Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reid and Lindy Marry at The Sarah P. Duke Center

There's something magical about the amphitheater at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. I know the joy that Reid and Lindy contributed added to the magic. They married there on July 31st.

The blue heron dips down to the pond at amazing moments. The weather clears just when you need it to, and on Reid and Lindy's wedding day, the planes flew over the garden. Never before had I heard even one plane when officiating a wedding at the center, but that day, there was a helicopter, a small engine plane (believe me I know, my Sweetheart is a pilot), and at least one jet.
And this was a wonderful sign because Lindy's father was a pilot who tragically couldn't be there in body that day. But we all knew that he was there in spirit.

And, the weather cleared just in time. The sunshine followed Lindy into the ceremony. Lindy's mother and Aunt Barbara (who carried a rose which was placed on an empty chair to honor Lindy's father) escorted Lindy half way into the ceremony as Reid's parents escorted him half way. Then Lindy and Reid met and walked in together. It was a fitting entrance for this couple.

They're a delight. They have weathered adversity and their love has deepened so that now they glow with it and you can see the strength they both offer to their union and that they draw from it.

In their ceremony we said: 'Lindy and Reid, you have both faced challenges and known disappointment, you have both chosen lives of service to the larger world with hearts open, and now you both make the conscious choice to grow your love through your commitment to each other, supported by families who love you. Today we celebrate the amazing grace of your love for each other.'

They were drawn to each other by their quirky senses of humor, gentleness of spirit, and kindness, and I love knowing that they bring this to their work in the world.

Their big loving family were just as delighted. Here's a family picture ....

Should you need to know how elegant the Sarah P. Duke Center is, here is a picture.

I was glad that at their reception they didn't have to concern themselves with the vagaries of the weather any more. They could just enjoy themselves.

I loved this thank you I got from them after they got back from their honeymoon:
'We cannot possibly thank you enough for everything you did for us ... you were absolutely the calm anchor we needed at our wedding and we've received so many compliments on the ceremony and you specifically. Our families both loved you, were reassured by you, and Reid and I felt your warm presence was exactly what we needed. I'm so glad we found you! .... Thank you, again, for your expertise, your warmth, and your flexibility with us.'

This is a couple who has found a home in each other and share that in all their interactions with others. It's a blessing that they're on the planet. I know that they'll touch others' lives in wonderful ways all their lives. They already do.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nick and Barbara at The Brier Creek Country Club

This was Friday evening July 23rd and it was pushing 100 degrees. We were all so hot yet I'm amazed at how wonderful these shots of Barbara and Nick turned out. Thank you to Michelle Gunton Photography for these fabulous pictures. Now I can see why she says that she always prefers outdoor weddings, no matter how hot it is. Of course as soon as the wedding began, even though it was still warm, we all pushed those thoughts from our minds and just concentrated on the joy of seeing Barbara and Nick so happy and in love.

And the Brier Creek Country Club is a great place for a wedding. Their staff is wonderful and attentive, and their facilities for the couple being married are excellent. This is the second wedding I've done here (the other in the fall last year) and both have gone incredibly smoothly.
And the outdoor site is lovely. Here's Michelle taking pictures after the ceremony.

Garrett, from Lenny Fritts DJ, set up for the ceremony music. The parents were seated to 'Con Te Partiro' which was really beautiful. I have to remember that one. Then the traditional and equally wonderful Purcell's Trumpet Voluntary and Pachelbel's Canon in D were played for the wedding party and Barbara's entrance.

Nick and Barbara wanted a classic wedding and it had that elegant simplicity and beauty. Even the words for the exchange of their rings, 'I give you this ring in token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love' were touching in their purity.

As we said in a final benediction of blessing upon their marriage, 'May God bless you and keep you. The peace of the Lord we with you. Congratulations! Go in peace.'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Steve and Emmy and Just Their Kids, and Odie Their Dog

Emmy and I communicated only by phone and email so it was a special treat to meet Steve, Emmy and their children and dog, Odie, at The Raleigh Rose Garden on their wedding day, June 11th at 10am. The only other two in our small group were Thad, their photographer, a friend of Emmy's from her work and a professional photographer, and his wife who generously helped from the background.

We gathered in a small circle in a sunny and rosy spot - just us with Odie carrying in the ring in a small bag around his neck. I loved the intimacy of it and it fit them.

