Sealed with a kiss!

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sunny January Wedding for Natalie and Dale in my Wedding Garden!

Natalie and Dale emailed me on January 23rd to see if they could get married in my wedding garden--soon. We settled on January 30th at 3:00 in the afternoon, just one week later. As Natalie put it "we are way beyond the big white dress wedding" and were inviting just a few close family members. 
Monday January 30th turned out to be a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 50s--quite comfortable as long as the wind stayed away which it did. Natalie and her brother Jim wait on the deck for the signal to walk down the aisle.
Present at their wedding were Dale's mother Rose, Natalie's brother Jim and his wife Paula and their daughter Jimmi Anne, and Dale's cousin Steve who videoed the wedding on his iPad.
 After Jim gave his blessing on behalf of Natalie's family, Dale and Natalie turned and faced each other. 
 The view from my upper deck. The garden is still quite green despite it being January. 
I welcomed everyone, recognized each person there, then remembered those that could not be with us followed by a prayer and some words on love and marriage. Natalie and Dale both love dancing and had admired each other from afar until they literally met on the dance floor and became dance partners. It was only natural that their affection blossomed into a soft comfortable kind of love they celebrate this day. 
 After the vows they exchanged rings. Dale places Natalie's ring on her finger.
Natalie said the words "With this ring, I marry you and pledge my heart to you" and put the ring on Dale's finger. Then on behalf of everyone present I gave them a blessing.
 The pronouncement of marriage! 
I invited Dale to kiss his bride and he surely did. Right here I am saying that I did not have to prompt him to make the kiss long enough for us to get a photo of it!
 That sparked the laughter from everyone! 
 Introducing them to their families! 
Natalie and Dale, congratulations on your love and marriage! Thank you for choosing me to officiate. I loved having your wedding in my garden. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple. May you dance through life together forever!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kathy and Allen Start the New Year with Their Wedding!

There is a kind of wedding that I just love doing. I call them "reunion weddings." And they are not that uncommon. I love the stories of how the bride and groom knew each other as kids then many years later reconnect. 
On February 20th of 2016, in my wedding garden, Kathy escorted her daughter, Stephanie, down the aisle with her grandson, Matthew. The following September Kathy contacted me to see if I would officiate her wedding to Allen in my garden on New Year's Day 2017 in my wedding garden. I was thrilled to do so! (See Stephanie's wedding here.)
Seems that she and Allen knew each other in high school when they were kids. They flirted with each other but never dated. They went their separate ways after high school for more than 40 years until they met again at a high school reunion. Finding themselves both single, the attraction was rekindled and blossomed into a soft comfortable kind of love they both wanted. 
The rain on New Year's Day dashed out plans for a wedding in my garden so we moved it to Stephanie's clubhouse in Cary. It was perfect. The guest list mushroomed too.
Here comes the bride! 
Kathy and Allen are on the left. in the center is Matthew, Stephanie's son, and his girlfriend. The sweet little girl is Riley, daughter of Josh, Stephanie's husband.
It was so good to see this family again. Riley was not quite so shy at this wedding! I straightened her collar. 
Allen and I took our places up front and waited for Stephanie, then her mother. 
Kathy was escorted in by her grandson, Matthew. 
Transferring Kathy's hand into Allen's. 
And the ceremony began. 
Asking Allen the vows to which he answered "I do."
Kathy's turn......
Now for the rings...
Kathy really enjoyed putting that ring on Allen's finger...
I loved pronouncing them married! 
That's the best shot of the very brief kiss that I got! 
The newlywed couple! Time to celebrate! 
Here is the whole family from the left: Matthew, Allen, Kathy, me, Stephanie, Morgan (Stephanie's daughter), Josh and Riley. Yay!
Great to see Josh and Stephanie again and hear that they are doing so very well. 
Allen and Kathy, congratulations!!  I am so happy you found each other again! I know you are going to be so happy together!

The Glamorous New Year's Eve Wedding of Allison and Michael at The Cloth Mill at the Eno River!

