Friday, June 26, 2009

Surprise Renewal of Vows at Jump Off Rock

Chad from Ohio (always in the subject field of his emails) began emailing me months ago. He had a special surprise for his wife Holly and needed some guidance. Chad and his family were planning a vacation to North Carolina and while here he wanted to renew his wedding vows in a 'surprise' ceremony. He was looking for a beautiful outdoor location and I suggested Jump Off Rock, near Hendersonville.
This is a well kept secret! His sister said she had lived near Asheville all of her life and had never heard of the place. It's actually in Laurel Hill, about 5 miles from Hendersonville. I took this photo in the early spring.

Chad was able to pull off the surprise... taking Holly to Wal-Mart while their family gathered at the rock. I took my portable iPod player as as they walked up I used my remote to begin playing their 'special' song... Their family, including their daughters Sarah and Kellie, witnessed, once again, a public delaration of their love.

As part of the ceremony I asked them to touch each other's wedding band and renew the promises made on their wedding day. As an added surprise, Chad then presented Holly with an anniversary ring. (He said Holly was an accountant and it had been difficult making the purchase without her knowledge!)

This will be a trip to North Carolina that they will always remember!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Michael and Lindsay Marry at Wiseman's View Linville Gorge

Michael contacted me several months ago. From his home in Illinois he had for the perfect spot for his wedding. I'm embarrased to admit that I had not heard of Wiseman's View. However, I was familiar with Linville Falls and the Linville Gorge and passed through the area often.

I cannot tell you how absolutely beautiful this place is! It was a little bit of an adventure getting to Wiseman's View. I searched the internet for information and most sites made it sound easy enough. The truth is, it was a bit of an adventure! Four miles of gravel road with some serious ruts. I was not brave enough to attempt this in my '96 Camry so my husband went with me. A good thing so he could take photos for my blog. (I love him so much... he didn't even whine!)

Another tidbit about Wiseman's View... it's supposed to be the very best spot for viewing the Brown Mountain Lights. But that's for another post...

Once we reached the top, it was a short walk down a paved walkway, easily managed in high heel shoes...

It took a few minutes to get everything set up since they were having their ceremony videotaped. The ceremony was very touching especially when Michael presented his 10 year old daughter with her 'special' ring and made his promises to her.

The new family hugged and I pronounced the couple married. Michael & Lindsay, husband and wife..

And don't they look happpy!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jennifer and Kevin marry at Weaverville

Jennifer and Kevin contacted me last summer about officiating their wedding. They spent the past year planning and preparing. Their big day finally arrived. Today they woke up as husband and wife, relieved that the work is over and ready to start making memories as a new family.

And today, Kevin has a wonderful surprise for his new wife. Without her knowledge he reserved a cabin in Gatlinburg for a romantic honeymoon. I told Kevin that he was going to make a great husband!

Like many couples, Jennifer, Kevin and their families did all the work themselves: flowers, decorations, and food... lots and lots of food..

When I arrived, everyone was hard at work, putting the last minute touches on everything. Couples can save money doing the work themselves but remember it is 'work' and you'll need lots of help.

When I arrived... now that's a funny story. Jennifer had told me that she had, at the last minute, decided to more her wedding indoors. I was a little surprised when I arrived and everything was set up outside, including guests already sitting in chairs. I immediately walked up to the DJ to discuss the music. He said he didn't have a clue about what was going on. So, I walked upstairs where the bride was getting dressed. I asked where Jennifer was, and the woman said 'Wendy', I said, 'no Jennifer, or does she have a nickname, Wendy'? She told me this was 'so and so's wedding. I was speechless. I was certain that I was in the correct place but definitely not the right couple. As it turns out I was at a church fellowship hall and the community center was directly across the walkway.. Was I ever relieved.

Jennifer and Kevin used many of my suggestions in their wedding ceremony, Mother's Roses, Parent's Blessings, and a beautiful ceremony that included their three children. More on that at a later time.

And talking about children.... like I mentioned in my previous post, plan for the unexpected. In her excitement, Phoenix forgot to toss the rose petals during the processional. However, she had a plan and decided to toss them on her way out! These are truly the things that make a wedding special.

Married on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I have a lot of inquiries from couples wanting to get married along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are so many wonderful spots, it would be hard to choose a favorite. I always look foward to going to a new place was eager to visit Doughton Park, near Boone.

