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TO CREATE YOUR OWN WEDDING MAGIC LET YOUR WEDDING MATCH YOUR STYLE. Tonya and Scott blended their families at a cabin in the woods amidst autumn’s splendor. (photo by Maya Ana Photography)






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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Liz and John marry in Chapel Hill at the Barn at Valhalla

Liz and John live in New York but met each other 10 years ago in Chapel Hill, when they were both students. Her parents still live in the area so it seemed the perfect place to come back to marry and invite their dearest friends and family. It was a small, intimate wedding and so much love was in evidence both to and from the couple. Liz’s Uncle Tim even played electric guitar for the wedding! It turns out that October 17 is John’s brother’s wedding anniversary as well, so they were having a fun celebration on many levels.

They chose as their ceremony location The Barn at Valhalla, a great location for events of all types - especially weddings that want to be out in Nature. The Barn has rooms for sleeping upstairs, a huge reception room and a wrap around deck that overlooks a pond where ducks and geese were swimming the day of the wedding. Canadian geese mate for life so that seemed a particularly appropriate omen for Liz and John.

Because autumn was in the air and the trees were beginning to turn, the decorations were a riot of oranges, browns and greens, so appropriate for the day. Here is the interior of The Barn all set up for the dinner.

And this is the long walkway through the woods, out to the fireplace where the ceremony was held.

University Florist in Chapel Hill provided all the beautiful florals for the day and did a particularly exquisite job with the fireplace. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it looking lovelier.

On the deck of The Barn was the seating chart, cleverly made of a cloth-covered board set up on an easel...

and beside it was a table set up for the guests to leave a special note to the couple.

There was a bar set up at one end of the deck...

and chatting tables were set up along the rest of the deck. Heaters were thoughtfully provided and they were sure to be very welcome on such a brisk autumn day and night.

The beautiful cake was provided by a Chapel Hill baker, Sugarland, who does some amazing work. It was also festooned with glorious autumn colors.

Others on hand to make the day a success for Liz and John were;

Photographer - Johnny Wells of Johnny Wells Photography
Caterer - Durham Catering

This interesting pair is the set of fire irons at the fireplace. I just love their cheery feel and they always look to me like they are waving at you. So I join in their wave and wish Liz and John all the best that Life has in store. Have a great time you guys!


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Jenna and Chris celebrate family with their wedding at Parizade in Durham

Jenna and Chris are a fun couple and I was very much looking forward to being a part of their wedding. When we got together to create the framework for their ceremony and I was hearing all the things they had been working on, I couldn’t wait to see it all come together. It was all very beautiful, heartfelt and special, just as I had imagined. Jenna’s dad had even written the music to which he escorted her into the ceremony, appropriately entitled, Jenna’s Song.

Their adorable little Jr. Bridesmaid and Flower Girls were waiting to have their photo taken after the ceremony and I couldn’t resist taking this cute shot.

The ceremony was held in the courtyard of the Parizade restaurant in Durham. What an amazing place this is and it would lend itself perfectly to any kind of event. We all stood in front of the statued waterfall for the ceremony and what a magnificent backdrop it was!

Guests lingered in the courtyard while the photos were taken and the Bride and Groom were presented and had their first dance.

One of the Bridesmaid’s husbands had carved this magnificent monogrammed pumpkin to be the centerpiece of the head table. How very clever! The glow it put out in the dim light of the evening was just beautiful.

Jenna is an educator at the Museum of Life and Science so she knows a thing or two about how to entertain children. Since all the children guests were little girls, Jenna and Chris created this amazing kids’ table, complete with balloons, feather boas and fairy wings for each girl. The crayons came out almost as quickly as the wings went on. I even saw one of the waiters flirting with the girls when they got him to put on a white boa to match his uniform. It was just adorable.

Jenna and Chris wanted to celebrate their families - both those who were with them and those who were not - so we included those not able to be with us with a mention of their names and a moment of silence during the ceremony. It was very touching.

Jenna’s parents married in 1975 and Jenna and Chris used the cake topper they had used for their wedding so long ago.

