Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fabulous Wedding for Jami and Nic at Rock of Ages Winery!

Jami and Nic contacted me in March to see if I would officiate their wedding on June 27, 2009 at the Rock of Ages Winery in Hurdle Mills NC. I had never heard of this place so I googled it and found out that it was only 25 miles north of Durham. So, we met and signed a contract and started on their ceremony. On Friday the 26th I drove through beautiful country in Northern Orange County then into Person County to get there. My GPS got me on the right road but did not seem to know where it was. I kept going and there on the left, among acres of beautiful vineyards was the stone winery. It was spectacular! A hidden treasure!

Nic's Aunt Dawn was our wedding director and we got everyone rounded up and practiced for the wedding. It was hot and we were standing in the archway right in the sun with the winery behind us. All the guests would be sitting right in the sun. I was delighted to arrive for the wedding to find that they had flipped the ceremony around so that the guests would be sitting inside the portico with ceiling fans cooling them and viewing the couple and me in the archway with the green vineyards in the background. It was a great re-arrangement.

This was a beautifully color coordinated wedding. See the lovely bridesmaids in those gorgeous dresses in varying shades of latte, champagne and taupe. Their bouquets were ivory.

The groomsmen, groom, and father of the bride wore light beige suits and shoes. Their boutonnieres were ivory with greenery.

Here comes our beautiful bride escorted in by her father who was beaming!

Look at Jami's fabulous wedding gown and how the bridesmaids' dresses reflected the same design! Jami is a kindergarten teacher so we incorporated some "words of wisdom on marriage" from some of her students. Here is one: "Marriage is to be happy and face the world and you get a baby or two. You wear fancy clothes and they play violins and blow bubbles!"

We also included a reading of "The Art of Marriage" and words from Daphne Rose Kingma. The couple wrote their own vows and read them to each other from my book. It was a sweet and touching ceremony and several guests commented to me how much they loved it.

The deed is done!! Jami and Nic are married and so happy!

After the wedding ceremony they wanted a group shot with all their guests. So, our photographer and my assistant, Marty, climbed up the stairs to the balcony and got some great shots. Notice the vineyards and lake in the background.

Jami and Nic, your hard work planning your wedding really paid off.
Go forth in joy, peace and love!


DJ: Patrick Cooke of PC Productions
Photography: Ralph Wood. Can be contacted at
Wedding Cake: Sweet Julia's

The Carolina Theater Hosts the Wedding of Becky and Andrew!

The Kiss!!
(photo taken with my camera)

(photo taken with my camera)
The movie poster greeting their guests as they entered the lobby of the theater read:
"It was inevitable...The joining of two families in the adventure of a lifetime. Two forces drawn together for a forever union in The Great Wedding Adventure starring Andrew as the groom and Rebecca as the Bride." ( Rated FF for Family and Friends!)

The photo above and all those below are by Charlie Dickens, professional wedding photographer, who captured beautifully the essence of this wedding and this setting.

Rebecca and Andrew selected a unique setting for their wedding--The Carolina Theater--a historic theater in downtown Durham NC. The ceremony was held in the Connie Moses Ballroom, an elegant room with the original crystal chandeliers hung from a 24 foot cathedral ceiling and 18 foot tall windows overlooking the Civic Center Plaza.

Their guests were seated in a semi-circle around us and the bridesmaids wore lovely bright apple red dresses. Becky's sister, Lisa, was her Matron of Honor. The music was provided by friends of the couple. Becky and Andrew included in their sweet ceremony a touching tribute to their parents and a poignant reading from Owl Sight by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon. They recessed to When I'm 64 by the Beatles song!

Becky and Andrew, what a great wedding! Congratulations and best wishes forever on your "wedding adventure!"


Photographer: Charles Dickens Photography--Many thanks for the wonderful photos, Charlie!
Day of Coordinator: Iris Reese

Laura and Matt's Wedding at Jones Chapel, Meredith College!

Laura and Matt came to see me last August to officiate their wedding on June 27, 2009 at the beautiful Jones Chapel on the Meredith College campus. They wanted to be sure to include Laura's 12 year old daughter, Cheyenne, in the ceremony. What a great wedding they created! The men all looked so handsome in their white suits and the ladies were beautiful in their light blue dresses. They had 7 attendants each--a large wedding party plus a flower girl, ring bearer, and bell ringer! Our ring bearer, Nate, was entrusted to the real rings and was responsible beyond his age and entered with me and the groom and groomsmen.
Our little flower girl, Nadilyn, was about 3 years old and needed a bit of help making it all the way down the aisle. She did not last long standing up with us during the ceremony and soon crawled over the pew into her waiting grandmother's arms!

Laura and her father swept down the aisle!

