Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wedding Don'ts!

I use Google Alerts to see what is being written about Wedding Ministers/Officiants. Tonight a link to an article by Matt Jones/Altavista Journal Staff Writer was on the Alerts list. I have copied it here for you. It is quite the list and most of it is really good, some obvious, and some should be taken with a grain of salt! I have added some comments as well. 
"Everywhere you turn, there are lists of things to do on your wedding day.
Well, the Altavista Journal talked to seasoned professionals and they shared things not to do in regards to your wedding. With a combined total of well over 2,000 weddings between them, Teresa Clayton, owner of Glencliff Manor; the Rev. Mary M. Jones, minister of New Bethel United Methodist Church and Motley United Methodist Church; and Roger Blackstock, owner of The Portrait Place, share some tips and tricks from their decades of wedding experiences.
For the bride and groom
•Don't deep dip the bride because your hands are sweaty and you mostly likely will drop her. No bride wants to start her married life that way.
•Don't over do the kiss. The saying is, "You may now kiss the bride." Be discreet and respectful. ( I will interject here a bit. A peck won't do. The kiss needs to be long enough for the photographer to get a good picture. It is a landmark moment and should be in your wedding album. I said "long enough" but that does not meet overly passionate and I am sure you know what I mean!)

(Brides: please wear long lasting lipcolor on your wedding day. There are several brands out there. The kind that won't smear off onto the lips and face of the groom! Also wear waterproof mascara so that you don't have black tear tracts going down your cheeks for your ceremony and photos!)
•Don't toss her into the pool. It's not funny. She may laugh, but she won't find it funny.
•Don't drink adult beverages before the wedding. The ceremony should not be held up because you are too sick to make it down the aisle.
•Don't smash cake in each other's face. It's awkward for the guests. It's rude and say goodbye to your hair and makeup.
•Don't just have one pair of high heels for your wedding day. It's a long day and if your feet hurt you aren't going to enjoy it.
•Don't use an aisle runner if you are having an outside wedding. It will just get muddy and wrinkled if the groomsmen even remember to roll it out and, if they do, the bridesmaids will all be terrified of tripping over it. (Aisle runners should not be used on grass or carpet. There is no way to secure it and it becomes a safety hazard. On concrete and wooden floors and decks, it should be taped down ahead of time. The best aisle runner is white carpet. A pretty option is to put rows of pretty flower petals down each side of the aisle.)
•Don't forget to eat the day of your wedding. It's a long day and you will pass out.
•Don't be afraid to say no. It's your wedding day. People can wait to say hello.
•Don't answer your phone. It can wait or they can call someone else or give your phone to someone else so they can answer questions about the ceremony.
•Don't be afraid to delegate. Pick someone else in the wedding party to answer your guests' questions.
•Don't forget your allergies. You may think golden rods are the most beautiful flower ever, but if they make you react, holding that bouquet will not be fun.
•Don't buy the wrong size dress. You are the size you are and if the dress doesn't fit properly, you'll spend all day fidgeting with it.
•Don't forget to check the fit of your clothes. Just because your suit fit a few years ago doesn't mean it still does.
•Don't invite people out of social obligation. It's your day and make sure you have a good time.
•Don't chew gum. It doesn't look good in person or in pictures. If you need to freshen up, sneak a mint.
•Don't invite the minister to the reception for the first time at the ceremony; it puts them in a difficult position.
(This has never been a problem for me. When I am invited, I graciously decline. I may have another wedding I have to go to, or it has been a long day and I want to get home, and wedding food is delicious and high carb and fat and I would weigh 400 lbs. if I went to receptions! Besides, I want you to be celebrating with your family and friends and not taking care of me.)
•Don't let price be your only deciding factor when it comes to photography. You get what you pay for. And know exactly what is included in your package.
(I will add one here. Don't let price be your only deciding factor when it comes to hiring your wedding officiant! Your officiant should be someone who shares your values, someone who is experienced at officiating weddings and can work with you to create the ceremony you deserve, and one in whom you have confidence. Your ceremony is the first event of the big day with your guests and sets the tone for the whole day so it is important to have an officiant who can deliver the ceremony you love with grace and confidence. You know the old saying "You get what you pay for.")
