Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rigsbee Hall in Downtown Durham

For those of you who want a intimate downtown Durham wedding in a 'blank slate' setting that you can decorate any way you want, then Rigsbee Hall at 208 Rigsbee Ave., right off Main St. is a wonderful alternative that's only been open since 2007

The Perfect Wedding Guide hosted it's November luncheon for wedding professionals here and I loved the space. It's like a smaller alternative than the Cotton Room or Bay 7 at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham that is similar in feel.
The pictures here are a combination of my photos and pictures from their web site. My pictures don't do it real justice but they have a photo album on their web sit with more pictures.

It
has 2500 square feet of space. And I understand that on the weekends there's no parking problem shortage. It has easy access from the street, and no steps to navigate if you need accessibility for wheel chairs. Here's the street and window wall. It's set up for our Perfect wedding Guide luncheon. This provides the natural light.

This large projection screen comes down, if you want it, along the one red brick wall. From this perspective, the window wall is on the left. This picture is from their web site.

Here's the same wall for our daytime luncheon. I understand that it can accommodate up to 140 or 180 people depending on your type of reception and your desire for a dance floor. Also these round tables with chairs in both pictures are owned by the venue, and hence usable by you.

This is the other end of the room. Also not pretty yet but with lots of possibilities.

Sarah Adams is the Director of the facility and can answer all your questions.
I'm sure there's more good things about it that I'm not telling you. I just know that I liked the size and feel of the space and I felt that more people should know about it.

I hope it serves you!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kenneth and Carry Marry in the Middle

Kenneth and Carry traveled from New Jersey just to get married in Raleigh on November 13th. Kenneth's mother and daughter, Kelli, traveled all the way from Alabama to be with them. And Carry's daughter, Sage, and her mother would travel from New Jersey to be with them. I joyfully was already here to officiate their ceremony.

Carry had contacted me with little of the 'where' plans in place. All she knew was that Raleigh was the city where the wedding needed to be. So we went to work looking for low cost venues for a lovely outdoors ceremony for a wedding with only 4 guests, one minister, one photographer and the bride and groom. After much online sleuthing Carry chose Yates Mill Pond. And she and Ken were lucky and blessed to have the most beautiful fall weekend of the year there and a very lovely site.

We also saw lots of other couples getting wedding and engagement photos taken. It was the spot to be.

Neither Carry nor I can wait to post photographer Lacey Gadwill's wonderful photographs. But here are two that Kenneth's mother took to start the fun.

Below is me putting on my robe right before the wedding. When we're in the great outdoors I sometimes feel like superman putting his cape on in a phone booth, but a little more exposed. But my robe is a wonderful symbol of the role of minister. The word minister means 'to serve' and in this role I serve to assist you in being fully present in this transformative ritual of love and commitment.

I was delighted to be there for them on this day. Carry and I had emailed so many times and I was really looking forward to meeting her. It was a wonderful encounter that only the divine can create, filled with joy and gratitude for everyone.

I'll add to this post as soon as we have more pictures to go with the words.
Thanks, Carry for these first two photos.

Posting To Networked Blogs

This is a test post. I'm creating a link so that my blogs show up on my Facebook page.
Hopefully you'll only see one of these as I set things up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jacob and Annie Marry at the Historic Brookstown Inn in Downtown Winston-Salem

On the weekend of Oct 30th I had the privilege of marrying Jacob and Annie at The Brookstown Inn in downtown Winston Salem, right on the edge of Old Town and the historic district. It was a gorgeous setting. I'd never been there before. They'd chosen the brick courtyard between two buildings in the inn. The guests would sit on the lower level of the courtyard, and the ceremony would take place on the curved landing that led to the upper level of the courtyard. There would be just room enough for the wedding party. And it worked.

Thank you to Gail Matsumoto of Gaillyn Photography for the wonderful pictures of the ceremony. The others are from my Droid. Sorry for their lesser quality. It's always so much fun, it I'm able to, to take a couple of pictures myself. Here's one of Gail taking the wedding party after the ceremony on the steps to the upper courtyard.


Christy Taylor of Gourmet Yummy did Jacob and Annie's beautiful fall themed cake.

