Google Analytics tracking code


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.

To visit or return to my website -


Lauren and Chris Begin Their Married Life Under A Marine Corps Arch of Sabers in Raleigh

Lauren and Chris are a likable, easy-going couple who live in New Bern, NC. Lauren is a landscaper who loves animals and Chris is a Harrier pilot in the Marine Corps. They met in 2008 through mutual friends and have been together ever since. Despite many months of separation while Chris is stationed overseas - which is often the life of military families - this couple is devoted to each other and to creating a life for themselves within the military world.

After the wedding ceremony was finished inside the hotel, all of the guests gathered outside to watch the newlyweds walk through the traditional Arch of Sabers. The Saber Detail was comprised of Chris’ friends, colleagues and Groomsmen and they looked very handsome as they stood in formation. We were all so excited to get a chance to witness this time-honored tradition.

The ceremony starts with the Marines lined up, sabers down, awaiting the arrival of the newlyweds.

The lead officer lifts his saber to indicate things are about to begin.

As the couple approaches, the lead officer lowers his saber as a signal

and all the sabers are immediately raised in the couple’s honor.

But half way through, the exit is blocked - the couple must kiss before they can pass further.

Of course the Captain and his lady are happy to oblige.

 As the blocking sabers are raised to let them pass, the Bride is traditionally tapped on the back by one of the sabers as a formal welcoming gesture by the Marine Corps. (If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the sword at her back.)

A triumphant exit

and beaming smiles,

followed by another kiss for good measure.

It was all so beautiful and romantic and every one of us out on the sidewalk was thrilled to have witnessed something so special. With all of our cameras and cell phones, we became their paparazzi and took turns taking photos of ourselves with the glowing newlyweds. Here are Lauren and her mom.

 And me with the handsome Bride and Groom. 


Others on hand to make Lauren and Chris’ wedding day so special;

Their photographers were Kristel Wilder and Gail Whitson of Klear Reflection Photography. Can’t wait to see their photos when they are online!

Their DJ was Dan of Danamare Productions - an excellent DJ and very nice man.

A dear family friend who loaned her blue-embroidered hankie to Lauren to carry with her bouquet.


I grew up as a child of a Navy man and saw first hand what the military can accomplish and the sacrifices they and their families make in the service of our nation. They are truly the unsung heroes of our country and there dwells within me an undying love and respect for all those in uniform who steadfastly protect and defend. My sincere thanks and gratitude to every one of them. 

Captain and Lauren, you are following in a fine, honorable tradition and I wish you a wonderful life together.

Semper Fi
(Always Faithful)


For any readers who would like to contact me;
                                       website  /  email  /  919-942-2808  
                                       Facebook  /  Pinterest   
                                       or leave a comment through the “comments” link below

Melissa and Ryan Have a Sunny Wedding at The Sutherland in Wake Forest

So how do you know for sure that your fiancé loves you? There are many signs, obviously, but for Melissa, her fisherman fiancé showed her by selling his beloved bass boat to buy her an engagement ring. For those of you with avid fishermen in your lives, you will fully understand how huge this is. Ryan wanted her to know how much he loved her and what better way than to sell a prized possession to buy something for her.

Both Melissa and Ryan have had wonderful examples of long, loving marriages in their families so it was not too hard for Ryan to know how to show his love. Ryan’s parents have been married for 28 years,

photo by Brian Anderson

Melissa’s parents have been married for 27 years,

photo by Brian Anderson

and Melissa’s grandparents have been married for 61 years!

photo by Brian Anderson

Ryan and Melissa have some mighty big footsteps to follow! During the ceremony they wanted to make sure their parents and grandparents were honored for the great examples they had set for them, followed by Melissa and Ryan surprising them all with roses for their moms and grandmother. Many tears were seen as they presented the roses. Such a touching moment.

photo by Brian Anderson

Melissa and Ryan chose as their wedding location the beautiful The Sutherland Estate and Gardens in Wake Forest. What a wonderful location this is for a wedding. Tucked off the highway, it is all enclosed and private and they include skilled wedding planners in their packages. Ashlee Adams was in charge of making sure everything went well for Melissa and Ryan and she was certainly a professional in all she did. It was great working with her.

