Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Unsolicited Wedding Advice--Book Now!

Hello dear followers and brides who use my blog to plan your wedding:  Today I ran across this blog post by Rev. Spike Gillespie in Austin TX and I thought it was such a good article, I asked her permission to re-post it here. She graciously consented and I thank her very much. Her blog is Austin Wedding Officiant.  Not only is this advice great and with which I heartily concur, I love the photos of the pups in this wedding! 

When I meet with prospective clients, I like to emphasize that I try hard not to issue unsolicited advice. I then usually wind up offering at least a few bits of unsolicited advice over the course of the conversation. Okay then, I guess I still need to practice.

The reason I try to bite my tongue unless asked is that I think a lot of couples get hit with tons of advice from well-meaning but overzealous friends and family members. It can feel like too much, and in some cases it can feel like downright pressure is being exerted. You know, it's YOUR wedding, so you should, as the old BK commercial went, Have it Your Way.

That said, since I'm in this business, I've amassed an awful lot of helpful information over the course of performing 300+ weddings and commitment ceremonies. I know some really great vendors and musicians. I know the inside scoop on PA systems and what you'll need. I know shortcuts. I know how to run interference in tricky family situations. So I offer, as an added extra (which I do not charge for) to field questions that come up, make references, and show up a little early to just be an extra pair of hands the day of. Sometimes, I go crazy and really get involved-- like driving dogs home after the ceremony so they don't get overwhelmed at the reception.

Today, I have a few bits of unsolicited advice-- yours to take or leave. If you are getting married in April or October 2013, HIRE YOUR PROFESSIONALS NOW. This is not a ploy for me to get business. My April is nearly booked full (though I have a few openings) and October is getting there. Also, with global warming wreaking havoc on the weather, I find that these days more couples are looking at March and November (used to be that April and October were the "June of Texas," since June can be pretty warm). I think I've had about 15 requests for October 6th. I perform up to four weddings per day (though most often three is my max) and even still, that means I had to turn away nearly a dozen couples.

Another thing-- consider the heat. Seriously. I am totally down with doing outdoor weddings in summer, I do them all the time. And I'm pretty sure you can save a bit of money booking venues in the dead of summer. But if you're going to ask your guests to endure the heat, especially if they are from out of town, it's a very good idea to have water set up beforehand, water they can take to their seats. Fans aren't a bad idea either. I did a wedding the night it hit 109 degrees-- honestly, it was pretty nuts. You might also consider keeping the ceremony short so you can all get into the A/C quicker.

Okay, enough with the advice. For now. But if you do have a question you'd like me to answer here, just shoot me an email. Or:

Original idea for Cake Pops! 

I think this pup would agree that weddings can be exhausting!
Thanks, Spike! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Briana and Jason's Fabulous Wedding at the Cardinal Club!

Briana and Jason met and live in the DC area where they work. Since Briana grew up in Cary they decided to have their wedding here in the Triangle at the elegant Cardinal Club atop the Wells Fargo building in downtown Raleigh. They contacted me last December and we arranged a teleconference call to get to know each other and see if we were a good fit. And indeed we decided we were. They knew they wanted a simple, no-frills non-religious wedding ceremony that was a reflection of the two of them and since I encourage my couples to put together what they want so that it is exactly what they envision, they were pleased and eager to get started creating their special ceremony. 

The Cardinal Club is a wonderful location for a wedding. We were all so happy that Jason and Briana chose an indoor venue for this very hot time of year! Rebecca Naderman, the events manager there, was a pleasure to work with and had all the details handled to perfection. The ceremony room was on the lower level of the penthouse and the cocktail area and reception room were on the very upper level of the 28th floor with a commanding view of downtown Raleigh. 
These intricately folded wedding programs were very unique. Jason told me that the bride and her bridesmaids made them.
Our DJ, Joe Bunn, attaches a microphone to Jason's lapel. 
Our Wedding Director, Lynn Scott of Happily Ever After, goes over the cues for the music with Joe. 
Hey, Bob, look this way! Bob Taylor of TaylorMade Video videoed the wedding for the couple.
Outside the ceremony room, the couple had a poster as a guest book. The guests were asked to sign or initial a balloon on the poster.
The impressive stairway connecting the upper and lower levels of the top space together.
This chandelier is so gorgeous, especially when the sky is dark and it is all lit up.
The bartenders are ready for cocktail hour after the ceremony.
This is the reception room. You can see how expansive the view is from here. In front of the window is the cake stand but the cake was still in the cooler. It was made by Sweet Memories but we did not get a photo of it because it still was not out by the time we left. 
The flowers for the ceremony and the reception were by Gregg Kennedy of Brides and Bouquets.
Down on the first level, the girls were getting ready in the Sir Walter Room. Our photographer Craig Carpenter of Luster Studios is busy getting some shots of our beautiful bride. 
While Briana's father was seeing the bride for the first time all dressed and ready to walk down the aisle, some of the bridesmaids gathered outside the room. Pretty purple dresses and shoes!
The grandparents, parents, wedding party and the bride were escorted into separate rooms off the ceremony room to wait for the guests to be seated and the ceremony to begin. 
Time to begin! 
The mirror behind us did funny things to the focus of the camera! 
Their story went over really well and everyone had fun hearing it, especially the groomsmen! Then it was time for their vows which they read from my book to each other. They had almost memorized them.

