Sealed with a kiss!

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017


March 25th 2017 was a beautiful day to get married! The weather was quite pleasant, even the gusts of wind were welcome. I was accompanied to this wedding by my colleague Kevin Seifert who is a professional photographer. I gave my husband the day off and Kevin took all the images on this blog. They are so wonderful. Thank you, KEVIN SEIFERT PHOTOGRAPHY!
Our first stop after arriving in Louisburg where HUDSON MANOR is located was the chapel that was built on the property several years ago.
The couple were doing a Wine Unity Ceremony so I had to open the bottles of bubbly wine--one white and one red--and pour them together into the engraved decanter.
Meanwhile Melissa, the proprietor of Hudson Manor was pinning on Randy's boutonniere. He is Kevin's brother and his daughter Lilly, our pretty little flower girl was all smiles before the ceremony.
The chapel is ready! The florals in mason jars down the aisle were by BRANDI'S BOTANICALS as were the boutonnieres and other florals.
Next was a walk to the Manor House. It has a new brick front porch that is beautiful. The old wooden one needed to be replaced and this one is more like the original planned when the house was built in 1916.
Kate Marchetta with MKM PHOTOGRAPHY, the couple's professional photographer, was getting some shots of the grooms before the ceremony so this was a perfect time for me to have Kevin get some of me with the guys.
 We are all excited and anticipating the arrival of the guests. 
 Into the ballroom we go next to find the lovely cake by CONFECTIONATE CAKES
 A  table for the guest book.......
 Aren't these the cutest little favors? I don't know what they contain but they are perfect for this wedding!
The ballroom is ready. There were about 60 guests so there was plenty of room. Our DJ was TAYLOR PITTMAN who is set up by the dance floor. You can see the edge of the dance floor to the right.
 Matt and Casey sign the marriage license for me. 
 The attendants' boutonnieres were such pretty lilies that were trimmed in blue--their color theme. 
 Time to give the rings to Casey and Matt who will hand them to me during the ceremony. 
 I took a quiet moment to review the ceremony. 
 Clever seating chart.
 It is time to begin so Jeremy and Kevin, Melissa and I head over to the chapel. 
 The guests are seated and ready for this wedding!
 After the couple's fathers were seated, I processed in followed by their attendants. 
 Miss Lilly is not so happy now--all those people! Melissa escorted her down the aisle to her mother! 
 Kevin and Jeremy escorted in Kevin's mother, Tammy. 
And so we begin with a welcome to all, then a sweet prayer, and a memorial to those no longer with us, especially Jeremy's mother, Andrea.
Then I surprised their parents with a tribute to them from their sons. We asked for their blessings for this union which they freely gave.
Now for the story of how Kevin and Jeremy met. It was almost 5 years ago. The attraction was there from the beginning and it did not take them long to become a couple.
They bought their dream house and kept on adding to their canine family of Lacey, Bentley Angel, and Sadie Mae. I believe I am telling the story of their proposal at Lake Lure at this point. It was a good story!
Some latecomers got caught by Kevin's camera as he took this photo of Kate's second shooter, Mike, her husband.
They said their vows to each other then it was time to exchange rings. Kevin had not cracked a smile up until I said "I can't tell which ring is whose!" But they knew, thankfully!
 Then Jeremy placed the ring on Kevin's finger. 
I turned around and poured some of the wine I had combined into each of their engraved tumblers and invited them to drink of the wine of the cup of life.
 Following the pronouncement of marriage came the kiss! 
 It is done! They are married now! 
Big smile on Kevin's face! Jeremy smiled all the way through the ceremony. Kevin told me later he did not smile because he was trying not to cry! Awww!
 Hugs for the newlyweds! 
What a great job I have! Jeremy and Kevin, I loved working with you which included getting to know what great people you are. I wish you all the best life can offer!

The North Carolina Wedding Ring Goes on a Field Trip to Wedding Venues!

The NORTH CAROLINA WEDDING RING is a collective of Wedding Vendors, one from each category, who own their own businesses and meet each month to share our business practices, our expertise, to mentor each other and to promote each other. Our "ring" which is by invitation only  started over 3 years ago when Kimberly Williams with WEDDINGS BY THE VINE, a wedding planner, sought advice from SCORE and the result was forming our roundtable of wedding professionals. 
On March 20th 2017, we embarked on our field trip to visit a few wedding venues in the Chapel Hill area. Heidi Beaudoin who owns LIFESTYLE LIMOUSINES furnished our transportation--a luxurious Mercedes Sprinter Limo so we rode in style and comfort! Kevin Seifert, KEVIN SEIFERT PHOTOGRAPHY, did a wonderful job capturing our experience. From the left are members: Eric Hogdgen--ALL AROUND RALEIGH DJ, Sherry Lattin--FLORIAN MUSIC, me-- the wedding officiant, Kimberly Williams, Ed Carpp--WATKINS FLOWERS OF DISTINCTION, and Brie Marrow--CAKE COUTURE AND CATERING. Heidi is in the corner and you can't see her face and TIWA LAWRENCE, make-up stylist, and Kristal Cloer, FARM & FILIGREE, are behind Kevin's camera. You will see them in other photos of the trip.
Our first stop was THE BARN AT CHAPEL HILL which you can see is still under construction and due to open later this year. It is amazing and will be a stunning venue. Leading the group is Kara, the owner as we make our way through the concrete forms to the ceremony area at the front of the barn.
This old barn was in upstate NY and was deconstructed and shipped to the site and has now been reconstructed. It is simply amazing. The sheet rock is up and the chandeliers hung. This will be the reception area and can be used for indoor ceremonies as well.
 The peg joists. It is treasured historic wood that is so beautiful.
We are standing behind the loft area in what will be the bridal suite. Very spacious and well accommodated. Kara is answering our million question. They plan to not only host weddings but to also have a flower farm on the 22 acres and be able to supply the flowers for the weddings. That is Tiwa to the left. Kristal is on the right looking at the camera. Ed is asking a question about the flowers, I think!
 Eric wanted a close up of the pegged joists. 
The front of the barn that will have the sliding barn doors across it. The brick terrace in front is for the ceremonies. I can just see the bride and her father emerging from the barn doors!
On the other side of the barn is a large covered porch that could also be used for outdoor ceremonies but under cover. Across from there is a wooded area that will have a trail through it leading to a beautiful meadow--perfect for first look photos and the wedding party after the wedding. They thought of everything!
And the NC Wedding Ring is off to the next venue!

