such a pleasure to just wait with the groom and groomsmen and be told when to walk down the aisle instead of having to be in charge of the wedding. Carrie and Brandon had eight attendants each so it was quite a processional for their 200 guests!

I did a wedding back in about 2002 at Raleigh Country Club. At that time it was floundering on the brink of bankruptcy and had become somewhat unkempt. I was delighted to find that since then it has been purchased by a private individual who also owns Treyburn Country Club in Durham and Cardinal Club in downtown Raleigh, two elegant venues where I also do weddings. The Raleigh Country Club has been beautifully transformed and is pristine in its buildings, decor, and landscape--a real makeover--and it is thriving. I hope to do many more weddings there in the future.

Carrie and Brandon went all out for their wedding and hired terrific vendors to make their wedding first class. Carrie told me that the minute she had her date set and venue booked, she hired the Crush band. She had enjoyed them for 10 years and always envisioned Crush playing at her wedding reception. And, she fulfilled that wish! Crush is a very popular dance band around the Triangle--even I had heard of them and how good they were. She also had Donna Ford of Sweet Memories create a beautiful wedding cake with blue trim that matched the color of her bridesmaids dresses and the color scheme of the wedding. F8 Photo Studio photographers Jonathan and Cara covered the wedding and her musicians were the Stalberg String Trio put together by Mary Greiner of Musicians' Booking Agency. The wedding I did last weekend had the Stalberg String Quartet also put together by MBA. Beautiful music for weddings! Wayne Young of Cinema One Studio did the videography and Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs did the floral arrangements for the reception and the bouquets for the bride and attendants. The Country Club catered the event and the food looked scrumptious although I did not stay for the reception to taste it.

Carrie's father escorted her in and transferred her hand into Brandon's. Carrie is a beautiful bride and had on a gorgeous wedding gown. Brandon is a really handsome guy too! I gave the guests a warm welcome and told them how important they were to Carrie and Brandon. We had an opening prayer and remembered the loved ones who could not be with us. Words on love and marriage followed which flowed into the blessing of the hands ceremony which flowed into the vows. Then they exchanged rings and I made the happy pronouncement of marriage and invited them to share their first kiss as husband and wife. We closed with a blessing for their new life together and I introduced the newlyweds to their guests. And, out we went to take photos while the guests retired to the bar area for cocktails prior to the reception. The sun was setting and it was a beautiful sky over the green lawns. Crush was striking up the band for the reception as Marty and I packed up my sound system and went home--rather weary after 4 weddings that day.
You had a great wedding, Carrie and Brandon! Congratulations to you both!

Maureen and Doug's Wedding at the Clock Tower in Bedford!

Doug and Maureen contacted me last February to officiate their wedding on 9/20/08 in Raleigh. Turns out they also wanted to take my Preparation for Marriage premarital counseling program as well to be sure they were well-matched. They told me they had met on e-Harmony and felt their relationship was much more comfortable than past marriages and relationships. I have counseled several couples who have been matched up by e-Harmony and I must say, e-Harmony does a very good job. Maureen and Doug took an inventory I gave them and it showed that they were very compatible. I had fun working with them to smooth out some rough spots that could arise in the future and got to know them well as a couple. So, it was a delight to officiate their wedding.
It turned out to be quite a windy day at the clock tower and we turned off one fountain due to the noise factor. Doug and his son, Andrew, arrived on the scene followed by the guests. Maureen arrived in a limo with her "flower girls" Chloe, Doug's daughter, and Allysa, his niece, and Maureen's son, Daniel, who escorted her in. The guests gathered around and I delivered the ceremony that Doug and Maureen had put together. Doug's son-in-law, Nathan presented words on marriage and Kelly, Maureen's daughter, who could not be with us had pre-recorded a poem which was played for the guests. We did a "pretend" Unity Candle lighting--it was just too windy-- with plans for the couple to actually do it again indoors at the clubhouse where the reception was held. They made their vows to each other and exchanged rings and I made the pronouncement of marriage. Following the kiss, I introduced the couple to their guests who crowded around them with congratulations. In the meantime, Andrew and Daniel and I went aside to get their signatures on the marriage license. Anne Wilson was busy taking photos of the couple. We have worked weddings together before and she is on the ball! They hired two good friends of mine, Hollis Brown, violinist, and Cindi Johnson, pianist and vocalist, to play at their wedding. Marty, my roadie, and I arrived to find Cindi and Hollis already set up and running through the music. They are terrific, but of course I am biased. Cindi, Hollis and I all sing in a seven-voice women's a capella group we call Spirit Sisters. We have a lot of fun together. You can find Hollis and Cindi's contact information on my website here.
All the best to you, Doug and Maureen!

Kate and Derreck's Wedding at Home in Holly Springs!