•Don't wait until the last minute to ask a minister to do your ceremony. (Amen here!)
•Don't blindly follow every wedding trend. This is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you want to create family heirlooms, not trendy photos.
•Don't wait until the last moment to decide who will be escorting the bride.
•Don't forget to check bow ties, zippers and shoelaces.
•Don't procrastinate. Do as much as possible before the day of your wedding.
•Don't forget to check for dry cleaning and price tags.
•Don't close your eyes during the prayer. You can get dizzy. Instead, discreetly bow your head.
•Don't forget the license. (When there is a rehearsal, I have my couples bring the license to me then so I know it cannot be forgotten on the wedding day.)
•Don't forget to pay everyone. It's your wedding and your responsibility.
•Don't forget to include the grandparents. Get them something.
•Don't wait to work out details on the seating.
•Don't forget the rings and know who has the rings.
•Don't fight. A wedding is supposed to be a happy time; plus you have the rest of your life to fight.
For everyone:
•Don't forget to account for traffic. Plan on it being bad. Early is better than late.
•Don't do too much. You are there as guests. Don't be the center of attention.
•Don't include everybody remotely related to the bride and groom in pictures. The photographer should not have to find a spot for the bride's twice-removed fifth cousin on her mother's ex-husband's side.
•Don't be enlisted to be DJ's, directors, caterers, etc. It's a day for you to enjoy as well.
•Don't forget to have scotch tape at the gift table. That way, cards stay with gifts and there is no guessing who got what. (That is a great idea!)
•Don't overindulge. Yes, it's a party and everyone is there to have a good time, but no one wants to have to carry you out of the reception.
•Don't wait. As much as possible, photography should be done before the ceremony; your guests don't want to wait while Great-Aunt Genie is helped up a flight of stairs for photos.
•Don't fake smile for the camera. It's obvious when you do that.
•Don't have a bride's side/groom's side for the ceremony. People are friends with both and they don't want to choose. Besides, it's always lopsided and that looks bad in pictures. (These days the only "sides" are the first, and sometimes the second, rows reserved for family. Everyone else is seated on either side and it is best to fill the seats up from the front, not the back. Blocks of empty chairs look bad in wedding photos--looks like people did not come to the ceremony.)
•Don't ask the photographer about his/her gear or the camera you bought during key moments of the ceremony. They are there to work and capture the moments. Find down time to ask them.
•Don't lock your knees; passing out is not a good look. (I am not worried about how it would "look" if someone passed out, I would have to stop the ceremony for them to be taken care of. I had a bridesmaid pass out once due to forgetting to eat and we stopped and gave her something to eat and drink then resumed the ceremony.)
•Don't assume people know the details of the location of the ceremony. Give them address, location, name and directions to the ceremony.
•Don't forget to say thank you.
•Don't take your cell phone into the ceremony.
•Don't forget logistics of travel, who is driving the cars after the ceremony, how is everyone getting to the next place.
•Don't forget those with special needs. Have a handicap-accessible entrance.
•Don't forget to check and double check the spelling of names and abbreviation of titles.
•Don't bring your dog 
Remember to relax and have a good time and, of course, don't be late."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

See Laurie and Matt's Wedding Video!

Laurie and Matt married on January 15, 2012 at The Oaks at Salem in Apex, NC. It was a very heartfelt wedding with both tears and laughter. I call it a "two hankie wedding" because both the bride and the groom needed hankies! Janice Smith with Big Dog Little Bed Productions was there to video the wedding along with TLC "Say Yes to the Dress" videographer, Jill. Janice was gracious enough to send me her wonderful video of the wedding day with permission to post it on my blog. I like her observations of the wedding ceremony on her blog post  here. You can read more details about the wedding on my earlier post here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Erica and James Marry on a Beautiful Day in January!