Here are some shots of this most impressive wedding and event venue;

the main house where the Bride and her Bridesmaids dress and the Settler’s Cottage where the Groom and Groomsmen dress

photo by Brian Anderson

the brick area where the ceremonies take place, the wedding garden lawn as it extends back toward the house, and the large brick patio behind the house, perfectly suited for setting up a large dance floor

photo by Brian Anderson

photo by Brian Anderson

the rustic dining room that leads into the bright, airy anteroom where the cake and some of the refreshments were served

Melissa’s beautiful wedding dress had been copied by her Grandmother for one of Melissa’s childhood Barbie dolls and I couldn’t resist getting a photo of Melissa and Barbie together.

Barbie also had a place of honor down in the traditional dining room where the gift table was set up and she later joined the revelry out by the dance floor in the evening. 

photo by Brian Anderson

The accent colors for the wedding were aqua and yellow and what a happy, cheery combination that is. Melissa and Ryan used it to perfect effect for the Bridesmaid dresses, the bouquets and boutonnieres,

the pomanders they made for the aisle chairs, 

the table settings and centerpieces under the reception tent,

 the jelly beans they made themselves (!!) for guest favors,

the wedding cake and table,

even Melissa’s wedding shoes were a cheery shade of yellow!

Their gifts for their Bridal Party were engraved beer mugs for the men and yellow and aqua polka dot glasses for the ladies.

Here you see Melissa’s brother and Ryan’s best man with the polka dot glasses in hand, no doubt going to get refreshments for the ladies.

photo by Brian Anderson

It was a sunny day with sunny decorations and it all matched perfectly the sunny dispositions of this happy couple and their families and guests. It was quite a special event and I know everyone there was having a marvelous time. Even Barbie herself, who must have been privy to some special moments in Melissa’s childhood, must have been enjoying every moment.

The photographer for the wedding was Hilton Pitman, of Hilton Pitman Photography. Some of his wonderful photos are included here with his watermark embossed. (Thanks, Hilton) He also did some wonderful engagement photos of Melissa and Ryan and I wrote a blog post about it a few months ago. Here’s a link to that post if you’d like to read it.

My thanks also to Melissa’s cousin, Brian Anderson, who provided most of the photos used here. 

Melissa and Ryan, it was such a joy to get to know you and to be a part of such a special day in your lives. Thank you again for the beautiful birthday flowers and sweet card you gave me on my birthday. I was so touched by your thoughtfulness. (My birthday was on their rehearsal date and they gave me flowers and a card signed by everyone at the rehearsal.)

May all your dreams come true in unique and wonderful ways - and may Ryan’s new bass boat (when it comes along) be a joy for you both.


Update 9/1/11- I have just learned that Melissa and Ryan’s wedding will be featured in the Spring / Summer 2012 issue of The Knot North Carolina, which will be on sale in stores starting Dec. 27, 2011. Can’t wait to read it!

Update 1/23/12 - Here is the link to the blog post I wrote when their wedding was featured in The Knot North Carolina magazine.


For any readers who would like to contact me;
                                       website  /  email  /  919-942-2808  
                                       Facebook  /  Pinterest   
                                       or leave a comment through the “comments” link below

Jo Ann and Donald Marry in an Emotion-Filled Ceremony at the Hilton Durham Near Duke University

Meet Jo Ann and Donald, known to their friends as “The DonJo Show.” Being in each other’s lives is a direct result of prayer on both sides and you can tell when you are around them how important this deeper spiritual element is in their lives. It is evident in everything about them, from their kindnesses to each other and their friends to how they look at each other and instinctively reach out to hold hands. I love this photo of them; they look so regal and it fits them perfectly.