Their colors were brown and burnt sienna which Eliana Nunes from Sherwood Florist Flowers took up wonderfully in the calla lilies carried by the women and the sparks of yellow in the lilies in the arrangements.
One other touch that Annie and Jacob wanted was to switch the sides the families sit on so that her family could see her face during the exchange of vows and rings, and his family could see his face. I've had couples ask for this about 3 or 4 times this year and I'm happy to honor it. Either their families switch sides or they do.

Jacob and Annie are both close to their families and comfortable with each other so wanted a simple laid back ceremony. The dress would be formal but they wanted their ceremony casual and light. They brought much of the lightness themselves with their smiles and easy going manner.
Annie and Jacob are a good team, comfortable and honest with each other, both strong and at the same time thoughtful and considerate people. I was delighted to be able to officiate their wedding.

We used a powerful quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh in their ceremony. She was Charles Lindbergh's wife who also had her first son kidnapped and killed. Many years later she wrote 'The Gift From the Sea,' which is still mature and insightful wisdom about love and marriage. She writes that in the marriage 'the dancers should be free, barely touching as they pass, yet partners in the same pattern.'

Jacob and Annie are creating their own pattern, and it includes much love of family and friends. I'm delighted for them and wish them much much happiness.

Loren and Rebekah at The River Ridge

Loren and Rebekah had come through lots of changes to arrive at this day. They had moved from California with her parents to North Carolina and had only grown closer in the transition. They've been together five years, after meeting through a mutual friend, and have been through other ups and downs that have seasoned their love. They moved into their own home, their first home on May 28th and life just keeps getting better. You can sure see it in their smiles.

Here on this day, at The River Ridge Golf Club, we could bring that all together in the wedding they'd waited and planned for so long. Thanks to photographer Michelle Gunton for these fabulous pictures. Elissa, the coordinator at the River Ridge was a huge blessing to the day, helping it all go smoothly. We were all really grateful!

Rebekah and Loren chose red, black and white as their colors which added a dramatic flair to all that green that surrounded them on the huge lawn before us. It focused the eye and looked lovely.

There were several people who couldn't be with us that day so we brought them into the gathering in spirit saying.... 'Today we all create a larger loving community of friends and family that transcends time and place, and which richly informs the timeless love that Loren and Rebekah share.'
They chose The Hands Ceremony which brought tears to many eyes, their own included, and seemed to fit them perfectly. Then they couldn't have been more delighted when all their family and friends yelled out together, 'We, your family and friends, now pronounce you husband and wife.'

After their reception with friends and family who'd come from all over the US and the UK, they were off to Paris for 10 days. They're delightful fun-loving people and I wish for them that the joie de vivre they have now lasts all their days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thomas and Rebecca Marry at The Barn at Valhalla

You can tell the couples that are sincerely devoted to each other and that have been through life experiences which have deepened their trust and friendship. I felt that strongly with Rebecca and Thomas. Two very different people, he seems to have a perpetual twinkle in his eyes, and she seems to be one of the aspects of life that puts it there.

In their ceremony on Oct 16th, we described their love as friendship caught fire in 2005. Since then they have traveled in distant countries in which Thomas had to rely on Rebecca's fluency in Arabic and Rebecca had to rely on Thomas' keen sense of observation, they've moved from Washington D.C. to settle and buy a home in Durham, and they have planned all the many logistics of their wedding at The Barn at Valhalla in Chapel Hill, NC.

The Barn at Valhalla has lots of great sites for a ceremony, but this is a fall favorite since it's so surrounded by trees and the fireplace is such a wonderful backdrop. That's a pond further back in the pictures.

It's a great place and I've been there often. And once again, it did not fail to inspire. You can tell by the wonderful photographs that photographers Melissa and Stephen Carter from Two Carters Photos Photography in Washington, D.C. captured for the couple. They loved coming down to our Autumn beauty and said they'd come down again if asked.

Jim Baird and Jane Peppler gave us wonderful fiddle and strings music which fit the outdoor fall atmosphere. They played one of my favorites, 'Ashokan Farewell' as the last song while guests were being seated and 'Chelmsford House' for the recessional as well as the more traditional 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' and 'Purcell's Voluntary' for the processional. Live fiddle music is such a treat and NC has such a tradition of good musicians.

These two have played at many weddings at which I've officiated and always been a great asset in making the day sing. Jane and another musician also play klezmer music at other weddings. They're equally wonderful at that, too.

