Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Aaah! Another wonderful wedding at Duke Gardens for another great couple! Last October, Emilee and Chad contacted me to see if I could officiate their wedding on May 31, 2014. They had attended the wedding of their friends Scott and Cayce at The Pavilons at Angus Barn the previous summer and really loved their ceremony. We found we were a good fit so we got their date reserved on my calendar and began the ceremony creation process.
This wedding had been thoroughly planned out complete with signs and all manner of sweet little touches--probably a lot of ideas from Pinterest which is all the rage for weddings these days.
Emilee's mother, Donna, like many couples and parents was justifiably concerned about guests being distracted from the heart of the ceremony by taking photos so she had this attractive sign made and placed by the entrance to the garden. Although I am willing to make this announcement when I enter for the ceremony, I much prefer not to make "housekeeping" announcements and believe it is much better to have something like this sign or words in the program to this effect.
As I was setting up and testing my sound system, Mary Page Block and her Arioso Strings quartet arrived to set up. We love doing weddings together!!
Mary also provided the requested trumpeter to do a fanfare to announce the entrance of the bride. Here he is giving us a little demonstration. The Fanfare transitioned into Trumpet Voluntary and the strings joined in. It was quite spectacular!
Meanwhile, back at the Visitor's Center where the guests entered and the reception was to be held, there were many more special touches like this sign.
The guest book had been provided by their photographer, Amy Turner from Your Still Life Photography.  Videoing the wedding was the team from Hart to Heart Media
This pretty cake and cupcakes (if you turn your head sideways, you can see the chocolate cupcakes form the initial C for Chad's last name) were provided by Whole Foods.
Catering this wedding reception was Durham Catering, one of the best caterers around. They do almost all the weddings at Duke Gardens.  Brian McGuire with McSound Productions was the DJ for their wedding reception. I am delighted that I will be officiating his wedding to Tammy in September! Ninth Street Flowers provided all of the floral arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres.
It is just about time to start the ceremony. You can see that the guests are seated and facing the sun. 
 Enter Chad's mother,  Karen, escorted by David, Chad's uncle. Chad's father, Ken, was his best man. 
Mother of the bride, Donna, is escorted in by her husband and Emilee's stepfather, Peter. In the background you can see the tent that has been erected over the patio of the visitor's center. Had the weather not cooperated, the ceremony would have been under the tent. 
 Waiting for the bride! The fanfare is about to start!!
Amanda Scott with A Swanky Affair was our director and she had arranged for the limo carrying the bride and her bridesmaids to park on the other side of the amphitheater so they could slip into the back of the amphitheater without being seen until it was time. After the bridesmaids were in, the bride appeared. The pathway was too narrow for 3 people so Emilee met her escorts at the entryway.
Emilee wanted both her father, Lee, and her stepfather, Peter, to escort her in. It worked quite perfectly. 
When they reached the spot in front of Chad and me, I asked: "Peter and Lee, as Emilee's fathers, do you and her mother, Donna, bless and support her as she comes to join in marriage with Chad?" Of course they answered "We do!" and took their seats.
And so we began with a warm welcome to all, an opening prayer, then a sweet moment of remembrance for all loved ones who had passed on from Chad and Emilee's lives but left many memories only they could create.
They chose words by Louis de Bernieres' Captain Corelli's Mandolin for their ceremony because of its meaningfulness to them and the mention of the majesty of nature surrounding us.
 "Just shy of nine years ago, Emilee and Chad's paths crossed........" Their story began.
Then they heard for the first time what the other had told me about why they loved each other and what they are looking forward to in marriage.
By now the sun has just about dropped behind the trees and the guests are enjoying a little shade.  
"These rings are your gifts to each other to remind you always, and those who gaze at their beauty, that you have pledged your love and commitment in marriage to each other....."
 "I give you my heart, forsaking all others from this day forward.  With this ring, I thee wed." 
I heard some little sniffles coming from Chad and so I offered him a hankie in case he needed to tend to his nose before the kiss! Always gets a few chuckles from the guests.
 "....I now pronounce you husband and wife! Chad, you may kiss your beautiful wife!"
And he did!! (Carefully remembering to slide his hand under her veil rather than on top risking pulling it off or jerking her head back!)
 It's done. You are married! 
 And off they go! 
After the guests departed to the tent for refreshments, the bride and groom and wedding party assembled back at the amphitheater for photos before joining their guests.
I am glad that Marty snapped a few photos before I got in the picture. This is the couple with the bride's father and her sisters. I just love that pretty dark teal color of the dresses!  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the couple with the groom's family.
The couple with her mother, Donna, and her stepfather, Peter. Donna was intricately involved in planning this wedding and put in many hours of hard work and concern over the little necessary details. And her work paid off royally with a gorgeous wedding! Thanks, Donna!
Okay, Emilee and Chad, it is time to celebrate your marriage. Congratulations and best wishes are in order. It was a delight to work with you and despite all the many email issues with Yahoo, we did it! I know you are so happy and I am so honored to have been a part of your big day, thank you!

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