Sealed with a kiss!

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Professional Wedding Guild Meets at the new Hilton Garden Inn in Durham

Many years ago I started attending the Professional Wedding Guild (PWG) luncheons in the Triangle which occur every month except December. They are fun networking opportunities for wedding professionals. I have made good friends and gotten to know others involved in weddings much better than possible when actually at a wedding. These meetings are hosted by Gail Galloway with the Perfect Wedding Guide magazine. Every month we meet at a new venue. Today we were at the Hilton Garden Inn which was formerly the Wyndham Hotel. Hilton poured $10 million into an amazing renovation and the facility is really light and bright now and the decor is beautiful. They added an addition to the dining area and that is the room where we dined today. It is lovely and not only can they host rehearsal dinners and receptions, couples can even have their wedding ceremony on site. I had not planned on photographing and blogging this event but I was so impressed with not only the hotel itself, but with the table coverings and centerpieces provided by a fairly new company, Covered in Style. The color scheme is a favorite of mine--silver gray with aqua which today is called "pool." So pretty together. So, I took these pictures with my iPad which I had with me because of the wedding slideshow I display on it at these functions. 
The program for today's luncheon was on negotiation presented by Liz Summers. Before the presentation we mingled then ate a delicious lunch prepared by the new chef at the Hilton Garden Inn. Above are Gail Galloway, hostess, and Brian McGuire of McSound Productions, a DJ who provided the music and microphones for the event. 
 Each table had a different centerpiece. 
This one was my favorite!  Behind it is Jennifer Ball with Pinelake Pavilions and Ariel, intern with Perfect Wedding Guide. 
 Candy Land Buffets provided this table full of sugar! 
Barbara Clark with An Elegant Affair is in the center here and to the left is her new assistant, Edie.  Jenn Aun, photographer with Brian Mullins Photography, is standing behind them looking at me take the photo. I don't know the name of the person on the right. 
 Then it was time for the program by Liz. We finished right on time at 1:15.
Carolina Cake Company provided the cutest little mini-cupcakes. Lee  with Lee Evans Photography took pictures of the event where they will be posted on the Perfect Wedding Guide website. Door prizes were donated by Bartending Unlimited (a bottle of wine), Raleigh Event DJ (gift certificate to Mantras Restaurant in Raleigh) and the Hilton Garden Inn gave away a two night stay in their hotel. If you are a wedding professional and would like to attend a luncheon, go to this link.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Picture Perfect Wedding -- Tips from Wedding Photographers~

This article was in the News and Observer today and it has some good information so I wanted to share it with my readers. This fabulous photo is by Craig Carpenter of Luster Studios, one of the very best wedding photographers around.

By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz - Chicago Tribune

Of all the things to go wrong at your wedding, bad photos are particularly heartbreaking. Even if you've invested in a top-notch photographer, subtle snags can take your album from amazing to mediocre. To help brides and grooms get the best record of their momentous day, we asked the nation's top wedding photographers what people can do to avoid common photography mistakes. Here's what five of the photographers listed in American Photo magazine's top 10 wedding photographers of 2012 had to say.

Focus on lighting. There is no magic a photographer can pull when the bride has blinding sun in her eyes and the groom is in a shadow, so do some lighting reconnaissance ahead of time, said photographer David Getzschman, an associate at San Francisco-based Chrisman Studios. If it's an outdoor wedding, visit the site at the time of day your ceremony will take place and figure out how to arrange the guest chairs and altar so that both bride and groom are backlit and the sun is even on both faces. If you can, time the ceremony (or at least the posed photo shoots) for when outside light is most flattering, about an hour or two before sunset. Pictures look worst under midday sun.

For indoor ceremonies and receptions, venues tend to be underlit to create ambience, making the backgrounds of photos look black and cavernous, Getzschman said. Including strings of colored holiday lights or spotlights in the decor adds some visual interest.

Seeing each other pre-ceremony. Though many brides and grooms hold fast to the tradition (and superstition) that they must not see each other before she walks down the aisle, it relegates the photo shoot to a rushed 15 minutes during the cocktail hour, said New York-based photographer Angelica Glass. Get the formal shots with family and the wedding party out of the way before the ceremony so the photographer has time to work and you can relax and enjoy the reception. It's also an intimate moment when the bride and groom reveal themselves to each other before the ceremony - a rare time to get candid photos of the couple alone.

Give fair warning for preparation shots. You might want your mom with you as you are photographed slipping your dress on, but she could be reluctant if you pull her from the makeup chair with one eye done and her hair half-teased. Figure out who you want with you during your getting-ready shots and give them fair warning so they can be finished with their makeup when you need them, said New York-based photographer Ira Lippke. Also, ask hair and makeup artists to wear neutral colors, no brights or patterns, so they won't be a distraction in shots.

