They chose The Barn at Valhalla as their wedding location because it is so beautifully placed in nature. Rustic and easily accessible out Hwy 54 past Chapel Hill, it is a wonderfully serene location for a wedding. Quiet woods surround the barn and its adjacent pond, with all sorts of nature’s creatures scampering about. The Barn itself has a large deck that wraps around it and includes a long, wooden walkway through the woods out to another large deck with a great stone fireplace.
When the ceremony began, we all entered down the long walkway and took our places in front of the fireplace, followed by Amy and Michelle entering together.
There were some special moments during the ceremony and lots of happy, emotional tears were shed.
Amy’s sister was her Maid of Honor and Michelle’s brother was her Best Man. Our reader was Aeryc (“Eric”), the Best Man’s Life Partner. Aeryc offered a beautiful Apache Blessing.
Amy and Michelle each chose their own vows to read to each other before putting on their rings. The rings were engraved inside with the simple words, “Soul Mates.”
You can see in the photos above that the cord is hanging from my ceremony notebook. What you cannot see well is from what the cord was made;
blue ribbon for water
brown ribbon for earth
white ribbon for air
a tree for nature
a leaf for the changing seasons
a sea turtle for the ocean
2 petosky stones, the state stone of Michigan
a car for their love of travel
It was one of the loveliest handfasting cords I have ever seen. (If you enlarge this photo you can see the cord around their hands and hanging down.)
Right after the Handfasting, Amy and Michelle were pronounced officially committed Life Partners and someone got this shot right as they turned toward their guests. Look at that look on Michelle’s face!
Before the ceremony began, we noticed the sun was getting low but luckily we were able to get everything finished before it got dark. The Sun gifted us with a beautiful sunset that became part of the ceremony.
Back inside the Barn for refreshments, everyone was gearing up for one heck of a good party. This was a relationship whose wedding was a long time coming and all assembled were so happy to be there and sharing in such a special celebration.
Durham Catering provided the buffet and the food was just delicious. Here is the dessert table all set up.
A Family Tree done with fingerprints has become quite popular lately and this one was especially nice. With Amy and Michelle’s love of Nature and its spiritual side, it was a most fitting choice. Here are photos of the tree;
The Handfasting Cord is wrapped around the branches of the tree. You can now see all the elements Amy and Michelle wove into it that made it so special.
Here someone is adding their fingerprint (after dipping their finger into a paint pot). Other fingerprints have already been added.
And finally, after all the fingerprints have been added, Amy and Michelle’s wedding-ringed hands are wrapped with their Handfasting Cord and placed on the tree. (I love this shot. It speaks volumes about who they are. Kudos to the photographer.)
Amy and Michelle, I wish you grand adventures roaming the world, walking and hiking through Nature, hand in hand, laughing all the way, enjoying life for all the joys it brings to those who love. May all your dreams come true for you in amazing, remarkable ways. Your rings say you are Soul Mates.
So Mote It Be.
UPDATE - In 2014, marriage equality came to NC at last. In December 2014, I had the distinct pleasure of performing a LEGAL marriage for Amy and Michelle in an intimate, private ceremony in a romantic bamboo forest at Duke Gardens in Durham, NC. It was my last ceremony of that year and it made my heart smile. Here is the link to my blog post about it, if you would like to read about it. Your heart will smile, too.