Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Last July, Alison and Michael and I met to talk about their vision for their wedding ceremony. Their wedding date was almost a year in the future on June 14, 2014 and the venue they had chosen was The Oaks at Salem in Apex. It is a fabulous venue with everything in one place. 
This wedding is the first one I have done under the big tree across the lake from the main house. Other weddings have met with adverse weather conditions forcing us to do the weddings under the tent over the terrace. So glad that spell is broken now! See those heart-shaped things in front of the chairs? Well, clever idea by either Alison or her wedding planner, Gretchen with Red Bird Events, or Pinterest, for the bride and her bridesmaids to stand on in the event the ground is soggy and their heels would sink. The wooden boards were painted pink to match the color of the girls' dresses. 
The duo from Elegant Ensembles was all set up and tuning for the ceremony. 
The shepherd's hooks lining the aisle were loaded with the hanging jars full of pretty flowers by Kelly Kennedy of Teacup Floral.
Nearby there was a table with a basket full of programs in the form of fans. And containers of iced water and lemonade. It was rather steamy hot--up in the 90s that afternoon.
Back on the other side of the lake under the tent, the tables and chairs were set and ready for the guests. The fans in the ceiling of the tent were creating a very pleasant breeze and it was quite comfortable. 
Each table was assigned a year with a photograph of the bride and groom from that year. It was in September of 2009 that Alison and Michael started dating although they had worked together at the UNC Ram Shop since 2008. 
 There was a little tree with leaf name tags for the guests to find their seats by. 
Their photographer, Rebecca Ferguson, created a photo album for them. Her second shooter for this wedding was another photographer I work with frequently, Kate Pope.
 For their guest book, they created this original painting for the guests to add leaves to the tree.   This unusual wedding cake  by Cinda's Creative Cakes carries out their "leaf" theme and there are two little squirrels on the bottom tier. To the right is a photo cutout of their beloved kitty, Lumos. And there are photos of their parents at their respective weddings. 
 Joslin Rodely, event manager with The Oaks, is holding down the fort on this side of the lake! 
Jeff Simpson with Simpsound DJ & Lighting Services, is getting his DJ station all set up before he changes into his tux. We have worked weddings together for many years. At this wedding though, he was on the other side of the lake from the ceremony and we had live music by Elegant Ensembles so I brought my battery powered sound system to amplify my voice.
And so now we begin. The grandmothers have been brought around via golf buggy and seated. Entering above are Michael's parents, Linda and Wayne.
Jo Anne, mother of the bride, is escorted in by her son, Aaron who will meet up with the groomsmen as we enter next.
So, ready for the wedding party. The cross you see has very special significance. It was made from a tree that Alison's grandfather cut down as a logger. In the ceremony we mentioned the significance and "Let us see this beautiful cross as a symbol of love and a memorial to all the ancestors of the two families joined here today." 
 It is a long walk around the lake! We have received the signal to start! 
 Aaron has joined us now as we take our places up front (facing the sun, I might add)! 
The bridesmaids made their way around the other side of the lake. I wonder what Robin Crew, our videographer with Bay Leaf Video Productions is looking at up in the sky! A bird? A plane?
Our honorary ring bearer and flower girl obviously enjoyed being pulled in a wagon around the lake. They were very well behaved and I did not hear a peep out of them during the ceremony!
 So, now for the bride and her father to come around the lake and join us! 
Alison's father, Jerry, asked me if it would be okay to kiss Alison's hand. It loved that sweet idea. He told me that he had seen it in another wedding. So that is what he is about to do here then place her hand in Michael's. He told me he also had seen in another wedding where the groom kissed the bride's hand before he kissed her lips at the end of the ceremony. Like that too!
 We began with a warm welcome, a prayer, remembering the ancestors, a blessing for the parents. 
 I know Kate Pope is getting some great shots of the wedding here. 
 Although I might look like I am frowning, I am really squinting since the sun is right in my eyes. 
 Loving their story here. It was a good one with some good humor that we all enjoyed. 
 Michael was dripping so I mopped his face off. He really appreciated it.
 Their secret paragraphs about what they love about each other were revealed!
 They read their vows to each other then we had the blessing of the hands ceremony. 
 The rings sealed their vows followed by a closing blessing.
 I noticed before the pronouncement that Michael's face was wet again so I did some more mopping! 
 "Gotta be ready for the kiss that's coming up soon, you know!"
 Now you are husband and wife!
 Another kiss for the camera and many more to come! 
Michael and Alison, I hope you loved hearing your wedding ceremony as much as I loved delivering it. You were such a joy to work with and I think you are a great match and will be very happily married! I wish you all the best!
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