Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, September 27, 2009

1001 Arabian Nights Theme Wedding for Liz and Russ!

Liz and Russ were referred to me by their wedding planner, Erin McLean. Erin knew that I would be the perfect officiant for their wedding on September 26, 2009, because Liz and Russ had non-traditional ideas and wanted a unique theme wedding. Erin knows that I love the unique and the unusual. So, when I met with Liz and Russ, I found them to be a delightful couple and definitely independent thinkers! They had both been married before and really wanted to do their wedding their way this time around.

Liz had always dreamed of a wedding based on 1001 Arabian Nights with decor like the inside of lavish desert tents, beautiful lights, and rich colorful decorations. They found A Step to Gold Ballroom and decided that it was the best candidate to be transformed into their fantasy wedding. With Erin's help, they assembled an impressive team of wedding vendors to put this all together for them. This is the inside of the ballroom that has been draped with white sheers along the walls and radiating out from the ceiling in swags. Notice the lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Colored lights were placed behind the draperies and the colors changed throughout the evening giving a different color of light and mood to the whole room.

This is the sofra, a Persian wedding tradition where gifts and items are placed for good luck and happiness for the couple. Notice the beautiful peacock feathers bedecking the altar.

The ceremony took place out on the balcony where a giant white tent had been set up. Here is Liz being escorted in by her Uncle Bill and her grandson, Aden.

The tent was enclosed on two sides. The balcony floor was covered with snow white wall to wall indoor-outdoor carpeting. Jeff, our light and sound guy, had white lights beaming in from outside and inside the tent. I know when it got dark later on it was beautiful to behold.

Liz and Russ wrote their own secret vows to each other heard for the first time on their wedding day. It was very special and I heard Russ sniffling a little bit!

Now they are married and it is time to party!

Here is the wedding party inside. Notice the pretty magenta color of the lights behind the sheers. On the left is our bridesmaid, Sarah, Liz's daughter and mother of her grandsons, Aden and Crayven, Viki, Maid of Honor, Liz and Russ, and Samuel, Russ' son and Best Man. Matt, Sarah's husband, was a groomsman but not here for this photo.

Here is the traditional shot of the couple with the officiant!

Liz wore a lovely off white silk two piece Indian style wedding dress bedecked with glittery jewels. She had her hands and arms covered with henna art in the Indian tradition for the wedding. Her bouquet was of brilliant colored blossoms with peacock feathers interspersed. Liz and Russ, I hope your fantasy wedding was your dream come true! You pulled it off royally! Congratulations and I wish you all the best!

Here is a photo of the balcony and tent before the ceremony. The bride had tree branches spray-painted white in the background. She wanted to be surrounded by a white wintery decor as much as possible to be in stark contrast to the rich colorful tent decor inside. After the ceremony, this space was transformed into a lounge area with sofas and tables.

Our Wonderful Vendors who made this dream wedding come true:

Wow! Where do I start??

First, the wedding planner, Erin McLean, who assembled a fabulous team to manifest this couple's dream wedding. You and your assistant, Rachel, did a great job on this wedding! Thanks for all your hard work, long hours, and for sending Liz and Russ my way!

The venue, A Step to Gold Ballroom, is located in Pleasant Valley Promenade on Glenwood Avenue. I had not been there before but had heard about it. It is ballroom dance studio and also a lovely space for a wedding. Liz and Russ are avid dancers and that is the primary reason they were drawn to this setting.

Michelle Aldred of Triangle Catering was handling all the food for this wedding, and the decor, tables and chairs. It was good to work with you again, Michelle, and I look forward to the grand opening of your new venue, The Cotton Room, in Durham next week!

Jeff Simpson of Simpsound DJ and Lighting Services provided the sound system for my microphone and all the beautiful lighting which was an integral part of setting the mood for this fantasy theme. I have done weddings with Jeff in his role as DJ but had never seen his expertise in lighting. It is quite the thing for weddings these days.

Rob Seelye of Studio-R-1 was our capable photographer. It was good to see you again, Rob! He created this fabulous movie poster with our couple who are portrayed as a couple of gangsters, such as Bonnie and Clyde. Very clever! The guests signed the mat around the photo as their version of the guest book.

Elegant Ensembles out of Winston-Salem were our musicians and they played so well despite the high moisture content of the air this evening. Thanks, you guys! One of them is violinist Matt Evans who is part of a duo with his wife Elena, flutist, known as the Kildaire Duo, of Cary.

The amazing florist for this wedding is Tracy Huntley of Springwell Gardens in Cary.

Yummy chocolate for the Groom's cake!

This is a spectacular wedding cake also created by Cake Dreams by Sally.

Vickie and Doug's Private Wedding in Kayelily's Wedding Garden.

Vickie contacted me in August with plans to marry her and Doug on September 12th, but those plans did not work out and the wedding was put on hold indefinitely, or so I thought. I was surprised to get a call from her on Friday September 25th requesting me to perform their wedding this weekend. I was free on Saturday the 26th at 12:30 so that was the time we set for them to get married in my wedding garden.

