Sealed with a kiss!

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Kensi and Jake Tie the Knot and Bless their Baby!

Jake contacted me by email about his and Kensi's wedding. They are expecting a baby girl in July and wanted to tie the knot before she was born. It is so sweet to include a blessing for the unborn baby as part of the wedding ceremony. The wedding day was June 24th, 2017--a hot day with threats of rain but it held off for this wedding!
When Dave and I arrived at their new home, everything was well-prepared and waiting for all the guests to get there.
Jake's mother signs the license as a witness. 
Thoughtful little touches. I could tell they had been hard at work creating them.
Kensi's mother signs the license as the other witness. She is originally from Honduras. 
The arbor awaits as the guests find their places.
These two guys sitting in the second row I happen to know and was quite surprised to find out that they are brothers of the groom! They both were servers at Vivo, one of my favorite restaurants in Raleigh. It was good to see them again and they had NO idea I was officiating their brother's wedding!
Jake and his best man and I take our places up front. I asked the guests sitting in the back to move forward! 
Everyone stands for the bride who is preceded by her children: Jorge, Nicole, and Sophia. 
And the ceremony begins.
Following a warm welcome to all, we bowed our heads in prayer.
I had some sweet words for Jorge, Nicole and Sophia on behalf of Jake and Kensi then we had a blessing for the unborn little girl soon to join this family.
The vows.....
Blessing of the rings.......
They placed their rings on each other's finger.
A closing blessing......
Kensi shed tears throughout the ceremony and I handed Jake a hankie to wipe her tears away from time to time!
The pronouncement of marriage!
Sealed with a kiss! 
At last it is done! 
I invited the guests to stand and join me in congratulating the newlyweds.
Everyone went back inside to cool off and enjoy the beautiful food! This is the table where the cake will go.
Posing with our photographer Ashley McCray.  (My hubby Dave took these blog pictures, not Ashley)
Evan and Dustin enjoying the celebration as we bid farewell to them.
Jake and Kensi, congratulations on your marriage and your new baby girl coming soon. You did a great job preparing for your wedding and I know you will be outstanding parents together. I wish you all the best!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Midnight Wedding for Terry and Michael in my Garden!

Terry and Michael wanted to get married the same day that they left on their trip to the Caribbean. Trouble was that they had to catch a flight at 8:00 AM that day. Terry contacted me to see if I would be willing to marry them at 12:01 AM on June 23rd, 2017 in my garden. I said yes!
I sprayed the garden with some bug spray about 30 minutes before midnight to make sure the mosquitoes did not bother us. They brought luminaries with them that were so pretty.
They wanted to play a song "Marry Me" beginning at 11:58 PM that lasted 3 minutes. When the music started up, Terry got all teary eyed.
 We are watching her and listening to the music and I think Michael teared up a little too. 
Terry slowly made her way down the "aisle" and joined us. I took her bouquet and placed it on the table behind me so they could hold hands.
 The song ended and the ceremony began. 
The view from the upper deck was gorgeous! I am amazed those cafe lights gave out so much light. I could read my book easily.
 They made their vows of marriage to each other. 
 Michael placed the ring on Terry's finger and said the words after me.
 Terry placed the ring on Michael's finger and said the ring words to him. 
 I pronounced them husband and wife well after midnight! Yay! 
 Hey, we did it! 
Terry and Michael, congratulations on your marriage and on a very unique wedding! Have a wonderful trip and a very happy marriage!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Julia and Zach Get Married at The City Club in Raleigh!

