Monday, October 29, 2012

Kristina and Mike's Love Fills Duke Chapel

 Last Memorial Day weekend I got to marry Mike and Kristina.  They are such a delightful couple.  One of those couples where you remark in wonder that love finds us in unexpected places.  Kristina is from Slovakia and was on a study abroad program at Duke when she met Mike who was doing computer support in the computer lab.  She liked him and wasn't sure he knew it so on Valentine's Day she hunted him down to finally figure out his intentions.  

They both love Duke, and Duke Chapel was therefore the absolute right place for their small family ceremony.  It has a grandeur, but in their wedding photos I saw how it could also have sweet intimacy within this massive space.  I couldn't decide on many of these pictures between the near and far view.  There aren't many local venues with this much grandeur.  So I included both sets.  I've done many weddings here over the years but this is the first time I've been able to offer a blog.  That's because Hooman Vesic of Vesic Photorgraphy was peerless in capturing their wonderful ceremony and offered me their pictures (with their permission) to show you.  He also was the photographer for the picture at the top of my blog.  I always know that his work will be elegant and loving.  I'm sure his blog of Mike and Kristina's wedding was amazing.

Mother's were seated to the organ's strains of Bach's 'Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring.'  Attendants enter to 'Pachelbel's Canon in D,'and Kristina entered to Wagner's 'Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin.'  The music filled the chapel and accompanied Kristina and her mother the entire way.

It gave Mike and I a long time to enjoy this moment with her and her two attendants, Natalia and Zuzana.

For their readings they chose the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh from her book 'The Gift from The Sea' which is always one of my favorite readings.  I've read that book twice and it always teaches me something new.  
Their second reading was Sonnet 43, 'How do I Love Thee' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Kristina once gave this poem to Michael as a gift.  I read it in English and then Natalia read it in Slovak.

The offered their vows to each other in both English and Slovak.

And included a unity candle that had been lit by their mothers during the processional.

A great kiss in a beautiful setting.  Their first kiss as husband and wife. I'm glad they enjoyed it and didn't feel so shy that they just minimized the moment.
And then I got to present them as a married couple.
Duke Chapel has a long lasting tradition that a couple 'signs the book' that is the register of those couples married at the chapel.  I sign it, too, as officiant.  I like the history of my participation in these wonderful events, too.
Tre Bella Florist in Durham created their beautiful bouquets.
Then it's around the side of the building for pictures.  The architecture here means that every picture will be special.
They went to The Fearrington Inn for their family reception. Kristina's mother and at least one friend had traveled from Slovakia to be with them on their wedding day. I'm glad they got to see North Carolina at its most gracious.  Mike and Kristina sent me a lovely thank you note after their wedding.  Alas, I just looked for it and can't find it.  I'll have to look again!  It is to be cherished!

I wish them much happiness, and much fun with Mike cooking and Kristina baking, and both of the feeling well fed and loving it, all over the world.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

David and Ashley Marry in A Small Intimate Ceremony at The Carolina Club

Thank you to Ashley and David and to their photographer, Beth Ely of Beth Ely Photography,  for these sweet pictures of their wedding at the Carolina Club at the UNC Alumni Center on UNC campus.  The small well lit room provided an elegant setting for their small intimate wedding with about 35 guests including the wedding party.  They wanted a relaxed day and not to be the center of attention.  I loved the way they included their seven nieces ages three to twelve.  You don't see their pictures here but they were all enjoying their roles as junior bridesmaids  and flower girls.

They started out the ceremony with 'Here Comes the Sun' by The Beatles, and 'Stolen' by Dashboard Confessional.  I love all the new music I get to hear in weddings!  
 We began their ceremony with the words, 'Marriage is the joining of two lives, the spiritual, physical and emotional union of two human beings who have separate histories, separate destinies.'    Ashley and David have begun the wonderful journey of allowing another person to inform and enhance their own life.  I experienced them as a thoughtful couple, considerate of each other and a couple who cherishes their families and friends.
 We pronounced them husband and wife for life.  And for them it felt just right.  I wish them all the happiness in the world as they create a beautiful marriage and a wonderful life.  

