Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mark and Kate Marry at The Horace Williams House in Chapel Hill

I had the pleasure of talking with Mark and Kate via email and the phone in March of this year so that they could decide that I was the right person to be marrying them.  You see, they live in Ann Arbor, MI where Kate is getting her Masters Degree in Public Health.   They would be coming down to NC about a month before their wedding and we would meet then.  That worked well for all of us and we had fun planning online.  They wanted a relaxed simple ceremony in the side yard of the Horace Williams House, in downtown Chapel Hill.  That picturesque historic home in Chapel Hill has several wonderful areas on their lawn to have ceremonies.  

Thank you to Kate's Uncle Stewart Nowlin of Stu Nowlin Imaging for these wonderful pictures.  He is based in Kansas but his card says that he will go on location anywhere.  I imagine he's photographed some interesting weddings.

It was important that their ceremony be inclusive and honoring of their families and they brought to me an expression from Mark's grandmother that I had never heard before:, 'Cut the apron strings but leave the kitchen door open.'

On the side of the Horace Williams House is a lovely huge old bell.  At the end of the ceremony they recessed to the bell and rang in their marriage there.

They're a playful couple with delightful senses of humor.  On the wedding day, they were transmitting it live to Australia and California via  While all the connections were being set up they had lots of on camera fun moments.  It was a great way for everyone to enjoy their spirit and their day.

Guglhopf Bakery, that wonderful German bakery in Durham, baked their beautiful cake and they decorated it themselves with seasonal flowers.
Kate also made her own bouquet.  

They love to cook together so we had a Salt Covenant in their ceremony.  It was a wonderful way of personally honoring their commitment in a way that brought them joy every day.

Then Mark's father read the lyrics by Roger Glover from the CD 'The Butterfly Ball' called 'Love is All.    They were wonderful and just like Mark and Kate's generous and joyful spirits.

I wish them much much happiness and joy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Steve and Teri

At their wedding rehearsal, I hadn't seen Steve and Teri since we had met in late January, but our email conversations had been great, back and forth volleys sharing ideas and questions.   In that slightly unusual email way, I felt like I'd gotten to know a them well through a unique aspect of who they are together.  It was fun to see that blossom in our correspondence and then in person at their rehearsal.

I always love officiating weddings at The Cotton Room.  Michelle Allred is a fabulous coordinator and we've been working together so often and so well that we can trust that everything will flow flawlessly.    Also, the architectural elements make this space both elegant and warm as you can see below.  (The DJ was behind the curtain but with Michelle's 'walkie talkie' system, cue-ing the music was fine.)
Thanks to consummate pro, our photographer Diane McKinney of Diane McKinney Photography for these wonderful pictures, too.   She is a joy to work with as well, easy and personable.  Aaron was their wonderful DJ, Cinda of Cinda's Creative Cakes provided their cake and Tre Bella Florist created their flowers.  These are all local professionals who love their profession so create great work.  For all of us there that day,  Steve and Teri's wedding was a labor of love.

In their ceremony we celebrated that this was the anniversary to the day from when Steve proposed to Teri.  Their journey to this day began over 7 years ago at their first meeting.  They love the life they've built together, laughing at almost everything, except Patriot games of course.

In their vows they told each other, 'I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together.'

After Teri and Steve exchanged their vows, took part in the Hand Ceremony, noticing the hands of their beloved as we described how these hands would hold them through difficult times, lovingly hold their children, work together to build their future, and lastly, even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for theirs.

Their recessional was 'Here Comes The Sun' by the Beatles.  To me there is no more fitting music for a wedding.  But then I'm a Beatles fan ever since they were on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, listening as they grew and matured, creating timeless music.  BTW - their processional music was 'Come Away With Me' by Nora Jones, and 'Forever' by Ben Harper, and Dave Barnes, 'I have and I Always Will.'  They were all beautiful.

Another thing The Cotton Room is good for is a big open space to dance.  I'm glad they had such a good time.

The wedding was full of their friends and family - another good reason for a large welcoming space.  

