Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sweet Wedding for Tatyana and Michael in Friends' Lovely Home in Durham!

Tatyana contacted me in September to see if I could officiate her wedding to Michael. I was so glad I was available the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 27, 2010. We made all the arrangements by email, snail mail and phone. I sent them a proposed ceremony based on what she said they wanted and they edited it to their liking. They especially wanted to include Michael's 5 year old son, Alexander, who had really bonded with Tatyana (and her toy "fluffball" poodle, Gabby). So, I put the family unity sand ceremony in and it was perfect.
When Marty and I arrived for the wedding, the guests were all ready. Here are the sand ceremony containers. Tatyana's white sand with red sparkles also had a pair of ladybugs on top symbolizing good luck.
Tatyana is from the Ukraine and has lived in the States a few years. She and Michael met through friends about a year ago and fell in love. Their friends, Jerry and Diana, offered to host their wedding in their lovely home. Jerry is an artist and above is a photo of the portrait he painted of Michael and Tatyana as a wedding gift. He is very talented. He was also serving as wedding photographer for the day!
 I was told that Diana and Jerry also made this beautiful wedding cake!
The guests were all assembled in the sunken living room. Tatyana greeted me when I arrived, gave me the marriage license then dashed upstairs to change into her wedding dress. That handsome little boy on the chair on the left is Alexander being a perfect gentleman before being called to escort in the bride.
Here come Alexander and Tatyana. He had rehearsed his answer to my question and did a great job! Then he went to sit with his Aunt Vanessa and cousin, Kaylee, who was our ring bearer.
And, the ceremony began. Tatyana and Michael wanted to thank their parents. Michael's parents, Annette and Kenneth, live in Raleigh and were with us in person. Tatyana's mother, Valentina, was with us via virtual technology from the Ukraine. In our prayer we remembered her father, Valerrii, who has passed on, .
Tatyana ran over to the Skype and "hugged" her mother! So sweet!

Michael had written a wonderful poem to Tatyana as a "pre-proposal" and we included it in the ceremony. Here he is reading it to Tatyana whose eyes filled up with tears.
Then she gave him a hug!
After they said their vows to each other and exchanged rings, it was time for the sand ceremony. Alexander loved being a part of this and pouring his own sand into the container.
 The KISS!
A blessing after the pronouncement...........
Presentation of the newlyweds to their guests!
Tatyana is beaming, Michael too, and she is waving to her mother.
  Time for some photos for this newly joined family! Not only do Michael and Tatyana love each other, Alexander and Tatyana are absolutely enchanted with each other and it shows!
The weather was so nice and the colors so pretty, we stepped out into the front yard for some photos. Michael and Tatyana, may all your dreams come true. I wish you the best of everything!

As I was preparing this post, this touching thank you note came in from Tatyana and Michael:

Dear Kayelily,

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the beautiful and very touching ceremony!
You truly made it special!!!

Would you like us to e-mail you some pictures from the ceremony when they get edited?

Thank you again and the best of everything to you and your family!!!

Happy Healthy Holiday Season to you and yours!

With a Lot of Gratitude,
Michael and Tatyana

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hawaiian Wedding for Betsy and David!

Did you miss me? No post last week because I had no weddings last weekend. Typically in November weddings drop off drastically  from the hectic rush in October. I appreciated having the weekend free! This Thanksgiving weekend I have two small weddings. This post is about the first one which took place on Black Friday November 26, 2010! It sure was not a black day for Betsy and David though. What a love story they have!
The weather was overcast with occasional sprinkles and we found a good break from the rain and gathered for the ceremony outdoors in the backyard where ribs were barbecuing! Here's the gang tending the ribs, including Suzie, the golden lab who was such a sweet and well behaved dog.

When Betsy contacted me in September to officiate their wedding, she explained that she and David were both divorced and had known each other since 7th grade! Seems they had grown up and gone their separate ways but met again at their 30th high school class reunion and both of them "instantly felt at home." David still lives in West Virginia where they grew up. He owns a business and is also a river raft guide down the beautiful Gauley and New Rivers in W.VA. Betsy is a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner in South Carolina. She will be spending the month of December moving to W.VA and starting a new job in January. They chose to meet in the middle for their wedding at Betsy's brother's house in the Oak Park area of Raleigh.  They were so excited and so happy to have re-discovered each other after all those years.
David's father was Hawaiian and so they wanted to honor his heritage by having a Hawaiian themed wedding. In fact, most of their guests wore Hawaiian shirts. Betsy and David wore garments made of the same fabric. I got the chance to wear a pretty caftan my husband gave me a few years ago. Above are the two young girls holding the leis the couple will exchange during the ceremony.
That is Betsy's brother, David, standing up for her on the right. Betsy and David each wore a white flower on one ear.
The ceremony began with these words: "Aloha! To the Hawaiians, Aloha is more than just a greeting. Aloha is a way of life, so much so, they are said to live the spirit of aloha. This spirit is a sense of love and friendship to all people. It is in this respect that David and Betsy wish to say 'Aloha' to you and to thank you all for sharing in the joy of their wedding."
"Giving a lei symbolizes the love, affection, and respect you have for the person you are giving the lei to. It is a beautiful way to express your eternal love Hawaiian style on your wedding day. So now, Betsy and David, I ask you each to adorn each other with a lei along with the customary kiss on the cheek before you exchange rings."  David put a beautiful lei of fresh white flowers on Betsy.
Betsy put a beautiful lei of green leaves around David's neck.
Now for the beautiful rings they exchanged.
David is just towering over Betsy and me! What a gentle giant he is. Betsy and David, aloha to you and I wish you all the happiness and love in the world! I am so happy you found each other again!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wonderful Fall Wedding for Lia and Steve at Barclay Villa!

