Sealed with a kiss!

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kim and Doug's Fabulous Wedding at The Sutherland!

Saturday, August 22, 2009: A couple of minutes before the ceremony was to start at 6:00 PM, I felt a few drops of rain and saw a gray cloud hovering above. I thought to myself, we had better get started now before it really rains. But, Doug, our groom, sent word to me where I was waiting in the courtyard that he wanted to hold off for about 10 minutes. We all thought he was crazy! But, it turns out he must have had an inside line to the heavens or personal radar because the clouds parted and the sun peeked out about 6:10. It was on the sunny side more than the cloudy side the rest of the evening!

We began with the seating of Doug's grandparents by his brother, Jason, also the best man. Jason then joined me where I was waiting on the Bride's Terrace and we entered and took our places. Then Doug's parents escorted him in and stood with him while the Matron of Honor, Kimberly, processed down the aisle in her pretty blue dress. Then Kimberly's daughter, Morgan, came down the aisle scattering flower petals.

The music changed and I asked everyone to stand for our beautiful bride escorted in by her parents. They floated down the aisle and stopped up front. To begin the ceremony, I asked Kim's parents "Who presents the bride in marriage?" and Doug's parents "Who presents the groom in marriage?" Then, in unison, their parents responded "She/He presents herself/himself and we happily share in her/his decision." At that point they were seated as the bride and groom stepped up onto the raised terrace to join me and the Matron of Honor and the Best Man.

At one point in the ceremony when I was giving the Parents' Blessing, I noticed that there was a large wasp slowly climbing its way up the back of the bride's dress. The Matron of Honor saw it too--a worried grimace on her face. Rather than hoping he would fly away before he stepped from the dress onto Kim's skin at which point she was sure to commence screaming, I decided I must take action! So, when I finished the sentence, I paused and carefully swatted him away with my hankie! Thankfully it worked and we did not see him again. Whew!

The pronouncement of marriage!

Now married!
Photographer Craig Carpenter was the first to congratulate them!

After the wedding party recessed, the guests assembled around the front of the manor house for a group shot taken from the balcony. Then I got a shot of the three of us. Kim, when she was told after the ceremony what I had swatted, assured me that she would definitely have screamed if she had felt that wasp crawl onto her back! Kim and Doug, I wish you all the best! All your hard work paid off in a beautiful wedding!

Isn't this an amazing cake? It says "Be Married" "Drink" "Eat" and was prepared by the talented pastry chef with Mitchell's Catering who provided all the food for the evening.

This is Bill Allen. He and David Casteel, principals of Mitchell's Catering, were on hand to make sure everything was taken care of with precision. I had never met Bill before although I have done many weddings which were catered by Mitchell's. I happen to know his wife, Dottie, who is on the wait staff at Outback's at Stonehenge so it was good to finally meet him.

Here I am with Ashlee Adams. She and her mother, Gayle, are the owners of The Sutherland, a gorgeous historic estate in Wake Forest. They have done an amazing job renovating the estate and landscaping the grounds. There are many places on the lovely and well manicured lawns, gardens and terraces for weddings from very small to very large. Every time I am here for a wedding it looks more and more beautiful as all the plants have matured and walks have been put in. The Walled Garden where this wedding ceremony took place is actually covered in artificial grass. That is so wonderful because when it rains, no stepping in mud puddles, ruining your shoes, or sinking of heels into the ground! They have also recently added speakers and a sound system to provide music for weddings if there are no musicians or DJs. The Groom's Terrace is on the other side of the house and this day it was covered by a huge tent, just in case it rained during the reception. It was also our Plan B in case it rained for the ceremony--a nice back-up plan at The Sutherland. Rubber Band was setting up to play for the reception when I arrived. It is always a delight for me to officiate weddings in this special place.

It was good to work with Craig Carpenter of Luster Studios again. He is a lot of fun and does such amazing work. I see a few photos of this wedding on his first page but he has not gotten around to doing the blog yet but keep checking! Thanks, Craig.

Wonderful Wedding for Nikki and Chad at St. Mark's Chapel!

Hello! I have had a little hiatus from blogging this past week when my husband, Dave, and I, along with our two pooches, Cybelle and Heidi, took a midweek mini-vacation to Atlantic Beach. We left on Sunday and returned on Thursday and it has taken me since then to get caught up on my email and meetings with couples. And now to blogging last weekend's two weddings. Saturday August 22nd was rainy due to Hurricane Bill who was stirring up the coastline and sending rainy weather our way. But, my two weddings went very well and were not spoiled at all by the rain.

Our radiant bride, Nikki, as she entered the sweet chapel to be met by her bridegroom, Chad, and escorted to the altar for the ceremony.

Nikki and I look like midgets compared to our very tall bridegroom! The pink bridesmaids dresses were so pretty in the chapel. Chad was perspiring a lot. I mopped his face with my handy hankie and said to the guests "Getting married is hard work!" They all enjoyed a good laugh!

The big pronouncement of marriage! Then the kiss!


Nikki and Chad, you are a wonderful couple! Many blessings for a happy and long marriage!


