Category: Weddings

“May the 4th Be With You!”

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When I first met with Allyson and Rob I asked them why they chose their wedding date… May 4th. Rob said, “Well, we were looking at May 3rd, but May 4th is Star Wars day, soooooo…” LOL! They were such a fun couple from the very start!

Allyson and Rob were newcomers to Raleigh and while they hadn’t been in the city long, they had already fallen in love with Pullen Park! The gazebo over the lake was the perfect spot for their springtime violet and white ceremony.

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Their wedding day was beautiful and sunny, so the park was packed! Here are some park goers enjoying the paddle boats around the lake.

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When I met the happy couple at the park earlier in the week for a run-through, we decided to make the best use of the beautiful bridges that were on either side of the gazebo. The groom and I came across one side, followed by the best man and maid of honor who met up in the middle, and finally the bride and her father made their grand entrance. It was beautiful!

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Rob and Allyson chose to include a sand ceremony… although there was a little mishap on their way to the park. The bag with the glass vials fell and the glass broke! EEeekk! Emergency trip to Michaels! Thankfully the personalized shadowbox was preserved. I just love this look for displaying the sand in your home later.

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Allyson and Rob also chose to write their own vows. While Rob was reading his vows he pulled a small stuffed alpaca from his pocket and handed it to Allyson. This was some kind of inside joke that left Allyson laughing with tears streaming down her face. It was so sweet!

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Many of the couples’ guests came from out of town, so there was a lot of talk about what a beautiful city Raleigh is and what a perfect setting the park was a wedding! Allyson and Rob were kind enough to leave this review for me on Wedding Wire:

“We recently had a wedding this past May with Katherine Edwards presiding as our officiant. From the very beginning the entire process was fun and exciting. We chose to have a non-religious ceremony in a park with about 30 people in attendance.
The initial meeting and discussing of ceremony with Katherine was comforting and informative, she helped us understand the scope of the event and the areas at which we could customize it to make it personal. She was able to offer us a number of ceremony templates she created to help direct the ceremony into the tone and sentiment we wanted.
We had a run through with the event the Tuesday before our wedding. Here Katherine really helped us to flesh out the structure of the event and coordinate the ceremony. She helped us figure out how to take advantage of the location, in our case use the local bridges to orchestrate a grand entrance for both parties. We discussed and finalized where people will stand and where we will have our sand ceremony so that all of our attendants would be able to see and hear us.
With all of her help the ceremony went perfectly and we had the exact wedding we wanted. Working with Katherine there were no compromises, she helped us create a ceremony we wanted and one that was enjoyed by all our families.”

Thank you, Allyson & Rob, for allowing me to be a part of your special day! Congratulations!

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Aqua & Burlap Wedding at the Lillington VFW

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Any wedding officiant will tell you that April and May can get pretty crazy. Saturday, April 19th of this year was my first day with three ceremonies! After Lisa & Rodney’s elopement in Selma and Stephanie & Andrew’s Second Empire ceremony, I headed to Lillington to marry Crystal and Brad!

When Crystal first got in touch with me, I told her I wasn’t available for her date because I had just gotten another request for the same date and time from anther couple. Well, come to find out that other request was for April 19th, 2015! Next year! (I’ve learned to look at my emails a little closer now…) So when I got back in touch with Crystal she was happy that it had worked out after all!

When I first met with Crystal and Brad (and Crystal’s son Michael!) she told me their colors were aqua and burlap. I couldn’t wait to see that combo! And Crystal certainly did not disappoint as she had so many wonderful details!

It was my first time at the Lillington VFW and I was very impressed with how easy it was to find, the ample parking, and the beautiful ceremony/reception space. The wood floors and long room make it the perfect space for a ceremony at one end and reception at the other. The chairs are simply cleared away following the ceremony and you have a dance floor. Perfect!

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The ceremony was held in front of the fire place, which you can see here behind the adorable couple!

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Crystal and Brad opted to have a sand ceremony  in order to include Crystal’s son, Michael. Brad has two daughters who couldn’t be in attendance, so when Michael poured his sand I said, “This vial of sand represents you, Kiersten, and Kendall.” That way all of the children were included, even if they were not at the ceremony.

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Don’t you just love the burlap and aqua combo?

Crystal and Brad, you guys were wonderful to work with and such a fun couple! Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of your special day!

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Interfaith Ceremony at NC Wesleyan College

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On Saturday, April 5th, I officiated my second Jewish-Christian interfaith wedding ceremony. It took place in the quaint Leon Russell Chapel on NC Wesleyan College’s campus on an absolutely perfect spring day! The couple chose lavender and a pastel green as their colors which was just lovely for the season.