Kate and Derreck wanted to have their wedding in their backyard and the reception in the front yard! So, they landscaped the backyard, installed a fence and created an altar for the ceremony with a pretty wooden arbor. They had a tent erected on the front yard and put tables and chairs underneath. Their cake was baked by a neighbor and placed on an elaborate cake stand that was in Derreck's family. They hired a photographer and DJ team: Tricia Bristow, photographer, and her husband, Brooks, Just Tunes DJ, 359-8558. We rehearsed the day before and were all ready for their great wedding.

There were 6 bridesmaids and their black dresses with bright red/orange flowers were very attractive. Derreck did not come up with 6 corresponding groomsmen, only 4, but they were all so handsome in their black suits. They had three readings and a symbolic tree planting dedication in the ceremony. The weather was perfect and we all had a great time. Kate and Derreck, congratulations!

Tara and Mark Marry in Kayelily's Wedding Garden!

Weddings in my garden are always fun and usually informal. I had two here this past weekend.

Surrounded by their friends and family, Tara and Mark made their vows to each other and exchanged rings on Saturday morning 9/20/08 in a spiritual ceremony. Their two year old daughter, Breklen, was very much a part of the festivities running around in her sparkly purple shoes. Tara was escorted in by her father carrying Breklen. Mark and Tara chose to have the unity sand ceremony and included their parents and sibling families to create layers of heritage and relationships into which they poured their sand adding their marriage layer and Breklen to the generations. It was a beautiful ceremony and the weather was perfect! What a good looking family!

Renewal of Vows Ceremony at The Umstead!

Simon and Janet came to see me in January to plan their renewal of vows ceremony. They were married on 9/19/1998 in Wakefield England and many of their friends were unable to attend that ceremony. They wanted to have a renewal of vows ceremony and invite everyone and chose the date exactly 10 years later, 9/19/08, and The Umstead for their elegant affair. Theirs was a second marriage in 1998 which also brought together their children, now grown up, who were the attendants at the renewal ceremony. Janet and Simon used my ceremony material and wrote a lot of their own to create a beautiful recommitment ceremony. They decided to include the sand ceremony and invited not only their children to pour sand but all the guests and me as well. It was very meaningful. Joe Bunn was the DJ for the event and as usual helped me plug my mike into The Umstead sound system--thanks, Joe, I know I can always count on you! Shane Snider was the photographer. Go to this link to see the slideshow of the event by Shane. Donna Ford of Sweet Memories created an original cupcake style wedding cake. Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs did the lovely florals. Ami and Leah of The Umstead made sure we all processed in order and handled all the logistics behind the scenes. Whenever I do weddings at The Umstead I can count on every detail to be handled in a professional and efficient manner. Thanks, Ami and Leah. As usual, it was an elegant event. The best of everything to you, Janet and Simon! See you again in 2018?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kayelily's Couple are Biggest Losers!

Heba and Ed were married on November 4, 2006 at Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville NC. It was a chilly evening and I remember it well. Their ceremony was held in the Gentlemen's Lounge in front of the huge fireplace. All the sofas and tables had been cleared out and chairs for the guests filled the room. It was packed with their friends and families. It was a grand event. The ceremony started a bit late due to a delay in the shuttle arriving from Raleigh with a bus load of guests. Ed, his groomsmen and I waited outside the side door getting chilled until our cue to enter. The ceremony Ed and Heba created from my material was short and sweet but very meaningful and a reflection of their love for each other and their guests. We began with a warm welcome to their guests and they gave Ed and Heba their enthusiastic support of their marriage in a community blessing. The couple had written their own tender vows and read them to each other from my book as they exchanged rings. Then following the pronouncement and big kiss, we closed with a cheering blessing and I introduced the newlyweds to their guests. Then the couple and their wedding party and I exited outside for photos.

I got to know Ed and Heba well in the months before their big day because they wisely chose to do my Preparation for Marriage premarital counseling program. They were thrilled that the relationship analysis showed they were a good match and their prospects for a happy and satisfying marriage were excellent. We worked through some areas of potential future pitfalls and practiced communication and conflict resolution techniques. I was delighted that they related to each other honestly and without reservations and were willing to listen and understand each other. They were a delightful couple to work with and I loved officiating their ceremony uniting them in marriage.
In August of this year 2008, I got a call from NBC's The Biggest Loser show wanting me to sign a release because Ed and Heba were going to be contestants on the show and they wanted to use some wedding photos that included me. I gladly signed and even sent them more photos that I had of their wedding. The show premiered this season on September 16th and there they were! It was so good to see them again and working so diligently to lose weight. There were a couple of their wedding photos shown and there I was on national TV! Thanks, Heba and Ed. They are forbidden from revealing the results of the show until all the episodes air--so I don't know if they will be the "biggest losers" or not. If they are not, it will not be due to any lack of enthusiasm and hard work on their part and I know that whether they win or not, they will still be "big losers!" They are dedicated individuals and their love for each other inspires them to press onward.