I thank Rick and Evan, our photographers, for covering this event. I look forward to seeing their photos of this wedding. Here's a link to their website

Molly Olah, violinist, and Nate Leyland, Cellist, for our wonderful music!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sweet Private Wedding for Curtis and Nicole!

Nicole called me last Wednesday to see if she and Curtis could get married in my wedding garden the following weekend. We decided on Saturday August 15 at 6:30 PM.

With a few of their family and friends closely gathered around, Nicole and Curtis made their vows to each other.

Then they exchanged rings.

So glad to be married!

Here's the whole gang. Ready to go out and celebrate!
None of their parents could be with us for the wedding. Nicole's Aunt Hortense stood in for Nicole's mother and father who live in Jamaica. Curtis' parents live out of town as well.

Nicole is such a beautiful bride and so photogenic! Her dress was very pretty and her bouquet so fragrant. What a handsome couple they are.

Nicole and Curtis, I wish you a lifetime of happiness together!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ana and Chris Marry at Brier Creek Country Club!

Ana and Chris and their two year old daughter, Mia, live in Long Beach, California. They have been together for many years and when they decided it was time to get married, Ana's sister, Heather, who lives at Brier Creek in Raleigh decided that she would put together a very nice wedding for them at the elegant clubhouse on August 15th. I met with Ana and her sister, Heather, in April and made the plans for the ceremony. I could tell that Ana was a bit overwhelmed with planning a wedding in NC from CA, but Heather handled the local details superbly and we had a lovely wedding. Ana and Heather's parents came down from Virginia and Chris' mother came from California for this wonderful occasion.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived for the wedding was this flamingo bride and groom frolicking in the large fountain planter in front of the country club!

The wedding took place in front of the fireplace in the large room off the lobby. I have done several weddings in this banquet room and it is a welcome oasis from the heat and humidity of the day. The ceremony we co-created was simple but elegant and touched everyone's hearts.

They chose to have the sand ceremony to include Mia in the ceremony although she was not physically present. She was with a babysitter downstairs and joined us right after the ceremony! They had brought sand from Marin Stadium, a place they enjoy going to together, sand from Sunset Beach, another fun place they frequent, and sand from Heather's backyard in NC.

The deed is done and now let's have some fun!! Ana and Chris were practically skipping down the aisle after the pronouncement and the kiss.

I sent the guests to the lounge for cocktails while the room was being "turned" for the reception. In the meantime, the newlyweds and close family convened on the deck for photos. Here we are with Miss Mia. Isn't she a doll?

Ana and Chris, the wedding was wonderful and I wish you many years of wedded bliss!

Kristie Taylor of Brier Creek Country Club was with us every step of the way through the wedding. She and her assistant were there to supply our every need. Thank you! Brier Creek is a wonderful wedding venue both indoors and at the lovely Jasmine Court outdoors and the spacious ballroom for receptions.

A Beautiful Raleigh Rose Garden Wedding for Anika and Chaun!

Anika and Chaun are as determined a young couple as any I have met. Yes, they are young (Anika 18 and Chaun 22) but they surely knew without a doubt they wanted to get married. They planned their wedding for August 15 in the Raleigh Rose Garden--such a beautiful spot surrounded by nature.
They had gotten quite far along with the wedding plans before they realized they needed an officiant to perform the ceremony--a legal requirement in NC! So, Anika's sister, Kiersten, who was a major mover and shaker in getting this wedding planned and executed, found and contacted me. I met with Anika, Chaun, Kiersten and her beau, Michael, on July 1st--a scant 6 weeks before the wedding and we started working on their ceremony.

Anika was a radiant bride in her beautiful dress as her father escorted her down the very long aisle at the rose garden. Kiersten served as her sister's maid of honor and we drafted her boyfriend, Michael, into being our wedding director. He did a fine job!

The couple chose to have their wedding guests face the shelter at the rose garden rather than facing the fountain because the shelter looked more like a chapel. It is painted a soft yellow that matched the roses nearby and, decorated with tulle and flowers, it was quite pretty.

Anika is saying her vows to Chaun here. It took a few tears and my hankie to get her (and Chaun) through. The words truly came from their hearts!

This is the big moment--the pronouncement!

The newlyweds beaming at the camera. They were ecstatic to be Mr. and Mrs.! My heartfelt congratulations to you both! Keep up your determination through all the years and I have no doubt all your dreams will come true!

Our lovely music was provided by Opus One Strings, a mother/daughter duo with Ri-Shea Schlitter on violin and her daughter Cheryl on cello.

Our photographer was Kelly Martin of Kelly Martin Photography. Kelly told me she is new to the wedding photography business and that this was her fifth wedding. She was very professional and I am sure her photos will be great. She has a blog too and I am sure she will put photos of this wedding on it.

Gina Beatty Martinez, special events coordinator for Raleigh Rose Garden, was on hand and ready to do whatever we needed for the wedding. Thanks, Gina!

Their reception was later in the afternoon at Step to Gold Ballroom.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jeannie and Aaron Tie the Knot in Kayelily's Wedding Garden!

