Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Lovely Wedding at Wakefield Plantation for Jen and Jody!

Jody and Jen's wedding was my first wedding at Wakefield Plantation Golf and Country Club. My husband and I attended an event there in May sponsored by The Knot and I was hoping to do a wedding there soon. They have a lovely garden area just below the clubhouse next to the covered patio overlooking the golf course. The landscaping is so pretty. Here it is all set up awaiting the arrival of the guests.

The guests and family members were escorted from the parking lot in the front of the clubhouse via cart to the ceremony site. The kids attending the wedding really enjoyed this ride!

Here comes our beautiful bride and her proud father. That is Melissa Thornton, our wedding planner/director, fluffing the bride's dress.

Jen and Jody came to see me on June 14th about officiating their wedding ceremony on July 25, 2009. The time frame was short but together we created a wonderful and meaningful ceremony including a unity candle.

Candle ceremonies outdoors can be tricky and indeed a breeze blew up as they were lighting the unity candle. We were prepared though and had votives lit. Jody and Jen were able to get the unity candle lit and it burned brightly once recessed inside the vase.

The two-story clubhouse with exterior stairs provided a great angle for photos.

We paid tribute to the couple's parents and remembered loved ones who could not be with us.

Jen and Jody wrote secret vows to each other and heard them for the first time on their wedding day. Jen teared up and I handed her a hankie. (I always carry pretty hankies I collect for brides, and grooms, in case their eyes get leaky!)

Ah, married at last! The bride and groom are beaming!
Jen and Jody, I wish you all the best life can offer. You are a strong couple and I know you are so happy to be together!

Wedding vendors who made this wedding flow so well:

Melissa Thornton of Stress-Free Weddings and her assistant, Shannon. Great job, gals! It was good to work with you again.

Andrew and Holly Wagner, husband and wife team of Aperture Aficianado Photography. It was great to meet you and I hope to see you at another wedding soon.

Tracy Telenko of Bowtie Mobile DJ & Sound provided the beautiful ceremony and reception music. Thanks, Tracy, for letting me hook my receiver and mic into your system. I look forward to working with you again at another wedding one of these days!

Darcey and Paul Wed at Doubletree Suites in Durham!

The Doubletree has a fabulous tent just outside the hotel near the ceremony site overlooking the lake. It is beautifully appointed with billowy ceilings complete with chandeliers and air conditioning! Yea! The day was hot with temps in the 90s so it was a welcome space for the guests after the ceremony. Garret Lamm was our DJ and I enjoyed working with him again. He was doing this wedding for Lenny Fritts of Touch of Class DJs while Lenny was busy at another wedding in Durham. Garrett placed a speaker outside the tent facing the guests and I plugged my receiver and wireless mike into his system, did a sound check and we were ready to go!

I did not actually meet Darcey and Paul until about 30 minutes before their wedding started on July 25, 2009 at Doubletree Suites! How can that be, you may ask. Well, here's the story. The friend of the couple who had gotten ordained on line in order to officiate their ceremony found out the day before the wedding, that he had to be hospitalized for stent placement on the wedding day! (I sure hope he is doing well and sorry that he had to miss this lovely wedding.)

So, they were frantically searching for a minister to officiate. Amy Acosta, the events planner for Doubletree, gave them my name and Paul called me right away. I was so happy that I was available to officiate their 4:00 wedding before my other wedding at 6:00. So, the day was saved. Thanks, Amy!

Here comes our beautiful bride and her proud papa! (Jim Colman, their photographer, was not missing a shot of the action! I was delighted to see Jim there. We had done a wedding together the night before. Jim has been a photographer for over 20 years but is new to the wedding photography business. He sure is getting around fast! Check out his website. It is impressive. )

The photo of the wedding above is by Jim Colman (Thanks, Jim).

Paul emailed me the script for the ceremony their friend had put together from wedding ceremony examples on the Internet but it was only about 3 minutes long. In order for a ceremony to have substance and meaning and for the guests to feel like they have witnessed a wedding, I feel the ceremony should be no less than 15 minutes. So, I wrote a beautiful 15 minute ceremony for them incorporating the vows and sand ceremony they had already decided on with their friend and emailed it to them. They told me they really liked the ceremony.

The happy couple, now married, hurried down the aisle to get into the cool tent!

Here we are inside the hotel taking photos instead of at the customary place by the waterfall outside. The hotel has some nice areas for this and we were all comfortably cool.

Check out their beautiful wedding cake! In my haste to get to the next wedding I forgot to ask who baked it for them. Maybe they will let me know so I can credit that very artistic person.