They brought close friends with them and Vickie's son Trevor and their daughter together, Nikki. That is Trevor on the right serving as Best Man. Nikki is behind her mom to my right.

They wanted to do the Family Unity Sand ceremony so I provided them with the necessary containers, sand and table.

Vickie and Doug poured their sand in together first then their kids poured in their sand. This is such a meaningful hands-on ceremony for children and they actually get to do something during the wedding.

Doug and Vickie were so happy to get married--finally. Doesn't Vickie look beautiful in her gorgeous gown? She wanted to keep it from getting dirty with the hopes that someday Nikki could wear it in her wedding.

Here's Miss Nikki. She was our flower girl today and has been the flower girl in several weddings in the past so she knew just what to do! It was a sweet wedding. Vickie and Doug, I wish you all the happiness in the world!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Rainy but Beautiful Wedding for Jenn and Sean!

Jenn and Sean live in Bothell, WA so they are used to rainy days. Jenn's parents live in Franklinton, NC so they chose to have their wedding at The Sutherland in Wake Forest on September 26, 2009,hoping for clear weather. They contacted me in January 2009 and we made all the arrangements via email and US mail for me to officiate their wedding. Then, when they were in Raleigh in March 2009, we met for the first time. They are a delightful couple and so well matched for each other! Sean told me they met on and clicked with each other on their first date and have been together ever since.

Rain prevailed the afternoon and evening of Jenn and Sean's wedding but thankfully they had the huge tent on the Groom's Terrace where the reception was to be held as a wonderful Plan B. So, we set up there for the ceremony instead of in the Walled Garden. The guests sat at tables and the parents and Sean's two aunts had places of honor in a row of chairs up front. Jenn's dad, Nelson, proudly escorted her in when it was time.

Here Daddy is handing over the bride to the groom in the customary fashion. However, we no longer say "who gives the bride..." as that implies possession, but instead "who blesses and supports the bride..."

Jenn's Maid of Honor is her good friend, Sheri. Sean's Best Man is his brother, Brian. Jenn's brother, Mark, served as the usher. Their wedding guests came from all across the country!

The Groom's Terrace at The Sutherland has a partial wall around it and with the sides of the tent down, there is a beautiful backdrop of nature for our ceremony and the reception. In these photos you cannot see that a fine mist of rain is falling.

The new Mr. and Mrs. on their way out among the guests. It is time to take photos now while the guests enjoy a cocktail hour.

The rain let up and we were able to get some great photos outside on the front steps. This overcast condition is excellent diffused light for photos--no shadows, no squinting! Jenn and Sean, you are the best! You were so delightful to work with and you created a beautiful ceremony for your special day. I loved working with you and am honored to have officiated your wedding. I wish you happiness forever and ever!

Our Vendors:

Many thanks to Ashlee Adams, our Director for this wedding and one of the owners of elegant The Sutherland historical estate! Everything went so smoothly and we have you and your mother, Gayle, to thank for all your expertise and know-how! It is a pleasure to work weddings with you.

Mitchell's Catering
provided drinks and refreshments. Bill Allen was on hand supervising his capable staff.

Lenny Fritts of Touch of Class DJs was on hand to provide the music for the reception. When he arrived and found out that the ceremony had been moved to the reception area, he had his system up and ready for me to plug into as soon as I arrived. Lenny, you are great and I love working with you--but you already know that!

Brian Mullins was our photographer. Brian's photographic skills and his eye for a great shot are excellent. I will definitely check out his blog for photos of this wedding. Thanks, Brian--great working with you again.

Ginger Mullins, yep, Brian's wife, does hair and make-up and "beautified" the ladies for this wedding. I did not get to see her though as she had already finished and left before I got there.

Our ceremony music was provided by musicians assembled by Mary Greiner of Musicians Booking Agency. Evelyn, second from the right, is frequently in these quartets and it was good to work with her again!

This fabulous cake was created by Donna Ford of Sweet Memories. Not only do these cakes take first place, they taste wonderful!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Melissa and Chris Marry at 111 Place in Cary!

Once more this weekend, the rain stayed away! Chris and Melissa were thrilled that their wedding was able to be held outside in the courtyard of 111 Place on Sunday September 20th. When it was time, we got started escorting in the mothers of the couple. Then Chris and I entered followed by the best man and groomsman. Here you can see the set up of the photographer, David Gann, and his assistant. In the background you can see the maid of honor and bridesmaid being cued in by a friend of the couple, Rebecca, who served as our director.

Here comes our beautiful bride being escorted in by her proud papa! Her bouquet of red roses is stunning!

We had to be careful not to get too close to the lovely pots of flowers on the terrace because they were buzzing with bumblebees! We had plenty of room though.

Melissa and Chris chose to have the Blessing of the Hands ceremony in their wedding. We also had a blessing for their parents and both mothers and maybe the fathers teared up a bit.

The happy couple, now married!

