Sealed with a kiss!

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Elegant Small Family Wedding for Eva and Keith!

Eva and Keith came to see me on June 4th to talk about officiating their wedding set for Wednesday July 1st, 2015 at King's Daughters Inn in Durham. They liked the idea of having a ceremony that reflected the two of them and their relationship so we got their wedding on my calendar and began working on the ceremony. We had a brief rehearsal the day before.
And so this is the parlor area of King's Daughters Inn where the ceremony will take place. I have done many weddings here. They are cozy and intimate and always lovely. The acoustics are so good in this room I don't need my sound system.
This is the dining area where their guests will enjoy a sit-down reception before the partying and dancing happens on the lower level of the bed and breakfast. Maggie's Conscious Cuisine catered a vegan gluten-free spread. Details Cake Design provided the cake but we have no photo of it as it had not been brought out yet from refrigeration.
The flowers by Floral Dimensions are ready! 
After the parents of the couple were escorted in, Keith, his brother Nelson (best man) and I entered, then our maid of honor, Angela, followed by twin flower girls who were retrieved by their daddy at the end of the aisle. Music was played via iPod.
Finally our beautiful bride and her proud father, Rob, made their entrance. 
All the guests stand for the bride!
And so we begin the ceremony with a warm welcome to all, a sweet prayer, tribute to those loved ones no longer living........
Then honoring of the couple's parents whose marriages have stood the test of time. 
A few words on how they met three years ago within one month of them both moving to Durham. Keith was completely certain (and happy about it) that he would not marry again and Eva had begun to accept that maybe marriage just might not be in the cards for her. But after two years of shared walks, meals and movies, it became apparent that they could be good for each other. And the idea of marrying was born which led to this momentous day in their lives--their wedding day.
They exchanged their vows then rings.........
Eva places the ring on Keith's finger....
I pronounced them married! 
A sweet kiss just long enough for a picture!
The expression on Eva's face is priceless! 
We exited to the sunroom for photos before they joined their guests for cocktails. 
Eva and Keith, congratulations! I love joining you in marriage and I know you will be very happy together. I wish you all the best!
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Grace and Alex Wed at Second Empire Surrounded by Family and Close Friends!

I did not meet Alex and Grace in person until their wedding day July 17th, 2015, when I arrived at Second Empire for their ceremony. Alex had made all the arrangement for me to officiate their wedding by email. We sent the ceremony script back and forth a few times by email until it was perfect for them. 
Alex is of Taiwanese heritage and was born in the United States. Grace is of Chinese heritage and she was born in China. All of their parents were present at their wedding. And so they added some decorations representative of their heritages for the ceremony. Red is the wedding color in China!
These are intricate paper swans filled with candy and most likely are symbolic of sweetness and abundance. 
While the guests are arriving, I had their witnesses sign the marriage license for me. Grace is awaiting the time to walk down the aisle with her father.
Lucy, our violinist with Arioso Strings, is in place and warming up. 
The Pine Room is all set up for the reception! 
Okay! Time to get started. I cued in their parents. This couple is Winston and Chia Ying, parents of the groom. Following them are Yehong and Lijun, Grace's parents. Her father returned to escort Grace in.
Yehong is proud to escort his beautiful daughter in in the American Wedding tradition. 
Before the bride entered, our flower girl sprinkled some petals. 
And now, Grace and Yehong!
I asked "Who blesses and supports Grace as she comes to join in marriage to Alex?" Her father answered in Chinese and transferred her hand into Alex's.
A warm welcome to all thanking them for making the journey to be with us. After that, I invited our photographer, Alex Tomek of George Street Photo and Video out of Chicago, to vacate the altar area. (My one request of photographers is to not get behind me during the ceremony and distract me, the couple and their guests but he had not asked me before the ceremony if I had any restrictions so he did not know.)
We had a blessing for their parents and then some words on love and marriage. 
Alex and Grace first met in Minnesota then life took them to North Carolina where they discovered they have a lot in common and became best friends. They share an affinity for music, family and friends, silly things, and mathematics. And they believe they will always be better together.
They exchanged their vows and rings.......
Grace made sure her wedding ring was all the way on and secure! 
Now Alex's ring....
The marriage is declared! 
A shy kiss! 
And here they are--wife and husband at last! 
Alex and Grace, I think you are a fine match and I thank you for giving me the honor of joining you in matrimony! I wish you all the best life has to offer.
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Wonderful Wedding for Kathlyn and Nader at The Garden on Millbrook!