(This wedding was on my blog earlier but when I looked for it, I could not find it! Somehow it got deleted. A mystery but I am so glad I discovered it--so I am re-posting it!)
Erica and James chose the sweet chapel on the Mordecai House campus--St. Mark's Chapel--for their intimate family wedding on January 8, 2012. I wrote a ceremony for them and they edited to their liking. We included tributes to their parents and James' twin brother and a children's blessing for James' daughter, Penny.
The wedding day was on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It was overcast but unseasonably warm. Everyone was gathered waiting on the guests to arrive and taking pictures.
 Scott, Arioso Strings' latest addition, was playing lovely music as the guests were taking their seats.
A typical scene before a wedding: the bride going over the photos she wants with their photographer, Maranda with Forever Young Photography, and me going over the processional with Meredith, sister-in-law of the groom.
Because Erica and James were not doing the "can't see the bride before she walks down the aisle," we got a shot of me with them before the wedding instead of after.

This is James' family: his father, Al, mother, Dorothy, the bride and groom, Meredith, who is married to James' twin brother, Allen, and in front are James' daughter, Penny, and Allen's son, Brady. They are the same age and have practically grown up as close as siblings.
Erica and Penny have really bonded in the past year while James was away in the service. You can tell they love each other. I believe I heard someone say that Erica made both hers and Penny's dresses.
Erica is such a pretty woman and she has that glow of a bride just about to be married!
Following the ceremony we got a group shot of everyone before they headed over to J. Betski's for a wedding celebration dinner.

Erica and James, what a sweet wedding you had! It was perfect for you and I wish you all the best in the world!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Laurie Said Yes to the Dress and Married Matt at The Oaks at Salem!

It was November 2011, the wedding was January 15, 2012 at The Oaks at Salem and Laurie and Matt did not have an officiant, the one required wedding vendor! So, a co-worker of Laurie's recommended that they call me since I had married her and her husband several years ago. We met on November 16th and hit it off. They booked me as their officiant and we began to work on their ceremony. They knew for sure they wanted to recognize Matt's 9 year old son in the ceremony so we put in the Family Unity Sand Ceremony. They also wanted to include the story of how they met and fell in love and what they love about each other and why they wanted to marry. Seems that they were both out one night in November of 2009 at a sports bar enjoying themselves when they struck up a conversation. Matt loved Laurie's bright smile and beautiful hair. She was impressed with Matt's sweet disposition and friendly smile. They exchanged numbers and Matt did not waste anytime following up. It did not take them long to discover that they really liked being together and soon became a couple. I asked them individually to tell me what they loved about their partner and why they wanted to marry him or her. Their answers were included in the ceremony giving it such a sweet touch. From what they told me about why they wanted to marry each other, it was obvious that they are very much in love.
So, on January 15th, a bright clear Sunday afternoon, too chilly to have an outdoor wedding, a tent had been erected on the patio of The Oaks at Salem. It is a gorgeous venue and probably the newest in the Triangle. The proprietor, April Maness, has done a wonderful job designing the house for weddings.
Marty and I parked the car and snuck in through the garage and downstairs. On the way we saw this beautiful wedding cake and matching cupcakes by Stick Boy Bakery in Fuquay. Jeff Eisenhuth with At Last Weddings and Events is also associated with Catering by Design and was catering this wedding. He has been in the wedding business for over 25 years. It was good to see him there.
Joe Wells with Top Notch Entertainment and DJ Services was setting up and he graciously plugged my wireless microphone into his system and we did a sound check. Thanks, Joe, it was a pleasure to work with you!
While I was waiting for the guests to be seated, this perky little videographer rushed in and introduced herself as Jill with TLC filming the wedding for the show "Say Yes to the Dress!" I was floored. I had no idea that Laurie had flown to NYC with her mother and friends to Kleinfeld's to buy her dress and was chosen to be on the show. How exciting! I watch the show all the time. I can't wait to see how easy or how difficult it was for Laurie to select her beautiful wedding gown. It was perfect for her and you could tell she felt like a princess in it! I have been on national television before (Heba and Ed, one of my wedding couples used wedding photos with me in them when they were on The Biggest Loser show.) So, I asked Jill if she needed for me to sign a release and she produced one after the wedding for me to sign. I sure hope this wedding makes it through the editing process and will be on the show. They don't show the wedding of every bride who gets her dress at Kleinfeld's. 
When it was time to begin and the mothers had been seated, we entered. The heaters had been turned off so that the sound would be better for the ceremony.
Matt's father, Sam, was his best man, followed by his friend Eddie, then taking up the rear was Sammy, Matt's son.
After the bridesmaids entered, Laurie was ushered in by her cousin David since her father has passed away.
You can see that the guests were seated at their tables while the families sat in chairs on the dance floor. The tent was beautiful and the backdrop of the lake was very special.
Laurie's friend, Trish, did a wonderful job of presenting "I Like You," a humorous poem by Sandol Stoddard Warburg.