Their friends read wonderful poetry, then I got to read 'Blessing for a Marriage' by James Dillet Freeman which is exquisitely beautiful. I always love it when a couple want that blessing. We also passed their rings through their guests, each guest offering a silent blessing upon their marriage. I was of course concerned that the rings drop from the beautiful wooden box in which they were displayed, but everyone else must have been concerned, too, because they made it back to me, and then to their hands in find style.

Rebecca and Thomas have learned how to be there for each other - caring, supporting and listening. They are adults who know themselves and their desires, grounded and sure.

They had friends, family, and professionals who all enjoyed their thoughtfulness. And Rebecca and Thomas wanted to make sure that I recognized their contributions to their wedding, too. Below are their creative favors by M.Z or emdotzee Designs. They also did their invitations and other printed materials.

This gorgeous cake was from Miel Bon Bons Patisserie et Confiserie in Chapel Hill.


They held their reception in the barn and were fed by Durham Catering. Their flowers were by Rachel Preston of Preston Landscapes. Hair and make up by
Hair and Make-up - Claudia Gunn of Haven Beauty Sanctuary Salon.

I was glad that Thomas and Rebecca had a few moments alone before the reception. There were so many well wishers and I knew the day would go so quickly. The Barn is a good place to get a few moments just for yourselves.

They're a very loving couple, rich in spirit and with generous hearts. I wish them all the best that life holds - spending time with their dog Stanley and all those they love.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Brian and Lauren Wed at the Cafe Luna

I had the joy of marrying Brian and Lauren at the Caffé Luna on Oct 16th in a beautiful ceremony. Nancy Rugirello from Simply Creative Photography was our wonderful photographer but these lesser quality pictures are friend pictures or the ones I snapped with my Droid. Gotta love these little machines.

I wanted to have my own pictures because Brian and Lauren were such a delightful couple to get to know. Lauren had been raised Jewish and Brian raised Catholic and they very intentionally wanted to honor customs from both sides of their heritage. So together we created a ceremony in which Lauren's father blessed the wine in Hebrew, Brian broke the glass and we acknowledged that we were not only joining two wonderful people, but two great families and two communities of faith.

Their cake topper was a cut out of the bride and groom created by an artist friend and their cake was by Ashley Lattier of Ashley Cakes.

The Caffé Luna is a fabulous place for an intimate ceremony. This is the room where the reception would be held and the wedding was held in the room next door. They also have a room for stuff and to change clothes, which is really helpful, and outside doors into all the rooms in the back for the processional to enter. It's a great set up and a wonderful staff who supports the weddings. We rehearsed there between the lunch and dinner hours on the Friday before - between 2:30 and 3:30. A great time to avoid the Friday night traffic and chaos.

Lauren and Brian look so much more relaxed after the ceremony. But that's always the case. I'm glad to see them now simply enjoying each other and all those who love them and are here to celebrate their wedding with them.

I wish you could have seen the flowers. Gregg Kennedy of Brides and Bouquets in Cary designed beautiful bouquets in burgundy and cinnamon. You can see a little from the shot of the cafe. Their were orange highlights and the colors were magnificent. John Carter of A Perfect Day DJ was our DJ, of course, and he was great. The cafe was set up long and narrow for Lauren and Brian's wedding so the DJ was right by the front door of the cafe. A great spot for him to see entrances and cues. John was flawless. And of course the Caffé Luna catered their wonderful meal. They have Ryan Hill at the cafe to thank for that.

I wish them many many years of happiness!

Mark and Diane Have a Small but Powerful Wedding

I didn't meet Mark and Diane until their wedding day. They live in Colorado but their families live in Cary so it was either they come this way or their families travel to Colorado and since travel would have been difficult for some family members, Diane and Mark flew to Cary.

I was so pleased that North Carolina was in her post summer precold splendor to welcome them. We drove from Mark's aunt's house to the small pond in their subdivision for the ceremony and then after the ceremony, everyone would be walking or driving back to the house for refreshments.

Since I had a later ceremony at the River Ridge Country Club in Raleigh, I'd be wishing them well and going on. But it was a treat to have them in my lives for as long as I did. They're great people. Both musicians and had been loving and playing together for a long time.

Their ceremony was particularly sweet in how Mark's family welcomed Diane. Diane's mother had passed away several years before, so Mark's aunt created a ritual where each guest (there were about 12 people there) was given a white rose before the ceremony. They were asked to add their silent blessing into the rose for Mark and Diane's marriage. Then Mark's aunt collected the roses and tied them with white ribbon to create the bridal bouquet. It was lovely and touching. Her words were so beautiful that I asked for a copy of what she'd written and she gave it to me. Now I can share it with other couples.