I left my house at 6:30 on Saturday morning for yet another wedding 'adventure'. It was a great drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway even though I found an unexpected closing that caused a slight delay. One reason I always allow a little extra time....

I was happy to finally meet David and his 'best dog'. Our contact had only been through emails so it was nice to see each other face to face. I followed David to 'the' spot and was greeted by Elizabeth and her maid of honor, 'Girl'.

After introductions were made we began our walk up a grassy knoll, knowing the remaining guests would join us shortly. Unfortunately, no one told Elizabeth's brother 'which' knoll so he began walking up a knoll on the opposite side of the parking lot. After much shouting and whistling he realized where we were and began a rapid decent and headed the right direction. I don't know how he and his girlfriend got there so quickly.

The ceremony began with a community blessing, asking family and friends to promise their support. Guests also had the opportunity to send their prayers and blessings to the wedding rings before they were exchanged. In the years ahead David and Elizabeth will feel the love of their family as they wear these rings.

As with every wedding there were a few glitches. When you begin planning a wedding understand from the very beginning that things will happen. Sometimes outside your control, sometimes within your control. Understand this and accept it.... It will happen. Motorcycles will ride by just as you get ready to say 'I do', flowers will blow over, candles won't stay lit, flower girls will cry and refuse to walk down the aisle, the flowers in your bouquet will fall out as you walk down the aisle (happened to my daughter), or something will be forgotten. Allow time (and energy) for last minute 'emergencies'.

Speaking of flowers, look at this beautiful bouquet of orchids, grown by David and Elizabeth.

Navajo blessing (from their ceremony)
Be swift like the wind in loving each other.
Be brave like the sea in loving each other.
Be gentle like the breeze in loving each other.
Now and forever there will be no more loneliness, because your worlds are joined together.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Elope to North Carolina Mountains

Elope? What does it mean? Where to Elope?
I have many couples looking for places to elope. And elope means many different things these days. Years ago it meant sneaking out of the bedroom window and ‘running off’ to get married. Today, many people use the term elopement for a ‘couples only’ wedding, whether planned in advance or short-notice. And I’ve had couples bring family and friends to their ‘elopement’. Whatever it’s called, a wedding celebration is always about LOVE….

RiverMist, our retreat center, is the perfect option for ‘couples only’ weddings. Many couples want to get married surrounded by the beauty of nature. We are completely private and the ceremony takes place by the creek that runs beside our cabin. During the winter months candlelight ceremonies take place in our cabin.

You will need two witnesses in North Carolina. I have retired neighbors who are always happy to serve in this capacity.

And what would a wedding be like without a few photographs? My husband, not a professional photographer (who gets tired of hearing me say that!) takes great digital photos. He usually takes around 50 and we download those onto a CD at no charge.

Here are a few comments from couples who recently were married at RiverMist:Dear Victoria and Guy Thank you for a most beautiful wedding. You both did a lot of work and we appreciate it so much. Also, we were extremely pleased with you recommendations for the restaurant and the cake. Please don’t hesitate to recommend them again to others. Thanks again & God Bless, Regina and Stacy

Good morning Victoria and Guy,
I could not find an area to post on your website, so I e-mailed to convey my thanks and appreciation for the work you put into make our wedding such a wonderful event.
I will always remember the sun shining on my face and the sounds of the river behind us as you spoke such beautiful words. The ceremony was so lovely!!
You included our child in the ceremony and presented him with a special gift that he will hold forever close to his heart. You made the day so special to all of us!!
The photos are beautiful and we have had many comments of them.
Our wedding day was truly blessed by having you two wonderful people as a part of it!
Thank you again...and God bless you both!!

Hi Victoria,
I don’t think that I ever got to thank you and tell you just how much it means to me all that you did for Stacie and me. You and Guy truly turned our special day into something magical, I just wanted to take the time to express how grateful I am, and would like to keep in touch with ya'll. I’m back to Iraq and it was so hard to leave my new wife. I told her before we got married that it wouldn’t really make it any harder on either of us, but I must confess I think I lied. Standing there that day before you and God, as Stacie and I confessed our love to one another, and made the promise of a lifetime, it felt like my entire being was being transformed. A feeling that I have never felt before, it was amazing. Now that we have started our journey on the road of life as one, I will never forget the people that have truly had an impact on my life, and you and Guy will always be in my heart, I hope we can become friends, and keep in touch. I know they say that separation makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s really hard. If I could ask you to keep Stacie and me in your prayers it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to come and you again, if possible, next time I’m home. Take care and God bless, Chris & Stacie

 Our location is certainly not for everyone and there are many wonderful places in the mountains of NC and I’ll be happy to help you find the perfect location. Just remember you will need two witnesses! (and a minister….)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Get Married in North Carolina

So… you’ve decided to get married in North Carolina. What do you do next????

