Sealed with a kiss!

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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What a Fun Wedding Celebration for Faith and Owen at 1705 Prime!

The timing was perfect for Faith and Owen to meet each other in November of 2008. It didn't take them long to find out that they had the same core values and both loved sports, although they rooted for different teams! They worked this out and soon became inseparable. It was my great pleasure to meet them last February and collaborate with them in writing their fun-filled ceremony. Of course it included their wonderful story with lots of humor that the guests adored. I frequently had to pause due to the heartiness of their laughter (Faith and Owen's too) as they enjoyed their "story" all over again as I told it.
I was so delighted to do my first wedding at 1705 Prime which was the perfect venue for Faith and Owen's celebration. Jenn Carlin, the catering manager, did a fabulous job organizing and directing this wedding. Kevin Dehimer, also a catering manager and former co-worker of my daughter, Andrea, stuck his head out from behind the scenes to say hello to me. Unfortunately we could not have the ceremony on the front steps as planned because it had been raining all week and they had to call for Plan B that morning. But that did not dampen their spirits one iota! When Dave and I arrived for the wedding that Friday, September 23, 2011, their photographer, Barbara Tyroler and her videographer, Ricky Lee Harrell, were busy taking photos. Owen and Faith decided they would see each other before the ceremony so that they could do all the photos ahead of time and be with their guests at the reception right away.
So after the outside photos, the wedding party assembled in the bar area to wait for the guests to arrive and be seated. Before the bride and her ladies went upstairs to be hidden away, Barbara set up some fun poses of the couple with their attendants. Owen had a slew of men standing up with him as you can see, including his two brothers, one of whom came from Amsterdam for the occasion.
The cake and the flowers were done by Erin DeNeve at Whole Foods. Looking good!
Eric Hodgden of All Around Raleigh DJ was on hand to provide the music for the processional and the reception. It was a pleasure to work with Eric again!
When the Best Men and the Matrons of Honor (Faith and Owen dubbed all their attendants this way!) and I had entered, it was time for our beautiful bride who was escorted in by both mothers. 
We held the ceremony in a room off the entrance of the restaurant and it sufficed nicely for the ceremony. It was difficult to get many good photos though. I wish I had more to show you.
I just love Faith's ruffly wedding dress and it was so perfect for her. YES to the dress! Congratulations from all the guests were abound as the couple recessed out.
Thanks, Owen, I appreciate the kiss! He is such a sweetie and they both were just so ecstatic to be married at last. Faith and Owen, you are a fabulous couple who belong together. I know you will have a wonderful marriage. Please call on me whenever you need my services!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Manuela and Rodney Have a Beautiful Wedding at the Wagner House!

Manuela and Rodney met with me in July to talk about my officiating their wedding on September 17, 2011at the Wagner House in Clayton. Actually they were already married a year before and although it was not a secret, Manuela really wanted a formal wedding ceremony with a big white dress with friends and family surrounding them and Rodney was supporting her in this all the way. I was happy to do the honors for this sweet couple and help make their dream come true!
The Wagner House is a historic colonial mansion in downtown Clayton, NC. I have done many weddings here for the past 12 years. Brenda and Mac Avent, the owners, have made a showcase out of the old home. Every year Brenda has made some improvement and embellishment. The gazebo and ceremony space in the back yard is magnificent. I look forward to seeing what she has added each year.
Years ago there was a circular drive and just the garden and gazebo. She has added the roof and fans and lights and has done away with the circular drive. We can actually do weddings in the rain there if it is not blowing. She also had a door cut in the garden dining room on the back of the house so that you can come out to the garden area covered in case of inclement weather. Her plantings and lush flower beds are something to be admired. This year she told me that she guesses she has done all she can and she will be miserable next spring because she won't have a project! What a problem to have but I bet she will think of something! Brenda is a professional caterer as well so the Wagner House comes with the caterer. She also caters offsite.
This is the garden dining room. It is so sunny and cheery. The door you see to the right leads out to the garden. There are two other dining rooms so she can accommodate quite a crowd.
Piece-a-Cake provided this yummy, lemony looking wedding cake. It is so pretty and I bet it tasted just as good as it looks.
When we were ready to begin, Rodney's best man, who is his brother David, and I entered the gazebo followed by Rodney who escorted his parents in, and then Dorte, the Maid of Honor. Manuela was escorted in by her father, Ulrich. Her parents are German and do not speak English so my question was translated for him.
And the ceremony began. I was so glad I had my sound system because there was a festival going on a few blocks away and we could hear the music. But nothing was going to stop this wedding celebration!
After welcoming all the guests and giving a prayer, I asked Rodney's father to bring forth the couple's young son, Alexander, into the gazebo to be blessed and baptized. He was the sweetest little boy and had the biggest blue eyes. He did not feel well that day so he was unusually quiet, which might be a good thing under the circumstances. He was very cooperative though, even when I sprinkled his head with water.
That was followed by the Family Unity Sand Ceremony in which the couple poured beautiful stones and sand representing the three of them into the container. Lauren with Waterhouse Studios was our photographer for the wedding and you can see her hand and camera on the right getting a good shot of the sand pouring.
Rodney and Manuela had written secret vows to each other which they heard for the first time on this day.
They sealed their vows with the exchange of rings: "This ring is a symbol of my love. Receive this ring as a token of wedded love and faith."
I declared them husband and wife and asked them to share a kiss to celebrate!
A very happy couple!
After the guests went to the reception, we gathered on the front steps for photos. Manuela and Rodney, I love the look in your eyes when you look at each other. Your love is very evident and radiates from you. Alexander is a very lucky little boy! I wish you all the happiness in the world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Melissa and Kevin's Sweet Wedding at Caffe Luna!

