Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Julie and Dickie's Dream Wedding at Duke Gardens!

Julie was born and grew up in Durham, NC. She told me that she had always dreamed of having her wedding at Duke Gardens and her dream came true on September 27, 2013 when she and her sweetheart, Dickie, tied the knot. They live in Martinsville VA and planned this wedding from a distance. I didn't meet them face to face until the rehearsal. The wedding day was amazing. Duke Gardens was in full fall colors and the foliage was fuller than ever, I suppose from all the rain we have had this year.
Their wedding took place in a new spot in the gardens for weddings and it is spectacular. It is called the Rollins Overlook and literally overlooks the fish pond and the pergola as you can see from this photo. There is access to the Overlook from Flowers Street but no parking, just a drop off place.
Here is the view of the Overlook from the pergola. 
Their guest book was set on a stand and as the guests began arriving, they signed it.
In the meantime, all the guys were hanging out at the fish pond area.
When it was time, the bridesmaids processed in. The maid of honor is Lauren, Julie's daughter.
 This is Scarlett, our little flower girl. 
Here comes the bride. On the right is Anne, her friend and director of the wedding. On the left is Scott, Anne's brother and photographer of the wedding.
Julie's father is deceased and her stepfather, Bob, was determined to walk her down the aisle despite having a new artificial leg.
 Our ring bearer is Alex, Dickie's grandson.  
They had a family unity sand ceremony and the shadowbox container was a little tricky to pour the sand into. The rock "table" is not as level as it looks so I held the container lest it tip over and spill. Lauren is pouring in some of her purple sand.
Alex pours in his blue sand.
Julie and Dickie topped it off with more of their sand, completely filling and overflowing, so we are wiping off the extra!
Dickie and Julie, you are a great couple and I know you are so happy to be married to each other. I wish you all the best!! It was a pleasure working with you and thank you for choosing me to officiate for you!
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wonderful Interfaith Wedding for Emily and Michael at the Carolina Inn!

Emily and Michael and I met in August of 2012. They were planning their interfaith wedding ceremony at the Carolina Inn set for September 21, 2013. They had spoken with Rabbi Andrew Ettin in Winston-Salem and he referred them to me. Since I was already on the Carolina Inn preferred vendor list, they contacted me. They wanted a co-officiated ceremony so that both faiths were represented. I explained how I work with couples in co-creating their ceremony so that it is exactly what they envision. They really liked that idea and so we signed a contract and began our work together. I sent them many interfaith ceremonies including ones I had co-officiated with Rabbi Ettin. They chose their elements and then sent the first draft to me. After editing it, we sent the ceremony to Rabbi Ettin for his review and input. They also answered questions about how they met and fell in love and what they love about each other which we incorporated into the ceremony. Then the Rabbi and I divvied the ceremony sections up between the two of us so that we alternated speaking during the ceremony. It was quite lovely, but unfortunately and to Michael's great dismay, the weather on their wedding day was not lovely. It was a rain-soaked weekend and there was no way to have their ceremony in the Ann Hill Courtyard. The Carolina Inn is well-prepared for Plan B and had this lovely ballroom ready for us. This ballroom is so cheery with its happy colors.
So, when Marty and I arrived, the room was all set up. The Chuppah was up but the table was too large for all 4 of us to stand under so I asked for a smaller table which we then relocated to the back corner of the Chuppah. (You can't tell in the photo but the column behind the table actually protrudes out about a foot.) The pretty florals were provide by Tre Bella. Suzanne Ledwith with Sally Oakley Personalized Wedding Planning was on hand to direct the entire event along with Melissa Sayre with the Carolina Inn. They did a fabulous job.
The Arioso Strings trio got set up and began practicing. The best man was so impressed at how good they were and whispered to me that there were many musicians attending this ceremony that would be very pleased. Michael, our groom, is also a musician. They chose well!
The Old Well Room was ready for the reception. See the projected "writing on the wall" for Emily and Michael.
They had not one but two great DJs for the wedding--Frankie and Jason from Island Sound. They provided amplification for me and the Rabbi for the ceremony and all the music for the reception. I know it rocked!  James with Island Sound also videoed the wedding.
The line up! Rabbi Ettin and I have done many weddings together in the past 10 or 12 years and have become friends. If I ever have a question about a Jewish tradition, he is my resource! He is a dear to drive all the way to the Triangle to officiate.
The two lovely ladies in next are Emily's grandmother Anne and her daughter, Emily's Aunt Judie. I hope Anne does not mind me saying this but she proudly told me she was 92. She looks fantastic and I would be proud to tell my age too!
 Michael's parents, Sandy and Bruce.
Best man, Eric, and Maid of Honor, Randall, ready to enter last before the bride and her parents.
 Waiting for the bride! 
And so we began. The room was packed and there were no side aisles to shoot photos from.
It was so much fun for me to share their story and their guests ate it up. Theirs is a really good story!
 Vows and rings......then the Seven Blessings followed by the drinking of the wine.
 The official pronouncement of marriage....
The blessing of the couple......canted by the Rabbi in Hebrew then translation: "May God bless you and keep you. May God's radiance shine on you and be bountiful to you. May God's goodness be upon you and grant you peace." 
Michael broke the glass then we all shouted "Mazeltov" followed by the kiss....
Out they go! On to the South Parlor to sign the Ketubah!
On her way, Emily peeks at the beautiful cake by Ashley Cakes.
The Ketubah is written in Hebrew. It conveys the spiritual covenants the bride and groom make with each other. The couple signed, their best man and maid of honor, then the rabbi.
A final photo of the four of us! Terry with Carolina Mediastar, our official photographer, set this one up making the rabbi and I "bookends!" Michael and Emily, great wedding! I wish you the very best in life!
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fabulous Wedding of Sarah and Jason at Shady Wagon Farm!

