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Sherry and Mel Marry on Their 25th Anniversary at St. Mark’s Chapel - Mordecai Historic Park, Raleigh

Sherry and Mel have been together for 25 years but the law in North Carolina did not recognize their love nor allow them to sanction it in marriage until last year. 25 years ago - on March 23 - they had their first date. 24 years ago, on the same date, they committed their lives to each other. And now - on March 23, 2015 - they were legally married at last. I was the lucky minister who got to be a part of their deep and abiding love story.

They chose as their wedding location the quaint old chapel on the Mordecai Historic Park grounds in Raleigh. Built in 1847 by plantation slaves who were also allowed to attend worship services there - something not normally done in plantation days - this little chapel has a charm all its own. Its history seemed a perfect fit for this couple and their love and they decorated it with all the love and care befitting a giant cathedral.

The florals at the altar were created by Mel and her mom, using shades of the purple-to-lilac palette the ladies had chosen for their wedding colors. The bouquet, corsages and boutonnieres were created by Kelly Kennedy of Teacup Floral and they were a lovely accompaniment to the flowers at the altar.

This is the white wire heart at the altar, with the scarf we used for the Handfasting ceremony.

During the ceremony, Sherry and Mel planned to honor their moms and surprised them with flowers and a poem they had written themselves. It was a very touching poem and they had asked me to read it for them because they were afraid they would cry. I did read it but was only barely able to get through it without crying myself. There were more than a few words that caught in my throat, it was so lovely. Hopefully despite that I was able to honor their love and sincerity as it should have been.

I saw one of the roses to the moms sitting on the Memorial Table while family photos were being taken after the ceremony. Lavender roses were always a favorite of my grandmother and this one made me think of her immediately. She would have loved all the love that flower represented to Sherry, Mel and their mothers.

Here is a photo of Sherry and their moms right before the wedding began. So sweet.

Sherry’s mom was in the pink and escorted her daughter into the chapel with a big, broad smile of love on her face, much like you see in this photo. Both moms needed hankies during the heart-tugging ceremony. This wedding had been a long time coming for them, too.

A Memorial Table was set up in the small foyer of the chapel so all the family and friends could honor and remember those who have passed in Sherry and Mel’s lives. What a shame they did not live to share in the special celebration of this day.

After the ceremony, everyone gathered right outside the chapel for family photos. Their photographer was Cara Galati of f8 Photo Studios. Her photos always have so much heart in them and I can’t wait to see the gallery from this wedding when it is online!

Also on hand that day to preserve their memories in video format was Andrew Kennedy (husband of Kelly Kennedy, the florist) of Andrew Kennedy Cinematography(Andrew posted the video on 5/5/15 and it is included at the bottom of this post.)

*On 5-6-15, Andrew's website will go offline for a brief time for renovations. 
If when you are reading this post the website link above is still not working, 
please visit his Facebook page to see more of his videos. 

Sherry and Mel wrote their own vows for the ceremony and Mel had also written a beautiful poem to Sherry for their wedding day. Needless to say, everyone was touched by this tribute to love everlasting.

Today is a special day
We will remember it always
Our love will strengthen
It will be immortalized
But it doesn’t compare
To all the tiny things we have shared
Dancing in the kitchen
Laughing at each other till it hurts
Glances that say a thousand words
Sharing the deepest losses in our lives
Intimate embraces
Supportive hugs
Soulful kisses
Wiping away tears
Hours spent talking
My heart still leaps for you
My love for you grows everyday
Today is a special day
But it doesn’t compare
To the last 25 years spent with my one true love


Sherry and Mel, you have touched my heart and I was so happy to get to be a part of your heartfelt Silver Anniversary celebration. I hope we can do it all again on your Golden Anniversary!

UPDATE 5/5/15 - Sherry and Mel’s videographer, Andrew Kennedy, has just posted this charming video of the wedding and it brought tears to my eyes. He’s given me permission to share it here. (Thanks, Andrew!) You should definitely watch it… you will be very touched. 

Sherry + Mel | Highlights from Andrew Kennedy on Vimeo.

Be sure to visit Andrew’s website and  Facebook page to see more of his work.


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Unknown said…
Very beautiful wedding. Touching words and smiling faces.
Well Done Barbara Lodge!
Samantha L. Heart said…
Beautiful wedding. Touching words and smiling faces.
Well Done Barbara!
Thanks so much, Samantha. It was very touching with all the love surrounding them - and me, by extension. We are so lucky to be able to do the work we do and be continually surrounded by love.
Unknown said…
Yeah I completely agree with you. Creativity and elegance is the most important thing in wedding these days and photographer needs to be equally skilled to capture them. I liked your work and have asked my friend to contact you who is looking for a surprise vow renewal ceremony of his parents.
Thank you for the compliments, Curtis. I hope your friend does contact me for his parents’ surprise vow renewal. How fun that would be to share in such a showering of love.