Sealed with a kiss!

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

See this Slideshow of Courtney and Denny's Wedding!

Hello! I just received a link to this fabulous slide show of Courtney and Denny's wedding that took place on November 7th done by their photographer, Robin Lin, and I thought you would have fun looking at it.

It shows the couple getting ready for the ceremony, the ceremony at All Saints Chapel and the reception at the Capital City Club. Looks like they had a great time! Notice the beautiful candles and fall leaves theme that is consistent with the altar decor at the chapel. Beautiful. Thanks to Fresh Affairs fabulous florals.

The original post of this wedding on my blog  is here

The thoughtful groomsman who sent this link to me is John Evans--the bald groomsman, he says! John was talking to a woman at Blinco's about starting his own wedding DJ business and this woman happened to be my daughter and so they made the connection with Courtney and Denny's wedding. John has been a DJ with a DJ company for the past 10 years and is ready to spin out on his own. He can be reached at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where Do You Find a Wedding Officiant? Tips for Your Officiant Search.

I saw this post on the Wedding Bee Pro Blog tonight and thought I would share it with you. It is an excellent article; in fact, I should have written it myself!

Where Do You Find a Wedding Officiant? Tips for Your Officiant Search.

"I frequent the Weddingbee message boards, and one of the frequent questions I find myself answering over there is “Where do you find a wedding officiant?”

Sometimes I think the Wedding Industrial Complex has forgotten about the wedding officiant. I've met with couples who have been planning their wedding for 18 months – but didn't think to hire an officiant until three weeks before. Many couples worry about who is going to marry them if they don't get married in a church or a temple, or if they are non-religious or don't want a minister or a rabbi. The WIC tells brides that they need to match their bridesmaids’ dresses to their shoes exactly, that you need monogrammed napkins and signature drinks – but tells you nothing about customizing or personalizing your wedding ceremony, which is one of the most important parts of the entire day – otherwise, it's really just a party.

Here's the thing: wedding officiants and Celebrants are out there! And we want to perform your wedding ceremony – exactly how you want it to be! My weddings have NO requirements when it comes to their structure or content. Sure, I'll guide you in certain directions, based on my past experiences on what works, but you can basically choose exactly what you'd like to include in your wedding. It's always personal, and truly reflects the people being married.

And I'm not alone in doing this – there are Celebrants all over the United States (and a few scattered across other countries, too!) who want to work with you to create a beautiful wedding ceremony. You just need to find them! And we really do all that we can so you don't feel like you're being married by a wedding vendor or professional – we try to make it feel like you're being married by a friend (well, at least, I do). A friend who knows a lot about wedding traditions and the ins and outs of ceremony, that is.

So here are some tips when you begin your officiant search:

The best time to start looking for an officiant is when you decide WHERE your ceremony is going to be. Not only is it a peace of mind to know that you can be confident in your ceremony being as beautiful as your venue, but we also book up around four to twelve months before the wedding. We may not be available or able to put together a great ceremony on very short notice (but it can be done!)

Start by Googling “wedding officiant in [your state]” to find some jumping off points. You can also check out websites like WeddingWire that have reviews from real brides (i.e., we can't edit the responses) or TheKnot to see who is out there, too.

Schedule a meeting or phone call before signing a contract. There are some wedding pros that I think are OK for just one person to check out – but try your best to BOTH be at the phone call or meeting. All Celebrants offer a no-obligation meeting, and I think it's important to click and have a real connection with the person who is marrying you. [Personal note: my fiance and I met with a few officiants for our wedding. I spoke on the phone with one who I had a good connection with, but my fiance did not connect with her at all at the meeting - I was ready to hire her over the phone. Meetings are important.]

