Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's fun to elope.. Just ask Tracy and Eddie

Tracy and Eddie wanted a simple uncomplicated wedding. They also wanted a quiet place to rest and enjoy the beauty of nature. The Cottages of Spring House Farm was a perfect choice for their destination wedding and honeymoon. In fact, they loved the area so much they did a little house shopping and actually made an offer on a house.

When I arrived at Spring House I was met by Arthur Campbell, the owner, and his canine family. We chatted a little while waiting for the anxious bride and groom. Although Tracy and Eddie were confident in their decision to marry they said they were feeling some pre-wedding jitters. It was obvious, they had forgotten to bring their marriage license with them. Arthur told Eddie to hop on his ATV and he would run him back to the cabin. At least it was nearby. One couple, a few years ago, had to drive home (two hours away) to retrieve the forgotten license.

At Spring House, there are several locations available for weddings. This covered pavilion, by the water lilies, was a lovely choice. It’s a little early for the lilies but some had started blooming along with the beautiful roses.
Tracy carried a bouquet of wildflowers that she picked before the ceremony began. The flowers were tied with ribbon and contained a cross (which belonged to Eddie’s grandmother) and a ring (which belonged to Tracy’s grandmother.) What nice way to honor the memory of special people.
Promises were made, hearts were joined.

I look forward to our future together
knowing we will walk it together
side by side, 
hand in hand 
and heart to heart.

The honeymoon is over but the marriage has just begun. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Erica and Rick Marry at The Biltmore Village Inn

Erica and Rick wanted a beautiful and romantic location for their elopement. The Biltmore Village Inn was a perfect choice. I have officiated several weddings at the Inn and it’s always a pleasure to return.

Like many couples, they wanted a wonderful wedding memory without any stress. After a few emails, we had the ceremony finalized and it was just a matter of waiting for the date. Well, almost… Since they were from another state, they had to make a quick trip to North Carolina to obtain their marriage license. I understand it was quite an adventure and took a little longer than they expected. However, this was much better than arriving on Good Friday and finding the county offices closed.

Their original plan was to get married, with the Inn providing the witnesses. When good friends, Matt, Shannon, and their daughter Karlee, found out about the wedding they decided to drive to Asheville to join the celebration. This worked out perfectly. They served as the witnesses and Matt was a great photographer.

About a week before the wedding Erica emailed to see if it was possible to have a Dove Release. I told her it was no problem for me and gave her the phone number of Asheville White Dove Releases. Arrangements were quickly made. We had a plan.

We began the ceremony with ‘surprise’ reading of ‘You are My Everything’ from Erica to Rick. This set the tone for the rest of the ceremony, which was personally prepared. At Erica’s request we ended the ceremony with a reading from the book of Ruth, "Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
After the pronouncement it was time for the Dove Release. Julia read a lovely poem before the newlyweds released the white doves from the wicker basket.

Everyone smiled as we watched the doves flying home together. White doves mate for life, the perfect symbolism. 

Bob, the owner of the Inn had a special surprise for Erica and Rick. Chocolate covered strawberries are always a treat. What a great way to start a marriage!

Wishing Erica and Rick much happiness as they travel through life together.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Family Wedding - Angela and Mark Together Forever

My first contact with Mark and Angela was through their good friend, Jamie. After several emails we arranged a meeting to get acquainted and discuss the details of their wedding. It was a stormy night with strong winds. In fact some areas received large quantities of hail. This was the very reason Mark and Angela decided to marry inside, where the weather would not be a problem. Angela said she didn’t want the stress of worrying about the weather forecast. The Ramada Inn in Statesville was a great choice.

The altar area was decorated beautifully. Don’t you love the candle holders? 

This marriage was a combining of families. Mark and Angela wanted to include their sons in the wedding ceremony and the unity sand ceremony was a beautiful addition.


 Now, I just have to mention… These two baked and decorated their own wedding cake! This seemed like an overwhelming task to me. However, they were confident and their cake says it all. It was beautiful!
 Their cake topper was carefully selected and was perfect.

 The happy couple! After celebrating with their friends and family they headed out for a week in Gatlinburg. A nice quiet week, just the two of them.
Now Mr and Mrs...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wedding at Rocky River Vineyard

Often I have the opportunity to officiate the wedding of a close friend or family member. I was very excited when my ‘sister friend’, Sharon, asked if I would officiate her daughter’s wedding. I have known Anna for many years and was honored to be part of the celebration.

Anna, Sharon and I met to talk about the details of the wedding ceremony. Anna and Albert decided to get married on Earth Day, April 22nd and wanted to include a tree planting as part of the ceremony. I immediately began to offer suggestions on how this could be incorporated in their ceremony. After talking with Anna I had a good idea of what she would like included in the ceremony. Once I received her vows, I knew exactly what to do. I sent her a ceremony draft and asked that she make desired changes. No changes needed, the ceremony was perfect!

Anna and Albert’s wedding took place at Rocky River Vineyard in Midland, NC. This was my first visit and I was very impressed with the facility and staff. I would highly recommend this site for a wedding or wine tasting. (My favorite was Scarlett, a blend of several red grapes) I understand the vineyard schedules other events too, bridal showers, bridesmaid luncheons and family events

This wedding required a little more effort than most. Since I am a family friend, I helped with setup and cleanup as well as officiate the ceremony. The wedding was scheduled for 6:00 pm but we could not start setting up until 4:00. If you’ve been involved with wedding preparations, you know that this is not much time at all. We had tables to decorate and flowers to arrange. Everyone worked hard and everything was ready as the guests began to arrive. I excused myself and went to the main house to change clothes and collect my thoughts.

