Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Libby and Ethem met in an interior design class three years ago. Both are very talented individuals and they gravitated towards each other being just classmates at first, then friends, then a couple. At some point they decided to marry and set their wedding date for October 28, 2012. Libby had a rather precise vision of what she wanted her wedding day to be like. With the help of her wedding planner, Gina Myers of La Cosa Bella Events, they put it together. It is one thing to have a vision and another to give birth to it! What a classy wedding in a very upscale art gallery in the middle of downtown Raleigh with the reception following at the lovely Cardinal Club. Ethem's vision was to support Libby in her vision so that worked out very well!
The Mahler Fine Art Gallery is located at 228 Fayetteville Road. Our rehearsal was on Saturday morning which was chilly and windy thanks to Hurricane Sandy who was slowly churning off the NC coast. I brought my cell phone with me and snapped a few photos of the rehearsal.
We are waiting to get into the gallery and getting blown around a bit.
This young lady is Aspen, our 4 year old flower girl, niece of the bride.
The inside of the gallery looking from back to the front door. Gina, our wedding planner/director, is walking toward me.
The wedding party and bride's parents are in place for the ceremony. We are missing one groomsman. There was an arch for the ceremony area, as you will see below, constructed by the groom's family. They are from Turkey and this was their first experience of an American wedding. The music for the ceremony was by iPod with the gallery sound system. We actually practiced with the music to get the timing right. I loved all of Libby's selections. Shea, Gina's assistant, manned the sound system on the wedding day.
Sunday dawned overcast and windy but no rain. We were all amazed--and grateful! The gallery with this many chairs does not leave much room and so the entire wedding party entered from the street. Gina arranged with the Big Easy, an eating place a few doors down, for us to wait there until summoned for the processional. Marty snapped these photos of our adorable ring bearer, Ashton, age 5, nephew of the bride.
Libby and Ethem met Heba Salama at a bridal show, hired her to photograph their wedding, and she referred them to me. Thanks, Heba! I married Heba and Ed at the Rose Hill Plantation 6 or 7 years ago and will never forget them! First of all they are a delightful couple that I got to know well, extremely dedicated to each other and to becoming the best people they can be. Second, they were winners of the TV reality show, Biggest Loser!  Since then, Heba has given up her former career as a pharmaceutical sales rep and followed her heart by setting up her photography business. Ed gave up his career as a chef and now loves teaching at a culinary arts school in Durham and serves as second shooter for Heba. They are quite the team and it was so good to see them again at this wedding! They already have photos from this wedding up on Heba's Blog.
 The guests are arriving. 
When it was time to begin, I entered first to a very beautiful arrangement of "What the World Needs Now." The parents of the groom then entered and took their seats. The bride's mother was escorted in by her son, Gideon, who stepped up into place as a groomsman. Then Ethem and the rest of the groomsmen entered.
The music changed to "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life" and the bridesmaids entered one by one.
The bride and bridesmaids had been waiting in a limo parked in front. When they got out, the wind whipped their hair around. When Aysegul got down front, a piece of her hair was shooting out and the best man whispered to me "it looks like she has a unicorn horn!" This wedding did present a few instances which made me have to decide whether to break decorum and step out of the minister role or let things be! I decided to step out and went over to Aysegul and tucked the errant strand of hair back where it should be.
My next challenge was our precious flower girl, Aspen, who totally forgot to throw even one petal! Guests kept gesturing to her but she was like a deer in the headlights, despite having rehearsed. This is typical for little children--fill the room up with adults and then expect them to remember what to do? Usually does not happen but she did make it all the way down the aisle. So, once more I stepped out of my role, walked over to Aspen, reached into her little basket, grabbed the biggest bunch of petals in my hand and tossed them as far down the aisle that I could! I was thinking that Libby would be disappointed if she did not see petals in the aisle!
My assistant Marty, armed with my camera, was over in a corner trying to shoot over and in between guests to get the processional hence the blurriness but she got Libby and her dad, Pat, coming down the aisle!  When Libby and Ethem and I met on October 2nd, I suggested that they use the version of The Bridal March by Jonathan Cain of Journeys. It is simply magical. I was delighted that they did and since it is only 1:53 long, it worked perfectly at the gallery!
 And so we begin......
Challenge #3: as the bride and groom and wedding party and I looked out at the guests, we saw a sea of cell phones and cameras instead of faces! Should I say something or keep my mouth shut?
I decided that since some of the family members were holding the cell phones, I would say nothing lest I embarrass them. It is not uncommon to see this at weddings these days though. I plan to start discussing this ahead of time with the couple so I know what they want. After all and at great expense, they hired a professional photographer to record the event and not only do the guests holding up cell phones and tablets obstruct the professional's photographs, the guests are viewing the wedding indirectly through the lens instead of being present in the moment.
We remember those not with us and paid tribute to their parents, then I told their story.
They had given me some good material for the ceremony as to why they loved each other and wanted to marry--mostly serious but a few funny things!
Heba and Ed at work--you can see that they did not have much space to maneuver in.
 After making their vows to each other, they exchanged rings.
 The pronouncement of marriage.......and here comes the kiss!  
 It is done and it is time to celebrate! 
After the ceremony, I was surprised when Sibel and Metin, a couple I married on July 3, 2010 walked up to greet me. Here is their wedding post on it. I should have suspected they would be here since Metin is from Turkey and Sibel's father is Turkish. It was so good to see them and I told them that their videographer had recently contacted me wanting to know if I knew how to reach them so he could tell them to come get their wedding video! They are expecting their first child so I might be doing a baby blessing ceremony for them next year!
The guests have all gone to the Cardinal Club and it is time to come back in and take some pictures.
Gina Myers is an absolute dream to work with. She contacted me on behalf of the couple to see if I was available. I am so happy that I was. She kept me apprised of everything and developed a detailed timeline. Her business is La Cosa Bella Events. Thanks, Gina!
That wedding gown is spectacular! Libby is such a beauty and Ethem has that tall, dark and handsome thing going on! What a good-looking couple! By the way, the beautiful florals were done by Fleuressence.
Libby and Ethem, I hope you are basking in wedding bliss, relaxed and contented! It was my pleasure to officiate for you and thank you for giving me the honor of being part of your wonderful wedding!

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