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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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Joan and David Have An Intimate Ceremony Surrounded By Their Family

Joan and David met in 2009 through (Yet another wonderfully paired couple through Match.) They had an instant rapport that extended immediately to her son and daughter and right away it was great for everyone. So for this family, this wedding was very important and very special.

Joan and David have recently built a home so it was decided the wedding would take place in their back yard, beside their pool. With the combination of the blue of the water, the golden sun setting around us, lighting up the autumn woods behind us, and with the family love surrounding us, the air was sparkling.

This is a photo of the family - left to right; Joan’s mom, Joan’s daughter/Maid of Honor, Joan, David, Joan’s son/Best Man, Joan’s sister, and in the front, the Honorary Bridesdog.

Joan thought there would not be any music for the ceremony, but David had a surprise in store for her. As her son walked her down from the house to join us, David played a song that was special to them and the surprise and caring got all of us ladies choked up, especially Joan.

During the ceremony, they said traditional vows and wanted to exchange bonsai trees as a symbol of their love and care for one another. As they exchanged the trees, they said these words;

“While these unique trees grow throughout their lives, they will grow differently. But they will always continue to grow together and be bound by the strength of their roots.” 

It was a beautiful moment and David played a second song here entitled “You Are My Best Friend.” It was perfect.

After the ceremony, Joan spoke with her friend on the phone, who had been listening to the ceremony the whole time. (Why didn’t we think of Skype?!)

While David wiped Joan’s tears for happy, the Bridesdog was enjoying the yard and the fun. She was now off the leash and free to romp as she pleased and took full advantage of it.

Then we did some traditional photos of the happy couple, the family (above) the rings and the beautiful bouquet.

Love this shot I caught of Joan looking at David.

After a bit, we all went inside and shared some delicious Italian sparkling wine that tasted like champagne. Joan’s son toasted the newlyweds with a very touching speech he had written and Joan’s father, who is no longer with us, was remembered by the family.

Joan and David, I know you are going to be so happy in your new home, surrounded by the love of your family, with your own love at its core. Knowing that bonsai trees take a lot of care and live a long, long time, I can just imagine you and those trees years from now, thriving side by side, together. 


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Meghan and Tyler Become Husband and Wife at Last at MacGregor Downs Country Club in Cary

Meghan and Tyler are high school sweethearts who met in April 2004. Through all the rest of their educations - including different colleges - they stayed together and 8 ½ years later they finally became husband and wife. They wrote their own vows to each other and Meghan even mentioned in her vows how she never imagined when they met that they would some day marry. And yet, there they were, on a beautiful, sparkling autumn day, committing their lives to each other.

It was truly a beautiful day for the next step in this love story. They married at the very special MacGregor Downs Country Club, overseen by the Private Events Manager, Elizabeth Winfield. It was the first time I had worked with Elizabeth and my goodness, what a fun person she is! I know Meghan and Tyler must have had a blast working with her. 

MacGregor Downs Country Club offers some very attractive wedding packages and I can definitley recommend them highly. Not only do you have the beautiful greens as a backdrop, but inside the Club is the amazing main dining room, complete with an elaborate stone wall and fireplace that lends itself to any decorating theme you can imagine. Above the wood-lined walls are a gabled ceiling and large, wrought iron chandeliers, which all work together to create a very welcoming  atmosphere.

Meghan and Tyler chose to marry on the back patio beside the golfing greens and to be safe against the chilly weather, they set up a tent. Not just any tent, mind you, but a clear tent - the kind that does magical things with light. Those clear tents create a remarkable ambience for day or night weddings. Tyler works with Party Reflections, an excellent resource for creative, elegant wedding and event decorating needs, and they provided the tent and beautiful crystal chandeliers. Major elegance!

Look at how beautifully the tent caught the light for the wedding as Meghan came down the aisle with both her fathers

and then later for the reception. There is something really special about clear tents.

LOVE the chandeliers!

Meghan and Tyler had the most amazing decorations. Their style was “casual and laid-back” and everything they did showed this in spades. The colors were chocolate brown sprinkled with bright flowers, lime and dark green accents, and burlap used in the most creative ways;

 burlap table runners

burlap on the guest book / gift table

and a beautiful, unique seating chart made of burlap and grass

A closeup of the bow on the seating chart.

Even the wedding cake (by Sweet Memories Bakery) had a burlap bow topper! 

Stylish moss-covered table numbers and ball decorations were strewn around the burlap table runners.