First, you must decide if you’re going to get married at the courthouse or if you will have a minister officiate your ceremony. For your ceremony to be legal (something you surely want) it must be performed by a magistrate or an ordained minister in the presence of two witnesses. You may decide on a courthouse wedding. Just keep in mind that often you have to wait until the regularly scheduled court ‘business’ is over or you may, as one couple told me, go to the ‘jailhouse’, (for the convenience of the magistrate) Either way, at the end of the day, you will be married. As a couple, decide how you want to remember your wedding day.

Like every state, you must have a marriage license to get married in North Carolina. These are issued at the Register of Deeds office (Monday – Friday) and are valid (for 60 days) in all counties in NC.

This site provides a county map with a link to each Register of Deeds Office: click here It’s best to contact the individual office where the license will be issued. I have found some variances in requirements, particularly if either of you have been married before.

There is no waiting period. Your license will be issued and you can get married immediately.

Now that you know 'how' to get married in North Carolina. The BIG question is where? Mountains, Beaches, Piedmont.... The internet search is on.... and it can be so overwhelming. Each area has its own beauty and charm. To narrow your search, do you want a large wedding or small wedding? Are you looking for a venue that can accommodate 150+ guests, will it be a few friends and family members or maybe something in between. Or..... like so many couples, will it just be the two of you for a romantic and fun elopement?

I may regret saying this, and may later remove it from my blog, but if you really don't know where to start or need suggestions send me an email ( and I'll try to help you find the perfect location for your wedding. Or, at the very least, point you in the right direction.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Short Notice Weddings in North Carolina

Saturday at Hickory Nut Falls
I had not scheduled any weddings for this past weekend because we were having a family pool party on Saturday afternoon to celebrate our granddaughter's birthday. However, it didn't turn out that way!
I received a call on Tuesday requesting a small ceremony at Chimney Rock on Saturday. The bride told me she knew they could get married at the courthouse but she wanted something more memorible. I told her it's always nice to have a 'spot'; you can return on anniversaries and renew your promises to each other.
I explained that I was heading out of town but was available anytime before noon. Perfect! The park suggested early morning before the park got crowded. At 9:00 about a dozen friends and family headed to Hickory Nut Falls. The walk is not hard, 1 1/2 miles round trip but it is hot, even early in the morning, especially when you're wearing dress clothes. I always allow plenty of time so everyone can 'catch their breath' before the ceremony begins.

Even though this was a last minute wedding I still had time to prepare a ceremony designed for this individual couple, which included a blessing for their unborn child.
As it turns out, they are members of a small church and their minister is not yet ordained so he could not officially marry them. When I found this out I asked if he would like to offer a prayer and his blessing for the marriage. Very touching and something I'm sure they will always remember!
Lake Norman Wedding - Chad and Rhonda
And.... on Wednesday I received a call from Rhonda. Their wedding was scheduled for Sunday and their minister had been called out of town due to a family emergency. She was thrilled to find out that I was available. Again, even though short-notice I prepared an individualized ceremony and Rhonda was able to review a draft on Thursday.

I like for couples to know exactly what will be said on their wedding day. Someone recently told me about at wedding they attended. The groom's father insisted that his minister marry the couple. Without the bride's knowledge (or approval) the minister included love, honor and obey in her wedding vows. Her attendants held their breath, wondering what the bride would say or do. Reluctantly she said "I do".

There were no surprises concerning the ceremony but there was a surprise for me! When I arrived, I was greeted by the owner of the home. As she was telling me about the plans I kept looking at her, thinking that I knew her. Finally, I asked if she had worked at UNCC. She immediately recognized me as well. It is truly a small world.

