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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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Made-to-Order Wedding and Bridesmaid Dresses at Affordable Prices? Yes!!

And with an added 15% discount for my readers through April 4, 2013 
(use the code at the end of this post)

I was recently contacted by Simply Bridal about their company, which specializes in made-to-order wedding and Bridesmaid dresses at an affordable price. How do they do it? With professional in-house designers and seamstresses, they sell directly to you - not through a middleman - and the savings are passed along to you. If you have you been dress shopping yet and have seen those unbelievable prices in local stores, you already know what a helpful savings that would be!

Do you have a dream dress in mind that you thought was out of your price range, or are you looking for a way to stretch your wedding budget and to help your Bridesmaids with their costs? Simply Bridal might be just the thing you are looking for. 

They also have a very nice blog with posts that cover all things wedding.

If these dresses (photos from their website) are not enough to entice you to check them out, here are some good reasons on their website why you might consider buying from them;

  • High Quality Materials & Designs
    We're confident in our quality. 30 Day Money Back Guarantee on all orders.
  • US Based Company
    Come see our luxurious showrooms in Los Angeles, CA and New York City, NY.
  • We Remove All Middlemen
    SimplyBridal believes getting married should be affordable. We have our own seamstresses, sample makers, and designers so YOU can get a discount.

    Dedication to Customer Service

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    Our Values

    Quality, honesty and value: That’s what we offer at Simply Bridal. Experts make our wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses by hand, using only high-quality materials. We provide ethereal, classic and fashion-forward wedding gowns that will match your body and personality. We keep our prices at a discount, so that every bride can afford the wedding dress of her dreams.

You owe it to yourself to head on over to their website and see what they have to offer.

Update 3/4/13 - Simply Bridal likes my blog post so much they are offering a 15% discount through the month of March 2013 for all my readers;

Code: SBL110FW
Discount: 15% (shipping not included)
Expiration: 4/4/2013



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Jennifer and Brad Marry at Caffe Luna in Raleigh and Include a “Tasting of the Four Elements of Marriage” Ceremony

Jennifer and Brad met at a bowling alley in July of 2008, a couple of months after she had moved to the Triangle. It was a chance meeting that quickly grew into so much more and in November, when she invited him to share Thanksgiving with her, they became inseparable.

Of the many unique things they did for their wedding, one was to play up the bowling alley meeting. They used white chocolate pops in the form of bowling pins and seating cards were attached to each. Lined up in a nice wooden box filled with rice, the bowling pins were an adorable guest favor that doubled as a seating card and were definitely a big hit with their guests.

Along with some very nice readings and vows they had written to each other, they also included a “Tasting of the Four Elements of Marriage” ceremony. I had never heard of this so to be able to write it for them, I asked them what it symbolized. The ceremony is about how love is woven into the everyday fabric of life and it exemplifies this by having the wedding couple taste the flavors representing the four elements of marriage;
lemon - sacrifice
vinegar - bitterness
cayenne pepper - heat / arguments
honey - sweetness

There was a table set up beside us with a dish of each of these flavors and Jennifer and Brad were to taste each one as I spoke of them and what each symbolized. Now with these particular flavors, you can imagine what their faces must have looked like during the tastings - and their guests had a grand time watching all this transpire. It was quite memorable and certainly something I had never seen done before at a wedding. Here is the table as it looked when the ceremony began. Lovely, isn’t it. Jennifer had put together the perfect setting for this special ceremonial addition.

The wedding and reception took place at the popular Caffe Luna in downtown Raleigh. Awash with bright, cheery light pouring in from the giant windows that run the full length of the front of the Caffe, this is one of my favorite Raleigh wedding locations. Jennifer and Brad took full advantage of the amazing light with the colorful table arrangements of unique floating tulip candles, the beautiful spring bouquets and the glorious floral arrangements used where the ceremony took place. All the florals were created by Christina of North Raleigh Florist and what a nice job she did. 

Picking up the colors of the bouquets were rose petals lining the floor of the aisle and giant paper flowers made by Jennifer and Brad on the aisle chairs. What a festive look and feel!

The cake table was equally colorful. Made by Cinda’s Creative Cakes, the bright, simple colors on the cake stood out beautifully. I love simple elegance and this cake surely was.  

