Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fay and John Marry Next To The Pond That They Love

 Thank you to Chelsey Morrison of Gather Together Events and wedding planning for bringing Fay and John into my life.  It was a joy to marry them.  And to work with Chelsey again.  She's really really good at what she does!  And it's always with a smile.  

When I first met with John and Fay last January  they were just beginning to bring their vision for their September wedding into focus.  All they knew was that they wanted to marry at the pond on John's uncle's property where they spent so much time fishing and getting to know each other so well.  I pictured a truly rustic setting when they described it.  I was amazed when I saw the actual pond at their rehearsal.  It's gorgeous.  Here's another view of the pond and the ceremony.  Luckily I has a microphone so the guests didn't miss a word of the ceremony.
As a part of the ceremony we asked John's and Fay's parents to stand and affirm their continued love and support for John and Fay's marriage.  They heartily responded 'Yes!'.  This moment is John and Fay looking back at their parents as we thanked them for their love and guidance for John and Fay all their lives.  

 I was go grateful for that mantle.  No one fell into the water.  I consider that a coup in itself.
The dock was just the right size for everyone.  A special Thank You to Katherine Miles Jones of Katherine Miles Jones Photographyour intrepid photographer, for her amazing photography.  It wasn't an easy wedding to photograph at all!
John and Fay were so cute from the very beginning, beaming their joy and, yes, there were a few tears, too.  I regress to show you Fay walking down the aisle and John watching Fay walk down the aisle.

Our lovely flower girls, Emaline and Isla, made everyone smile, too.

The only beings missing were John and Fays two dogs, Tyson and Annie.  In the opening of their ceremony we described marriage as a time to 'exercise their love, to stretch it large enough to embrace the unforeseen realities of the future; to love not only when it comes easily, but also when it seems difficult.'
 I never mind when we take the small moments necessary for 'train management,' or other necessities.  I think it's important for the couple, and their guests, to be comfortable so that they can be fully present with each other and with this important moment of sharing their love with each other.

Thanks to Tre Bella Florist for the all the elegant bouquets. As well as being lovely, they managed well in the heat!
 Photographers tell me to remind the couple not to kiss too fast.  After all it is a very important kiss to document.  And so many couples are shy hesitant to kiss in public.  This was not a worry for Fay and John.  And John had to also concentrate on not putting his hand on Fay's back so he wouldn't jerk her head back by her veil.  They managed nicely and thoroughly enjoyed the moment.
 On this day they only had eyes for each other.  And that's as it should be.  And they started out as friends who became best friends.  That's as it should be, too.  
 I wish them all the joy in the world!

John and Fay's wedding was featured online at the blog Southern Weddings.   There are lots more pictures of the ceremony and reception.  It's a great write up.  Here is the url.

I also want to note Thrills from The Grill who provided their catering and cake, and Cameron Atworth of Moon Water Music who was a wonderful musician for the ceremony and helped manage the sound amplificaition I needed and couldn't manage on that small crowded dock. 

It was a day to remember for everyone there.  We all loved seeing Fay and John so happy. 

Graham and Monica Marry In The Perfect Place

Graham and Monica chose to marry at the Nature Research Center, a.k.a.  the new part of the Museum of Natural Science on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh.  And I was the lucky officiant who got to marry them.  It was a perfect location for them.  As self-proclaimed geeks they were in their element.  And in addition to being fun and innovative, the center is quite lovely.  

Their ceremony site was a large meeting room on the fourth floor, quiet, perfect for easily 100 guests, and well appointed.  We did laugh that we lined up for the processional in the closet.  That's the door to the far right that goes through the closet which has kitchen elements to it and then out into the lobby.  So Carolyn Scott of Carolyn Scott Photography, a truly wonderful professional as well as a friend with a great sense of humor, documented us all hanging out in the closet before the ceremony.  Thank you Carolyn, for all of these pictures.
We had fun crafting their ceremony making it personal, humorous, warm and casual, just like them.  We invited guests to actively participate in the ceremony, just as they are active participants in their lives, inviting them to clap, cheer or laugh as the mood struck them.  Graham's fun loving grandmother took us at our word and clapped often and vigorously, which just added to the joyful mood.  Here we are enjoying just such a moment.
They created vows which I love and which begin, 'I take you as my partner, loving and respecting the amazing person that you are, and the person you will become,' and ending with 'I will cherish every day we have together, sharing the sweetness of our life.'