Jenna also carried an exact duplicate of her mother’s daisy bouquet, made lovingly by the woman at a Lowe’s Grocery floral department. Jenna told me the woman had taken so much time to make it exactly right and I am sorry that I didn’t get her name to sing her praises here. I don’t think I ever remember a bride carrying a bouquet exactly like her mother’s before and it was such a sweet and touching homage to her mom.

She also wore her grandmother’s necklace as a bracelet. This necklace was always worn by her grandmother and her two sisters have also worn it at their weddings. That is fast becoming quite an heirloom.

To further show the heart of the event, check out Jenna’s wedding shoes.

The music for the event was provided by Jason Eder of Complete Music. What a great professional for someone so young. During the ceremony, my lapel mic went out and Jason had given a hand mic to a reader. She handed it to the end groomsman and one by one they all handed it up to me so I could be heard. How thoughtful of them all! Many guests came up to me afterwards to tell me how happy they were to have been able to have heard the ceremony so kudos to you all for saving the day.

I think the thing that touched me most about Jenna and Chris’ wedding, though, was their unique take on wedding favors for their guests. Many loved ones have been lost to major illnesses in both their families so instead of a favor, the guests were asked to choose a charity and drop their place cards in one of the boxes provided and a donation would be made in their name to that charity. I lost my dad a few years ago to cancer, so I chose that box, and I must say it was a very moving moment to add my card to the box.

Here is the explanation card they had displayed with the donation boxes.

And these are the boxes with the names of the charities and the family members in whose honor the donation will be made. Very touching.

They had wanted to have their dog, Dieter, with them, but it just wasn’t practical. He was there anyway, though, because someone had taken a photo of him wearing a bandana that said, “Congratulations, Mom and Dad.” (Unfortunately, my camera skills are lacking in being able to read his bandana, but it was really cute.)

It was a magical evening with lots of love flowing all around and many special elements coming together to make it moving on so many levels. It was an honor to be a part of it and I will happily add my congratulations to Dieter’s... WOOF!!


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Linda and Marshall exchange vows amid autumn color at the Rigmor House in Chapel Hill

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year, when the brilliant color play of nature catches my heart with its beauty every time. Apparently Linda and Marshall feel the same because they had autumn colors in abundance everywhere you looked - and it was stunning. From the bouquets to the table and wall decorations, it was a feast for the eyes. Linda is an event planner and you could see her hand in all the details of the ceremony and reception.

Linda and Marshall live in Maryland but have family here, so they decided to have a NC wedding and chose the rustically modern Rigmor House in Chapel Hill. Although only a few miles from my home, I had never done a wedding there before and I fell in love with it immediately.

When you first drive up, you are greeted with a rather plain exterior that belies the airy expanse you find when you walk inside past the porch - which is huge and perfect, complete with rocking chairs.

On all the tables on the porch and the centerpieces of the tables inside, were these beautiful autumn arrangements made by Linda. She said she had been working on them for a year and how fun for her to be able to keep some for use through the years at their homes.

When you enter the house from the porch, there is a welcoming foyer they had set up with the table cards on one side...

And the guest book table straight ahead.

These incredible floral arrangements on the guest book table were done by Jeff Pipkin of A Floral Event.

And I love the simple bowl of flowers and stones.

This beautiful cake was provided by Sweet Memories. I have been seeing a lot of their cakes recently and they are all just exquisite.

Others on hand to make the event a success were;

Photographers - Mike Strauss of Strauss Studios, who was also the Best Man and Linda’s Uncle John, who is a photo hobbyist

Caterer - Deb McCartney (has no website, but she can be reached by phone, 919-247-6536). I don’t know what Deb was cooking in that kitchen, but it was making my mouth water!

Linda and Marshall found me through their friends, Kim and Travis, whose wedding I had done 5 years earlier. Happily, Kim and Travis were able to be at the wedding and we got to reminisce for a while. It was great to see them again and catch up on their lives. It’s always nice to run into old friends.

This wedding was about family, friends and loved ones here and departed and it was heartfelt all the way through. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Linda and Marshall to create their special ceremony and will miss not seeing them anymore. I hope we run into each other some of these days.

On the table by the cake was this great photo collection that says, “Live well, laugh often, love much, dream always.” I’d say that pretty much sums up everything about Linda and Marshall’s relationship. With this as their game plan they should sail through life having a grand time all the way.


For any readers who would like to contact me;
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