This was the Wedding Couple and Bridal Party table. Although my photo doesn’t do it justice, the tablecloth was chocolate brown and that clear tent with the sprawling greens behind it created a spectacular backdrop.

The Bridesmaids wore brown dresses of raw silk that they got to choose themselves to suit their body shapes (thoughtful Bride, Meghan). The Groomsmen wore khaki pants with dark brown sweaters and lime green ties and Tyler was perfect in his brown, three-piece suit. All the flowers were a riot of amazing autumn tones (created by Flowers by the Neuse).

The clear tent let in all that beautiful sunshine and, falling on Meghan’s veil, she was glowing.


Others on hand to help make the wedding so special for Meghan and Tyler;

Guitarist for the ceremony - Matthew Kanon

DJ for the reception - Kevin Majoros of KM DJ Company

Photographers - Brett and Jessica of Brett and Jessica


Someone in the audience caught these two shots of the wedding kiss.... love them!

Meghan and Tyler, I wish I could have stayed longer at your wedding celebration. Thank you for inviting me and allowing me to share the fun times with your family and friends, particularly this adorable little personality who was sitting across from me at dinner.

As you move into the next phase of your life together, I hope the years that come will bring you all the incredible joys a good marriage can provide.


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Mary and Mark have a Heartfelt Wedding at Bass Lake Park and Retreat Center in Holly Springs

Mary and Mark are truly a happy, loving couple. They have their own, unique approach to life and it shows in everything they do. Case in point; their wedding on a small budget that still sparkled with love and originality. They are proof - yet again - that it doesn’t take a huge budget to have a sweet and memorable wedding.

They chose the serene setting of Bass Lake Park and Retreat Center in Holly Springs, NC. One of my all-time favorite outdoor settings, this charming building, with its cheery entrance, has a small conference room for receptions and a full outdoor deck with a partial roof for shaded weddings. It really is quite special for smaller weddings. 

The wedding color scheme included shades of blue, and to that end, you could see fun blue touches everywhere.

Because family is so important to Mary and Mark, they wanted to honor many of their family members. Mary’s bouquet was made of silk flowers, some of which had been in the wedding bouquet of Mary’s mother. To remember their grandparents who could not be with us, they placed yellow flowers on the benches where their grandparents would have been seated for the wedding. This is always such a touching gesture and one that is much appreciated by those who have known and loved the persons being so honored.

The pewter goblet you see above, sitting beside the honoring flowers, is from their Cup of Life Ceremony. Mary and Mark shared a drink from the Cup of Life to indicate they will share all that Life brings to them. This is an ancient ceremony of commitment, seen down through history in every culture, and it is a perfect symbolism for those starting out in marriage.

Something unique they wanted to include was prayer stones held by the guests as they offered their silent prayers and best wishes for the blessing of the wedding rings. Their guests took a stone from a container upon entering the ceremony and when it came time to bless the rings, the guests were asked to hold their stones to their hearts as they prayed. At the end of the ceremony, the guests placed the stones into a glass jar that Mary and Mark would take home after the wedding. What a wonderful, powerful keepsake!

The large, engraved stone you see above is their Oathing Stone. It was an idea of Mary’s that they have this engraved stone as a special keepsake and Mark carried this stone in his pocked through the ceremony. When it came time to bless their rings, they held the Oathing Stone together for the prayer. Very touching.

Notice the embroidered tablecloth on the Oathing Stone and prayer stones table above and the antique cake topper in the photo below. This cake topper began its family heirloom journey in 1940 on the wedding cake of Marys grandparents and has been used in many weddings since then. The loved ones of Mary and Mark were included in so many sweet, silent ways and I enjoyed seeing every one of them.  (Read more on the cake topper lineage in the update below, sent to me by Mary’s Aunt Susan.)

Mary and Mark, it was such a joy to help you put together your rich, loving wedding and to be a part of your beautiful wedding day. Love is so powerful in your lives and it is sure to touch everyone you meet.

Update 11-4-12 - Mary’s Aunt sent me an email about the heritage of the cake topper above and it is even more special than I had imagined;

“Hi Barbara, this is Susan Tipton, Mary's aunt. Thanks for a beautiful ceremony. I thought I would tell you about the bride and groom cake topper. It sat on my parent's wedding cake in 1940. Then mine in 1966, Elizabeth's [Mary’s mom] in 1973 (I think), then since the satin dress was detoriating, it sat beside Meghan's in 1997, then at my parent's 60th anniversary in 2000, the year before they died. And finally to Mary's. We are hoping it will last until Meredith gets married ... which will be a LONG time!”


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