Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Candice and Tim Marry at Kayelily's Home.

Candice called me Saturday December 26th and explained that she and Tim wanted to get married in a handfasting ceremony one year before their formal Catholic wedding in 2010. They both live in Florida but are from Raleigh and are here for the holidays. They were driving back to Florida on Monday and wanted to get married Monday morning December 28th. Worked with my schedule so we made the arrangements and Tim and Candice arrived at my home at 9:30 AM followed shortly by their two witnesses.

They brought their own handfasting cord--one that was blue representing the groom, a lacy strand representing the bride and golden ribbon representing God.  Notice that their left hands are wrapped in the cord and when they join their right hands together, the symbol of infinity is formed.

The happy moment of the pronouncement!

First kiss as husband and wife!

Best wishes, Tim and Candice! May all your dreams come true and you have a lifetime of joy and happiness.

A Scot Wedding for Beth and Mitch!

Beth, a professional writer, wrote to me in an email in October: "With a heavy heart this morning, I began my search for an officiant for our December wedding. We had planned our ceremony with the idea that my sister and brother-in-law, both pastors, would be performing our ceremony for us, bringing an extra special element of family to our day. I found out yesterday that they, regrettably, will not be able to be here. I was immediately filled with ideas of cut-and-paste ceremonies from strangers that would leave us feeling a void when all was said and done, but I must say after finding your site that those sentiments quickly dissipated. The peace I feel in contacting you can only be God leading us, and that, I never question! :-) This is not the first marriage for either one of us, so it will be an intimate gathering of friends and family at Mitch's (my fiance) home. The ceremony will be outside (with heaters!). We are both Christian...I would love to be able to get married at home without giving up the spiritual factor and "Godliness" of being in a church, if that makes sense. I pray that you can accommodate us and bless us with your gifts on our special day. I look forward to hearing from you!!"

And so we made the arrangements for their wedding the day after Christmas, December 26, 2009 and created a lovely ceremony that fit them perfectly. The  week before the wedding, Beth wrote me: "We've moved everything inside because of the weather- it's just too saturated outside. Sooooo, we will be cramming 50 people into our foyer. Sounds fun, huh? Add to that that this is a Scot wedding and there will be a piper, and you have the recipe for...well, we'll see...You'll be standing in front of the main Christmas tree in the living room, and Mitch and Damian (best man) will be standing there next to you. The rest of us will be coming down the stairs as gracefully as we can, attempting to not trip over pointsettias in the process. Everyone will be in full kilt dress, so if you have a plaid tablecloth you want to throw over yourself, be our guest. :-)"
When Marty and I arrived, the piper, Robert J. White, was there in full regalia! Notice Beth's two adorable children, Meaghan and Ryan, peeping out the upstairs window!

Mitch and Best Man, Damien, wait outside for the processional to begin.
Ryan is ready to begin!
Waiting for our Maid of Honor (Tyler, presumably Beth's sister), Flower Girl (daughter Meaghan), and the Bride!  A neighbor of Beth's, Hal Haygood, is playing the mandolin in the corner behind us. I borrowed my husband's tartan scarf to wear as a prayer stole to fit into the theme of this wedding.

And the ceremony commences. Ryan is dutifully holding the rings on the pillow.

We included a blessing for the children and Beth and Mitch gave them necklaces with crosses that they got to select as mementos for this special occasion.
The pronouncement of marriage!
Robert led the wedding party out of the room into the yard in the Scottish tradition.
Congratulations for the couple.
Robert is presently the official bagpiper for the United States Army Special Forces Association and plays bagpipes for many special events. He lives in Garner and can be reached by email or phone at (919) 815-2357. He also plays the guitar, Celtic fiddle, and harmonica but his favorite are the pipes! He plays at weddings, memorial services, funerals, parties and gives lessons in playing the pipes.

Notice the matching plaids of Mitch's kilt and Beth's wrap. Her dress was so winter wonderful and she carried a white fur muff to match her fur stole. So beautiful!
Congratulations, Beth and Mitch, on your marriage. Meaghan and Ryan seem so comfortable and contented with your new family unit and I know the 4 of you as a family are very happy every day! I wish you a lifetime of joy and happiness!