We created a unique ceremony honoring the joining of these two special families: Emmy with her two daughters and Steve with his one son.

Special to their wedding was the 'Wedding Prayer' by Robert Lewis Stevenson which goes:
'Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank you for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the hope with which we expect the morrow, for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth. Amen.'

They each wrote vows to the children that were sweet and personal and then presented small tokens of family to each child and which fit each child.

This is a family already, in spirit, love for each other, and in joy at the love of their parents. There was much laughter after the ceremony.

and some great additional kisses by Steve and Emmy. I came home on that Thursday morning as they went on to lunch and celebration. I loved being a part of their lives at this special time and seeing the devotion, love, respect, and sense of joy each member of that combined family have for each other. What a treat!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ryan and Tarrah Light Up The Fearrington

Some couples have a playfulness that is irrepressible. That's Ryan and Tarrah. You can see their delight in each other. They are that way every time I meet them.

Tarrah's an art teacher in Wake County (great paintings!) and Ryan's a software engineer. They met at Elon when they lived on the same hall and shared some friends who'd been Ryan's friends from high school. But that was almost ten years ago.
And it's been a great almost 10 years. They feel that each other are so easy to love and they've taken their time to deepen their love.

I enjoyed the story they told me about how Ryan proposed during year 8: They were getting ready to go out to see A Chorus Line in Raleigh and out to dinner beforehand. As Tarrah puts it, 'He'd been acting fishy and nervous'. Ryan had a challenge. Tarrah loves surprises but she's hard to surprise because she's so observant. But he succeeded - going down on one knee to officially propose.

Robin Lin was the superb photographer for that day at The Fearrington. She's always a joy to work with. Here's their first kiss as husband and wife. I try to get out of the way so the photographer can crop me from the picture pretty easily.
I love this shot of Ryan taking a quick look at his ring on his hand when, at the end, they're facing their family and friends for the first time. I think a friend or family member captured this moment.

All their friends and family at the wedding went out of their way to tell me what a great couple they are.
And since Tarrah loves surprises, Ryan didn't tell her where they were going for their honeymoon but just what to pack. I found out later that they went to St. Lucia and had a great time. Great pick, Ryan!

The Fearrington, Cheryl guiding the day, was at it's best keeping us cool...

and providing bug spray to keep away the mosquitoes that love their lush lawn. This is only one of several possible ceremony sites there, but since I don't often do weddings in this spot, I wanted to make sure you saw how wonderful it is.

I could get these shots of the ceremony site before the ceremony started though.

Oh - I'll add a couple pictures of The Barn where they had their reception, and I'll add one of their cake, also made by The Fearrington. I'm not sure if they have pictures like these on The Fearrington website. After the heat and bright sun of the day, the cool dark is soothing. The outside of the barn below is where cocktails were served while Tarrah and Ryan were having wedding pictures taken.

Here's the inside.

And, of course, here's their cake. The spring green matches Ryan's tie. As a person who does fabric art and who loves color, I loved that part.

The excellent ceremony music was provided by Arioso Strings (they're always great), and the music for their reception was by Groovetown Band. Their videographer was Island Sound DJ and Video.

Tarrah sent me wonderful thanks and some pictures on Facebook. But I use it so rarely that I can't figure out how to get back to those great words. Some day soon........

I like being her friend on Facebook though. When I see her postings and pictures of her and Ryan, it brings me back to their wedding day and their love and I feel great. I so love what I do!

Koen and Martha Wed at La Rez

La Residence in Chapel Hill, fondly known at La Rez, was the joyous scene of Martha and Koen's wedding on June 26th at 11am. A perfect time for a lunch reception. They met over two years ago in Chapel Hill and took their time, knowing what they felt between them was special and not wanting to mess it up.

They share a joy of life and the arts and a wonderful awareness of the precious gift that love can be.
I was delighted for them. They wanted their friends and family to feel secure in the knowing that their love would last and that it is right, and they wanted their ceremony to radiate this. They had both faced some rough years and difficult losses but they had weathered them and found that life opened up to new and wonderful love on the other side of their sorrow. They were ready to celebrate this amazing grace of their love for each other.

