We’re so excited to share this wedding with you today! Shannon and Jesse tied the knot on August 20th, 2011 in Greene, NY. Because Jesse’s grandmother believed weddings that happened on the hill where the happiest, Jesse and Shannon were married at his grandparents home (love that!).Read all about their wedding below and if you happen to fall in love with some of the decor, you’re in luck because a lot of it is listed for sale on BravoBride!
Where did you and your husband meet and how did you know he was the one?
In 2002, we were both working at retail store in Wilkes Barre, PA. While I was working at the front of the store, three firefighters came storming in the building. Why? It turns out that the anchor store in the strip mall had received a bomb threat.
Seriously? In Wilkes Barre? You also have to remember that this was 2002; it had not been a full year since the horrific events of 9-11 happened. Any kind of treat was treated with serious precaution.
Therefore we evacuated the store immediately and instructed employees to meet at the “safe point”.
Since all the employees had to go to the safe point, the Barnes and Noble across the parking lot, I decided to drive myself. Just as I was pulling away, I saw that the new guy (aka Jesse) standing by himself. Being nice, I asked Jes if he would like a ride to the Barnes and Noble.
We grabbed some coffee from Starbucks in Barnes and Noble and sat outside chatting. Over the next few weeks we talked to each other randomly in passing… “Well why don’t you go out with a guy like me?” He would ask.
“Because I’m afraid of losing brain cells” I would respond.
However one Friday everything changed. I was working a morning shift and Jes had the pleasure of closing. In passing I joke “So, when are you taking me out?”
“How about tonight”
“Umm… (long pause)… s..ur..e”
“Great, I’m closing tonight so why don’t we meet at Eddy’s at midnight.” The rest was history.
Jesse and I might do things a little backwards than most couples. We started living together in 2004, engaged in 2009 and married in 2011. I guess that we like to take our time before making big decisions.
The major reason for the long engagement period was we could not figure out what kind of wedding we wanted to host. We would look at blogs and fall in love with the destination beach weddings and dream of the warm sand between our toes. However, what beach? What country?
To add an additional twist into our wedding planning, my family (excluding my parents) lives in England. Jesse’s family lives in Upstate New York. Traditionally the couple gets married in the bride’s hometown, we grew up in Northern California, however currently we live in Philadelphia. So where do we host a wedding?
Growing up I was always jealous of friends that could run to Grandma’s house when they had a minor disagreement with their parents. Jesse comes from a huge and caring family. Here was my chance to get the extended family network I never had. It wasn’t easy; in fact it was quite overwhelming. So many personalities!
Every time we spent time with Jesse’s Grandmother, she always mentioned couples that got married on the “hill” had the best marriages. It didn’t matter where we were, we could be at one of her Grandchildren’s wedding and she would always tell us that the weddings that happen on the “hill” are the ones that last. In 2010, we were tired of trying to accommodate possible guests, tired of looking into elaborate elopement get-a-ways, and his Grandmothers words kept ringing in my ear. We had to get married on the “hill” – her hill – the one in her backyard.
What was your favorite memory of the day?
The day really flew by rather quickly. However, I have to say once I got out of the car, met my father in front of the house and started walking towards Jesse, the day was pretty magical. My dad and I had a quick chat on the walk down. “Shan, you doing alright? Are you nervous?”
“Dad, walk faster will you… we really don’t have all day for this?”
When we finally met up with the officiant and Jesse, it finally kicked in. OMG – everyone is looking at me. ECK! Then I started hearing the tears from my mother… oh geez, there goes my knees.
“Ha-ha, look she is finally shaking! She must be nervous after all.”
Thanks, Dad. I knew I could count on you to point out the obvious.
Honestly, I really didn’t expect to have all the emotions of the day to hit me right then and there. It did… like a ton of bricks! I don’t know if it is my favorite memory but it’s definitely the one that sticks out the most.
If you could do it all over again is there anything you would have done differently?
Overall, the wedding was wonderful! I am so glad that I convince Jes to have it at his grandparent’s home. The location was perfect and we could not have asked for better love and support from his extended family members.
Why did you decide to sell your wedding items?
Why not! I don’t need 13 lanterns hanging around my house!
Do you have any tips or suggestions to help brides while planning a wedding?
The idea of planning a wedding three hours away from where we lived actually stressed us out, so we decided to hire a wedding planner. Since we where on a budget, we arranged for her to provide us with vendor support, recommendations and handle the day of coordination. This was the best purchase we made for the wedding.
In order to help with the planning, I opened a Dropbox account to share files with our wedding planner. I would save blog posts that would evoke the style we like and drew sketches of what the tables should look like.
A wedding is about the union of a couple and the elements of the wedding should reflect the couple and their styles. We stressed over the details that we felt reflected us as a couple. We decided to embark on DIY projects that showcased our tastes and us. Many people think of DIY wedding projects and little things like tears of joy packages come to mind. Take a step back and really think about the elements that will add a true benefit to your event. It can be as simple as picking a non-traditional drink menu!
Since we are from Philadelphia, we decided to serve only Philadelphia area brewed craft beers including Victory’s “Summer Love”. Jesse built a table container so the beer could stand upright while in ice and he made the same style of containers for the wine selection.
I’m glad we chose to have cupcakes. We were able to have margarita flavored cake with a tequila frosting, a Guinness flavored cake with Bailey frosting and a purple velvet to tie in to the rest of the event.
One of the antiques that can be found in Jesse’s Grandmother home is an old fashion teacart. It has been used in every wedding held at the home since it was purchased, so we had to find a way to make it a feature in ours. We decided that it should showcase the three family weddings that took place on the hill prior to us. Since it is was painted black and we decided to brighten it up by adding milk vases and bright flowers to it. For an added treat we left a dish filled with mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, our favorite candy.
Since one of our reception tables featured painted Ikea lanterns, we used a large lantern in the same style and cut out a slot on top for our cards. For our guest book we made a guest tree. I made this myself by signing up for Adobe’s free 30-day software and played with purchased stock graphics for the tree. Since I had the free trial software, I then created postcards for each place setting explainimg our donation to Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society.
Our ceremony was a labor of love. It took the entire family to help with its creation. Jesse’s uncles regularly bale hay on their property, therefore we were able to use some of the bales for free! Jesse’s mom created the quilts to cover the hay, his father built the planter boxes, and his Aunt spent hours every week deadheading all the petunias to make sure the planters where nice and full for the wedding.
For a surprise to the family, we had set up a table of champagne in front of the ceremony sites. We displayed a picture of his Grandparent’s when they where young along side this poem, author unknown:
“Those we love don’t go away,
They walk beside us every day,
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed and very dear.
Please toast to their memory and the new ones we are about to create.”
So, why have champagne before the ceremony… well, why not? I was reading on a planning website that a champagne toast is the biggest waste of money at the reception. I totally agree, mostly because its after cocktail hour and I already have a drink in hand. This was the one element that our traditional style parents asked us about – Are you doing a champagne toast? Not wanting to say no, we decided that we would reinterpret the tradition.
Shannon and Jesse’s wedding vendors
Wedding Coordinator and Florist: Maria Montemagno, All Occasions by Maria Photography: Erin Abbey Photography / Entertainment: Request Mobile Music Officiant: M. Shane Cook / Cupcakes: Pixie Cakes / Catering: Terra Cotta Catering
Bride’s Dress: J.Crew / Groom’s Suit: Michael Kors / Hair & Make-Up: Bride DIY’ed