Sealed with a kiss!

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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Melissa and Derrick Wed at The Rickhouse!

Melissa and Derrick's wedding was so much fun! They are such a fun and interesting couple and I loved working with them to craft the perfect wedding ceremony for them. Their wedding was on November 22nd, 2015 at The Rickhouse. And this is the first wedding I have had the privilege of doing at The Rickhouse, a relatively new venue in Durham. It is located in the Central Park District of downtown Durham. 
It was once a RJ Reynold's Prizery and built of restored and reclaimed wood and exposed brick. 
The venue boasts an inside space that comfortably seats up to 400. It is equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video and rentals include chairs and tables for up to 200 people. 
It is sister space to a "grain to glass artisan" distillery (Revival Spirits). 
It has a large partially covered concrete deck overlooking the famed Durham Athletic Park, the original home of the Durham Bulls. 
The original plan was for the wedding ceremony to be out on the deck, but the weather turned a bit chilly with windy conditions and our thoughtful couple decided it would be more comfortable for everyone to have the ceremony indoors.
 Dave and I arrived at 1:30 this Sunday for the rehearsal before the ceremony which was to start at 3:30. It was not possible to rehearse on Saturday morning because not all the wedding party would have been able to be present.
 Melissa and Derrick each had a display of childhood photos on old windows on easels. 
 Their caterer, Rocky Top Hospitality, was ready to put out the food for the reception. 
 More delicious dishes to anticipate. 
 Photos of their beloved fur babies hold down the gift and card table. 
 A popular calligrapher, Marika, was there creating this wonderful title board. This is the finished product. 
 A little gift bag for the guests to take home. 
 This wonderful cake is by Ashley Cakes. 
 The bartenders are ready for the guests to arrive. The open door behind them on the left is the bride's dressing room. 
 I got my microphone all hooked into our DJ's system. Dail Holderness was our excellent DJ. 
 Finally it was time to get lined up. The couple's friend, Kevin, was our wedding director and did an excellent job. I entered first followed by Melissa's grandparents. 
Then it was time for brother of the groom and best man, Craig, who escorted their mother, Gloria, in to her seat then stepped up and joined me. 
 Melissa's parents, Robert and Terry, enter next and Robert returned to escort in our bride. 
 Then it was time for Derrick and the groomsmen to enter and join Craig and me. 
 Once we were in position, Kevin sent in the bridesmaids one by one. 
 Then it was time for our beautiful bride and her proud father to enter. 
 Everyone stands for their entrance. 
 Melissa's father transferred her hand into Derrick's hand and they turned and faced each other. 
 We began with words of welcome for their family and friends and how important they are to our couple. 
 There was an opening prayer followed by remembrance of loved ones no longer physically with us, especially Derrick's father, David. 
And then it was time to share their love story with their family and friends. The story of how they met, what attracted them to each other, fell in love, and finally the amazing proposal extravaganza that Derrick cooked up. We enjoyed a lot of good laughs, in fact, I had to pause for the laughing to quiet before I could go on. Loved this ceremony and I think everyone else did too. 
 So much so that Derrick had to blow his nose from laughing so much! 
 After their story came the "secret paragraphs" which described what each one loved about the other, why they wanted to marry and what they are looking forward to in marriage. 
 They then exchanged their vows of marriage to each other. 
 They exchange their rings. 
 A closing blessing before the pronouncement. 
 The legal moment in the ceremony when they officially become wife and husband! 
 I invited Derrick to kiss his beautiful wife! 
 And so he did with a bit of drama and flair as he dipped her! 
 "I can't believe you did that!"
 Ladies and Gentlemen, the newlywed couple!!
 And they dashed out! 
 Posing for some photos on the patio.
 Derrick and Melissa, it was a fabulous wedding! Congratulations! I know you are enjoying wedding bliss and so happy to be married. I wish you all the love and peace in the world. 

Our wonderful vendors: 

Wedding Director: Kevin O’Barr (friend)
Florist: Teacup Floral
Photographer: Brad Habeeb
Wedding Cake: Ashley Cakes
Caterer: Rocky Top

Elena and Daniel Wed at Sitti!

Elena and Daniel are a wonderfully matched couple. Both are independent people who think outside the box. And so for their wedding they did not want the traditional wedding setting or ceremony but did want to celebrate their marriage with family and close friends. They discovered the lower level of Sitti, an authentic Lebanese restaurant carved out of a historic old building in downtown Raleigh on Wilmington Street.  And so the date of November 21st, 2015 was settled on and they met with me on September 15th and we began creating the ceremony they envisioned.
Dave and I arrived and found our way downstairs. This sign at the bottom of the steps greeted us.
 Since there was not much room to stand around in, most of the guests had taken their seats. 
 This pretty cake was ready! 
The programs were in place. 
A table for memorabilia held gifts and family photos. The lace on the table was brought by Daniel's mother as part of a family tradition. The lace had been taken from the wedding veil of Daniel's grandmother many years ago!
Daniel and his mother, Virginia, pose for a picture. The suit that Daniel is wearing is the same suit his father, Brian, wore on his wedding day.
Breaking from tradition, Elena and Daniel saw each other before the wedding. 
When all the guests had arrived and were seated, the parents took their places up front. Then the couple joined us to begin the ceremony. There was not much room to get around and take photos and the light level where we were standing was not very bright but Dave, my husband and roadie, did his best to get some photos of the ceremony.
Following a welcome to everyone, a simple prayer, remembrance of loved ones not with us, was the parents' blessing where we honored their parents. Both of their parents have happy marriages that have stood the test of time. Elena's parents, Deirdre and Peter, were married  on September 11, 1986 in Rockville Centre, NY. Daniel's parents, Virginia and Brian were married on January 17, 1979 in Brockport NY where they still live. Elena's parents have since relocated to Cary NC.
Included in the ceremony were the words to a song by Billy Joel that is very dear to Elena and Daniel that match their love for each other--"Just the Way You Are."
Then it was time for them to exchange vows as I asked them a series of questions to which they each answered "I will."
Elena's dad was holding her ring and Daniel's mom had Daniel's ring which they handed to the couple as they exchanged ring vows.
 After a closing blessing, I pronounced them husband and wife and invited Daniel to kiss his wife! 
 And so he did! 
Presenting the newlywed couple to their guests!
Congratulations, Elena and Daniel! I trust your wedding fulfilled your vision. It was lovely and I thank you for allowing me to join you in marriage! I wish you an enduring and happy marriage like your parents have created!
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