Sarah and Jason planned their dream wedding! The date was September 14, 2013 at Shady Wagon Farm in New Hill NC. The weekend began with delicious fall temperatures, clear and crisp. Perfect. Shawn Schindler of Your Special Day was their wedding planner so every detail was expertly handled and the wedding day went without a hitch. 
As we turned in to the farm, this cute sign with the purple and green balloons announced the wedding.
I found out from Cindy, the owner, creator and resident (along with her husband Doug) of this lovely venue, explained that the crop growing in the background that looks like "pygmy corn with a tassel" is milo, a crop grown for livestock. It sure makes a lush green meadow.
The grassy area in front of the farmhouse is the ceremony area. The gazebo extends out into the lake. (When I first started doing weddings here years ago, there was no border of flowers and logs, no brick walkway, and no gazebo. Cindy adds something new every wedding, I think!)
Sometimes the entire wedding party is out in the gazebo but Sarah and Jason wanted to be closer to their guests so we had the ceremony in front of the gazebo--a really nice arrangement for everyone. The florals were done by Expressions of Love florist.
This is the main house where the owners live. The bride and parents and grandparents hide out there before the wedding. Oh, I was in there too!
Cindy just keeps embellishing the farm! She has a windmill and most recently brought in this cute little general store! And, she actually sells things like candy, cough drops, batteries, etc. there. There is even an outhouse in the back though it did not look "functional" to me!
The guests began arriving. They signed the guest book and got something cool to drink.
On Marty's way over to get photos of the reception area in the barn, she snapped this photo of the bride being whisked away into the farmhouse before the ceremony. That is Shawn on the left and father of the bride, Pete, on the right.
View of the ceremony site from the other side of the lake.
This is the pavilion off the back of the barn where the guests enjoy cocktail hour before going inside the barn for dinner and then back out to the pavilion for dancing the night away!
The interior of the barn was all set up and ready!
Cinda's Creative Cakes made this beautiful cake.
Arioso Strings were all set up and playing prelude music while the guests were being seated.
Shawn announces that it is time to begin the processional! Always love working with Shawn. She is a pro. Her assistant Mandy was there too.
After Jason's grandmother was seated, his parents, Debbie and Bill entered. They came all the way from Hawaii for the wedding.
Mother of the bride, Kathy, was escorted in by her son, Matthew.
After I started on my way in, Jason on the right and Sean, his brother and best man on the left, made their way down the aisle.
After all the bridesmaids and Shannon, the Matron of Honor had processed in, Sarah's sister Allison, Maid of Honor, came down the aisle.
Mr. Puddy, resident cat at the farm. I love Mr. Puddy! He is more like a dog than a cat. He runs out to greet people and is so friendly. One wedding he walked down the aisle during the ceremony, got spooked and dashed back up to the porch were he scampered across the keyboard of the pianist, nearly scaring her to death, and created his own discordant music! Today he decided to play it cool and just watched from the sidelines! 
Awaiting the bride. Notice the photographer, Christobal with Azul Photography, and videographers Jeff and Emily with Jeff Brewer Films were all set up to capture every wonderful image of this storybook wedding. 
Mandy carried the train so it does not drag in the gravel. I asked everyone to remain seated so that Jason could see Sarah walk from the house to the ceremony. Then everyone stood as she walked down the aisle.
I looked over at Jason tearing up and got my hankie out. 
"Who supports and blesses Sarah as she comes to join in marriage to Jason?"
And now their marriage ceremony begins. It was good that Jason is a lot taller than Sarah or the sun would have been right in her face the whole ceremony!
Jason and Sarah met the summer of 2008 after Jason graduated and got his first "big boy" job a the same company where Sarah was already working. They began to notice each other and hung out with the same crowd after work. They remained work friends only because at the time, they were seeing other people. In 2009, Jason spent a semester abroad and when he returned in 2010, they both found themselves unencumbered and their friends and relatives plotted to get them together although both Jason and Sarah were "wise" to their maneuvers and of course very cooperative. When they went on their first official date, it was obvious that there was more than friendship going on and after a few subsequent dates they became a couple and a few years later decided to tie the knot. And the wedding planning began. Sarah had dreams of her wedding day and Jason was most happy to just go along with her. What do they say? "Happy wife, Happy life?"
This is where I tell each of them what the other told me in confidence as to why they love each other, want to marry each other and what they are looking forward to in marriage. It is such a sweet moment and often quite funny depending on what they reveal to me!
They chose to include the handfasting ceremony so here I am binding their left hands together.
Then they joined right hands which quickly became a problem because it left them unable to wipe their eyes and noses!
So, when we couldn't stand it any more, we took a break so they could wipe their eyes and noses!
It was a "three hankie" wedding! I had two hankies with me, Sarah had one, and Jason had a pocket full of tissues and they used them ALL!
Finally they got through their vows and ring exchange and after a closing blessing, it was time for the pronouncement of marriage.
Assessing the tears and noses situation before the pronouncement is absolutely vital because what comes up next is THE KISS!
All was clear so we proceeded and Jason surprised us all by lifting Sarah up. I do have a sneaky suspicion that they planned this though! But the photo is a testament that Jason had been paying attention at the rehearsal when I told him to put his hands under the veil rather than on top of it during the kiss!
And now, it is my privilege and delight to present to you for the first time, Jason and Sarah, husband and wife! 
Now to celebrate! 
Sarah and Jason, it was my great pleasure to join you in marriage. Working with you was a wonderful experience and I know you are going to have a fabulous future together! Have fun in New Zealand and Australia!
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