Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jason and Sam at The Cotton Room in Durham

On Saturday, May 8th I had the pleasure of presiding over Jason and Sam's wedding. It was the culmination of many months of careful and very creative planning. I was so impressed by their embracing all the opportunities that this public declaration of their love offers. The above is one of photographer Ann Hathaway's wonderful photos.

Sam is a 6th grade English teacher and her imagination showed in the beautiful chuppah that she and her friend, Christel batiked with an image of the tree of life. Its structure was designed by Sam's father Karl and Jason, using Cedar trees cut from the woods at her parent's home.
Here's a better picture of how wonderful it was.

Here is their invitation in the same rich imagery and colors. Ignore the line next to Jason's name. That's where I blocked out their last names for my scan. I'm sorry that the colors don't show up more vividly on this image. It's really elegant and is has 'Shell Artistree' on the back, which I assume in the manufacturer. I hope they frame it. I can't bear to throw it out.

They were married in The Cotton Room in downtown Durham. It was another 'blank canvas' for them to fill. The room was light filled and airy with sections set up for every need - sofas and cocktail tables for before and after the ceremony, ceremonial space and tables for the dinner afterward - all in lovely champagne color linens.

The only downside that I found with this location was the sound of the air conditioning system. I was so glad that the musicians and I had microphones so that we could be heard. But best of all was Michelle who is with The Cotton Room and who expertly coordinated all that we needed for the day.

I was delighted that Sam and Jason sent me these images taken by guests at their ceremony.
Photographer Amy Hathaway took the official photographs and I've noted those for you. She was wonderful getting shots of all the special artistic touches that Sam and Jason brought to their day.

Jason and Sam met through mutual friends in January of 2008 when they talked for 4 or 5 hours at that first meeting. They love to travel and Jason proposed when they were on a trip to San Francisco. (Smart man. San Francisco is such a romantic city.) And they're going to British Columbia on their honeymoon.

When I first met them, they were exploring the book '
If The Buddha Married' by Charlotte Kasl, which they highly recommended it. I'm glad that writing this blog has reminded me to get a copy for myself.

Jason and Sam loved the wonderful spiritual exploration into their relationship that it prompted.
They were drawn to the symbolism of the tree of life, not in the traditional sense but as a symbol of roots, shelter, and connection. How trees are full of beauty - Aspens, Birch, Oak, Tulip Poplars - , changing in each season, and how they are tied to the earth, how they house birds, and shelter us.

Sam and Jason honor their roots, both spiritual and familial and knew that this gathering would be special in all the different branches of their lives it would draw together for this one day.

They're reflective and joyful people, in touch with the layers of meaning which add texture and strength to our lives and our relationships. They told their guests that their relationship had made them realized the sacredness of the marriage ceremony and how they are growing and evolving as people and as a couple already in their lives together.

They are meant for each other and they were radiant on their wedding day.

I love the vows they said to each other:

'I take you as my partner, loving and respecting the amazing person that you are, and the person you will become. I promise to treasure our commitment and to honor our relationship and family as most important. I will support you in your dreams and be your life long companion. I will remember to appreciate you daily and I will try to be the strength when times are difficult. I love having you as my best friend in this adventure together. And I will cherish every day we have together, sharing the sweetness of our life.'

We were all smiles after that ceremony. You can see it in the final photo, which was taken by Ann Hathaway. Their ceremony had such a rightness to it. I was delighted to be a part of it and I wish them all the happiness in the world.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Renee, Andre, Emmet, and a Cat Named Cheezy Pete

It's impossible to describe Andre and Renee's wedding on May 1st at their home without mentioning their animal companions who they love like children. I love this about them. I have my own inter-species romance with our Senegal Parrot named Mango. I understand how our furred and feathered friends expand our world, keep us humble, teach us how to love, and remind us how to take things in stride. In the picture above, we're looking at the meows that Chessy Pete is making from the window of the house during the ceremony.

And here is Cheezy Pete looking back.