As Monica placed Graham's wedding ring on his finger, she said, 'I give you this ring as a pledge of my love and as a symbol of our unity.'

They  took part in a Box, Love Letter and Wine Ceremony with a lovely handwoven container.  I've changed this ceremony over the years to have a few versions.  In this version we quoted author Germaine Greer that 'successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person' inviting them to choose a time, perhaps an anniversary, to open the box, read the love letters and share with each other how their love has grown and deepened.

When Monica emailed me after the ceremony to say thanks she included this note that I love, 'My grandmother commented that it was the only wedding she had ever been to where everyone laughed instead of cried :) '  I loved it.

What a dear couple.  I loved having them in my life.  And it was a real surprise and a treat to find that two of their friends are Sean and Ellen, a couple I'd married just the year before at All Saints Chapel.  

Another treat was to see that Noreen Fitzmaurice of The Celiac Bakery provided their cake.  I bet it was wonderful.

I send much love to Monica and Graham.  I so enjoy adding to the sum of love in the world, and having such lovely people who let me be a part of such a special time in their lives.  I thank  them! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catering With A Cause

 I want to dedicate this post to a wonderful organization my niece turned me on to.  That's her and her husband at their wedding on December 29th.  I'll be writing a post about their wedding a little later.  But here they are, Amber and Forrest, eyeing their cakes, before the cake cutting ritual.

Right now I want to focus on their caterers, who did a fabulous job and made amazing food.

Thanks first to Jerri Greenberg of Girl With 3 Dogs Photography for these pictures. Family friends (I married her and her husband, Rob) she and Rob captured the day, and our relaxed family so well.  I thank her, too. 

Amber, my niece, in her volunteer work for the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce had learned about 'Catering With A Cause,' a part of the Interfaith Food Shuttle, which is part of the Interfaith Food Council in Chapel Hill.  So knowing their wonderful food and solid professionalism, she contacted them to cater her wedding held at The Community Church in Chapel Hill, Unitarian Universalist.  It's where her brother was married, and where I was one of the ministers from 1995 to 2000.  And they do open their doors to non-members to marry there.

It's a not for profit catering program to generate revenue for funding our programs which work to alleviate hunger in the greater Triangle. As they say, 'A delicious way to impact your community!'

The menu they provided included curried potato salad (it had cran-raisins in it and was delicious), kale salad (yummy!), chicken satay, very tender beef roast and more.  

They customize menus with you, prepare the food in their facility and use this process as a way to train people in their program in the art of catering.

Here the bride's and groom's fathers are anticipating the feast.

The staff with Catering With A Cause were really lovely, warm, and delightful in the presence.  They also cooked, served, and cleaned the kitchen with grace and good spirits.  They were a joy to have in Amber and Forrest's big day.

My husband and I had a great time, and went back for seconds.  I rarely if ever go to a wedding reception.  We're homebodies so my favorite place is to come home to him.  Since this was a family affair, this wedding was home.  And Catering With A Cause added to that feeling of being very well cared for.  I can't thank them enough. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Carol and Erik Marry at Brier Creek Country Club With Love All Around Them

Erik and Carol were disappointed at first that they had to move their wedding indoors because of rainy cold weather this October.  But their ceremony was elegant and comfortable in this room at Brier Creek Country Club. As soon as they saw the room they knew that everything would be fine.   Riley MacLean was their wonderful photographer.  I've worked with Riley before and he and his assistant have a wonderful eye for what is just the right photograph.  I was so glad he was here because this room presented some lighting challenges that he was able to overcome.
Carol and Erik experience the divine through their relationships with the people in their lives who are close to them, and the room was full of friends and family there to wish them well, and to bless and support their marriage.
Their friend, Erika, gave the funniest liveliest rendition of Taylor Mali's 'Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog' that I have ever heard.  Everyone loved it.
Over the five years they've known one another they have spent more time together in those years than many couples spend together in a lifetime.  They work together and live together and yet this has brought them closer together than they ever thought possible.  

