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!

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