Sealed with a kiss!

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Serena and Marcus' Sweet Wedding in My Garden!

Serena and Marcus planned to marry at the courthouse on Wednesday May 25th 2016, then she found me on line. She sent an inquiry on 5/21 asking if we could have their wedding in my wedding garden instead. I replied that would work for me. So Serena and her mother, Deanna, came by to have a look and decided my garden would be perfect! So I put together a proposed ceremony which also included a child's blessing for their sweet little baby, Aubrianna, and a family unity sand ceremony
At about 11:15 AM I met Marcus and their guests and escorted them to the garden which was all setup and ready. We squirreled Serena away inside and out of sight. (She had brought some pretty pink garlands we attached to the arbor and she left them for me to use for future weddings! Thank you, Serena!)
When everyone had arrived, Deanna escorted Serena down the aisle as the guests stood in honor of the bride. 
A warm welcome to their friends and family began the ceremony followed by a prayer and remembering those not with us on this day.
Their wedding day date was chosen because exactly two years prior they had met and fallen in love. 
They made their vows to each other. 

Then exchanged their rings. 
Then they poured the black, white and purple sand together symbolizing their new family!
The pronouncement of marriage!
Sealed with a kiss! 
Then I invited them to walk up the aisle over to the deck to enjoy their first dance together as husband and wife.
Serena specifically requested that a first dance be included as part of the wedding in my garden and it worked quite well as the couple waltzed around the deck to a special song with their guests watching on.
Serena and her mom, Deanna.
The pretty sand sculpture they created.
Father-daughter photo! Aubrianna is the sweetest baby!
Marcus and his guys!
Serena and Marcus, congratulations! I am so happy you found me and that I had the honor of joining you in marriage.  May you have the best of everything in life!!
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sarah and Daniel's Beautiful Wedding at All Saints Chapel!

Saturday May 21, 2016 was a gorgeous day for a wedding! Sarah and Daniel chose to have their wedding at the historic All Saints Chapel in downtown Raleigh. Jessica with Happily Ever After was their planner and director. Always a pleasure to work with Jessica!
The altar flowers were done by Joseph with Cateringworks who also catered the reception after the ceremony. Cleverly the vases of flowers then served as centerpieces for the table.
Harry, our DJ with Island Sound, had set up in the loft area and we were doing a preliminary sound check before all the guests arrived, although some had gotten there early. My daughter, Andrea, took these photos for me.
I don't know how she got this photo but it shows the beautiful stained glass window over the altar area and the candle flames below. Her father is a photographer so maybe she inherited that ability?
The groomsmen are hanging out in the groom's room off the altar where we will enter from. 
Groupings of floating candles and candles in glass containers lined the aisle. I was so happy to see the flames were well protected from catching anyone's clothing on fire.
The groomsmen and I took our places up front while Daniel escorted his mother in then joined us. 
The bridesmaids in navy blue took their places up front then I invited the guests to stand for our bride.
Sarah and her father, Robert, floated down the aisle. 
They stopped at the bottom the steps where Daniel awaited his bride. Robert answered my question then transferred Sarah's hand into Daniel's and they stepped up onto the altar with me.
Sarah and Daniel are both on the shy side in front of groups of people and Sarah told me when we met that she is not a fan of being the center of attention. But when you are the bride, you just are! They joined hands, took a deep breath and away we went into the Bells & Whistles ceremony!
Daniel's father, CJ, was his best man.
I stepped out to the side to address the guests and ask for their love and support of this couple. 
Then the storytelling began. Sarah was smiling as I recounted the way they met on line and what caught their eye about each other. They both have a wonderful sense of humor that was woven into the ceremony generating lots of laughs!
Their photographer, Jamie Blow, was getting some good pictures.
Then it was time for me to reveal what they had told me in confidence they love about each other. 
I am telling Sarah how much Daniel appreciates her putting up with his silly puns and thanking her for not carrying out her threats to suffocate him with a pillow! 
I am telling Daniel how Sarah appreciates his patience with her especially during tax season when she becomes cranky, how she loves that devilish glint in his eye, and how she cannot imagine her life without him.
I asked them each a series of questions for their vows to which they each answered "I do."
Looks like Harry is enjoying the ceremony! 
They exchanged their rings. (These photos are taken from the loft with the zoom and the strings of light over the guests show up most unexpectedly.)
A closing blessing for Sarah and Daniel. 
The pronouncement of marriage........
A sweet kiss!
The presentation of the newlyweds!
Congratulations to Sarah who was so happy the ceremony was over and she could relax and have fun! 
The guests went downstairs for cocktails and we took some photos back inside. They are all smiles now! Congratulations, Daniel and Sarah! You did it! I wish you the best of everything!!
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Erica and Justin Wed at The Oaks at Salem!