Ceremonies should always have a personal touch. As you can see from Rhonda's hair clip, Chad is not the only love in her life! On their horse farm they board, train and show around 25 horses. In fact, they are headed out later this week for a horse show.

As Roy Rogers would say, 'Happy trails to you'. I know, I know... showing my age.....

excerpt from the song written by Dale Evans.....
Some trails are happy ones, others are blue. It's the way you ride the trail that counts, Here's a happy one for you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ralph and Michelle elope to Chimney Rock

Upon arriving at Chimney Rock Park this morning, I met Ralph in the parking lot. It was not a ‘scheduled’ meeting. His bride ‘reminded’ him that he needed the marriage license so he had to run back to the car. It’s interesting, all the parking places and we pulled in right beside his car without even noticing the Louisiana tag.

Even though we hadn’t met before, it was pretty easy for him to recognize me. Not many guests visit the park wearing black dress clothes! After our introductions I mentioned that the first thing I ask a couple on their wedding day is, ‘Do you have the license?’ The second question is ‘Who has the rings?’ When I said that, he started digging around in the back seat for the rings….

License and rings in hand, we rode up in the elevator together. It was so good to finally get to meet Michelle who was waiting with Katherine, the events coordinator for the park. Another ‘interesting’ thing, yesterday Michelle saw a photo of Lake Lure posted on facebook. As it turn out, Stephanie, her friend from Louisana was vacationing in North Carolina. Michelle sent her a text message asking if she would like to come to a wedding. The really good news is that Stephanie is a photographer and was more than happy to take pictures.

The ceremony was beautiful, if I do say so myself! Michelle and Ralph wrote their own vows, which is always a nice touch. Ralph told me that it had taken him several days to find the right words. And the right words they were… It was an honor to share in that special moment. Although Ralph said he was nervous it certainly didn’t show…

Park guests like to gather around during a wedding. I noticed during the ceremony that someone was videotaping. Afterward he introduced himself and told Michele and Ralph that he would be happy to make them a copy. They were extremely pleased; they had a photographer and videographer! Michelle and Ralph said they truly felt God's blessings on their wedding day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yvonne and Greg - Married at the Apple Barn in Valle Crucis

I love traveling throughout the mountains of North Carolina.There are so many beautiful places and Valle Crucis is no exception. It's certainly not an easy drive, or one you can hurry on. It's best to allow plenty of time for the curvy mountain roads. You never know when you'll get behind a bicyclist or (as I did on Saturday) a horse drawn carriage!

Yvonne and Greg live in Colorado but decided that NC was where they wanted 'the first day of the rest of their life" to begin. Processional music was provided by guitarist, Justin Butler and flutist, Anna Kuhlman. Yvonne chose to have both parents walk her down the aisle. It was a touching moment when she kissed each parent before moving forward to join Greg.

To everyone's delight, Macadoo was led down the aisle by Max Hapner. Or was Max led down the aisle by Macadoo. Either way, they both made it safely!
Another word about the ages of children in wedding ceremonies. Max and Lila just proves my point. Now if you're an exact person and everything has to go according to plan, I would not suggest including young children. However, if you're 'laid back' and want your wedding to be fun and relaxed, by all means include young children (and family pets)

Greg and Yvonne chose a rose unity ceremony which took place immediately after the exchange of rings. Upon entering each mother had placed a single yellow rose in an individual container. At the appropriate moment, Yvonne and Greg took their individual roses and placed them into a center vase. There are several ceremonies that include roses. This is one of my personal favorites.
Including your guests...... Yvonne and Greg share a concern for our environment. Their programs (and I assume the invitations) were printed on recycled paper. And in honor of each guest, a tree was planted in Lake Tahoe to restore a wilderness area damaged by fire.

Morgan and Ryan marry in Asheville

Morgan contacted me several months ago about an elopment. Their elopement turned into a love-filed family wedding on June 6th.

Morgan loves the Biltmore House and that was her first choice. Unfortunately, the fee was more than than wedding budget would allow. However, as I always say, there are options!

Morgan and Ryan decided to spend a long weekend at one of the Biltmore Hotels that included a very nice 'Biltmore' package. Their wedding took place on the Garden Terrace surrounded by family and friends. Immediately after the ceremony they all headed to the Deerfield Restaurant to celebrate. After lunch, they spent the afternoon at the Biltmore winery. On Sunday they toured 'the' house and hopefully took advantage of the 'behind the scenes' tour. (The mansion has many secret passages which were used by servants to move from room to room without disturbing the guests.)

