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Through the Rabbit Hole with Fairuz and Connor at The Raleigh Rose Garden

Imagine, if you will, that you are standing in a garden of roses, nestled in a quiet ravine, away from the hustle and bustle of Raleigh. And then imagine that you notice things are a bit different here... not quite right and yet still somehow familiar. You notice there is a different feel to the air; a feel of something about to happen... something really big. Like Alice, you have ventured into a rabbit hole and the world here is completely different, turned upside down and sideways. You have entered the world of Fairuz and Connor and you will never ever forget it.

This is a magical world of whimsy and fun, love of life, love of family, love of living life to the fullest - and having a heck of a time doing it.

Fairuz met Connor when he came to work at her parents’ family restaurant, Neomonde Baking Company. Connor was smitten with her right away but, poor guy, she just wasn’t interested. It took him forever, but eventually she did agree to go out with him and their relationship took off immediately from there. They learned they have the same unusual way of looking at the world, with many similar tastes, and they do indeed seem to be a perfect match.

So back to the rabbit hole.

Fairuz and Connor are big Tim Burton fans and decided to create an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding. With a nod to Mr. Burton’s movie version in their color scheme of red, white and black, they still included the old traditional drawings from the original book by Lewis Carroll and the Disney animated movie. Pretty much the whole cast of characters is here - not to mention the characters of Fairuz and Connor and their bridal party. It was a fun day, a great party and a wedding to remember. I can honestly say I have never seen an Alice in Wonderland wedding before. What fun!

The ceremony took place in the Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden. This was a perfect setting, filled with hundreds of roses. With red and white roses figuring so prominently in the Alice story, you will see this particular detail throughout the upcoming photos.

When I arrived, the Mad Hatter was already there, greeting guests, overseeing the final arrangements and looking rather spiffy, too, if I might add. Check out the detail in Connor’s top hat. Johnny Depp would be proud.

His groomsmen included a lady groomsman and they were all appropriately attired in their black tuxes and, in the case of Lady Groomsman, a snazzy black dress.

It all started for Alice with a rabbit with a stopwatch and what a great way for Fairuz to include this important detail.

It was important to Fairuz and Connor that we honor all the religions and beliefs of their families and guests, which was quite an extensive list that also included Pagans. The ceremony was written with this in mind and Fairuz’s family priest, Father Kamil, said a beautiful prayer in Arabic about dedicating our lives to God, from Abraham on down, and how we are all a Family. We also included a Unity Candle ceremony and a very elaborate handfasting ceremony that involved 5 cords being wrapped around the couple’s hands. Each cord represented a promise they were making to each other as a vow and when all the vows were made, I tied the cords under their clasped hands with a prayer. It was the first time I had ever performed this type of handfasting and the symbolism was truly beautiful. They kept the tied cords as a keepsake for their home to remind them always of the promises they made to each other that day.

Here are some photos of the handfasting ceremony and of the tied cords sitting on the Unity Candle table after the wedding.

Connor’s spirit animal is the wolf and they found online an amazing ring of wolves kissing. It was so perfect for them that they chose it for their wedding rings. Everyone was most impressed with those rings. Notice Fairuz’ red and black nail polish as well. The complete attention to detail was phenomenal in their planning.

The photographers for the event were Leigh Moose and Jeri Hernandez of Side Yard Studios Photography. A few of their photos have come out so far and I can’t wait to see them all when they are finally online. Some are used here and you can tell which are theirs by their watermark. (Update 6/26/11 - they now have a great slideshow up with some amazing photos that show how fun this wedding was on so many levels. Here’s the link. Enjoy!)

The reception was held in downtown Raleigh at The Stockroom at 230. I had never been to this location before and what a fun place it is. With an intimate, urban feel, it could be adapted for almost any decorating scheme and it lent itself perfectly to the Alice in Wonderland design.

When you entered the building, signs of warning were placed before you. Should you dare to go further?

Even the elevator had a sign!

Once you reached Wonderland, all was lost. Wonderland had you in her grasp.

 Fairuz and Connor had even found a china tea set with the original Alice in Wonderland artwork on it and those pieces were used for the Bride and Groom’s table, with the teapot later doubling as a vase for Fairuz’s bouquet. They looked great set upon the black and white checkered tablecloth with red rose petals strewn about.

 Shutter Booth  was there and had set up a photo booth for the guests - complete with their own set of mad hats - and the guests were having a great time taking advantage of this fun addition. Everyone was getting into the spirit of the day.

Fairuz and Connor made their grand entrance after all the guests had arrived. The lovely bride had changed from her birdcage veil and white bolero jacket that she had worn for the wedding into a very stylish, red, mad hatter hat of her own and a red bolero jacket. What an entrance they made!

As they were introduced, they went immediately to the dance floor and began their first dance as husband and wife. No sedate slow dance here! The energy level of the room increased a hundred fold as they started to dance.

These notes were attached to the guest favors, inviting the guests to have a tea-rrific time. By all accounts, they definitely did!


Others on hand to help make Wonderland a wonder;

Wedding planner - Courtney Scholl of Parties by Bash
Caterer - Neomonde Baking Company
Ceremony Musicians / String Trio - David Oh on Cello, Lisa Malcolm and Eric McCracken on violins
Cupcakes - Gigi’s Cupcakes
Wedding Cake - made by Connor’s mom
Flowers - Fallon’s Flowers

Fairuz and Connor, your wedding was truly one of a kind and it matched your happy, one of a kind personalities. Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of all the love, fun and celebration. I know you are going to go through life with smiles on your faces and adventure in your hearts.


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