Our photographer for this wedding was Jennifer of  j.b.haygood photography. She and Hal, our mandolin player are wife and husband and neighbors of Beth's. Maybe Jennifer will put some photos of this wedding on her blog!

Beth ordered three flavors and sizes of cakes and then decorated them herself. Aren't they beautiful!
I assume these are the "groom's cakes" and don't they look delicious too! After the ceremony the guests were invited to begin the wedding feast! 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jennifer and Larry Wed at Surprise Christmas Party!

Jennifer and Larry have been together for three years. They both have been married before and wanted to make very sure that this marriage would be a forever kind of union. Larry has two daughters from his previous marriage and they wanted to include them too. But, they wanted their marriage to be a surprise as well. So, they planned a Christmas party on December 23, 2009 with family and friends and invited me to come marry them. Jennifer and I collaborated on the ceremony so that the words and sentiment would fit them perfectly.
Jennifer made promises to the two girls and presented them each with a ring for the occasion. Here she is putting the ring on Lauren's finger while Larissa is looking on.

Then it was time for hugs with the girls. I believe a few tears spilled also!
On with the ceremony with the girls looking on.

It's done! See how happy they are! The guests were cheering! Thanks to Kathleen, one of our witnesses, for taking these photos with my camera.
 Larry cannot wear a ring in his profession and so they  had "rings" tattooed onto their fingers.
The design is a band that goes only from one side of the finger to the other with a red leaf in the center. I found out that tattoo artists will not tattoo the palm side of hands and fingers because the tattoos wear off due to the use of these surfaces.

Larissa and her friend after the ceremony and ready to celebrate.

Jennifer and Larry, I wish you all the best forever!

Amanda and Steven's Christmas Wedding at the Angus Barn!

Amanda and Steven live in Los Angeles and wanted a quiet family wedding in Raleigh where Steven grew up. They picked the famous Angus Barn for their wedding site and planned on about 12 guests. I did not meet them until I arrived for their sweet wedding the afternoon of December 23, 2009.

The Angus Barn has been in Raleigh forever as far as I know and is renowned for its fine food!
It was all decked out for Christmas with a beautiful tree in the foyer.  The wedding was in the Wine Cellar and a very gracious wait staff gentleman escorted me through the kitchen with steak and lobster being prepared and cooked, down a flight of stairs then through the cooled and dark wine cellar.
Outside the wine cellar was a beautiful cozy room with bar and fireplace that was amazing! The long table was exquisitely set and ready for the wedding feast! It is called Thad's Room and you can see and read more about it here.

I met Amanda and Steven for the first time then. Amanda teaches in the performing arts arena and Steven is in the film industry. He is so good looking that I asked him if he was an actor. He said no, he edits film in a dark room all day long! He graduated from the NC School of Arts in Winston-Salem.

We waited for some missing guests to show up then started the ceremony. Both of their mothers were present. Amanda's mother flew in from Texas to be with us. Unfortunately Steven's father was in the hospital and Amanda's father thought the ceremony started an hour later but they were remembered. I thank Steven's Uncle Andy for taking these photos with my camera.
The ceremony, at the request of the couple, was quite short and simple. They said their "I do's" and I pronounced them husband and wife.

Steven is closing in for the kiss!
And there it is! (Hmmm. Blogger has certainly distorted this photo!)
Our happy couple, now married! Congratulations, Amanda and Steven! May all your dreams come true! Maybe we will see you in the movies some day!

The Angus Barn also has The Pavilions, an outdoor site on a lake that accommodates large weddings with ample parking and a lovely reception facility that is temperature controlled so it can be used year round. I have two weddings coming up there in 2010 so stay tuned to the blog.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Johanna and Steve Wed at the Chateau Bellevie!

Marty and I arrived about 5:20 for this wedding on December 19th and this is what the chateau looked like at dusk. This lovely French Mansion looks like something straight out of the French countryside, doesn't it? Chateau Bellevie is the wonderful creation of the owner of Highgrove Estates which is right next door. What a fabulous B&B in Fuquay Varina. Be sure to check out their website for a tour of the elegant property.

