Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Pavilions at Angus Barn Hosts Wedding of Heather and Mike!

The photos above show where Heather and Mike's wedding ceremony was supposed to be and where we had our rehearsal! But, because of the rain, it was moved inside the pavilion. Nevertheless, they were bound to have a wonderful wedding ceremony no matter where on the property of the Pavilions at Angus Barn. The Pavilions at Angus Barn is one of the newest and most prestigious wedding venues in the Raleigh area. The facility is most impressive and this was my first wedding there. I had been to the grounds and taken photos and put up a blog post about it in early 2009 and was so thrilled when Heather and Mike contacted me back in August of 2009 to officiate their wedding on July 17, 2010.

Heather and Mike's wedding was special for another reason too. Heather's sister, Carrie, and my daughter, Andrea, worked together and that is how they came to know about me and hire me for their wedding officiant. I did not meet Heather and Mike face to face until months after they mailed me the contract and check.
When Dave and I arrived at 5:00 on the day of the wedding, it was raining. We had come from another wedding in Hillsborough, see next post, where it had been pouring rain and were wondering what decision had been made for this wedding. We were quite sure it would be moved indoors.
 The interior of the pavilion had already been set up with 100 chairs and the arbor all decorated with flowers. It was situated in front of the double sided fireplace and the lights from the trees and the candles softly illuminated the area. It was beautiful! Thank you, Kelly and Wendy (Angus Barn staff in charge of the wedding), for taking care of all the details!
Shortly after I got my theater microphone plugged into the DJ's sound system, Molly Olah, founder of  North Carolina Classical Wedding Music, and her two fellow musicians arrived. Molly is in the center. They provided heavenly music for the ceremony while the DJ, a family member from Plymouth MA provided the music for the reception.
DJ Gene and I chatting about weddings on Cape Cod where my niece officiates weddings and I have done a couple up there too for my niece's daughter and son.
Here is one table setting and another in the back ground.
The cute little place cards were held by corks!
Heather and Mike had found some smooth polished stones for each guest to take, write their name on it with a silver marker, hold the stone during the ceremony infusing it with their blessings for the couple then deposit it into the glass vase to the left after the ceremony. The glass vase of stones will be a keepsake to be displayed in their home of all the people and blessings from their wedding.
When all the guests had arrived and been seated by our groomsmen who did such a fabulous job (I am proud of you guys for not letting anyone sit in the back row!), I entered and took my place. I was followed by Mike escorting his two mothers, Susan and Kate.
Not a real good photo but this is the father and mother of the bride, Doug and Mary, entering. Doug circled around to do his duty bringing in the bride.
Next in were Jenny and Gabe. That is Tina Loebach, our photographer in the background catching the action as they entered.
Corey escorts Julie in. 
Angela enters with Bryan. She is one of the Maids of Honor. 
And now Carrie, Heather's sister, enters with our best man, Kyle. 
Madison and Jake enter. You can barely see Jake but he is following behind with the ring pillow. They are Mike's niece and nephew. Madison did a thorough job of sprinkling the petals. I could tell she was an experienced flower girl!
Time for our beautiful bride and proud papa. 
And the ceremony began. Take a look at that huge fan rotating slowly above the guests. And, that nice carpet runner! That substantial runner is what I like to see at a wedding! 
Here we are paying tribute to their wonderful parents. 
Carrie is reading her sweet vows to Mike from my book as I follow along with my finger so she can look up and not lose her place. 
Time for the big pronouncement of marriage. Someone else on the front row is taking a picture too! 
The photo of the kiss was just too dark to salvage but as you can imagine, it was a good one. They had been practicing! 
Whoa! I can't explain this photo but I sure do like it! Sorry Mike got cut off but Heather is grinning from ear to ear! 
Doug and Mary, Heather's parents, recess out. They are so happy about this marriage! Carrie, you are next! 
Mike's two moms, Sue and Kate, exit together. They were so touched by the ceremony! 
I just dropped my stone into the vase! I had it in my pocket during the ceremony.
It was only slightly misting when we exited for photos on the terrace outside the pavilion. The lighting is perfect. Mike and Heather, it was a pleasure working with you and I am honored to have officiated your wonderful wedding. I am sure I will be hearing about you from Carrie! All the best to you both! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fabulous Wedding for Catherine and Forrest Including the Rain!

