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TO CREATE YOUR OWN WEDDING MAGIC LET YOUR WEDDING MATCH YOUR STYLE. Tisha and Anupam honored both their religious backgrounds by designing a beautifully blended Hindu-Christian ceremony.





Welcome! This site is a tribute to my many wedding couples who have created unique and beautiful surroundings for their weddings. Their creativity and ingenuity reflected their personalities and together we have often created new ways to modernize old traditions.

If you are looking for a minister for your wedding in the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC, contact me for a free consultation. Together we can create a ceremony that reflects your love, your personality and your dreams for your future.

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4 Tips for Finding the Perfect Engagement Ring

The Proposal and the engagement ring have an incredible, romantic mystique about them. Those of us being proposed to love the romance of the proposal, being such a show of love and, of course, the wearing of the beautiful expression of love from our beloved. that comes with it. Our beloveds spend a lot of time thinking of unique and special ways to make that special moment happen for us. There is a lot of love - and stress - that go into this declaration of love. And since few of us know what makes a good stone and what color and cut should we go for... finding that important, perfect ring can be a pretty daunting project.

Enter Alex G. Forrester with some knowledgable tips on how to buy the perfect engagement ring. Alex is a a freelance consultant and asked to write a guest post on this topic. I think you will find he has provided some very helpful information here - so thanks, Alex!

Alex writes...

When you are looking for the perfect engagement ring, there is a lot that goes into the decision. As you search through the seemingly endless options of bridal engagement rings, you want to find something that suits the taste of your loved one, without going outside of your budget, yet fully represents the feelings you have for the person with whom you are going to spend the rest of your life.

There are not only various cuts, styles, and qualities of diamond rings, but there are also rings that contain other precious stones, including rubies, sapphires, and peridots. The bands can be various metals of different qualities, forged into unique and surprising shapes. And we are just getting started!

We want to make this process as free from stress and confusion as possible for you. So keep reading to learn more about the four best tips for finding the perfect engagement ring for your loved one.

1. Scout Out Possibilities Online First

One of the beauties of the age we live in—the Internet Age, in this case—is that we have no shortage of sources of inspiration for things like this. There are countless websites and social networks that have pages, threads, and even videos dedicated to engagement rings, such as Pinterest and Instagram. You can even watch video reviews of various engagement rings on YouTube, which can also steer you away from rings with poorer quality stones.

2. Get Educated on Stone Quality

Speaking of poorer quality stones, how are we able to tell? There is a lot of detail and thought that goes into measuring the quality of the stone used in women’s engagement rings.

This includes the clarity of the stone, the color of the stone, the cut of the stone, and the carat level of the stone. The higher the color value, the lower the carat value and the lower the color value, the higher the carat value, and thus the price.

Those are the basic rules of judging the quality of a diamond, but there are many sources that go into further detail, which you can find all over the internet, including educational videos on YouTube.
However, if you have already selected your jeweler, they can typically provide you with all the important information you need and explain the nitty-gritty details, such as the D to Z color scale and the clarity scale.

3. Find a Jeweler You Trust

Again, if you have already found a jeweler you like, you are all set for this one. However, selecting the right jeweler is not always the easiest thing to do. You want a jeweler who knows his or her stones, but also a jeweler who has credentials and even diamond certification from an independent gemstone certification body, such as certification from the Jewelers of America (or the JA) or the Graduate Jeweler Program at the Gemological Institute of America (or the GIA).

There are various levels of certification from programs such as these, ranging from regular bench jeweler all the way up to a master level bench jeweler, as well as certifications in sales, management, and custom order jeweling. 

When it comes down to it, you can likely trust a jeweler with one of those plaques hanging on their wall. You can also find jewelers in your area by using many of the websites for these certification locations.

The jeweler can also earn your trust by walking you through all the details of the stones you are examining, whether it is showing you the cut of the gemstone through a microscope or showing you the color grading compared to other stones he or she has on hand. It is also good to make sure that the jeweler has a fair return policy before making your decision.

4. Do One Last Double Check on the Stone Quality

This is not to imply that your jeweler is not on the up and up. But getting a second opinion on a stone you have purchased is a great way to set any nerves you might still have at ease about your purchase, as well as let you know if there are any imperfections you want to know about.

After all, this is going to go on the hand of your spouse for the rest of your lives together. You can get this second opinion by sending your stone into a third party laboratory that handles gemstone appraisal. These labs include the aforementioned GIA, the American Gem Society (or the AGS), or the International Gemological Institute (or the IGI), among others.