I met Melissa and Kevin last February when they came to see me about officiating their wedding on September 4, 2011 at Caffe Luna in downtown Raleigh. I could tell right away that they were a very well-matched couple and knew what they wanted in their wedding as well as in their lives. Melissa is a CPA and her ability to be detail-oriented made sure they had all bases covered for their wedding. One smart move on their part was to hire Shawn Schindler of Your Special Day to be their wedding planner and director for their wedding.  When Dave and I arrived for the wedding, Shawn had everything under control and looking beautiful! Dave and I set up my sound system and did a sound check.
We looked around for the cake and ran into Wayne of Swank Cake Design there delivering and setting it up. Gorgeous--as usual!
Across the room was this fabulous candy bar by Cinda's Creative Cakes which was set up by her husband whom we had seen the day before at the Washington-Duke Inn wedding.  See blog post below.
 I greeted Craig and Tim with Arioso Strings and we went over the cues.
This is the beautiful mahogany (I believe) door that Parker Kennedy, owner of Caffe Luna, had custom made and installed in the archway recently. Before the doors were here the archway was open and we had to pull a screen behind me to block the view into the reception area during the ceremony. This door is a perfect backdrop! 
When all the guests had arrived and it was 4:00, Shawn had the wedding party assemble outside the front door of the restaurant for the processional. Kevin and I entered after the parents were seated. 
Melissa and Kevin chose not to have any attendants stand up with them so Melissa was the next one to enter, escorted by her father.
"Who has the privilege of presenting this woman, Melissa, to be married to this man, Kevin?" Her father answered: "Her mother and I" and everyone was seated. Melissa has a boot on her right leg and usually walks with crutches. (She had an injury to the nerve in her leg when she was a teenager and cannot walk unassisted.) She was determined to ditch the crutches for the ceremony and I was delighted to see her walk so well with her father and Kevin as support.
Melissa and Kevin created a simple but sweet ceremony. We had a touching tribute to their parents and remembered her aunt's birthday that day along with several anniversaries that were also celebrated that day. 
Then it was time for their "story" which I loved sharing with everyone. They liked it too. I could tell by their attentiveness and laughter. Then it was time for vows and ring exchange. 
Immediately following the pronouncement of marriage we included the glass breaking ceremony to pay tribute to Melissa's Jewish heritage.
Kevin was prepared to smash that glass on the first stomp and he sure did as we all shouted "Mazeltov" which means congratulations and good luck! 
And then of course, the kiss! 
"Honored guests, family and friends, it is my distinct honor to present to you Kevin and Melissa, husband and wife!"
Kevin quickly stepped to Melissa's right side and out they went!
Kevin and Melissa, congratulations! I know you will be so happy and enjoy being married. May all your dreams come true! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Scotty and Jenn's Fabulous Wedding at the Washington-Duke Inn!