Julia and Zach chose the City Club of Raleigh at the top of the Wells Fargo building with magnificent views of Raleigh for their venue. Their wedding date was June 17th 2017. Tyshia, the event coordinator for the club, directed the wedding and kept us all organized.
Looking out from the north side at the State Capitol building and beyond.
If you look carefully you can see the groom and groomsmen standing on the steps to the sidewalk. Their second shooter photographer from Wake Forest Portrait Shoppe was getting some pre-ceremony pictures.
Meanwhile, Melissa, their primary shooter was getting some awesome pictures of the bride with the view in the background.
The ceremony room was ready for the guests to arrive. Amy Wurster from Knots 'n' Such provided the pretty floral arrangements and the boutonnieres and bouquets.
Back in the mezzanine where the guests will enjoy cocktails after the ceremony, the family and guests were beginning to trickle in. Note the hanging globes of the new chandelier in the spiral staircase.
After hooking into the house sound system and doing a sound check, I sat down to review the ceremony. 
A fish-eye view that I did not know my camera had the capability of! 
We are beginning to get lined up for the processional. I am chatting with Zach's parents and his grandmother. We were running a bit late due to the guests slow arrival--most likely due to finding parking in downtown Raleigh. You must give yourself extra time for that.
Meanwhile it was a good opportunity to get a shot of the groomsmen with Grandma Jean. Zach is to the right of her and his brother Matthew, best man, is on the far left. It is obvious they are brothers!
Fatemeh, grandmother of the bride, has arrived so now we can begin the processional. 
The couple asked me to enter first and make an announcement to put all cameras and cell phones away. 
Natalie, maid of honor and sister of the bride, entered next. 
She went to the keyboard and began playing "By the Limpid Stream" for the processional of the grandmothers, parents and groom and groomsmen. She has played at other family weddings so it is a tradition in their family.
After the bridesmaids had entered and taken their places, Natalie began playing "You're the Inspiration" for the entrance of our beautiful bride and her parents.
Big smiles as they rounded the corner and headed straight for Zach and the wedding party. 
Some hugs for mom and dad while Natalie finished the musical piece. 
Then I asked the big question and her dad transferred her hand into Zach's and all were seated. 
Natalie then straightened the dress and train. She had triple duty for this wedding! 
Welcome to all and thanks for being with us. Then a sweet prayer followed a tribute to their parents. 
There were a few tears shed by their moms as they received their blessings. Then it was time for the story. 
This is the most fun part of the ceremony. I love telling the story of how the bride and groom met and fell in love. Most guests and family members have never heard the full story with the details of both the bride and the groom's perspective. Julia and Zach met in PE class at NC State and were immediately drawn to each other. Bypassing his tendency to be shy, Zach decided to make a move and initiate conversation but Julia beat him to the punch! A few weeks later they went on their first date and it was not long before they became inseparable.
They love rooting for the Wolfpack, hiking in the mountains, taking long romantic walks on the beach, listening to live jazz, soul, rock music, listening to live comedy, working out at the gym and going to amusement parks, cooking together, giving head rubs to each other and spending time with each others’ families. They also enjoy talking about politics, science, and anything else that's interesting. Julia is an excellent drummer, and huge music fan, so they really enjoy going to see live music.  
Almost 2 years later, in August of 2016, they took a trip to Grandfather Mountain to go hiking. It was a rainy weekend and there was a lot of mud, rain, and sweat. The sun finally came out on about the third day of the trip and they decided to go on a hike. 
They walked across the very crowded, swinging, mile-high bridge, and kept hiking along a more challenging trail until they reached a beautiful scenic overlook. There were a couple of people standing around the corner, and Zach said he wanted to wait for the people to walk by. At this time, while enjoying the magnificent view, she heard him breathing hard as he stood behind her, rustling through his suspicious backpack. 
That’s when he said, “I have to ask you a question.” She turned around, saw him kneeling on one knee, with a box in his hand, and she instantly started crying and exclaimed, “YES!!” before he could even get the question out of his mouth. Funny thing is though, he forgot to open the box, so she had to ask him if she could see the ring!! She rarely cries, but real tears of happiness flowed as she jumped up and down. It was fantastic.
(I show this photo because this chandelier used to hang in the spiral staircase in the mezzanine where the one with the globed one does now. I was so happy to see that in the renovation of the club they kept this beauty!)
The big reveal of their secret paragraphs of what they love about each other and what they are looking forward to in marriage.
Then they made their vows to each other. 
And sealed them with their rings.
A closing blessing for the couple.
The moment they become husband and wife! 
This photo is as close to the kiss as we got! 
It was a short kiss and I was about to ask them to kiss again when I noticed Zach was now wearing Julia's bright red lipstick. By the time I took my hankie and wiped it off, the guests were cheering and applauding so loudly, it was too late. They jubilantly dashed down the aisle leaving Julia's bouquet behind amidst the cheers of their guests. Natalie scooted over to the keyboard to play while the rest of the wedding party exited.
The parents: Ali and Laura and Dave and Kathy recessed to join the guests in the mezzanine. 
They had a jazz quintet, led by Dr. Wes Parker, director of NC State Jazz Ensemble.
Much celebration and sharing of the bubbly in the Bride's Room. 
Zach and Julia! Congratulations on your marriage and on your beautiful wedding. Thank you for choosing me to join you in matrimony. I wish you the best forever!