When we spotted a photo in our Style Gallery of a fairy wing-bedecked bride, we simply had to find out more about the incredible couple behind this whimsical woodland wedding. Read on to learn more about Shannyn and Nathan’s true love story…
All photos by Chris Dowsett.
Let’s start at the beginning: how did you two meet?
We were married August 15, 2015 in my father’s backyard in Okotoks Alberta. We’d both decided to take it easy and just casually date for a while when we met on Plenty of Fish — and as corny as it sounds, I had a pretty good feeling from very early on that I wanted to stick it out with him.
Now, I didn’t even want a wedding…no stag, no bridal shower, no big bills. I am not a typical girl, I guess. No big proposal and no engagement ring, just two people who decided together to become family by law, and then set a date to do it 🙂 I think that’s a special kind of romantic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I did end up being convinced to have a wedding, but I still bucked tradition where I could! No dance, no toasts, it was very casual. Nathan and I greeted guests together as they arrived, and I wore a cute dress I got from ModCloth. My second dress was purchased from a Canadian designer off of Etsy. Both were simple and I felt absolutely beautiful. I wore no shoes for most of the day, except rain boots in the woods for pictures.
Tell us more about the theme of the big day!
Our day was garden-themed: fairies and gnomes and flowers. We were all supposed to be outside, have a bonfire, roast marshmallows, and play games. HA! Mother nature played two hands. First, a deer showed up about a week before the wedding and ate most of the flowers we grew all summer. And second, it rained — a lot. To top that off, it was 15 degrees celsius. So, a last-minute reorganization meant tons of tarps, and most things inside. All the decor I had carefully made by hand over the previous year was not looking at all as planned. I was crushed. It took my good friend to sit me down and remind me that this wedding wasn’t for me, it was a gift for Nathan and my father, as they had wanted the larger celebration. She told me, “Just breathe and go do the only part you were actually so excited for: marry your best friend.”
Your something new, borrowed, and blue?
Something new and blue was my bouquet: a collection of felt flowers with one big blue one on the side that my cousin made. It’s so lovely and something I get to keep forever.
Our wedding was small, 50 people at my fathers home. My three best friends and Nathan’s best man held a canopy over us as we were married. This canopy was special, as it was made of the train from my mother’s wedding dress. She passed away in 1996. So, that’s my something old.
And here are all the special deals we got: Free venue (my dad’s home could not have worked better). My brother (a gifted artist) was our photographer. Our friend, who is a chef, gifted the preparation of food.
Anything unexpected about that day?
The biggest surprise of the day was receiving a card from my mother congratulating me and wishing me love. As I said, she passed away in 1996, and before she died she had written this card. My dad had saved it for a long time. There were a lot of tears from all, and it was a great time to remember her and how special she was to all of us. I missed her on this day, and I think it was a large part of why I didn’t want to do many traditional things. I didn’t have my mom to do them with. I don’t believe in an afterlife, but the effort my mom put into making sure we felt her love at important crossroads has always amazed me. My brother smiled, now knowing that when he found his bride, he would have a gift from my mom, as well.
Any tips for future newlyweds?
Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but here is what we forget in planning: the day is about love. Everyone that is there is there because they love you. And rain or shine, the only real point is to get married. The day is fun if you can let go and enjoy it. Just let everyone help! Let everyone be a part! In the end, that’s what I remember most: all the people who came together to save the day! Draping the yard, taking furniture to the garage, lugging everything around and keeping me sane. The next day, bright and early, my family was there and we had that place cleaned up in no time flat. I was so grateful.
Be yourself. Don’t spend too much money. Try to remember the day is special, but it’s not the focus. The act of getting married is the focus, so plan together and make it both of yours.
Make your own traditions, because absolutely nothing except the legal vows are musts. Do whatever you want. Spend money on food and pictures. People will remember a yummy meal over anything, and you will want the pictures.
Also, I wore wings. ‘Cause why not? 🙂
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