They've created a strong loyal partnership and a deep and abiding friendship.  We celebrate that, too, in their wedding.

A special part of Erik and Carol's exchange of vows was the Celtic Handfasting ceremony.  Carol had beaded their handfasting cord in the mauve and green colors of their ceremony and it was gorgeous.  I forget how many thousands of beads Carol told me was in it.
With each 'I will' response to the questions I ask them in the ceremony, I tie another knot in the cord, in essence 'tying the knot of their marriage' or 'binding their hands together in marriage.'

Here's a picture of their cord next to the vase that held Carol's bridal bouquet.

When Erik and Carol exchanged rings as a token and symbol of their vows, they said to one another, 'I give you this ring as a pledge of my love and as a symbol of our unity.'

After I pronounced the married with the words, 'You have formed your own union, in friendship, in respect for one another, and in love, and is it therefore my joyful task to pronounce that you are married,'  they shared a wonderful kiss.  My photographer friends ask me to tell the couple that a 3 second kiss is just about right if they want to get a good picture.  And they got a great one.
They're a dear couple and it was a joy to watch them celebrate their marriage in even those very first moments.  As a happily married woman myself who is still celebrating after thirteen years I relish the joy other couples find with each other.
Their mothers signed the marriage license.  Both lovely ladies.  Carol's mother also created her wedding program to look just like a Broadway playbill.  It was very creative and lots of fun.
My favorite picture of them is the first one on this blog, but I love the one below, too. Thank you again, Riley for finding just that calm after the rain to capture some lovely outdoor pictures, too.  Carol and Erik are special people, openhearted and kind.  I'm so glad their wedding was just what they wanted.  And I send them much love for many years of happiness.
To give credit to some other wonderful wedding professionals at their wedding:  The English Garden was their florist, and Eric Hodgden of All Around Raleigh DJ was their DJ for the reception and the ceremony music.  I've worked with Eric a lot, too, in one case where the bride hadn't chosen the music but left it up to him at the last moment and he was wonderful.  It's also a joy to work with him.  Their Maid of Honor, Beckie, made their cupcakes.  Wow!  What a huge and lovely gift for them.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nick and Jess Mary Under the Sunflowers at The Angus Barn

 On Labor Day weekend I had the great pleasure of marrying Nick and Jess at The Angus Barn Pavilion.  I'm so blessed. The Universe only sends me the most wonderful couples.   Jess and Nick had known each other 4 years by the wedding day after meeting as graduate students at Duke.  They are close to their family and friends and have fun with all of them.  They wanted a fun, participative wedding honoring the people they love, acknowledging that they are joining their families and asking their family and friends for their support throughout their marriage. 

The Angus Barn site couldn't have been more lovely for their wedding.  A special Thank you to Cade Bowman of Cade Bowman Photography for these superb photographs.  They are as clear and bright as the couple and capture their exuberance so well.  And thanks to Ashley Whittington, the coordinator with Angus Barn.  I've worked with her many times and she always does her job with style, grace and professionalism.  In the picture below Morgan and Hannah, Jess's niece and nephew, do their part to make the ceremony special.  In addition to carrying down the rings, Morgan did something that was a first in my wedding experience; as he finished walking down the aisle he hand delivered a note to Nick from Jess for his eyes only.  Nick read it quickly and you could tell it touched his heart.  It was a lovely gesture.

