Sealed with a kiss!

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Destination Wedding to The Umstead Hotel and Spa for Judi and Bryan!

Bryan and Judi live in South Carolina. They planned a wedding there but at the last minute there was a problem with the venue so they decided to elope and get married on Christmas Day at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary. Bryan had been here before and just loved it and knew it would be a great getaway. Kelley Anne at The Umstead gave him my name and number and he called me the week before Christmas to arrange it. It was short notice but since I live only about 15 minutes away, I was happy to go there and do the honors for them on Christmas Day. They had gotten their marriage license in SC but alas, it is not good in NC so they needed to get here a few days early to get their license in NC. Wisely they stopped in Charlotte and got it there on the way to Raleigh and were all set. 
When Marty and I arrived at The Umstead, it was gorgeously appointed as usual and the floral arrangements stunning and reflecting the joyous holiday season.
 Pine cones, Frazier fir branches and antlers! 
 Beautiful Christmas tree! We would have done the ceremony here but it was busy in the lobby. 
So we moved on down the hallway to a very quiet area where there was no traffic on this Christmas Day at noon and more Christmas trees.
They had previewed the proposed ceremony I emailed them and loved it and did not want to change a thing.
 The vows.....
 The rings....Bryan's ring was tight but Judi finally got it all the way on his finger! 
 I now pronounce you husband and wife!
 Sealing the vows with a kiss! 
Judi and Bryan, I am so glad you called me and gave me the honor of joining you in matrimony! I wish you safe travels and a wonderful married life!
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve Wedding for Allison and Joe!

I believe it was in October that Joe called me about officiating his wedding to Allison. They really wanted to get married on Christmas Eve when their friends could be present and so that is what we did! I sent them a proposed ceremony based on what Joe told me they wanted and included remembering their loved ones who could not be with us and the blessing of their children. Allison told me that she cried when she read the ceremony and she showed it to a co-worker who remarked it was the sweetest ceremony she had ever heard. They only wanted to add one line to it: "Today you marry your soulmate, the one you laugh with, cry with, and the one who is your best friend."
So, on December 24, 2013, Marty and I traveled to northwest Raleigh to their home. Their "short fat" tree was up lit up with all the gifts under it flanked by poinsettias. (That was one of their kid's description of the tree when she first saw it!)
Joe and I took our places in front of the fireplace and Allison's son, Sean, escorted his mother in. That is Joe's daughter, Ellaina, on the right. She was holding the rings. Samantha, Allison's daughter, was holding down the couch along with their other guests. 
They loved their vows and ring exchange. 
The  moment their marriage legally begins! 
Great kiss!
What a happy couple! Elvis, Allison's chihuahua, was pretty happy too. 
"We did it!"
Congratulations to you, Joe and Allison! It was my pleasure and delight to join you in matrimony! 
Had to have a photo of this sweet dog and sweet little girl! 
Elvis is probably thinking, what's the fuss all about?? He was precious but you know I am such a dog lover and grew up with chihuahuas and they are special little beings!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Solstice Wedding for Lauren and William!

Lauren and William are busy, down to earth, no frills type of people who have a mutual love of nature and horses and wanted to marry. So, Lauren's mother, Judith, "took the reins" and planned this wedding for the most part. It was at the beautiful historic Preston-Woodall House in Benson on December 21, 2013. Joel Hurley, proprietor of the Preston-Woodall House, gave Judith my name and  we made arrangements for me to officiate. I corresponded with Lauren and William and together we customized the wedding ceremony to reflect the two of them. One thing they wanted was short and sweet, and so it was.
When Marty and I arrived, the Cora Lily Ballroom was all decked out for Christmas, in fact, the whole house was beautifully decorated. We had the ceremony at this end of the ballroom. Janet Hill, with Dogwood Studios, was our photographer. 
At the other end were the tables and chairs that would later be spread out around the dance floor.
This sweet little cake was ready to be cut. Did not get the name of the baker. 
In the adjoining parlor, the hors d'oeuvres were ready for consumption by the guests after the ceremony during cocktail hour.
DeLane Hayes, our DJ, was all set up for the ceremony music and later on dance music! 
After Joel invited all the guests to take their seats for the ceremony, he directed the parents and wedding party in. Thanks, Joel! You've had many years of  practice and this one was a snap! It was good to work with you again!
This is Judith, mother of the bride, and her husband Carroll. 
Here comes the bride with her father, William! 
After the warm welcome to the guests, we paid tribute to Lauren's parents and step-parents. 
Then we included a blessing written by Reverend J. Lynn James. 
Their friends, Leanna and Strick, stood up with them.
The exchange of vows and rings, then the pronouncement of marriage! 
Oh happy days! Lauren and William, congratulations! I wish you all the happiness in the world!
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Anne and Alan's Wonderful Wedding at Campbell Lodge!

