Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Joe and Liz at Rock Quarry Farms

September 26th was a rainy day. There was no denying it. It would be a rainy day - all day.

But a tent for the reception, and the lovely overhang on a rustic barn for the ceremony was all that was needed to provide shelter for the sweet wedding of Joe and Liz.

The setting was Rock Quarry Farm off Highway 54 just west of Chapel Hill right across the American Gravel Company- hence the name.
Rock Quarry Farm is a small and lovely B and B just tucked off the road enough to have that rural yet accessible feel. And the tent on the lawn was perfect for their 75 guests.

There was much that was delightful about Joe and Liz's wedding. Liz made her own beautiful dress. Lily, Joe's daughter, was one of the flower girls. They had a solo violinist to usher them in, and they introduced me to a beautiful quote that fit them perfectly and other couples have since come to love, too.

It is from 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis de Berniéres written in 1993.
"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness it is not excitement, it s not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. ... Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident."

They adapted the words of blessing from the rest of that particular quote - "May your roots always grow towards one another and when all the blossoms have fallen from your branches, may you find that you are one tree and not two."

I understand that this novel has more wonderful words to say about love. I have a feeling that Liz and Joe, in their love and the love of the family they have created with Lily, will be joyfully exploring those words for a long time. Many blessings to them!

Kelly and Todd and a Rose Filled Wedding

October 17th was a chilly day, and it had rained for several days before that, making an outdoor wedding not a guaranteed success. But it was important that Kelly and Todd be married in the Raleigh Rose Garden and it was only after the ceremony that I totally understood why. Roses speak to this couple.

And the heavens conspired to make the day magical. It was overcast up to the very moment before Kelly entered the ceremony. Then the sun shone, but only until the end of the ceremony when it tucked back behind a cloud. But during the ceremony it lit up the sky, Kelly's and Todd's faces, and the roses.

We can thank Meg Daniels of
The Photography of Meg Daniels for these wonderful pictures, and for capturing the day so beautifully.

And a special thanks to Gina Beatty Martinez of the
Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden for all the logistics of ensuring the garden was ready for Kelly and Todd and their wedding.

Todd and Kelly met at the MBA program at NC-State three years ago and they both felt the touch of fate or the Divine in the meeting. They wanted to stress their appreciation of each other in their ceremony and the joy in their shared love. They described it as a positive loop of energy and appreciation. Roses were an excellent symbol of that feeling of being gifted by our Beloved in our life.

They had a guest offer a reading called 'Dedication to My Wife' by T. S. Eliot that ends with ' No peevish winter wind shall chill, No sullen tropic sun shall wither, The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only', they exchanged roses as the first gift upon their marriage, and they gave the roses to their mothers after the ceremony.

Kelly's bouquet of roses was made by the florist Fallon's Flowers on Wake Forest and they were a lush bouquet of, you guessed it, roses. The continuity of the theme was lovely and seamless.

Arioso Strings provided the elegant music safely ensconced in the gazebo again the cold and damp. The bride entered to the Air from Suite #3 by Bach, and the couple recessed to the Largo from Xerxes by Handel.

They left in a white stretch limousine provided by A Formal Affair, LLC and driven by Paul Copplestone (1-888-753-6653) for their reception and much celebrating.

Many years ago I presided at a wedding at Ayr Mount in Hillsborough for which the groom's Aunt Peggy wrote a special poem, 'Marriage Grove.' I kept this poem with Aunt Peggy's permission and Todd and Kelly chose it for their ceremony:

you played at love
wildly growing into separateness
but not today

today you step into this
someday grove
of saplings sprung beside the founding tree
an array of your life hopes and dreams
with God wielding influence as a spade
separating your want from weed
while with passionate interest
you water each seed

this is the challenge
for weather changes

give yourself to shade the other
or warm each other
become deeply rooted
urging toward what unknown Sun
unafraid of growth
sustained by its apportioned Grace
embracing this rocky
dynamic place.

I wish Kelly and Todd much joy as they cultivate the garden of their marriage.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grace and Alex at Valhalla

Alex and Grace got married at Valhalla, seemingly right out of Norse legend. But that's its official name of The Barn at Valhalla, just off Highway 54 west of Chapel Hill. On October 10th it fulfilled its promise to become a glorious spot for Alex and Grace to marry. And it was a joyful occasion.

The weather was iffy all that week. We were all checking the Doppler images daily. But it cleared up just in time to be a gorgeous early fall afternoon. Maybe it was because Alex and Grace were beaming so broadly that they created sunshine themselves. In the leafy canopy and crisp air, it felt like we were in a magical glade.

