Welcome to Shannon and Kevin’s Real Wedding Story held at Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, Massachusetts. They describe their wedding day firsthand from our interview.
When was your wedding? 4/20/2012.
What made you choose your wedding date? It was one of the last available dates for the venue which we really loved and it was one of the most affordable for us.
What was the weather like, and was it what you hoped for? How did it impact your day? Being that it was April in New England we didn’t know what to expect! We figured there was a 50/50 shot of sunny warm weather or cold rainy weather. We were beyond thrilled to have had 75 degree weather and beautiful sun which allowed us to have our ceremony outside which is what we always wanted. It was nicer then we ever expected.
Who was your florist? Stephanie’s Floral Design.
What was the total guest count? Why did you pick the number of guests you did? Was it hard to get to that number? Our guest count was around 100 because we wanted it to be very intimidate. It wasn’t too hard to get it down to that number for us since Shannon’s family is small.
Where did you get your dress? Kleinfelds.
Who did your hair and makeup? Jessica Feeley of Essence Salon.
Where did you have your ceremony and reception? We had the ceremony in the garden at the Willowdale Estate. We had the reception at the Willowdale Estate.
Besides the “getting married” part, what was the most vivid memory of your wedding day? (Bride’s perspective) One month before our wedding I was hospitalized for blood clots in my leg, and lungs. It was really serious and required multiple surgeries and at the time they didn’t know if I would even be able to dance at my wedding since the clot had taken up my whole leg. During my time at the hospital Kevin never left my side, he was with me every step, even helping me walk and bath myself. One of the main thoughts that kept me going during that whole time was I just want to marry this man and make it down the aisle. So on the actual day of our wedding I think everyone was very emotional. I was so happy to finally be able to call this man my husband. Plus it was so amazing to be able to walk to him and to dance with him- which is more than we expected. Our wedding day really became not only a celebration of us and our relationship but a celebration of life- as cheesy as that sounds ha ha! It was a perfect day filled with love, family, laughter, great food, great drinks, and dancing.
Where did the men get their tuxes? Men’s Warehouse.
Who was your Officiant? Ann Marie Boltz.
Who was your coordinator or designer, (if any)? Willowdale, and the coordinator was Monique.
What do you remember most about the ceremony? So many things! I’m really close to my dad and he was cracking me up the whole time we were walking down the aisle, and calling Jerome the paparazzi! Then seeing Kevin’s face when I turned the corner was just awesome, he looked so handsome! But the best part had to be that the night before during rehearsal Kevin was looking all around when he was doing his vows so I joked and said you better look at me tomorrow during our vows, well he never looked away! He had this super serious eye lock on me that my first reaction was to giggle and then it was just all smiles and laughter from there. I also loved, loved all the readings especially my brother James. We hand-picked all of them, and they had a lot of meaning to us.
Besides the “getting married ” part, what was the most vivid memory of the day? (Groom’s perspective) According to Kevin his most vivid memory of the day was during the ring ceremony because that was the defining moment of when we were actually becoming husband and wife, which was the most meaningful and exciting part to him.
What regrets, (if any) do you have about the planning of your wedding and your decisions leading up to the day? I actually don’t regret anything. But, if I had to pick something I thought I could fit my dress into our car with all of the decorations and luggage and yeah that was a nightmare. I had to call a friend to pick it up and bring it to the hotel the day of the rehearsal because the bridal owner took one look at our over-packed SUV and said no way your wedding dress is going in there. Soooo I would probably have changed that poor decision.
What ended up being your favorite photo? There are so many from our wedding that its hard to pick, but there is one where its a picture of Kevin and I from the back and we are heading off to the woods walking arms linked while the sun is coming through the bottom of my dress. There is something about that photo that just feels like Kevin and I are just about to start this whole other chapter of our lives and it’s just a beautiful moment that Jerome captured.
Any advice to offer new brides and grooms to-be? Do not sweat the small stuff and remember that in the end it’s all about you and your partner!
Who was the entertainment? C-Zone DJ and guitar & sax trio.
What made your reception personalized to your own unique vision and expectations? We tried to add as many special touches as we could. Kevin is an avid craft beer maker so we served one of his beers with a special wedding label we made that day that everyone loved. For the drinks, we picked ones that we loved like dark and stormies, dirty martinis, the blushing bride. Because Willowdale was so cozy, I wanted it to feel like our home so I brought in pictures of our families, and our parents and grandparents wedding photos. Anybody who knows me, knows I love candy so we had a big candy bar buffet at the end of the night. And of course, one of the biggest things we wanted was a dance party so the music had to reflect my Jersey roots (Bon Jovi, Bruce) and our love of a good time.
What was the most memorable part of your photography experience with Studio1923? (From engagement all the way till now) I can not say enough good things about Jerome and Jen, they are just awesome. We loved our engagement session and it really put us at ease for our wedding to know we were in such good, talented hands. Jerome was not only the photographer but he was right there helping the guys with their ties, and the girls with their dresses, he was like our own wedding planner! He got so many fantastic photos and really captured everything that was important to us. I especially loved how he dealt with so many different family members and their personalities, which isn’t easy with our families! To this day we get compliments all the time on our photos and I think that’s really just because Studio 1923 is so talented and they make you feel so comfortable.
Where did you get your rings? Toodies in Quincy, Massachusetts.
What was the funniest thing that your remember happening? That the party didn’t end at the reception, it continued to the bar at the hotel where everyone stayed and people had taken not just bags of candy but the entire jars back with them! Also, my bridesmaids decided to wear their bridesmaid sashes as headbands later in the evening!
What part of the day do you want to do again and why? The whole thing! I loved just having all of those people in our life that we loved together having fun and supporting us. It was just such a great feeling.
Other Comments you would like to add….We went to Costa Rica for the Honeymoon.