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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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On Their First Anniversary, Wendy and Kyle Frame Their Wedding Vows for the Walls of Their New Home

Last November I had the very lucky privilege of ministering the wedding of Wendy and Kyle at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Durham. As you can see from the photo above - taken by Maria and Taylor of Zozo Photography - it was a beautiful, sunny, autumn day - perfect for a wedding filled with happiness. Even their adorable new puppy was part of the wedding ceremony, complete with a flower garland and happy energy to match the festivities.

A few months later, Wendy contacted me for the text of their vows. She told me she had something special in mind for them, but that was all she said.

Today I got an email from Wendy with photos of what she had done with their vows. Written in calligraphy and framed in brush gold frames, they now hang side by side on a wall in their new home. What a lovely keepsake from their wedding and what a special way to remind themselves of the deep and abiding love they share.

The vows had been hand done for them by a woman on Etsy - Sarah Disney - who specializes in handmade wedding and home decor and Wendy kindly gave me the link to her Etsy site so I could mention it here. Everything on that website is lovely so if you are looking for something vintage, handmade or just plain unique, you might want to head over to her Etsy page and have a look around;  SarahDisneyDesigns.

Along with the special vows they chose for their ceremony, Wendy and Kyle also included one of my favorite passages from the Tao Te Ching. It tells you a lot about how they see their love.

Always Return

It is good to know your strength
But always return to your flexibility.
If you can cradle your beloved in your arms
In nurturing gentleness,
Love will flow through you.

It is good to achieve things
But always return to anonymity.
Your beloved does not need your achievements
But needs your uncomplicated soul.

It is good to work for change,
But always return to what is.
If you accept all things whether painful or joyful,
You will always know
That you belong to each other.

Happy first anniversary, Wendy and Kyle. May every new year bring you special gifts from love.


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Tonya and Scott - a Blended Family Wedding with a Gorgeous Autumn Backdrop

 Blended family weddings are always so much fun and Tonya and Scott’s wedding was a relaxing, casual ceremony for themselves and their children. It was kind of an elopement with children - and it was absolutely perfect for this loving family.

You might have noticed Scott’s Dr. Seuss tie. It seems Dr. Seuss books factor large in this family. Their son quoted me some memorable lines from a couple of books and I quoted back some other lines that were my favorites. After all my years with children, grandchildren and Dr. Seuss, it made my heart smile to be able to interact with him that way.

Through Airbnb, Tonya and Scott had found a cottage in the woods in Pittsboro that was near an old grist mill - and what a charming little place it was. They had brought games and books and all the things one brings on a family vacation and they were planning to have a lovely family wedding weekend in that house.

It was a sparkly, sunny day so they had decided to have the ceremony out on the cement landing at the water’s edge by the house, right where the water headed over an embankment, which added a wonderful sound to mix in with the beautiful color of the trees. My grandmother always used to say that God’s first temples were the trees and on this particular morning that was in evidence all around us.

So much love on their faces.

Instead of vow cards, the happy couple read their vows from a cell phone… 
a first for me, but so appropriate for them.

Then came the ring exchange, 

the pronouncement of marriage, 

and a big, happy wedding kiss. 

In all their joy, they almost forgot for me to introduce them as husband and wife!

Hugs all around were followed by lots of smiles and photos.

All the children and Mom had bouquets they had made themselves.

Love this shot of all of us together.

Their photographer was Amber Watson, of Maya Anna Photography, and she generously provided all the photos in this post. As you can see here and on her website, Amber has an eye for the sweet moments. She specializes in small weddings and family portraiture so treat yourself and head over to her website for a look around. Thanks, Amber, for letting me use your beautiful photos!

I love seeing the love on Scott’s face here. Nice catch, Amber.

Tonya and Scott, thank you for including me in your very loving wedding. So much about your family interactions reminded me of my own family and it touched my heart to be a part of your wedding day.

May all your dreams for you and your children come true in wonderful and exciting ways.


