Thursday, September 12, 2013

When Joe contacted me in July about officiating his and Ashley's wedding on September 1, 2013 at the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel at Brier Creek, we were all happy that I was available because it was rather short notice. We quickly put together a wonderful ceremony and I was really looking forward to doing my first wedding at this new location. The outdoor space they described sounded perfect for a wedding. As it turns out, theirs was a rather unusual wedding because of all the unexpected twists and turns that transpired on their wedding day! We are all so grateful to the management and staff at Embassy Suites at Brier Creek for their flexibility, responsiveness and willingness to go over and above expectations of a wedding venue! Special thanks to Fred, Director of Food and Beverage and Brendan (don't know his title).  They were impressive and believe me, they will take care of whatever you need if you have a wedding there! 
Drapes were hung on a stand crafted by the father of the bride to hide the dark brown double doors behind it. A great solution except that it was quite blustery and little did we know then that a big storm was on its way despite the sunny sky.  The drapery panels were blowing around like sails and no matter what we did, we could not make them stay down. Knowing that would be quite distracting during the ceremony and after looking at different options the fathers of the bride and groom and I decided to turn the ceremony around to face the other way.
The manager in charge for Embassy Suites in Brier Creek rallied his staff and they cleared out the patio furniture stashed at that end and turned each chair around. See what a nice view of pretty trees and sky? (The storm was coming from the opposite direction!) He also arranged for the bride and her father to enter from the double doors we had tried to hide and walk down the aisle--so that solved that problem of getting the bride down the aisle. The rest of the wedding party would enter from the left side directly to the "altar" area instead of walking down the aisle. It was quite perfect! The guests who had been assembling in the lobby were then invited to take their seats. During all this activity, Brendan whispered to me that a room inside had been prepared in case of rain. Ahhh, he was wisely looking ahead and had a plan B in place!
And then the sky darkened rather suddenly and the drops began to fall. We had to move the wedding indoors. So grateful that the room inside had been set up with the chairs. The guests were then invited to go to that room as the raindrops increased. I grabbed the sand ceremony containers and took them inside to set up there. Our DJ and our videographer were moving all their equipment to the new space, running cables here and there and doing a sound check. From the reception area, I commandeered a tray table and tray to use for the sand ceremony and got that set up. The table outside was already drenched. The chairs too. Little did we know during the ceremony that a flash flood was taking place!
Are we ready yet? 
Here we go! The delay was not more than 10 minutes though. Everyone worked very well together. The wedding party and parents were hidden away in the reception room across the hall and the bride was sneaked into an adjoining hallway until Joe entered the ceremony room.
Joe escorted his mother, Jean, and his father, Larry, followed them. They were seated and Joe stepped up to join me.
Louis, father of the bride, escorted in Becky, mother of the bride, then Louis circled around and back out to escort the bride. That is Sean, friend of the couple, directing the processional and he did a great job.
Waiting for the bride! 
Ashley was so excited. She was kept informed about all the changes and she was really cool with it and did not get the least bit ruffled. She told me, "I don't care as long as Joe and I get married!" I believe that is Brendan on the right side of the doorway. 
It was a bit of a squeeze to get by the last row but Ashley is moving on and I think Louis had to make a real effort to keep her from galloping down the aisle!
As they walked down the aisle, those of us in the wedding party could see that Louis was trying really hard not to cry. So sweet!
(That wallpaper will make you drunk if you stare at it too long!) 
Both sets of parents have been married for 38 years and have provided wonderful role models for Joe and Ashley. The couple gave me the date and place of each of their marriages and it was a surprise to them for me to relate some humorous details of each of their weddings back in 1975!
Joe and Ashley's story was quite funny too and everyone had a good time hearing it. Then it was time for them to read their vows to each other from my book and exchange rings.
Containers for sand ceremonies have gotten quite fancy these days! Popular right now is a shadow-box with the names and date of marriage engraved on the glass front.
We recessed to the reception area with its pretty up-lighting. 
One of my favorite DJs, Jason, scooted out and was getting ready for the reception. He was a champ! For this wedding he was working for Island Sound. In the future, he is spinning off into his own DJ business Stylus Weddings. Our photographer for the wedding was Tina Loebach and it was good to work with Tina and her assistant again! Their videographer, Whitewater, is with Island Sound & Video. 
Ashley and Joe, what a ride! And it turned out great despite all the ups and downs. You were both so flexible and went right with the flow. I know the most important thing was that you got married to each other and that was going to happen no matter what! Congratulations! You are a great couple and you have proven that you will have a very happy and satisfying marriage, no matter what life puts in front of you!
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