Graham Terhune Photography was our wonderful photographer. He provided some of these photos. The good ones. The others I took when I had the chance. You'll be able to tell the difference.
And here's a picture of Graham taking a picture of Koen, his brother, and his best man.

The staff at La Rez was fabulous! It's a wonderful setting for about 50 people. The staff at La Rez operated the IPOD for the prelude and ceremony music and went out of their way to ensure that everything they could do to help make things perfect was done.

And from the restaurant on the right:

I remember years ago when I did a ceremony here. The couple I was marrying played in a klezmer band that also played for the wedding. It was wonderful and the place rocked. It's an indoor outdoor space that can take on lots of different personalities. It's cooled by ceiling fans so you get rain protection but you do have the heat. After the ceremony everyone got cool inside, then had a delicious lunch.

This beautiful and delicious cake topped with fresh cherries was from Miel Bon bons in Carrboro.

The fresh lavender that Martha carried, and that was the decoration at the ceremony site, and that guests threw on the couple as they recessed, was provided by Sunshine Lavender Farm in Hurdle Mills (in Northern Orange County just north of Hillsborough). I hadn't known they were there. Now I'm glad I do.

We put the following in their ceremony, and these words fit them so well: 'Today we honor this seasoned love that brings together two mature people whose experiences have shaped them to recognize the grace of love that is peaceful, trusting, and rich in sharing - a love that will continue to grow and deepen through each new discovery and adventure - a love that will last a lifetime.'

Their joy radiated from them. I felt blessed to be a part of it on this special day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nick and Adrienne at The Aqueduct Center in Chapel Hill

It was a rainy day. There was nothing we could do about it. We went from Plan A, where the wedding would be held at the bottom of the meadow in front of a wonderful trellis that Nick that built. To Plan B, where so many wonderful friends and guests moved all the chairs and the trellis to the top of the meadow, to Plan C where we held the wedding upon the covered deck of the building and we could see the trellis in the distance. This June was an especially blustery one!

And it was still a beautiful wedding!
That's because Adrienne and Nick are such loving open hearted people that nothing really could rain on their day.

They've been together 7 years of which 4 were spent long distance. They met at NC state their freshman year. They were surrounded my so many family and friends who are so devoted to them that most didn't even hesitate to brave the heavy mist to move the ceremony site from that for Plan A to Plan B to Plan C. I trust that the dancing went well into the night to the music of the Possum Jenkins Band. Thank you too to Lacey Gadwill, the photographer for the wedding who managed to get fabulous pictures despite all our difficulties.

I have to laud Julie and her staff at The Aqueduct Center. They were troopers and did everything with good grace and a smile.

They wanted to personalize their vows to address all they'd been through - long distance times, house remodeling and foot surgery. They told me that they'd broken up 4 years ago and then made a conscious decision to commit and they had lived up to it realizing that they are better with each other than they are without each other, and that they are willing to make the sacrifices that are needed for two very different people to both have rich, full and loving lives.

They are a couple who is grounded and sure in their love. In their vows to each other they had the sentence, 'I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward, for as long as we both shall live.' And I don't doubt it a minute. There's an old adage that says that a wet knot is harder to untie. It was fun to remember it on that day.

When they got back from their honeymoon I got this message from them:
'We really appreciated everything you did for us that weekend. You were so flexible and really helped bring peace and calm to a slightly hectic situation. And we had a blast! We will definitely send pictures when we get them from Lacey. Thanks again for everything!"

And I thank them. They were a treat to get to know! This is why I love my work.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mari and Phil at Duke Gardens

Mari and Phil's wedding was wonderful. It was hot on May 22nd but no one really noticed too much because we were having so much fun. And we were really lucky with the weather because the blustery driving storms that night didn't role in until about 7PM.

We'd had a bit of a scare the day before. Mari, our bride, had been feeling too ill to come to the rehearsal, but made it as we were finishing up. This was my first rehearsal ever without a bride, so I was glad to see her for help with all those last minute decisions that need to be made, and especially glad to see that she was feeling better.

Mari added a unique touch to the processional which symbolized her independent spirit. She started down the aisle with her mother, then came a little way with her father, but then went the remainder of the way by herself, to meet with Phil at the bottom of the steps.

She and Phil had had their first date at Duke Gardens by the fish pond so this place was especially meaningful to them. They met in NC but Mari is from New Jersey and Phil is from Long Island and their accents were a sweet reminder of my years spent in North Jersey.

