Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Such a Pretty Wedding for Jessica and Sean at The Matthews House!

Last May Sean contacted me about officiating his wedding to Jessica. He told me they wanted a "relaxed, fun, laid back wedding with a lot of friends and family!" They chose the date of September 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM at The Matthews House in Cary. This was a great choice for them for it is the perfect setting for what they had in mind. They really liked my style of doing weddings and the creative freedom I give my couples to create just what they want for the ceremony. We signed the contract and got started on the ceremony creation process. They were a delight to work with and soon had a first draft to me and the answers to my questions about how they met, fell in love, favorite stories and adventures and what they were looking forward to in marriage. Theirs is a sweet story too. They met in 2009 when Sean was on leave from military duty and came back to Raleigh to find a new girl had joined his social group--a beautiful red-head with an amazing personality that caught his attention right away. Sean did not go unnoticed by Jessica either. She loved his charming ways, his beaming smile and a quick wit similar to her own. They soon became a couple despite a looming tour of duty in Afghanistan staring Sean in the face that turned their relationship in to a very long-distance relationship. Halfway through his year in Afghanistan, they met in Europe to spend his R&R leave together and it was at the base of the Eiffel Tower that Sean sprung his proposal of marriage on Jessica. After exclaiming "What are you doing?" she of course said "Yes!" His duty was completed and he was back home by July of 2011 and they started planning this wedding. 
What a great shot of Jessica and Sean on display inside the Matthews House. Their photographer is Julie Livingston.
James Whitt from Anything Music DJs provided the music for the ceremony and the reception. He was really smart to set up the speaker and sound system in the back of the ceremony between the guests and the street so that the sound of the music and my voice were amplified to the best advantage.
 The wedding cake was provided by Not Just Cakes
The banquet hall was getting set up for the reception. 
When the guests were seated, we started right on the dot of 5:30 with the seating of Sean's grandmother then his mother and Jessica's mother.
Our capable wedding directors were Courtney Hopper (see her in the photo above directing in the wedding party) and Dana Kadwell who are the owners of C&D Events.
The bridesmaids take their turn to walk down the aisle.
Our pretty little flower girl, Charly, did a wonderful job sprinkling the petals and making it down the aisle with a big smile!
 Waiting for the bride! 
  Keith, her father, proudly escorts Jessica down the aisle.
Mel Day, owner of Dogwood Tree Floral Designs did a wonderful job with the floral decorations. There were short shepherd's hooks lining the aisle with hanging vases of flowers and thickly laid flower petals flanking the aisle. 
Sean's sister, Nancy, presented a poem by ee cummings, "The Love Declaration."
Congratulations, Sean and Jessica! I loved working with you and officiating your wedding. I wish you love, peace and happiness forever!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beautiful, Beautiful Wedding for Suzie and James at The Umstead!

I met Suzie and James in April to plan their wedding ceremony for September 15, 2012 at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, a fabulous upscale wedding venue in Cary. They sought me out because they wanted to have a non-religious ceremony that was focused on their love and commitment and reflected the two of them. Since that is my specialty, we were a good fit and got right on with the creation of their dream ceremony. They answered a lot of my questions from which I put together the highlights of how they met, what attracted them to each other and their favorite things to do. I also asked them each in confidence to tell me what characteristics they love about their partner, why they want to marry and what they are looking forward to as they begin their new adventure into marriage. All this was woven into the ceremony and since they provided me with lots of humorous answers, the ceremony was both sweet and serious, light-hearted and fun. The guests really got a bang out of their ceremony and we spent a good deal of time laughing together as you will see in these photographs. James and Suzie were such a fun couple to work with. They are inspiring in their self-confidence and steadfast in their love for each other which was very evident.
Our photographers for this event were Walters & Walters, a husband/wife team that is well known in North Carolina for their coverage of weddings and outstanding images. The florist is also well known in the Triangle as well--The Watered Garden.
Sweet Memories Bakery provided the simple yet elegant wedding cake.
The reception room was filled with gorgeous tables of elegant linens and floral arrangements flanking the dance floor.
Mark McNally with Joe Bunn DJ Company, right, provided both the ceremony and the reception music. Shown here with Dan with The Umstead audio team with the outdoor sound set up. My microphone easily plugs right into their Shure bodypack and we are ready to go!
The guests were all seated and it was time to begin. I entered first to anchor the ceremony space followed by James who proudly escorted his mother, Rose, to her seat then stepped up to join me.
James' father, Daniel, also his Best Man, followed closely behind and stepped up next to James.
Suzie's brother, Michael, proudly escorted their mother, Nancy, to their seats.
Our Maid of Honor, Jacquelyn, is next to enter and take her place up front.
Time for our beautiful bride and her father, Robert, to enter as Carrie, the wedding director with The Umstead, readies the train of her dress.
Everyone stands to honor the bride as she entered. She and her father stopped at the front row. He left her and went up to James and shook his hand and then joined his wife Nancy. Then Suzie walked up to James and me after handing her bouquet off to Jacquelyn.
And so we began the ceremony with a warm welcome to all the guests and an honoring of their parents and siblings. I often step out from behind the couple to speak directly to the parents and the guests and move from side to side.
I stepped back a bit to begin the story of how they came to know each other which like many good love stories, began at the company they both worked for in different departments.
There were quips about James trying to dazzle Suzie with his accounting knowledge, her figure-fitting pants and high heels, the conspiracy of their co-workers to match them up, and James' slowness in asking Suzie out--something he agrees he will probably never live down!
There were times that I felt like a stand-up comedian delivering all the lines with a straight face.
In Suzie's secret paragraph about what she loved about James, I told him she loved him for being such a good shoe shopper--among many more serious and endearing things. I told Suzie how much James was looking forward to getting married and especially wearing his wedding ring with the black diamonds! Their similar sense of humor is a definite area of compatibility!
The couple each added a funny line into very loving and serious words of commitment for their vows--his promising to pretend to enjoy the Lifetime Movie Network movies she has a weakness for, and her promising to pretend to care about the Chicago Bulls basketball games he watches! Then the rings.....James' ring with the black diamonds was stunning, I must say!  
 Let's make it legal now! 
 The grand kiss they promised me they would practice which obviously they did! 
"Family and friends, it is my pleasure to introduce to you for the first time......."
They wanted a group shot of everyone so our photographer had everyone gather at the back of the garden while he took several shots from the terrace balcony above them while my assistant, Marty, took this picture with my camera from the ground level.
The ceremony is over and we are still laughing! What a joyous and wonderful wedding, James and Suzie! It was so much fun working with you. You are so well suited for each other and I know your marriage will be wonderful and, of course, filled with fun and laughter!