And here is the way that they remembered all their guests and their guests remembered them.  On this tree of life, each guest puts their finger print on the tree and write their name beneath it.

They were off to somewhere warm and exotic for their honeymoon- Mexico or a cruise to the Bahamas - I just remember thinking, 'Ooooh.   That sounds delicious.'  What a culmination of a great time with family and friends, and, of course, getting married!  I wish them many many years of delight.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rob and Jen Marry With Much Love and With Their New Son at the Caffé Luna in Downtown Raleigh

Jen and Rob's beautiful wedding at the Caffé Luna was the culmination of a lot of planning and effort on Jen and Rob's part.  Effort that took place while they were pregnant with their son, Robert Douglas.  It was a delight to celebrate his entry onto the planet at their ceremony, too.

Their professional photographer was Carolyn Scott, of Carolyn Scott Photography, who got some absolutely fabulous shots (as did her partner Goeff).  Make sure you read to the bottom of the blog to see all her pictures!  They're wonderful.  I've gotten to work with them three times this year and it's always a delight.  I've included some 'friend's shots'  in the blog, too, because they were shot at a sweet angle during the ceremony that the professionals couldn't get.

Jen, Rob and I met in March when they anticipated an October wedding.  But then when she found out she was pregnant the wedding was moved to November.  It's a good thing and a great change since we all got to celebrate Robert Douglas, too.

These pictures are only of the ceremony.  My favorite part!  :-)  Their wedding was held at the Cafe Lunna in downtown Raleigh.  
Their florist - check out that lush arch - was Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs, and their DJ for the reception was Mike Morse of Mike Morse Entertainment.  I've worked with Mike many times too and I knew he would be great.
Sisters on the Harp -  Harp and Flute - the music for the ceremony was played by Brittany and Marissa Farrell.  They played beautiful Irish selections for the prelude, then a Sonata in A by Mozart, Edelweiss, and the Bridal March from Lohrengrin for the bridal processional.    They 
were flawless!

It was a joy for me to be there.  Here I'm entering from the front of Caffé Luna with Rob entering just behind me.
Rob's attendants

Jen's attendants.  There wasn't a big space but they made it work!
Jen's mother held Robert Douglas while we talked about what a blessing he was in their lives.  He was such a sweetie.

Here he is later in his mother's arms.

Their ceremony was rich in feeling and symbolism.  They were so clear and present.  That says a lot about their love.
The kiss, of course!
I kept some of the friend's shots in because they have a unique angle on the ceremony.  But they definitely speak to why it's important to hire a professional photographer.

The Presentation!  I love this part.  I call it the basking moment, because it's the moment where a couple is reentering your community as a married couple and everyone there is offering their love and support.  I tell all my couples, 'Drink it in.  This moment comes only once.  Don't rush out the door.  There will be hours to party.'

Here is Geoff getting a picture before the ceremony.  I love these architectural backdrops.

Their cakes were by Cinda of Cinda's Cake Creations.  R2D2 has special meaning for them since Rob's initials and their son's initials are both RD.

Carolyn took some  photos before the ceremony to get the daylight shots.  These showcase the amazing rich color of their autumn wedding.

 The Caffé Luna has a wonderful reception room that amazingly is big enough for dancing.
What a joyful couple so in love with each other and with their baby.  Life will only deepen as they grow together.  I wish them so many blessings.  My daughter turns 40 this year.  I can hardly believe it.  The years speed by.  May they cherish each moment!

Jenni and Dan Warm Up A Cold October Day to Marry at the Rigmor House in Chapel Hill

Jenni and Dan had a gorgeous but cold and windy day to marry at the Rigmor House in Chapel Hill.  Gratefully they were oblivious to the weather.  It was cute to see.

Thanks to 2 & 3 Photography for these fabulous pictures.  You'd never guess that the weather was iffy.  I've worked with them before and they're a joy to work with.

