Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Misty Wedding for Christy and Charles at The Umstead!

Charles and Christy came to see me last July and decided to hire me to officiate their wedding on April 24, 2010 at The Umstead Hotel and Spa. They both loved the idea that they could put together their own ceremony with my guidance and the extensive collection of wedding ceremony material I provide my couples. They were diligent in getting right on it and had their ceremony finished months in advance. On the Friday before the wedding we had our rehearsal and put out good vibes that it would not rain on Saturday at 6:00!  When Marty and I arrived at 5:15, the plan was to go with the wedding in the garden although the hotel has a room all set up as Plan B. Mary Page Block and her fellow musicians of Arioso Strings were setting up and the staff was busy setting up chairs for the guests and getting the large canvas umbrella coverings for the musicians to protect them and their instruments. George and I got my microphone up and running with the house system and we were set to go. The Doppler radar did not show any big cells coming our way and so it was a go. Then as we were lining up and the guests were all seated, the soft sprinkles began. So we accelerated the processional, I walked first while Ami Wheeler, The Umstead person in charge of weddings, went to get the bride. 
Charles escorted in both mothers--His mother, Maria, is on his right and Christy's mother, June is on his left.
Charles joined me at the front and we waited for the best man and maid of honor to process in and join us.
Here come Kelly and Esteban. It is sprinkling rain although you cannot see it in these photos. The sky was overcast however this weather really produces fabulous photos because there are no shadows, no squinting and the rain makes the colors more saturated and brilliant.
Here comes our beautiful bride.
Charles walked toward her and they met in the middle of the aisle and walked down to me together!
And so, I began delivering the wonderful ceremony. I spoke much faster than usual and skipped over some sentences for the sake of time but I was not willing to leave out the special parts of the ceremony personal to Christy and Charles. The soft sprinkles waxed and waned all throughout the ceremony. The guests were so good to sit there through it all.
Christy and Charles, like me, love dogs and have three at home and had chosen the poem "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali for their wedding dedicated to their furry children! Got it in!
Notice the fabulous floral arrangements flanking us and the fountain in the lake with the brilliant azaleas in the background and the knock-out roses that were beginning to bloom right behind us. Such a beautiful garden spot for a wedding.
Here is a view from the balcony off the lobby level. You can see one couple who arrived late and had an umbrella and stood behind the guests. You can see the canvas umbrellas over the musicians and our photographer getting some great shots. 
I might have been reading the dog poem when Marty snapped this photo because Christy and Charles got so tickled! We also included in the ceremony the story of how the bride and groom met, what attracted them to each other and what they were looking forward to in marriage--with some humor sprinkled in. The guests loved it and Christy and Charles loved that!
Charles is putting on the ring as he speaks his vows to Christy.
Making the pronouncement of marriage...........
Charles goes in for the kiss!
Aaaahhh! We made it without a downpour and they are married. Notice that Charles is looking up.....
He was looking up at all the guests out on their guest room balconies applauding them as they walked down the aisle.
Back inside where it is dry and toasty. Laughing about how it all went and that we made it! I had told Christy at the rehearsal that I had never been rained out at The Umstead. And, I can still say that!
Christy and Charles, you are a wonderful couple and I know you will have a long and happy marriage! 

Our Vendors:

First and foremost, The Umstead Hotel and Spa, the ultimate in elegance and service for a wedding in North Carolina. Thanks, Ami for all your coordination and skill in making dream weddings come true for your couples. 

Brian Mullins, one of my favorite photographers, was on hand to capture this wedding in unforgettable images. I am looking forward to seeing them on his blog. Brian rocks!

Ginger Mullins, Brian's lovely wife, who makes the brides and attendants look gorgeous by styling their hair and applying their makeup with such skill. 

Arioso Strings, probably the most popular group of strings in the Triangle for weddings. Their founder and coordinator, Mary Page Block, goes the extra mile to give the couples exactly what they want. Love working with her and her fellow musicians. 

A Watered Garden, the florist who does the spectacular floral arrangements at The Umstead. Always stunning and exquisite. 

Sweet Memories Bakery--by far the premier wedding cake baker in the area. This is a beautiful cake. See the groom's cake below. Can you tell he is a Cowboy's fan??

Tracy and George Wed in Kayelily's Wedding Garden!

Tracy and George contacted me not too long ago about officiating their wedding. They came to meet with me and take a look at my wedding garden. Of course several weeks ago the azaleas had not bloomed so it was much more colorful for their wedding on April 24, 2010--my third wedding of the day.
Their friends and family members arrived and we began the ceremony. It was slightly sprinkling rain at the time and we wanted so much to have the ceremony in the garden rather than inside my home. But, as we began the rain subsided a bit and I put my umbrella down.
Tracy and George read their sweet vows they had written themselves from my book and then exchanged rings.
It is time for the pronouncement and still no rain. Tracy was sooo happy!
We posed for a few pictures. 
Tracy's 15 year old son, Jonathan, joined us for this photo. What a handsome young man! 
Tracy and George, many blessings to you and your family!

Lynn and John Marry in their Favorite Watering Hole--Tyler's Taproom!