Cheyenne was so pretty and grown up serving as her mother's junior maid of honor! As part of the ceremony Matt gave her a little token of the occasion and later the three of them poured their sand together in the family unity sand ceremony.

Laura and Matthew made a jubilant exit while Trumpet Voluntary resounded throughout the chapel as their friends and family applauded!

Our bell ringer, Harold, was just adorable and his eyes were as big as saucers as he watched everyone recess out after the ceremony without him. (He was supposed to leave with the flower girl but she was no longer there!)
I was watching to see if one of the groomsmen would grab his hand and take him along with him but none did so I motioned for him to come up the steps, take my hand, and stand with me as the parents and grandparents were escorted.
He stood right beside me as if we had planned it that way!

After the ceremony when all the guests had departed for the reception,
we took some photos with the happy couple!

As we were leaving, I spotted Savannah putting the final touches on the "get-away" car! She and her father sang The Prayer during the ceremony and had everyone in tears! Great job, Savannah. Her family was an integral part of this wedding. Not only did Savannah and her father, Kevin, sing the duet, but her mother, Karen, was our wedding director who made sure everyone was in place. During the kiss, Kevin also played the piano and sang Ribbon in the Sky.

It was a terrific wedding that only Laura and Matthew could have created for themselves! Congratulations and best of everything to you, Laura and Matthew!


Organist: Dianne Stanley
Photographer: Kate Mejaski of This Little Light Photography
Videographer: Ismail Abdelkhalek

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wedding for Jessica and Roman on Father's Day!

Jessica and Roman wanted a small private ceremony with 15 to 20 guests so they chose to have it in my wedding garden on June 21, 2009--Fathers Day. They hired Tina Loebach, photographer, to record the big event. Tina and I did a wedding together last year. It was good to see her again. Their parents and closest friends gathered around as Jessica was escorted in by her father and the ceremony began.

I place my hand on the couple's joined hands to make the pronouncement of marriage.

Everyone cheered as they turned to their guests to be presented!
While they took photos, I took the two fathers off with me to sign the license and make this legal!

Many congratulations to you, Jessica and Roman!

Renewal of Vows Ceremony for Jessica and Matthew at Haywood Hall!

Matthew and Jessica contacted me way back in 2007 to marry them before he was deployed. Jessica was a rising junior in college and wanted to finish her degree while he was in the military. We arranged a small private family wedding in my wedding garden on 9/29/07. Their parents were there as I joined the two in marriage. They told me then that they wanted to have a large wedding in a year or two after Jessica had graduated from Sweet Briar College and so I knew I would be with them again.

Father of the bride escorts Jessica in for the beginning of the ceremony!

So, in May of 2008 they reserved June 20, 2009 on my calendar for their renewal of vows ceremony which would be more like a wedding with 50 to 75 guests celebrating their love and marriage. Their friends, Dan and Mary, were Best Man and Maid of Honor. They chose Haywood Hall in downtown Raleigh which has lovely gardens and a gazebo. We altered the words of their original ceremony to fit a renewal of vows and Jessica and Matt embellished it a bit to honor their friends and added the rose ceremony. So, this time surrounded by many friends and family members, we gathered once again to have a sweet ceremony and celebrate. Unfortunately Matt's parents were not able to be with us. Because the day after their wedding was Fathers Day, they chose to honor their fathers during the ceremony. Jessica wrote a sweet tribute to her father, John, and how much she would miss him when she and Matt relocated to Maryland later this year.

The band started playing the recessional music as the couple swept down the path!

Here we are after the ceremony laughing and cooling off before we took some more photos. Jessica's father was threatening to change into shorts and flip flops!

Jessica and Matt--Happily Ever After to you!

I look forward to seeing Jessica and Matt and her family again in September
when I officiate the wedding of Jessica's brother, Justin, and his fiancee, Velvet,
whom I got to see only briefly at this ceremony!

They had a large tent for the band, dance floor and tables for the guests.

This is their gorgeous wedding cake which was gifted to them by Jessica's Aunt Jean.


Haywood Hall: A lovely historic home with gardens and gazebo
in downtown Raleigh.
Contact the resident manager Cheryl Long.

Enroute: Wonderful jazz band with vocalist, Janet Clarke,
performing for weddings, receptions and rehearsals

Cinda's Creative Cakes

Nancy Thomas Photography
Nancy and her associate, Kristin Gattis, covered this wedding.

The English Garden Florist

Mitchell's Catering

I received this note from the couple 6/29/09:

Thank you so much for everything! I did review you on wedding wire as you asked. It's a very cool website. I just wanted to send a quick note and say thank you for everything since I didn't really have much time to do so before you left on Saturday. We really appreciated all of your help and constant support through our wedding and our renewal of our vows. All of our guests loved the ceremony and really loved that you were able to crack some jokes and make it all more fun and less stuffy. Since we are a young couple we understand the seriousness of the commitment but we also prefer to have fun and enjoy it at the same time instead of being uptight and holding our breath through the whole thing.

