Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Erin and Dan's Elegant Wedding at Wakefield Plantation.

Well, I did a lovely wedding Sunday evening March 28, 2010 in the Wakefield Plantation area for Erin and Dan. Unfortunately, I have no photos due to my own fault. I had great ones but accidentally hit a button that deleted them ALL! I am so furious with myself! I will depend on Anne Wilson and Mark Jacoby of Jacoby Wedding Photography to send some to me to put on this blog. One photo got saved from the wedding but it was a photo of a couple I had married in 2004 who were attending the wedding. I had off loaded it from my media card to put it on Facebook! Here it is below. Jim and Leslie--a very happy couple! You might recognize Jim as GM of the Carolina Hurricanes. I loved seeing and chatting with them again!
Erin and Dan's wedding took place in her parents gorgeous home. Erin's mother, Beth, had made wonderful wedding plans for the couple. They had cleared out the family room and created a nice spot for the wedding complete with candelabras and pretty florals. The music was provided by two musicians from Arioso Strings. The affair was catered by The Pipers Tavern, and headed up by Chef Dave. (There is a funny story roadie, Marty, had her kitchen remodeled a couple of years ago and Dave was the kitchen designer. She wanted my opinion on most things since my husband and I had recently remodeled our kitchen. So Dave saw a lot of Marty and me! Later he had his fill of designing kitchens and went back to his preferred career of being a wonderful chef! It was great to see him again!)

Erin was escorted in by her father. She had the most beautiful beaded gown. Boo hoo, no pictures! She and Dan were both marrying again and we included his children, Adam and Lacey, in the ceremony. We also included the baby they are expecting in July in an unborn baby blessing that is so sweet and touching. After the vows and rings, the couple and the children participated in the family unity sand ceremony.

After the ceremony we exited to the front of the house for the group shot of everyone attending. Then the guests went back into the house for delicious appetizers and drinks. The musicians left and Beth put on her grand piano player to provide the music. It could not have been a more perfect wedding! Erin and Dan, I hope to see you in the fall for a baby blessing ceremony!
4/7/10--Mark Jacoby sent me these two photos of this wonderful wedding and promises more. Thanks, Mark! 

Liz and Terry's Fabulous Wedding at the Matthews House!

Just 30 days before their wedding on March 27, 2010, the minister that Liz and Terry hired to officiate for them backed out. They found me and I was available so we quickly met and found we were a good fit. Liz and Terry have been together for a long time, have a wonderful sense of humor and are so laid back that they don't panic, thank goodness. I sent them all my ceremony material and they put together the ceremony that fit them. They provided me with information about the two of them and their history together and we created "their story" for the ceremony, making it unique to them and endearing to their guests with a good sprinkling of humor. We held their rehearsal off site at Liz's parents' home the day before and were all set for the wedding. The day was balmy and beautiful for their wedding. 
Liz's father, Tony, proudly escorted her in across the beautiful lawn.
I stepped to one side of the couple to address their parents. Both sets of parents were together and had marriages that had lasted about 35 years so Liz and Terry wanted to thank them for setting such a wonderful example of love and marriage. I believe I saw a few tears then!
Here I am making the pronouncement and wondered where the ladder was so that Liz could step up and kiss Terry! He did manage to lean down and they had a good kiss while our photographer captured the moment. See, she is standing there waiting for it to happen. After knowing each other 14 years, they have had a lot of practice!

Liz is so happy as she practically danced down the aisle in her magenta high heels! They were both so relaxed during the ceremony.

Terry is such a straight man with dry wit and you never know when it is coming! Their ceremony was full of sweet humor only they could create. 
Christina, Liz's sister and Maid of Honor, with Louis, Terry's brother and Best Man, exit followed by both sets of parents. 
We circled around through the house, left the guests to have cocktails and reassembled at the ceremony site for pictures. Liz and Terry........I wish you all the happiness and joy in the world! 

Our Vendors

First of all, it was great to start out this year with a wedding at the fabulous Matthews House operated by Nina Davis. Always a pleasure. They do their own catering for weddings and other events there. Here is the reception hall ready for the guests after the cocktail hour. They had pretty colored paper lanterns hanging on what looked like hat racks. Nice idea. The couple and their friends made the burlap wrapped favors of pretty potted flowers.
Here is the cupcake wedding cake by Mad Hatter Bakery. The florals were done by the English Garden florist.                                                                 
Here I am talking with Susan Hamilton before the ceremony. She is new to the area, having moved here recently from Arizona. The name of her business is Rogue Photo. This is the first wedding we have done together and I hope to see her at another wedding soon!
Our musicians for the ceremony were Marybeth Butler on the keyboard and John Butler, vocalist. The DJ for the reception came all the way from Hope Mills. He is Otara Mills of Livewire Entertainment. Liz had been to another event he worked and decided she wanted him to DJ her reception.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Virginia and Kevin's Steel Drum Wedding at Duke Gardens!

