• October 2012 Archive •

A Memory & Tattoo is Forever

I sat staring at her for what seemed like hours. I delicately swept my fingertips across her forehead while brushing back the fragile hairs from her face. I watched with a combination of anticipation and relief as her chest expanded and slowly collapsed. The length between each breath had been maxed and I fully expected the next to be her last.

During my previous visit she had managed to mutter “I’ve missed you too.” No four words have ever evoked such immediate and raw emotion. I stood at the foot of her bed and wept, knowing in that very moment that those were the sweetest words I’d never again hear her say.

She was so beautiful. And even as her health declined and her body weakened, not a single wrinkle graced her face. 86 years had been more than kind to her. Time had prepared me as best as it could. The shock from the stroke that rattled the family four years ago and left half of her body paralyzed had worn off. We knew the natural course of life would eventually trump her unbelievable will to live and on September 25, she fixated her eyes toward heaven and accepted that it was her time.

After she passed in the very home she occupied for 41 years, I sat surrounded by my family and soaked in those invaluable hours spent with them without distractions. I looked around at a house filled with trinkets and furniture and realized the only thing I honestly valued were the memories I had made growing up at 189 Cedar Valley Road and the people that shared those memories with me. The Christmases spent with my family by the fireplace. The after church Sunday dinners prepared by my Meme. Playing kick the can in the front yard. Sneaking into the attic with my cousins to rummage through my grandfather’s Playboy collection. Painting my Meme’s fingernails while watching The Young & the Restless. Although the visual didn’t mean much to me at the time, when I close my eyes, I can still see my grandfather sitting on the front porch in “his” chair and my grandmother lounging on the porch swing. None of the things inside the house matter. It’s the time I spent there that counts.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the time we’re given and about how true the passage read at her funeral is: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3

Time. It flies. It’s either classified as quality or wasted. It’s money. It’s a teacher. It heals all wounds while simultaneously slipping away. It’s either once upon it or just in the nick of it. Sometimes it’s the the only thing that will tell. We all have a predetermined number of days and with each passing minute we’re one step closer to the second hand clocking out.

Sometimes a life changing event makes us do something crazy. For me, I wanted a daily reminder of where I came from and what I’ve experienced. I wanted to look down at any point during the day and remember a specific moment in time. I wanted encouragement to keep trying and to keep maximizing the time I have left. I wanted something to represent my secrets, my success, my future and most importantly, my family. When my cousin Kristin and I found a tiny skeleton key hanging from a lamp in my grandmother’s house, I knew I had found the perfect inspiration for something as equally as permanent as a memory – a tattoo.

It’s completely out of character for me and yet I don’t have an ounce of regret. I smile because it wasn’t a reckless decision but rather a calculated attempt to never forget what’s important to me. Every time I look at my wrist I think about how tightly I was clinching my cousin’s hand while sitting in the chair and remember an experience I’ll never share with anyone else. I think about my entire family gathered together at my grandmother’s funeral as the dandelions danced in the wind. I remember a house built on time spent together and overflowing with memories. And most fondly, I think about my beautiful Meme and her brutal honesty, her breathtaking appearance, her unparalleled cooking, her devotion to my grandfather, her love for animals and her handmade, homegrown, loving and beautiful family.

xoxo, Priscilla
Founders Hall Wedding in Charlotte, North Carolina

I love new beginnings.  A new month.  A new season.  A new opportunity to step out on the right foot and keep moving forward.  In honor of turning over a new leaf, you’re going to see some changes around these parts and I can’t wait.

The biggest and most notable change is going to be this very blog.  It’s been lonely and deprived recently.  I encourage you to keep checking back because this thing is about to burst wide open with all kinds of goodies.

We’re kicking off this overhaul of the Orangerie Events Freshly Squeezed Blog by featuring one of our favorite Charlotte weddings from this past year.  One of the many perks of wedding planning is being a part of the creative design process. We’ve done it all. Everything from extravagant decorations and perfectly orchestrated details to wacky themes and downright silly touches. The good, the bad and the ugly (well hopefully not the bad or the ugly), we love the details that make a wedding personalized and tell every couple’s unique story.  But there is something to be said for simple elegance. It is the perfect harmony of understated and bold. Chris and Ashleigh’s Charlotte wedding encompassed this beautiful balance.

Chris and Ashleigh were married at Founder’s Hall in the heart of Charlotte on a lovely Saturday evening in April.  Complete with finishing beauty touches from makeup artist, Genna Poletto, Ashleigh was a vision in white walking down the aisle. The ceremony was the perfect reflection of the couple, intimate, full of love and emotion and completely heart felt. The celebration continued into the night at the reception also held at Founders Hall. The couple’s simple elegance was beautifully complimented by the floral arrangements provided by Lily Greenthumb’s. Guests put on their boogie shoes and danced the night away to tunes provided bySplit Second Sound. The celebration of Chris and Ashleigh’s nuptials was completed by a gorgeous cake from the very talented Cake Lady Jill.  In addition to the impeccable wedding cake, guests also enjoyed another sweet treat, personalized cookie wedding favors!

We take a lot in life for granted.  But it’s evident through these pictures that Ashleigh didn’t take a single moment of her wedding day for granted.  Here’s a little back story straight from the bride talking about what it meant to have her dad walk her down the aisle.

“In July 2008, my dad was diagnosed with a stage IV GBM brain tumor–a very aggressive type of cancer. Upon hearing this news, my world came crashing down around me and I felt helpless and hopeless. The doctors told us he probably had 6 months to 1 year to live. What else can you do at that point but begin praying and rally the support of friends & family?  And that’s exactly what we did. It has been a long,hard road with plenty of ups and downs, but here we are, four years later and my dad is living proof that our God is a God of miracles, and through the power of prayer and the love  and support of family and friends, he is here to give me away on my wedding day. I am truly blessed to have had my dad walk me down the aisle and to share in a memory that I will forever cherish.”

Photographer Tara Mauldin perfectly captured that moment for Ashleigh and her dad as well as the essence of this lovely wedding.  Although there are plenty of pictures in color from their wedding, these photos in black and white film showcase the sheer elegance of the entire evening.


Photographer: Tara Mauldin

Venue: Founders Hall

DJ: Split Second Sound

Cake: Cake Lady Jill

Florist: Lily Greenthumbs

Make Up Artist: Genna Poletto

Charlotte Wedding Planner: Orangerie Events

xoxo, Priscilla