Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jennifer and Kyle's Unique Wedding at the Page Walker Arts and History Center!

Jennifer and Kyle met with me in May to officiate their wedding on June 20, 2010. They are a pretty laid back and quite mature couple to be in their twenties, late twenties. It is probably because they have been together for almost 11 years. They planned a small uncomplicated ceremony at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center with a dinner reception at Lucky 32 in Cary. Page-Walker started out circa 1868 as a hotel right on the railroad tracks of the town now known as Cary. It is now owned and operated by the Town of Cary and has gone through many changes through the years being a museum, art gallery, historical site, wedding venue, and so on. I have done many weddings there. A few years ago they turned the adjacent lot into a beautiful garden and lawn with a portico for weddings and that is where we planned to do the wedding until the weather got so hot that weekend. Jennifer and Kyle wisely moved their wedding to the smaller brick courtyard which is shaded by old oak trees and the cool indoors was readily accessible. 
They also did something else rather unusual. They had a little concert for entertaining the guests before the wedding started. I did not know until the day of her wedding that Jennifer is a vocalist with a degree in Opera although currently she works as a video game designer. Kyle's father is an accomplished vocalist with the Houston Symphony Chorus. So, with a talented pianist as accompanist, Kyle's father, Kevin, and Jennifer's voice teacher, Jennifer Seiger, entertained us for about 15 to 20 minutes before everyone went out into the courtyard for the ceremony. It was really a special treat and everyone enjoyed their wonderful singing.

When it was time, Cathy, Mother of the groom, was escorted in by Kevin. Father of the groom. Then the groom and his best man, his brother Brian, and I entered. Then Susan, the Maid of Honor took her place. Our wonderful ceremony music was provided by Craig Hanemann with Arioso Strings. I see Craig at a lot of weddings in duets, trios and quartets and this was the first time I have heard him solo. He is really fabulous!
Jennifer was escorted in by her parents, Emily and John.  They came for the wedding from Indiana. Seems that John has a bit of a dilemma here as to how to step out the door without stepping on the bride's train and Jennifer and her mother are obviously not aware of his problem!
John figured it out somehow because they made it down the aisle to present her to Kyle to be married and Jennifer's train is still intact! Jennifer made some really attractive wedding programs. You can see one in a guest's hand on the right side of the photo. (I like to collect left-over programs and give them to my upcoming wedding couples for ideas for their own.)
The ceremony was rolling right along after Jennifer shed a few tears. Here Brian is presenting a thought-provoking reading from the Tao Te Ching.
Their friends Timothy and Mary presented "Waltzing of the Spheres" by Susan Thompson. A great poem for a wedding.
This wonderful photo is by our wedding photographer, Michelle Gunton, who so generously sent me a bunch of her fabulous photos of the wedding. I think at this point I am telling the couple's story about how they met when they were both students at Rice University in Texas, moving to North Carolina and adopting Milly the cat. As I mentioned before, Jennifer creates video games and Kyle develops software for medical applications. They are both brilliant people.
Another photo by Michelle. It was at this point in the ceremony that a very long train came rumbling and tooting through! You can see it in the background to the left. It was much too large and loud for me to compete with so we just stopped and laughed for a while.
Still laughing. It was a long train! Every venue has the potential for excessive noise interruptions whether a train, a motorcycle passing by or even a helicopter flying over Duke Gardens. I have learned to make the best of it and go with the flow by incorporating it impromptu into the ceremony, making the ceremony just that much more memorable. Photo by Michelle Gunton.
Finally the train has gone by and it is time to get serious again! Ha! Everyone was in a laughing mode by then.So then they said their vows to each other and exchanged rings. 
Another two great photos from Michelle. The pronouncement of marriage............
Finally, the kiss! They've been practicing, I see! 
It is time to go celebrate! Notice Kyle's mother, Cathy, cheering because she now has a daughter!
Such a great wedding! Jennifer wrote me before the wedding that they were "...very pleased with the ceremony.  I am really looking forward to it!   Thank you so much for helping us create a ceremony that is perfect for us." Jennifer and Kyle, it was such a pleasure working with you and being a part of your very special day. I know you will have much happiness and joy! (The beautiful bouquets for Jennifer and Susan were by GCG Flowers of Cary.)
I just love this photo by Michelle
Michelle, you have a really good eye and perspective. I like your style and I thank you for sending these to me! Hope to work with you again soon!  Here is a link to Michelle's blog post on this wedding. Go see more of Jennifer and Kyle's wedding celebration in the slide show.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Very Special Wedding for a Very Special Couple, Kelly and Shaun!