When Mark's aunt sent me these pictures she also sent the following note when I asked how their honeymoon in Mexico was: 'other than the fact that Diane stubbed her toes on a cement thing so Mark had to push her around for part of it in a wheel chair, the colds they both got and the flight that was late going home so they went to a different airport and got home at 4:30 am and the luggage came two days later it was wonderful! ...

Actually, they said they had a very good time. Nothing can really ruin a honeymoon.
'

I'm delighted for them - well, not the stubbed toe or the colds part. ;-) - and I wish them all the happiness in the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ruth and Brian with close friends and family at Art Space in Raleigh

Brian and Ruth were a joy. They're both very warm, welcoming people that make you feel that you've known them all your lives. We met once but then I got these fabulous emails from Ruth that just made me laugh. At one point she was worrying that I'd really show up and emailed: 'You just have to pinky promise you'll show up! (I need to stop reading horror stories online.)'
By the time Oct 10th of 2010 rolled around they were ready for their wedding emailing me, 'We are so ready to rock and roll, it's crazy!'

They were raised in two different religions but wanted a non-religious and non-traditional ceremony. Brian was raised in North Carolina and Ruth in Connecticut so just being around them you could enjoy the North and South differences in speech, manner and humor. Fun folks.

They were planning for 75 to 90 guests but had only 15 - 20 chairs for those who really needed them. And they had only one attendant each. So the stairs at Art Space in downtown Raleigh was perfect.

It's really a lovely venue for a small wedding. All that art around is a feast for the eyes and provides decor that is better than anything you could import. Just walking down the corridors seeing all the different artist's work made me want to move to Raleigh.


Randy Eaton with Kiss Bliss Photography was their photographer and their catering was by The Pit. Ruth did her own flowers and they used and I-Pod for the ceremony music.

I loved how they infused their wedding and their ceremony with their style and their radiance, having a great time, and then going to the beach for a few days.

When I think of them, I smile. I trust they'll have great lives. They've already started!

Small At Home Weddings for Erin and John, and Ryan and Barbara

I love doing small family weddings at a home, too. So many times you get to know the couple and the family a little more intimately as people are moving in and out of the kitchen finding things, preparing food, or ensuring that little ones are ready.

You don't get to hear about a lot of these smaller weddings because I seldom get pictures from them. Often there isn't a professional photographer, things are hectic, and of course, it's almost impossible to get a picture of the couple together until after the ceremony, and then couples forget to send me a picture. But that's okay because I know their lives have moved beyond the wedding into the marriage. And that's a good thing.

But I was handy with my camera for both Erin and John's wedding on August 7 in Apex, and Barbara and Ryan's wedding on October 29th in Graham. They both had a sweetness that other couples who are planning family weddings can appreciate.

In Erin and John's wedding we included Erin's young son Hunter into the ceremony in just a little way so he wouldn't get too nervous. He held the rings. I think it was the only time he was still the whole time I was there, his having a normal abundance of little boy energy. There were lots of other children under the age of ten at the ceremony, too so we included everyone into the action by bubbling John and Erin thoroughly after the ceremony.

Here you see Erin's grandmothers who could stay on the porch in rocking chairs in the shade during the ceremony and still see everything. And they didn't have to go up or down any steps.

Erin and John didn't have any attendants, and everyone stood during the ceremony. It was, as they wanted it, short and sweet. Erin met John when she was 14 and these ten years and many independent life experiences later, they were marrying. They were best friends and we celebrated how blessed they feel to have found each other.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Friday, October 29th Ryan and Barbara wed at her parent's home in Graham.

They planned for the possible cold with a tent but almost everything else was accomplished by Barbara's amazing mother, Carolla. She was a whirlwind organizing the music and the seating and the food. I hadn't met Barbara and Ryan before but had talked many times to Barbara on the phone. And since she arrived my limousine just before the service, the first time I met her was at the ceremony. But all it took was a glance to know that everything was just wonderful for them both.

I was genuinely delighted for them and you could see that all their friends and family were, too. Barbara and her family are Chilean and Ryan is from North Carolina. In their wedding and the joy that surrounded them, I felt privileged to see world community happening around me. Since my Sweetheart was born in Cuba, I was especially aware of the spice that adds to a relationship.

