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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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Of Dads and Love and a Wedding Golf Cart - at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary

The handsome man you see sitting inside this tricked out golf cart is the very proud and happy dad of a bride I married yesterday. Ally and Glenn were married at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary and Ally’s dad is the golf pro there. I was able to linger a bit after the wedding before having to go to another commitment and while sitting in my car, getting all my files ready for the next wedding, I looked up and saw Ally’s dad heading across the parking lot with a camera hanging from his shoulder. I thought that odd since the cocktail hour was still going on inside but figured maybe the photo-taking had moved outside and he was heading over with is own camera to get some nice shots. A few minutes later I heard a honk and looked up to see Mr. Conner, with a HUGE smile on his face, sitting in this beautifully decorated cart in front of my car.

It turned out that he had planned all along to surprise the happy couple with a decorated cart for after the wedding and he had even done the flower decorations himself. One of his artistic staff had made the sign for him, which included pink peonies to match the peonies Ally had carried in her bouquet. Ally and Glenn knew nothing of this wonderful surprise and what luck that I had not yet left so I could share this happy moment with him as he drove his amazing get-away car up to the door of the Club for the newlyweds to find later. I would have loved to have seen the looks on their faces when they saw it. They must have been so touched.

Weddings are generally put together by the ladies in the families and the grooms and other male family members tend to take a back seat, letting the ladies lead. But that doesn’t mean the dads aren’t every bit as proud of their sons and daughters who are marrying as the mothers. Often dads add much more than just their wallets and best wishes to the festivities. Many provide a special touch of their own to let their children know how much they love them and Mr. Conner’s sweet surprise is a perfect example of that love in action. The love one sees at weddings will warm your heart forever.

Let’s hear it for all the dads out there who steadfastly support their families from the background. I am so glad I was able to share in the joy this dad took in creating something very special for his daughter and her new husband on their wedding day.


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Barbara and Douglass Have a Magical Wedding Despite the Rain and Cold

Barbara and Douglass are a wonderful couple who have known each other for decades. Their friendship started out years ago when they were in a circle of friends and as the years went along and their lives changed, eventually the friendship deepened. It is so important for a relationship to be founded in friendship and you can see in Barbara and Douglass’ interactions that they have laid this groundwork very well.

Barbara is a jewelry designer with her own business, Barbara McFadyen Jewelry, and Douglass is an entrepreneur who started his own business as well; FloLogic, for residential water damage protection. With two seemingly diverse backgrounds, they made the perfect team for creating one of the most magical weddings I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. Love of family, artistic expression and attention to detail were hallmarks of their plans and I am sure all of their guests are still talking about their amazing wedding.

The day had been threatening rain and we were hoping the heavy winds would blow away the storm. There were big surprises in store for the guests and the rain would have been a problem - or so we thought. Right as we were about to begin the ceremony, the rain started and Douglass ran to get the 60+ umbrellas he had purchased earlier in the day. Thanks to the wonderful guidance of the wedding planner, Grace Beason, and her Assistant, Samantha Kozub, both of Grace Leisure Events, the umbrellas were handed out swiftly and the ceremony and all events that followed went off just fine, despite the downpour and the steep temperature drop that came along with it.

Barbara was escorted down the aisle by her son, who sheltered her with an umbrella.

photo by Cuppa Photography

He remained at the front, holding the umbrella over she and I, while the best man held another over the groom. All the guests and the Bridal Party had individual umbrellas, which were UNC Carolina blue (being so close to Chapel Hill, after all), and the light blue was a perfect accent to the rich purple of the Bridesmaid dresses and the pastel lanterns strung in the tree branches around us.

photo by Cuppa Photography

Standing so close together for the umbrella coverage added an unexpected intimacy to the already beautiful ceremony that Barbara and Douglass had worked so hard to create. As the rain fell and the wind blew with such force that the paper lanterns in the branches were hanging horizontally, the giant wind chime hanging in the tree above us added its deep notes as a resonant counterpoint. It felt like The Universe was baptizing the moment and the heart of Nature was alive in the sound of the chimes. It was a most remarkable sensation and absolutely perfect for the inner sensibilities of this very spiritual couple.

The ceremony took place amid the lush, green rolling fields on their property near Chapel Hill, with a scenic pond in the immediate distance. We stood in front of a grove of oak trees and a wooden shelf that had been attached to the tree trunks became our altar. Flowers and candles had been creatively placed along the length of the shelf by Tre Bella Flowers and the beautiful moss at the foot of the trees was hand-transplanted by Barbara from another location on the property. (I told you there was attention to detail.)