Chris and Melissa, all your careful planning paid off with a beautiful wedding! Congratulations and I wish you all the best in life!

Our Vendors:

David Gann of David Gann Photography was taking the wedding photos. He brought along his ladder to get some "aerial" shots!

This lovely wedding cake with the couple's names on the clear heart above was created by Good Taste Cake Design in Durham.

The Picnic Basket provided the delicious food for the reception.

Amy Kortus
graced us with heavenly harp music for the ceremony. Amy told me that she and her family (husband and 3 small children) moved to the Raleigh area from Seattle a year ago. She loves playing at weddings. If you go to her website, you can hear how beautifully she plays her lovely harp.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jamelle and Brian's Fabulous Wedding at Fearrington!

Jamelle and Brian were married on September 19, 2009 at the Fearrington Country Inn at the Willow Oaks site. The wedding started promptly at 5:30 and even after the bride had entered, more and more guests were coming in and the staff was putting out more and more chairs.

Jamelle and Brian chose to limit their attendants to one each--the Matron of Honor and the Best Man. To honor their special friends who were not part of the wedding party, they had them process in as a group and sit in the second row on each side just before the parents of the couple were ushered in. After the wedding party and I entered, the flower girls, Maddie and Josie, made their entrance. They were so cute. Josie started dropping her petals way back before the chairs but she still had enough to sprinkle down the whole aisle. They got to sit down after the bride was presented.

After the wedding party processed in, Jamelle's dad, Ron, escorted her in. She was wearing the most beautiful wedding gown. It looked vintage but she told me it was new, made to look vintage. It had the softest tulle panels inset at the bottom and trailing behind her. She looked absolutely radiant!

Jamelle and Brian told me that they had been to a wedding recently in which the officiant moved around during the ceremony and addressed the guests from a closer vantage point than from behind the couple and they liked that. So, I was most happy to do that for them. I actually like getting closer to and speaking directly to the guests during the welcome and the parents blessing.

I went to each side and welcomed the guests, paid tribute to the parents of the couple, and presented the two readings. The first one was an excerpt from Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres--a terrific reading for the wedding day. The second one was the lyrics from "Anniversary Song" by Michael Timmons.

See the size of this crowd? I know there were over 200 guests there. Weddings at Fearrington are such elegant events, everyone invited wants to be there!

Jamelle and Brian wrote one of the deepest, meaningful wedding ceremonies I have ever delivered. I was delighted to impart their beliefs and feelings about love and marriage to their family and friends. Here I am making the pronouncement of marriage.

The newlywed couple strides down the aisle so happy to be married! Notice the bride's blue shoes! They were blue suede and represented the custom of "something blue."

The "deed was done" and it was time to have some fun. The guests were sent on to the Barn for the reception while the wedding party took some photos. We were all so thankful that it did not rain for the wedding. Rain was forecast but it ended up just being overcast and comfortably cool. Jamelle and Brian, my heartfelt congratulations to you. I know you will have a long and happy marriage!

Our Vendors:

First of all I want to thank Cheryl, our wedding director with Fearrington. She did such a great job organizing everyone and making sure everything went like clockwork. The coordination of her staff is amazing. The catering and wedding cake were all provided by the staff of Fearrington as well as all the floral arrangements.

This is Brian Smith and Risa Patterson of the band The.Design that was playing for the reception. For the ceremony music they set up a speaker and keyboard for Risa to play the musical selections of the couple. She did a great job. Brian told me that their band was formerly known as Sugar.

The photographer for the wedding was Mike with Missy McLamb Photography.

A Sweet and Joyful Wedding on the Terrace at The Umstead!

Out of all the people in the world, Rose and Knight were blessed with the good fortune of finding one another to share their love and their lives. Rose and Knight are a wonderful couple. Both of them were widowed and never dreamed they would find each other. They both felt that life has handed them an unexpected and miraculous chance for happiness, and they are devoted to fulfilling the promise of that chance. I was honored to be a part of their special day on September 19th, surrounded by their family and friends. Rose's father, Vince, is on the far left, her Matron of Honor is her good friend, Stephanie. Knight's son, Kevin, and his daughter, Christie, stood beside him.

"Knight, this ring is a symbol of my love. With it I take a piece of my heart and place it into yours. May it encircle our spirits and bind us together forever."

Rose, you may kiss your husband!!

"May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another." Congratulations, Rose and Knight!

Our Vendors:

First of all, The Umstead, is one of the most elegant and wonderful places you can get married in Raleigh. Ami Wheeler handles all the arrangements for you and she will do just about anything needed to ensure you have the wedding of your dreams! Thanks, Ami. This was a really sweet wedding.

Donna Ford of Sweet Memories Bakery provided the pretty wedding cake.

Mary Page Block of Arioso Strings provided our wonderful music.

I love working with Mary Page! Here we are conferring before the ceremony deciding how we would get the couple and wedding party into place and with what music.

Steve Humbert was our photographer. He is going to send me some more photos so I may update this post once I get them! Thanks, Steve.