Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Phil and Christina's Wonderful November Wedding

On November 7th, with much love and support, Christina and Phil celebrated their marriage at The Berryhill Estate in South Boston, Virginia. It was a gorgeous fall day and everything seemed to fall into place beautifully to celebrate Phil and Christina's love.

Christina and Phill planned well beforehand and I could see as their day unfolded that it all was paying off. Berryhill estate is in a quiet spacious setting with a modern inn attached so that all the festivities could be in one location. There's no road noise yet its easy to get to. Once there all the guests could relax and enjoy the wonderful separation from the reminders of every day tasks.

A note about weddings in Virginia: Officiants must register with the state of Virginia in person and only those ordained clergy who can prove their ordination by a valid ordaining body are authorized to perform weddings. Make sure that the officiant you choose is licensed to perform weddings in VA! Also in VA only the minister signs the license, while in NC you need two people to serve as witnesses.

Thanks for Shawn Mary Tomkinson of Shawn Mary Tomkinson Photography for these wonderful pictures. She and her associate were so easy to work and brought such skill to the day in this setting which could be tricky because of its grandeur.

The New Hope Players, the string quartet on the veranda with me, led off with the Air from Suite #3 in D Major by Bach, providing an elegant entrance for Christina and Phil's grandparents and parents. Then their Best Man, Patrick (Phil's brother) and their Maid of Honor, Valerie entered with Phil and Christina's dogs, Hailey and Rex. I remember Hailey romping in the long expanse of front yard before the ceremony. A dog's idea of heaven.

Rhonda van der Schagt from The Berryhill Estate was in wonderful charge of the procession as the wedding party entered from the right of the beautiful ante-bellam estate.
Christina entered to Pachelbel's Canon in D navigating all those steps in her beautiful floor length gown. Phil was there to help her and you could see his respect for her as he escorted her carefully up each step. I knew it boded well for their marriage.

Before they spoke their vows, Christina's grandparents, Nanny and Pappy read from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, from the New Testament. It was touching to hear those classic words about love from people whose marriage bore witness to their truth . Then two friends read excerpts from 'The Bridge Across Forever' by Richard Bach which speak of finding our soul mate and what that means to our lives.

I was amazed at how well our voices carried easily in this larger than life setting. And I'm glad they did because Phil and Christina each wrote their own very personal vows to each other that were heartfelt, tender, down to earth, and timeless. They'll be able to draw upon them at many points in their journey together. They each sent me the vows they'd written beforehand so that I had them but they hadn't seen what the other had written. They're close to their families and all of us were touched by the very real and open affection they expressed to each other.

So often couples are shy. With Phil and Christina, I saw them take the power of the moment to let everything else fall away but each other and the love they wanted to express. I was so glad they claimed this for themselves. It will live forever in their hearts.

I got to say the following wonderful words of blessing upon their marriage at the end of their ceremony: "May the love that has brought you together continue to grow and enrich your lives, bringing peace and inspiration to each of you and to those who know you. May you meet with courage the problems which arise to challenge you, may you meet with strength the troubles that beset you. Phil and Christina, may your marriage be one of ever growing depth and meaning, understanding and love which you give to one another in the life you share. May you find far more in life than either would have found alone. May you find tolerance for the prejudices, reverence for the beauties, and respect for the truths you will encounter as you go forward together. Amen."

Then I had the fun of introducing them as a married couple. As everyone cheered, so did they.
I could tell that the reception would be a great celebration. And I was delighted for them adding silent blessings and delight in addition to those I formally offered in their ceremony.

True to who they are, they were gracious in their thanks to me, and I appreciated it a lot.
I got the following wonderful note from Christina after they returned from their honeymoon in Belize: 'Thank you so much for everything leading up to the wedding and on the big day. We received so many compliments from guests about our ceremony and how personal and meaningful it was, and I can't thank you enough for helping guide us through the process! I wanted to let you know I've posted a rave review to OneWed, and I wish you the very best!'

I seldom stay for the reception, preferring to come home to my own Sweetheart, Ruben. (We just celebrated our 10th anniversary!) Yet I know that many many more professionals work hard to make each couple's wedding special. I love to honor them and their efforts. For all of us this is a labor of love.

Phil and Christina's beautiful cake was made by Lisa Guadagnini of Tier Bella. The cranes were made by Christina. Christina's love and skill with origami was also evident in the amazing origami bouquets for the reception.

Christina's and her bride's maids flowers were done by Tre Bella Florist in Durham, NC. Notice the big lush hydrangeas. They were gorgeous.

And not to be forgotten, the DJ for the celebration was Greg Ramsely of the inimitable Joe Bunn Dj Company.

I wish Phil and Christina all the joy that marriage can bring.

Just thinking of them now brings a smile to my heart.


  1. omg i love the origami flowers! such a wonderful idea!

  2. Wonderful this is interesting.. Great wedding planning Ideas. Thanks

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