Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Great Joy Marrying Andy and Jean at Spruce Pine Lodge in Bahama

Thanks to John Elkins of John Elkins Photography in Durham for these wonderful shots.  It was a genuine joy marrying Andy and Jean.  They seemed to be having a great time, too.  They were also uniting their families into one.  They have an exuberant, chaotic, joyful bunch of kids that are also polite and respectful when needed, and who are all truly happy for them.  So getting everyone together with the special intention of celebrating Andy and Jean's love was a treat for everyone.  This sign they had at their reception seemed to fit them well.

They had their ceremony and Reception at Spruce Pine Lodge in Bahama.  It's owned by the City of Durham so is not too expensive, and it has lovely facilities for weddings less than 100 guests.  I've been marrying couples there for 20 years and highly recommend it.  
It was just right for Jean and Andy.
I first met with them and some of their children in January to plan their May wedding.  They were all already enjoying the process.  The only parent there would be Andy's mom.  She's special to Jean, too, and we included a special part in the ceremony to honor her.
As a part of their vows they said to each other, 'I give you my hand, my heart, and my love from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.  They had a family sand ceremony which I hope to have pictures of soon.  

Each child had his or her own color sand and Jean and Andy poured some sand before them and after them symbolizing that their love is the foundation for their family, and protects and shelters their family, too.  I loved it.

I need to advise some couples at how to kiss at their wedding but not Andy and Jean.
Andy's brothers were his attendants, everyone kidding him all during the rehearsal.  Jean's son, Tommy, walked her down the aisle.  And their daughters Ashley, Jasmine, and Heather were some of her attendants.  It was definitely a family affair.
Jean sent me this lovely note after their ceremony, 'Hi Robin,
Thanks for the beautiful ceremony!!! It felt so surreal like I was in a perfect dream. Everyone   spoke highly of you. ....Many blessings to you and your family. Jean'  And she signed it with her married surname.  Definitely sweet.  I love looking at their pictures.  They are all joyful loving people.  It was a treat to have them in my life at this special time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chris and Schuyler Marry in an Intimate Family Ceremony at Umstead Park

 It was a chilly March day for Chris and Schuyler's ceremony, but it was at one of my favorite spots.  The balcony of the rough stone shelter near the Reedy Creek entrance of Umstead Park.  And they were a joy to brighten the day.  Schulyer sent me these photographs that their photographer Erin Rizza took.  I thank them both!  Chris and Schuyler met in San Diego, where Chris is from, and from where his family traveled to be with them.  They had at most 30 people for their ceremony, just immediate family and close friends with a chair only for Schulyer's grandmother to be seated.  
 They have been together seven years, meeting when seeing one another across a crowded room.  The stuff of song lyrics.
 Madelyn, Schuyler's niece, was their flower girls.  She is only two so was primarily in the role to look cute and did that very well!  Schulyer's attendants were casual yet so together in the light pastels they wore and their bouquets of babies breath.

And Chris's attendants looked sharp yet casual.  I was so impressed with what this couple did on a small budget and with close friends.
 I enjoyed every moment.  Especially during the ceremony.

And Madelyn enjoyed every minute, too.

 Here is Schuyler's mom signing the license.  She and Chris's step-mother were the witnesses and I asked them to sign the license before the ceremony so that I wouldn't have to interrupt the congratulations after.  Then I sign the license after the ceremony is over.  This is the view off the balcony in that corner of Umstead Park.  It really is lovely.
Chris and Schuyler chose classic vows to exchange and then a Celtic hand-fasting, honoring Schuyler's Irish background, which included the words:  'Above you are the stars and below you is the earth.  Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation form which to grow.'  This is a grounded loving couple.  I see only good in their future.


 then proceeded to a clubhouse to celebrate with Clyde Cooper's BBQ and cake, and much enjoyment. 
Schuyler and Chris went to the Bahamas for their honeymoon and while it rained on and off while they were there, they emailed me how much fun they had.  And they thanked me for everything.  I wish them much much joy and many happy years.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jerem and Mary Marry Amid Great Joy At the Haw River Ballroom

 Mary and Jerem live in Chicago so we met via Skype last October to begin planning their April wedding at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw.  This is a great new venue and people are discovering it in droves.  Yay!  Joyfully it was a warm sunny Spring day for Jerem and Mary's wedding and they could take advantage of all the beautiful scenery around them.  Carolyn Scott and her husband, Geoff, of Carolyn Scott Photographywere their fabulous photographers and have many more pictures on their web site.   They're always great.  Thanks to Carolyn for these wonderful pictures.
 The origami cranes made a lovely backdrop to set off the ceremony site.  Mary entered the room to the strains of 'Luckiest' by Ben Folds setting the loving sweet romantic tone that Jerem and Mary wanted.   And the ballroom was the perfect setting for their eclectic mix of family and friends from Chicago, St. Louis, Colorado and as far away as Calgary, Canada.  This venue is  also known for the terrific musicians who play here on non-wedding evenings.