Jeannie and Aaron planned their wedding for August 8, 2009 and originally were going to have a larger ceremony and reception at Margaux's restaurant in North Raleigh. Later on, they decided to streamline their guest list and asked if they could have their ceremony in my wedding garden. I was pleased to be able to provide this site for them. Two weeks before, I had just had a new patio installed in my garden since the trees had grown so much and the shade prevented grass from growing underfoot. It sure makes it nice for weddings. No more high heels sinking into the dirt and no more mud if it has rained.

So, on the wedding day Jeannie arrived with her friends and they helped her slip into her wedding gown and await the arrival of their 14 guests. (I limit the number of guests for weddings in my garden to between 15 and 20.)

Aaron and Jeannie had put together the ceremony they wanted from my ceremony material and chose to include the Celtic tradition of handfasting. Here you can see the cord looped around their left hands. I read somewhere that the more loops around their hands, the stronger the bond of their love. So, I looped the maximum! With their right hands joined, the symbol of infinity is formed "blessing their marriage in the eternal ebb and flow of the universe."

They made their vows to each other while their hands were joined. Then I removed the cord which was symbolically replaced by their rings.

The happy couple, now married! They adjourned to Margaux's where they had the private room for their reception. Congratulations, Jeannie and Aaron!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fabulous Wedding for Cassie and Dane at St. Mary's Chapel!

Cassie and Dane married on Sunday August 2, 2009 at the historic Saint Mary's Chapel on the campus of Saint Mary's School in downtown Raleigh. Isn't it the sweetest looking little white chapel?

I had always been curious to see the inside of this quaint little chapel that I always notice when driving down Hillsborough Street. The chapel seats 250 at full capacity which includes seating on the wings. I found out that starting this year, the school has changed their policy from renting the chapel only to alumna and staff and will now rent it to the general public. This is great news for couples wanting a beautiful church setting for their wedding.

The chapel was built in 1942 in the Episcopal tradition. It has lovely stained glass windows and dark polished wood. I was able to plug my receiver and wireless microphone into their sound system and the sound was perfect.

The beautiful old organ is quite something to see and to hear. Here is the lower part with keyboard.

Here is the upper part. In the picture is the back of Kevin Kerstetter, our fabulous organist and pianist, who provided the lovely music for Dane and Cassie's wedding. (He did not want his picture taken but we got this one when he was not looking!)

This is our photographer, Allison, getting photos of the groom and groomsmen before the ceremony.

What a good looking group of guys! So handsome in their tuxes with Carolina Blue ties, of course!

This is Dane's father, Marc, who was his son's best man doing his legal duty by signing the license. I really enjoyed meeting Dane and Cassie's parents. Dane's folks came all the way from Vancouver, Washington and Cassie's from Healy, Alaska. Cassie and Dane have been together for 4 years and everyone was so happy to see them tie the knot!

As the grandparents and parents were being escorted in, Amanda, a friend of the couple, sang "Never Saw Blue." It was a beautiful song for a wedding and she did a great job!

Then the groom, groomsmen and I processed in followed by the bridesmaids. Here we are all awaiting the entrance of our beautiful bride.

After Cassie's father transferred her hand into Dane's, the couple ascended the steps up onto the altar with me which is symbolic of taking their relationship to a higher level on their wedding day.

The photos of the ceremony taken with my little camera were not good enough to keep because the flash was severely insufficient for the level of light in the chapel. Here we are after the ceremony. This photo has been lightened up enough to show this handsome couple and the bride's gorgeous dress.

Cassie and Dane are an extraordinary couple and I was very honored to be their wedding officiant. Not only are they a picture-perfect couple but they are also very bright and very generous and loving individuals. I commented to Dane's father that they looked so much alike they could pass for brother and sister-- their resemblance is remarkable. He agreed and told me they kid around about getting DNA tests! Cassie is in UNC Law School and Dane will be starting an MBA program in the fall. He has spent the last year or two in the Teachers for America program teaching Zuni Pueblo children in New Mexico--a job he found to be an extremely rewarding and enriching experience.

I am chatting here with Ginny Martin, wedding coordinator of the chapel. Ginny was great to work with and I look forward to doing many more weddings with her in the future.

This is Allison Davis of Sandfoot Photography. I had met Allison a few months earlier at a Professional Wedding Guild networking luncheon and it was good to have the opportunity to work with her. Allison just recently returned from her own wedding in July on the Outer Banks and honeymoon to Jamaica. You can see her wedding photos on her blog. I am sure she will add Cassie and Dane's wedding photos on her next post.

This is Adrianna, Allison's assistant/apprentice who is grateful for the opportunity to work with Allison and learn the ropes. She was manning the cameras on the tripod for the photos of the ceremony.

Well, here is the get-away car all decorated with shaving cream that was not sticking very well in the humid weather! Their reception was at Caffe Luna nearby. I know they had a lot of fun!

Cassie and Dane, congratulations on your marriage. I wish you all the happiness and success in the world. I know you two will make great contributions to the greater good of society and be exemplary role models for your future children!