Anna really wanted to have the wedding outside but the weather did not cooperate. It had rained considerably during the day and the ground was saturated. Ken discussed options for getting as many photos as possible.

The drizzle also prevented the tree planting but we symbolically added our love as we poured small containers of soil around the tree, which was planted at a later date.

Once again, I didn’t get many photos. Hopefully, Ken Myers, her photographer will send me some photos to post.

I did get a nice shot of Anna and her mother.

And it wasn't too hard to get Anna to kiss her husband.

 Congratulations to a happy couple!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Family Wedding in North Carolina

Michelle and Bob contacted me several months ago. They were getting married and looking for an outdoor location that could accommodate a small number of guests. While searching the internet they found our website and wanted to visit. They were pleased and immediately confirmed the date and booked our riverfront house.

During the planning process, they decided that it would be nice to have a small reception immediately following their ceremony. I arranged for a local restaurant, which caters for the public, to provide everything needed for a southern BBQ, including plates, cups, ice and, of course, sweet tea. I also arranged for a two-tiered wedding cake and non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice. It doesn’t get any easier..

The weather was a little crazy on April 16th. Although the rain had stopped, it was windy and chilly. This did not seem to affect the bride and groom. They were ready to get married and it was their day. 

Early in the ceremony Bob had a surprise for his soon to be mother-in-law. He presented her with a dozen red roses and a big thank you for welcoming him into the family. She was obviously touched by the gesture and immediately began to share with the other women present.

Like many parents, Bob wanted to include his sons in the ceremony. He and Michelle decided to present family medallions to both sons and to each other. This was a nice way of publicly acknowledging their new family. 

Isn’t Michelle lucky, she has three men to love!

We ended the ceremony by tossing blessing stones into the river.

It was a little too cool to eat outside so we moved inside for the reception. After a few toasts the cake was cut and everyone was ready to enjoy some good southern cooking. 

After the food was set up it was time for me to leave the celebration. I later returned with the photo CD. I also took my laptop so we could view the wedding photos. Before leaving I gathered up the champagne glasses and serving utensils. Who wants to wash dishes on their wedding day…

It was wonderful day full of love and laughter.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Married, One to the Other - Ashley and Russell

I didn’t realize it at the time but I had been emailing Ashley about wedding plans while talking to her fiancĂ© over the phone. After the second phone call, I asked Russell if he was Ashley’s fiancĂ©. It all began to make sense and much easier when I realized I was talking about the same wedding.

Ashley and Russell were getting ready to graduate from the university where I worked many years. Not only was Russell getting ready to graduate, he already had a job waiting for him. What a blessing with today’s job market.

After the date was decided we began working on their ceremony. I emailed samples and they made their selections which included a ring blessing and unity sand ceremony. Since there wasn’t time to shop, I provided the needed supplies.

 The ring blessing incorporated the four elements, earth, wind, fire and water.

Bless these rings, 
the symbol of your promises, 
with happiness, wholeness, and love. 
Air for hopes and dreams; 
Fire for the spark of love; 
Water for harmony and healing; 
Earth for strength. 
May these rings be forever Blessed.

It always makes my heart smile when I receive a thank you note. I just have to share this one..

Russell and I just wanted to send our gratitude for the wonderful ceremony you gave us last Friday, April 15. It was more than perfect! The experience was better than we even imagined, and we couldn’t have asked for more. We spent the rest of the weekend at Chimney Rock State Park! The mountains were an amazing new adventure for us, and the waterfall was absolutely breath-taking. Thank you for making our dream wedding happen, and in such short notice! We will never forget you two, and the perfect little get-away down at RiverMist. Forever grateful, Ashley and Russell

Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Getting Married in North Carolina - Stress Free

March 31st, 2011, just another day for most of us. But for Heather and Rob, it is a day they will always remember. Not only the anniversary of their first date but now…. the anniversary of the day they married. How fortunate that I was able to be part of such a special occasion.

Heather and I exchanged quite a few emails as we made plans for their special day. She told me ‘their’ story and a connection was made. We were not strangers, I was welcoming friends when she and Rob arrived at our retreat center, RiverMist.

Many couples are stressed and cannot fully enjoy their wedding day. Not so for these two… 

It was obvious they were very much in love and ready to be husband and wife!


Together we created a ceremony that was a true reflection of their personalities and special love. 

Speaking of personalities, check out these socks and shoes.

We used a ring blessing that included the four elements, earth, wind, air and fire. Air for hopes and dreams; Fire for the spark of love; Water for harmony and healing; and Earth for strength.

We concluded the ceremony with the couple tossing blessings stones into the creek as they recited the following blessing:

From this day forward,
Let us laugh together
And plan together.
Let us find our favorite places
And go together.
Let us enjoy the sunshine and the rain
Being alone together and in crowds together.
From this day forward, together.. Let us love!
It can be difficult planning a destination wedding. To be honest, sometimes it takes a leap of faith.. I received this email from Heather and Rob and have to share it.

Hey Victoria!!!
We are doing FABULOUS! Literally on Cloud 9, both of us. We are most graciously thankful for you and Guy. It felt like family there and that was perfect for us. I'm just so ecstatic about how everything turned out. I couldn't be happier, that is one day, one memory, that will always be a great and happy one for us to relive. We look forward to coming back and have talked about it for summer and even as an anniversary next year. So, we will definitely see you again!!

We put the picture that "we knew was the one" with our hands up and mouths open as a Facebook profile picture and put ‘surprise’ as the caption. We have had over 74 responses. It's been crazy, but it's perfect. Exactly what we wanted there too.

Thanks too for the quick mailing of the license, that was awesome!

Thanks again you two!! Heather & Rob

And now…..  the ‘surprise’ photo.
It’s no surprise these two are together…