Isn't her dress gorgeous? And the bride is too. Laurie was quite emotional and I could see tears starting as she walked toward us down the aisle. Eventually tears started leaking out of Matt's eyes and I was glad I had two hankies with me! 

They read their beautiful vows to each other from my book. 

Then it was time to exchange rings with these words: "I place this ring on your finger and my heart in your hand. I have no greater gift."
I think Sammy enjoyed pouring his sand! He was such a well behaved little boy! 

Finally Laurie is smiling as I made the pronouncement of marriage. 
That is Jill on the right, capturing the just married couple for TLC. Carrie Richardson Fry with Richardson Fry Photography was doing the still photos and Janice with Big Dog Little Bed Productions was the local videographer. Exquisite Occasions out of Roanoke Rapids furnished the flowers. The owner, David Dickens, is a friend of the couple and he also served as wedding director.
Right after the wedding, after all the guests were invited to go upstairs for refreshments and to warm up, Matt and Laurie were interviewed and videoed by Jill for TLC. Then we took our photos of the happy couple. I love that smile of yours, Laurie! I know you are both so happy and now on your honeymoon! Do let me know when your episode of Say Yes to the Dress airs!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tonia and Doug's Fabulous Wedding at Caffe Luna!

Like many good love stories, Tonia and Doug were not expecting to meet someone special at work. Tonia kept coming up on Doug's radar very strong, but she blew off his invitations to dinner multiple times before succumbing with encouragement from her best friend who said "It's only Doug!" Mr. Harmless! Doug told me that he had thought twice about robbing the cradle before he convinced Tonia to go out with him but he thought to himself that if she did not mind going out with a "seasoned warrior," who was he to complain! So she finally said yes and they closed the restaurant down laughing and talking on their first date.  She liked his charm, his personality and his kindness in always helping others unselfishly and began to think differently about him. From then on, it did not take long for these two to become inseparable. Tonia loves being treated like a queen but she really treasures that Doug honor and respects her as a person because he has never tried to change her. She knows that this is one of the major hallmarks of a healthy relationship. Doug proposed to her by surprising her with a hot air balloon ride above Asheville and popped the question and the ring at 3, 014 feet in the air! (14 is Doug's favorite number.) Tonia is afraid of heights and was hanging on with both hands but was forced to let go to put the ring on! When they got back on terra firma, there were 14 lavender roses waiting for her. Lavender is Tonia's favorite color of rose.

