Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garden Wedding for Hannah and James!

Hannah and James and their daughter, Lori Lynn, live in Rochester NY but wanted to get married in Raleigh. I offered my wedding garden for their site and they loved the idea. So, we began planning for their wedding day of June 25, 2011. I sent them a proposed ceremony in which we included a blessing for Lori Lynn and for Hannah's parents who were present and the family unity sand ceremony.
The wedding garden was all ready and waiting for guests and the couple to arrive! More guests arrived than expected so we put out some chairs for them.
Hannah waited inside the family room until her father arrived then he walked her out where we were waiting. We all hummed "Here Comes the Bride."
Hannah's mother, Connie, and James' brother, Patrick, stood up for them.
This is the whole gang after the ceremony. Ready to go out and celebrate!
Lori Lynn was a little shy about all these people surrounding her! They did the family unity sand ceremony and she did help pour her sand in the container. Hannah and James, you are a sweet family and I wish you all the best!

Ilisa and Eric Wed at Embassy Suites in Raleigh!

Ilisa and Eric are a great couple. I first met Ilisa over a year ago to plan their wedding for June 25, 2011 at the Embassy Suites across from Crabtree Valley Mall. I did not meet Eric until May of this year to finalize all the details of the ceremony. Ilisa and Eric have a sweet story which began in July 2008. Eric and Ilisa were both stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB but they did not meet there. They met because Eric was the “boy next door” and Ilisa was the “girl next door.” Seems they each bought a house which happened to be right next door to each another. Even more coincidently, they closed on their houses only one week apart!
This is the Embassy Suites lobby area which is all set up with the chairs for the wedding guests. It is a lovely open area that gives the feeling of being outdoors. There are many lush plants and some palm trees and a beautiful waterfall feature. We must have amplification for the people speaking in the wedding to be heard because like being outdoors, there are no acoustical surfaces to contain the sound and also to be heard over the sound of the water. That was not a problem as Brian McGuire, DJ and owner of McSound Productions was on hand to provide the music for the ceremony and the reception. His mobile sound unit was set up on the first balcony overlooking the area so he could easily survey the wedding ceremony and adjust the volume. Thanks, Brian! 
This is the view from the other end on the lobby level. The bridesmaids and the bride will make their entrances from the first balcony level down the stairs. Kyle Adams, the event/catering manager with the hotel, took care of every detail. She is so good and gets things done and done right! Thanks, Kyle.
This lovely cake was right in keeping with the royal blue color scheme. It was provided by Blue Moon Bakery.
The reception area with dance floor were set to go. Again the royal blue theme followed through.
When it was time to start the processional, Marty stationed herself here to get photos of the ladies processing in. The photographer, Chad Smith with Imageworx Photography, had asked us not to use flash because he had some slave strobes that the flash from other cameras would trigger potentially spoiling photos he was wanting to make without flash. So, I set my camera to a no flash setting and the photo below and all the rest are what we got. 
A rather overexposed, washed out photo. Neither Marty nor I were aware that was the result until I looked at the photos last night for the first time. Consequently, I don't have very good photos of the ceremony to post here and what I am posting are pretty poor in quality. Apparently the shutter speed was slowed to allow more light and the photos are overexposed and most out of focus.
After the three bridesmaids entered, Ilisa made her long walk down the steps. Her brother, Chuck, was most happy to have the honor of walking her down the aisle since their parents are deceased.
It was a very lovely and fun wedding. Their guests really enjoyed hearing how Eric and Ilisa met. They were both outside their houses next door watching fireworks in the distance. Eric was sitting on the back bumper of his truck and Ilisa who had been standing on her front porch walked over and introduced herself. This began a long series of neighborly deeds helping each other out with yardwork and Ilisa wanting a lawnmower just like Eric's and the adventure of getting it! Gradually the friendship developed into great respect and then love. And, as they say, the rest is history!
Ilisa and Eric, if Chad sends you some good photos of the ceremony, and I am sure he got many, please forward them to me and I will post on this blog so folks can have a better image of how great your wedding was! In the meantime, I hope you two are on a well deserved honeymoon! I loved working with you on your ceremony and was honored to be your officiant. I thank you for your dedication to serving our country and your dedication to each other and your families. May you have a long marriage of love, peace and joy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kristen and Chance's Majestic Wedding at The Umstead!

