Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fairy Tale Wedding for Amy and Dwayne at Barclay Villa!

Amy and Dwayne were referred to me by one of my very favorite photographers, Craig Carpenter of Luster Studios (who took the magical photo above after the ceremony and many more you see on this blog), when he learned that they needed an officiant for their wedding March 24, 2012 at Barclay Villa.  After an initial meeting the couple and I set about creating a beautiful ceremony that was warm and welcoming to the guests, honoring of their parents, and included personalized vows and many of the reasons the couple were attracted to each other and why they wanted to marry.
If you have never been to Barclay Villa, it is Angier, NC out in the countryside and an amazing sight in contrast to the pastoral surroundings because it looks like a castle! It is a place where wonderful fairy tale weddings happen! 
We rehearsed the wedding outdoors at the lovely gazebo above and also did a run through inside the ballroom just in case the weatherman's forecast for rain came to pass, and it did, if you recall that Saturday.
The fruit trees and ornamentals were putting out their colorful blossoms and the grass was really green from all the rain we had the week prior to the wedding.
This is a beautiful pool and fountain in the side yard next to the gazebo area.
The rain was so unpredictable on the wedding day that the wisest decision was to move it inside into the great ballroom. Jeffrey Surles, our florist/wedding director/go-to man for everything, was really on the ball and had the chairs set up and tastefully trimmed with wide ivory ribbons.
The "altar"was in front of the great fireplace filled with lit pillar candles to throw off a warm glow. The beautiful floral arrangements were on gorgeous glass pedestals. In the center is the vintage table with the box into which the couple placed love letters to each other during the ceremony. The box had extra special meaning because Amy's father had crafted it many years ago for her mother to put recipes in.
Some tables were on the perimeter of the chairs ready to be placed into position after the ceremony. The menu looked fabulous!
The centerpieces matched the two pedestal flowers at the altar making elegant decorations for each table.
I got Jeffrey to pose for a picture with me. We had never done a wedding together before this one. Jeffrey owns Jeffrey's Florist in Dunn NC and has been doing weddings for 23 years. He directed the rehearsal and then directed the wedding smoothly. He was so funny during the ceremony! Of course the guests could not see him because he was behind them, but I could, and he kept making faces at the attendants to keep them smiling--a good thing! I have to remind the bridesmaids and groomsmen at the rehearsal that although all the guests may have their eyes on the bride and groom, the cameras there are taking everyone's photo so best not to get distracted, adjust your hair or dress, or look bored!
Dwayne's mother, Dawn, made this beautiful wedding cake. The blue hydrangeas on top and the blue ribbons match the sky blue color theme Amy chose.
This is Dwayne's mother being escorted by one of our groomsmen after the grandparents.
Carol, mother of the bride, was escorted in last by another groomsman. 
After the rest of the wedding party entered, the bride and her father appeared at the top of the grand staircase and proceeded down the aisle while the guests stood in the bride's honor.
I asked both sets of parents for their blessing for this union and then everyone was seated.
You can tell that Amy and Dwayne were really enjoying their ceremony. They are a cool couple and well suited for each other.
After the pronouncement of marriage came the crowning moment....the KISS!
And Amy and Dwayne step into the next chapter in their lives together!
The weather cooperated nicely after the ceremony so we could get some outdoor photos with fantastic lighting. Amy and Dwayne, may you find happiness making each other happy; may you find love loving each other!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tom and Alissa's Fabulous Wedding in Angus Barn Wine Cellar!

Tom called me the end of February to see if I could officiate his and Alissa's wedding the evening of March 17, 2012. Delighted that I was available, I emailed him the contract and he mailed it to me with his check to reserve their date on my calendar. Then I wrote a "proposed" ceremony based on what he told me they wanted and what I thought they would like, emailed it to him and Alissa for their changes and to choose the vows they wanted. We were all set! I have done several weddings in the Angus Barn Wine Cellar and it is so much fun getting there. First of all, I must be escorted through the dining room into the kitchen down some curved stairs, through the chilly and dark wine cellar lined with floor to ceiling racks of bottles of wine, then through the door into the Wine Cellar dining room which is so elegant. I noticed that many of the chairs were draped with these pretty pink pashminas and assume they were gifts to the ladies from the couple. I have seen that done before and it so thoughtful of the couple.
Having arrived the first thing to do was to find the couple whom I had never met. So, I headed for the bar!
I knew that this woman in black with the cowboy hat and veil just had to be Alissa and it was!
I had no idea that these two were into horses and when I found that out, I got their horses' names and secretly planned a way to include them in the ceremony.
Tom was dressed in matching black and hat so he was easy to find. We went over the vows and I got the two witnesses to sign the license in the kitchen of the Wine Cellar and collected the rings. Along the way one of their guests recognized me and told me I had married a couple of their friends and they were looking forward to this ceremony. That is always so nice to hear.
When everyone had arrived, I took my place in front of the fireplace and waited for the bride and groom to make their way there and for all the guests to gather around us. The first thing I asked them when they got in front of me was had they practiced kissing with their hats on? Did they have a plan for how to turn their heads? They assured me they did and demonstrated for me! So with that out of the way, we began.
At about this point in the ceremony I said: "If Tom and Alissa could have figured out a way to get                                "Easy" and "Tex" into the Wine Cellar, they would surely be guests this evening." They loved it and so did their guests who knew that those were their horses! 
Tom is reading his vows and had forgotten his reading glasses. I offered mine but he declined! Look at the green glow of my diamond ring--I've never seen that before!
They had no problem kissing with their hats on! 
The deed was done and it was time to have some fun! 
Alissa and Tom, what a great wedding you created! It fit you both to a tee! Alissa, that bouquet you made is so pretty and so fragrant! I am so honored to have been a part of your special day. I wish you all the best in your lives and in your marriage!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cindy and Bob's Long Awaited Wedding/Renewal of Vows!