Hold that pose. Formulaic poses can look forced. It's helpful when the bride and groom put advance thought into how they most naturally cuddle or pose together, said photographer Kitty Fritz, co-owner of New Mexico photo studio Twin Lens. Same goes for wedding attire: "a bulky or too-tight wedding dress can do a lot to unhinge the flow of a portrait session," she said, so wedding fineries should still be comfortable and "you."

Two shooters are better than one. It's more expensive, but hiring a photographer who brings along a second shooter results in more good pictures, said Ron Antonelli, a New York photojournalist who shoots weddings for Brian Dorsey Studios. The main photographer is free to be more creative when he has a second shooter covering the basic shots. "The bread and butter are the pictures you have to get, and the gravy is the risk you take," Antonelli said. "If there's no second photographer, it's nearly impossible to take risks."

Read more here:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Laura and Jeremy Wed at Caffe Luna!

Laura and Jeremy fit each other so well. Jeremy has the vision and Laura is the detail person who brings it to fruition! They met in 2008  in Virginia where they taught in the same school. They moved to Durham two years ago and their love has grown even stronger as a result of that adventure. We met on April 13, 2012 to plan their wedding slated for June 23, 2012. They wanted a small intimate wedding in a casual setting. Caffe Luna is just the place.  They had guests from Michigan where Jeremy is from and from Pennsylvania where Laura is from and other guests from Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and North Carolina. The wedding was a Saturday night at the popular downtown Raleigh restaurant. Parker Kennedy, the owner of Caffe Luna, has transformed the two smaller dining rooms behind the main dining room into a fabulous space for small to medium size weddings and reception even on a Saturday night while the public dines in the big dining room separated by a large mahogany double door that keeps the areas separate and private. The larger weddings are in the main dining room on Sundays when the restaurant is closed to the public.
This is the very back room and the guests face Hargett Street for the ceremony.
This is the middle room with the main dining room on the other side of the wall on the right. It also faces Hargett Street. Here the tables are pushed together and after the ceremony, the tables will be expanded into the ceremony space.
This is the dividing wall with the doors opened between the two rooms. Jeremy and Laura had about 70 guests for their wedding and reception. Of course Caffe Luna provided the food and beverages and if you have never had their food, you are definitely missing a real treat. Parker used to be in the wine business and has an incredible selection of fine wines too.
This lovely wedding cake was provided by Kimball Confections.
Laura and Jeremy's color scheme was purple and blue, a lovely combination. They made their own wedding programs and cleverly folded a pretty purple napkin around them. I have never seen that cute idea. Laura also did all the flowers herself.
A table setting ready for the guests after the reception and cocktail hour.
They liked the trendy fingerprint wedding tree for their guest book and offered different colors of ink for the guests to choose from so their tree had multi-colored "leaves!"
They had no attendants and the only processional besides the bride and groom and myself were the parents and Jeremy's grandmother. I lined them all up in the hall, cued the operator of the computer playing the music, then cued them to walk in and be seated. Then it was time for Jeremy and me to enter.
Laura and her dad made their grand entrance into the ceremony room.
Laura was beaming and tears were leaking out already!
We had a family blessing and then remembered those loved ones who could not be there with a moment of silence.
As I read the words of their special song, "Indian Moon," by State Radio, they both had to stop and wipe their tears away!
After relating the story of how they met and fell in love and some of their adventures including the move to North Carolina when Laura broke her foot loading a mattress, what they love about each other and look forward to in marriage, it was time for the vows. They chose the Celtic handfasting ceremony.  
With each loop of the cord around their joined left hands, they answered 7 questions in this ancient ritual: Will you honor and respect each other and seek to never give cause to break that honor? Will you share in each other's pain and seek to ease such pain? Will you seek to share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow together? Will you share in laughter and look for the positive in each other? Will you share in each other's dreams and dream together to create new realities? Will you cherish the wealth you've found in each other through plenty and poverty? Will you seek to be always a constant friend, partner in life, and true love to the other?  
Then I asked them to join their right hands forming the symbol of infinity blessing their marriage in the ebb and flow of the universe
With my hand on theirs, they said their personal vows to each other line by line after me.
They exchanged rings as tokens of their love for each other.
They were so excited when I made the pronouncement of marriage! 
And they kissed.......
...and kissed some more!
The guests were applauding and you could feel the love.....
Yeah! Married at last! 
Our photographer, Charity Starchenko of Rustic House Photography took us across the street to Moore's Square for photographs after the wedding. Charity, it was a pleasure working this wedding with you! 
Congratulations and all the best wishes in the world, Jeremy and Laura. You are so well matched and delightful to work with. When I told you when we met to "be creative and make your wedding your own," you took it to heart and it was wonderful. Do keep me posted and when a wee one comes along, let's do a baby blessing ceremony. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pretty Pink Wedding for Susan and John at Ayr Mount!

