Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Michaela and Josh's Beautiful Interfaith Wedding!

Mary Page Block who founded and operates Arioso Strings referred Michaela and Josh to me. Michaela's parents are neighbors of hers in Cary. Mary sat down with the couple in the Spring of 2010 and went through this blog to choose their venue and other wedding  vendors. I am really delighted that brides and grooms use this blog as a resource! I met with Michaela and Josh in May of 2010 to plan this wedding to take place on July 30, 2011. Michaela and Josh chose the beautiful Renaissance Hotel in North Hills. All the weddings I have done there have been done in the long narrow end of the ballroom. Michaela and Josh were expecting more guests than that could accommodate so they chose the wider configuration as shown below by opening up an additional segment of the ballroom: It is huge! 
The photo above shows the long narrow configuration for a wedding I did there on New Year's Eve. 
See how spacious this area is?
There was plenty of room for the Arioso Strings Trio headed up by May Page Block and our vocalists.
Valeri and Megan are relatives of Michaela and came down from Ohio to sing in the wedding. They sang "Hosea" which was sung at Michaela's parents' wedding. It was beautiful. I don't know which is which but the young lady on the left is also the mother of our flower girl, Lulani.
Josh is of Jewish heritage and Michaela was brought up Christian. They wanted to blend the two faiths in their wedding ceremony. We included the Chuppah under which we stood for the ceremony. Josh and Michaela constructed this lovely Chuppah and Michaela made the canopy covering the top of it. We had two prayers, the Wine and Seven Blessing Ceremony, scripture readings, and the breaking of the glass.
Behind the partition the band, Shine, was warming up when we arrived to set up my microphones. We also found the cupcake wedding cake by Cakes for a Cause.
Fresh Affairs did the lovely florals. Their theme was sunflowers. 
So, here we are standing around while the last guests took their seats. On the right is Josh's grandpa, Murray, who canted the first of the seven blessings in Hebrew. Josh and I are already in line and behind us are his best man, Justin, and his brothers, Dan and Adam.
Here come the bridesmaids: Anna, the maid of honor, is on the left and Michaela's sisters, Kateri and Lizzie, are on the right.
Okay....we are ready to go. Our director, Terry, a friend of Michaela's family, served as our wedding director and cued us in. In the front of the line are Grandpa Murray who graciously escorted in Michaela's Grandmother, Anne. Our ring bearer is Jacob, son of Josh's aunt and uncle.
Once the wedding party got inside, it was time for the bride and her parents and our flower girls to get in line to enter. Lulani did a great job walking down the aisle by herself and standing with the bridesmaids.
Terry is waiting for Lulani to make it all the way down the aisle before sending the bride and her parents, Denis and Connie.
And there they go! I was so delighted to see that Michaela had found a white carpet runner for the wedding. That is about the only type of runner that will work on carpet. It did tend to move a little bit with the nap of the carpet but it was not dangerous or wrinkled.
Michaela and Josh live in Atlanta. They met at Emory from where they did their undergraduate work. Josh is a teacher at a private school and Michaela is a speech therapist for the public school system. Theirs is a wonderful love story and I had the pleasure or sharing it with their guests during the ceremony.
These photos are really grainy. The room was darkened and the zoom feature left a lot of quality to be desired!
After the pronouncement, Josh stomped the glass breaking it the first time, we all shouted "Mazeltov," and then they kissed. Sorry, don't have a picture of the kiss! You can see David Teeter with Story Photographers zeroing in on the scene. Ashley Stephenson with Story Photographers was on the other side getting more good shots.
They were beaming as they recessed out into their new marriage!
Michaela and Josh, congratulations on your marriage and your wonderful wedding! Your hard work and diligent planning sure paid off. I wish you the best always!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stacey and Anthony from New Jersey Wed in Cary, NC!

Stacey and Anthony live in Cranbury NJ which is close to Princeton NJ where I just happened to be last week giving a memorial service. Small world. They have been trying to get married for a couple of years now. But, every time they planned the wedding, something came up or happened to postpone it. So, taking the bull by the horns, Anthony called me today while he and Stacey, her 15 year old daughter, Rae Lynn, her teammates on the Central Jersey Lightning girls fast pitch softball team, and some other parents were in town for the national girls softball playoffs. When I asked about the wedding date, he said "hopefully tonight if you are available!"  I was delighted that I could if they had their marriage license. He told me that they had gotten it that morning figuring they would either marry here or along the coast of NC where they are heading after the playoffs. They asked Rae Lynn if she would prefer to have the wedding with all her teammates present or wait until they got to the beach. Rae Lynn voted for tonight and she and her teammates got busy planning the wedding. My husband, Dave, and I arrived at the Homewood Suites in Cary where they were all staying about 7:45 and met everyone then commenced with the ceremony on the hotel patio.
Stacey is escorted in through the softball bats! I forgot to ask who her escort was. Maybe someone who knows will comment on this blog and let us know! 
Because the wedding was planned quickly and over the phone instead of email, Stacey and Anthony did not get to preview the ceremony. Anthony voted for a 5 minute ceremony versus a 10 minute one so I wrote a very "short and sweet" ceremony for them. At this point in the ceremony Anthony was listening very intently to me ask him the "I do" questions and made some comment that he needed to pay attention to what he was promising which got a good laugh from everyone.
After the pronouncement I told Stacey she could kiss the groom which she certainly did.
Then, Anthony moved in to kiss the bride! They were so happy to be married at last.
The softball team with Rae Lynn and Stacey in front!
Congratulations, Stacey and Anthony! Thanks for the opportunity to meet and marry you. I hope all your dreams come true!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fabulous Highgrove Wedding for Jessica and Kevin!