On the table by the cake was this very nice cake cutting and serving set with engraved hearts. Perfect.

After the ceremony, the front flowers were moved to the dining area. Placed on the table by the clever “Wedding Advice” area, they made a lovely little alcove for the marriage license to be signed and the advice cards to be filled out.

I noticed this pillow sitting on a chair when everyone had gone into the dining room. It is one of the nicest ring pillows I have ever seen.


Others on hand to help make this happy wedding such a success;

Wedding Planner - Nicole McMillan Conder of Premiere Party Planners, shown here with her assistant. What a terrific job they did!

DJ for the reception - Harrison Foster of Perfect Mix Productions - quiet and capable with a twinkle in his eye, his company name says it all.

Ceremony Music - Brittany and Marissa Farrell of Sisters on the Harp. Harp and flute are a wonderful combination and these young ladies are very professional and incredibly nice.

Photographers - the happy husband and wife team of Kyle and A. J. Dunlap - A. J. Dunlap Photography. I LOVE working with them and seeing all their beautiful photos afterwards. When you go check out their website, whatever you do, DO NOT(!!!) SKIP the intro video. It tells you everything you need to know about them. Kudos to whoever made that great video. 


Jennifer and Brad, I hope you will always be as happy as you were on your wedding day. Your faces in these photos tell the story. May the sweetness of the honey you tasted remain the most powerful element of your marriage.

photo by A. J. Dunlap Photography

Update - 2/20/13 - I have just learned that Jennifer and Brad are expecting a daughter in July 2013. Congratulations to them - they are going to be amazing parents! 


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Makeup Tips for Those Who Wear Eyeglasses

As a female and an eyeglass wearer, finding a link to this blog post about makeup tips for eyeglass wearers was a nice surprise. Many of us can - and will - use this helpful information for our everyday lives but since we usually want to look the most beautiful for those really important times, we will especially use it for our weddings, our special evenings out, our times as Bridesmaids and as Mothers of the Bride and Groom.

Many thanks to Samantha of Bat A Lash! Beauty Blog for having such a helpful makeup blog to begin with and for this post in particular. The nice photo used here on the left is from her blog post and the text of her post is copied below in its entirety.

The floor is all yours, Samantha...


Hey there, champions.

We need to have a chat. A lot of people wear glasses. A lot of people don’t wear makeup when they wear glasses because they don’t see the point. Well, guess what? I can see right through those glasses, and there isn’t any reason you can’t get dolled up. 

One thing that will help you out the most is to choose colors that will make your eyes pop. Generally speaking, I don’t care too much about this “rule” of makeup. I wear whatever I want. However, glasses can sometimes make you appear washed out. Now is the time to implement the tool of flattering colors.

BLUE EYES - Khaki, Brown, Bronze, Copper, Peach, Rust, Gold, Pink, Blue
GREEN EYES - Khaki, Taupe, Gold, Brown, Bronze, Purple, Green
BROWN EYES - Khaki, Brown, Gold, Copper, Bronze, Purple, Pink, Green, Navy
HAZEL EYES - Beige, Brown, Pink, Gold, Purple, Green
GRAY EYES - Khaki, Pink, Silver, Brown, Blue, Purple, Navy, Green


  • Glasses make your eyes look smaller. Focus on avoiding rimming your eyes in black liner, keeping it off the waterline in particular.
  • Keep darker colors near the crease, rather than the lid. This will make your eyes appear wider.
  • Iridescent/shimmery colors will be reflective, bringing more light to your eyes. Highlight that inner corner, baby. 
  • Curl your lashes to avoid having them hitting the frames all day long. 
  • If you want to, add in single false lashes. These will add fullness to your lashes and open your eyes up without too much weight.
  • Conceal, conceal, conceal. Under eyes and inner corner. Powder for staying power.
  • Define those brows! Glasses bring attention to your brows, which can quickly get overpowered by thick frames. Combat this with a bit of a stronger brow.
  • If you use a liquid or cream foundation, be sure to powder. This will help to avoid getting those marks on your inner eye corner if you take your glasses off frequently.
  • Keep your look balanced. Don’t just focus on the eyes. Contour the cheek bones with blush/bronzer, and go for a bolder lip.

WHATCHU USIN’ [in the photo] GURL?

  • MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation in NC20
  • MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20
  • MAC Cream Blush in Posey
  • MUFE HD Powder
  • Ben Nye Eyebrow Pencil in Taupe
  • Maybelline MegaPlush Volum Express mascara in Black
  • MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
  • MAC Fluidline in Midnight Blues (under bottom lashline)
  • MAC Paintpot in Bare Study
  • MAC Pigment in Golden Lemon
  • MAC Eyeshadow in Amber Lights
  • MAC Eyeshadow in Dark Edge
  • Coastal Scents Shimmer Palette eyeshadow in #38 (bright blue)
  • MAC Lipstick in Lickable
  • Ben Nye Lipliner in some pink color

Now you’re on the right track. Rock those glasses. Go get your best sexy librarian outfit on. You’ll have all kinds of men and women lined up.

Until next time,



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Emily and Eric Marry at The Museum of Life and Science in Durham

Welcome to the fun and eclectic world of Emily and Eric. The story of how a girl from Tennessee came to meet a man from Miami is a great love story - especially as they tell it with their fun sense of humor - and they are absolutely perfect for each other. I had asked them to send me some information about their relationship and when they did I was laughing so hard as I read what they had written that much of it was incorporated into their ceremony, to the immense delight of their guests. Weddings with lots of laughter are so much fun - especially when it is indicative of who the couple really is - and a fun wedding was exactly what Emily and Eric had wanted.

Although they now live in Oregon because of Eric’s professorship, they came back to Durham to marry because it was here that they met and started their relationship. And where did they decide to hold the ceremony, Duke, UNC? No - even better and more perfect for them - The Museum of Life and Science.

I have done weddings there before at the Butterfly House but never within the main building so what a treat it was for me, being the space and weather geek that I am.

Kelly Taylor is the Rentals Manager at the museum and she knew just how to use the building to best effect. It was a joy working with her and I will be looking forward to her friendly efficiency again. She has a wedding show planned for later this month - Feb 24, 2013 - Love & Science - A Wedding Expo. If you are looking for a unique wedding setting, I can highly recommend you contact Kelly and/or go visit the Expo and see for yourself.

For the ceremony, Emily and Eric honored their grandparents who could not be with us, wrote wonderful vows to each other, chose some fun poems to include by Ogden Nash and Wendell Berry and did a Blending of the Sands ceremony with colors that picked up their decorative elements of the greens and browns of nature.

They also made some very large paper flowers for the two little Flower Girls to carry in and those little girls were so proud of those flowers that they did not want to part with them after the ceremony!

Their Ring Bearer had the title of “#1 Ring Bearer in the Galaxy” (think Saturn and its rings).

Something very touching they did was the announcement they placed in their programs about a candle they had lit on the table with the Sand Ceremony. In other ceremonies this might have represented those who had passed, but here it was in honor of all their friends who are not yet allowed to marry in most of our nation. It was such a caring thing to do and certainly indicative of who Emily and Eric are as people and as a couple.

After the ceremony was over, the guests moved to the lobby for refreshments. It was cute how one of the bars was set up in front of the gift shop, with toy dinosaurs for sale in the background.

The tables were set up in another room that normally holds children’s activities but that night it was cleared away for tables.

More tables were set up in the Weather area...

and another bar was set up back in the NASA area, across from a Mercury capsule. The capsule display shows how the heat shield deflected the heat during reentry. Is that cool, or what?!

Here are some of the other exhibits in the NASA area...

including this one of amphibian skulls. (Not sure why it was placed there, but it was neat all the same.)

Emily and Eric chose simple decorations based on Nature. Some of the tables held floral arrangements and others had interesting logs with holes bored into them and filled with plants. Very unusual and very effective.

The cake was created by Veronica Yoshida of Southern Gold Leaf Cakes and the design pattern picked up the beading on Emily’s dress. Very clever.


Others on hand to help make this wedding so special;

Flowers and Plants - Catherine Gill, a friend of the Maid of Honor

Back out in the lobby there was a guest book sitting beside some really special Hershey kisses;

And over where the buffet was set up, I saw this great sign. Proof - yet again - that Emily and Eric had thought of everyone.   

Have fun in your travels, Emily and Eric. I hope you make it back to Durham one of these days, but even if you cannot, I know your life together is going to be one fun ride no matter where it takes you.


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