I met Lia and Steve last March when they came to see me about officiating their wedding on November 13, 2010 at Barclay Villa in Angier. I had not done a wedding there in about 3 years so I was delighted for the opportunity to be there and work with Cathy Honeycutt again. She and I go way back! In addition to being in charge of the catering (Barclay Catering and Event Planning), Cathy assembles and directs the wedding for the couple. Also on hand  was her assistant, Cindy Ebersbach. With both of them running the show, all bases were covered and we had a great rehearsal on Friday assuring that the wedding processional flowed smoothly.  So, when Marty and I arrived an hour before ceremony start time on Saturday at 4:00 to set up my sound system, the chairs were all in place and the musicians were arriving as well.
The opposite end of the aisle from the gazebo is the ballroom with the balcony overlooking the garden. The grandparents, parents, bridesmaids and bride and escort enter from this area. The Villa was all decorated for Christmas and looked so festive.
This is a new pool and fountain that had been installed since I was last there. It was so pretty and tranquil.
Here we are down at the gazebo getting all set up. Barclay Villa is like a setting of a fairytale with its castle-like features and beautifully landscaped grounds.
Ambrosia Cake Creations provided this striking wedding cake decorated with the wedding colors of black and red.
Above is the ballroom all prepared for the reception dinner. I once did a winter wedding in front of the massive fireplace between the Christmas trees.
This is the front entrance of the estate. Our photographer, Craig Carpenter with Luster Studios, had the groom and groomsmen out front taking some photos before the wedding while the bridal party was sequestered inside in the exquisite parlors.See Craig's preview photos on his Facebook page.
This is the pool and fountain where the guests gathered after the ceremony for cocktails.
We were graced with the lovely music of Florian Music thanks to their founder and coordinator, Sherry Lattin. We have done a lot of weddings together recently and it is always a pleasure to work with Sherry and her musicians. Sherry is the violinist on the left. The musician on the right played the trumpet for the bride's entrance. Steve and Lia had selected mostly contemporary music for which the group found sheet music and learned for the wedding.
It is almost time to begin so the guys and I gathered on the side of the ballroom from where we entered. I entered to a piece from Pirates of the Caribbean! It was very majestic!
After all the groomsmen entered, it was time for the bridesmaids who carried topiary balls of black and white tulle with red Christmas ornaments and some red feathers. (The two people standing to the side are guests who arrived after the processional began and were seated after the bride entered.) Lia and her sister, Jenna, Maid of Honor, made all the floral arrangements and wanted something out of the ordinary and succeeded beautifully!
 Lia was escorted in by her mother and grandfather. It was very special for them all.
Lia and Steve met in 2003 when one of Steve's friends, Matt, also a groomsman, introduced them and they hit it off. They dated for 5 years having all kinds of fun and adventures then Steve proposed at a very special place on their 5th year anniversary of dating. Lia was truly surprised but said yes, of course. Their story was included in the wedding ceremony and the guests loved hearing it and laughing at the funny parts. 
They loved creating their own ceremony and writing their own personal vows to each other which is what Lia is reading to Steve from my book. They both put in a few funny lines.
 The pronouncement of marriage was next and then....
Steve nailed Lia with a kiss.Thanks to Craig Carpenter for this fine quality photo!
After I presented the newlyweds to their guests, they recessed up the aisle and into the ballroom, up the stairs and out onto the balcony where they watched the wedding party and parents and grandparents recess.
Then I asked all their guests to stand and move to the center then turn around facing the balcony  for a group photo which I know will really be good because Craig had the vantage point of shooting from the balcony. Can't wait to see those shots.
Steve and Lia, what a fabulous wedding. Your hard work and careful planning sure showed in every aspect. I really loved writing your story. You are a remarkable couple and I know you will have a great marriage! Congratulations!