Jessica and Kevin came to see me in June 2010 to plan their wedding scheduled for July 16, 2011 at the wonderful Highgrove Estate. They are two delightful, down-to-earth people who are very dedicated to each other and cherish the closeness they have with their families! They wanted to create their own ceremony and make it personal and meaningful. So they dived into the ceremony material I sent them right away and emailed me the first draft of everything they wanted. I did my tweaking to it, wrote their story from the answers to questions they each sent me, and we emailed the ceremony revisions back and forth until it was exactly what they wanted. Unfortunately last spring, Kevin's father had serious health challenges and so it was questionable whether he and Kevin's mother would be able to attend. They notified me and we created Ceremony B, in case they could not come. Sadly that is the one we used.  But, Kevin and Jessica arranged with Island Sound to video the wedding which they plan to take with them when they visit his parents and watch it together. That will be very special.
There is a little story here that unfolded as I set up my sound system before the ceremony. The ladies from Expressions of Love Florists were putting out the shepherd hooks and hanging beautiful vases of hydrangeas from them to flank the aisle.
But the glass vases tended to slip out of the ribbon holding them. One of the small children brought to me one of the vases that had fallen but not broken, then suddenly one toward the back slipped out and broke on the brick walk. That is Ann Eberle, our wedding director with Highgrove, going to get a broom and dustpan to sweep up the broken glass.
At first it was suspected that the vases were falling because the children touched them but I assured  them that  the children were standing with me and were not near the vase that fell and broke. These kids were so cute. I had my doubts about their ability to stay together and make it all the way down the aisle at the wedding given their erratic, age-appropriate behavior at the rehearsal. But they surprised me!! The little ring-bearer took charge of the little girls, made them hold his arms and brought them down the steps on cue!
Ed Stephenson furnished lovely guitar music for the processional and recessional. I do many weddings with Ed, on his own, and with string ensembles. Turns out, he is a personal friend of Kevin's too.
Simply Cakes made this beautiful wedding cake and it was color coordinated with the royal blue wedding color.
The garden ballroom was ready. The tables were completed and there was a frame with the couple's picture in it for the guests to sign like a guest book. They thought of something different too. This frame above says "Bought new shoes to match your dress and now your feet are sore? Please help yourself to a pair of these flipflops so you can dance some more!  Compliments of the Newlyweds!" How thoughtful!
Ryan Pflumm, DJ for Island Sound, was on hand to provide the music and entertainment for the reception. He was at the last wedding I did at Highgrove! 
We are all lined up inside the house ready for Ann to cue us in.
Aren't these dresses spectacular? I love the silver sandals too. 
Since no parents or grandparents were being escorted in, I was the first to take the walk to the "altar." 
Here they are! The little boy, Aidan, is clearly in control of his "girls," Kiera and Kaylee. 
Jessica's parents, Jeff and Pat, are proud to escort her down the aisle. Her dress was so pretty and fit her personality so well. Amazing how bridal gowns can do that! 
I think this photo was taken during the opening prayer. 
I put this photo in here so you can see that the solution for the flowers for the aisle was to remove the shepherd hooks and place the vases on the bricks and with some pretty petals, no one knew the original arrangement and it did not matter because it looked just as pretty! 
After the story, vows and rings, the guests and the attendants read the Irish Blessing in unison to the couple. All the attendants had the blessing on small pieces of paper they had kept out of sight. Jessica and Kevin had cute programs that were like fans and the Irish Blessing was printed on one side. 
And, now they are married! 
The wedding party and parents recessed through to the front of the house while the guests had cocktails on the patio before the reception. Our photographers were on hand to get some wonderful pictures for the couple. Jennifer Kromout of Acorn Photography is on the left and her second shooter, Diane McKinney, is on the right.You can see that they were a lot of fun to work with.  I have done weddings with Diane before but this was my first wedding with Jennifer. I know these two got some awesome photos. 
Jessica and Kevin, what a great wedding! I know you are grateful that it was short and sweet at about 15 minutes because it was rather hot with the sun beaming down on us. You did a wonderful job organizing your wedding and it is a day you will never forget! Congratulations and best wishes forever!