Paul and Darcey, if I can ever help you out again, please call on me! Congratulations on your marriage!

Beautiful Garden Wedding for Julia and Kenneth!

I really enjoyed meeting Julia and Kenneth and getting to know them. Kenneth is an airline pilot and Julia is working at an animal hospital in preparation for entering veterinarian school this fall. I found them to be quite well matched and how they met is an example of wonderful synchronicity and serendipity! Julia was selling a mattress on Craig's List. Kenneth was new to town and looking for a mattress. He answered her ad. But, before he could buy the mattress, Julia's former roommate decided to buy it! Although at that point they had not met, there obviously was some kind of attraction so their email messages and phone conversations continued. They finally met on Kenneth's birthday at a game night party Julia invited him to, and the rest is history!

A little over a year after their meeting, Julia and Ken became husband and wife. They chose to have their small wedding in the lush green garden of Cameron Park Inn B&B in the Cameron Village area of Raleigh at 9:00 AM on Saturday July 25, 2009. They knew of this place because Julia's employer owns it. They hired Evan Uribe of [lumen] Photography to cover the festivities which continued after the ceremony to a wedding brunch. See Evan's blog for more photos of this sweet wedding.

Here comes the bride! After Julia walked up the path, Ken met her and escorted her the rest of the way for the ceremony.

Surrounded by their parents, siblings, and very close friends, Julia and Ken made their vows to each other. From the ceremony script: "Out of the routine of ordinary life, the extraordinary has happened--Julia and Kenneth have found one another--on Craig's List, no less, in the household goods for sale section! The Universe sometimes has strange ways of bringing people together but we must remember that there are no accidents, just synchronicity, and they are proof of that marvel of life!"

The pronouncement of marriage!

Congratulations (and a few tears) are in order!

The happy couple! Kenneth and Julia, congratulations and may all your dreams come true!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Very Special Wedding for Carmen and Don!

It seems that the Universe out did itself moving mountains for me to be a part of this very special wedding. Carmen called me last week to see if I could officiate her wedding to Don on Friday evening. She wanted me to officiate because my friend, Ross Merle DJ, had told her that I would be the perfect minister for their wedding. At the time, I had a wedding at 6:00 and was not available. I referred her to some other officiants I know. Ross called me on Monday before the wedding on Friday and said that Carmen still did not have an officiant. (I learned later that one minister had written down the wrong number and had tried to call Carmen back and the other one was out of town.)

That very same day, I received an email from my couple getting married on Friday at 6:00 to inform me they had decided to postpone their wedding. So, I was available after all. I called Ross to tell him the turn of events and get Carmen's number. She was delighted with the news! Such synchronicity. We discussed the situation more in depth and the kind of ceremony she wanted. I put it all together and emailed it to her. She loved it and did not want to change a thing!

Carmen with her three handsome sons before the wedding. I thank Jim Colman for sending me this photo.

So, on Friday evening, Marty and I drove to Don's home for the wedding. Don has Lou Gehrig's Disease and is in a wheelchair and on a ventilator. Other than that, I did not know what to expect but I knew they had a DJ--Ross--and a large tent in the backyard. The tent was almost as elegant as their home and they expected 30 to 40 guests. I met Don and Carmen and Carmen's sons and soon thereafter we got started. Don had the fanciest wheelchair I had ever seen. He is unable to speak or use his hands and communicates with his eyes. He can move his lips just enough to smile. He was wheeled from the garage to the backyard into the tent and onto the dance floor. We got him positioned so that he could see the bride enter. Here we are waiting for Carmen.

Here comes our beautiful bride and her escort.

The wheelchair was elevated to put Don at the highest position and Carmen stood at his feet so he could see her.

At this point in the ceremony I spoke with Carmen's three sons (on the left) asking them to take Don into their hearts as a friend and family member. I could tell they already loved him a lot.

Don had prepared his own vows which were read to Carmen by her friend, Laura. They were so sweet. I wish I had a copy of them.

Then Carmen read her vows to Don. Among many other touching words of love, she promised to "be your feet, your hands, and your voice."

For the pronouncement of marriage, Carmen moved beside Don and took his hand. I placed mine on top of theirs and pronounced them husband and wife.

After I presented them to their guests, Ross played "We are Family" by Sly and the Family Stone that Don had requested and I invited their guests to the dance floor to celebrate! It was very festive and everyone was so happy. Can you see that little smile on Don's face? It was definitely there!

Posing for the customary photo with the minister!

