Sealed with a kiss!

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Jennine and Steve's Fabulous Wedding at the Cotton Room!

Jennine and Steve are a very special couple for me. I loved working with them to create their unique wedding ceremony and since they did my Marriage 101 class, we got to know each other beyond the usual officiant/couple relationship. They are very compatible and I expect their marriage will be very satisfying and and enduring! I loved meeting their parents at the rehearsal and wedding as well!
Their wedding was at the Cotton Room in Durham on Friday May 3rd, 2019. When Dave and I arrived the ceremony space was all set up. Christopher with The Stem Studios was their florist and had decorated the arbor at the front for the ceremony. Morgan Cadell was our absolutely spectacular photographer who gave me most of these photos for this blog. She was mutually impressed with how personal to the couple the ceremony was.
Morgan's photo of the Raleigh Cake Pops spread for the reception. 
Before the ceremony. Jennine's father, John wanted to be sure he gave me the right answer when he presented the bride.
Our director with the Cotton Room, Heather, got us all lined up in order of entrance after all the guests were seated.
I was first to enter.  (Photo by Morgan Cadell.)
Once I reached the front, I made the "unplugged announcement" requesting the guests put away their cell phones and cameras and allowing the professional photographer to capture the images of this moment.  (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
After the entrance of the grandparents, Steve's parents, Nancy and Steve, made their entrance! (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
 Then Karen, mother of the bride, was escorted in by her son Kevin. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Then our groom, Steve, made his way down the aisle followed by his 5 groomsmen!  (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Steve's parents and grandparents watch as their son takes his place up front. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Our five bridesmaids processed in next, one by one.  (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Then it is time for our beautiful bride! (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
The big moment! (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
(Photo by Morgan Caddell)
(Photo by Morgan Caddell)
The couple turned and faced each other as I welcomed everyone for this milestone occasion. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
It was a full house and everyone was there out of love for our bride and groom. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
After a prayer, remembrance of loved ones no longer with us, and a tribute to their parents, I started telling the story of how our couple met. It was back in 2007 when they were both attending Elon University. Jennine was a track athlete and Steve a soccer player and their practices were are the same time in adjoining fields. They probably first met at a Soccer House Party one weekend. Jennine remembers Steve always being the life of the party, which is a quality she really liked about him because of his fun and friendly personality. And she admits, he was a pretty cute soccer player too. They became friends almost immediately and started calling each other “favorite girl” and “favorite guy.” And this continued for the next 3 years until Jennine graduated in 2010. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Then they graduated and went their separate ways until 2015 when they were both back at Elon College and reunited in a big way. They were both at the Fat Froggs Bar and Grill alumni welcome event and rediscovered each other. Steve spotted Jennine across the bar laughing and having a great time. He asked his friend and best man Brad what Jennine was up to. Brad told him she was living in Wilmington at which point Steve remembers saying “I didn’t know she was back in North Carolina, I always liked her; she is the type of girl you want to marry.”  He made a point to go say Hi to Jennine and later did his best to set himself apart on the dance floor with her. After they were tired out from all the dancing they went to Cookout to get some milkshakes. When Jennine ordered first and said “I will take a Reese’s Cup and banana milkshake,” the exact order Steve had been getting for years, he knew it was meant to be. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Jennine fondly remembers that night and how fun it was to dance with Steve. Steve pulled out a dance move similar to the “fish and hook” and Jennine pulled out all her favorite dance moves, like the shopping cart and the running man. Jennine felt so comfortable dancing with Steve and remembers feeling really special when he danced with just her all night! At the end of the night, he asked for her number and she remembers thinking “I can’t believe Party Steve wants to hang out with me!”  And from that moment on, they became a couple and have never looked back. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
They then heard what their partner told me in confidence about the characteristics they love in each other, why they want to marry and what they are looking forward to in marriage--for the first time. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
A few tears leaked from Steve's eyes as he heard what Jennine told me she loved about him. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
I pulled out my handy hanky and wiped away those tears. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
They exchanged vows and rings. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
(Photo by Morgan Caddell)
After a closing blessing I had the great privilege of pronouncing them husband and wife and invited Steve to kiss the bride!
I quickly stepped out of the way as Steve went in for the kiss! (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
Whoohoo! It is done! (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
One very happy couple! (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
The couple and family exited to behind the draped area and the guests to the bar area for cocktails while the staff flipped the space for the reception as pictured above. (Photo by Morgan Caddell)
I am packing up my microphone while our DJ Eric with All Around Raleigh DJs gets the music going to for the reception. Love working with Eric. The sound for the ceremony was perfect--as usual!
Giving Jennine a hug and congratulations after the ceremony. So happy for them! 
Jennine and Steve!! Congratulations on your marriage and a wedding superbly done! You are a fantastic couple and I have no doubt that your marriage will be happy, satisfying and enduring!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Liz and Cody's Beautiful Wedding at the WRAL Azalea Garden!