I must say that this wedding was a first for me...the first time I have ever been late to a wedding in the 11 years I have been doing weddings. We were coming from Chapel Hill (where I retrieved my forgotten microphone) to Fuquay Varina and I was sure that I would have the time to traverse the miles but, alas, I did not plan on the Christmas shopping traffic along the way which slowed us down considerably. I called ahead and told Roxana, our director at the Chateau, of my ETA thanks to my GPS.

The guests (all 31) were all seated and waiting for me when I arrived. They were quite patient with me for which I am grateful. The grand player piano was tinkling sweet music. Steve handed me the marriage license  and we processed in to our places. Then it was time for our beautiful bride, Johanna, to make her entrance from the stairway. Steve walked toward her and they met in the middle and then walked together to me. The ceremony began.

 The lovely Christmas tree with its lights all aglow set the warm and loving tone for this Christmas-time wedding. Johanna's parents had traveled from New Hampshire and Steve's from Colorado for this sweet wedding.

I am making the pronouncement of marriage here. 

Our happy married couple!

After the ceremony, the couple and their parents and I went upstairs to the landing for wedding photos. Johanna and Steve, you are such a well-matched couple and I loved the laid-back manner you planned your lovely wedding. You are sure to have a wonderful lifetime together and I wish you all the best!

Here is a view of the ceremony where you can see the fireplace and all the little details of this parlor or drawing room off the front entrance on the main level.

This is one of two dining rooms on the main level. This is where the guests will have dinner following cocktails downstairs in the recreation area.

Shooting up to the second floor landing from the entrance.The landing is where all four bedrooms and baths converge to the stairway to the main level. The attention to detail in decor was amazing.

This touch of Christmas was on the intermediate landing where the steps turn to the left.

I show you this photo so you can see the beautiful painting of a centuries old bride as the backdrop. How fitting for wedding photos.  Carl Johnson was there to capture the wedding celebration in photographs. Good to see you again, Carl!

This gorgeous cake was by Ambrosia Cake Creations. Simply elegant! 

Fireside December Wedding for Lesley and Zach!

Lesley and Zach had hoped for a balmy winter day for their wedding day on December 19th and on the Monday before, it looked like there would be a high of 53 with a clear sky. It was a go for an outdoor wedding but the forecast changed drastically by Wednesday and the weathermen were calling for a "wintry mix" on Saturday. The wintry mix really happened during their rehearsal on Friday and left the grounds at Snipes Farm in Chapel Hill lightly covered by snow which was still there on the wedding day. But we were warm and toasty inside the old dairy barn that has been restored into a casual and spacious atmosphere for special events like weddings. I have done many weddings at Snipes but this was the first one I have done indoors.
Here is a photo of how it looked before the guests arrived.
Lesley looked so pretty in her winter white wedding gown as her dad escorted her in.
  The bright winter light streamed in from all around, lighting up the ceremony. The bridesmaids drove up from Atlanta the day before and had on plum and black outfits that were perfect for a winter ceremony.

Lesley's bridesmaid, Cindy, delivered the poem "I Like You" by Sandol Stoddard Warburg with gusto and great feeling, so much so that the guests and I applauded her performance. So many times I have seen great readings at a wedding fall flat when the reader does not do a good job or is scared to speak in public or lose their composure. Cindy was a pro!

And so now they are husband and wife! Zach surprised Lesley and me by memorizing the words he had written to Lesley and did a fantastic job of speaking them perfectly!

Lesley and Zach, you are all sunshine together and your winter wedding was fabulous! I know you will have a sweet and fulfilling marriage.

I found out before the wedding while admiring their wedding program and guest book that Lesley is a cartoonist. Here is a cartoon she drew for their guest book! Maybe she will be famous someday! She also designed their very attractive wedding program.
 Matthew Kanon provided the music for our ceremony. He is a wonderful classical guitarist and we have worked together on many occasions. He knows my cues without even telling him now. It was good to see you again, Matt.

Simply Cakes made the colorful tiers of cupcakes for the wedding. Our photographer was Melissa Kay. This wedding is on her blog right now so go here to see the professional photos of this terrific couple and their wedding. Some of the photos show the snow still on the ground. Durham Catering catered the reception. Roger Snipes was on hand at the rehearsal and the wedding to make sure we had everything we needed. My thanks to Roger for rescuing my microphone case which I forgot and had to come back and retrieve! Snipes Farm does not have a website but Roger can be reached at (919) 929-3454.