Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wonderful Wedding of Jeremy and Nicole!

It's been a while since I blogged and 3 weeks since I officiated a wedding. That is because this is the "slow" wedding season and the "high" booking of weddings season! I have been enjoying meeting with many couples for the past month and booking weddings even into 2010. It is not too early to start hiring your wedding vendors for 2010 so that you get your first choice!

Jeremy and Nicole contacted me back in September at the referral of Rabbi Andrew Ettin in Winston-Salem. Jeremy is of Jewish heritage and Nicole of Christian and they wanted both a rabbi and a minister to co-officiate their wedding on January 24, 2009 at Bay 7 of the American Tobacco Warehouse complex in Durham. Rabbi Ettin and I have worked together many times for interfaith couples like Jeremy and Nicole in the past 11 years. Jeremy and Nicole put together a lovely ceremony representing both faiths. It is always a pleasure to co-officiate these wonderful wedding ceremonies that are so rich with tradition and symbolism. They included a reading of First Corinthians and the Unity Candle representing the Christian faith. The Wine and 7 Blessings and the Breaking of the Glass represented the Jewish faith.

In the spacious venue of Bay 7, they married under a Chuppah placed on the landing of the stairs to the loft and both sets of parents stood with them and their 14 attendants, plus the sweet little flower girl, Megan, niece of Nicole. At 2 1/2 years of age, she did a better job than many I have seen who were older than she. She started down the aisle but stopped and threw the petals on the runner all in one place. When nudged forward by our capable wedding director, Michelle Aldred of Triangle Catering, Megan made it all the way down the aisle to her mother, Michelle, our Matron of Honor, and exclaimed "There are still some more flowers in the basket!" Then all our guests stood for the entrance of our beautiful bride and her father. Her mother joined them from the first row and Dad transferred Nicole's hand into Jeremy's. Then the couple ascended the steps to stand under the chuppah flanked by their parents. Rabbi Ettin and I stayed at floor level and faced the couple as the guests enjoyed their unique ceremony with a great view of the couple.

All went wonderfully well, but I must tell you that we narrowly escaped potential disaster! After the breaking of the glass, the kiss, and amidst cheers of Mazel Tov and applause, the couple swept down the aisle as the wedding party watched with bated breath and horror as Nicole's train skimmed over the two rows of votive candles lining the aisle. Had they stopped for a nanosecond, that fabric would have instantaneously gone up in flames and I need say no more as to what could have been tragic. (Please let this be a lesson to you brides planning your wedding--the aisle with a runner and rows of votives and flower petals was gorgeous, as you can see in the photos, but please make the aisle wide enough to avoid the bride's train and veil from coming close to the flames!)

After breathing sighs of relief, the wedding party recessed and I invited the guests to go up into the loft for cocktails while the ground floor was being "turned over" for the reception and photos were taken of the wedding party. Diane McKinney and her 2 or 3 assistants was our photographer. Ron K. Smith did the DJ honors for both the ceremony and the reception and provided our videographer, Mark Holland. Nicole and Jeremy were beaming and very pleased with how the ceremony went and looking forward to dancing the night away. They are both avid dancers. Their logo which was projected onto the brick wall (see photo) was made up of their first name initials and the music symbol for the treble clef. Very clever! They also used this logo on their beautiful wedding programs. Great job planning a spectacular wedding, Jeremy and Nicole. I wish you all the best!

By the way, Bay 7 is an awesome wedding venue! See their web site for great photos. Plenty of space, beautifully refinished hardwood floors perfect for dancing, a stunning screen to separate spaces, the loft and two sets of stairs and an elevator, outdoor terraces at both the entrance and the exit and a grand piano. This was my first time doing a wedding there and I can highly recommend it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kerry and Gerritt Marry in a Cozy Wedding in their Home.

Kerry and Gerritt wanted a small intimate wedding ceremony surrounded by around a dozen of their close friends and relatives in their home in Wake Forest on January 3, 2009. And, so it was. After leaving the wedding at Duke Gardens and traversing the Triangle to Wake Forest, Marty and I arrived about 10 minutes before the start time! I got the marriage license and the rings and we began.

It was a short but meaningful wedding ceremony that the couple had written themselves with my guidance and their humor! It was fun and their guests really enjoyed it and enjoyed seeing them get married.