So, last November, Liz contacted me to see if I could officiate her wedding. A friend of one of her bridesmaids had been at a wedding I officiated and recommended she contact me. I was delighted that I was available for hers and Cody's wedding day April 20th 2019 at the WRAL Azalea Gardens. They live in DC so we did not meet in person until the day of the rehearsal but we skyped and emailed.
Their videographer, Dean Garris with Deano Pictures, was setting up when Dave and I arrived.  I went about setting up my sound system and did a sound check. All sounded good. Dean put one of his microphones on me to get the sound for the video. It was a good thing too because my sound system failed--don't understand why, maybe frequency interference with the towers at WRAL, but Dean got my voice for the video. Here is the LINK to the video trailer.
The guests were arriving and filling in the seats. Meanwhile the wedding party was hidden behind the gray stone facade in the rear. The reception for this wedding was at The Cannon Room in downtown Raleigh. Christie Williams who is the event manager for The Cannon Room was our wedding director for the ceremony. In fact, because it was terrible weather the day before, we had our rehearsal there instead of getting drenched in the garden! Thanks, Christie!
The Petals String Duo was playing prelude music. Our photographer was Eric with Arbor Union and the florist was Juniper & Rye Floral.
 The groomsmen and I were the first to enter down the aisle. 
 Cody followed as he escorted his mother Debbie down the aisle then joined me and the guys. 
Mother (Jill) and Grandmother (Lib) of the Bride came in together. 
 Then it was the bridesmaids' turn. Above is Emily, Liz's twin sister, Maid of Honor!
 Time for Emily and her dad, John, to make their trek across the grass and down the aisle. 
As the guests stood in their honor, they stopped in front of Cody and me and I asked John: "Who gives their love and blessing to Liz as she comes to join in marriage to Cody?" He answered: "Her mother and I do." The guests were seated and the ceremony began. It was then that I found out my voice was not being amplified. I walked over to the sound system and it was on and my bodypack was on and there was nothing I could do short of taking a time out and unplugging and reconnecting everything which I think would be inappropriate. So, I just projected my voice.
I welcomed everyone and told them how happy Liz and Cody were to have them present with them on this auspicious occasion.
Then I stepped out much further than usual so that I could direct my voice to the guests. First was a tribute to their parents which was a sweet surprise. The couple and I created the script so they knew what I was saying.
Then I had the fun task of telling their story like no one had ever heard it. They each had separately answered a bunch of questions for me which I blended together telling their story from both perspectives. I could tell the guests could hear me because they were laughing at the right places!
Liz and Cody met for the first time in 2013 when both of them were interviewing for the same internship. Cody noticed Liz sitting in the lobby area all cool and collected reading a book while all the other interviewees were stewing about nervously. She was so beautiful and intriguing, he just couldn't resist the urge to introduce himself, and so he did. They had a lively conversation that neither of them would ever forget. But getting together then was not in the stars. They went their separate ways back to their universities in different states. They became Facebook friends but Liz ended up going abroad the following summer and Cody got that job they interviewed for. Fast forward to over a year later in Spring of 2014 when Liz reached out to Cody on Facebook. They were both free of any other love interests by then and the spark was fanned into a flame! The first date was set for June in DC and the rest is history. Cody proposed in June of 2018 with an elaborately orchestrated plan that didn't work out quite as he had hoped but she said yes and the wedding planning began. Liz's parents live in Cary so they chose to have their wedding here.
 You can see how much the twins look alike. And they are very close too. 
I continued to stand closer to the guests as I read to Liz and Cody what the other had told me in confidence--what they love about each other, why they want to marry, and what they are looking forward to in marriage. They had not heard these secret paragraphs until that moment.
 Cody read his vows to Liz. They both had included touches of humor in their promises to each other.
A few little tears had escaped from Liz's eyes and down her cheeks and so I blotted them for her. I always carry a hankie for that purpose! 
 Then they exchanged rings.
 A closing blessing came next. 
 Then I pronounced them husband and wife and invited them to seal their vows with a kiss! 
 And so they did! 
 They are so so happy to finally be married! 
 They are cheered on by their guests as they step into their new marriage! 
Mother and father of the bride exited after the bridesmaids and one groomsman hung back to escort Cody's mom out.
Liz and Cody!! Wonderful wedding! I loved working with you and creating your ceremony so that it was a wonderful expression of the two of you. I wish you the best always!