12.6.08 Dutchess Manor Kerri & Chris

Jeff and I peeked out the bay windows of the Dutchess Manor ballroom at Kerri as she posed for photos outside in her wedding gown and a white faux fur wrap. Mark from Majestic Studios shooed away from her soon-to-be husband, Chris, until the ceremony.

Though the weather was clear, the air smelled of snow and the sky had the sharp gray cast of winter.

Jeff played acoustic guitar for the guests as they filed in to the ballroom for the ceremony and Judge Chase took his place at the front. “Like all brides on their wedding day, she has the option to keep us waiting. And the bride has decided to pick up that option.”

The guests chuckled. Jeff strummed his version of Canon in D for the Matron of Honor’s procession down the aisle. The ring bearer trailed behind her, followed by the tiny flower girl, who wandered around the broad aisle, forgetting to drop her flowers until she was reminded by her mother.

Finally, Kerri entered the room on her father’s arm and the guests stood in hushed reverence as Jeff played his version of the touching song, “Such Great Heights” by Iron and Wine. Kerri flashed a quick smile at Jeff as she passed on her way to meet Chris at the end of the aisle.

The couple had written their own vows, and Chris recited his from memory, with a volume and clarity that bespoke the certainty of his commitment.

After the ceremony, guests spilled into the bar and cocktail room where songs from Kerri and Chris’ music collection played, including Death Cab For Cutie, Ben Folds, Smashing Pumpkins and Simon and Garfunkel.

WINTER CENTERPIECE IDEAS: Instead of traditional flower arrangements, Kerri and Chris filled glass vases with red and gold ornaments and mounted a candle on top, an elegant winter wonderland wedding touch.

I was overjoyed to read the love letters Kerri and Chris had written for each other. Both referred to their journey through the ten years since they’d met. Their words were so romantic and heart-felt that I’ve just got to quote some of my favorite parts.

Kerri:

“We have always kept real perspective of the fact that we are choosing to spend our life, this one life we have, together. The vows we made today are promises we have always made, without the formality of words.”

Chris’ dedication began with a warning to family and friends to prepare themselves for a level of romantic sentiment they are unaccustomed to hearing from him. Then:

“After ten years, having spent the vast majority of those 3,653 days together, I can still say without hesitation that I love you. I always feel strange when we’re congratulated about that, as if staying together has been some kind of challenge or obstacle to be overcome. I’ve never seen it that way, because loving you has been the easiest, most natural thing I’ve ever done.”

Kerri’s eyes filled with tears as she listened to his words.

After being touch by the love of such a couple, the guests couldn’t help but enjoy themselves. Instead of kissing on command when their guests clinked their glasses, Kerri and Chris asked me to inform the crowd that they would have to “earn” a kiss by singing a song with the word “love” in it…into the microphone. This resulted in a lovely, off-key serenade by Chris’ brother and two friends, the three of them linking arms and singing “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” by Bryan Adams.

CAKE ALTERNATIVE: Kerri and Chris treated their guests to lemon and hazelnut cup cakes for dessert, stacked in tiers behind their sweetheart table. They opted not to “cut the cupcake,” but invited guests up to help themselves while the staff served chocolate covered strawberries to each table.

I am so grateful to be a part of Kerri and Chris’ unfolding story. Thanks, guys!

Dutchess Manor

Photos by Majestic Studios

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