The ring exchange...
The pronouncement of marriage! 
Jason and Briana, it was my pleasure and my delight to work with you and to officially join you in marriage. You are an impressive young couple with lots of determination and ability. I know you are both going to be successful and happy in marriage! My best wishes to you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beautiful Wedding for Sarah and Alden at Hudson Manor!

Hudson Manor is a beautiful old estate in Louisburg NC (exactly 40 miles from my home in N. Raleigh).  Melissa and Glenn Cogliatti who bought it some years ago have done a wonderful job of transforming the property into a gorgeous secluded wedding venue. I have done weddings there for many years and have watched Melissa add a grand ballroom/reception hall with a covered terrace and landscaping and turn the site into a full-service setting for weddings. She has her own catering staff, her own equipment and a keen eye for pleasing any bride and groom who want an elegant yet worry-free wedding day.

Sarah and Alden fell in love with Hudson Manor and as soon as they had booked the venue, they called me since I am on the preferred vendor list Melissa gives couples. We met in November and started planning their ceremony for July 14, 2012. Sarah is a school teacher and put a lot of hard work into the little details of their wedding including a display board with notes from her students. I have a lot of great photos of this wedding so this post is going to be extra long so you can see all the details this creative couple put together.
The Manor House 
The grand ballroom/reception hall with covered terrace. After the wedding the guests congregated on the terrace for  hors d'oeuvres and cocktails then moved inside for the reception dinner and dancing.
Beautifully appointed reception hall with dance floor that photographer is standing on while taking this photo...
Bride and Groom's table...
Ron K. Smith is ready to DJ both the ceremony and the reception! We have worked together many times through the past 13 years and I know I can count on Ron to do his job superbly! 
Cinda's Creative Cakes provided the lovely wedding cake.  
Cute little three dimensional hearts that look like butterflies sitting on the table with each guest's name and table number.
The display board with comments from Sarah's students about the wedding...
The gift table with lots of photos of the couple and a basket for envelopes.
Each guest was invited to write a message for the couple for their wedding scrapbook.  
The sand ceremony containers were put out on the terrace for the ceremony. The blue thing in the central jar is a paper funnel to help pour the sand. It was helpful because the opening on the central container was much smaller than the mouths of the individual vases of sand. Ruth Payne of Fleuressence provided all the floral arrangements.
Sarah's father, John, holds his granddaughter, Taryn, who is our 10 month-old flower girl!
Melissa is our director. It is so nice that she is willing to do this as part of the services she provides when you book Hudson Manor. She is getting us all lined up to process in.
First in are the parents--Alden's mother, Merideth, is escorted in by her son, Eric, brother of the groom. Then following is Sarah's mother, Karen, escorted in by her father, David, grandfather of the bride.
After Alden and I walked in, the first couple followed.
Then the rest of the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Our Maid of Honor wheeled in a carriage with our flower girl, Taryn, and our ring bearer, Treyce.
 John proudly escorted in his daughter...
When Sarah and her father got to the first row, her mother, carrying Taryn, joined them and the bride's two sisters, Emily and Elizabeth, bridesmaids, stepped up to join them. I asked them all: "Who presents this woman to be married to this man?" Of course they answered "We do!" Sarah gave her parents a little kiss and they were seated.
We began with a welcome to everyone, then a prayer, then honoring of the parents which we kept a secret at the rehearsal so it is a sweet surprise for them on the wedding day.
Then it was time for their story! They met on and soon learned that they had grown up only about 2 hours away from each other--Sarah in Maine, Alden just north of Boston. The attraction was immediate and it did not take them long to decide they were meant for each other. Now three years later they are making their commitment to each other official by getting married.
They each told me in confidence what they love about each other. Here I am telling Sarah what Alden told me. Such a sweet moment.
Our photography team was Thad and Sarah Lawrence with 2 and 3 Photography. I have never worked with them before but I know they got some fabulous photos of this beautiful wedding.
Although we were all thankful that we had no rain, Saturday, July 14th was a hot and humid day and the perspiration was just pouring down Alden's face and dripping from his chin. I pulled out one of my hankies and mopped his face which the guests and bride always find funny! Alden was quite grateful!
The vows were a series of questions to which they each answered "I do."
  "I give you this ring...."
I had to reach over and steady the paper funnel during the pouring of the sand.
 Then they blended their sand on top. 
I did not know until I saw this picture that while I was mopping Alden's face again (getting ready for the kiss, you know), Sarah had taken that opportunity to blow her nose with the hankie I had given her earlier for the tears running down her face. It was a two hankie wedding!
 The pronouncement... 
 This was what they had been waiting for! 
 Stepping into their new life together! 
 Sweet little Taryn had fallen asleep! 
Sarah and Alden, I am so happy that you found each other thousands of miles from where you grew up. You were meant to be together and somehow the powers that be made sure your paths crossed. I loved working with you to create your perfect ceremony, officiating your wedding and wish you all the happiness in the world!

Before I even got her wedding posted on this blog, Sarah had already given me a 5-Star review on

"Kayelily did an amazing job with our ceremony. She communicated well with both of us and really worked hard to make sure that our ceremony was exactly as we wanted it. She responded quickly to emails and was on time and ready to roll for both our rehearsal and our ceremony - she did a great job!"

Thank you, Sarah!