Google Analytics tracking code


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.

To visit or return to my website -


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;
                                       website  /  email  /  919-942-2808  
                                       Facebook  /  Pinterest   
                                       or leave a comment through the “comments” link below

Carol and John have a Commitment-To-Marry Ceremony at Jordan Lake

Second marriages can be a remarkable new beginning but they can also be fraught with unexpected emotional intricacies that need to be maneuvered very carefully, particularly when there are children of various ages involved. Carol and John were very aware of this as they became engaged and they wanted to take things slowly so all their children would be able to adjust to the changes that would be coming with their engagement and their marriage to follow.

They decided to have a “Commitment-To-Be-Married” ceremony and include their children and immediate relatives. By doing this, they felt the children would see the love and commitment their parents have for all their children - and the family they were becoming. They did not want their children to feel their other parents were being excluded but rather that the families were growing because of love.

They also felt that by having a minister and other family members there to celebrate this union with them, the honoring and solemnity of the occasion would create a bigger impression on the children, helping them awaken to the beauty of a blended family. And they were right. It did. Carol called me a week after the ceremony and told me what an impact it had had on the children as well as she and John and she was so happy that all had worked out even better than she and John had hoped.

For this celebration of love and family, all the children were included. Prior to the ceremony each person had tile-covered a letter in the word, “Family,” which they carried into the ceremony. As each entered - including Carol and John together - each person carried in the letter they had decorated and placed it on a table at the front. What a unique and lovely tribute to family in all its many forms.

The tulip bouquet Carol held was gathered from every family member in attendance - including the children. As she and John entered, they went down both sides of the chairs, collecting flowers into which everyone had placed their wishes for a long and happy life together. When at the front, John and Carol combined all the flowers they had gathered and Carol’s daughter tied them all together with a ribbon.

The Ring Bearers were 8 year old boys and they had been given the task of deciding for themselves what kind of ring containers they should use for carrying the rings into the ceremony. We were all curious to see what they would come up with and how charming it was to realize that the ball caps they were wearing before the wedding (of their favorite teams, of course) were to double as the ring containers! That was a first for me at any wedding and the sincere human-ness of it made my heart smile.

They were very proud of their ring container choices.

To show their unity as a family, a Unity Sand Ceremony was included, where each of the children and their parents poured sand into a jar as a wedding keepsake. When the sands were poured, Carol and John spoke from their hearts to the children about love and family and the family they would become. It was truly beautiful and I noticed some hankies in use in the audience.

This was a family ceremony all the way around. The children escorted their grandparents into the ceremony before we began, Carol’s brother read from First Corinthians, Carol’s father spoke for all the parents as he offered a Parents Blessing, and their “adopted daughter” sang a solo while accompanying herself on a guitar. (Note the cute headband she had chosen for the occasion.)

After the ceremony was finished we all took photos of ourselves together. I particularly love the one below with the Family sign.

Then the family gathered at the lake edge for some group photos.

As I headed back out to the car to go to my next ceremony that day, I took a couple of photos of the ceremony area - Shelter 8 at the Ebenezer Church area of Jordan Lake. I think this has now become my favorite place on the lake. I have performed a christening and a commitment ceremony there and each time I was struck by the beautiful serenity of Nature there. It feels magical.

I had noticed when I arrived for the ceremony that they had lit the fireplace and I had wondered why, since it wasn’t a particularly cold day. But as I walked by the stone fireplace on my way out to the car, it came to me in a flash the reason it had been lit, even if the awareness had not been in the minds of the lighters…
A hearth represents home. And the fire represents love’s eternal flame. 
This hearth contains the loving flame of this family. 

Thank you, God, for that beautiful revelation.


To contact or follow me;
                                       website  /  email  /  919-942-2808  
                                       Facebook  /  Pinterest   
                                       or leave a comment through the “comments” link below

Think Carefully When Choosing Your Wedding Minister!

There has been a growing trend for wedding couples to have a friend or relative get ordained online to perform their wedding and I have been hearing alarming tales of what a mess-up that can create for a wedding. I have not spoken up before now for fear of sounding like I was giving a rationale of why you should use me as your wedding minister over another person, but this morning I received my FOURTH call in the last two weeks (!!) from a frantic bride whose “minister” is now not going to be able to be there for her wedding. Each of those weddings was to take place within two weeks of the person-to-be-a-minister backing out and in one case, the wedding was to be in a week! The month of May (when I am writing this post) is the height of wedding season and many of the ministers these brides will be calling will have already been booked months ago. These brides are in a serious pickle.

So this post is my warning to all wedding couples who are considering choosing someone you know (who is not already a minister) to officiate your wedding. I totally understand the desire, but I have also had many calls - as have my minister colleagues - of the type I described above and I have heard many wedding and venue planners describe the errors, misunderstandings and confusions that have arisen when they have worked with such “officiants-for-a-day.”

My advice - Have a professional minister for your wedding ceremony. If you prefer to have a friend or family member get ordained online for your wedding, then protect yourself and the legality of your ceremony by also making sure you have a local professional minister in attendance to step in and pronounce you married... the legal moment. That minister can also sign your license and get it filed with the local Register of Deeds office so all the legal elements are handled properly. Equally as important is your peace of mind from knowing that if your friend or family member backs out on you at the last minute, you will not be left scrambling for another minister to step in for your wedding. You may have a hard time finding a minister who can be available on such short notice, particularly during a busy wedding season. I cannot stress this enough.

The five people who are most important at a North Carolina wedding - and who need to be there - are the wedding couple, the minister, two witnesses.

Without a minister, your license and two witnesses, there can be no legal wedding in North Carolina.

Please take this advice to heart and do not risk placing your wedding in jeopardy. It may end up saving you unbelievable stress at a time when you should be anticipating the greatest happiness of your life.


The photo used here is from Bridalicious, a fun and informative Australian weddings website.


To contact or follow me;
                                       website  /  email  /  919-942-2808  
                                       Facebook  /  Pinterest   
                                       or leave a comment through the “comments” link below