Kelly and Shaun are an amazing couple as you will learn from this blog post of their wedding on Sunday morning, June 20, 2010 at Anderson Point Park in Raleigh. The wedding was in the expansive top layer of the amphitheater there. The guests will sit in the chairs facing this way, the groom and wedding party and I will be at the top of these steps facing the guests and awaiting the entrance of our bride who wanted to walk across the freshly mown meadow to meet her beloved. The weather was scorching hot that day and most of the guests gathered before the ceremony under the shelter nearby.
Julius Carrasco, guitarist extraordinaire, provided our music. He is a real trooper and kept that jacket on. The sun kept following him around and so we would shift him over into the shade when needed! He provided his sound system and I brought my battery pack to power the system and my microphone receiver since there is no power source in the amphitheater. Julius and I did a wedding together here last year so we knew the ropes. Julius is a very talented musician. Check out his website and listen to his music. He is also very reasonable in what he charges and I think he should charge more!
After we called the guests to come to the site from the shelter, we got a call that there would be a 10 minute delay so Shaun invited the guests to move into the shade of the nearby trees. Here are some of our guests standing in the shade and getting water from the coolers. There were a lot of small children present and young people with impairments. (Kelly has been a Pre-K teacher for the past 2 years and for the past 8 years she has volunteered her services to support young people with developmental disabilities one-on-one.) They were expecting around 200 guests. I think some who were heat intolerant opted to stay under the shelter during the ceremony.
This is Russell Hill in the center in shorts, lucky guy! He is our wedding director and was communicating via walkie talkie with the bride and the golf cart driver who was taking her to the designated spot from which she would enter across the grass. That is Shaun, our groom, on the right. We are ready to get the word to start.
Okay, it's time! Here we go! You can see the shelter in the background. That is Melissa, our photographer's assistant. Tina Loebach, the photographer is with the bride.
Here come our three bridesmaids. Can you tell they are barefooted?
Everyone is standing and turning around to see the bride enter. Some very wise people brought umbrellas to shade them from the sun.
Here comes the bride...and the flower girl, Shealeigh, making their way across the meadow. Shealeigh dropped all the flower petals on the walk on the meadow and had run out before they got to the guests.
Shaun met Kelly at the steps so that they could come in together to be married.
The ceremony began with a welcome to everyone, a prayer, and we remembered loved ones such as Shaun's mother, Laureen, who were with us in spirit. Zeina, above, then presented the first reading of The Irrational Season by Madeleine L'Engle. I married Zeina's brother, Kareem, and his wife some time ago. Zeina is engaged to Kelly's brother, Josh! He's the groomsman on the end standing closest to her.
Then their friend, Debbye, presented the Blessing of the Hands. She did a fabulous job!
Then it was time for the wedding address which included the story of how Kelly and Shaun met and fell in love. They were both working in the same Old Navy story in 2001 and were definitely drawn to each other. Kelly is a free spirit and very outgoing whereas Shaun is more quiet and steady. Kelly energizes Shaun and he calms her! They both have a unique outlook on life and live life to the fullest. Go take a look at Kelly's website and all her adventures of volunteering in foreign countries and working with Habitat for Humanity. She is truly a humanitarian who demonstrates her passion for people. She also has a unique passion for tarantulas! Shaun is a brave soul to have her colony of "pet" tarantulas inhabiting the bedroom! Shaun holds down the fort and has worked his way up to general manager at Old Navy now.
It's time for the rings.
Shaun is saying the words he is reading from my book to Kelly as he places the ring on her finger.
I decided that it would be a good idea to mop the sweat off Shaun's face and said "Getting married is hard work!" Good laugh for everyone. Both Kelly and Shaun were truly "in the moment" during the ceremony and I could feel that powerful loving energy that passed between them.
The pronouncement of marriage...........and then...........
My favorite part of the ceremony........theirs too! 
And out they go followed by the wedding party for photos while the guests retreated to the shade of the shelter and some good eats!
Notice that gorgeous lily bouquet Kelly is holding. It is actually one stem. The bridesmaids carried one stem of lilies too. Kelly and Shaun did their own flowers and made beautiful programs. The day after the wedding I received this note from Kelly and Shaun: 

Dear Kayelily,

We are so thankful that we found you. The ceremony was beyond what we could have imagined -- so beautiful, natural, personal. Many people made a point to tell us how much they were touched by the ceremony. We were only able to create such a sweet ceremony with your guidance and support. Did you happen to get copies of our programs? If not, we can send you some of our extras.

We're sorry you weren't able to stay for our reception; we surprised everyone with a fun Michael Jackson number for one of our couple dances. We know you would have liked it! Someone got video of it so we'll send it to you once it's online.

We will be blogging and taking lots of pictures during our honeymoon so we will be sure to send you the link once we start posting. We are really looking forward to seeing your blog from our day as well!

We thank you not from the bottom of our hearts, but from our whole hearts. You helped us to make our day what it was and we are so blissfully happy! We will stay in touch, Kayelily. Take care and we wish you continued success in the beautiful work you do.

