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TO CREATE YOUR OWN WEDDING MAGIC LET YOUR WEDDING MATCH YOUR STYLE. Chris and Kyle are big Dr. Who fans and the TARDIS was on the guest book canvas that was to be framed after the wedding. (photo by Hannah Woodard 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.

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Jenni Surprises Paul With a Loving Tribute to His Love and Devotion - Strowd Rose Garden, Chapel Hill

Three years ago this month I had the distinct pleasure of marrying Jenni and Paul in a beautiful ceremony at Fearrington Village. A week ago I had the distinct pleasure of renewing their vows for them at the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden in Chapel Hill (commonly referred to as the Strowd Rose Garden).

Vow renewal ceremonies tend to take place on anniversaries far removed from the original wedding year, but this vow renewal was very different. This was a surprise from the Bride to the Groom for being her White Knight, her champion and her rock. So how did this come to be?

Last summer, Jenni was severely hurt in an accident that resulted in head injuries that took away her abilities to speak and move an arm. She had to pull herself back from that horrific brink and has come amazingly far in only a year. Through it all, Paul was with her every step of the way, even stepping in to help her mother when Jenni’s father passed away shortly after Jenni’s accident. Paul helped run her father’s business enterprises even as he was helping Jenni in her long and arduous recovery. When he committed to love and care for Jenni at their wedding, here was living proof that he had meant every word.

Jenni contacted me shortly before her last surgery and asked if I could be a part of her surprise to Paul - if, of course, she still could speak well after the surgery. When she told me what she wanted to do I was deeply touched and promised her I would help her with her tribute to her loving, caring husband. The surgery went well and once she had recovered enough to drive, we met to plan the ceremony.

We used the same ceremony text as their wedding, with a few minor changes - one of which was that Jenni planned to write new vows that reflected her love, admiration and appreciation for Paul, in light of all they had been through. Because her speech was still slightly impaired, she worked diligently at her speech therapy classes before the ceremony to be able to speak her vows properly. It was all I could do not to cry as I watched her speak those vows to Paul during the ceremony, and even as I write now, the tears well up in my throat and eyes.

One of the readers from the wedding was their friend, Eva, shown here on the left. We were all hiding in the rose bushes so Paul would not see us as they walked up toward the pergola. Paul had proposed to Jenni here and that was the reason for the ceremony to take place amidst all the beautiful roses. It was also the ruse for getting him to the garden in the first place. The casual clothes? Had Jenni dressed up to go to the park, that would have signalled to Paul that something was up, so this was a blue jean, dressed down wedding - but love filled the air around us all the same.

Eva brought a bouquet for Jenni (shown above) and also did the same Pablo Neruda reading she had done at their wedding. We mentioned Jenni’s dad during the ceremony and had a photo tribute to him sitting on the bench of the pergola. There was also a photo of their beloved dog, who had passed since their wedding. Love is at the core of us all and those they love were included that day.

After the ceremony, we all took photos of ourselves and celebrated Jenni, Paul, love, friendship, life and joy. In the photo to the right, Jenni and Paul are with their parents.  Jenni’s mom is holding a photo of Jenni’s dad so he would be included. It was so touching they thought of doing that.

The opening of a flower - particularly a rose - has long been a symbol of the opening of the human heart. It seems most appropriate that this touching and heart-warming celebration of love and commitment would take place surrounded by the beautiful roses Mother Nature had prepared for us on this very special day.

Jenni said to Paul in her vows, “We have survived the for worse times. It is time to start working our way back to the for better times.” How very right she was.

Congratulations, Jenni and Paul, on the strength of love and character you have both shown. Your for better times are going to be a joy to live and - for those who love you - a joy to watch you live.


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