When Kevin and Virginia met with me last December they told me they really wanted steel drums played at their wedding. This I had never heard of but they pulled it off superbly. They were disappointed that the original site of their wedding at Duke Gardens had to be moved from the Fish Pool to the Amphitheater because of necessary renovations at the Fish Pool. But, the day and the setting on March 20, 2010 could not have been more spectacular. And, it was such a gorgeous sunny day after a long span of gloomy cold days around here that everyone else decided to take a walk in the garden that day, too. Consequently parking was a major challenge when Marty and I arrived to get my sound system set up. But we managed by double parking to unload and came back and moved the car later without getting towed. The staff was busy setting up the 140 chairs in the amphitheater while the steel drums warmed up.
The ceremony began with the entrance of Kevin, his father, Bob, who was his best man, and me via the side steps. Then the groomsmen processed in one by one down the center aisle followed by the bridesmaids. All to the wonderful music of the Tsunami Wave Riders playing "Spring Wedding Song."  Then it was time for Virginia and her mother, Gillian, to enter and the ceremony began.

Especially for Virginia to compensate  for the venue change from the Fish Pool, the Gardens had steps built to span the tiers of seating at the amphitheater to create a central aisle. So now those steps will be available to all brides who have their ceremonies at the amphitheater. Thanks in advance to you from future brides, Virginia! Here is the center aisle and it is difficult to see the wooden steps because of the over hang of the stone but they are there!
To the right you can see Leah, one of the three readers, presenting her reading as Virginia radiates all over! She was soooo happy!
Virginia and Kevin have a one year old lab mix puppy named Sandbox. (She is named Sandbox because Virginia had always wanted to name her dog Sandbox as a child but was not allowed to.) Sandbox was our ring bearer and when I called for the rings, her designated "handler" brought her in for me to retrieve the rings from her collar. (I really had them with me all along!) It was a sweet moment and Sandbox got her day in the sun!
This was taken after she "delivered" the rings. I know she was wondering just what was going on today! 
Here I am making the pronouncement of marriage which was followed by the KISS!
The new Mr. and Mrs. making their exit amidst much cheering and applause!  They went to the rear of the amphitheater followed by the rest of the wedding party before returning for a large group shot with their guests you will see below.
Just a few minutes for some smooching..........
And it is back to the ceremony site for the big picture of the wedding followed by the wedding party and parents.
And so, here is the big picture being taken from a precarious spot by the photographer, James O'Hayer, a relative of the groom. Thank goodness he was sure footed and did not end up taking a dip into the lily pond!
After the ceremony and the group shot, the guests were invited back to the porch of the Kirby Horton Hall of the Duke Reception Center for cocktails and appetizers.  Dinner was served later in the reception hall. I was told that the wedding celebration was scheduled to continue until 1:00 AM. (The ceremony was at 4:00!)  At 11:00 PM the Burgers Only truck was scheduled to make a special stop for hungry guests who had eaten all the food provided by Durham Catering and were exhausted from dancing the night away!
The wedding cake was prepared by Guglhupf--a wonderful German bakery in Durham. Must be a favorite haunt of Virginia and Kevin who are depicted in their ballgame attire on top of the cake. There really is a remarkable resemblance to the couple! Ninth Street Flowers did the florals.
Brian Darocha with Complete Music was on hand to keep the guests rocking and rolling including karaoke into the wee hours. This is the "before" shot! I did not stay to get the "after" shot!
And these folks are the Tsunami Wave Riders who provided the great music for the ceremony and for the cocktail hour. I was really impressed with their sound and would recommend it for any couple wanting an island sound. They operate out of Charlotte and Wilmington.
 This very talented and organized lady is Angie Wright who was in charge of the whole wedding! Angie and I have been doing weddings together for many years. She is fabulous in creating order out of chaos and making sure everything flows along without a hitch. She has her own event planning company Chic Details. Great job, Angie!
Virginia and Kevin, you are a terrific couple and if this wedding is any indication, you will create a wonderful life together and have lots of fun and adventure! I wish you all the happiness in the world!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First Wedding At Raleigh City Museum!

What a wedding we had Saturday night, March 13, 2010. It was a landmark for me and for Raleigh City Museum. This was the first gay wedding I performed and the first wedding ever at Raleigh City Museum which is located in the old Briggs Hardware building on Fayetteville Street downtown Raleigh. It is a unique and terrific place for a fun wedding. 
 The first floor of the Briggs Building is the home of Raleigh City Museum. John and Mark saw it and knew immediately that was where they wanted their wedding...for a number of reasons, one of them being that the museum features a celebration of civil rights for women and African Americans. John and Mark wanted this in their ceremony as a statement for gay rights. John contacted me in September and we all met and they contracted with me to preside over their commitment ceremony. I was thrilled because I have done several commitment ceremonies for women but none for men. They really liked being able to write their own ceremony with me as their guide. They came up with a fabulous one too which included the civil rights tribute.

