Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Todd and Kathleen Light Up Belle Vie

This last weekend I had the privilege of marrying Todd and Kathleen at Chateau Belle Vie in Fuquay Varina. It was a treat on lots of fronts. I'd never met Kathleen or Todd before - we planned their wedding totally by phone and email. I'd never been to Chateau Belle Vie before, often wondering about it as I looked over from the porch of its next door neighbor, the Highgrove Estate. And it was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside celebrating Todd and Kathleen's love.

So I'll try to touch on all these high points.
Thanks to Tim Hester our photographer from Winterville, NC, for these wonderful pictures of Todd and Kathleen. The less wonderful pictures of Belle Vie are my own.

Next, Belle Vie is lovely and was perfect for their size wedding - about 50 guests. Marie, the owner, showed us around and told wonderful stories of the architectural and decorative touches she added to make it so elegant.

Roxanna, who was the Chateau Bellevie Staff Coordinator for Todd and Kathleen's wedding was wonderful. Very much on top of things and ready to make sure no detail went untended to. Here she is standing in front of one of the 7 fireplaces in the chateau.

Here's the ceremony site from the bottom level. My pictures don't do it justice. But then I always say that. First looking from the house lower level.

Next, looking back toward the house lower level where the sit down dinner and dancing were held. Tim Hester our photographer and a guest are in the picture.

Next here are pictures of the front of the house, the front entry, and the bridal suite.

Finally, the room where the cocktails were served - guests were also on the porch enjoying the sunshine. Marie explained that her choices for decor were to convey a European elegance, which she knows well, since her own and her husband's heritage is Romanian.

Todd and Kathleen had a simple elegant ceremony to match the decor. They told me that they were private people and wanted a cozy ceremony. That is was. We added a little humor, wishing their dogs Rocco and Kermie were there with them, but their ceremony had a quiet sweetness that they seemed to enjoy.

A special moment happened when two geese flying up from Laurel Lake behind the house called to each other in exultant notes. Of course it occurred just at the right time, seeming to indicate that all of nature was conspiring in their happiness.

Their cake may look like it's leaning but that's my photographic abilities again. It was gorgeous and made for them by Ambrosia Cake Creations in Fuquay Varina.

Their DJ was my friend and colleague Brian McGuire from McSound Productions who is always great. Chateau Belle Vie provided the catering. The Chateau has fabulous pictures on its website so if you're interested, let those pictures inform you better than mine.

I left while they were still taking photos, wishing them a quick farewell. I loved being a part of this special time in their lives. They are easy going and gently caring of each other as they navigated all the busyness of the rehearsal and wedding. I with them both many many years of happiness and blessings!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Josh and Cristina Marry at Marbles Kids Museum in Downtown Raleigh

Pardon my out of focus photo. This picture doesn't do them justice.

On March 6th, the Marbles Kid's Museum was alive with lots of kids, but there was a center of calm and quiet for Josh and Tina's wedding in this quiet ballroom in the museum. Ben was our coordinator from the museum at the event and did a wonderful job - also attending the rehearsal so we could coordinate needs.

Here was the scene outside this room.

I think everyone at the museum loved seeing the bridal party line up and enter and then gather for pictures afterward.

I had great fun officiating their ceremony. And we also had great fun planning their ceremony to fit their values and who they are as a couple. I was really grateful for the many years of resources I'd been writing and gathering because we had lots to draw upon to get the ceremony started, then we custom tailored it to them.

They loved (and I love) the Declaration of Intentions portion of the ceremony the way it's worded from the Buddhist tradition, and they loved (and I love) the Preamble to the Declaration of Principles from the TV show Babylon 5. Check it out. It's really lovely. If you Google it you'll find it.

I really love the vows they wrote each other and said to each other as part of the ceremony. They made each part of the ceremony their own.

I was also proud to add as part of the pronouncement and blessing at their request that they are aware that not everyone in our state of North Carolina can be married legally, and that they express their support of committed and loving relationships in all forms. And that they will continue working for equality for all who wish to unite in marriage. I feel the same way.

Here's photographer Nicole Faby taking pictures after the ceremony. Their music was provided by friend and guitarist Adam Driscoll. After the ceremony the reception was held at the Red Room in downtown Raleigh. By that time we had a torrential downpour of epic proportions. Hopefully everyone got to the reception relatively dry. I trust that it didn't dampen the fun at all.

I just heard back from them with this note:

"Thank you so much for everything. The wedding was phenomenal, and you would not believe how many people asked during the reception who you were and how we found you. You really made a great impression! Above all, I am proud to know we had the opportunity to create a unique and memorable ceremony for everyone. .... I really cannot convey how much we appreciate you helping us set the tone for our union. Not only did you exceed the expectations of nearly everyone present, more importantly you helped both of us relax and fully experience a wonderful milestone in our lives. Thanks again."

It's always great for me when a couple helps me understand what's most important in celebrating their love. Then I can help make that happen.

I wish Tina and Josh all the best and I have no doubts they'll have a wonderful life together!

Tara, Daniel and Morgan in an Intimate Family Wedding

I enjoyed talking to Tara immediately by phone and email. She wanted a small simple intimate ceremony at Duke Gardens and wondered if I could help. If it's a very small gathering (less than 10 people) and we simply meet and walk into a place to do their ceremony without fanfare (not the pergola or amphitheater) and with the understanding that there will be other people milling around, then I'm happy to do a small ceremony in Duke Gardens.

We found each other easily in the parking lot at the appointed time and it was a treat to finally meet.

There's a little pond in one corner that's quiet, close to the entrance at the Sarah P Duke Center and very beautiful. It also has a covered are in case of rain. And it was the perfect setting for Daniel and Tara's wedding with Tara's daughter, Morgan, and their families in attendance.
Below are Daniel and Tara with her grandparents.

We included a special part in the ceremony to celebrate Morgan and their new family of three. And we made Tara and Daniel's vows 'I do' vows so that they could relax and know that they wouldn't be put on the spot speaking lots of words out loud.

It was a very sweet ceremony and I was delighted to officiate for them, wishing them many many blessings.

Tara sent me the following email with the photo above, 'THANK YOU!! you made this a wonderful and memorable day for us!'

And I'm delighted. It was memorable for me, too.