Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

International Wedding for Marcia and Hugo!

Marcia and Hugo planned a big party on April 28, 2012 at the Page-Walker Art and History Center to celebrate their marriage. They originally planned to just go down to the courthouse and get married the day before the party, then they began to have second thoughts about such an impersonal ceremony for this big milestone in their lives. Marcia called me in January to see if I could marry them before the party. I had a wedding at 4:30 that day but could marry them in my wedding garden earlier in the afternoon with just a few guests present. So, intrigued with the notion that they could have a custom ceremony if I was their officiant and curious about my garden, we set up a meeting.
They were thrilled with the possibilities of the ceremony, especially since I suggested they bring in elements from their diverse heritages. Hugo was born in Chile and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 10 years old. Marcia's mother is of Italian lineage and her father Irish. I suggested the Wine Unity ceremony as a possibility and they ran with the idea. Hugo would get some Chilean wine and Marcia some Italian wine that they would pour together. Then they would do a toast after the ceremony with Irish Whiskey, Bushmills, to be specific. Bushmills distillery located at the very northernmost tip of Ireland is the world's oldest whiskey distillery--I happen to know because I was there last August and Marcia and Hugo were on a trip to Ireland last year as well. Hugo also wanted to include a reading by well-known Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. So, we were good to go.

But plans changed a few weeks later when they decided that they would like to have the ceremony timed closer to the reception and in the garden next to the Page Walker Art and History Center in Cary where the reception was to take place at 7:00. We worked it out where I would get there as soon as I possibly could from the wedding before theirs, hopefully by 6:00.
Marty and I made it there easily and earlier than planned. When we arrived, Marcia was in the garden being photographed by Chad Williams, a talented young man still in high school just getting started with his photography career. This is our third wedding together this year! The CateringWorks truck was in the parking lot. Then Lenny Fritts, one of my very favorite DJs appeared on the scene! A surprise! I had recommended him to the couple but did not know they had booked him.
When we were ready to begin, Marcia's father, Ed, escorted her into the garden.
He started handing her off to Hugo when I said "Wait, I haven't asked the question yet!"
The question was "Who has the privilege of presenting this woman, Marcia, to be married to this man, Hugo?" He of course said he did and so the transfer was made.
Hugo's best friend. I am sorry I did not get his name! Maybe they will tell me and I will add it later!
On the left is Alexis, Hugo's sister, Chad Williams, and Lenny trying to duck out of the photo!
This was really a fun wedding. It was very loose and informal and we laughed a lot.
Marcia's brother Andrew, his wife, Michelle, Marcia's mother, Aggie, and her father, Ed.
Right here I am honoring and thanking everyone present at the ceremony and remembering Hugo's parents, Hugo and Pauline, who could not be with us this day.
Hugo made sure everyone heard his "I do!"  
Then Marcia said her "I do." 
Marcia's ring was snug and Hugo had to push it on her finger with some force but he made sure it got securely on her finger!
 "With this ring, I thee wed."
Pouring the Italian and Chilean wines together.......
 "Drink now and may your lives be full to running over!"
"As you have shared this wine, so may you share your lives. May you find life's joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and all of life enriched by a constant love." 
 The pronouncement of marriage.....
 And they kissed and kissed and kissed! 
Time for the Irish Whiskey! 
"To a long, happy and healthy life together. Cheers! Salud! Salute!
Marcia and Hugo, what a fun wedding! What a great couple you are. Thank you for allowing me to share a very important occasion in your lives. I wish you the very best life can bring your way....

Gorgeous Wedding for Sarah and Ben at The Hall and Gardens at Landmark!