Anne and Alan's wedding is one of those rare weddings in which I knew the bride and groom before they knew each other and have had the privilege of being friends with them and watching their friendship blossom into romance. It was over 11 years ago that they met one Sunday at the same church I attend, Unity Church of the Triangle in Raleigh. They found each other very easy to talk to, very intelligent and both had been raised Catholic. There was an instant mutual attraction. Their first date was on Alan's birthday, December 11th in 2002. Fast forward to December 14, 2013 a few days after his birthday this year and their wedding at the Campbell Lodge in Durant Park.
We took photos before the ceremony, so here is the wedding party posing for their picture but we are missing Bob, the best man! He was probably off dancing somewhere. He was a terrific dancer and practically spent the whole reception on the dance floor!  Their friend Walt Johnston was taking pictures for them.
Their wedding cake was made by a friend. The musical notes are symbolic of the musical talents of both our bride and groom.  
This little cutie is Shannon. I believe I heard someone say that he is the grand nephew of Alan. He spent a lot of time on the dance floor too. He was fascinated with the West Street Band with keyboardist Kenni Hairston you can see in the background. They were a great dance band and the dance floor was full most of the time during the reception.
 Are we ready, guys? 
I went in solo to first make an announcement at the couple's request for the guests to put away their cell phones and cameras and be with us fully in their hearts while the professional photographer got the images. Then Alan and his men followed. That is Karen Harmych in the back cueing them in. Karen is my go-to "rescue" wedding planner/director. When Anne and Alan were feeling completely overwhelmed with their DIY wedding, I convinced them to call in Karen to pull it all together and make sure nothing was overlooked. Thanks, Karen, you did a terrific job, as usual!
Anne's brother, Walter, escorted her in. Her father unfortunately passed away a year or so ago and her mother was unable to travel to the wedding to be with us.
Anne and Alan and I had fun putting their story together. The funniest part was when Anne was out shopping one day and saw a wedding dress she loved. She called Alan and asked "Do you still want to marry me?" They had discussed marriage before and Alan had conceded that he did want to marry her but she just wanted to be sure. He said "yes, buy the dress!" And then they contacted me to coordinate a wedding date! And her dress was absolutely perfect for her!
 Alan requested that we include the lovely words of Khalil Gibran "On Marriage" from The Prophet.
 They made their vows to each other.
 They exchanged rings. 
 The big pronouncement of marriage! 
 The kiss!!! 
 The new Mr. and Mrs.! 
Anne's mother's sister reached out to give her a pat. So sweet! I know Anne was touched by that.
Dave and I stayed for this reception. I usually don't because I typically don't know anyone but the couple and Dave, if he is assisting me, does not even know the couple. But this was an exception. In fact about half the choir I sing in was there! It was a lot of fun. Tarbouch, Mediterranean Cuisine, catered and it was delicious. I got to dance once with Bob, the best man, too! As well as Dave! Karen snapped this photo and the two below with her cell phone.
 Karen, Anne and me. 
Anne and Alan having a fun time on the dance floor! I think that is Bob and I on the left of them.
Anne and Alan, what a great wedding! You pulled it off! It was fantastic working with you and even better joining the two of you in marriage. Thanks for giving me the honor!

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