Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, January 22, 2016

Great Wedding for Cassie and Michael at the Compass Rose Brewery!

On August 15th, Cassie contacted me and wrote: "My fiancĂ© and I have been together for four years and have been happily committed to each other yet too busy to plan a wedding. We've had such an amazing year though that we agree there would be no better way to end such an amazing year than to get married! So we are forcing time to plan our day! Our wedding will be small and intimate, at most 75 guests....." They were looking for a venue that would work for them and originally targeted December 12th as their wedding date. But things changed and their wedding date got pushed out to January 16th, 2016 and they were so excited when they discovered Compass Rose Brewery in North Raleigh near the intersection of Gresham Lake Road and Capital. It fit them to a T! I met with them on October 6th and we began planning their ceremony.  
Having made a trial run the day before following a bridal show at Landmark Hall and Garden to find out where this brewery was, Dave and I arrived at the brewery on the wedding day to find the room with the beer tanks all set up for a wedding. It was spotless of course--as required by sanitation standards for a brewery. The space adjoined the bar and restaurant area but it was quiet and private. I am not certain but this wedding might have been the first for this venue.
Our musicians, Anthony and Mariah, were positioned over on the far side from this photo and were warming up.
In the public area the tables were set up for the wedding guests with pretty flowers by Sharon Coulter, co-owner of Compass Rose Brewery. She also served as their wedding director.
The guests were given bracelets to identify them as wedding guests for the food and drink.
The buffet for the wedding guests was catered by Cannon Catering in Wake Forest. 
A note from the bride and groom! 
A very unique guest book: a beer keg for them to sign in on! 
The cupcakes were by Sweet Traditions in Wake Forest. 
Michael and I are going over the logistics for the ceremony since I was not part of their rehearsal. 
And it was time to begin. After the parents were seated, Michael and I took our places up front. 
The bridesmaids snuck in the back door and got in line then processed out one by one. All of their attendants were their children.
Cassie was escorted in by her son, Jordan. 
The bride and groom turned and faced each other, holding hands, centered in front of me and we began! 
I welcomed everyone and thanked their parents for all their love and support. 
Then it was time to address their children, Alexis--Michael's daughter, and Cassie's daughter, Kaylee, and her two sons, Jordan and David.
For a community blessing, I asked the guests to stand and answer these questions: "Will all of you do everything in your power to preserve this marriage? Will you give them your love, your blessing, and your support?" Of course they answered "We will."  

After a brief but humorous wedding address, the couple read their vows to each other from my book.
Then they exchanged rings. 
Then they legally became husband and wife! 
I invited them to kiss for the first time as husband and wife! 

"Family and friends, it is my great pleasure to now present to you for the first time, Michael and Cassie Wheeler, husband and wife!! Go forth in love, joy and peace and drink beer!!"
They exited with their wedding to a private area out of sight of the guests so we could get the witnesses to sign the marriage license and take some photos together.
Michael and Cassie, what a fun wedding. It was truly YOU! I loved being a part of it and having the honor of joining you in marriage! I wish you all the best forever!
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Luisa and Daniel's Amazing Wedding at Fearrington on New Year's Day!

Luisa and Daniel got married on New Year's Day 2016! The wedding venue was the lovely Fearrington Country Inn. Weddings are always fabulous there. The weather was clear and sunny with a nip in the air but not uncomfortable at all.
The reception was in the barn so that is the first place Dave and I stopped when we arrived to see the wedding cake. The Groom's cake is a very cute little penguin--I don't know the significance of that though. It is a marble cake with coffee buttercream filling. The wedding cake is most unusual and I know delicious because it is the fine work of the pastry chef at Fearrington. The top layer of the wedding cake is Rosemary and Olive Oil, the second layer is Almond with raspberry jam filling, the third is Red Velvet cake with cream cheese filling.
The ceremony was in the Terrace pavilion. Because it was a chilly day, all the glass doors were closed and the fire was crackling in the fireplace. The natural light flowing in from the three sides and the windows flanking the fireplace made the room very bright and comfortable. In more temperate weather the doors can be opened to let the breeze come through.
Our DJ, Chad Hines, has his mobile unit and speakers all set up. I plugged into his system and did a sound check. It was perfect!
Gilda McDaniel, the venue coordinator and wedding director with Fearrington, stashed Daniel and me in the tea room of the restaurant. I am reviewing the ceremony while Daniel relaxed. He did not seem at all nervous!
The guests have arrived and been seated. Time to begin the processional with the families in first on the front row.
Entering first were Daniel's grandparents. 
Then Daniel's parents, Deborah and Kenneth. 
Mother of the bride, Maria Luisa, was escorted in by one of our groomsmen.
We are all lined up to enter.
Here we go as our photographer, Krystal Kast, gets a shot of each person entering. 
Luisa is escorted in by her father, Francisco. 
Gilda watches them enter and the processional is complete! 
The guests stand as the bride and her father enter the Terrace. 
Luisa is wearing very high heels under that gorgeous dress and so they go slow!
Francisco placed Luisa's hand into Daniel's hand then went to stand in his place on the first row. The bride and groom turned and faced the guests as I said to everyone: "There is an old tradition that the elders, or the wise ones of the tribe or family give the beloveds to one another as an acknowledgement of their support for this union. I believe all of you here qualify as the tribe of Maria Luisa and Dan. So, please all answer when I ask, 'Who has the privilege of presenting this woman to this man?'” Of course they all answered "We do."
About 10 minutes before the ceremony began, Luisa decided she wanted to sit down during the ceremony--the high heels. The wedding party was already planned to be seated for the ceremony. So Gilda checked with me and then placed two chairs up front for them. After their guests enthusiastically sanctioned their marriage, I invited everyone to sit. So, I was the only one standing during most of the ceremony which was fine.
Luisa's family lives in Spain and speak little English. Luisa translated the ceremony into Spanish and the Spanish-speaking guests were given scripts of the ceremony so they did not miss anything.
We began with a warm welcome for everyone, especially those who traveled from all over the world to be with us.
Then I invited their parents to stand for the Parents' Blessing which usually brings the mothers to tears!
Then it was time for their story which was so much fun to tell. It all started back in 2009 when Luisa embarked on a 10-day study abroad to Boone NC from her home in Valencia, Spain. This was a spur of the moment decision that had nothing to do with her area of study. Her host happened to be a friend of Dan's and so they met when the friends got together to hang out. Luisa and Dan were attracted to each other instantly. After her return to Spain they were able to stay in touch thanks to the wonder of technology. 
Luisa and Dan's path took them back and forth between Spain and the US as they pursued their educations and careers. It was a bumpy road filled with adventures from Spain, to North Carolina, to Pennsylvania and Florida but they finally landed jobs in NC and have settled down at last. The story included some incidences that were really quite funny and none of the guests had ever heard it told in its entirety.
I asked the couple to stand to exchange their vows and rings. Daniel read his vows to Luisa in Spanish. Luisa included words in her vows from the Beatles' song "Eight Days a Week!"
Luisa is one of the most animated, expressive brides I have even known. She was in constant motion which is one of the characteristics Dan loves about her! I can truly say that she really really enjoyed her wedding ceremony!
                                                After joining left hands, they exchanged their rings. 
When it came time to make the pronouncement of marriage, I invited the guests to say "We pronounce you husband and wife" with me! 
Awww........we are really married! 
There she goes again!
And out they go......
Krystal gets the wedding party all assembled!
Luisa and Daniel, congratulations! You two are a great couple. What fun your wedding was! Thank you for choosing me to join you in marriage! I wish you the best always!
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