I'm always grateful to work with excellent professional, so I want to let you know who they are, too.  Ashley and David's flowers were provided by Marsha Snyder of MEWS Designs, and Matt Kanon was an excellent classical guitarist that I'm happy to recommend to anyone.  Thanks, too, to Nicole McMillen of Premier Party Planners for her excellent coordination efforts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Early and Kaity Marry to Lots of Joy at The Cotton Room

Kaity sent me these pictures of her and Early's wedding at The Cotton Room in downtown Durham.  Thank you to Tanya Odom of T. Odom Photographics for these wonderful pictures.  They are perfect because they show just how much these two like to laugh.   When I asked about her attendants she said she just had lots of sisters - 5 sisters and a brother.  And that this was her family's fourth family wedding this year.   So they wanted something that would be uniquely their own.  They also wanted a short - but not shamelessly short ceremony.  They felt the need to tell me that when we met because of the very long ceremony that another family member had had.  They told me that they felt graced by their love for each other and they wanted to concentrate on that.  And so we did.

They love the life that they have created together since they met in 2007 – filled with laughter, endless conversations and shared interests including dorky computer games, cars, trying new and weird foods, and more.  Kaity loves how Early loves to talk about their future together as a couple and about one day having and raising their children.   And Early loves how life with Kaity holds so many  unexpected surprises. 

To celebrate Early's heritage, we had the reading 'The Key to Love' by a first century anonymous Chinese author.  That reading still says it all.  Then as a part of the ceremony Kaity and Early each drank from a glass of wine tied to the other glass by a red string.  This tied back to an old Chinese legend about the Old Man Under the Moon tying the feet of boys and girls together who are destined to become marriage partners with a red thread.  They will find each other even if separated by a thousand miles.  You can see the glasses on the table behind us.

 The Cotton Company did their catering, their flowers and their cake.  Eric Hodgden, from All Around Raleigh DJ, was his excellent self as always.  I love being able to rely on him and Michelle Alldred at The Cotton Room for her wonderful professionalism, patience and always generous spirit.  

I wish them much happiness all their lives!

Matt and Jillian Marry to the Strains of the Beach Boys

 Matt and Jillian have wonderful playful natures that came out in a lovely way in their ceremony.  They love inner city Raleigh and enjoyed showing off sweet St. Mark's Chapel in Mordecai Historic Park to their guests.  I've done so many weddings at this chapel and it is such a special place, I was delighted that Jillian and Matt found it.  I never seem to have enough pictures to show off how wonderful this chapel is.  The picture above is under the wine trellis at the back of the park.  I've also officiated a wedding there.  There are just lots of gorgeous places in the small urban one-square-block park.

Matt and Jillian had a gorgeous fall day.  They had about 50 guests which meant a full house in the chapel.  They each had 2 attendants and if you notice the women's dresses, they were vintage bought off the internet.  What a find!  Jillian's dress was vintage, too, with heavy wonderful lace.  Here is their wedding party on the steps of the Mordecai Historic House.  By the way, for those unfamiliar with the park.  The women have the little green building as a dressing room.

Jillian and Matt just used a boom box that his father operated from the front pew.  I loved the image of him holding the boombox with the Beach Boys, 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' ringing off the walls.  That was the processional.  Jillian entered to 'God Only Knows' by the Beach Boys and I don't have written what Matt had planned for the recessional.  It was to be a surprise for Jillian so I didn't have it in my book.  They wanted a classic romantic loving ceremony and they had just that.  The little chapel will filled with joy.  One reason I love that chapel so much is that it is perfect for a small intimate wedding by providing just beautiful architectural lines, the patina of old wood lovingly kept, and lots of light.  It was a treat to celebrate with them.

Friends and family contributed in all the other ways to the wedding.  Jillian's bouquet of old fashioned roses that are full and lush and look like peonies was made by a family member, and Jillian's cousin, Deena, was our photographer.  Thank you Deena, these are wonderful pictures.  The reception was at their home nearby catered by Red, Hot and Blue Barbecue.  

The two pictures above were taken by my DROID.  You can blame the fuzziness on that.

I received a hand written snail-mailed thank you card from them with the note:  'Matt and I knew you were the perfect officiant for us - the beautiful ceremony validated that, too.  The care you took with it was so impressive, our friends and family all have been saying it was the most thoughtful and intimate ceremony they've ever attended.  We can't thank you enough.  Love and best wishes,  Matt and Jillian.'

