Michelle & Shawn
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She had waited for this day for what seemed like forever. With her Monique Lhuillier dress hanging in the window and her friends by her side Michelle was ready to enjoy the day ahead.
As we walked into the room, the moms were sitting on the floor folding programs, champagne glasses were bubbling over, and laughter filled the air. It was the sight and sound of pure happiness.
Family is of the utmost importance to Michelle. It only seemed natural to have her mom, sisters, nieces there to help her get dressed. Her mom zipped her in her dress, her sweet niece assisted with her Christian Louboutin shoes (which she purchased on one of her work trips in Paris) and her sister slipped her garter on Michelle’s sleek leg. Her dad patiently waited in the hallway with her bouquet. With special charms attached he was going to present the bouquet to Michelle. There were such tender moments all throughout the day and so much love!
Shawn prepped downstairs at the Arctic Club…relatively calm. Thinking he had no special watch or cufflinks he was pleasantly surprised to open Michelle’s gift! With the help of his dad, Shawn swapped out his cufflinks and met his guys at the bar in the lobby. Having only one drink they toasted and Shawn headed upstairs for the first look.
Meanwhile Michelle was opening Shawn’s gift. Expecting only the gift (as he is not a big card writer) she pulled out the biggest note she had ever received and yep…written by Shawn. With tears streaming down her face she began to read ‘108 reasons I love you’. She knew that she knew, he is definitely the one for her!!
Michelle had wanted to do their first look on the balcony of her room…which coincidently overlooked Seattle with a view of Centurylink field. With the Seahawks having a playoff game why not celebrate both!
We snuck Shawn out to the balcony first greeted by his mom. They have such a special bond. Her first born, and Debbie couldn’t be more proud. Michelle wasn’t far behind. She was so excited she almost lost her veil as it caught in the crack of the pavement. That really didn’t stop her…she ran, he turned and they were both ecstatic. I found myself smiling so many times throughout their photos as they are both have contagious energy.
The weather was incredible for January in Seattle. Of course yes it was chilly, maybe even cold (as I stood in my parka and the ladies were in strapless dresses)…but it was dry!! Michelle was up for anything. We took in some of the sights around the block dodging traffic before it got too heavy with the game. Nothing could stop these two from smiling.
The bridal party joined us soon after and I must say were so fun to be around. Having photographed Shawn’s other two siblings in years past, and their spouses being in the wedding party as well, made for a comfortable, jovial atmosphere.
It wasn’t long before we had to head to St. James Cathedral for family photos and the ceremony. I could photograph around both of those areas for hours but unfortunately (as wedding days go) had limited time.
We were able to get some of the family photos done prior to the ceremony then entered the cathedral for their vows. St. James is stunning. Grand and elegant, and Michelle fit right in. With her dad walking her down the aisle Michelle continued to beam. She saw Shawn waiting at the end of the aisle and took his arm. They both have so many family and friends it is encouraging to see the support they have.
Everyone sat as they listened to the liturgy. Father Ryan speaking of love and commitment. Confirming they are ready for this step in their relationship. Next, exchanging vows, the rings and a kiss…they were pronounced Mr. & Mrs. and everyone cheered! They raced down the aisle and out the huge doors.
British Motor Coach provided a get away car for them to have a private ride back to the Arctic Club for the reception. Michelle and Shawn are fun…and when I say fun… I mean like up for anything. They are easy going and free spirited so when we suggested trying to take in some Seahawk pride they were totally up for the idea. We followed their car into a sea of tailgaters. With traffic being CRAAAAZY…we decided to find some random tents and hop out. Of course they were greeted with open arms. Fireball, jello shots, selfies, snapchats and cornhole. This is what I call making memories on your wedding day! Michelle and Shawn could not stop laughing…needing to get back, they hopped in the car ready for their reception!
As guests enjoyed cocktail hour Sarah with EVENTful Moments Event Planning had the Arctic Club Dome room ready for Michelle and Shawn to have the first peek at the décor. With hundreds of candles lit an overall golden glow filled the room. The metallic details along with soft textures provided the element of balance, mixing a few masculine items with floral feminine tablescapes.
It was exactly what Michelle had envisioned.
Throughout the whole day Michelle kept saying… ‘it feels like a movie, everything is so perfect and just what I wanted’. Who doesn’t want to feel that way on their wedding day!??
Their grand entrance was filled with many hugs and the look on their faces…PURE JOY. Enjoying their first dance right as husband and wife shortly after entering these two could hardly wait to get the party started.
Dinner was enjoyed followed by some emotional toasts. Shawn’s brother Brian recounted many childhood memories of ‘mostly’ looking up to his older brother. Michelle’s sister, only 10 months older than her shared her thankfulness for being so close both emotionally and physically with her sister. And Michelle’s parents…wonderful examples of love and togetherness and certainly a couple to admire.
As the mother-son and father-daughter dances were shared you could see the bonds and impact these parents have had on their children. It was an example of being present. You could see them simply in the moment.
The Cakewalk Shop provided the towering, floral, 4-tier cake…they were kind to each other as they served each other and kissed!
The music shifted and DJ Danny opened the dance floor. Michelle is one bride who took advantage of the time with her friends and family. Dancing up a storm she was center stage most of the night (with the exception of a people doing the worm, or karaoke to ‘Sweet Caroline’).
Celebrating the Seahawks win that day, Sarah and I decided to slip on some Seahawk onesies I had received for Christmas. Nothing could steal the show from Michelle and Shawn but we simply crashed the dance floor for a moment and joined them in a celebratory ‘Blue and Green Anthem’ dance!
The night ended to Michelle and Shawn running down the stairs at the Arctic Club through a crowd of streamers.
They are soaking in life as Mr. & Mrs. until they leave on their honeymoon in a couple of weeks…destination unknown. Gotta love surprise gifts right…Michelle’s only request…WARM!
Michelle & Shawn, you are kind, generous, and know how to laugh. You are authentic and make others comfortable. Your love for life and each other is very evident in all you do. We feel so blessed to be welcomed into your family and now that all of you siblings are married off we will be over for game night!!