Even the simple aisle roses on the chairs were stunning in their simplicity, as well as the tables set up behind the last row of chairs.

As if by magic, the rain stopped just before the ceremony finished and as Barbara and Douglass recessed out the aisle and into a field to the right of where the guests were seated, a giant white crane puppet emerged from the woods to escort them. As it approached the newlyweds, it dipped its beak for them to pet him and then covered them with its giant body and off they all headed to the pond for the cocktail hour. It was amazing, magical and very moving and all of us watching were deeply touched.

photo by Cuppa Photography

As they moved through the field toward the pond, a giant white elk emerged from a different part of the woods to join them and on further still, a giant white heron emerged as well. 

Then, from the woods behind the guests, a giant white snow owl emerged to escort all the guests to the pond for refreshments, to the immense delight of all the guests. All the puppets remained with the guests for the length of the cocktail hour while Barbara and Douglass returned to the wedding trees for photos with the Bridal Party.

Did I say it was magical? It truly was.

photo by Cuppa Photography

The remarkable puppets were from Paperhand Puppet Intervention and the puppeteers were wonderful to remain in the woods like they did to surprise the guests and to brave it out with all that rain. Those cloth puppets must have been extremely heavy, being wet and fighting the strong wind, but they still pulled it off like professionals. Some of the male guests even lent a hand and became puppeteers on the spot. I later spoke with one young man in his teens who had done so and he was still grinning from ear to ear as he spoke of it.

I love this photo of Barbara and Douglass with their Bridal Party, comprised of their children, grandchildren and Douglass’ business partner as the Best Man. It is all about family and friends for them and everything they planned for their wedding was evidence of that.

The cocktail hour took place over at the pond, where a bar had been set up and lovely tables and lanterns placed in the grass. Floating on the water were beautiful flower arrangements and towering over the pond was a giant white lantern whose reflection in the water looked like a full moon. More magic.

After the wedding photos were finished, all the guests joined Barbara and Douglass in the bright, clear reception tent. It was really beautiful inside. Spring colors were on display everywhere, from the table linens to the paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, to the Groom’s cookie cake and the beautiful, unique wedding cake. Both cakes were created by Miel Bon Bons and looked way too amazing to eat.

Upon seeing the magnificent wedding cake, I half expected to see a flying carpet standing rolled up, leaning against the back of the tent, ready to carry the happy couple to an exotic locale at the end of the night.

To enhance the ambience even more, an Arioso Strings quartet entertained guests through the dinner and then a band, Shimmer,  took over for the dancing.

Other wedding professionals who helped make the wedding celebration so fantastic;

Photographer - Cindy Giovagnoli of Cuppa Photography - a dear friend of Barbara and Douglass
Videographers - Philip and MacKenzie Henry of Inkspot Crow Films
Makeup - Pamela Hung of On LoKtion Makeup

Pam, an award-winning makeup artist, even stayed into the reception hours so she could keep Barbara’s makeup refreshed all night. I’ve never known a makeup artist to do that before and it was most impressive. Here is a shot of her touching up Barbara’s makeup during the photos after the wedding. That giant smile you see on Douglass’ face never left his face all night. He was one happy man.

It was truly a wedding to remember and I will always have a smile in my heart whenever I think about it. Thank you, Barbara and Douglass, for including me in such a magical moment in your life together.


Update 5/7/11 - Barbara and Douglass did go to an exotic locale for their honeymoon. They went to St. Barts for a romantic getaway and here are a couple of their honeymoon photos. The magic continues.


Update 5/17/11 - Cindy Rapp Giovagnoli of Cuppa Photography just sent me a link to her blog post about the wedding and the photos are spectacular! I encourage you to go check it out. Some of her photos are included in this post but there are many more to touch your heart in the blog. She also wrote something really insightful about rainy day weddings and I have included it here. If your wedding ends up being in the rain, you will surely find this to be true as well;

“Here’s the magical thing about a rainy wedding day: everyone lets go.

They let go of preconceived visions and ideas. They let go of the idea that everything has to be perfect. They let go of the stress (after the initial panic at the rain, anyway!). They let go of everything except the beauty of their love and of the fact that this is it, that this is the day that they begin their life together as an official, publicly recognized team. There is laughter and imperfection and mud. There are dark skies and whipping wind and running for shelter and asking for help. There are challenges unforeseen, but somehow managed. And at the end of it all, there is one heckuva story.