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I love interfaith ceremonies, because they are so rich with tradition and culture from each of the couple’s backgrounds. Amber and Ari chose the “Completely Custom” package and I’m so glad they did! They had such an amazing story of how they met, and sharing it during their ceremony hardly left a dry eye in the chapel. The custom package also allowed them to include all of the traditions they wanted, including a chuppah, wine ceremony, unity candle, and breaking the glass. It also included a special remembrance for both the bride and groom’s father, both of whom passed away from lung cancer.

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The chuppah was lovingly made by Amber and her mother. They used PVC pipe to keep it lightweight and easy to move since it was relocated to the reception for pictures following the ceremony. I thought that was pretty smart! During the ceremony, I gave guests the following explanation of the chuppah:

“In front of us is a beautiful chuppah. The chuppah represents the home. Its four poles symbolize the four pillars upon which a strong marriage is built: family, friendship, love and respect. A shelter that is open on all sides we see as an invitation and a sign of welcome to those we love. The chuppah’s delicate structure reminds those beneath it, that the only thing real about a home is the people in it, who love and who choose to be together as a family.”

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During the ceremony, the couple participated in a unity candle ceremony, which is commonly included in Christian wedding ceremonies. There are several ways to do the unity candle, and Amber and Ari chose to leave the original taper flames burning after their unity candle in the middle was lit. For this, I gave the following explanation during the ceremony:

“Although you are now entering into a marriage relationship, you do not, however, lose your personal identity. Rather, you will use your special individuality to create and strengthen the relationship of marriage. Therefore all three candles remain glowing. The individual candles represent all that makes each of you the wonderful and unique person the other admires and respects. The Unity candle in the center symbolizes the union of your lives, families, and friends, as well as your shining commitment to each other, and to a lasting and loving marriage.”

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Following the unity candle was the ring exchange, then the wine ceremony. The wine ceremony is traditionally included in Jewish wedding ceremonies. There are also several ways the wine ceremony can be done – I like to give my couples lots of options! Amber and Ari chose the single goblet that they shared from. I love the closing wording for the wine ceremony done with the single goblet: “As you have shared the wine from this goblet, so may you share your lives. May you find life’s joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and all of life enriched by God’s blessings upon you.”

The ceremony was concluded with the traditional Jewish breaking of the glass, which I also explained for guests: “The traditional breaking of the glass which marks the end of the ceremony, is a reminder of both the strength and the fragility of the spiritual bond that is marriage. It is a reminder to appreciate all that we have now, to embrace change, and to always hold the important things in life above all else. As the glass is broken, I invite everyone to shout “Mazel Tov,” which means “congratulations and good luck.”

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There was one hiccup in the ceremony, and that was right before the vows when one of the groomsmen passed out. It was warm in the chapel and the bride suspected he was not well hydrated. After a brief pause to tend to him and call EMS, the ceremony continued. I have to say the bridal party took what could have been a stressful situation and turned it around when they gave bubbles to the paramedics so that they could participate in the fanfare when the couple left the chapel! I know the photographer got some great shots of that!

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Rainy Blue & Gold Backyard Ceremony

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Have you guys noticed a theme from my blog posts recently? RAIN! That’s what you get with spring in North Carolina…

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Well, it struck again on March 29th for Jessica and Jeff’s backyard ceremony in Raleigh. With a few days to go before the wedding, they realized they were going to need a rain back up plan for what was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony. They ordered a tent for the reception and moved the ceremony inside. When I stepped out their back door and looked out onto a soggy, mud-covered field with a tent sitting in the middle of it…. I’m not gonna lie. I was a little worried! But they knew what they were doing…

Just that morning they spread a dozen hay bails all over the ground under the tent and laid vinyl tiles in a path on the ground leading out to the tent. It worked perfectly to keep guests feet dry and honestly, it added to the atmosphere! When I stepped into the tent my breath was taken away by what a beautiful job they had done. I wish I had snapped some pictures, but hopefully I will get some from their photographer. Their theme was blue & gold (West Virginia fans!) and they did such an awesome job turning the space under the tent into a wedding wonderland. They were married under a blue & gold decorated arch on the dance floor while family sat in chairs in rows up front and friends sat at the round tables meant for the reception later. It was perfect! And such a seamless transition from ceremony to reception.

Their ceremony was living proof that rain does not have to ruin your plans! But with that being said… let’s bring on the sunshine, please!

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Rainy Day Wedding at Lake Wheeler

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Lisa and Josh braved the elements on Sunday, March 23rd to get married at Lake Wheeler in Raleigh. The Saturday before was gorgeous, sunny and 75 degrees, but a cold front brought rain and cold temps overnight and into Sunday. The happy couple didn’t let that put a “damper” on their big day though, and everything went off without a hitch. Of course, a lot of that has to do with a good rain backup plan! The conference room, veranda, and deck at Lake Wheeler can all be rented through the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. One nice thing about this spot is there is a big shaded playground just behind the main building, which is GREAT for weddings with a lot of kids who will want to run wild during the reception.