Ask good questions at your meeting! I find that I almost always answer all of my couple's questions in my initial wedding spiel, but here are some good questions to ask:

Are you legal to solemnize marriages in my state?
How do we get our wedding license? Who files it?
Can we customize the ceremony? Can we write our own vows?
Do you have a PA system you can bring, or a preference for amplification?
What do you wear?
Can we see the ceremony before hand?
How long are your typical wedding ceremonies? How long do you think our wedding will be?
Do you prefer to communicate via email or phone?
Is a rehearsal included in the fee? Do you recommend a rehearsal? Do you attend the rehearsal?
How early do you arrive on the day of the ceremony?
Do you stay for the reception or the rehearsal dinner?
Do you have a backup? What happens if you can't make it to the wedding?
If we forget to get the license, will you still perform the ceremony?
Do you provide props for the ceremonies (handfasting, unity candle, etc)?

I think you should walk out of your meeting with your wedding officiant excited about your wedding and your ceremony, with a clear picture of the ceremony in your head. A good officiant should be able to offer you assistance with your vows (either suggestions if you don't plan on writing them, or editing if you do), reading suggestions, and help with rituals you may want to include.

I hope this helps with the daunting task of finding a wedding officiant who is right for you. Have you found your wedding officiant yet? How did you feel after meeting him or her?"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Your Wedding Minister Makes The Difference

I love to read other blogs and I have a Google Alert for "wedding minister" so I receive all blogs that have that term in them. One I came across the other day had an article by Dr. David Trumble, wedding minister. I have seen several artcles by him in the past and I understand that he has published some books on weddings although I have not read them. This recent article is about choosing a wedding officiant. I thought he made some excellent points so I thought I would copy and paste it here for you giving him due credit, of course. (It was difficult but I managed to resist changing the male gender pronouns to female pronouns!)

Your Wedding Minister Makes The Difference
by Dr. David Trumble
submitted 2009-11-19

What makes the right wedding minister for your wedding? What qualifications do you want in your wedding minister?

Not all ministers are equal. Some are obnoxious, demanding, and insensitive. Some are rigidly bound by their traditions. Others are truly helpful, understanding, and professional. Like any other profession, ministers are people with varying skills, preferences, and priorities.

Many couples do not really care who officiates their ceremony for them. They accept the first minister available. One might ask, does it really make a difference who officiates?

Is your wedding minister legally authorized to perform weddings? Double check. Your wedding minister should be authorized by your state and ordained or authorized by an appropriate religious or social agency.

Wedding ministers represent not only civil authorities, but their own particular religious traditions. You will want to be sure that your wedding minister fits your own views of marriage and family. You may not agree with your wedding minister in every detail of life, but it is important that his expressions concerning your wedding reflect your own values. What religious background have you shared, or do you prefer? Look for a wedding minister from that tradition. If you prefer Baptist, look for a Baptist minister. If you connect with Methodist, Presbyterian, or other tradition, look for an appropriate wedding minister.

Do you want a minister who comes to your wedding with his own pre-written ceremony? This can really simplify things for the bride and groom, but limits the amount of creativity and personalization.

Other wedding ministers are much more open to working with the wedding couple. Having a minister who encourages your creativity can help make your ceremony far more personal and unique.

Your whole wedding depends on your wedding minister. His words express the theme and content of the wedding ceremony, but he does much more. He manages the flow of the ceremony, guides the participants, and facilitates every aspect of the ceremony.

In a perfect world, the marriage and family values are communicated by your wedding minister in ways that are both meaningful and helpful. He is responsible to society and his religious traditions, but he should also express the values to which you are committing yourselves. Use him as a resource to help you understand your commitments. Look to him for guidance and encouragement.

If you want a beautiful formal wedding, you will want a wedding minister with the professionalism and dignity to make it happen for you. If you want a more relaxed or informal wedding, you will want a wedding minister who helps people relax, perhaps adds a touch of informality or humor, and generally helps people feel good about themselves without rigid formality.

Ultimately, you are in charge. You choose the wedding minister that will help you achieve your dream wedding. He manages the legalities, the traditions, and the coordination; but he does so in cooperation with the wedding couple. Together you can achieve the kind of wedding you really want with as much personalization as you wish.