I was delighted to have them in my life.  If only for a little while, it was an important little while.  And I'm grateful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mike and Dagny Marry at The Stockroom in a Rainy Day Wedding

Dagny and Mike had been together for four years and told me that they didn't anticipate much of their day to day life changing after the wedding.  They really wanted a 'celebration of us' with their family and friends.  The chose The Stockroom in downtown Raleigh as their venue which gave them an intimate party feel but with more space, and it was perfect for them.  I love the decorations of the three circles that they made to create a ceremony site.  Catering Works did the flowers, the cake and the catering.

They were a treat to get to know.  They wanted a casual, relaxed and personal ceremony and we had fun creating just that.  Thanks to Michelle Gunton of Michelle Gunton Photography for these wonderful pictures.  She's a joy to work with and seemed to capture their easy loving feeling so well.  It's fun to showcase some of her pictures here.

I always love it when there is a spontaneous moment in the ceremony that lights everyone up with their natural smiles.  I think this was a moment with the musicians.  

Downtown Raleigh has such wonderful architectural features for the pictures, too.   Mike and Dagny had their cocktail hour at the Mahler Art Gallery next door while they got the Stockroom .  ready for the reception.  I loved looking at the art and it also provided an excellent backdrop for photographs.  I'm sure that you can see more on Michelle Gunton's blog post for Mike and Dagny's wedding.... here is a link to it.

I asked everyone to join me in welcoming them as a married couple.  I call this the basking moment because they take a moment to receive the love and support of everyone there before the festivities begin.  I'm glad to see Mike and Dagny drinking it in.

They were off to Aruba the next day leaving the rain behind.  I sent much love with them.  I know they'll have a wonderful life together.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Matt and Jennifer Marry Twice at The Rigmor House in Chapel Hill

 Jennifer and Matt are just plan fun.  And their wedding was designed to ensure that everyone else had fun, too.  The lawn of the Rigmor House in Chapel Hill was scattered with toys for the kids and the adults to be played with before and after the ceremony.  Matt and Jennifer wanted to ensure that they had fun, too, and were concerned that their nervousness from being the center of attention during the ceremony would distract from their ability to be present with each other.  So they came up with a unique idea.  

Before their official ceremony with everyone around, Matt, Jennifer, and I, and of course their wonderful photographer from Hartman Outdoor Photography, went down a path away from the house, and away from everyone else.  They wanted a quiet place to share informal vows with each other and to exchange rings just by themselves.  This is how they captured the intimacy of the time for them as well as with their family and friends, just a few moments after.
 It was wonderful to be a part of this special moment with them.
 Thanks, too, to their photographer for this great shot of me.  
 At their larger ceremony, Matt and Jennifer and I stood under an arch made my Jennifer's father just the day before.  It was really lovely.  Their private ceremony didn't detract at all from the joy and celebration of the ceremony with their families and friends.  Each were unique.  At the moment in the picture below, Matt and Jennifer are putting their love letters into the box with the wine for their Box, Wine and Love Letter Ceremony.  We did this ceremony in a different way that is generally written.  I wrote the words below to reflect the sentiment that they had requested:
'Author Germaine Greer writes, ‘Successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.’  Throughout your relationship, you have already fallen in love with each other many times. And you will many more times.  To remind you of the love you share today, choose a time that calls to both of you to open this box, sit and drink the wine together, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another on the day you were united as a couple. When you read these love letters, cherish anew the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other, share with each other how your love has grown and deepened and let this small ritual be a renewal of the commitment and love you share.  You might like to write new letters and get new wine and let the ritual continue through all the years as a way to honor each other and your marriage.'  I love what we created for them and will offer this version, too,  to all the couples I marry who choose this ceremony.
I love the picture after their wedding as we stand in the doorway of the gazebo in another section of the large lawn at the Rigmor House.  It was a joyful day for them, and for me, as I saw how, even with wedding stress, they were a loving, gracious and kind couple to each other and to everyone there.  They chose excellent professionals to make sure their day was stress free, too.  Whole Foods in Chapel Hill catered their meal and the Happiest Hostess provided the service for the catering.   Maple Spring Gardens provided their flowers, and Jen's sister Sheila (lucky them)  made their cake.   I wish them many many years of continued happiness and love that grows and deepens through all their years.