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While the original plan was to have the ceremony on the deck, it was easy enough to move everything to inside the conference room. The couple and family were still able to use the covered veranda for their photos, so they had the tranquil lake in the background, which will turn out beautifully!

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There is one other spot at in Lake Wheeler Park I wanted to share… there is a little outdoor amphitheater in the middle of one of the parking areas on the left as soon as you enter the park. While this area can’t be formally rented through the city, it is “first come, first served” and would be a great option for the couple on a tight budget and with a small guest list. The only downside is that it is literally in the middle of the parking lot, so you would have cars all around you during the ceremony. On a quiet day like Sunday though, that wouldn’t be an issue. I am told this was an Eagle Scout project. Nicely done!

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Congratulations to Lisa and Josh!

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Honor Thy Mother and Father

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I performed a very sweet at-home elopement in Clayton this past weekend. With the elopement package I usually do not meet the couple in advance and don’t know a whole lot about their story. I always arrive early though and usually get a quick run down of how the day came to be. On this particular day I was seated at the dining room table completing the marriage license while waiting for the festivities to begin. With me were the two witnesses, the Groom’s mother and father. I commented on the beautiful wedding cake in the middle of the table and asked what the writing on it meant. On one side it had the year 1969 and on the other it had 2014. The groom’s mother told me that she and her husband had been married 45 years ago that day! When discussing possible wedding dates with her son she had joked, “You could get married the same day we did!” She wasn’t serious, but her son thought it was a great idea. The cake… well, the cake was just a very sweet surprise for the groom’s parents. The couple wanted to honor them and their anniversary, as well as their new marriage. What a wonderful gesture!

Of course, the men just thought it was great that they would have someone else to help them remember their anniversary!

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A Snowy Valentine’s Day Wedding

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There is a saying around these parts… “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes!” In this case, the span of 7 days meant the difference between snow and ice on the ground with lows in the 20s to thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and highs in the upper 60s! So even though it may feel like I married Amy and Scott a season ago, it was just last week. On Valentine’s Day, in fact!

I first “met” Amy through an email in which she was asking for advice about smaller venues that would accommodate an intimate mostly-family wedding and on relatively short notice. And as is usually the case, there was a budget to stick to! For these situations I always recommend checking with the Parks and Recreation department in the town where you are getting married. Raleigh Parks and Rec in particular has some absolutely fantastic venues at very affordable rental rates. One of these is St. Mark’s Chapel in Mordecai Park in downtown Raleigh.

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This beautiful little chapel can accommodate up to 55 people, needs minimal decorations, and rents for only $100 per hour if you are a Raleigh resident. When you rent the chapel, you also get the little building next door for the bridal party to get ready. Amy really lucked out, as there was a last minute Valentine’s Day cancellation, so this beauty of a venue was hers for the taking!

When I arrived on the scene last Friday, Scott and Amy had just done their “first peek!” and were taking their formals. Their photographer was none other than Amber of Maya Ana Photography. Amber offers some outrageously good photography deals to my couples having small weddings. Check them out here!

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I loved the intimate feeling inside of the chapel, and Amy did a beautiful job setting the mood with lots of (battery operated!) votive candles on the altar. The ceremony itself was the “Completely Custom” package, meaning it was written especially for Amy and Scott to reflect their personalities, their love story, and include their children in a special sand ceremony. Amy and Scott also chose to write their own vows. I think the best part of the ceremony was when Amy surprised Scott with a song! After she finished reading her vows, I led into the song with: “Victor Hugo once said, ‘Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to remain silent.’ With that in mind, Amy would like to share a special song for Scott…” Amy and Scott are musicians and music is a passion for both of them. It was really the perfect, special gift for Amy to share during the ceremony. I love those personal touches!

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A Chinese New Year Wedding at the Het Landhuis

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I had the pleasure of marrying a wonderful couple on Friday, January 31st at the Het Landhuis in Pittsboro. If you aren’t familiar with that venue, check out their website here. There are so many cool things about the Het Landhuis, it is hard to know where to start! I think what I like most is that this is really like 6 or 8 venues in one! There are a number of really beautiful spots to get married on the property, including the veranda near the pond, the under the huge pecan tree, in front of one of the historic guest houses, inside the barn, or on the lawn beside the barn in front of the massive gates… so many choices! There are both indoor and outdoor cocktail hour and reception options as well.

photo(2)_editedThe Barn nearing sunset.

I also LOVE that this is a family operation! The property has been in the family for 14 years and has been lovingly restored over that time. Lisa, the owner, is wonderful to work with and Beth, her sister, is available as a day-of coordinator for your big day! Their father did all of the absolutely breathtaking iron work on the property. It is really such a cool place. There are a lot of neat little touches as well, like the engraved bricks found throughout the property, one for each couple that was married there. Couples also receive a bottle of wine made from grapes grown on the property! You can tell a lot of thought and personal unique touches go into each wedding here.