Hope and Mitch Wed at her Brother's Home in Raleigh.

Hope and Mitch live in Greenville but wanted to have their wedding at her brother Michael's home in Raleigh. She contacted me and we made all the arrangements for their family wedding by email and US Mail. The date was November 21, 2009. I thank Michael for taking these great photos with my camera!

They both have children from prior marriages and so we included a family unity sand ceremony so that each child could participate in the ceremony. Here they are all coming forth to pour their sand--Nicole, Micky, Matt, Maddux and Lee--I think I got that straight! See how color coordinated they are! Two of the kids could not be with us. One was Mitch Jr. who is serving in the military in Afghanistan and the other is Laura who is away at college, if I remember correctly.

What a wonderful blended family. I know they will all be so happy. Hope and Mitch, my congratulations and best wishes to you both and your wonderful family!

The sand is so pretty in all the 9 layers.

This is a table to pay tribute to all those not present. On the left and right are the couple's fathers who have passed on. The top middle photo is Mitch Jr who is so bravely serving our country and we are so appreciative. The lower middle photo is Mitch's mother who is in Illinois and could not make it to the wedding. Missing is a photo of Mitch's daughter, Laura, away at college but she was with us in our hearts.

Sweet Private Wedding for Julie and Barry!

Julie and Barry moved to this area about a year ago although they have been together for many years. They have both been married before and they wanted a small private wedding with no guests and preferred not to go the courthouse route! I was most happy to have their wedding in my wedding garden.

The weather was balmy and almost hot on the morning of November 19, 2009. The impatiens were still in bloom and some of the trees still had their leaves.

They planned a get away trip to Richmond after their wedding.

I had not met Julie and Barry before the wedding. We made all the arrangements by email and US mail. She had said something to me about having to take their dogs to be boarded before coming to my house. She very much connected with my two dogs when they got here. So, I googled her and found out that she is quite a canine aficionado! Seems that she founded a safe haven for older dogs who do not get adopted. This touches my heart so much! I invite you to go take a look at the Grey Muzzle Organization and support this worthy cause!

Congratulations, Julie and Barry! I know your happiness together will continue all your lives! And thank you for your compassion for our furry friends.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Professional Wedding Guild Luncheon at Hilton RTP.

Can you believe that this is ALL cake? It is amazing! Not only the bottle but the packing material, the box, the labels, the cheese, and the knife! It was donated by Simply Cakes. This was the door prize at the November luncheon of the Professional Wedding Guild sponsored by the Perfect Wedding Guide of NC.

The Professional Wedding Guild luncheon was held this month at the lovely Hilton RTP in Durham also known as The Mansion on the Hill.

I have done many weddings here. The most recent one was out on the patio.

Here is a wedding out on the front porch of the hotel.

This is a wedding in the Magnolia Room and the guests sat in a configuration in the round.

This wedding was in the Magnolia Room with a different seating configuration.

We were warmly welcomed by Devon Schwartz (right) who is the Catering Sales Manager of the Hilton RTP and Danielle Oberlender (center) who is Director of Catering. On the left is my good friend and colleague, Rev. Robin Renteria.

Tim Oxendine with Diamond DJ Entertainment, Blue Diamond Limousines and Sedans, and Diamond Bodyguard Protection Agency, was our speaker. He spoke on safety. In the photo above he is talking with Megan Donahoe of Wyndham Garden Hotel.

This is the group this month. In the background you can see Kevin Seifert of Kevin Seifert Wedding Photography taking photos of this event.

Gail Galloway, our hostess, was surprised with a bouquet of flowers and a plaque of thanks that says "Thank you for all your support and dedication to the wedding industry" from all the Perfect Wedding Guide vendors.

Fresh Affairs furnished all the pretty centerpieces.

I snapped a quick photo of Jerry Dillard of Jerry Dillard Photography who is a regular at these luncheons, as am I. He is celebrating 40 years of wedding photography and is not used to being the subject of the picture! Congratulations, Jerry!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fabulous Wedding for Nancy and Steve at Maggiano's!