Brandon and Tess Wed in a Sweet Intimate Ceremony in Cary

 I'm so glad that Tess and Brandon shared these pictures with me.  Theirs was a sweet, intimate wedding for only family at the Kildaire Farms Clubhouse in Cary.  They wanted it held there so that her ninety plus year old grandparents could be there.  They had been married for over 70 years and were a really cute couple, too, holding hands, and inspiring all of us.  It was also simply a lovely setting with the deck and the lake perfect for the early fall day.

I had never met Tess or Brandon before but had married two couples over the years who are friends of theirs,  Beth and Ross at The Brier Creek Country Club, and Laura and Alex at The Fearrington Inn.  But Brandon and Tess wanted something different.  A small wedding with just some sweet touches that made it special - like bubbles.

Their families had decorated the clubhouse in beautiful purple and silver balloons and they had their reception catered by Sugar Magnolia Culinary who had everything well in hand with the full kitchen at the clubhouse. Tess and Brandon had wanted their dog there, too, but alas, their dog was just a little too high strung for the day.

A very good professional violinist, Jessica Jenkins, played before the ceremony and for the processional and recessional.  She also teaches violin at Meredith College.  You can find her by the name Jessica's Strings or on the attached link to her Meredith College listing. 
We ended their ceremony with these words:  'And so may this day be an open door through which Brandon and Tess will go form to build a happy, harmonious marriage.  may the years deal gently with them; walking together, may they find life far richer for journeying through it together.'

Tess emailed me after the wedding to let me know that this was just the wedding she and Brandon had wanted.  I'm so glad.  I wish them much happiness and many years filled with joy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Starlight Meadow for Peter and Adrienne

On a stunningly beautiful early fall evening I had the joy of marrying Peter and Adrienne at a new venue that they raved about and wanted to make sure I let everyone else know about, too.  And I understand why.  Starlight Meadow, about 10 minutes off the freeway on Burlington on Shoe Rd. (Huffman Mill Road turns into it), is owned and loved by Jeremy and Sarah Oehling. They have created a beautiful, peaceful and low-key place that is quiet, spacious and lovely.  I have lots of pictures so you can see for yourself.  Most of these pictures were taken by Sarah Oehling that I can use as we await our professional photographer, Soo Keith's photos.
This is the view from the ceremony site back to the open sided barn where the reception was held and the long low building that hold the modern air conditioned dressing rooms for the bride and groom.  The building to the far left is includes a covered patio where the cocktails were served.
A closer look at the dressing rooms building where Adrienne and her parents started the processional.
They aren't really walking through waist high grass.  It's all mowed down to the ceremony site.
Peter and Adrienne live in Wilmington but have so many friends locally.  This suited their very individual and relaxed style.  There are white painted benches at the ceremony site and we stood on a 8 by 10 feet wooden platform.
Their dog, Mr Ollie Valentine was the ring bearer and came down the aisle when he was called to give me the rings from the pillow around his waist.  Notice his pink bow tie, too.  Peter and Adrienne shared lovely words when they exchanged rings:  'I give you this ring today in token of our love--love that we have grown together, that fills our hearts now and that will grow all the years of our lives.'
Their flower girls, nieces Ava and Audrey, loved their moment in the spotlight and made a lovely pair.

This is the reception site.  The middle section has the ballroom and it's big enough to easily fit 150 people comfortably for a sit down dinner.  On a lovely evening like this one it was perfect.
I'd love to spread the word about this charming new venue because I'd love to go back there.  Sarah and Jeremy were attentive and professional and their meadow is a labor of love.  Jeremy even operated the boom box for us for the music and Sarah helped with the processional.

In the beginning we opened their ceremony with:  'This extraordinary day, first of fall, marks a passage from one season to the next. Today happens to also be the midpoint between Adrienne’s two favorite seasons, spring and summer, and Peter’s two favorite seasons, fall and winter. This median is a perfect reflection of the meeting their minds and hearts. They move forward in their relationship, embodying this spirit of equality with shared love and respect for each other. As days, become shorter and nights longer, let the warmth of their hearts keep them  cozy. And when the spring and summer come again, let them emerge with new energy, ready for fresh adventures.'  

They're delightful, thoughtful and kind people.  I wish them many many years of fresh adventures and growing their love.