It was actually day-of coordinator Beth and her fiance, Patrick, who I was honored to marry on the 31st. They chose the upstairs of the barn for a small family event, utilizing the space for both their ceremony and reception. They incorporated a Chinese New Year theme with Chinese food for the reception, gorgeous decorations including Chinese fans and Japanese lanterns, cute little favor boxes made from chinese take out boxes, and a really yummy almond cookie stick from Korea called “Pepero.” (I ate more than one of those!)

Boyd Tillett 1 31 14Me and the happy couple after the ceremony.

I think by far my favorite part of the evening was when Beth and Patrick recessed (danced, rather!) down the aisle to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On!” I do love a fun recessional. Its a celebration, right?!

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A Pink and Blue Wedding by the Sea

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I love weddings and I love the beach, so I was in heaven on October 26th when I had the honor of marrying Ginny and Robbie on Carolina Beach. The happy couple couldn’t have asked for better weather… 65 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze. They had the help of Beachside Occasions to transform the beach in front of the Marriott into a wedding oasis. It was absolutely beautiful!

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The start to the weekend was quite a bit chillier… 50 degrees and SUPER windy on Friday for the rehearsal. We got through the ceremony one time when the maid of honor asked, “Can we run through it again?” This caused some moaning and groaning among the rest of the bridal party (I don’t think any of us were prepared for that chilly weather), but she took the words right out of my mouth! I always like to run through twice. The first time there is a lot of pausing, instructing, and explaining. The second time through should be quick and smooth, like the wedding day!


The ceremony itself was wonderful! Ginny and Robbie chose the “completely custom” package, so every word was chosen with them in mind. They played a very big role in the crafting of the ceremony over the course of several weeks until it was perfect. They also chose to write their own vows, which made it even more personal. My favorite part of the day was the shell casting ceremony, which is a relatively new and VERY cool addition to a beach wedding.

As with all wedding rituals, there are different ways to handle it for your specific setup. Ginny and Robbie chose to place programs on each seat, with a seashell on top holding it down. They had walked the beach and hand picked the shells themselves earlier in the week. (How sweet!) As the officiant, my role was to explain the tradition at the start of the ceremony, and to give instruction at the end.

On your seat when you arrived was a seashell. Ginny and Robbie ask that you hold the seashell in your hands during their ceremony and make a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for their marriage. At the end of their ceremony today, we will participate in a shell casting together.

The rest of the ceremony continued as usual, and at the end I said, “Ginny and Robbie ask that you join them at the water’s edge so that we may cast our shells into the sea together. When the bridal party recesses, please follow them and wait for the cue to cast your shell.”

Down by the water, the photographer took over with lining up guests and giving the cue at the perfect moment for that perfect shot. Another option for this ceremony is to have the guests pick out the shells themselves. This would work better with a smaller guest list.


The happy couple took off the next morning for a honeymoon adventure, traveling from the sea to the mountains of North Carolina. Asheville and the Biltmore Estate were on their list of must-visit places. There is no better time of year! Congratulations Ginny and Robbie!

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I am an ordained minister available for spiritual, Christian, non-denominational, interfaith, and civil or non-religious wedding ceremonies. I am based in Garner, North Carolina and serve the surrounding area, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Wendell, and Knightdale.

An Autumn Backyard Wedding + Ring Warming Ceremony

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I love an autumn wedding! I was married in October and took the seasonal theme as far as I could with oranges, browns, and yellows… pumpkins, hay bails, and burlap… caramel apples, barbeque pork, and s’mores around a campfire. You get the idea!

On Saturday, October 5th, 2013 I was fortunate enough to officiate a beautiful autumn wedding in the high country of North Carolina. There is no better place to be in the fall, is there? Lindsay and Evan chose to have their ceremony and reception in Evan’s parent’s beautifully landscaped backyard. A covered deck was finished just for the event, and Evan’s mother, Porsha, used reclaimed objects from an old family barn, as well as accents of wicker, burlap, and mason jars to completely transform the area.

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The couple chose to incorporate a beautiful, intimate tradition into their wedding called a ring warming ceremony (or, “warming of the rings”). In a ring warming ceremony, the officiant lets guests know at the beginning of the ceremony that the rings are making their way through the assembled guests. Guests are asked to hold the rings for a moment, say a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for the couple, and pass the rings to the next guest. The rings make their way to the front and are brought forward when the officiant asks for them. It is a beautiful way to involve all of your guests in your ceremony!

Ring Warming

A few options for ring warming wording:

Option 1 from The Wedding Gurus

Option 2 includes logistics

Option 3 with a family twist + video link

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