I loved the neon sign saying 'Thrills' pointing right at them.  In their ceremony we told their guests how Jerem and Mary love how each person's strength fill in the other's gap.  They even find the idiosyncrasies of the other endearing - that rather than driving the other one nuts, they seem to enhance their affection.  Together they are better than the sum of their parts.

We told guests that they could clap, or or laugh as the mood struck them during the ceremony, and I believe that that's just what the picture below indicates.  Notice Jerem's bow tie.  We all loved it!

They chose a Unity Candle Ceremony, never lovelier, than with these succulents and the cranes surrounding them.  We offered these words for this ceremony. 'May the brightness of the candle you light together shine throughout your lives, giving you courage and reassurance in darkness.  May its warmth give you shelter from the cold.  And may its energy fill your spirits with strength and joy.'

With the words, 'Jerem, you may kiss your bride!' he did just that.
 Then after pictures it was a rousing celebration.  Here is a little of their decorations.  I loved them.  Heather Cook of Shindigs, in Durham, was their fabulous planner and coordinator.   And she created the flowers!  What a Godsend in her multi-talents and in making sure everything went smoothly for them. 
With the below not only did they keep it simple, but styling.  And the Saxapahaw Catering Company did their cake and catering.  From the menu it looks fabulous!  I don't see their name on Google.  If you're interested I'd contact the ballroom.  They'd know.
Each place setting was different creating a magical whole.

I love this picture capturing who they are together and their whole day.  In their ceremony I offered the Southern expression, 'Every pot has its lid.'  Mary and Jerem fit together so well, so joyfully, I now know where the expression comes from.
I got this wonderful note from them after they got back from their honeymoon,  'Hi Robin!
Well we are back from our honeymoon and still walking on clouds from the wedding! It was a gorgeous ceremony and we could not be happier with our choice of officiant :). ...
We haven't gotten digital copies of the pictures yet, but Carolyn has shared some on her blog. You'll see there is a great one of you in the ones she has shared!
http://www.carolynscottphotography.com/2014/04/11/maryjerems-wedding-at-the-haw-river-ballroom/.   Thank you again for all of the work and love you put into our wedding. It was a real pleasure!  Love,  Mary & Jerem' 

It was a labor of love for me in creating their ceremony with them. I wouldn't have had it any other way.    I wish them many many years of happiness.

Dave and Mendi Marry Surrounded by Loved Ones at The Old Well at UNC

 Dave and Mendi are a delight.  We began planning their April 2014 wedding in January 2013 when we met for the first time.  They were both graduates of UNC and wanted to be married at the Old Well on UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  And they did.  Now this is a coup.  You can't reserve the Old Well for events so you have to show up and be flexible.  Grads and wedding couples often come there for photographs.  Would there be enough private space and quiet to pull this off?   Yes!  And even with 50 guests!  I've done many small weddings over the years at The Old Well but never with 50 guests in attendance.  And Mendi and Dave did it in style.  Their style.  They even created an aisle with brightly colored ribbon.  
 They are both easy going and agree on what's important and don't expect to read each other's mind.  All great portents for a wonderful marriage.  They wanted a simple ceremony that included their 3 adult children.  And the wanted a Ring Warming.  We all loved watching the rings go through their loved ones hands on the way to theirs, even the baby in the stroller being given a chance to hold and bless the rings.
 Then it was time for Dave to put Mendi's ring on her finger and we had carefully planned a surprise for Mendi.  Dave got Mendi the companion ring to her wedding band to wear on the other side of her engagement ring and she didn't know that he had done that.  It was a treat to have the surprise work so well.  She loved it!
I offered this blessing, which they chose, on their marriage:, "Year and years from now, may you look at one another and be able to say, 'With you, I have lived the life I always wanted to live.  With you, I have become the person I always longed to be.'"   

When they got back from their honeymoon, Dave sent me this note, 'Good morning Robin-
Saturday was perfect! Thank you so much!  ... Dave.'  I'm delighted for them.  They are a wonderful match, and judging by the cheering at their ceremony, everyone else knows so, too.  I wish them all the happiness in the world.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Eric and Amanda Light Up The Highgrove Estate

 Amanda and Eric are joyful, playful people.  On their first date they talked 4 or 5 hours and have been together 3 years.  They wanted a wedding that was fun.  Almost all their guests would be traveling to their wedding and they just wanted to celebrate their love with those they love at The Highgrove Estate in Fuquay Varina last October.  It was a perfect day.  Amanda is a teacher and Eric is a firefighter.  They both are committed to their vocations and to making their life enjoyable. 

