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!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Matt and Billie @ The Fearrington Inn This Summer

 Billie and Matt were both from out of town, choosing The Fearrington Inn, and me, on short notice because they each had just a short leave before shipping out to Afghanistan.  They are both helicopter pilots in the army who love their work and love each other.  I'm so glad that our fabulous photographer, K C Ramsay of Craige & van Roden Photography in Raleigh got these radiant shots of their wedding day.
Arioso Strings provided the music and were also very generous in playing outside in the very damp weather.  I love working with good professionals like Mary Page Block of Arioso Strings and her staff and Gilda.  You can trust their experience and it shows.
It was a rainy day and we waited for the rain to clear and it did!  Whew!  Thanks to Gilda McDaniel at The Fearrington Inn who always always does a fabulous job coordinating a wedding.  She made sure that her staff wiped off all the chairs and covered all the puddles so Billie and Matt could have the wedding they really wanted outside.
Billie and I worked long distance to create a ceremony that honored her Wiccan beliefs and Matt's Catholic faith and we created a ceremony that they both loved.
One element we incorporated was the Celtic Handfasting ceremony where I bind their hands in marriage, asking them vows they make to each other.  With each vow made another knot is tied in the cord.  This is where the sayings 'tying the knot' and 'giving ones hand in marriage' come from.  Billie made the cord they used by braiding three different color ribbons and adding small charms into the weave.  It  was beautiful.
After this ceremony, honoring that they can't be bound together physically at all times, they exchange rings as symbols of the vows and the binding they have made.

They are both laid back easy going people who simply wanted to celebrate their love for each other.  And that we did!

Billie sent me this note later:  'Thank you so much for doing such an amazing job officiating our ceremony. I can't even imagine a more perfect wedding! The amount of time, attention, and care you put into our ceremony made it an event our family and friends will remember forever... I am so thankful to have found you and that you were able to help us on such short notice.'
I heard from KC yesterday that the disc that KC had given them of pictures was damaged in the move.  Matt contacted KC to see what she could do and sent them another disc.  She also passed on their news.  

Matt is in Bagram and Billie is at a smaller bases named Sharona.  They only get to see each other about once a month but Matt is going to where Billie is for Thanksgiving and she is coming his way for Christmas.  I send love to them both and prayers to keep them safe from harm.

They were one of those blessings in my life that don't stay for long but you remember them, and feel blessed, after they pass.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Julia and Mike Light Up The Berry Hill Estate in South Boston, VA

I sure had fun marrying Julia and Mike.  And here's the wonderful Berryhill Estate where they were married.  This shot that captures the magnificence of this renovated plantation that is now a classy conference center.
From beginning to end it was a classic wedding ceremony, in all senses of the word.  It was spacious and gracious.  Thanks for Mike and Julia and their families for creating this feeling of generosity and grace.


Thanks to Hooman Vasic of Vesic Photography for the wonderful professional photographs.  There are a couple photographs from guests that are woven in here, too.   You can definitely see the quality difference. 

You can tell Hooman Vasic knows this wonderful venue, The Berryhill Estate, well, taking such wonderful pictures of the wedding of this wonderful couple.  Mike, from Boston, and Julia from Virginia come from very different backgrounds and traditions.  In this ceremony we honored both.

The only place I ever travel to in Virginia is The Berryhill Estate, and that's because it's a really wonderful venue and Rhonda Van der Schlag, their coordinator is excellent.  It's an hour and 20 minutes from my home so is just about the limit to which I'll travel.  

And I'm glad I did.  Mike and Julia were a treat to get to know and a joy to marry.

This is the courtyard at the back of the estate with a long view of the ceremony site as Mike and Julia, now married!, recess.

Their classic look and all the friends who contributed created a beautiful wedding.  And I have no doubt that everyone lost that formality and partied well after the pictures were done.
Here is a photograph of their reception room.  I officiated a wedding in this room in January 2011 in front of the fireplace.  It's a warm sumptuous room.
And joyfully the day was a lovely one so that the cocktail hour could be held outside.  And you can see the clouds made themselves known but only to create beautiful lighting.  This amazing little building is where Mike and his attendants got ready for the ceremony.
I asked Hooman for a couple of the photographs of them that he would like to highlight.  He sent me these absolutely beautiful ones.  Thanks, Hooman!

I wish them both well on this amazing adventure of life.  They're well supported by loving family and friends, as well as an abiding love.