I did not meet Sarah and Ben in person until their rehearsal the day before their wedding on April 28, 2012, but we met virtually on Skype the October before. They live in Texas, met in Wilmington, Delaware, but are from North Carolina originally. They chose the elegant gardens at The Hall and Gardens at Landmark for their venue. I have not done a wedding here in a couple of years and I was so delighted to see that the landscaping had fully matured and the garden is one of the prettiest gardens in the Triangle. It rivals Duke Gardens as you can see in the many photos below which give you a tour.
The Hall and Gardens at Landmark is located in Johnston County right off the intersection of I-40 and Hwy 42. The address is Garner but the location seems much closer to Clayton. This magnificent fountain is seen on the right as you turn into the property. 
This is the "hall"--an impressive building. The street front office suites are occupied by businesses but the upstairs and rear of this large stately building is the very elegantly appointed reception area and bride and groom dressing rooms. Jennifer with Make-up For Your Day was on hand to make sure the bride and her ladies were coifed and made up to perfection for this beautiful wedding.
This pretty wedding cake was provided by Sweet Memories Bakery
The reception hall is in the process of being set up by the caterer, CateringWorks, who also did the floral arrangements and bouquets and boutonnieres.
Back outside we see the north end of the garden flanked by this building which houses a storage room for the audio equipment (there are speakers all over the garden to give us surround-sound) and the well-appointed "necessary" rooms. When the garden was first built, the guests faced this building because the foliage on the south end had not matured enough to block out the view of the street and traffic. But it has now so the guests get to watch the wedding with a beautiful garden with gazebo, stone bridge and ponds full of lily pads in the background.
Before the guests arrived, CateringWorks spread beautiful rows of flower petals on each side of the aisle.
Our photographer, Nicole Faby, gets some shots of the groom and groomsmen. She is good! Bradley Pearce was videoing the wedding. I know everyone got really good images because the weather was on the chilly side with overcast skies--no shadows, no squinting and rich saturated colors. Marty got so many good shots I had a hard time choosing which photos to put in and have ended up with more than I usually have.
The groomsmen, Michael and Jon, and I are hanging out with Kathy Moore, director of Landmark, right before the guests are ready to be escorted in. I have not worked with Kathy before although I had met her at wedding networking events. She is a pro and had everything well-planned and under control. The wedding went without a hitch! Thanks, Kathy, and I look forward to working with you again soon!
Ben is hanging out with Taylor, our DJ, with Taylor Pittman of TaylorMadeDJServices. We have worked together before and his experience and fun personality make working with him such a pleasure.
 Kathy brings the grandparents and parents over from the reception hall to the garden to be escorted in.
 Ben's stepmother, Anne, is escorted in by Michael, best man, followed by father of the groom, Kim.
 Ben escorts his mother, Jeanna, in. 
 Jon, groomsman, escorts in Eula, mother of the bride. 
Our bridesmaids, Sarah and Jessica, in beautiful violet dresses wait for the groom, groomsmen and I to enter by another gate.
 Proud father of the bride, Cecil, promised to keep Sarah from galloping down the aisle--and he did!
 Sarah's dress is simply gorgeous. It fits her perfectly--beautiful, down to earth and fun!
I am speaking to their parents here. They were moved by the touching words Sarah and Ben had chosen for me to say to them. The story of how our couple met and fell in love came next and everyone got a good chuckle as well as feeling the sweetness of Sarah and Ben's love for each other.
 We had a sudden gust of wind and at one point Sarah's veil covered Ben's head too!
"I give you this ring to wear with love and joy. As a ring has no end, neither shall my love for you. I choose you to be my husband this day and forevermore."
"Sarah and Ben, by the power vested in me, in the presence of these witnesses and in the presence of God, I now pronounce you husband wife!"
This gorgeous wedding will be recorded by Michelle McMurray, the Wedding Story Writer who documents the story of the wedding day for the couple. A very unique service and special way to preserve all the memories of a day that sometimes is just a blur! Thanks, Michelle!  
Congratulations, Sarah and Ben! It was a pleasure working with you and getting to know you since we met via Skype last October. I can feel your love for each other and I know you will have a wonderful marriage. I wish you all the best!