The Angus Barn has the dilemma of being close to the airport with the noise of airplanes taking off and landing easily heard throughout a ceremony.  I always just pause and let the noise die down, but Nick and Jess had a wonderful idea to help shift this from an annoyance to a joy.  On the stand with their programs they put a sign that said, and I paraphrase, 'It is said that the number of planes taking off and landing during Jess and Nick's wedding will determine the number of curly headed children they will have.'

Nick and Jess chose one of my favorite quotes by Madelaine L'engle to include in their ceremony, 'Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take.  ...  It is indeed a fearful gamble.'  The quote goes on to speak of love that is participation, not possession, ending with... 'When love is not possession but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling.'
 Nick and Jess have lots of siblings so their wedding party was a family affair, too.  We included a special thank you to Jess and Nick's parents and siblings saying that without their love and support, this marriage would not, could not be possible.  In the ceremony Jess's Uncle and Godfather read with great tenderness the 'Blessing of the Hands.'  Then I ended the final blessing upon Jess and Nick's wedding with 'May you have happiness and may you find it making one another happy.  May you have love and may you find it loving one another.'  I have no doubts that this couple is well suited in heart and spirit to do just that.

Here is their wedding party after the ceremony.  It includes Jess's three sisters and Nick's three brothers.  
 I didn't stay for the reception, preferring always to come home to my own husband so I had to rely on the fabulous pictures that Cade took.

I'm always impressed how the pavilion can transform to this elegant space, filled with life.
 Kelly Odom Flowers was the florist who created Jessica's bouquet and all the other flowers at the wedding.  Arioso Strings provided beautiful classical selections for the ceremony.  They are both wonderful professionals.
I got this thank you from them after their wedding:  'Thank you so much Robin - we had a fantastic honeymoon that capped off just an amazing weekend with friends and family. It was everything we hoped it would be. Thank you for your part in making our day so special, Jess.'
Thank you Universe, and thank you Nick and Jess.  I couldn't ask for a better way to spend the holiday than at your wedding!

Matt and Becky Marry in a Sweet Christmas Ceremony at The Fearrington Inn

Matt and Becky planned a small family wedding at The Fearrington House for December 23rd.  They arranged a private dining room in the inn for their 20 guests.  The guests were seated at their dinner tables as we stood in the arched doorway to the outer dining room.  The only being missing was their dog, Britches, who unfortunately hadn't yet mastered his formal dining manners.  They wanted a simple ceremony that focused on the joy that they have found with one another and how their love informs and enriches all they do in their lives.

In their opening words I said, 'And now you stand before your family, ready to acknowledge to God and to the world: this is my beloved, the one with whom I choose to create the rest of my life.'

Thank you to Kristin of KPO Photography who provided these gracious pictures.  I loved seeing them.  Matt and Becky are truly loving gentle very sweetnatured people and Kristin  captured them beautifully.  Here is her blog about their wedding with more pictures and a sweet story.
The inn was an ideal setting for them.  I've officiated many many large and small weddings there before but never one in the inn itself.  The staff was attentive and gracious and helped us navigate what was a cozy space well.  I'm sure the inn will hold special meaning for them now, and in only good ways.
It was only after these photographs were posted on Facebook that we discovered that Matt is the cousin of a friend of mine, Samantha, and her husband, David, and their son Iain.  They now live in Boston.  In fact I married Sam and David when they were pregnant with Iain so they all hold more than one special place in my heart.  I love that there isn't even one degree of separation between me and this wonderful, now even larger, more beautiful, family.  Signed and sealed with a kiss!
After I presented them to their family as a married couple we ended the ceremony by my saying that Matt and Becky would joyfully receive hugs and congratulations now.  And they did just that.  
And I quietly left them to the loving arms of their family.  I love that our lives are connected now.  Becky was really sweet in relaying their thanks that very evening later by email.  The next day they went on their honeymoon to St. Lucia and to the beginning of their very joyful marriage!  Many many blessings to them!