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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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Jess and Nick Exchange Vows in the Artistic Artspace of Raleigh

Jessica is an interior designer and Nick is a hairdresser.  They met many years ago when Jess first sat down in Nick’s chair as his client. He was so good at his craft that pretty soon her family and many of her friends became his clients, too. Fast forward a couple of years and they finally went out on a date - and have been inseparable ever since. That was almost 8 years ago and along the way they moved here from Maryland and had a charming daughter, Dilan, who was our cute little flower girl.

Here’s a photo of Dilan sitting with her Granddad while we were waiting for the festivities to begin. Quite the charmer, I fell in love with her the first time I ever met her.

With two such artistically gifted people, you would expect them to choose an artistic backdrop for their wedding and sure enough, they chose Artspace in Raleigh. A gallery and working haven for artists in all kinds of media, it has a great urban feel to it. All of the proceeds they earn go directly toward furthering art education here in our area. It’s quite an organization and one that is dear to Jess’ heart.

The reception was held upstairs in one of the galleries, which is currently exhibiting art-on-cloth works by Andrea Donnelly. The artwork perfectly suited Jess and Nick’s style and was an extra asset for the evening.

The wedding took place in the front lobby of Artspace. We stood on the stair landing, with the Groom and Best Man entering from the ground level and the Maid of Honor, Flower Girl and Bride with her dad entering down the stairs. Candles ringed the whole area where we stood and it felt alive with all the candle glow.

After the ceremony, the guests went upstairs for refreshments while the family and Bridal Party joined the happy couple for some photos. I so enjoy watching everyone interacting with love and happiness. That’s always been one of my favorite parts of weddings.

Jessica’s dress was not the usual wedding dress style. Beige and reminiscent of the 1920s, it was simple, elegant and unique and it suited her perfectly.

Here’s Nick proudly showing off the beautiful pocket watch Jess gave him as a wedding present.

Their friend, Micah, performed the wedding music on guitar and vocals and did a great rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on ukulele. Later, I saw him setting up upstairs to be the DJ as well. Now that’s a great friend.

The photographers for the evening were Rebecca Schlieman and Brody. Both professional photographers, they were everywhere that night and their photos are sure to reflect the happy feelings on display from all directions. They are also friends of Jess and Nick and the photos are to be a gift. What an amazing wedding gift!

Update 4-12-11: Here are two beautiful photos Rebecca sent me from the wedding. I just love the looks on Jess and Nick’s faces.

Nick reading his vows
photo by Rebecca Schlieman
photo by Rebecca Schlieman

The caterer for the celebration was Rocky Top Catering and they put out an unbelievable spread. The smells coming from everything were so enticing. Here are some of their treats on display, creatively set up in the hallway between galleries.

Now, whenever you see this truck on the highway, you will know it is carrying some great food.

As I write, Jess and Nick are still on their honeymoon, touring London, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. What a romantic start to what is sure to be a very happy marriage.


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Kate and Josh Have a Glowing Wedding at the Rand-Bryan House in Garner

This beaming couple met over three years ago through a mutual friend and they have been together ever since. You can see in both their faces a love of life and they really are a great match for each other. Their wedding day was a glowing spring day, perfectly reflecting the happiness on their faces and those of their family and friends. It looked like a lively wedding celebration was getting started as I was leaving and I can only imagine what a great time was surely had by all.

When I arrived for the wedding, 30 minutes early, Josh and his Groomsmen were hanging around, trying to find things to do while the ladies were sequestered away.

Kate and the Bridesmaids were in the dressing room with the photographer, finishing photos and all the little final details that ladies always do. Kate was absolutely glowing in her beautiful dress and she and her Bridesmaids were having a great time kidding each other and laughing all the while.

It turns out Kate has an amazing tattoo of a phoenix that runs the length of her back and her wedding dress showed just enough of the tattoo to make it a perfect accent.

The moms were in the dining room pinning on corsages and being tons of help in all the many ways that moms know how to do. Where would we be without our moms?

Kate and Josh chose the sparkling Rand-Bryan House as the perfect wedding location for the day they had in mind. Owned and managed by Martha Bryan Liles, Martha had her daughter, Audrey, there that day, helping make everything perfect for Kate and Josh. 

I really enjoy doing weddings at the Rand-Bryan House. The house and grounds are bright and airy, full of sunlight and gorgeous trees. This day I noticed that three young cherry trees were in bloom behind where the arch stood for the ceremony in the side lawn and they were just beautiful. Once they are fully grown, early spring weddings are going to be beyond spectacular there.

Here are some photos of the house and grounds. The weather was so glorious that tables were set up on the lawn and a perfect breeze was blowing. It was like a Hollywood production company had put together this wedding.

The breeze had a field day with Kate’s veil throughout the ceremony but it was beautiful as it blew around, glowing in the afternoon sun. It made Kate look like an angel. Hopefully the photographers got some amazing photos of it.

The photographers for the day were Josh’s sister, Nicole Lupton, of Nicloe Louise Photography and her assistant, Amber Warlock.  Despite Nicole’s baby being due almost any day, she and Amber were there for Kate and Josh, catching wonderful memories of the day. Can’t wait to see their photos. (update 3/23/11 - Nicole has just posted the photo previews in Facebook and here is the link to her great photos, one of which is included at the end of this post! Thanks, Nicole.)

Kate’s grandfather was in a wheelchair and I love this shot of her showing the wedding ring to her grandparents. It was a touching moment.

