Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Fabulous March Wedding For Jen and Jon at Highgrove!

Isn't this simply stunning? It is the new pergola at Highgrove. The inspiration was the cathedral shapes of a pergola at Duke Gardens. This one is taken to new levels of elegance. Being used to the white gazebo type pergola at Highgrove, seeing this when I arrived for the rehearsal for Jen and Jon's wedding there on March 2nd, 2019 just took my breath away!
The seating area has been pushed back toward the lake with much more seating capacity. A nice wide aisle too.
This is the pergola in the rear of the White Garden Amphitheater in Duke Gardens--you can see the inspiration. In the novel Pillars of the Earth which I read years ago, it explains how the curved to a point arched window-shape called Lancet came about because of its strength and most Gothic cathedrals in Europe have these windows and door shapes.
Standing under the pergola and facing the house, this is the new aisle and curving stairs with retaining walls. It is beautiful!
Another fairly new addition is at the rear of the garden ballroom--a covered fireplace area where small ceremonies could be if the weather is not cooperating.
Flowers on Broad Street did all their floral arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres. 
Their Anniversary Box into which they will place their secret vows to each other which have been written into a little booklet. The box contains the mementos of their life together--love notes, cards, ticket stubs, etc. which they will continue to add to each year creating a legacy of love for their children and their children.
A clever way to display the seating assignments. 
Pretty wedding cake by Sweet Memories. 
Checking in with their videographer, Jeremy with Handiwork Media in Charlotte. Here is a LINK to their wedding video. Behind me are our DJs from All Events DJs. 
As the guests arrive, they are greeted by this sign on the front porch. 
Also on the front porch guests are greeted with a server offering Welcome Champagne and strawberries! 
It was March in North Carolina which could be freezing or spring-like. Jon was so relieved that the temperatures were pleasant because he talked Jen into having a March wedding despite her being cold-natured! The guests were arriving and enjoying some champagne to warm them up!
Inside I take a few quiet moments to review the wedding ceremony script.
Their "guest book" was a globe which the guests were asked to sign. 
Britnie, our wedding coordinator with Highgrove, is getting everyone down from upstairs and lined up to process in. The guests are seated and waiting.
I processed in first and anchored the ceremony space. The grandparents were next in.
Jon escorted in his mother then joined me up front.
The mother of the bride was then escorted in and it was time for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to enter.
Jon and I are watching this beautiful processional.
Isabelle, our flower girl, did a great job sprinkling the flower petals.
Please stand in honor of the bride!
Jen was escorted in by her dad and stepdad. 
Everyone seated and ready for the ceremony to begin. I welcomed everyone, said a sweet prayer and remembered their loved ones who could not be with us.
Then I got to tell their guests about the day they met and all their many adventures getting to the wedding day. It was funny. They had some good stories for me to tell.
The guests and wedding party had some good laughs as well as our bride and groom!
Then I revealed to each of them what the other had told me they love about them.
Jon reads his vows to Jen from book. They each wrote their own vows and kept them secret from the other. I monitored them to keep them about equal length. Jon included some good humor in his.
Then it was Jen's turn to say her vows to Jon. Also with some good humor! (These two match up so well!)
Our ring bearer/groomsman, brother of the groom, had a smart remark when I called for the rings! (Runs in the family!) 
Talking about the symbolism of the rings.
Jon places the ring on Jen's finger as he said "With this ring, I give you my heart."
Jen did the same.
They have placed the love-notes with their vows in the Anniversary Box to be opened on their first anniversary.
After a closing blessing, I made the pronouncement of marriage and invited them to share a kiss!
They recessed out followed by the wedding party and family for photos.
I invited the guests to go to the terrace for cocktails and celebration!
Jon and Jen! What a great wedding! I am so happy for you. It was great working with you on the ceremony and "delivering" it on your wedding day. Thank you for choosing me to join you in marriage. I wish you the best always!

Meghan and Dustin's Beautiful Wedding at Melrose Knitting Mill!

Meghan and Dustin live in Colorado while he is in the military and planned their wedding from afar for December 28, 2018. The met while living in North Carolina so they chose the historic Melrose Knitting Mill for their wedding venue. Meghan's parents live in Florida and Dustin's in Wyoming.
This beautiful cake is by Simply Cakes. The caterer for Melrose Knitting Mill is Mulino's. The florist was Callie with Wylde Flowers and the photographers were from George Creative.
Our DJ was Randy Bennett with Bunn DJ Company. Randy and I have done too many wedding together to keep count. He collects cuff links and he chose these for the couple.
We are behind the drapes connecting my mic to his system.
Making sure everything is synchronized.
The ceremony area is ready. After the ceremony the guests will go downstairs for cocktail hour while the staff flips this room by spreading out all the tables hidden behind the drapes into this area, placing the chairs and creating a dance floor.
Blake Morrin with Southern Oak Events was our wedding coordinator. She had everything under control!
I am in the back room area which is the holding area for the groom and groomsmen. 
When it is time, we get lined up to enter through the drapes to the altar area. 
Their photographer, Katherine, is poised to capture the images of the bridal party and bride when they come down the aisle.
The guys and I have entered and taken our places up front.
After all the bridesmaids entered, it is time for our beautiful bride and her father to enter. 
"Who supports and blesses Meghan as she comes to join in marriage to Dustin?"
After welcoming everyone, there was a short prayer, then I stepped out to deliver the blessing to their parents. A sweet surprise moment for them.
Then it was my pleasure to tell the story of Meghan and Dustin and all their adventures that brought them to this special day.
Time for the vows! 
I asked them each a series of questions to which they replied "I do."
Then it was time for the ring exchange. 
Dustin places the ring on Meghan's finger and makes his promises to her.
Then it is Meghan's turn.
Then I pronounced them husband and wife and invited them to share their first married kiss!
And out they go into the next chapter of their lives! Marriage! 
Congratulations, Meghan and Dustin!! Great wedding you pulled together. Thank you for choosing me to officiate for you! I wish you the best always.