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Ashton and Grant Create a Magnificent Wedding of Love at Duke Chapel in Durham

Start with a handsome couple, deeply in love, add loving family and friends, sincere and thoughtful readings, magnificent voices for solos and a duet, and a family connection to the historical grandness of Duke Chapel, and you have the makings of one of the most beautiful, fairy tale weddings ever.

Duke Chapel has one of the longest aisles I have ever seen in a church - except maybe Westminster Abbey! 

Ashton and her dad are standing under the gorgeous pipe organ, ready to enter down the aisle.

Grant, the Groomsmen and I are at the front, awaiting the entrance of the Bridesmaids and the Bride with her dad.

I am sure I will be using the adjective, “magnificent,” many times in this post so please bear with me. It is the only word I can think of to truly describe this wedding, the chapel and the magnificent photos of Jim Colman of Jim Colman Photography. I had not worked with Jim in a very long time and it was great to see him again. I already knew from past weddings that he is a photographic genius, but even knowing that I was not prepared for the calibre of photos he took - and has kindly let me use here. Thanks, Jim. I hope my words will do your photos justice!

Ashton and Grant put this wedding together themselves and it was obviously a labor of love for themselves and everyone associated with them, including one of the in-house wedding planners at Duke Chapel, Nancy Freeman, who was very kind, efficient and friendly. 

The Maid of Honor was Ashton’s mother, looking proud and radiant as she came down the aisle.

The Bride’s father was also looking quite proud in this photo of him and his future son-in-law, together before the wedding.

There were readings from the Scriptures and other poetry about love and marriage, performed by family friends, the Bridal Party, our Best Man (Grant’s father) and me, all chosen by Ashton and Grant. 

Incredible solos and a duet were performed by Megan Grey and Pastor Ryan Barbato. I got chills down my spine as Megan’s magnificent soprano voice sang “Ave Maria,” in the most beautiful rendition I have ever heard. It resonated through the stone chapel and will linger in my memory forever. 

Pastor Barbato sang an equally stirring version of “The Lord’s Prayer” and his tenor voice was just beautiful. Add to this the magnificence of the pipe organ for other musical pieces and you can imagine how stirring all of this was.

Jim caught this photo during one of the songs, where the Bridesmaids and Best Man are looking at the singers but Ashton and Grant only have eyes for each other. Such a sweet moment. Nice catch, Jim.

I just love the magnificence of this chapel!

Ashton and Grant chose traditional vows to repeat after me and the rings were delivered by an adult Ring Bearer, in a box specifically chosen by Ashton’s mom.

Eventually it was time for the wedding kiss, with Grant lifting the romantic illusion veil first.

 Ashton and Grant are now husband and wife!

I loved how her long train and veil moved beautifully behind her. It was perfect for this historical chapel setting and made me think of all the other long trains and veils that must have walked down that aisle since this chapel was built in 1932. 

One particular couple who had gone before were Grant’s grandparents, married in 1949. Each couple signs the wedding book, along with their minister and witnesses, so Ashton and Grant were following in the footsteps of family from so long ago. Somewhere in the books of weddings there are some other very important signatures from 1949. Love the continuity of that.

Ashton’s mother, one of the witnesses, signs the book as Nancy Freeman and I look on.

Then came the formal wedding poses at the altar and on the grounds of the chapel. This was a very large Bridal Party - and didn’t they look magnificent in their formal black and white.

There are so many incredibly beautiful locations for photos here...

and this is one of my favorites - Ashton and Grant standing in a beam of light under the magnificent pipe organ. This took my breath away when I saw it. 

Awaiting the couple outside the chapel was the effervescent, always smiling, purple-brocade-vested Michael Campbell, their limo chauffeur with TBA Transportation. The TBA website says “Touch of Class” and that is exactly right. Michael is such a nice man and he takes his work of providing a touch of class to weddings very seriously. He is a fine example of the kind and caring wedding professionals we have in our area.

Jim got these great photos of Ashton and Grant as they sat in the limo on their way to the reception. Could their faces be beaming any more than they are?!

Although I could not join them for their reception, I had to post these interesting photos that Jim took of the moving statue performing for the guests. Amazing!! Arden is a “Spiral Dancer” with the Raleigh dance troupe, Elevate. What fun that must have been for everyone there!

Ashton and Grant, I will always remember your beaming smiles and your grand wedding that showcased your love for God, each other and your family and friends. I hope the love that runs through your lives - and shows in everything you do - will remain the foundation of your life forever more.

I just have to say it one more time; your wedding was MAGNIFICENT!


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