Cindy and Bob are such an inspiring and "persistent" couple! They have both had many life challenges in common raising their families so when they met, their compatibility was almost overwhelming and it was obvious they belonged together.  They met with me in September of 2009 to plan their wedding scheduled for March 27, 2010 at the Page Walker Arts and History Center in Cary. We began working on their ceremony that would include their children from previous marriages but then they had to cancel the wedding due to employment fluctuations and other things that cropped up. Cindy and Bob told me that they planned to reschedule and would let me know when they came up with a plan. Cindy kept in contact with me and later in 2010, she told me that they had just gone to the courthouse and gotten married in March of 2010 for legal purposes to make their lives easier. (I only wish they had told me that they were going to do that because I would have loved to have done a private elopement style ceremony for them but they did not know that at the time.) So, almost a year went by before they contacted me again to find out if I was available for a date in March of 2012. We ended up settling on March 17, 2012 for their wedding celebration, technically now a renewal of vows ceremony. Cindy and Bob re-wrote the original ceremony and included secret vows to each other that they did not hear until the ceremony. All 6 of their combined children were present for the celebration and we included the Family Unity Sand Ceremony. The venue remained the Page Walker Arts and History Center pictured above. I have done a lot of weddings there both inside, in the courtyard and in the adjacent garden. Theirs was in the Gallery.
The sand ceremony was ready to go with a container for each member of the new family.
Amy Kortus got her harp all set up and was warming up. 
Michael Williams of Michael's Memories Photography and Design and his wife, Marcy, were on hand getting lots of photos. They had been on board for this occasion since 2009 too! Cateringworks was doing the catering and the cake from Blue Moon Bakery did not arrive before I left, hence no photo.
Bob and I were ready to begin the processional. Bob's son, Jeffrey, served as his best man and followed just behind us.
After all their children had processed in, it was time for Cindy. You can see her friend, Tamara, who was directing the wedding for them.
Bob met Cindy half way down the aisle and together they came forward for the ceremony.
You might be wondering what that white drape above the fireplace behind us is. There is an art exhibition currently at the gallery and the piece of art hanging over the fireplace was just not appealing as a backdrop for a wedding so they cleverly rigged a tension rod between the beams and hung the curtain to cover it up without damaging it!
After we remembered their loved ones who have passed on by lighting a memory candle, talked about love and marriage and Cindy and Bob and their special relationship and they exchanged their secret vows, it was time for the family sand ceremony. First Bob and Cindy each poured in 1/2 of their sand individually making two layers.
Then I poured a little of each of theirs to sanctify their union. 
Jeffrey and his wife, Michelle, and their son, Griffin, then poured in a container of sand representing the three of them. Griffin is 18 months old and their first grandchild and he has just learned to walk.
Kira, Cindy's daughter and maid of honor, then poured her sand into the container.
Then it was Bob's daughter, Callie's, turn to add her sand. 
Next to pour was Kenny, Cindy's son, with his caretaker and Cindy's help.
Jennie, Bob's daughter, added the next layer. 
 Then Callie and Jennie brought their younger sister, Megan, forward for her part.
The three siblings of Megan then poured her sand in on her behalf. It was such a sweet ritual for these two families who are now joined together.
Bob and Cindy then joined their sand together to make the tenth layer of sand in the family container.
This container now symbolizes all the layers of this family blended together into one container. 
The pronouncement of the recommitment........"By affirming your love and exchanging your vows, you, Cindy and Bob, have recommitted to your marriage and to each other. Please celebrate with a kiss!"
 And they did! 
Bob and Cindy, preparing for your long awaited "wedding" has been the longest one I have ever had! I am so happy you found each other and that you finally had the ceremony of your dreams surrounded by your families and friends. Thanks for being so persistent! (BTW, little did I know when I first met Cindy whose email is "persistentcindy" that would be so identifying of her character. I know she had to be very persistent as the mother of a handicapped child and her persistence sure paid off!) Congratulations to you all!