Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Raleigh Rose Garden Wedding for Rachel and Derek!

Rachel contacted me in January to plan hers and Derek's wedding the weekend of her graduation in the doctoral program at NC State while her family would be in town. Her parents live in Louisiana. Derek's folks hail from Sanford. We met and they looked at my garden for their wedding ceremony then their guest list grew too large and they decided on the lovely Raleigh Rose Garden for their ceremony venue on May 7, 2016 with lunch reception to follow at Mia Francesca Trattoria in North Hills. I had told them about Mia Francesca having a private room and they checked it out and loved it. It also served as our back-up in case of adverse weather which thankfully did not happen.
As you can see, the weather for their wedding day was spectacular. It was sunny and comfortable. I set up my portable battery operated sound system first thing.
They had a guest table and asked the guests to sign a puzzle piece and displayed photos of their family weddings--along with water bottles.
When everyone had arrived and the pre-ceremony photos were taken, we began the ceremony. Their ceremony was the "sweet and simple" style ceremony. After words of welcome to their guests, I explained the ring-warming ceremony and started the box with the rings circulating. 
Then we had a sweet blessing for our bride and groom followed by remembrance of those loved ones no long with us. Then words of gratitude for their parents.
We included a brief history of the beginning of their relationship and what attracted them to each other. 
 Their friendship blossomed into love and they crafted a life together for the next 4 years. 
 They had each written their own vows to each other and read them from my book to each other.
 Derek went first and surprised himself by getting a little choked up. Then Rachel read her vows to Derek. 
 They joined left hands for the ring exchange. 
 Derek placed the ring on Rachel's hand while repeating a few lines after me. Then Rachel did the same.
 A closing blessing then the pronouncement of marriage and invitation to kiss! 
What a joyful moment!  
 That is a drone!
 Our photographer, Chris Groch, also does drone photography. This is getting quite popular too. 
 Chris launches the drone while I got all the guests to gather together for a group photo by the drone! 
 Here it comes! (Sounds like a swarm of bees!)
 We all waved to the drone! 
Safely back on the ground!
Rachel and Derek, you planned and executed the sweetest wedding! It fit you both so perfectly and I am honored to have been a part of your day. And thank you for your generous gratuity! I wish you all the best forever!
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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Akira and Michael's Wedding at The Farm in Selma!

Akira and Michael's wedding was the first wedding I have done at The Farm in Selma. It is a wonderful place and well equipped for weddings both large and small. They also have large music concerts there. It is about a one-hour drive from N. Raleigh. The wedding day was April 30, 2016.
This is the view from the street. 
This is out behind the barn with acres and acres of green in the background. The pretty portico for the ceremony is way in the distance.
A beautiful meadow with a line of trees in the middle which will grow tall and be a boundary. 
While Dave and I were setting up my sound system, our sign-bearer, Chance, was enjoying just running and playing on the grass.
This is at the top of the "stage" in the back. I think it could also be used as a loading dock for equipment the many musical groups who perform here bring with them.
On a rustic table under the portico is the wooden box that holds a bottle of wine into which our couple will place their loveletters to each other during the ceremony.
Inside the big barn is very spacious. A huge dance floor and room for many tables. 
The stage area is where the couple and wedding party will be during the reception. Looks like they might have some good photos for the screen behind them.
I do believe our couple are wine connoisseurs! The guests' names are on wine corks! 
And the guests begin to arrive. 
Now you can see the portico and the long walkway from the stage. You can also see that the sky is grey and threatening and the wind was strong. And yet, no rain fell.
Michael and I lead the groomsmen in while the wind is whipping the fabric on the archway to the right. 

After the bridesmaids entered, Lexi and Lily made their trek down the aisle sprinkling the flower petals. 
And then our ring bearer, Kaiden, and sign-bearer, Chance, made their entrance. 
At last our gorgeous bride and her happy poppa, Brandon, enter.
And the ceremony begins. 
We began with a prayer. 
And I began to hear a train whistle in the distance. As it got closer and closer I had to pause in between whistles. I told the guests it was the "love train!"
After thanking their parents, I launched into the amazing story of how these two met. It was truly destiny! And a lot of fun too.
Akira is from California. Michael from North Carolina. He was in school in San Francisco when they were matched up on line. After Akira had passed all the tests that Michael required for a girlfriend, they soon became inseparable.
Their journey together has criss-crossed the United States several times from San Francisco to North Carolina to Oregon. One of the trips resulted in a grand proposal on April 11, 2015 in the exact same spot they met for the first time at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. And now they are back in North Carolina.
They each told me what they loved about each other and at this moment in the ceremony I shared what the other told me.
Now they read their vows from my book to each other. 
Michael is a footwear designer and it is only fitting that all his groomsmen wore the same shoes. I bet he designed them too!
Exchanging rings.......
The wind was whipping us around as the couple placed their loveletters in the box. 
The legal moment when they became wife and husband!
Their first kiss as a married couple!
Akira is a make-up artist so she had to fix Michael's face after she kissed him!!
Honored guests, the newlyweds! 
Happiness written all over their faces! 
Here comes the wedding party! 
Akira's parents. 
Michael's parents.
We gathered for a group photo! They had two photographers: Christina Valentine and Simon Griffiths.
Akira and Michael--a fabulous wedding! So happy you found each other and thank you for giving me the honor of joining you in marriage!
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