I knew when I met Nancy and Steve that theirs would be a very special wedding. They have both been married before and have grown children. They were not expecting to meet anyone who would be so perfectly matched for them. But then Steve's brother, Ron, (now dubbed "St. Ron") arranged for them to meet each other and the rest is, as we say, history! Both Steve and Nancy wanted a fun evening with their friends with the wedding ceremony thrown in. They picked Maggiano's Little Italy in Southpoint Mall, Durham, not only because it is one of their favorite restaurants but because it was the perfect atmosphere for their wedding celebration. Steve is in the wine industry and he wanted to pick special wines for the evening and the food there is wonderful anyway!

After our meeting, I sent Nancy and Steve a proposed ceremony based on what they told me they wanted. They really wanted to emphasize their friends and family members and so they added a tribute to just about everyone there. Some were hilarious and others were tear-jerkers. I was looking forward to delivering this ceremony so much and it was such a pleasure on their wedding day.

The couple arrived together and most of the guests were already mingling around in the private dining room. Can you see the individual bottles of wine at each place setting?

Here we are discussing where we will stand for the ceremony and Nancy is pointing out people to me who are named in the ceremony.

Nancy's dress was stunning. The back of it was encrusted with Swarovski's crystals.

Nancy and her sister, Dori.

Now it is time for the ceremony. The DJ put on Canon in D and folks started gathering around. There were mirrors everywhere and this one liked to reflect the flash on my camera. (I am grateful that I can post these photos that would be unacceptable to a professional photographer!) Their wedding had many funny moments and parts of it were akin to a "roast" in good fun. Nancy is a "horse" person and her beloved horse is Pablo. One of the lines in the ceremony reads: "If Pablo was here, we would thank him too, but Nancy could not figure out how to get him through the revolving front door outside of Maggiano’s." I loved it and so did their guests. I doubt they will ever forget it.

And finally the big pronouncement of marriage. The deed is done!

Their first dance as husband and wife.

Are we happy or what! Nancy and Steve, I will never forget you and your wonderful wedding. Thanks so much for making me a special part of your special day. Congratulations!

This is Emily Slaughterbeck of Maggiano's that I am speaking with. She was in charge that evening and fabulous to work with. She took care of all the details and even sent Marty and me home with generous helpings of Maggiano's very delicious lasagna. Thanks, Emily! Thanks too to Michelle Castro of Maggiano's for making all the arrangements with Steve and Nancy to make this possible.

What an exquisite wedding cake! It is by Blue Moon Bakery.

Our super DJ was Frank Meldau of Joe Bunn DJ Company. Thanks for plugging my mic into your system and taking control of the sound, Frank!

Our photographer was Heather Swanner. Good to work with you again, Heather! Send me some photos!

Wonderful Wedding at the Matthews House for Martha and Ryan!

Martha and Ryan planned a lovely wedding outdoors at The Matthews House in Cary. It is a gorgeous venue for a wedding. But, tropical depression Ida almost forced the wedding indoors! It rained all week and we got almost 6" of needed rain here but Martha and Ryan were hoping for a reprieve on Saturday afternoon and the sun finally popped out about 1:00 for this 4:00 wedding. The ground was quite soft though and the bridesmaids in high heels gave the lawn a good aerating! Some of them wisely switched to flats though.

Stella is our 3 year old flower girl assisted by Martha's niece, Isis, our 9 year old junior bridesmaid.

Isis did not think that Stella was throwing out enough petals so she helped her by scooping out more and filling in the aisle. But, they finally made it down the aisle and Stella managed to stand up quietly with us for the entire wedding.

Martha was escorted in by her parents, Marty and Melissa. Marty sure looks like he has got a good grip on his daughter before they entered. I don't know who the tall gentleman with the camera is but he is watching for the cue for them to enter.