Susan and John have been sweethearts for many years but only recently have they both lived in the same state. So, it was time to get married and they chose the lovely Ayr Mount historic estate in Hillsborough for their wedding venue--the ceremony at the front of the house with the reception in a large tent in the back where the vista is simply breathtaking. We met in January to plan the ceremony. They wanted to be sure and include Susan's 16 year old daughter, Autumn. They loved the poem "All I Want Is to Love You" by Tracy Donovan, and the words of “When a Man and a Woman are in Love” by an unknown author, and the Family Unity Sand Ceremony. So we put all that together in a ceremony and from answers to questions they gave me, I created words for the wedding address about their love for each other. So the wedding day, Saturday June 23, 2012, arrived. It had been raining for several days before and scattered showers were possible so whether we could do it outside in the front or not was iffy. There was a cloud cover when Dave and I arrived to set up. (My assistant Marty is on vacation and so my husband Dave got drafted!) 
As the morning wore on, the clouds separated and the sun began to peek out so I removed the protective plastic cover from my sound system. Bea Miller with Floral Dimensions was on site to place the pedestals with the gorgeous sprays of flowers at the altar area, sprinkle the floral petals down the brick walkway and tie ribbons and roses onto the aisle chairs. She discovered when she arrived that chairs had been delivered to the site but had not been set up. Her crew chipped in and we began to set up the chairs. I like the angled configuration and so we did it that way. It looked very pretty. Then the white carpet aisle runners were placed. (Yay, carpet runners, the only ones that really work, especially on brick or concrete surfaces!)
Bea's staff brought around a table and table cloth to use for the sand ceremony and by that time John, the groom, had appeared and diligently got that all important marriage license into my hands first thing, then went to get the sand ceremony set up so that I could uncover and arrange the containers on the table . 
The sand was in their pretty colors of lipstick pink, soft pink and purple--a beautiful combination! 
And this is the finished product. The first layer was white sand which I poured representing God, The Source, and the foundation for the marriage, then John and Susan and Autumn poured in layers, then I poured more white sand on top as the overarching energy of God's love that is a blessing to this family every day. The inscription says "Always Remember our Family" and the date.
This stunning cake by Cinda's Creative Cakes was around back in the reception tent. Cinda's cakes are always a work of art! 

This is what was going on under the big tent. It is set in a huge meadow with an unbelievable vista that just goes on and on--see below.
Between Bea Miller (R) with Floral Dimensions furnishing the floral decorations and the caterer, Joel, with Hillsborough BBQ Company, the reception was all coming together.
A close-up of one of the gorgeous sprays of flowers that flanked the altar area for the ceremony.
An exceptionally talented musician, Anita Burroughs-Price, was our harpist. She was filling in for another harpist who at the last minute could not make it to the wedding. Thanks, Anita, your music was heavenly, as usual, and your exquisite gold harp! 
Right on time our horse drawn carriage from Bull City Carriages arrived bringing the Bride, Maid of Honor and Bride's daughter who was not only a bridesmaid but her mother's escort as well.
The first to process down the aisle were Susan's mother, Mary, and stepfather, Bud. 
Awaiting our bride! 
The two lovely ladies making their entrance! Our photographer, Natasha, second shooter for Prevoir Photography is in the background. 
And so we begin.....
I am telling Autumn how important she is to Susan and John. I asked her "Autumn, do you accept John as your mother's husband? Do you promise to d what you can to promote family love and harmony? Do you promise to speak the truth in love to everyone in this family and to hold your best wishes for each family member in your heart? Then I asked John "John, do you accept Autumn as your wife's child thereby making her a very important loved one in your new family? Do you promise to nurture her, protect her, counsel her and hold her in respect as if she were your own flesh and blood?" And of course they both responded "I do." Then John presented Autumn with a very beautiful necklace which he nimbly fastened as I watched in amazement because the clasp was quite tiny!
I shared with the guests what Susan and John love about each other and what they are looking forward to in marriage which flowed into their personal vows to each other and the exchange of rings.
The pouring together of the sand. On the right is Erin, the owner of Prevoir Photography
The pronouncement of marriage! 
The kiss, of course! 
As I introduced them to their guests, John pulled Autumn over into the center and out they went!
Happy Family! 
Family Hug!
Susan and John, I am so very happy for you and Autumn! The wedding was fabulous and the weather cooperated divinely! What a lovely wedding day and I congratulate you and wish you all the best ever!