This was such a touching wedding and one I will never forget. It is such synchronicity that I was able to be there after all and I feel so blessed to be a part of this wedding celebration. I wish you all the happiness in the world!

This is Ross and my "roadie," Marty. Marty and I do lots of weddings together with Ross and we were so honored to be a part of this one. Ross is a wonderful DJ. Not only does he do the music but he makes sure everything is flowing along. I know everyone had a great time after Marty and I left for a friend's birthday party. To reach Ross go to Just Music DJ.

Jim Colman was our photographer. I had never met Jim before. He told me that although he has been a photographer for many years in the Raleigh area, he only recently got into the wedding photography business. He gets around fast because he was photographing the wedding I did the next day! Jim's blog depicts his take on this moving wedding. Go see it and many more photos here.

The tent they had was large and elegant with pretty tables and floral arrangements. They had a very lovely wedding cake but I did not find out who made it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Beautiful Wedding Day for Alison and John at the White Garden of JC Raulston Arboretum!

Despite a wet, rainy and shortened rehearsal the day before, John and Alison's wedding flowed extremely well and July 18th turned out to be a beautiful day with a thin cloud cover and no rain! One would have never suspected that we had to hold a makeshift rehearsal in the Education Center of the arboretum with only 40 minutes for this large wedding party to learn their parts before the next scheduled wedding rehearsal started in the same room! Most of the time rehearsals are akin to herding ants so I had to go into "drill sergeant" mode to keep everyone organized and paying attention and I know some folks there must have had doubts as to my ability to deliver a calm and graceful ceremony the next day! Many thanks to Debbie, a friend of the family who was tapped for the job of wedding director, who kept things rolling along in perfect order on the wedding day.

That's Debbie looking on as our flower girls, Abby and Hannah, start down the aisle.

Here comes the beautiful bride and her mother, Sheila.
Alison's father, Steve, from Nashville TN was our photographer.

John's best man was his brother, Jason . The bridesmaids wore different color dresses. The Maid of Honor, Ashlea, sister of the bride, was in red. Next to her is Sayer in a blue dress. I married Sayer (in photo above) and her husband, Sean, in 2003 at Johnson Lake. I remember their wedding well. It suddenly and unexpectedly rained buckets for about 5 minutes right before their wedding drenching my sound system, and the unforgettable poem Sean wrote for their wedding. It was good to see them again at this wedding after so many years!

Alison's Aunt Lulane and her friend Vladimir graced us with a fabulous duet for a wedding called "You Will be Mine." It is a perfect song for a wedding.

Alison and John chose to incorporate elements of a Celtic wedding into their wedding ceremony as a way of not only sharing their family heritages, but also to embrace the beauty of the past. So, we did a handfasting ceremony after which I looped the handfasting cord around the back of John's neck. See it in the photos. The couple also wrote secret vows to each other which they heard for the first time on their wedding day.

Aren't those flowers spectacular?
Alison told me that CateringWorks not only catered their reception at Marbles, but they did all the flowers too.

What classic beauty and elegance!

Oh, the wedding programs that Alison and John had for their guests were some of the prettiest and most attractive programs I have ever seen, and I see a lot! this photo does not adequately show the cover decked with beautiful silver embellishment. Alison said she got them at

John and Alison, I wish you all the best. Congratulations on your marriage and a wedding well planned!

Local Vendors for this wedding:

Venue: JC Raulston Arboretum
Thanks to Faye Koonce in the Educational Center who let us use the space for the rehearsal.

Videographer: Wayne Young with Cinema One Studio

Caterer and Florist and Wedding Cake: CateringWorks

Wedding for Ed and Patricia at Home!

Just one hour before this wedding on Friday evening, July 17th, the sky had opened up and the rain poured down! I was wondering what we would do if it did not stop. cleared right up and Ed and Patricia's wedding proceeded as planned in the backyard of Ed's house in Brentwood. They had the chairs set up, lanterns to mark the altar area, and pavers for the three of us to stand on rather than sinking into the wet grass! Smart planning!

Patricia's parents, Roland and Dolly, drove in from Asheville bringing lovely magnolia blossoms. Ed arranged for two violinists to play for the wedding. Ed sings with the Master Chorale so he had an inside track on getting musicians! Roland proudly walked Patricia down the aisle. He was so funny taking bows as they processed in.

We had some moments of tears and some moments of laughter in this heart-warming ceremony.

The deed was done and Ed and Patricia were married!

Here is the happy couple with Ed's children, Stephen and Nicole. They were so delighted to have Patricia join their family.

Patricia and Ed, you are a great couple and I know you will be so happy together at last!