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Jenna and Chris celebrate family with their wedding at Parizade in Durham

Jenna and Chris are a fun couple and I was very much looking forward to being a part of their wedding. When we got together to create the framework for their ceremony and I was hearing all the things they had been working on, I couldn’t wait to see it all come together. It was all very beautiful, heartfelt and special, just as I had imagined. Jenna’s dad had even written the music to which he escorted her into the ceremony, appropriately entitled, Jenna’s Song.

Their adorable little Jr. Bridesmaid and Flower Girls were waiting to have their photo taken after the ceremony and I couldn’t resist taking this cute shot.

The ceremony was held in the courtyard of the Parizade restaurant in Durham. What an amazing place this is and it would lend itself perfectly to any kind of event. We all stood in front of the statued waterfall for the ceremony and what a magnificent backdrop it was!

Guests lingered in the courtyard while the photos were taken and the Bride and Groom were presented and had their first dance.

One of the Bridesmaid’s husbands had carved this magnificent monogrammed pumpkin to be the centerpiece of the head table. How very clever! The glow it put out in the dim light of the evening was just beautiful.

Jenna is an educator at the Museum of Life and Science so she knows a thing or two about how to entertain children. Since all the children guests were little girls, Jenna and Chris created this amazing kids’ table, complete with balloons, feather boas and fairy wings for each girl. The crayons came out almost as quickly as the wings went on. I even saw one of the waiters flirting with the girls when they got him to put on a white boa to match his uniform. It was just adorable.

Jenna and Chris wanted to celebrate their families - both those who were with them and those who were not - so we included those not able to be with us with a mention of their names and a moment of silence during the ceremony. It was very touching.

Jenna’s parents married in 1975 and Jenna and Chris used the cake topper they had used for their wedding so long ago.

Jenna also carried an exact duplicate of her mother’s daisy bouquet, made lovingly by the woman at a Lowe’s Grocery floral department. Jenna told me the woman had taken so much time to make it exactly right and I am sorry that I didn’t get her name to sing her praises here. I don’t think I ever remember a bride carrying a bouquet exactly like her mother’s before and it was such a sweet and touching homage to her mom.

She also wore her grandmother’s necklace as a bracelet. This necklace was always worn by her grandmother and her two sisters have also worn it at their weddings. That is fast becoming quite an heirloom.

To further show the heart of the event, check out Jenna’s wedding shoes.

The music for the event was provided by Jason Eder of Complete Music. What a great professional for someone so young. During the ceremony, my lapel mic went out and Jason had given a hand mic to a reader. She handed it to the end groomsman and one by one they all handed it up to me so I could be heard. How thoughtful of them all! Many guests came up to me afterwards to tell me how happy they were to have been able to have heard the ceremony so kudos to you all for saving the day.

I think the thing that touched me most about Jenna and Chris’ wedding, though, was their unique take on wedding favors for their guests. Many loved ones have been lost to major illnesses in both their families so instead of a favor, the guests were asked to choose a charity and drop their place cards in one of the boxes provided and a donation would be made in their name to that charity. I lost my dad a few years ago to cancer, so I chose that box, and I must say it was a very moving moment to add my card to the box.

Here is the explanation card they had displayed with the donation boxes.

And these are the boxes with the names of the charities and the family members in whose honor the donation will be made. Very touching.

They had wanted to have their dog, Dieter, with them, but it just wasn’t practical. He was there anyway, though, because someone had taken a photo of him wearing a bandana that said, “Congratulations, Mom and Dad.” (Unfortunately, my camera skills are lacking in being able to read his bandana, but it was really cute.)

It was a magical evening with lots of love flowing all around and many special elements coming together to make it moving on so many levels. It was an honor to be a part of it and I will happily add my congratulations to Dieter’s... WOOF!!


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