Shaun & Kelly

P.S. Here are two important things I (Kelly) want to clarify:

1. My bridesmaids were ready on time and I was ready 5 minutes early.
Our ride was not there at the designated time. I am so sorry things
started late -thank you for being flexible and remaining light-hearted
on such a hot day!

2. You may have noticed that I "swatted" you during the ceremony. You
had a large assasin bug crawling up your sash, headed for your hands.
They can have a nasty bite so I hope it did not upset you... I just
didn't want you to get hurt! How appropriate that a large bug would
join in on our ceremony! :)

Kelly, I thank you for swatting that bug off me! I remember you doing that and figured that was the situation and kept on going! You two were such a pleasure to work with and it was my honor to officiate for you. I know you will have an amazing marriage and many happy adventures as you make your wonderful contributions to the world.
After the ceremony, Marty and I packed up my microphone and battery pack and headed for the shelter! There we encountered Marina who owns Marina's Ambrosia catering company. Marina is Zeina and Kareem's mother. It is such a small world. Maybe Josh and Zeina will ask me to do their wedding, hint, hint!
And so Marty and I departed the park and went on to the next wedding. What a great memory, a great wedding and a great couple, such that even the heat could not dampen the jubilation.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stevie and Pete Marry at Shady Wagon Farm!

These pictures show the sequence of what Marty and I saw as we arrived in New Hill at Shady Wagon Farm for Stevie and Pete's wedding on June 19, 2010 at 6:30. Never been to a "slow wedding" before! The day was hot as blue blazes though and I knew the guests would prefer that we speed it up rather than slow it down. Shady Wagon Farm is a beautiful pastoral setting with a lake and geese and a fountain and gazebo out of the water. This picture above is taken on the barn side of the lake.
This is what it looks like from the house side of the lake. Cindy Carroll, the owner, and her husband, created such a wonderful setting for a wedding. Cindy was not there today but her Lynn with Happily Ever After was handling things for her.
Marty went over to the barn and got a few shots of the interior to show how pretty it looks.
Cindy also bakes the beautiful wedding cakes for most weddings there. Xu Catering was providing the food for the wedding.
There was also a photo of our beautiful bride on display in the barn.
Back at the ranch, er, I mean, farm, our DJ, Tim Oxendine, of Diamond DJ Entertainment, was sweating it out setting up the sound system for the ceremony music. As I said, it was mighty hot with temps in the upper 90s. Tim was a trooper.
Thanks to Allison, our honorary wedding director, we started right on time--no slow wedding here! After the grandparents and parents were escorted in, the guys and I made our entrance. Can you tell that is a water bottle in my right pocket? The guys are dressed in good looking chocolate brown suits with hot pink vests to coordinate with the bridesmaids dresses. Every little detail had been thought out by Stevie and Pete.
This is Asia, one of the bridesmaids, with her daughter, Amaya, our flower girl. It was a really long walk from the house to the lake but she made it!
Here comes the bride. She was escorted in by her grandfather, Ronnie. He was so thrilled to have the honor. Stevie did not want to choose between her father and her stepfather so she chose her grandfather. Good solution.
We are all assembled now and the ceremony began. Stevie and Pete were matched up on line and found that they were extremely compatible. What attracted Stevie to Pete was that he was a high school soccer coach, which meant that they had soccer in common since she had played soccer since age 4. When he first saw her, she smiled at him and he was smitten. They love being with each other all the time they can squeeze in and enjoy spending time with their dogs. They are looking forward to starting a family some day and going to their children's soccer games.
They had a couple of readings in the ceremony and one was read by Carl, Stevie's stepfather. You can also see our photographer, Ron Cribbs, in this photo too. He is from Sanford and is a friend of Stevie's father, Scottie.
The big moment of the pronouncement of marriage. It was followed by the kiss but I did not get a photo of their kiss, too bad!
They are married! The two red cars in the background are parked on the other side of the lake. It is amazing to me how large they showed up in this photo. I edited them out in the photo above this one.
The new Mr. and Mrs. headed for the cool of the house while their guests went over to the barn for refreshments and cooling down while we took some photos.
See all these color-coordinated good looking men standing around waiting to be in the photos? I really don't know how you guys tolerate the heat in jackets which are probably made of wool or a wool blend. My hat is off to you!
I am so happy that sweat does not show up in photos because we are all dripping! Stevie and Pete are so happy to be married they probably don't even feel the temperature! Congratulations and all the best to you both, Stevie and Pete. You are a cool couple and I know you will love being married and finding out what the future holds for you both!
 On our way to my car to leave, Mr. Puddy, resident Persian cat greeted us. I love seeing this very friendly cat when I do weddings here. He is more like a dog than a cat and loves to run out and greet visitors. He's apparently had a hair cut and has lost a lot of fur on his back but I bet that feels good to him! Such a sweet kitty.