These are four tips you can use for finding your perfect engagement ring for that special someone. Consider these, and you will manage to guarantee a smile on the face of your true love!


“Alex G Forrester is a freelance content marketer and consultant, with nearly 7 years of content writing experience about everything from marketing and technology to family and travel. When he is not brushing up against a deadline, he can be found on the beach with his black lab, Louie. You can find Alex on Twitter and Facebook.”


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A Baptism for Graeme at Fred G. Bond Park in Cary

I love how life comes full circle and watching the children come along for the couples I marry is one of my joys. In 2014, I had the pleasure of ministering the wedding of Lauren and Corey and two years later, when they called me to be a part of their son’s baptism, I was thrilled to get to share in another special day in the life of their family.

They wanted to be out in nature for the ceremony and chose Fred G. Bond Metropolitan Park for the occasion. I had never been there before and it was such a pretty area, sitting up a hill by a pond. When I was growing up, my grandmother used to tell me that God’s first temples were the trees and for this ceremony it was absolutely obvious how very right she was. It was simply beautiful.

On hand to take the photos of the event was Jamie, one half of the dynamic husband and wife team of Richie and Jamie of Jagg Photography . They had also been Lauren and Corey’s wedding photographers and it was easy to tell that the couples have since become good friends. I knew the photos were going to be really special and indeed they were. All the photos used here with the amber tones were taken by Jamie and I thank her for the use of her great pics.

When we arrived at the park, Lauren and Corey were setting everything up for the ceremony and that gave the rest of us time to flirt with adorable little Graeme.

When it came time to get Graeme into his baptism gown, Lauren had lots of willing help.

Corey and his sisters

The gown had previously been worn by Graeme’s daddy, Corey, and his three sisters when they were baptized.

This is the beautiful monogrammed baptism bib for Graeme to wear with the heirloom gown.

For the ceremony, I always ask parents to bless the water we use for the baptism by placing into it all their hopes and dreams for their child. Lauren and Corey brought their own water and blessed it right before we began the ceremony. Jamie got some sweet photos of this.

The bowl into which they placed the water was another family heirloom.

For the ceremony, I often ask parents to write their hopes and dreams and ask if they would like to read them. Corey had written something very touching - with a touch of humor - and I have included his text below in this post. Here he is shown reading his passage to Graeme as Lauren looks on, holding their little sweetie.

Corey’s words to his son;


Your mother and I are so filled with love now that you have entered our lives. Every day we awake to new experiences, smiles, cries and of course diaper roulette during changing time. You are a shining light that the Grace of God has placed into our lives. This is especially evident through the impact you have had on the people in attendance today; your family. All of whose hearts burst wide open on January 27, 2016, when we got to meet you for the first time. You are surrounded by love! As you embark on your own journey through life, your mother and I have a few wishes and dreams for you to live with and by. 

Love ferociously, and do not be afraid to chase your passions. Always be open minded and question everything (except your parents of course!). Be ambitious, and do not be afraid to lead. When you fall, and you will, remember that all you have to do is get back up. When that seems like too much to bear, lean on your faith, family and friends and we will always be there to help you. Have convictions, and stand up for what and whom you believe in. In this world you are going to encounter all kinds of people, be brave enough to trust them and, more importantly, allow them to trust you. See the positive in everything, and if you ever lose your way, know that we will be there to help you. 

Travel, see the world and get outside of your comfort zone as much as possible; you will be better for it. Don't grow up too fast! Trust your Dad here, there is plenty of time for bills and credit cards, not enough time to wake up with the ambition of youth where each day is there for your to paint your brushstrokes upon. Make mistakes, just not at 3:00 AM, because your mother and I enjoy our sleep! Have the courage to not tip toe through life, and wear your emotions on your sleeve! Don't be picky, be thankful. When you are old enough, and not a day sooner, remember that good whisky doesn't need a mixer! Embrace change in your life, there is always an opportunity to better the man that you are always becoming, be great! 

Last but not least, remember the three most important things in your life; God, Family and Notre Dame Football - regardless of what Mom says!

Graeme, we love you, and cannot wait to continue the journey of your life with you.

Mom and Dad

And now it was time for the baptism, using the water filled with Lauren and Corey’s blessings.

At the end of the ceremony, I always ask the parents to pour their blessed water back into Nature, at the location of their choice. Lauren and Corey chose this young tree that stood near the table where the ceremony took place.

After the ceremony, the parents, grandparents and I signed the baptism certificate.

