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Shadwa and Leonard Rock the House at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

This is a love story 20 years in the making. Introduced through mutual friends while they were students at Temple University, their lives diverged after graduation. But Leonard never forgot that beautiful girl he had met so long ago and after nine years he finally looked her up. That was in 2001 and they have been inseparable ever since.

They chose the beautiful Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel (commonly known as the Renaissance North Hills) as the setting for their wedding, which was going to be one heck of a celebration. In charge of making sure everything went off on time and was exquisitely appointed was Anna Bobbitt, one of the hotel Event Coordinators. Quiet and unassuming, she is one efficient young lady and was seemingly everywhere, keeping things on time. Nice job, Anna.

The wedding took place in one of the intimate ballrooms, decorated to perfection by Lyn Graves of Fresh Affairs. Lyn is a floral maestro and well known in our area. He works magic with blossoms and light and this was yet another example of his well-deserved reputation.

So I mentioned earlier about them rocking the house. Shadwa and Leonard had hired a jazz band, Soultry, to perform not only for the wedding, but the reception as well. For the wedding, they were set up right outside the ballroom and were performing as the guests entered. What a fun prelude! No little string quartet here. This band has POWER! A band getting the audience energized for the wedding was a unique and clever approach - and those of us in the wedding processional, waiting beside the band to enter down the aisle, were just about ready to dance down that aisle!

After the ceremony was over, I asked the guests to join Shadwa and Leonard in the main lobby for a group photo. Everyone was having a blast as they took their appointed places on the staircase. (They held a rehearsal of this the day before.)

I caught this photo of everyone getting into place, with their photographer, Rusty Worden of Rocker Down Studios, in the front. (hmm... there’s a rocking theme here...)

And here is the finished placement. Looks great, doesn’t it. Check out the two little girls in the front and all the happy faces. This wedding was so long in coming that everyone was just as excited as the Bride and Groom. I loved seeing that and feeling the love surrounding Shadwa and Leonard.

I like the staircase group photo idea so much that I have since mentioned it to every couple with whom I have met that is planning to marry at the Renaissance North Hills. What a perfect setting for a group photo - or any photos, for that matter - bright, cheery elegance.

Shadwa and Leonard, I will always remember your sunny smiles, your kind and caring hearts, and your giant love for each other that extends to your family and friends. Your life together is sure to bring you much joy and achievement and I bet the hotel is still vibrating from your happy wedding music! That sound was as powerful as your love.


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