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Gretchen and Tim marry amid symbols of family, love, life and happiness - Highgrove Estate in Fuquay-Varina

Gretchen and Tim are a happy couple who love their families deeply and it was a real treat to be part of a wedding where so much thought and effort had gone into honoring the heritages of the two families.

When I arrived for the wedding, photographs were still being taken so I had plenty of time to look around at all the decorations. Gretchen’s mom, with a florist background,

was the artistic director and everyone lent a hand for the creations. It was clear that a lot of care and attention to detail had gone into the process and Highgrove Estate (where the wedding was held) was simply glowing with it all. They must have had a lot of fun creating everything and seeing it come to life in its final glory.

Tim is Chinese and to the Chinese, red means happiness. This was to be a happy wedding for sure because red was everywhere. It was wound around the columns of the arbor where the wedding took place, it was in the flowers, the table decorations, the red on Gretchen’s dress and veil
and even in the hanky of her Great-Grandmother that Gretchen carried with her bouquet.

Gretchen was also wearing a garter from another Great-Grandmother and a ring her father had given her on her 18th birthday. Her bouquet was even wrapped in a sleeve from her mother’s wedding dress... such a sweet and clever idea! Everywhere you turned there was love being expressed for family in so many touching and unusual ways.

Tim’s grandparents had passed on but he and Gretchen wanted to honor them during the ceremony so they set up a photo of his grandparents on a table near where we stood. White roses were waiting on Tim’s parents’ chairs and when the time came, Tim and Gretchen got the roses from his parents and placed them lovingly by the photo of his grandparents.

To further emphasize the idea of everlasting love and spirit, butterflies (an ancient symbol of life and the human soul) were placed everywhere amidst the flowers, the decorations and the table centerpieces.

The place cards for the guests were beautifully done Chinese calligraphy of words one would normally associate with weddings, like love and happiness.
They were compelling all lined up on the table waiting for the guests and once they were sitting on the red tablecloths of the individual tables, they were sure to look stunning.

The incredible wedding cake was done in the red and white colors of the day, with calla lilies placed on the sides and atop the cake as the topper. They were so life-like it was hard to believe they were edible!

The decorations on the cake were beautiful and elegant. The top layer had the traditional Chinese wedding symbol for marriage, known as the Double Happiness. How perfect. The creator of this amazing cake was Cinda of Cinda’s Creative Cakes. I have lately been seeing more of her cakes and every one has been elegant and exquisite. The attention to detail and the perfect final product are always what have drawn my attention.

There was also a quiet little display that spoke volumes in and amongst the memorabilia of the day. It was of Gretchen in Africa, on a mission with a group called Seeds Of Hope Outreach, that is working to provide help to the women and children of Africa who have been devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This group is very dear to Gretchen and Tim and instead of the usual wedding favors normally given to wedding guests, Gretchen and Tim gave a donation to Seeds of Hope Outreach in the name of their guests. I encourage everyone to read about this caring and productive group who are working so hard to make a difference for people whose lives have become desperately hard - particularly the thousands of children who have been orphaned as a result of this terrible disease.

Gretchen and Tim, I know you will fill your lives with the richness of Life in all its forms and through all its gifts. It was an honor to help you launch your new life as husband and wife.

The photographers for the day were Sarah Alair and Don Parsons of Sarah Alair Photography and I hope to have some photos from them soon to post here. I suspect they are going to be spectacular.


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