If that isn’t a perfect metaphor for real life and marriage, well, I just don’t know what is.”

Update 5/23/11 - MacKenzie Henry of Inkspot Crow Films has sent over a wonderful video of wedding highlights. It’s a wonderful catch of so much of what made the event so extra special, complete with weather effects by Mother Nature’s central casting.  Try as I might, I can’t get the video to embed in this post, darn it, so here is the link to the video on their blog. You are in for a great treat. My compliments to Philip and MacKenzie on a great job from beginning to end.

Update 8/9/12 - Barbara and Douglass’ wedding is being featured on Heart Love Weddings!


For any readers who would like to contact me;
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Southern Bride and Groom Hosts a Wedding Professional Appeciation Evening at Solas in Raleigh

What do you get when you mix an interesting variety of wedding professionals from all areas of the wedding industry, throw in some good food, a great bar with fantastic bartenders, add some fun music and hold the event at a downtown Raleigh hot spot? You get one heck of a fun evening!

Southern Bride and Groom is soon to celebrate their 25th (!!) anniversary with their next publication coming this fall and they hosted a great thank-you event for those of us who have supported them in their growth from a small little publication years ago to the premier bridal resource magazine in our area. Created by Donna Parks, this little magazine is chock-full of wedding tidbits and is a wonderful resource for excellent wedding professionals to help you put together the wedding of your dreams. You can find it all over the Triangle area and it is synonymous with quality and good taste. The magazine has grown through the years to its current prominence and Donna rightly deserves the full credit for this achievement. Here she is (right) with her Assistant, Jenna, (left) and Patricia, the Artistic Director (center). Congratulations, ladies, for your remarkable achievement and for a very fun event that nobody wanted to leave.

They held the appreciation event at Solas restaurant in Raleigh. It was the first time I’d ever been there and I will be looking forward to doing weddings there in the future. What a great place for a special gathering. Very modern and airy, it sports a private open-air patio on the ground level, a nice dance floor on the second level and an open-air patio on the roof, with a great view of the city. There are lots of staging options for weddings or other special events, with each one more interesting than the last.

You’d never know to look at it from the outside in the daylight what this interesting building with its eclectic exterior holds inside, but let the sun go down and it becomes a charming chameleon with many faces.

The interior of the second floor with its dance floor and long bar

And some views from the roof after dark.

SPiN, a local DJ team of Allen Smith and Ryan Pflumm, provided the music for the evening and they were perfect. They caught the feel of the event just right.

Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, was also on hand with their delicious gelato bar. If you’ve never had gelato before, you owe it to yourself to head over to Sugarland and give it a try. I was hooked with my first bite of their pistachio, but every flavor is creamy and delicious. They have become so renowned that even Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden, who are hosting a Mothers Day luncheon for the military wives in Fayetteville, NC this coming weekend, have chosen Sugarland as their baker. Hopefully they also opted for the gelato bar. Good job, Sugarland. That’s quite a nice feather in your cap!

Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs provided all the beautiful floral decorations. 

There were so many wedding professionals there that night and it was great to have some leisurely time to just sit and chat with everyone and catch up on their lives. Here are just a few;

Ann Eberle of Highgroe Estate, Tracy Adams of Adams and Events, Sally Litton of Paperwhites, Vickie Ismael of Highgrove Estate, Joy Edwards of A Joyful Occasion (I did not get the name of the lady on the far left)

John Hayes of Southern Video Design and Rev. Robin Renteria with her sweetheart, Ruben (right) 

The Three Amigos - Rev. Robin Renteria, Rev. Kayelily Middleton, and myself, Rev. Barbara Lodge

Wedding Planner Sally Oakly of Sally Oakley and Videographer John Hayes  of Southern Video Design 

Wedding Planner Angie Wright of Chic Details

Photographer Chris Perez of Azul Photography

Photographer Craig Carpenter (center) of Luster Studios

Photographers Meredith Walters of Walters and Walters and Chris Perez of Azul Photography

Photographer Neil Boyd of Neil Boyd Photography (who helped me with some settings on my camera - thanks, Neil)

Rev. Robin Renteria and DJ Ryan Pflumm of SPiN

Ashleigh Collins of Capital City Club, Devon Schwartz and Tracey Nielson of The Carolina Inn

It was a wonderful evening and all of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I hope when you see a copy of Southern Bride and Groom you will pick it up and take it home to use it as the treasure it truly is for planning a wedding.

Congratulations Donna, Jenna and Patricia for your milestone achievement of 25 years and thanks again for such a fun time.


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