And we all exchanged hugs, love and laughter while we took lots of photos of ourselves with our little guy of the hour.

This lady was a professor at the college where Lauren and Cory met and she came to celebrate with them how far they have come in their lives.

Here is a photo with their photographer, Jamie. I had also married she and Richie in 2010, with all their children included in the ceremony. They did a choreographed family dance at the end of the ceremony that I will never forget. 

Here is a link to the blog post I wrote about their wedding if you’d like to take a look.

Lauren and Corey, thank you again for including me in another beautiful celebration of love in your lives. It was a true joy to meet your handsome little Graeme and I can’t wait to meet your future children!


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On Their First Anniversary, Wendy and Kyle Frame Their Wedding Vows for the Walls of Their New Home

Last November I had the very lucky privilege of ministering the wedding of Wendy and Kyle at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Durham. As you can see from the photo above - taken by Maria and Taylor of Zozo Photography - it was a beautiful, sunny, autumn day - perfect for a wedding filled with happiness. Even their adorable new puppy was part of the wedding ceremony, complete with a flower garland and happy energy to match the festivities.

A few months later, Wendy contacted me for the text of their vows. She told me she had something special in mind for them, but that was all she said.

Today I got an email from Wendy with photos of what she had done with their vows. Written in calligraphy and framed in brush gold frames, they now hang side by side on a wall in their new home. What a lovely keepsake from their wedding and what a special way to remind themselves of the deep and abiding love they share.

The vows had been hand done for them by a woman on Etsy - Sarah Disney - who specializes in handmade wedding and home decor and Wendy kindly gave me the link to her Etsy site so I could mention it here. Everything on that website is lovely so if you are looking for something vintage, handmade or just plain unique, you might want to head over to her Etsy page and have a look around;  SarahDisneyDesigns.

Along with the special vows they chose for their ceremony, Wendy and Kyle also included one of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching. It tells you a lot about how they see their love.

Always Return

It is good to know your strength
But always return to your flexibility.
If you can cradle your beloved in your arms
In nurturing gentleness,
Love will flow through you.

It is good to achieve things
But always return to anonymity.
Your beloved does not need your achievements
But needs your uncomplicated soul.

It is good to work for change,
But always return to what is.
If you accept all things whether painful or joyful,
You will always know
That you belong to each other.

Happy first anniversary, Wendy and Kyle. May every new year bring you special gifts from love.


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Tonya and Scott - a Blended Family Wedding with a Gorgeous Autumn Backdrop

 Blended family weddings are always so much fun and Tonya and Scott’s wedding was a relaxing, casual ceremony for themselves and their children. It was kind of an elopement with children - and it was absolutely perfect for this loving family.

You might have noticed Scott’s Dr. Seuss tie. It seems Dr. Seuss books factor large in this family. Their son quoted me some memorable lines from a couple of books and I quoted back some other lines that were my favorites. After all my years with children, grandchildren and Dr. Seuss, it made my heart smile to be able to interact with him that way.

Through Airbnb, Tonya and Scott had found a cottage in the woods in Pittsboro that was near an old grist mill - and what a charming little place it was. They had brought games and books and all the things one brings on a family vacation and they were planning to have a lovely family wedding weekend in that house.

It was a sparkly, sunny day so they had decided to have the ceremony out on the cement landing at the water’s edge by the house, right where the water headed over an embankment, which added a wonderful sound to mix in with the beautiful color of the trees. My grandmother always used to say that God’s first temples were the trees and on this particular morning that was in evidence all around us.

So much love on their faces.

Instead of vow cards, the happy couple read their vows from a cell phone… 
a first for me, but so appropriate for them.

Then came the ring exchange, 

the pronouncement of marriage, 

and a big, happy wedding kiss. 

In all their joy, they almost forgot for me to introduce them as husband and wife!

Hugs all around were followed by lots of smiles and photos.

All the children and Mom had bouquets they had made themselves.

Love this shot of all of us together.

Their photographer was Amber Watson, of Maya Anna Photography, and she generously provided all the photos in this post. As you can see here and on her website, Amber has an eye for the sweet moments. She specializes in small weddings and family portraiture so treat yourself and head over to her website for a look around. Thanks, Amber, for letting me use your beautiful photos!

I love seeing the love on Scott’s face here. Nice catch, Amber.

Tonya and Scott, thank you for including me in your very loving wedding. So much about your family interactions reminded me of my own family and it touched my heart to be a part of your wedding day.

May all your dreams for you and your children come true in wonderful and exciting ways.


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