The show is on NBC Tuesday nights from 8:00 to 10:00 and I will be watching to the finish, cheering Ed and Heba on. Go Orange Team!

The Sutherland--A Beautiful Historic Site for Weddings in Wake Forest!

I first heard about The Sutherland in Wake Forest from Lenny Fritts, DJ, at a wedding earlier in September. He raved about it. So, I contacted Ashlee Adams, the proprietor, and Marty and I went to tour the site today, September 19. It is a beautiful historic site beginning way back in the 1700s. The Settler's House is the original structure on the property and plans are for it to eventually be the hang-out for the groom and groomsmen. The Manor House was originally built in the 1800s and has been added to through the years but in keeping with the grandeur of the original. The rooms are spacious and elegantly furnished and decorated. The bride's quarters are on the second floor. There are many areas on the grounds for weddings. There is a Groom's terrace and a wonderful courtyard ready now and more landscaping going on as well as restroom facilities being built in keeping with the historic architecture. There is a large side porch overlooking the wedding courtyard.

Ashlee, a registered nurse, and new mother of Jackson, age 3 months, is a gracious hostess and welcomes couples to come check them out for their wedding ceremony and reception. We also got to meet Ashlee's mother, also one of the owners. It is right off Hwy 1 in Wake Forest, just north of Hwy 98 next door to Wake Union Baptist Church and a golf course. It is a bit tricky to find the first time but do persist as I did. Do not take the first Wake Union Chapel Road as there is a second one up the road which is the entrance to the site. Thank you, Ashlee, for your hospitality today. I am looking forward to doing many weddings there and working with you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Julia and Jared Get Married in a Beautiful Wedding at the Carolina Inn!

Julia's mother contacted me last December about officiating Julia and Jared's wedding on September 13, 2008 at the Carolina Inn--one of the most prestigious and elegant wedding sites in the Triangle. I met with the couple, Julia's mother, Lisa, and her father, John, on January 26th to plan the ceremony while the couple were in Raleigh. They live in Boston. From my special collection of wedding ceremony material I emailed to them Julia and Jared selected the parts of their ceremony they wanted but they also wanted to include how they met and fell in love, what they loved about each other and some of their adventures together since some of their guests did not know the details. Together we created "Their Story" mixing in a bit of humor which the guests really relished.

We had their rehearsal the day before and practiced all the logistics with the assistance of their very capable wedding director, Anita Vick, who coordinates many weddings at the Carolina Inn. Their ceremony was held in the lovely Bryan Courtyard decorated uniquely with beautiful hanging topiary balls covered with hundred of roses (see photos)! Before the ceremony, however, the large flower ball in the front fell down with a muffled "kerplunk" while Marty and I were setting up my sound system! With Anita and Marty's help and a wire coat hanger, I speared the very heavy (at least 40 lbs) flower ball with the coat hanger and got it hanging up again...but just before the ceremony it fell again and this time all the guests were seated and there was no resurrecting it again! Turns out that the bride and groom did not even notice its absence!

The ceremony began with escorting in of the parents and then the wedding party entered. Their little flower girl, Scout, made it down the aisle slowly but she only dropped one petal! So cute! Then all the guests stood for the entrance of our beautiful bride. After her father transferred Julia's hand into Jared's and the guests were seated, we began with words of warm welcome and a prayer. They honored their parents with a tribute to them which brought on the tears. Julia's uncle, James, read The Art of Marriage and Jared's cousin, Jessica, presented An Apache Blessing. Then it was time for me to tell the story of the couple which generated a great deal of chuckling! The blessing of the hands, vows and ring exchange followed and I made the pronouncement. Then Julia kissed her husband amidst much applause. I introduced the newlywed couple to the guests and the recessional began. The guests recessed to the gala reception area while we reassembled for photographs.

The ceremony music was provided by the Stalberg String Quartet and the photography was by Aaron Hogsed, the videography by Aaron Morrell. Before the ceremony, Marty and I visited the Hill Ballroom where the reception was to take place. The floral arrangements by Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs were simply fabulous! There were photos of the couple and their kitten, Sienna, and photos of the couples' parents on their wedding day. The Fantasy Band was warming up and sounded wonderful. Then we saw the gorgeous wedding cake by Donna Ford of Sweet Memories. Jared and Julia thought of everything! They had the guests create drawings commemorating the day which will be transferred onto plates. How unique and special. I don't know what the bride gave her bridesmaids but the groomsmen got cuff links with the insignia of their alma maters. They had beautiful wedding programs that were handed out along with custom packets of tissues and folding fans. Julia and Jared, you are a well-matched couple and I know you will have a great marriage! Congratulations on your marriage and such a well planned wedding!