This is the center area of the museum where the chairs had been set up for the ceremony. After the ceremony large circular tables were brought into this space for the reception and for dancing after dinner. Marty and I decided we did not want to miss this reception so we stayed for a while. Chris of Macaroni Grill catered the wedding and I must say it was delicious!  In the distance you can see me talking to Lenny Fritts of Touch of Class DJs. Lenny is great to work with. He takes care of plugging my theater mike into his system then we do a sound check to get the sound level perfect. He also lent Marty his camera this evening when mine ran out of space!
Looks like Sir Walter Raleigh has something to say to Mark and John! This is what you saw when you first walked into the museum for their wedding.

At the appointed time, with all the guests seated, I processed in with the attendants. Matthew, Mark's brother, was his attendant.  Corinne, a friend of John's was his attendant. They each carried white roses and I carried two. 
The roses were given to their mothers and then later the other two white roses were in memory of Mark's grandmother and John's sister. Many tears were shed as you can imagine. I think I gave out a record number of hankies! John and Mark also had their guests take a stone at the beginning of the ceremony and infuse it with their love and blessings for the couple to be displayed in their home as a reminder of everyone and all the love that filled the room that evening. They also made reference that in some countries "stoning a person to death" is done for people who fall in love with the "wrong" person. But this evening the stones were for love.
After the vows and rings, I pronounced John and Mark equal partners, partners for life, and the music began amidst all the cheering and well wishes. The guests were directed to the back of the museum for cocktails while the ceremony space was turned into the reception area for dinner.

Congratulations, John and Mark! You made it happen! What a great couple you are. Maybe one day you can legally get married in North Carolina! I sure hope so. 
I had promised John and Mark that I would dance at their wedding and I did. After dinner and all the funny and tear-provoking toasts to the couple, Lenny put on the music and before Marty and I got our stuff and left, I had a little dance with the two grooms whom I think were amazed since I had had knee replacement surgery only 6 weeks earlier.

Here's Lenny doing his job...........fantastic DJ that I can always count on.
This is their wedding cake. It was so pretty but I did not find out who made it. The cupcakes came in yellow cake with raspberry filling and chocolate cake with chocolate cream filling. On the top was the small cake and the two teddy bear grooms!

I lifted this photo from their Facebook page. Wonderful shot, guys! All the best to you and I hope to see you at another gay wedding of your friends.

Sheree' and Brian's Beautiful Wedding at Second Empire!

Sheree' contacted me last October to see if I could officiate hers and Brian's wedding in March. Over the next few months Sheree', Brian and I got to know each other quite well as we worked on optimizing their relationship and planning their upcoming wedding. Finally March was here and the weather turned out to be absolutely beautiful for their well planned wedding on Saturday March 13, 2010. Many members of their families traveled all the way from Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, DC, Connecticut and South Carolina to be here for them. And the wedding was skyped  to Frankfurt, Germany.
Sheree's father was looking forward to escorting her down the aisle. 
Jacquie, niece of the bride, was our pretty flower girl.
The East Parlor of Second Empire is a stunning but cozy setting for a small intimate wedding. The walls are covered in a luscious warm color of ultra-suede which make the acoustics in the room extra nice. Sheree's sister, Kathy, was maid of honor and Brian's son, Corey, was best man. We also recognized Brian's other two adult children, Patrick and Heather, during the ceremony.
Both being of Irish descent, Brian and Sheree' chose to have the handfasting ceremony in their wedding. Here I am looping the traditional red handfasting cord around their clasped hands and wrists to show they are bound by love.
After they made their vows and exchanged rings, we had a closing prayer and I made the pronouncement of marriage.
That is Patrick, Brian's son, with the camera as they skipped merrily out to the front porch for photos.
Well, we caught Brian with his mouth open! What a great couple! Congratulations, Sheree' and Brian! You did it! I wish you a very happy and contented marriage with lots of adventures together!
John McHugh played the Uilleann Pipes (pronounced ilen) and tin whistles for the ceremony. This music is so beautiful and so fitting for a Celtic wedding. John and I have done a few weddings together and have another one coming up soon. John can be seen on this website about Irish Folklore and he also has an ad on Craig's List for playing at weddings! Sheree' had learned about John and his music on my wedding blog and knew that was the music she wanted. John sent me a thank you note he received after the wedding from Sheree':  
"Dear John,
We were so happy with the music you provided for our wedding.  We had many guests commenting on how they enjoyed it. It made our day very special and we really appreciated your presence there.  Loved the music and the outfit!  You were a pleasure to work with.
Sincerely, Sheree' and Brian"

Their reception was held downstairs in the Atrium of Second Empire. This is a lovely setting with lots of sunlight streaming in all the windows.

The chef at Second Empire does a fabulous job baking wedding cakes. This one is Mocha with raspberry filling I heard!

Our photographer for the wedding was Marie Fulcher. Marie is always a pleasure to work with and is so low key. She does a really good job, of course! Thanks, Marie.