When we gathered for Andre and Renee's wedding at their home, their animals were very much included.

It was important for Renee and Andre to include their parents in spirit, too, even though Andre's parents had passed on and Renee's parents weren't able to be with us.
I loved this about their ceremony and their hearts. As a minister you learn how to create and honor sacred space. Andre and Renee had an intuitive understanding of both the power and the presence of that intention and created it beautifully in their front yard for their ceremony. Here are pictures of Andre and his family, here is memory and spirit.

Here are pictures of Renee and her family.

Though, too, her three sisters were very much there in person.
I love seeing sisters together. Having two sisters myself, I know how the relationship most often softens and becomes closer in adulthood as you let go of childhood resentments and can once again laugh with the people with whom you've shared almost your whole life. It was fun to see them together enjoying each other in their quirks, gifts, and graces.

Pan, short for Pandora, and her friend played classical fiddle music on the porch. It was gentle and had a soft sweetness just right for this front yard intimate ceremony. You can find her on my musicians vendor page.

Emmet, Renee's 10 year old yellow Lab, walked Renee down the aisle, his attire complete with tie to make the occasion formal.

And Renee is carrying one huge stunning hydrangea blossom as her bouquet from a bush that is now planted in their yard.
It worked beautifully.

Andre and Renee are, they're proud to state, two very different people. Two different people who've found how to relish new perspectives on life through loving each other. And in their loving they've found that happiness comes when we don't require the other to fit any mold but to wholly and joyfully be themselves.

As I left them on their wedding day they were just getting the party going. I knew that it would go on, in some way or another, for the rest of their lives.

There were lots of friends who helped them create their special day. First of all there were their friends from The City Tap in Pittsboro, where they met. And their cake was from Sugarland in Chapel Hill. And they had whoopy pies from Larry's Famous Cheesecake in Pittsboro. Their fabulous food was from Angelina's Kitchen also in Pittsboro.

And their rings were from Creative Metalsmith's in Chapel Hill.

Here's a final picture taken of them at The City Tap. They have a wonderful community of friends who helped them celebrate.....and continue celebrating.
What a blessing!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Aaron and Alina at The Proximity Hotel in Greensboro

Living as I do in Hillsborough, I feel lucky that I can officiate weddings in both Raleigh and Greensboro. That is how Alina and Aaron found me. I had the privilege of marrying them on April 16th at The Proximity Hotel. They were navigating a long distance relationship at the time, Aaron living in Utah and Alina living in Greensboro.

Alina and Aaron's wedding was scheduled for mid-April and her move to Utah in early May. A busy time, especially when you add in family traveling from Michigan, Canada, and Romania to be with them for their wedding.

Their ceremony was held on a small balcony at the hotel with the small family dinner afterward in a banquet room right off the balcony.
They wanted a simple ceremony which was a testament to their love and commitment to each other. And they wanted to make sure it wouldn't be stern in tone. It was a treat for me to assure them that stern wasn't my style at all.
Alina's mother doesn't speak much English so we had the ceremony translated into Romanian for her. It was sweet to see her following the words of the ceremony in her text with tears flowing down her face as we celebrated the amazing grace of Alina and Aaron's love for each other.

It was a windy day and we struggled a little to light the unity candle. But it stayed lit long enough for us to pronounce the symbolism complete. The Proximity had done all that they could to help us with the wind, even setting up this beautiful screen to shelter the candles. Then when the screen threatened to blow down, a staff member at The Proximity hid behind the screen during the ceremony to hold it in place. They were wonderful.

I try to move out of the way so that photographers can get the couple kissing without my head in the picture. But in this case, our photographer, Rob Brown, a colleague of Alina's, included all of me in the shot. I knew from Alina and Aaron that they felt so blessed to have found each other. It was a special treat to be able to perform their ceremony and witness their joy and gusto in this kiss.

They chose well. You can see it in their consideration for each other. I wish them all joy possible in the wonderful adventure of a well loved life.