So, it was fitting that these two fun-loving people chose Caffe Luna as their wedding venue. The owner of the popular downtown Raleigh restaurant, Parker Kennedy, welcomes weddings. There are several rooms available depending on the size of the wedding and the atmosphere is casual and just plain fun. Oh, and did I mention the food is delicious? I always enjoy doing weddings there and besides, Parker is my neighbor! So, when Marty and I arrived at Caffe Luna on Saturday evening January 14, 2012, the main room was full of restaurant customers and we passed through the archway into the middle and last rooms which were set up for the ceremony and reception. Parker had a beautiful massive mahogany door put in the archway between the main dining room and the smaller private rooms so it really is pretty darn sound proof from the noise of the regular customers. I was pleasantly surprised. I got my sound system set up and did a sound check. 
 Then I spoke with our musician, Gene O'Neil, guitarist, about the cues. 
All seats were filled and we were ready to begin. They probably had about 75 to 80 guests. Doug and I walked down the aisle first. Then Tonia appeared and walked to the back of the chairs. I asked the guests to stand and Doug walked toward Tonia, they met in the middle and came together to be married.
Doug's nieces, Lauren and Kristyn, followed. They were our ring bearers. 
Of course Doug and Tonia's ceremony had lots of humor. The guests really enjoyed hearing their story and all about the proposal during the surprise hot air balloon ride.
Tonia and Doug enjoyed hearing it again too. I also worked with each of them individually to write a paragraph about why they wanted to marry each other which they did not hear until the ceremony.
I don't know if this is the second or third kiss! I kept telling them to kiss again so that our photographer, Chad Williams, could get a shot of it! (Let me tell you about their photographer: Chad is 16 years old and the former neighbor of Tonia and Doug. They were at his Bat Mitzvah and needed a photographer for their wedding. He agreed to do it. This is his first wedding. Let me tell you something--this young man is very talented and is going places! Click on his name above and see his photos of the wedding on his blog. Impressive.) 
So here they are---finally married! They are so good together. I can tell they are going to have a great marriage and have a really good time together.
Don't you just love Tonia's "fascinator" hat? It fit her so perfectly and she had on stockings with seams up the back. Classy! Right here she was telling me that a guest was raving to her about the ceremony and asked her "where did you find her?" (I was referred by Parker! Thanks, Parker!)
Tonia and Doug, I had a blast working with you and officiating your fabulous wedding! (Note Doug's lavender rose boutonniere!)

Audrey and Michael Have a Sweet Wedding at Second Empire!

Audrey and Michael originally planned to get married on October 9, 2011 in my wedding garden. However, the wedding was postponed to January 14, 2012 because of a family medical issue. I  suggested they contact Tracy Thorpe at Second Empire to see if they could have their wedding there and it all worked out perfectly.
When Marty and I arrived on that crisp chilly morning, Tracy had the East Parlor all set up and ready. Tracy and I have worked together many times in the past and it is always a pleasure because she is so conscientious of all the details for a wedding. 
Jessica Key was on hand to capture the wedding in photographs. We last did a wedding at the Matthews House last summer. Jessica is the owner of Key Photography.
The Capital Room downstairs was ready for delicious dining and celebration!
When we were ready, the signal was given to Audrey and John (best man and bride's escort) to bring in the bride.
The wedding party outnumbered the guests! The guests of honor were their mothers. Their best friends, John and Mary Ann (married to each other), were the Matron of Honor and Best Man. Audrey's daughter, Cierra, was the pretty flower girl. Michael's two sons, Brandon and Brice, served as their father's groomsmen.   
 Cierra sneaks a quick glance at her mother!
Audrey glances over at her mother!  
Each of the children poured in their sand then the couple blended their sand on top.
 Vows and ring time.......
 Pronouncement of marriage..... 
 The really fun part.....!
 Audrey and Michael, husband and wife! 
 Let's go celebrate!
From left to right: John, Mary Ann, Audrey's mother, Grace, Cierra, Audrey and Michael, Michael's mother, Maureen, Brandon and Brice. Happy Family!
What a wonderful wedding! Congratulations, Audrey and Michael. I am so happy for you and wish you the very best life can bring your way!