All the fabulous photographs you see here were taken by Robin Lin of Robin Lin Photography. You'll see more pictures by her on several other of my blog entries (Tim and Caroline, Kate and Jay), and on my home page of my web-site. She is always a joy to work with, captures all those moments you don't want to forget, and has the most amazing eye for color and composition. I can't recommend her highly enough. But then her work speaks for her better than any words.

Grace and Alex provided lots of small touches for others to smile at, too. Besides the ceremony they had snapshots of their dog, from various angles, on each table for the reception. These pictures also included the number for each table. They wanted their puppy with them on their wedding day and this was the best way, given his exuberance, to manage it. They also had Wedding Mad Libs at each place setting for an ice breaker (ask Robin about these, she has a copy), and a photo booth replete with funny hats and boas for some especially camp moments. And of course great dancing DJed by 1st Carolina DJs.

But everyone delighted first in the ceremony. Emily, their three year old flower girl captured everyone's heart while she was entering to 'Melloncollie and The Infinite Sadness' by Smashing Pumpkins.

Then everyone rose as Grace entered with her mother, Barbara, to the strains of 'Glasgow Love Theme.' This is the advantage of recorded music. You can really tailor it just to you.

The stunning flowers carried by Grace and her Bride's Maids were created by Tre Bella Florist in Durham, just matching her colors of brown and red.

Grace and Alex had a Quaker-like ceremony that included words of love and affirmation from several friends and family members, each one speaking from the heart. One also read the wonderful poem, 'Oh, The Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss, which was wonderfully appropriate for a wedding, and especially their wedding.

They spoke vows in their own words to each other that captured their personalities and their joy in their love for each other..

They exchanged rings with the words: 'With this ring, I join my life with yours. I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine.' Then I got to say, with gusto, 'You may now smooch your bride' and Alex did - to much applause.

This heartfelt ceremony was made more so by the loving words of dear friends and family and the complete delight that Alex and Grace were taking in the occasion. Notice that the Hindu God, Ganesha, and Grace's grandparents both looked down upon them from the stone mantle of the fireplace. Many blessings were showered upon them this day from many directions.

They left the ceremony to the song, 'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone. And we were all feeling good for them.

It's always a good sign for a marriage when a couple knows how to claim the joy in their lives and in the love of their family and friends. I'm happy for them!

October 3rd with Caroline and Tim

October began as a busy wedding month. Luckily the weather held for much of the month. And luckily we didn't need to worry about that for Tim and Caroline' wedding at the beautiful Franklin Hotel in downtown Chapel Hill. We did need to plan around game day traffic for UNC and Duke, but everyone was warned so all went well. But it was to honor Caroline and Tim's color scheme of light and dark blue that I wore a Carolina Blue stole.

Caroline and Tim both are in the visual arts so their sense of aesthetics is keen. You'll see how The Franklin and especially the wonderful pictures of photographer Robin Lin of Robin Lin Photography captured the elegance of their day.

I tend to discount black and white photographs until I see expressive ones like this one, of Tim and his Best Man, Aaron, watching Caroline enter during the processional accompanied by the wonderful music of Arioso Strings, supremely professional musicians from Cary.

Now we see why Tim was so intent upon the moment. In this photograph we see Caroline entering into the ceremony with her father.

In a typical ceremony the couple only speak to each other during the exchange of vows and rings. But Caroline and Tim decided to also read poetry to each other as part of their ceremony. Tim chose to read 'Sonnet XVII' by Pablo Neruda to Caroline. Caroline chose to read 'i carry your heart' by e.e. cummings to Tim. Both are beautiful poems written in the first person to a beloved and both poems fit these two creative and very different people wonderfully.

This was the first time The Franklin had set up their banquet room in just this way for a ceremony and it was lovely, giving the room a very spacious feel with the symmetry of the large picture windows.

This configuration of the room also enabled the videographer, Jessica Hoffman, to have a great spot from which to capture the ceremony. (We all met a week before the ceremony at The Franklin with their catering manager, JoAnn Sullivan, to work all the spacing out.) After the ceremony the guests had cocktails in the atrium of the hotel where the first picture was taken, while the seating of the room was changed for the reception.

I wish Tim and Caroline all the best as they begin their marriage. We ended their ceremony with a lovely blessing: 'May your way be blessed, may wisdom's light shine upon you, and may your journey bring you peace.' I offer these words again to this loving couple.