Sealed with a kiss!

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Stephanie and Josh's Fabulous Wedding at The Hall and Gardens at Landmark!

Stephanie and Josh chose the lovely Hall and Gardens at Landmark for their wedding on Sunday June 24th, 2018. Thankfully they decided to have the ceremony indoors on this very hot day!
The Event Manager at this venue is Kristen Leen and she has everything organized and under control! Thanks, Kristen!
My North Carolina Wedding Ring colleague, Tiwa Lawrence, and her assistant were busy putting the finishing touches on the makeup for the bridesmaids and mother of the bride.
Tiwa wanted to straighten this up before I took a photo but I snapped these 2 pictures anyway showing all the tools and products utilized in her profession!
Every color and product you can imagine! 
Tiwa's assistant is working on Stephanie's mother, Andrea, who was amazed at how glamorous she looked when she was done!
We stepped outside the bridal suite to snap this photo. Tiwa and I have done the same weddings before but she is usually done and gone by the time I get there or the makeup is done off site. It was good to see her on site!
Sherry Lattin and Florian Music are tuned up and ready for the ceremony! Sherry is also a member of the North Carolina Wedding Ring. It is fun to work together.
The Groom's Hangout is so masculine and well-appointed. 
After checking in with Josh, I got his best man's signature on the marriage license. 
The guests have begun arriving. By the time for the ceremony, the seats were filled. 
Meanwhile out in the lobby area, I was enjoying watching a slide show of our bride and groom. 
Josh's parents entered after the Grandmother of the Bride was seated. 
Then the Mother of the Bride was escorted in by her son. 
Josh and I made our way down the aisle next followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen! 
Aaaah! Stephanie is such a beautiful bride and has been looking forward to this moment for so long! 
Her father is so proud to escort her down the aisle. 
"Who blesses and supports Stephanie as she comes to join in marriage with Joshua?
It is a very large wedding party! 
After a welcome to all the guests and a prayer, I invited the parents of the couple to stand as we paid tribute to them and brought the mothers to tears!
Stephanie and Josh's love story came next. There was lots of good laughter as I related the past 6 years of their relationship.
Then they heard what their partner had told me in confidence what they love about them. 
The vows and ring exchange was next. 
I pronounced them husband and wife and invited Josh to kiss the bride! 
And they had a good kid  but we did not get a photo of the kiss! This is just afterwards as reality sank in! 
After being presented to their guests, they made their way out while the guests cheered. 
The wedding party convened out in the beautiful but toasty gardens for photos by our photographer Heather Gunther.
Stephanie and Josh--Congratulations! You did it and it was beautiful! I was honored to join you in matrimony and wish you all the best forever!

A Great Wedding for Melissa and Alex at The Museum of Natural Sciences!

Melissa and Alex are not your traditional American wedding couple! They are both highly intelligent and well-educated and definitely think outside the box. So, the usual wedding venues did not appeal. Perfect for them was the Nature Research Center in the Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.
I remember this museum under construction, especially the world globe. It is huge! 
Inside is the skeleton of a female Right whale named Stumpy and her story is told on the placards around the exhibit. She apparently was struck by a ship in 2004 and her body washed up on a beach I believe in the Alaska area where she died. She had been tagged so the scientists following her knew her history.  Her death also established a restricted speed limit for ships within her habitat. I have a degree in zoology so this was of great interest to me.
At the information desk I had the two witnesses sign the marriage license. 
Helping with the boutonnieres. 
Melissa and her flower girl Anna are hanging out in the classroom behind the museum store. This wedding was on June 23rd, 2018 at 6:30 after the museum had closed for the day.
Pinning the boutonniere on Alex. Silk flowers have metal stems so they can be a challenge to get the pin through. They did not have pins and the clips they had improvised with did not work. I always carry pins with me so we switched to Plan B.
The guests are beginning to arrive and hang out in the lobby of the museum. 
Rocky Top was our caterer--in fact they cater all the events at the Museum. The tables were all set up and after the ceremony the chairs will be moved into this reception area.
The tables are scattered around the exhibits. 
Yates Mill Bakery made this unique wedding cake. Both Melissa and Alex love projects, especially car projects thus the mechanic's tool box, lift, and tire!
The cake appears to be guarded by the Rottweiler in the life raft!  Actually the story of the whale included the information that they do use dogs to detect whales in trouble. I did not know that!
When the guests were all seated, we brought in the wedding party and parents to get lined up to process in. Kristen Stoneman with Morse Entertainment was our DJ.
And now we are all in place and the ceremony began. It was a heartfelt secular ceremony and very personalized to our bride and groom.
There was a sweet section where we recognized their parents and thanked them for all their love and support. 
After that I got to tell their story! They both grew up in New Jersey and were in the same high school where they met as volunteers for the stage crew in 2007. Alex was a senior and Melissa a freshman and they just "noticed" each other. Alex graduated and started college in Charlotte. They kept in touch and when Alex was home from school they visited and eventually started dating. When Melissa graduated she moved to Charlotte for college too and graduated. Then they moved to Raleigh where Melissa continued her education. And really, they've never been apart since despite the relationship changing to long distance when Melissa moved back to New Jersey to help care for her mother for a year. Her mother recovered and Melissa rejoined Alex in Raleigh. Alex proposed Christmas Day of 2016 and even though Melissa said no at first, she quickly changed her mind. After buying their first house and adding to their feline family they got around to planning this wedding and here we are today!
Alex reads his vows to Melissa from my book.
Then Melissa did the same. 
Alex placed the ring on Melissa finger and said a few lines after me. 
Melissa struggled just a little to get that ring all the way on Alex's finger! 
She did it of course with all her engineering and mechanical skills! 
A closing blessing followed then the pronouncement of marriage! 
Yay--the kiss! 
And away they go! 
Melissa and Alex! Great wedding! It was so YOU! Thanks for choosing me to officiate for you. I enjoyed working with you to write the perfect ceremony for you then delivering it on your wedding day! All the best!