Dan and Jenni have the wonderful story that they met for coffee on a stormy day and then spent 2 hours walking together in the rain because they didn't want to stop the conversation.  I understand that.  I remember meeting Ruben twelve years ago and thinking that this is a man that I could have wonderful conversations with for the rest of my life.  

Dan and Jenni love each other because they can be completely honest together, and there is no drama because they each have their own selves, too, that inform and enrich their relationship.  Their families flow well, too, which is important since they're both close with their families.

With their friends' and families' help, they did the decorations for their wedding so it truly felt like a family affair, close and loving.

I love the Rigmor House.  It has a lodge feeling and yet adapts to the decorations brought to it.  You and your family can stay there and the kitchen is so well equipped.  It's homey in a large way with great decks.  We used the decks that day since they were warmer than outside.  
Thanks to Natasha Wayne of Natasha F. Wayne Events for her fabulous coordination, even jumping in to make a boutanniere when we were one short.  Dan and Jenni picked up flower from Whole Foods and Trader Joes and made their own bouquets,  Jenni and her friend Stephanie made the cake and cupcakes, Organic Bakies made the cookies and brownies, and Jenni's dad made all the food.  Like I said, it was a family affair.

This was the first time I'd see the tree of life where your guests put their thumbprint on the tree and write their names. I like this much better than a guest book.   It creates a lovely keepsake and you actually can mount and appreciate.  Here it is in the Rigmor Lobby area waiting for guests as they arrive.

Thank you Rigmor for the great woods for the after pictures, too.  From what I remember, Jenni's mom knit her shawl on the drive down the East Coast to the ceremony.  Good planning!

They are fun loving people and everyone joined in the fun to make their day spectacular.  And it was just that.  I wish them lots and lots of love!

What a great picture!  What a great day!  What a great couple!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Will and Shannon Wed at the Wilson Rose Garden

I only officiate one or two weddings a year outside the NC Triangle and when I do, it's because I really like the couple.  Shannon and Will are a delightful couple.  And so is their daughter Lily.  It was a pleasure to marry them at the beautiful Wilson, NC Rose Garden.

The Rose Garden was surprisingly lovely.  It's not large and is just off a road with small industrial road, but as you turn into the parking lot, the neighborhood fades away and you're left with a wonderful impression.
Will and Shannon and April met with me in February for their October wedding already knowing they wanted me as their officiant because Shannon and I had talked on the phone.  I was glad.  They're generous spirited people wanting especially to honor their grandparents who had passed on and were sorely missed, and to honor Will's father who also has passed on.   This is a couple who are close to their families and I could see that love and dedication at the wedding.  However I really credit Shannon's friend and Maid of Honor, Apryl, for helping her hold it together during these especially emotional moments of their ceremony.  Thank you Apryl!

On this  pretty late October Day they still had roses in bloom!  Thank you to Michele Denotter Photography for these wonderful pictures.  I loved the way the garden had many different lovely aspects, a close parking lot, and close rest rooms.  These small necessities sometimes make a big difference.

We lined up on the edge of the park away from the guests' gazes to enter.  They chose 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' as their processional sung by a wonderful Hawaiian singer who has since passed away.  I've not heard a lovelier rendition.
Will and Shannon wanted a spiritual wedding ceremony that honored their love for each other.  We read that wonderful selection from the Velveteen Rabbit that still touches me no matter how often I hear it.  Especially now that I'm getting older and am still very much in love.

In the very first picture I posted on this blog, Shannon and Will are taking part in the Celtic Handfasting Ceremony.  This is the ancient ceremony where the expressions 'tying the knot' and 'giving one's hand in marriage' come from.  They created their own handfasting cord and bound themselves each to the other in love and in commitment to live and grow that love.  I can understand why this ritual still exists.  It holds a lot of power.  Lots of couples then have the cord as a token of that binding made in love.

A special moment in the ceremony was when Lily came forward and we honored that family that they create together.
We blessed their marriage with the prayer, 'God bless them with the inner gifts of trust, compassion, forgiveness and truth that they may live and grow together in love and peace.'
They're delightful people.  I wish them many many years of love!