Lynn and John are a couple who know what they want! They met in Tyler's Taproom and so that is where they wanted to have their fun, casual, and laid back wedding surrounded by their friends and families. And so they did! They contacted me and I was game too. So, it happened on Saturday April 24, 2010. After a 10:30 AM wedding at All Saints Chapel, Marty and I headed to Apex to set up my sound system at Tyler's for this 12:30 PM wedding. The place was already hopping and the delicious food had been put out for all to serve themselves.
 Even the cake by Savory Bakery and Pastries. All the cakes were different flavors of cake and filling. Yummy.
When it was time to start, we gathered in the adjoining room and had all the guests crowd in for the ceremony. Lynn and John were ready to get married and get down to some serious celebrating. One of Lynn's best friends, Vanessa and her husband and baby, came in from Santa Barbara CA. John's father and stepmother came in from Colorado.
Standing in the middle is Vanessa with baby and husband, not missing a word I said! John's parents are on the left.
On the front row right are Lynn's parents and her grandmother in the red jacket.
And so I began speaking. The ceremony began with a warm welcome to everyone and a prayer. Then we paid tribute to their parents. They asked me to read a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit which I always love doing.
I think John is saying his vows to Lynn here.
Lynn is getting that ring on John's finger!
And now the big pronouncement of marriage followed by the kiss! 
And, it's all over--they are married, husband and wife at long last! Congratulations, Lynn and John, I know you will be sooooo happy together!

All Saints Chapel Wedding for Rena and Jim!

Rena and Jim chose historic All Saints Chapel for their morning wedding on April 24, 2010. We met in May of 2009 to plan their ceremony. I did not see Jim and Rena again until their rehearsal nearly a year later. Then the big day was here!
After the bride's grandparents were seated, Jim escorted his mother in. Then our Maid of Honor, Erin, sister of the bride, processed in. The doors were closed and I asked the guests to stand in honor of our bride as Rena was escorted in by her parents. Jim stepped down from the altar to floor level for the transfer of hands.
The chapel was brightly lit by the morning sun and the ceremony began with a warm welcome to their guests and a tribute to the parents of the couple with special mention of Jim's dad who died 6 years ago.
Jim's nieces, Alexa and Jennifer, read "A Blessing for a Marriage" by James Dillet Freeman.
Jim and Rena exchanged vows and rings and then it was time for the breaking of the glass. When I gave the explanation of this wonderful Jewish wedding custom and placed the glass at Jim's feet, he smashed it thoroughly after which we all shouted "Mazel tov" which means congratulations and good luck. Then the pronouncement of marriage.
And then the everyone applauds! 
And they are married!
After I invited to guests to the reception nearby at Caffe Luna, the wedding party and I gathered for some formal photos. Rena and Jim, great wedding--simple but elegant. Congratulations to you both!

Our Vendors:

I met Kim Shaw for the first time this day. She was in charge of the chapel as Sarah Morris' new assistant. I think this was her first wedding stint. Great job, Kim.

Roxy Haney and her assistant cameraman, Mitchell Beasley, were our wedding photographers from Roxy Haney Photography

The florist who provided the unusual bouquet and boutonniere was Kelly Odum Flowers. Both had silver wire artistically intertwined with the flowers.  

Matthew Kanon provided the ceremony music. He is so good! He did not know that the entire processional was one piece but he looped the music seamlessly. Thanks, Matthew, good to work with you again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kat and Tyler Dance Down the Aisle at their Wedding in Clayton!

Tyler contacted me at the last minute looking for an officiant for his and Kat's wedding at The Clayton Center on Sunday April 18, 2010. Turns out I was available. They told me their dreams for their wedding and had already worked most of the details out. They loved the U Tube where the wedding party danced down the aisle and they wanted to do that too. They both work in a nightclub where dancing is going on all the time so this really appealed to them. I enjoyed watching that video too and often wondered why the officiant just looked on instead of dancing down the aisle herself! Kat and Tyler were perfectly willing to have me dance down the aisle too and it sounded like a great idea until I found out that I would have to ascend some tricky steps without a hand rail onto the stage at the end of the aisle. With my recent knee surgery, that was not something I felt comfortable doing so I danced into position from behind the stage curtain to the arch in front and watched the rest of the wedding party do their thing. It was a lot of fun and the guests loved it.
So the  bridesmaids danced in first! The Clayton Center was built in 1921 as the original auditorium for Clayton High School. It has been completely renovated, has state of the art amenities, and is now a theater for Performing Arts and Conference Center and owned by the City of Clayton.
Here comes the best man, John, doing his dance with the groomsman behind.
The groomsman making his way down. These guys were so color coordinated. They wore black jeans with gray shirts and pink ties and pink starfire lilies as boutonnieres.
So, here we are all up on stage waiting for the bride and groom. You can't tell in this photo but we are all moving to the upbeat music.
Tyler really danced in style down the aisle! He waited at the stage end of the aisle for the bride.
I don't have a photo of Kat boogieing down the aisle but she did and then she and Tyler ascended the steps as the guests stood in their honor. BWI Productions were on hand with a videographer and a photographer to capture this unique wedding.
I wrote a lovely ceremony for them which included the story of how they met, what attracted them to each other, what they enjoy doing together and what they are looking forward to in marriage. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about their romance. Kat had declared years ago that she would never marry but Tyler changed her mind about that. They are a very good match for each other.
Kat has a young son, Diilon, whom we included in the family unity sand ceremony. Tyler also presented Diilon with a small token of commemoration for the special occasion.
This is what the final combination of sand looked like. These three family members combined into one vessel never to be separated from the other.
I made the pronouncement of marriage and ..................
The kiss was soon to follow. 
It is all over now, was a grand success, and time to relax! Look how happy Diilon is to have Tyler for a father! They really love being together. Kat and Tyler, what a great wedding! Many many blessings to you all!

This is Pam McLamb who is the Conference Center Coordinator of The Clayton Center who was so patient and helpful. Tyler's dad got lost on the way to his wedding and she graciously allowed us to delay starting the ceremony until he arrived. Pam remembered me from weddings at Exploris some years ago when she worked there. Thanks so much, Pam!