Morgan and Ryan may not have had a Biltmore Wedding but they did celebrate their wedding at the Biltmore! And what wonderful memories they have...

As a side note, I found out months after I booked Morgan and Ryan's wedding (thanks to my daughter's facebook) that Morgan and my daughter went to high school together. It is a small world and facebook keeps making it smaller:-)

(I took this photo with my new Samsung Eternity. I love it!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Deborah & James - Married at Lake Lure

Hawaiian Song
Here all seeking is over
the lost has been found
a mate has been found
to share the chills of winter-
Love asks that you be united.
Here is a place to rest,
a place to sleep
a place in heaven
Now two are becoming one,
the black night is scattered
the eastern sky grows bright
at last the great day has come!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Two daughters got married and we all survived!

My daughters were married within six weeks of each other! Everyone kept saying they felt so sorry for me. In some respect, I think it was actually easier this way and we had such fun together.

At David’s Bridal we were the talk of the store as they tried on dresses together. The other moms would just look at me and shake their head.

Mary Ann & Mitch - Married at Woodrun on Lake Tillery

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I want to tell you a little about my oldest daughter’s wedding on April 4th and hopefully provide some useful information.

Since Woodrun was approximately one hour from Mary Ann’s house, a lake house was rented for the weekend. Mary Ann and two of her best friends spent Friday night there.

On Saturday morning, Adrian, her hairdresser and owner of CC & Company, arrived around 9:00. She styled everyone’s hair (bridesmaids, flower girls & mom) and applied makeup while everyone relaxed on the screened porch overlooking the lake. Mimosas (orange juice and champagne) and chocolate covered strawberries were enjoyed by all. (no mimosas for the flower girls!) Having the hairdresser come to their location was a great idea and I would highly recommend this! Very stress-free and relaxed. A word of warning, go easy on the alcohol; mimosas were the perfect choice.

Woodrun, a gated waterfront community, is a great facility for a wedding. Mary Ann had her heart set on an outdoor wedding so she searched several locations. Lake Tillery and the Uwharrie Mountians provided a great backdrop and because of this, very few flowers were needed for decorations.

April is a little early to plan an outdoor wedding. The reception was held at the clubhouse which was also the ‘rain’ site. When planning an outdoor wedding it’s always best to have a back up plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. It takes a real act of faith to plan an outdoor ceremony. The forecast kept changing, so we were holding our breath. It was a little windy (the arch had to be anchored down) but we were happy to settle for a little wind since the rain held off until the next day.

Working on the ceremony was a little challenge. Mary Ann and Mitch received the same packet of materials that I send to all the couples I work with. Each ceremony I officiate is individually prepared according to the couples wishes. I knew that Mary Ann wanted a Christian ceremony but other than that I wasn’t sure. From the beginning she loved the ‘Blessing of the Hands’ and cried the first time she heard it. (always a good sign)

After her ceremony was complete she decided to include Blessing Stones. Each guest received a tumbled gemstone (I made sure the moms had the only rose quartz stones, a symbol of unconditional love) and was asked to place their prayers and blessing onto the stone. The stones were collected in a crystal vase and are now displayed in their home. There are many ways to make a wedding ceremony personal and unique.

As a side note, April 4th was the NCAA basketball finals. Mitch is a UNC fan and knew from the beginning that the Final Four would be played on their wedding day. Although I’m sure he wanted to see the game, he never mentioned it. (However, I think he kept checking on the score when Mary Ann wasn’t looking.)

Good news! Mary Ann’s friend Allyson will become engaged before the year is over!
Kris, her boyfriend of many years, told her that if Carolina won the tournament he would propose before the end of the year.

Will she say 'yes'????

More on Susan & Rodney's wedding at Camp Sertoma

And... on May 16th, just 6 weeks after her sister's wedding Susan married Rodney.

Sertoma, located near Hanging Rock State Park, is a 4H Educational Center owned by NC State University. In the early 1900s it was a very popular mineral spring resort. Most of the buildings have been destroyed but a 3 story hotel provides lodging for various events. This was perfect for a 'weekend' wedding since everyone could stay on site. The guys were on the 2nd floor and the girls were on the 3rd. The kitchen and administrative offices occupy the main floor.