It was Friday May 20, 2016 at The Oaks at Salem--a day with rain in the forecast so wisely the decision was made to have Erica and Justin's wedding under the tent but leave the sides rolled up so that we could have the pretty view and the light. It was a good decision because just after the ceremony ended, the raindrops began to fall.
Erica and Justin met almost 10 years ago when they were in high school. Erica was the new girl at school and Justin definitely took notice. They met somewhere along the way--the cafeteria or at a bonfire after school. They lived within walking distance of each other and the friendship was born.
They both went to the same college so they stayed together for many more years working in the kitchen of the college making pizzas and pursuing their studies. Justin graduated first and moved to North Carolina to pursue his career. Erica stayed behind to finish her degree.
Frank Meldau with Joe Bunn DJ Company was all set up to do the ceremony music and the reception to follow. 
As the ceremony time drew near, the candles were lit and the chairs were lined up for the guests. 
Tre Bella furnished all the florals. 
Near the ceremony site, I placed the Cord of Three Strands to be braided by the couple during the ceremony. In the background you can see the beautiful area where the ceremony would have been if the weather had been more favorable. 
Inside was this beautiful cake by Ashley Cakes with more sweet desserts to be put out later. Yummy! (This photo was taken after the ceremony--see the braided cord of 3 strands in front of the cake.)
Upstairs in the bridal suite, Erica was ready to get married! Her bridesmaids were all ready too! 
Their bouquets are all lined up ready to be picked up. 
Carly Abernathy with La Fete Events got us all lined up inside then cued Frank for the processional music. Always a pleasure to work with Carly! 
After the parents and Justin and his guys and I entered, it was time for the lovely maidens in their blush pink! 
Then Erica and her dad, Jerome, started down the aisle. 
After answering my question to him, Jerome placed Erica's hand into Justin's hand and took his seat. 
And so we began this lovely ceremony for our so-in-love couple who collaborated with me in creating exactly what they wanted. We began with a welcome to all and then a prayer.
We remembered those who were no longer here on earth and those that could not attend. Then we paid tribute to their parents. 
Our groomsmen seem to be paying attention while I told their love story! 
And so do our pretty bridesmaids!
Christobal Perez with Azul Photography was their professional photographer and I love working a wedding with him. (My friend Susan took the photos on this blog for me since Dave was out of town. Thank you, Susan!)
After Erica graduated, she was accepted into grad school at NC State and joined Justin in North Carolina. 
Justin found the perfect opportunity to propose on January 1, 2015 while they were visiting his parents in Virginia. Of course Erica said yes and the wedding planning commenced!
Looks like they were having a few laughs while I was relating their story to their guests. 
A sweet moment to remember! 
Erica hears for the first time what Justin told me he loves about her, why he wants to marry her and what he is looking forward to in marriage.  (They chose my "Bells and Whistles" style of ceremony so that their story and secret paragraphs were included.)
Now Justin's turn to hear what Erica told me! 
They exchanged their vows and rings. 
Then it was time for the Cord of Three Strands Unity Ceremony. 
Erica braided the three cords together: White for the bride, Purple for the groom and Gold for God. 
The symbolism is that a cord of three strands is inherently stronger than just two just as a couple and recognizes God as an integral part of their marriage. Words from First Corinthians fit perfectly while Justin held the ring and Erica braided.
The pronouncement of marriage followed a closing blessing! 
Nice kiss, Justin! 
All smiles as they head back down the aisle for a group shot before the raindrops begin! 
Yeah! Christobal is up on the deck shooting from above while Susan got this great shot from the tent. 
Erica and Justin! Congratulations--on your marriage, on your wonderful wedding, on your future endeavors! You are a great couple and I wish you the best of everything!
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