If you ever need a recommendation please do not hesitate to show couples this email or give them my number. I'd love to convince everyone to use your services. We can't wait to see you in September for Justin and Velvet's wedding!

Thanks again.

Jessica and Matthew

Becca and Sten's Wonderful Wedding at The Umstead!

Becca wrote me last November: "We plan on an outdoor, non-denominational, simple ceremony. We are a non-traditional couple (I'm Chinese, he's Swedish), and would like a nice, simple ceremony." I met with them shortly thereafter and found out that they are a fun-loving couple who wanted their wedding to be an expression of them and their families. They had chosen the date of June 20th and their wedding site was the elegant Umstead Hotel and Spa. One thing they definitely wanted to do was walk in together instead of the traditional entrance of the bride escorted by her father. Sten has two daughters, Nea and Klara, ages 11 and 14, who wanted to be their father's "Groomsmaids!" They were so excited about the wedding and looked so adorable in dresses that Becca bought for them while on a trip to the East. Becca wanted her good friend Barry to be included as well. He came all the way from California to be her "Man of Honor."

Who would have expected the temperature on June 20, 2009 to be hovering near 100 degrees! Thankfully Becca and Sten had put together a 10 minute ceremony from my material. I know all their guests were most grateful for the brevity! They chose to have a Chuppah covering the ceremony area although neither are Jewish. I was grateful for the shade!

Here they come!
The deed is done, the couple are married
and it is time to have some fun and get cool!

Becca and Sten were so happy to be married at last!

Here is the newly joined family, Klara, Nea, Sten and Becca with Barry, the Man of Honor!
From the ceremony: "May you live together in delight and discovery; may you teach each other what you know about living; may you learn from one another what is best about life; may you find fulfillment in the new family you have chosen to become, and continued friendship, affirmation and love in the families you now join."

Becca and Sten, congratulations to you and your family!

We had the family unity sand ceremony which included Nea and Klara.

Becca and Sten chose to have a red table runner with markers for all their guests to sign and write notes to them. The color red was chosen because it means good luck and prosperity to honor Becca's Chinese heritage.

These cakes are gorgeous. I am not sure but I think they were done by Donna Ford of Sweet Memories as she usually does all the wedding cakes at The Umstead. The red groom's cake is especially striking with the bright red icing.

Becca found the most unusual wedding program-fan combination. It was color coordinated with her yellow, gold and orange theme.

Ami Wheeler is the Social Catering Manager, at The Umstead. Ami is an experienced wedding director and has been in the wedding industry for many years. With her expertise weddings at The Umstead flow along flawlessly. Whatever a bride and groom needs for their wedding she will get it for them. At the rehearsal I heard her offer to go get the sand for Becca and Sten's sand ceremony. Here she is getting the sand ready for the ceremony. The Umstead is truly one of the most, if not THE most, upscale locations for a wedding in the Triangle area. The hotel and spa are simply elegant beyond words and the service is above and beyond. You cannot ask for a more luxurious wedding site!

Our photographer for the wedding was Shane Snider. He has won so many awards for his photography that he is in great demand for weddings around here.

Joe Bunn was our fabulous DJ for the ceremony and the reception. Can't go wrong with Joe!

Wedding at Caffe Luna for Elizabeth and Dustin!

Elizabeth and Dustin are the sweetest couple. When they met with me in January to plan their wedding on June 20, 2009 at Caffe Luna, I knew that they would be a pleasure to work with in creating their wedding ceremony. They had done their homework and knew what they wanted. They picked one of my favorite restaurants for their wedding too. Caffe Luna is a great wedding site because it is large and roomy, can accommodate different configurations, and the food is delicious. It is a casual setting made for having fun. Ryan Hill, the catering and event manager, is wonderful to work with. Florian music provided the beautiful music for the ceremony.

Elizabeth and Dustin chose to have their ceremony in the arched doorway between the front room and the back rooms where the reception would be. Elizabeth's mother brought two pretty potted oleanders for the florals to be planted later in the couple's yard. The woven screen was placed behind us for a nice backdrop.

"It is my privilege to pronouce you husband and wife!"

The flower girl was the sweetest little thing. Actually she was supposed to be a ring bearer and carried the pillow with fake rings, of course!

Here is Elizabeth with her maidens!

After the wedding we went outside briefly for photos in the green grassy area behind the restaurant. Elizabeth and Dustin, you are a wonderful couple and I wish you all the best ever!


Caffe Luna: contact Ryan Hill
Photographer: Maranda Young
Wedding cake: Cinda's Creative Cakes
Musicians: Florian