You can see that the wedding colors were purple and green. The groomsmen had green vests and ties and the bridesmaids wore deep purple dresses that were quite interesting. They were skirts and the tops wrapped in different configurations making each bridesmaid's dress unique. Their sweet purple nosegays by Daniel's Florist were perfect for their dresses.

Martha and Ryan are pouring their sand. Hers is purple, his a light green. Their containers are unique (see close-ups below). You can see we provided a piece of runner for the bride and groom to stand on so that her dress would not get all muddy. I brought a small green rug for me to stand on.

Here they are! The Newlywed Couple! I think Martha is scampering along on her tiptoes so she won't sink! It was a great wedding. Two of their attendants did readings and one sang and played the guitar during the sand ceremony.

After the wedding while we were taking photos, Stella came up to me and just hugged my legs! She was such a little sweetie. I think she really liked my purple velvet prayer shawl!

The customary shot of the couple with the minister! I am standing on a step above them and finally almost eye to eye with Ryan for the first time! Congratulations, Martha and Ryan. You created a fabulous wedding! I wish you lifetimes of happiness!

Martha is so talented. She handmade every one of her programs and you can see how beautiful they are. She batiked linen paper in a long but loving process. Each one is unique. She told me she thought that some guests might like to frame the cover. What a great idea.

Dan Hadley was our photographer. He is so much fun to work with. Thanks, Dan, and send me some of your photos!

The guitarist is Ken Wilson from Winston-Salem where the couple grew up. He and the flautist made beautiful wedding music.

Here is the pretty sand ceremony before the wedding. The containers are engraved. The individual containers have their names on them. The central one has the initials of both of them and the wedding date. Very nice.

They carefully poured their sand in to make layers and mixing the very top layer. A real keepsake.

This is the wedding cake! All the delicious cupcakes were lovingly made by several of the bridesmaids. Wonderful friends to have.

Kenisha and Lee's Wedding at All Saints Chapel!

Lee and Kenisha had wanted to elope but their families really wanted to see them get married and have a "real" wedding! So, they engaged the lovely All Saints Chapel in downtown Raleigh for their wedding Saturday morning November 14th. Despite having very busy work schedules (Kenisha is in nursing school and working part-time and Lee is a full time medical professional), they managed to make it all happen beautifully.

Kenisha's stepfather, Tommy, brings her down the aisle. Kenisha wanted to include both her stepfather and her father, Charles, in the wedding.

So, Tommy brought her down the aisle to the front row where her mother, Melissa, was standing. She kissed him good bye there and took the arm of her father who was waiting there. He walked her up to Lee who was waiting for her hand in marriage.

Lee is a tall man but Kenisha, in her heels, just about topped him. I felt like a midget although I had on 2" platform shoes to be taller than my normal 5'5"! Isn't Kenisha's wedding gown stunning? It was so flowing and soft. Jessica is our Maid of Honor holding both beautiful bouquets and Kevin, our best man, is holding the rings.

The morning light was streaming in and illuminating the chapel. I am standing to the side of the couple to give thank and pay tribute to their parents on Kenisha and Lee's behalf. After they said their vows to each other and exchanged rings, they lit the Unity Candle.

Now they are married! Does it look to you like Kenisha is in a hurry?!

From this angle, I don't look like such a midget. They were so happy that this day finally arrived and that the wedding was wonderful. What a great couple! Lee and Kenisha, you know I wish you all the best always!

Kelly Martin was our photographer. It was good to work with you again, Kelly! (Please note that these photos on this post were not taken by Kelly. They were taken with my point and shoot digital camera and that is why they are not of professional quality but good enough to give you an idea of what the wedding looked like.)

Andrew Martin was the Chapel representative and this time we BOTH brought candlelighters after last week's wedding where there were none! Andrew ran the sound for this wedding as the couple used pre-recorded music played through the house system. Good job, Andrew!

Kenisha's friend, Heather, acted as our director and did a fine job. Thanks, Heather!