Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Natasha and Shawn's wedding day was Sunday October 7, 2012 at the JC Raulston Arboretum White Garden in Raleigh. Their rehearsal was the Sunday before. The minister they had arranged to officiate for them was a "no show" and unable to be reached. Panic! Their proactive wedding planner, DeVonda Manning with Simply Lavish Weddings & Events, called me the next day to see if I could step in and officiate for this couple. I had a wedding at 2:00 that day at Duke Gardens and this one was at 4:00. It was tight and I would have to forego my policy of arriving on the wedding site one hour prior to ceremony start time, but I agreed to do it. I did not meet the couple or DeVonda or anyone else in the wedding until the wedding day. I wrote a ceremony and emailed it to the couple for them to review and make any changes to and they loved every word. I added some personal touches from what DeVonda had told me about Natasha and Shawn. About mid-week, the weather forecast for Sunday was looking pretty doubtful for an outdoor wedding and DeVonda and I wondered if the wedding should be re-located to the Royal Banquet Hall where the reception was to be. Natasha held out for her dream of an outdoor wedding and as it turned out, the rain miraculously held back. DeVonda was really on the ball and did a wonderful job organizing and "rescuing" this wedding! Thanks for making me part of this wonderful wedding, DeVonda!
The pretty bridesmaids and their parasols (instead of bouquets) are all ready to go. The wedding colors are described as "Sangria and Oasis blue with Hot Pink" which is a lovely combination. 
Marty and I arrived on the scene about 3:15, earlier than expected, and we set up my sound system, checked with the harpist, Carlota Reyes, and flautist, Alma Coefman, who were set up inside the gazebo, and checked on the sand ceremony set-up. The bride's limo arrived a bit late so the wedding ended up not being rushed at all. 
The guys are all lined up. First in was Mother of the Groom, Diane, followed by Father of the Groom, David.
Then it was time for the Mother of the Bride, Mary, to be escorted in by a groomsman.
 We are next! 
We had two little boys, Chase and Cody, next. Chase held the rings and Cody was the bell toller! DeVonda helped get them down the aisle.
 Now for Little Miss Iyanna, our flower girl. 
Here comes the bride--with her father, Ernest--as DeVonda straightens the train.  We had a full house and still no rain! Just amazing! Our photographer, Robert Christopher Watson was there taking photos for David's Bridal.  
Shawn and Natasha have known each other practically all their lives. In fact, Natasha's mother was one of Shawn's elementary school teachers. He always had his eye on Natasha but things just did not work out back then. However, he did not give up and years later they finally connected and his dreams came true! A sweet story for both!
After the vows and rings, they stepped up to pour their sand together symbolizing their unity.
Look at that smile on Natasha's pretty face! Shawn is ready to head over to the reception to celebrate!
Natasha and Shawn, I am honored to have officiated your wedding. Do you know that one of your guests, a minister himself, came up to me after the wedding and told me that was the most beautiful wedding ceremony he had ever heard? He asked me if there was any way he could get the script so I simply took the ceremony pages out of my book and gave them to him. He handed them to his wife who tucked them in her purse! So happy he loved it so much and so honored that he wanted the words. Hope he uses it in his own wedding ceremonies! I wish you two all the very best! 

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