Other wedding professionals on hand that day to help make the wedding such a success;

DJ - Ross Denson of J. Ross Party Productions
Caterers - Catering Works
Florals - Gregg Kennedy of Brides and Bouquets

Kate and Josh, yours was such a happy wedding and I know you and your friends and family had the time of your lives. With your zest for life and your eye for the special little things that make living such a pleasure, you are sure to have a romantic, happy life together. I hope you will stay in touch so I can keep up with you as your lives go forward. And although he couldn’t be there that day because he is so “sweet, loving but seriously crazy and rambunctious,” please be sure to give your beloved Rocky a hug and a treat for me.   :-)


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April and Paul Marry in NC State Colors at All Saint’s Chapel in Raleigh

April and Paul met at a mutual friend’s birthday party over five years ago and finally started dating about three years ago. Their relationship is all about their love and partnership and everything about their ceremony reflected how much they love each other and their families. It was very touching.

Their beloved NC State plays a large part in their lives so it came as no surprise when they told me their wedding colors were to be the NCSU colors. They did a beautiful job of combining the red, white and black of the Wolfpack. It was everywhere throughout the ceremony and beautifully captured in the Bridesmaids’ dresses, shoes and jewelry, the Flower Girl’s dress and shoes, the bouquets, the suits and ties of the Groomsmen and Ring Bearer, and even the colors of the Sand Ceremony. It really was a perfect use of such radiant colors, made even more radiant that day by all the love that was so much in abundance from everyone.

All the florals and wedding decorations picked up the color theme and were created by the artistry of Gregg Kennedy of Brides and Bouquets. I have been seeing his work a lot at weddings and events lately and his creations have a classic elegance about them that is just lovely. Here are some more examples of his work for April and Paul.

The ceremony was held at the historic All Saint’s Chapel in Raleigh. Built in 1875 and recently moved to its new location, it is a charming little chapel with beautiful stained glass windows that reflect romantic, multi-colored light into the room. It is so reminiscent of an era gone by and I am very happy to see it is still alive today after having been restored to its former glory.

This is the interior of the chapel, lit by all the candles, chandeliers and aisle lanterns April and Paul used for decorations.

Our photographer for the day was April Sirit of Evoke Photography, very capably assisted by her second
shooter, Beth Jarvah, of  b. Jarvah imagery. I have worked with April before at weddings and her photos are just wonderful. Here is a link to her blog post about April and Paul’s engagement photos so you can see her skill as a photographer as well as learn a little more about April and Paul. Can’t wait to see the wedding photos from April and Beth - they are sure to be spectacular.

Our extremely talented musicians for the day were a trio from Arioso Strings, composed of David on cello and Emi and Mary on violins. They created an amazing sound in the little chapel and the musical selections were a perfect touch for the wedding, as always. They are consummate professionals and I always look forward to hearing them play. Mary wrote a blog post about April and Paul’s wedding and you can read it through this link. She has a really nice perspective from a musician’s point of view.

April and Paul, you have built such a happy life for yourselves and I know you are going to have many more happy years ahead of you.

Go Wolfpack!


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Maryann and John Exchange Vows at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill

Maryann and John met in New York on March 5, twenty years ago. They had kept in touch through the years as their lives went along and about three years ago they decided to build a relationship at last. Living and working in separate states, this has been hard for them to accomplish and as of this writing their lives are still going to be in separate states for a while until they figure out a good place for both of them to be professionally. Talk about a modern dilemma!

I met with Maryann early in the planning stages but with John in New York, I wasn’t able to meet with him until the day of the rehearsal. It was easy to see right away why he and Maryann are such a great fit - they both have a great sense of humor and make each other laugh all the time.

They also have a great sense of style, as evidenced by their choice of The Carolina Inn as the wedding location. What a wonderful, historic Inn this is and they chose the intimate Bryan Courtyard as the setting for their lovely wedding. This courtyard is a favorite of all of us who do weddings at The Carolina Inn because of its privacy and old brick charm.

No matter the time of year, all the grounds of The Carolina Inn are beautiful. The front entrance changes its display as the year progresses and here it is that day, alive with colorful spring flowers and interesting sculpture that reflects the areas’s reputation for handmade pottery.

This is the Bryan Courtyard, set up for Maryann and John’s wedding.

And the little details that always make such a difference.

This lantern was one of many hung in the tree with candles in them. It was a lovely touch and not one I had ever seen used there before. The copper was shining brightly in the crisp morning sun and it really was beautiful in its simplicity.

The gathering place for the bridal party and family was the cheery sunroom, just off the courtyard. With a full wall of windows facing the morning sunshine and its bright, happily colored furnishings, it was a great staging location for such a happy event.

Maryann and John had put their hearts into the creation of the ceremony, which included two readings and a solo by their friend, Robert, who sang, “When I Say I Do,” by Matthew West. I had never heard that song before and it was a perfect addition to the lovely, heartfelt wedding.

After the ceremony we all gathered in the sunroom for hugs and congratulations. Maryann and John had a chance to sit for a few minutes before heading outside for the photos and I caught this sweet shot of John looking lovingly at Maryann. It was such a touching moment.

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were provided by Devon Schwartz, the Social Catering Manager of The Carolina Inn, shown here making sure all was going well for the happy couple.

What nice goodies Devon provided!

The other professionals on hand that day to help make the wedding memories so special were;

the fun and creative wedding planner, Erin McLean, of Erin McLean Events, shown here with our talented DJ, Jeff Simpson, of Simpsound DJ and Lighting Services.

The beautiful flowers and courtyard decorations were provided by Tre Bella Flowers.

And their international award-winning photographer was the ever charming and talented Neil Boyd, of Neil Boyd Photography. Ably assisted that day by his second shooter, Adrienne, I can’t wait to see their photos when they are online. Their tag-teaming is sure to produce some amazing shots. Here they are at work.

Maryann and John, I know you will be very happy together. No matter which state you end up living in under the same roof, I hope Life has grand things in store and you spend your days as the treasures to each other that you were meant to be.


For any readers who would like to contact me;
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