They chose one of my favorite readings said by Citizen G'Kar on Battlestar Gallactica many years ago and introduced to me by another couple, also years ago. I offer the first two sentences and the last sentence for you: 'The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. The language is not English or Spanish or Greek or Japanese or Hebrew. It speaks in the language of hope...We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light our way to a better future. We are one.' For a marriage that joins two people from two different cultures, it's a perfect reading.

I wish both these couples much joy and was glad they let me into their lives and their homes during this special time in their lives. It was a treat for me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kris and Stewart Wed at The Museum of Life and Science

On Labor Day weekend, I got to officiate at the wonderful wedding of Kris and Stewart. I look forward to the day that I can make this a legal wedding for them, too.

We were all gathered at The Museum of Life and Science in Durham ready to honor their wonderful relationship and their commitment to each other as life partners.
I've done several ceremonies in the Butterfly House but this is the first time I've done a ceremony on the steps. At this angle you're facing the Butterfly House. It was a great location!
Two wonderful men, they're best friends and life partners and wanted to let their families and friends know how fortunate and blessed they felt to be able to share life with each other, and how committed they are to their shared life together, which will hopefully one day include children.

Kellie Carter and her wonderful staff at the museum were there to help with all the logistics of their day and it all went wonderfully. And thanks to photographer Heather Follmer, of Heather Follmer Photography, who took these wonderful pictures.

Kris's nephew was our keyboardist. He was a great hit!

Stewart walked in with his friend Dan and Kris entered with is parents. It was Kris's parent's 45th anniversary that day, too.

I loved meeting with Stewart and Kris and creating a ceremony that celebrated their love. Their joy is infectious, and they're easy going and playful. Just to be around them is uplifting.

They included a sand ceremony in their ceremony. It created a wonderful tangible reminder of how their lives are now inextricably intertwined.

I hadn't noticed at the time, but from this picture you can see another great thing about this location is that the photographer can get different angles without being intrusive.

As a blessing on their marriage I offered: 'Go forth bound together by the love of God. Go forth with hope and joy and hearts full of dreams, knowing God is always with you.'

Then I presented Stewart and Kris as a married couple.

Then we bombarded them with bubbles!
There were more wonderful locations for pictures after the ceremony. See this one of their wedding party. Their flowers were done by Tre Bella in Durham.
But then, we need one with the kids.

Kris and Stewart chose to have their first meal together alone and then join their guests for the celebrating. And here's a picture of the reception. It was a great NC evening for relaxing outside.And from some of the other pictures, they partied well into the night.
The cake was by Will Fredes at Decadent Desserts, and the catering was provided by Posh Nosh. It all looked amazing.
I loved being a part of their wedding. And they did, too. I got this email from Kris after they got back from their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. 'We had such a great time at the wedding...it was a fairy tale come true!! beyond any of our expectations!! ... it was amazing!! , talk to you soon!!"

It was amazing. A real joy for everyone there. For me, too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jen and Ian Tie the Knot in a Candlelight Ceremony at The Sheraton Raleigh


It's not often that I do a ceremony in candlelight. So I printed the text in 16 point type and practically memorized it. And I was glad I did. Not that the light was too low, but that Ian and Jen were so much fun to marry.


They had all their pictures taken beforehand so were together before the ceremony with their family and wedding party looking relaxed and comfortable, even though Ian told me he was a bit nervous. They wanted a simple ceremony and they had the vows they wanted already written when they came to me. I loved their grounded easy manner when I met with them, and I could see now that this was just their way of being in the world.


They'd been together five years and were amazed to find when they met that they lived ten minutes from each other in Long Island. Their lives have taken them on some interesting adventures these last five years and they still have the same goals and dreams and a delight in working together to make them come true.

Most of their guests were from out of town and staying at the hotel. Joanie Waters at the Sheraton Raleigh was amazing in helping it all come together.


And Lisa of Lisa Ann Photography was a joy to work with to make sure we got great photos of their low light ceremony, Jim Austin of Jim Austin and Co were the fabulous DJs, and Preston Flowers did the bouquets. It was a wonderful event for these very grounded and very in love people. I was delighted to be a part of it. They paid me the wonderful compliment of saying that they never worried about the ceremony at all. That they knew they could relax and simply enjoy it because they trusted me. I appreciated that so much, because that's just what I want for them. I wish them many blessings!