Susan wanted an outdoor wedding and Sertoma was a perfect choice. If, and that’s a BIG if, the weather turned bad the ceremony could be moved inside the chapel. Again, it’s always best to have a rain site!

Susan and Rodney wanted their wedding to be a reflection of their personalities even down to the color selection. She chose pink, Rodney chose green. And we’re talking bright pink and bright green. I wasn’t too sure about their choices until I saw everything together.

Susan and Rodney spent a lot of time, looking through my resources and narrowing down their selections. Guests love visual effects and you can add several but you need to be careful not to include too many. I ask couples to select the things they want and then I put everything together into a complete ceremony. Once the draft is ready, they have the opportunity to make any changes. I may have given them too many choices but this was premarital counseling, 'mom' style!
Susan began her wedding preparation on Thursday by having all of the women (even Brenna and Aubrey, ‘the cutest flower girls ever’) gather around for Mehendi, a short-term henna tattoo, which is a Indian wedding tradition. Each woman was asked to draw a design on Susan’s feet. Some were elaborate and took quite a while. I’m not an artist so my contribution was ‘God Bless You’ written in Hebrew. There are still traces of the henna and she’ll probably be a little sad when it’s completely gone.

The Ceremony - Susan has always loved Cinderella so she walked down the aisle (barefoot) as ‘So This is Love’ played. As she approached, Rodney met her, bowed, took her hand and escorted her the rest of the way down the aisle. This was very emotional for me and I cried during the rehearsal. I kept saying I was the mom at the rehearsal, I would be the minister at the wedding…(I didn’t cry at the wedding but Mary Ann kept looking at me, just to make sure)

Susan and Rodney used Blessing Stones which they hand selected. These stones are a visual reminder of everyone who was present at their wedding. They also used a rose quartz stone for their oathing stone. This was a nice touch in the ceremony and I’m so glad I got to see everything up close! They also did a little ‘bunny’ touch on their noses, a private gesture that has meaning to them.

For a unity ceremony they drank from a Native American wedding vase, made by a Cherokee elder, Amanda Swimmer. The vase has two spouts. The vase can be filled with water however they chose to use red and white wine to symbolize their individual personalities. The bride drinks from one side of the vase and the groom drinks from the other. Then the couple drinks together. (requires coordination).

Their ceremony concluded with two Jewish traditions, breaking the glass and Yechud. Even these things were tailored to their personalities. For the breaking of the glass Susan placed her foot on top of Rodney’s and they broke the glass together. After they were pronounced married, they retreated for Yechud, a time of seclusion, to privately share the importance of the moment. Champagne was waiting for them and they had their first toast as husband and wife.

And…. one of the biggest surprises for the guests, as Susan and Rodney exited they stopped midway down the aisle, so Rodney could ‘dip’ her and they shared their ‘2nd kiss’ as husband and wife. The guests loved this and cheered with excitement.

Several guests told me that it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever seen. I think many people expect a wedding ceremony to be the way it was 30 years ago. This is probably the case in more traditional churches where the same ceremony is used for every couple.

So, why am I’m telling you about my daughter’s weddings? No, it’s not to brag or share personal information. I just want you to know there are sooooo many things that can be included in your wedding ceremony. Don’t settle for a standard, ‘one size fits all’ ceremony if that’s not what you want. The type of ceremony is just one of the many things to consider when selecting an officiate for your wedding.

PS.. To the parents

I have spent the last year helping my daughters plan their weddings. I’m a mom and a minister so I can offer some valuable advice to the parents of engaged couples. I see a lot of frustrated couples whose families have ‘taken over’ all of the wedding planning. What started out as ‘their’ wedding soon turned into what everyone else wanted.

My advice, be helpful, listen and offer suggestions, when asked. Yes, when asked. Remember this is their wedding. You had your own wedding many years ago, now it is their turn. Let them choose the colors they want, the location they want and most importantly invite the guests they want. One thing you don’t want to hear is, ‘I wanted so and so but you wouldn’t let me/you talked me out of it. Or, ‘my wedding would have been perfect if could have had…… (any number of things)

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that the sky’s the limit for a wedding budget; just let the couple decide where money is best spent. In my case, I decided on a wedding budget and told each daughter how much I was willing to pay. If they went over, it was out of their pocket. If, by some chance, they went under (ha ha), the excess money was theirs to keep!