Happy New Year and Happy Marriage, Kerry and Gerritt!

Ruth and Mike's Special Wedding at Duke Gardens

Ruth and Mike came to see me last June. Their wedding date was January 3, 2009 in the Kirby Horton Hall (the visitor's center) at Duke Gardens followed by a reception at the Washington-Duke Inn. Both had been married before and wanted a wedding ceremony that reflected who they were and their feelings for each other. Ruth wanted to incorporate the glass breaking ceremony to honor her Jewish heritage, and Mike wanted to incorporate something from the Christian tradition. They wanted to include Ruth's adult children, Beth and Daniel, in the ceremony as well. I sent them my special collection of wedding ceremony material and they got to work fashioning the perfect ceremony for them. When I arrived for the rehearsal and the wedding, the Hall was still beautifully decorated for Christmas for their wedding so they did not need to add any floral decorations to make it very festive. Jennifer Kidd was on hand for the photography with her husband and her assistant, Jennifer, all of whom I had worked with before.

After the 150 guests had arrived and settled into their seats, the signal for the ceremony to begin was a wonderful solo by Catherine Alderman singing "All I Ask of You" accompnaied by Al Zaranka on the grand piano. When she began the next song "Calm as the Night," the groom, best man and I entered and took our places. Then Beth, as her mother's maid of honor, entered. I signaled all the guests to stand as Ruth entered escorted by her son, Daniel. When Catherine's song ended, we began the lovely ceremony. (The couple had requested no photos be taken during the ceremony so I don't have any photos to show of the wedding ceremony--only before and after!) After the reading of First Corinthians, Beth sang "Love Walked In" and she did so very well and has a wonderful voice.

After the warm and welcoming ceremony in which Mike successfully crushed the glass and everyone shouted Mazel Tov, the Hebrew words that mean congratulations and good luck, Ruth and Mike and their family lined up to greet their guests before going to the reception. I broke into the receiving line to get a post-wedding photo, then Marty and I were off to do a wedding in Wake Forest. Many congratulations to you, Ruth and Mike!

A New Year's Eve Wedding for Sara and Geoff!

This time of the year is not high wedding season and wedding ministers get a break from the fast and furious schedule of weddings in the high season months which here in NC are April, May, September and October. I am always delighted to officiate weddings on New Year's Eve and could tell you some fun stories about them--another time. Sara and Geoff planned to marry at the Carolina Inn on New Year's Eve. They chose New Year's Eve to start their new life together. They both attended UNC which is where they met 11 years ago. Since graduation Geoff had served in the military and spent most of his time in foreign countries for the years since then and they were really looking forward to getting married and being together. So, on that cold windy evening 150 of their friends and family gathered in the comfortable and elegant Hill Ballroom to celebrate their marriage. Weddings at the Carolina Inn are always so special. Saundra Carmichael was the wedding director in charge. She was working for Tracy Adams of Adams and Events because Tracy had another wedding that day in Clayton. It was a pleasure to work with Saundra and she kept everyone on schedule and we were ready to go at 8:00. Terry Lillich of Carolina MediaStar was the photographer. He is a lot of fun to work with and I always enjoy doing weddings with Terry.

The couple decided not to have any attendants so I walked in first followed by Geoff escorting in his mother. Sara was escorted into the ballroom by both parents. They transferred her hand into Geoff's and the ceremony began with a welcome to all. Geoff's friend, Anthony, presented a reading "It seems wherever we go..." then Sara's close friend, Mary Katherine, shared with us the words from the Tao Te Ching "Always Return." Then I shared with the guests the "tale of Sara and Geoff"--the humorous story they wrote of how they met and fell in love. After they had a few good laughs, I asked all the guests for their blessing of the marriage to which they enthusiastically responded "We will!" Geoff and Sara wrote their own vows to each other and heard them for the first time at the wedding. It was quite touching and there was a bit of choking up and sniffling but no tears fell. They exchanged rings and after a closing blessing, I pronounced them husband and wife and invited them to kiss. And they did--many times among all the applause and cheering of their friends who were so glad to see them married--finally! The guests departed for the Old Well room for the reception where RubberBand was playing.

The wedding party and I hung back for photos. It was really a great wedding!
Marty and I packed up the sound system and headed back to Raleigh. Happy New Year and I wish you all the best, Sara and Geoff!