This photo and most of the ones used in this post were taken by Dajuan Jones of In His Image Photography. I had never worked with Dajuan before but hope to work with him again - and often. He is a huge photographic talent and a really nice guy and that makes for one heck of a good professional. You can easily see why they chose him when you look at his photos here and on his website. Thanks, Dajuan, for allowing me to use your wonderful photos for my blog.

When I arrived early for the wedding, Dajuan, Donald and all the groomsmen were still taking pictures while the ladies were getting ready elsewhere. This little alcove with all the chairs was a perfect photo op for the guys and Dajuan even added me into the mix.

Jo Ann and Donald chose as their wedding location the recently renovated Hilton Durham Near Duke University. What a perfect location and the staff, to a person, was very friendly and accommodating. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

During the ceremony, Dajuan was apparently all over the place, judging from his photos, but I was never aware of it. An invisible ninja style is a nice skill for a photographer to have.

Look at the happiness on Donald’s face as he watched Jo Ann enter with her dad .

What a tender look to each other once they were standing together in front of me.

 Donald wiping a tear from Jo Ann’s face during the ceremony.

The ballroom where the ceremony took place was elegant in its simplicity and was the perfect backdrop to the striking coral pink Bridesmaid dresses and other accents, like the rose petals strewn along the aisle.

They had ordered an aisle runner with their names and wedding date beautifully displayed on it. A very nice touch.

JoAnn and Donald wanted to include a Unity Cross, which they had found online. I had never seen this before and when they showed it to me, I was so impressed. The cross signifies the man and woman becoming one and God as the bond that holds them together. It is a beautiful symbolism with a beautiful sculpture they can keep in their home as a remembrance of their wedding and the true meaning of their marriage.

For the Unity Cross ceremony, as the minister speaks about the symbolism of each portion, the Groom inserts the empty cross into the stand, the Bride fills it with the scroll-worked cross, and the minister then pins it all together with three golden pegs, signifying that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the true bond of the marriage.

In our planning for the ceremony, Jo Ann and Donald had asked if I included the traditional line in the ceremony about anyone objecting to this union and, assuming they would not want this included, I assured them I did not. However, to my surprise, they did want to include it. A bit skeptical, I said I would, and during the ceremony I was to learn why they wanted this. When I came to that part of the ceremony, I was to pause to allow anyone to speak and as I paused, they both turned from looking at each other to looking at all their guests with a funny, defiant look, that sent ripples of laughter through the room. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud myself. What a fun and unexpected moment!

Then came the pronouncement of marriage and the kiss - and another funny comment from them.

After the ceremony, they all left with Dajuan for the formal photographs and that gave me some time to take some photos of their decorations outside the reception ballroom. So much attention to detail - and in such a clever and elegant way; a poster of them designed like a movie poster, a photo of their hands holding, done as an oil portrait, pink lollipops by the guest book and CDs with pink labels of their favorite songs for all their guests, sealed with a monogram. It was all very nicely done.

While I was taking these photos, Lisa and Quentin came over to say, “Hi.” I had married them in 2006 and they are now neighbors of Jo Ann and Donald and were attending the wedding. They had very kindly recommended me to Jo Ann and Donald and I had a chance to thank them in person as well as catch up on their lives. Lisa and Quentin are still blissfully happy and it was great fun reconnecting. Here is a photo Quentin took of Lisa and me. Isn’t she just beautiful! 

Looking at the photos Dajuan took the rest of the evening, it appears there were wonderful things in store for the guests, like this first dance together as husband and wife. They were out there strutting their stuff in style and style is something they have plenty of!

Jo Ann and Donald, I know you will continue to go through life looking at the world in that special way you share. With your deep faith in God and each other, Life is sure to hold great things in store for you. 

For any readers who would like to contact me;
                                       website  /  email  /  919-942-2808  
                                       Facebook  /  Pinterest   
                                       or leave a comment through the “comments” link below