I met with Catherine and Forrest on May 30th about officiating their wedding at the historic Ayr Mount Estate in Hillsborough on July 17, 2010. (These photos are the back and front of the exquisitely restored manor house. The rolling 265 acres of countryside I imagine remind Catherine of the English countryside which is where she is from.) Catherine and Forrest both live and work in Washington DC. Catherine had been at a wedding in North Carolina recently that was officiated by my good friend and colleague, Rev. Barbara Lodge, and had been most impressed with the ceremony. Barbara, however, was unavailable for Catherine's wedding date and referred her to me. I was so happy that I was available that day. We signed a contract and started working on their ceremony  to make it just as special as the one she had heard Barbara deliver.
My husband Dave, serving this weekend as my "roadie" and cameraman as Marty is on vacation in Hawaii, and I arrived at the lovely grounds of Ayr Mount in Hillsborough about 2:40 for the 3:00 wedding. It was pouring rain. Thankfully they had arranged for a tent on the grounds for the ceremony and this was the gorgeous expansive view from the tent. The rain made the colors even more rich and vibrant.
We are waiting for the bride. She was running late due to the rain and lack of umbrellas but we knew they were on their way. What would we do without cell phones! Her father, Philip, and her brother, Damian, and sister, Alex, were with her.
We got the guests all seated and were ready to start. The string duo from Arioso Strings was playing beautiful music. 
One small guest who is all dressed up in his summer seer-sucker suit who loved to run out into the rain and get someone to chase him back in! He was having a lot of fun.
This is Ann, mother of the bride, her son, Damian, on the left and his wife and baby in the middle. Catherine was born and grew up in England and these family members made the trek "across the pond" to be at this wonderful wedding.
This is Heather, Forrest's mother, with her son and Forrest's brother, Zachary. They live in Hillsborough.
The bride has arrived! It is pouring rain. The grass is really wet and soggy.
I love this photo! On the left is Catherine's father, Philip, on the right is Damian who, after this photo was snapped, rushed on ahead to join his mother, wife and baby .  Alex, sister of the bride, is holding Catherine's dress up so it would not get wet on the grass. 
Don't you know that Catherine is so glad she is wearing platform heels to slog through the wet grass! 
Dad brings the bride down the aisle umbrella and all! He had to close it and put it down before I could ask him the big question: "Philip, as Catherine's father, do you and her mother, Ann, bless and support Catherine as she comes to join in marriage with Forrest?" Of course he said "We do, with all our blessings." 
I moved to the side and had Catherine and Forrest face their guests while I conducted the ceremony until it was time for the vows and rings. The rain was coming down so hard and making so much noise as it drummed on the top of the tent, I had to really raise my voice for the guests to hear me but I did not want to blast Catherine and Forrest by standing too close to them. 
Catherine's brother, Damian, chose and presented a wonderful reading for Catherine and Forrest. I just love listening to his British accent. He did a fabulous presentation and I must get that reading from him via Catherine!
Look at the back of Catherine's wedding gown. It was stunning. Forrest is taking in the reading word for word. Doesn't the background look like a fine painting? It is amazing the effect of the rain in photos.
I am telling their story here. They and the guests thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful humor of how they finally got together and fell in love. Especially the part about Catherine becoming such a Tarheels fan! 
The vows were exchanged and now for the rings. 
A closing blessing.
The pronouncement of marriage. Note that Forrest has his thumbs clamped on top of my hand. 
The KISS! Note my hand is still on theirs. I didn't want to just jerk it out from under Forrest's thumbs! I read in a photographer's blog the other night a request that the officiant step to the side for the kiss so she/he was not in the kiss photo. I am quite happy to do that and planned to move aside but in this instance, I was stuck in place! 
Here they are, the new Mr. and Mrs.! Everyone applauded and the music provided by Arioso Strings began.
Wow! What a wonderful wedding for two very special people! Remember, the old belief is that rain on your wedding day means that God is crying tears of happiness! Catherine and Forrest, you are a super couple and I know you will be so happy together. I wish you a lifetime of peace, joy and love!