What an amazingly beautiful "BLING" wedding for New Year's Eve 2017! Aly and Michael chose The Cloth Mill at the Eno River in Hillsborough as their venue and it was absolutely decked out to the ultimate degree. 
Greeting everyone was this lovely sign. 
The area for the ceremony was in the center and draped off. Michael and his best man are checking their messages!
Meanwhile the bridesmaids and Aly are gathered to do some photos on the dance floor which was where we held the ceremony with guests seated on either side. It was definitely unique and imaginative. Chelsey Morrison with Gather Together Events and her staff pulled this whole wedding together. The vendor team was huge! The florals were by Anna with Meristem Floral. She is so talented. The Greenhouse Picker Sisters provided vintage decor and styling.
Our photographer extraordinaire is Riley MacLean. He is flanked by the videographers also getting in on the action. Light Cannon Films out of Wilmington.
Riley is so good at setting up the shots with these sweet kids.
There to help Chelsey were Katherine with Gather Together and Danielle with Mason Dixon Designs
This stunning cake was by The Cupcake Shoppe. It was so elegant in its simplicity. 
The Sweetheart Table.  
The glittery tablecloths and acrylic chairs just added to the bling. CE Rentals provided the linens and table tops. The Ghost Chiavari Chairs were provided by Party Suppliers of Wilmington. Themeworks Creative, Make-up for Your Day Artistry and many other vendors were behind the scenes making this happen.
Aly's favorite color is purple.
Outside was an area for guests to gather during the reception for a breath of fresh air. They had the gas outdoor heaters, some table and chairs and lighting.
And of course the corn hole board!
There were two bars, one on each side of the ceremony area. The Cloth Mill and On The Rocks ran the bar.
Isn't that floral swag amazing?
A view of the ceremony area. Note all the chandeliers.
The sideboards studded with greens and flowers with soft candlelight and yellow uplighting. Get Lit Lighting did all the lighting. 
I found a secluded spot to sit down and review the ceremony. 
Donovan's Dish staff were putting out the appetizers.  Our DJ for the wedding and reception was Collin Yarborough working for Spin
The guests have all arrived and Chelsey on far left has gotten us all lined up. At this point the parents are entering. 
And now time for Michael and his guys and I to enter and take our places followed by the bridesmaids.
Here comes the bride and her father! 
All the guests were standing in their honor.
Their ceremony was so very unique to them. Because we were flanked on both sides, we turned a quarter of a turn 4 times during the ceremony until we were back where we started so every guests could see.
The pretty bridesmaids were lined up on one side and the groomsmen on the other. 
It was difficult to get a lot of good shots of the ceremony as access was limited due to the seating. 
Shooting through the drapes! 
You can see the groomsmen now. 
Telling the story of how they met one day while snowboarding--their favorite sport. They were intrigued by each other when they met but had no idea what the other looked like because of all the cold weather gear they had on!
Once down the slope, when Aly removed her goggles and beanie, Michael wasted no time getting her number. Turns out they were both students at Western Carolina University.
They officially became a couple about 8 months later, graduated and took jobs together at a ski resort in Colorado.  When the skiing season was over they bravely headed back to NC not knowing what the future held for them. Aly procured a job and Michael went into law enforcement training.
When he was finished they finally got settled down and started planning this magnificent wedding!
The bridesmaids had made a request that when it was time for them to hear the secret paragraphs about what they love about each other and what they are looking forward to, that we be positioned so that they could see the bride and groom's facial expressions. And so here we go!
Everyone especially enjoyed hearing this when I addressed Michael: "Michael, Aly feels so lucky to have met you while enjoying one of her favorite sports—I mean, how often does a girl meet a HOT guy on the slopes who is genuinely sweet too?"
Michael enjoyed it too! 
And so now we are back facing the parents at this point for the rest of the ceremony. 
They chose the handfasting ritual so I wrapped their clasped hands with the purple cord which represented love. 
Then they joined right hands forming the symbol of infinity blessing their marriage in the eternal ebb and flow of the Universe.  They made their vows to each other while their hands were clasped.
I removed the cord for them to exchange their rings which symbolically take the place of the cord. Aly had to help a little bit in getting her ring all the way on.
Then she placed the ring on Michael's hand and said the vows after me. 
A closing blessing before the pronouncement of marriage.
And at this point they legally became husband and wife! 
The kiss that seals the marriage!
They turned and faced their parents as I introduced them to their guests. Then they made an about face and headed off for photos and I invited the guests to enjoy cocktails at either bar while the ceremony area was being flipped for the reception.
Michael and Aly, what a "WOW" wedding! I loved it. You were so great to work with. I know you are so happy to be married and settling into married life. I wish you all the best forever!