What a beautiful day for a beautiful wedding! It was July 17th, 2015 and Kathlyn and Nader thoughtfully decided to move their wedding ceremony inside The Garden at Millbrook in the spacious and elegant ballroom because of the heat for the comfort of their wedding party and guests! I love decisions like that. 
The ceremony is setup for around 250 guests. Fresh Affairs did the flower arrangements and brought the brocade aisle runner and placed the pretty flower petals on each side. You can see the tripod and video camera up front where Lauri Crowder videoed the wedding. 
The lovely cake is by Ashley Cakes
Getting my wireless theater microphone on, doing a sound check, and checking in with Marc Dabagian (our director with The Garden) and our DJ, Mitch with Triad DJ & Events, for our cues.
Seeing Kathlyn in her gorgeous wedding gown for the first time. She is stunning!
Their adorable "guest book" of balloons to fill in. Their 2 year old daughter, Marcy, is flying with them! 
Kathlyn and Nader did a "first look" ahead of time and so Libby McGowan is getting most of the photos done in the garden before the guests arrive for the ceremony. Such a smart thing to do.
Kathlyn with her pretty bridesmaids dressed in their lovely floral dresses. 
Nader with the pretty girls! 
So now all the guests have arrived and taken their seats and we are ready to begin. First in were the groomsmen and me from the area behind the altar. When we were in place, Marc cued the entrance of Nader escorting in his grandfather. It was such a moving moment watching them come slowly down the aisle.
As a surprise for his parents, Nader circled around and brought them in! Marcy was most comfortable coming in with her grandfather who loved the honor of carrying her in. Another moving moment! This photo courtesy of Libby McGowan!
After the bridesmaids entered one by one, it was time for the bride and her parents to make their grand entrance! This photo courtesy of Libby McGowan
This photo by my assistant, Marty, of the grand scene!
During the ceremony the guests heard the story of how Nader and Kathlyn met, fell in love and got to this place today. It was a little over 5 years ago that their paths collided while they were both college students in Greensboro. They were just friends back then and after graduation, their paths diverged for over a year without contact with each other. Nader ventured into scuba diving and photography and lived in Thailand  for a while. Kathlyn meanwhile worked at various jobs and ended up working in Raleigh where Nader grew up. On a fluke she messaged him on Facebook to see if he still lived in Raleigh. He did, they reconnected and have never looked back. One of their adventures was to go back to Thailand and live for six months And the biggest adventure they have shared was the birth of their daughter, Marcy, in February 2014. Nader proposed in December and they put together this fabulous wedding. 
This photo and the 5 following photos are by Libby also. Many thanks to her for sharing for this blog!
Kathlyn is of Filipino heritage and Nader is of Filipino and Lebanese heritage. The Veil and Cord Ceremony is a Filipino wedding tradition. Here we see Kathlyn's parents have placed the veil around their shoulders symbolizing the couple "clothed as one" and the broader joining of their families. Nader's parents then placed a cord in the shape of the infinity symbol over their heads and draped loosely on their shoulders symbolizing the love and friendship that bind the couple and the infinite nature of marriage.  Before the veil and cord were lifted, Kathlyn and Nader received a blessing of their marriage.
They read their secret vows to each other and placed the rings. 
Finally the pronouncement of marriage sealed by the kiss! 
Such a happy walk back down the aisle together into their newly married life! 
During the ceremony Miss Marcy got fussy and so she had to be taken to another area where she fell asleep. The wedding day excitement was just too much for her. She had a good nap and is happy to be back in the arms of her daddy! Another photo by Libby McGowan!
Kathlyn and Nader, what a wonderful wedding! I hope it fulfilled all your expectations. I loved working with you and creating your one of a kind ceremony that so truly reflected the two of you. Thank you for giving me the honor of joining you in matrimony! I know you will continue the wonderful life you have built together!
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