Phil and Mari worked really hard to create a ceremony that fit who they are. They'd chosen lyrics from the song 'We Are' by Sweet Honey and The Rock to honor their loved ones who couldn't be with them at the ceremony. The words were touching and memorable.

I loved their playfulness in another way, too. They had chosen the Love Letter, Bottle of Wine and Box ritual in which a bride and groom each write love letters to each other that the other hasn't yet read and these letters are sealed them in a box with a bottle of wine. They are invited to open the box, read the letters and drink the wine in the future when they need to remember how much they love each other. But Mari and Phil added their own touch, using a bottle of whiskey instead of wine and a Tiffany's box. It fit their playfulness and we all loved it.

Thanks to Megan Kime for these great photos and to Second Shift a wonderful acapella group who sang two numbers in close harmony before the ceremony.

Caleb and Melanie Marry at Castle McColluch

The universe only brings me wonderful couples!
I was delighted to marry Caleb and Melanie on June 6th, 2010 at the Castle McCulloch in Jamestown, NC.

I met Melanie and Caleb way back in October of 2009. They were moving to Asheville in December so needed to get lots of their planning done early. They'd met at UNC Asheville through mutual friends and found that they shared not only their sense of humor but their political views, their love of playing board games and puzzles and their pets - 2 cats and 2 chinchillas.

They wanted a marriage ceremony which showed their commitment to each other and their love of their large combined family. They're both from Southern families with similar backgrounds (both their mom teach in public schools) and they share the same expectations about life and kids.
I loved their thoughtfulness. And their ceremony was lovely and touching because of it.

Castle McCulloch is lovely itself, so even entering the ceremony site humbled you with it's sturdy stone walls and ornate woodwork. The formality that Melanie and Caleb desired was perfect in this location. The St. Charles String Quartet played the music for the ceremony masterfully, and Clarke Carriker played the harp during the lighting of the unity candle.

Melanie had found this unique unity candle on EBAY. I loved it and wanted everyone to see the picture because it's so lovely. I wish my photo hadn't had so much glare.

They also followed the ancient tradition of Hand Fasting and instead of using one cord in which we tie many knots, we used several colors of ribbon, each ribbon tied with only one knot as they affirmed their binding promises. I tied the last ribbon through all the prior ribbons so they made one unit together. It was lovely.
Then we said, 'Though these ribbons no longer bind you, the bonds of matrimony still tie you together. May your love find lasting permanence, bound together in the fabric of life. May the protection of your marriage surround you, sustain you and comfort you. In the biding of these ribbons, may you remember the binding of your words, the vow of fidelity and trust you make today. May your lived be bound together, never to be torn asunder.'

The castle was full to the brim with guests and musicians and it was an especially warm afternoon, so I'm grateful to Randy Smith, Your Personal DJ, for his help with his sound system to which we attached my receiver. It was a critical element in such a long deep setting so full of people.

But everything went wonderfully and as I left to come home I could see that they were relaxing more and getting ready for the next step in their celebrations.

I'm delighted for them and their friends and family, who all cheered them on through the rehearsal, the wedding preparations and the wedding.

I wish them many blessings.

A Vacation With Just a Moment of Wedding

From June 27th to July 14th my Sweetheart, Ruben, and I took a road trip logging 4000 miles on the car. We headed north up to Falling Water, the Frank Lloyd Wright house built over a stream in southern PA, still farther north through Niagara Falls (getting suitably wet on the Maid of the Mist boat) and then still farther north into Canada.

Neither of us had ever been to Canada so we hit some high points with a few days in Toronto, then Montreal and then Quebec City before heading to Nova Scotia for some camping and hiking. After that it was back to the US to Bar Harbor, Maine, Cape Cod, Mt. Vernon, then home.

Weddings were far from my mind until one day we emerged from the subway in downtown Montreal heading toward its Old Town right on the St. Lawrence River. On a street corner we passed a newly married couple who had just come out of their marriage ceremony. They kindly nodded when Ruben asked with a gesture if he could take their picture.

They had that radiant glow and generous spirit of a 'just married' couple much in love, surrounded by friends and family. So we simply snapped our photo, and silently wished them many blessings, as we continued on our way, holding hands, enveloped in their love.