Friday, June 6, 2014

Duke Gardens is simply spectacular this time of the year! What a great time for a wedding. Charmaine and Steve thought so too and chose May 25, 2014 for their special day. Although they do not live locally, Steve went to Duke University and they just loved the prospect of getting married in these beautiful gardens. They liked the Fish Pond area at the foot of the pergola best.
Although Charmaine and Steve have known from practically the day they met a few years ago that they were meant for each other, the wedding plans came together quickly. They hired Amanda Scott with A Swanky Affair to help them pull all the pieces of the wedding together. Charmaine contacted me on April 22nd to see if I was available to officiate. I was tickled to tell her I was. So, she and Steve and I got busy creating a special ceremony for their special day.
This is the view of the Fish Pond and the Overlook above it from the pergola. Weddings in all three locations are extremely beautiful surrounded by the majesty of nature. Cara Galati with F8 Photo Studio was our still photographer and Bill Grant with Cinema Couture was videoing. Their reception was at the Piedmont Restaurant in Durham. I did not go to the reception but there I would have surely seen their cake by Edible ArtA Watered Garden provided the floral designs.
The wedding before us cleared out and Arioso Strings set up and began tuning up. Love working with these guys! Always dependable, reliable and EARLY! Not to mention talented musicians who play together beautifully.
The guests arrived and were seated. Amanda got us all lined up to process in from the side behind the guests. Steve's parents were first. Then Charmaine's mother escorted by her son. Then Steve and his two groomsmen and I.
The two bridesmaids followed. The first one to enter was Steve's sister, Linda. Charmaine's maid of honor, Daniela, came all the way from Italy! 
 Mia carries a flower ball and Connor a birds nest for the rings. 
 Amanda signals the musicians for the bride's entrance. 
 I can't tell who is pulling who forward more but both Charmaine and her father are charging forth! 
 Charmaine's father answered my question then transferred the bride's hand into the groom's. 
 Sweet moment of goodbye!
And off we go into the ceremony. The bride and groom and I had never met in person before the wedding. I was unable to attend the rehearsal due to another wedding. But they are both meticulous planners and we had it all written out so everyone was on the same page and Amanda directed the rehearsal with proficiency.
 A warm welcome to all the guests and a sweet prayer. 
 This is when we had a blessing for their unborn baby and their commitment as parents. 
 Steve's friend of nearly 30 years, Burt, shared with us the words of Wilferd Arlan Peterson in "The Art of Marriage."
Charmaine's close friend and mentor, Ingrid, shared an excerpt from Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.
I stepped out from behind the bride and groom to tell their love story and the proposal story. Everyone enjoyed hearing about that.
 Then they got to hear what each other told me in confidence about why they loved each other. 
 They read their vows to each other from my book. 
 The exchange of rings......
 The moment their marriage is legal--the pronouncement! 
 "We're really married!"
 Walking into their new marriage! 
Charmaine and Steve--you are a perfect match and I am so happy you found each other. Your daughter is blessed to have such dedicated parents. Thank you for the honor of joining you in marriage. I wish you every happiness in the world!
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