They decided what was important and how the money was to be spent. For both of them, the first item was a wedding gown. The dress itself wasn’t terribly expensive but once you add the veil, shoes, jewelry, and alterations…. Well, it adds up. I’ve had many brides find beautiful gowns on eBay and consignment shops for very little money. This is a personal decision but one area that can save a lot of money.

Because of the current economic situation many couples are paying for their weddings themselves, without any financial assistance. Sometimes decisions must be made according to budget constraints. Parents: if this is the case, be considerate and allow them to make their own decisions.

Here's a link for a printable Easy Wedding Budget

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rudy the Ringbearer

More and more couples are including their dogs in their wedding ceremonies. And if you've ever had a canine family member, you understand completely. I recently had a conversation with someone who had a formal church wedding. He failed to mention to the pastor, until the day of the wedding, that George (a very large 'hairy' dog) was going to be the ringbearer. He said that George did a great job, walked down the aisle and stood in place. He even stood beside the couple as they lit their unity candle.

My daughter Susan & her 'now' husband Rodney decided that Rudy, their miniture daschund, would be their ringbearer. (however, he didn't really have the rings!) Rudy is a little over a year old and still has some puppy in him. They decided to let him visit Rodney's parent and play with the other granddogs. The plan worked and he was very well behaved. (and handsome, I might add)
Just last fall I officiated a double wedding in the mountains.
I was told the wedding would not be complete without Buddy and Princess. At first, the couple did not tell me who Buddy and Princess were.
Imagine my delight when I arrived to see them dressed in their wedding attire!

Amy & David married at Lake Lure

Memorial Day weekend, like other holidays, is always a very popular time for destination weddings. This certainly makes it easier for guests traveling from out of town.
Lake Lure is one of my favorite places to visit so I was very pleased when Amy and David asked me to officiate their wedding ceremony at Rumbling Bald Resort. They had hoped to marry at the lakeside gazebo but the weather had other plans. Amy and David didn't let a little rain dampen their spirits. They just moved their ceremony to the patio. Just one of the many advantages of getting married at Rumbling Bald.

Although they had hoped for an outdoor ceremony, the patio still offered a beautiful view of Lake Lure. The bridal party entered to the lovely sounds of a bagpiper and this set the stage for a beautiful ceremony that began with a reading, 'The Irrational Season' by Madeleine L’Engle:

Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made.
Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take.....

Another happy couple begin their new life together. Wishing you happiness always!

Callie and Matt marry at the Fields of Blackberry Cove in Weaverville

Callie and Matt discovered early in life that they were meant for each other. After nearly 10 years together, they celebrated their love and commitment in front of family and friends on May 30th at the Fields of Blackberry Cove. From the beginning it was clear; their wedding was about love! Not only did they want to celebrate their love, they wanted their guests to feel a renewal in their own marriage promises.

Together, they wrote their entire ceremony. Together! Very suiting for them. Matt's mother told me that they rely completely on each other. It was no surprise when they decided to walk down the aisle together.

Just like the wedding ceremony, the reception was very personal. Guests were asked to write wishes on quilt squares rather than sign a guest register. And my very favorite thing.... instead of a wedding cake (neither one of them likes cake) they had a banana pudding tier! I wasn't around for desert but I'm sure there were some smiling faces!

Best wishes, Callie & Matt. Have a wonderful life together!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cutest flower girls ever

Don't let anyone tell you that a two year old is too young to be a flower girl! Our granddaughters, Brenna (almost 4 years old) and Aubrey (2 years old) did an excellent job! In fact, I told their parents that we could hire them out... We weren't really sure how things would go when my oldest daughter, Mary Ann, started planning her wedding. She really wanted Brenna and Aubrey to be her flower girls, even if, at the last minute, they refused to go down the aisle.

Now it did take some planning & rehearsing. Mindy, their mom, did a great job preparing them for the BIG day. They had their hair curled, just like the big girls, put on their pretty dresses and they were ready. It did help to have some Nemo fruit snacks after the petals were tossed.

When Susan, my youngest daughter, got married on May 16th, it was much easier. They knew a 'wedding' was something fun and they were very excited to put on their 'pretty dresses' and new shoes. They loved the reception and danced the Cupid Shuffle to the delight of all the guests.