This is the AQUEDUCT--front entrance. It is up on a hill. 
The view from the deck outside the living/dining area. What a panoramic view! In the field, on the right side, is a flat spot where a large tent can go for large wedding. They can accommodate up to 500 guests. Over the top of the hill and down is a very small chapel.
 The ring admiring the view! 
The Aqueduct has two lodges for guests to stay. They do weddings and also many events for the local colleges and local corporations. There are many bedrooms to accommodate quite a few people. This is the view of the living room of one lodge looking down from the loft area.
 The view of the center from the field it overlooks. 
Eric, Kimberly, Sherry and Kevin trekked down to see the chapel. The rest of us passed because of the steep climb back up!
 I would say this is a "tiny chapel" for very small weddings! 
 Kimberly, Eric, and Kevin. Sherry must be taking the picture!
 It was a slow climb back up! 
This is inside the main lodge--dining room to the left, living room center, then another multipurpose room on the right. 
Main lodge on left, two other lodges on right. 
Our next stop was RIGMOR HOUSE. It has been expanded since I did a wedding there in 2009. The Event Manager, Ben, gave us the tour. They not only do weddings but corporate meetings too. You see the pull down screen complete with projection.
 Across from the wall with the screen is the buffet counter and the lofts on each side. 
 The kitchen is just amazing. Everyone admired the island made of pipes. 
There are three bedrooms downstairs and six upstairs so they can accommodate quite a few guests and is a great retreat center.
This is the spot for outdoor ceremonies. The cypress laurels sure are full and tall. Nice backdrop for a wedding.
View of the lodge near the ceremony site. Some "yard art" of old farm equipment and barrels which will be spilling over with flowers come spring.
 This sweet gazebo is sitting out in another field. A great place for wedding photos. 
 The fire pit.
 On one side of the lodge is a huge wrap-around porch that is new since I was there. 
A group shot of the NC Wedding Ring and Ben! Our limo driver took this shot for Kevin so he could be in the picture. From the left: Kevin, Heidi, Ed, Kristal, Tiwa, Ben, Sherry, me, Eric, Kimberly and Brie. And we are off to our last destination. 
 We met Barbara (on the right), our guide to the BARN AT VALHALLA
There is quite a story behind this place. It was built by Duffy Gilligan, a well known and respected resident of Chapel Hill. On this 30 acres he built his home and the outdoor structures on the lake. And as if that was not big enough space, he built the Barn for his parties. From time to time, friends would have their weddings there until it got so popular it became a wedding venue. Duffy died in 2012 at age 60 and the property was sold to a young couple who own it today. They no longer live on the property but run it as a wedding venue and retreat center. Barbara is the event manager and a wonderful hostess and tour guide. I've done a few weddings here and they are always so much fun and every one of them different.
 Inside the barn.
 Upstairs are 3 bedrooms. This is the king suite. One bedroom is a bunk bed room like a dormitory. 
 The sitting room which could also be a bedroom too. 
 Upstairs is where the wedding party gets dressed for the wedding. 
There are many intersecting decks between the barn and the big lodge house where Duffy lived. This is the Fireplace where some wedding ceremonies are held.
 You can see the lake behind this deck.
 Duffy's home. It is huge. He was a very large man--6'9" tall and so he built everything BIG!
 The view from inside the house great room It can be part of the rental package. 
 See how high the counters and cabinets are? Eric can barely reach the knob of the cabinet. 
Back in the great room looking at the rear of the room. Master bedroom on left. Library, queen bedroom and dining room off to the right.
 The library which used to be Duffy's office.
 The Queen bedroom. 
 The kitchen was well equipped because Duffy loved to cook. 
 The master suite. A huge spa bathroom. Hot tub in the adjoining sun room.
 This piano in the sun room sits opposite the hot tub where Kevin is standing to take the photo.
In the back of the great room is another bath and closet and a hidden door that slides open. We are peeking through.
 The hidden recreational room! I think Barbara said it can sleep 12 with addition of some blow-up beds. 
 A great place for the groom and groomsmen to hang out before the wedding and for after parties too. 
 The round gazebo on the water. Another great place for photos. 
 The interior.
 The view of the lodge house from the gazebo deck.
 This side of the barn is where tents are erected for large wedding receptions. 
 The Barn at Valhalla! 
Panoramic shot capturing the 30 acre property. So beautiful! 
What a great tour. We had a blast and learned a lot and simply enjoyed being together having fun.