Not only are Kristen and Chance movie star good looking, they are also very thoughtful and generous. In fact, they do resemble our most recent royal couple! We met on October 3, 2010 to plan their wedding ceremony at The Umstead on June 18, 2011. I really enjoyed working with them to make their ceremony exactly what they envisioned.
When Marty and I arrived on the scene, we went to the reception area to find Joe Bunn DJ to say Hi but he was not there yet. So, we saw the beautiful cake by Sweet Memories
The reception room was ready and there were some staff of the hotel scurrying around doing last minute things.
Victoria Park Florist did an amazing job on the centerpieces and on the altar area decor as you will see below.
 In these goblets are ribbon streamers for the guests to wave at the couple for good wishes as they left after the reception. You can't see the sticks they are tied to that are resting inside the goblets. Their color scheme of pewter and orange is carried throughout and is a very striking and lovely color combination you have to see to believe!
A 30" round table held the Unity Candle set up. Candles outdoors are easily blown out, especially on a waterfront like this where there is usually a breeze, so Kristen and Chance wisely got a huge goblet to hold and protect the Unity Candle. Their individual flames in the votives were lit by their mothers using the white candles and the third votive for fire. The decorated tapers are for Kristen and Chance to transfer their flames from the votives to the Unity Candle.
 Laura Byrne, a wonderful harpist, set up on the sidewalk to the side of the ceremony site.
Ami Wheeler with The Umstead gives a last minute briefing to the groomsmen who serve as ushers for the guests.  Ami is so professional and so organized. She handles every little detail with ease. She has the whole line-up and notes on her iPad.
Because Chance was escorting in his mother, Phillis, I entered first and anchored the ceremony space so he could step up and join me after his mother lit his candle and was seated.
After all the groomsmen and bridesmaids had entered, it was time for our flower girls and ring bearer.
This little flower girl decided she did not want to make the walk down the aisle and preferred to be in her mother's arms and watch!
Father of the bride, David, escorts our lovely Kristen down the aisle to Chance. Kristen's dress was so perfect for her. It was almost as gorgeous as she is!
Our photographic team in action. The photographer is Geoff Schultz along with his wife, Cheyenne, did the still photography. They are from Charlotte. Kevin with Bluebird did the video.
This is the view of the ceremony from the balcony off the lobby. Many hotel guests stand there and watch the weddings going on in the garden. And, since I am wearing a microphone, they probably can hear the ceremony too.
There were special blessings for the parents. We also remembered Chance's father who is no longer with us.
Isn't this altar decor beautiful? It looks so regal with the white columns and the white flower balls. Simple but elegant. Victoria Park Florist did a great job.
One flower girl managed to stand with the bridesmaids the whole ceremony. She was so sweet--and very attentive too! 
 Kristen's friend Erin did a reading of a beautiful wedding prayer.
Kristen and Chance read their special vows to each other from my book then exchanged rings. This was followed by the lighting of the Unity Candle. The transfer of flames worked very well. 
 I now pronounce you husband and wife!
 Good kiss, don't you think? I remembered to step out of the way!
 And they begin their new journey together......
While we were getting all posed for photos, the bridesmaids sat down and enjoyed some champagne while awaiting their turn. That pewter and orange was really a fabulous color scheme.
Kristen and Chance, you are a blessed couple and I know you were meant for each other. I wish you all the best forever!

Dawn and Shannon Wed at Second Empire!

Since this was a second marriage for both of them, Shannon and Dawn wanted a small intimate wedding to include their children and to be surrounded by their family and closest friends. And that they did on June 18, 2011. The East Parlor of the beautiful historic Second Empire was filled to capacity with a few guests standing in the back. Our photographer, Cara from F8 Photo Studios, barely had room to move around but she is so good at this, I know she got some great pictures.

When we arrived we saw that the lovely atrium downstairs was where the reception was going to be.

Cute white teacups served as name cards and coordinate with the purple color for the wedding. We did not get to see the cake. Due to the heat and humidity it was kept in the refrigerated area until just before cutting. The chef there can bake and prepare some pretty impressive wedding cakes.

The musicians were Jeff and Kristen Larson. They provided beautiful prelude music and music for the entrance and exit of the wedding party.
Waiting outside the parlor, Shannon and his son, Evan, also his best man, were ready to begin as the guests took their seats.Then the three of us entered.
Shannon's 14 year old daughter, Aubrey, leads her sister-to-be, Amelie, Dawn's 4 year old daughter, into the parlor. Dawn did all the flowers herself!
Close behind are our beautiful bride, Dawn, and her 6 year old son, Christian, who escorted his mother down the aisle. C'mon, Mom!
The guests stood in honor of the bride.
The East Parlor is such a great room for weddings. The acoustics are wonderful and the bay window is a perfect niche for the wedding party.

Looks like they have been practicing this kiss!
Dawn and Shannon, what a sweet wedding! I hope it was all you wanted it to be. I enjoyed working with you to make this happen! I know you are so dedicated to each other that you will have a very happy marriage and blended family!