Thanks to Julia Wade Photography for these wonderful photographs.  From beginning to end, we all had a wonderful time. 

Eric definitely enjoying Amanda walk down the aisle to the strains of violinist Christina Wohlford.

They wanted a ceremony in which their guests could participate so we told guests that they could clap or cheer or laugh as the mood struck them and at the end of the ceremony their guests helped me pronounce them husband and wife by repeating after me:, 'We your family and friends...now pronounce you... husband and wife.'

 I don't remember what we were laughing at in the below shot.  We sure did have fun throughout  their ceremony.
 A special treat for Amanda is that Eric's mother, Linda made Amanda's bouquet.  In their ceremony I got to say, 'May the spirit of love that lives in and around all of us fill your hearts and bless your lives.'    They practically danced down the aisle and I knew that they had had a wonderful time at their ceremony.  
 In Amanda's note to me she said, 'Thank you again for such an amazing experience.'  It was a delight for me, too, and I wish them much much happiness.

Jamil and Nasrin Have an Intimate Family Wedding at The Fearrington

 I love North Carolina in December when we have a beautiful day that isn't too hot.  The day was perfect for Jamil and Nasrin for their small outdoor wedding at The Fearrington Inn in their courtyard with the fountain.  Thank you to Gil and Christy Rosado at RGB Insight Photography for permission to use these wonderful photographs.  And, of course, thanks to Jamil and Nasrin for sending them to me.  I understand that Gil and Christy created a blog fo them that has many more wonderful pictures.   Thanks, too, to Cheryl Anne Kast at The Fearrington for her wonderful coordination.
 I loved getting to know Jamil and Nasrin.  Jamil contacted me first and I liked him immediately on the phone.  Then I found out that they were going to the Napa Valley for a pre-honeymoon (when they could get the time off from their busy schedules) and we started talking about The Bay Area, my home for many years.  I relished knowing that they would be having a wonderful time at places that I loved.  They had no wedding party so the small table behind me was perfect to hold Nasrin's bouquet while she and Jamil held hands.
 They lit a candle in memory of those who had passed on and wrote beautiful words themselves to honor these loved ones:  'Although death has separated us physically, faith and love has bound us eternally.  Though we cannot see you, we know that you are here.  Though we cannot touch you, we feel the warmth of your smile as we begin this new chapter in our lives.  Today we pause to reflect upon those who have shaped our character, and molded our spirit and touched our hearts. (PAUSE)

May the lighting of this candle be a reminder of the memories we have shared and a representation of the everlasting impact that you have made upon our lives.
We love you and miss you more than words can say.' 
 I got to offer the poem 'Undying Love' by Rabrindranath Tagore as part of their ceremony.  You'll want to look this one up.  It's really lovely! They brought it to my attention and it has special meaning for them.
 Their vows, too, are among the ones I love best:  
'I promise to encourage your compassion,
Because that is what makes you unique and wonderful.
I promise to nurture your dreams,
Because through them your soul shines.
I promise to help shoulder our challenges,
For there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together.
I promise to be your partner in all things,
Not possessing you,
but working with you as part of the whole.
Lastly, I promise to you perfect love and perfect trust,
For one lifetime with you could never be enough.
This is my sacred vow to you, my equal in all things.'
 Theirs was a small intimate wedding attended only by family and very close friends.  It suited them well and this setting at The Fearrington is, in my opinion, the most romantic, nestled among covered trellises profuse with vines.
 Before Jamil and Nasrin exchanged rings, we did a 'Ring Warming Ceremony' in which we pass the rings through everyone's hands first so that they can offer a silent blessing, hope or prayer for Nasrin and Jamil and their new life together.  
 Then with great joy I pronounced them husband and wife and offered this blessing upon their marriage, 'May the love which has brought you together continue to grow and enrich your lives, bringing peace and inspiration to each of you and to those who know you.  May you meet with courage the problems which arise to challenge you; may you meet with strength the troubles that beset you.  Jamil and Nasrin,  may your marriage be one of ever-growing depth and meaning, understanding and love which you give to one another in the life you share.  May you find far more in life than either would have found alone.  May you find tolerance for the prejudices, reverence for the beauties and respect for the truths you will encounter as you go forward together.'
 And I invited them to share their first kiss as husband and wife.  They, and their families, were a delight in my life.  They are a thoughtful, considerate, grounded and very loving couple.  Tender and respectful with each other, cherishing the blessing of finding one another.  I wish them all the happiness in the world.

I got a lovely note from Jamil with these pictures in which he said, 'Thank you so much for such a wonderful ceremony. It was exactly what we wanted and we couldn't have asked for more.'  Music for my ears and my heart!