Scotty and Jenn are so happy they found each other and it shows! I loved creating their wonderful ceremony with them. They, like me, love lots of humor and the ceremony was spiked with it, especially their story and their vows to each other. And, it was a treat to work again with Diane Tighe, catering and events manager at the Washington-Duke Inn, who is so creative in choreographing weddings in the round.  All of the weddings I have done there in the past 3 or 4 years have been in the round, a unique seating arrangement in itself, but Diane always thinks of a new and unique way for the wedding party and couple to enter. Keeps the guests on their toes just watching to see what happens next.
Dave, my husband, was drafted to be my roadie and blog photographer this weekend as Marty was on vacation. On Saturday September 10, 2011 (catchy date: 9/10/11) we arrived at the beautiful Washington-Duke Inn from the earlier wedding and checked out the lovely ballroom. Isn't it exquisite? Tre Bella was the florist and did some beautiful centerpieces.
Bride and Groom's the purple color theme. 2nd Drink Band from Charlotte was just setting up for the reception. 
At first glance I did not notice all the writing on this beautiful wedding cake by Cinda's Creative Cakes. Her husband was there to deliver. He told me that he is drafted as the delivery man whenever there are football games on the day and today there were two! The writing all around the middle layer says: Us, Wife, Husband, True Love, Passions, Best Friends, Laughter, Romance, Devotion, Happiness, Hold You Tight, You & Me Together, Embrace, By Your Side and Live. How creative!
Here is Diane Tighe. I just love working with her. I can always count on her coming up with something spectacular and elegant for every wedding that blows me and the guests away. Great job on this one, Diane.
Heather Elkin, vocalist, and Jason Fava on guitar played for the entrance of the wedding party. Diane and Jason are working out the cues for the music changes.
Ken with Music& PA Rentals in Greensboro, a friend of the father of the groom, was our DJ for the prelude music and the recessional. He is posing here with Mary Haywood, the back-up photographer. The primary photographers were Emily and Garry from Big Star Studios in Mebane. 
The ceremony took place on the President's Terrace. This is the new area off the new ballroom that was built a few years ago. I have not done a wedding here but I liked the privacy of this area rather than the main patio overlooking the golf course. This was much more secluded and quiet. The ceremony was in the round, of course, Diane's trademark! When the groom's parents had been escorted in, Scotty and I entered together down one of the 6 aisles. 
As each groomsman entered, he passed by Scotty and they shook hands and hugged. I could hear a few murmurings and some soft laughs! 
Then each bridesmaid entered from a different direction and gave Scotty a hug. 
This one, he twirled around!
The parents of the bride entered, untied the ribbon of the rose petaled center aisle, then Jenn entered on her own to join them. 
Scotty's parents and stepparents stood and when the bride and her parents reached the center, Scotty stood with her parents and Jenn stood with his. I asked each set of parents to give their blessing to the union and take their new son or daughter into their hearts as family. Then there were hugs all around and the parents sat down and the couple joined hands in front of me. 
During the ceremony I would at times turn around and speak to the guests behind me. That way they all felt included.
Scotty and Jenn asked Marie, mother of one of our bridesmaids, to read "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali. It is quite a humorous poem and she did a wonderful job. They told me that Marie and her husband Charles had been together for 36 years and that is the kind of love they look forward to sharing all the years of their lives.
Jenn and Scott had a really good story to tell with lots of humor. The guests really loved it when I said "Who knew that the man of Jenn's dreams would call himself Scottyrock123, love to travel and share her passion for music? And who knew that the woman who would far exceed Scott's idea of his perfect match would refer to herself as MightBeLookin4You, enjoy running, and share his love for trying new restaurants!" I told everyone how, when and where they met and included the story of the unique proposal Scotty dreamed up for Jenn which really did succeed in surprising her and that is not easy to do! 
Scotty told me ahead of time that they had tried his ring on his finger the day before and it would not go past the first knuckle so Jenn would only be able to put it on that far. But, surprise, surprise, Jenn got it all the way on during the ceremony--a good sign and it won't be coming off easily! 
After the rings, we had the Memory Box ceremony. This is a twist on the Wedding Box ceremony. The couple had procured a pretty box and filled it with the thoughtful notes they had secretly left for each other, all the monthly anniversary cards they had given each other since the anniversary of their first date and many other saved memories they shared. They are to continue to add their memories and cards to the box so that on each wedding anniversary they can open it and be reminded of their wonderful life together. In addition, they had each handwritten a letter to one another expressing their thoughts about all the qualities they love in each other, including the thoughts and emotions they were experiencing during this very exciting time in their lives. During the ceremony they placed those letters in the box.
Jenn and Scotty, what a wonderful wedding! I loved every moment of it and love that you thought it went so well too. I know the two of you will be so happy together and have a wonderful marriage! Best wishes always!