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Kristen and David Celebrate Love, Commitment and Down-Home Style at Shady Wagon Farm in New Hill, NC

You would never know it to look at Kristen and David, but these two have been through some very hard times together. What you see on their faces here is not only love and happiness, but deep and abiding commitment to each other and to the life they are resolutely building together. They have the kind of love that has been hardened like steel in the trials of life and they know as a result that they can count on each other - no matter what Life sends their way.

All the photos used here are by their wedding and engagement photographers, Brian and Kessie, of Brian and Kessie Photography. In their post about the engagement photos, I found these gems that capture the many sides of Kristen and David’s personalities perfectly;

So does this thoughtful wedding gift from Kristen to David… just in case he got cold feet.

Kristen and David wanted to have a fun, casual wedding celebration and they chose a perfect place for it - Shady Wagon Farm in New Hill, NC. It is a unique wedding venue, complete with a barn, a pond with a deck on it, a quaint old Country Store that sells all kinds of traditional Southern snacks and drinks - with the old screen door that has seen generations of people going in and out of it. Caring owners who go out of their way to make each couple and their wedding party feel welcome and special embody the charm of this venue. I can recommend it highly.

Also on hand to make sure the wedding went off exactly as Kristen and David had imagined was Lynn of Happily Ever After, a full service, skilled and knowledgeable wedding team of mother and daughter - a duo extroardinaire. (Lynn is the mom half of the team.) I have never seen Lynn or her daughter, Jessica, without smiles on their faces and they are amazingly good at what they do. They make it look easy and effortless and I can recommend them highly as well!

For the ceremony, Kristen and David wrote their own vows, included a Handfasting Ceremony and an Anniversary Box ceremony, where they wrote secret love letters to each other to be opened and read on their first anniversary. Each coming year would see new letters going into the box to be read on the subsequent anniversary and what a treasure trove of love and memories that will create in time.

It was important to Kristen and David that we reference not just what they had been through together but more importantly, how they were overcoming it all together, creating the foundation for their marriage. Although both are very quiet in their manners, that quiet comes from deep resolve and caring and we included a favorite quote of Kristen’s, from a 1993 speech by Jim Valvano. I could easily see why this resonated so deeply with her. Mr. Valvano was a man who was facing severe trials in his life and yet he was telling others how to treasure their own lives; to see Life in a new way, with a new appreciation and a resolution to make it more rich and happy. 

“Firstly, there are three things that you should do each day; laugh, spend time in thought, and have your emotions moved to tears of joy and happiness. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s one heck of a day!

Secondly, think about what is most important in life. Think about where you started, where you are, and where you are going to be. So how do you go from where you are to where you are going? You must have an unquenchable enthusiasm for life, you must have a dream, and you must be willing to work for that dream.”

Kristen and David totally ran with the old-Southern-farm theme and created a fun ambience for their guests. 

There were mason jar vases down the aisle, filled with casually placed flowers that reminded me of hand-picked bouquets from a beau.

The Country Store was a big hit with everyone. Love this photo of the dress on the sign.

Note the Grape Crush bottle caps on the bouquet and boutonniere. 

They had even used Grape Crush bottle caps on a clever engagement photo!

The dessert table in the barn.

Simple country charm and elegance were in all the decorations.

The rustic barn with lights strung inside and out added a marvelous feel.

The guest favors were coffee packets displayed in an old suitcase, placed by a sign that read;

“We think the greatest adventures begin with your best friend and a cup of coffee.”

The barn also came into play for the Bride, Groom and Bridal Party photos...

as did the old split rail fence near the Country Store. 

Kristen’s bouquet was a lovely mix of warm-toned pastel roses that were beautiful with her ivory dress.


One of the things David mentioned to me when we first met was how important to him is the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost. It is a poem about choices and taking the unexpected path. The final three lines read;

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Kristen and David, you have indeed chosen the road less traveled - and that truly has made all the difference for you both. It always will... for those with the courage to choose it.

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up!”


To contact or follow me;
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