Today I get to share MY wedding! Three words…Dream Come True. Actually, two more words…SO blessed. And amazing and wonderful! Okay!…So there are a million words I could use to describe one of the most important days of my life.
It encompassed everything that Brad and I love…
Community. When we first started planning our wedding, we made the 200 people guest list. And honestly, whenever I had thought about what my wedding would look like, I had always imagined tons of people! But after much deliberation, we decided on a small wedding. (Also, 200 people wasn’t feasible at our venue. 50 was. Not to mention, we had two months to plan everything.) Don’t get me wrong, every person on that big guest list, holds such a special place in our heart, and it was hard not having EVERYONE there with us, but when the decision was made, we knew that our wedding day is just one day and we would have the rest of our lives to celebrate and share special moments with everyone around us! We’ve been overwhelmed by the support and love of so many through our journey and we are honoured to know some truly incredible people.
The Outdoors. Mountains. Fresh air. Trees. Nature. Most of the important conversations that Brad and I have had throughout our relationship have taken place in the great outdoors. I mean…Brad proposed to me in a canoe, in the middle of a lake…The surrounding trees and shining sun our audience! So, we knew we wanted to be married outside (which, in March, in BC, didn’t seem like the most realistic idea…But it was extremely important to us). So, our dear friends offered us their home. A beautiful hostel in the mountains. I grew up visiting there, so it holds memories of adventures and exploring. And when Brad and I, along with my parents, visited the hostel to finalize details, we knew it would be the perfect spot. Rustic and open and a home. And turns out, the sun shone down on us the whole weekend. The day of our wedding, a few snowflakes fell while the sun warmed us. It was perfect.
Candles. Well, this one is mostly something I love. Brad enjoys a romantic ambiance any day, but let me tell you, when he saw the hundreds of candles I was bringing for wedding decor, it took a bit of convincing. It was the one most important decor detail to me. Tons and tons of candles. And with the help of lots of hands, they all got lit, and nothing burned down! As long as there were hundreds of candles, I was a happy bride.
And oh so many more things that we love…Campfires, a guitar passed around a circle and songs sung loudly and softly, resting, delicious feasts, so many beautiful flowers, dancing, so much laughter, friends and family sharing stories and hearts, community coming together, everyone pitching in, coffee in the morning, a fire in the stove…
After loading all the vehicles to the brim with food, chairs and tables, plants and, of course, candles, we hit the road heading north. That drive was full of anticipation, excitement and complete comfort. That day and the next, we strung lights and garlands, we ironed table clothes, we set tables, we placed candles, and every time a car drove up the driveway, we ran to greet our wedding guests with hugs and joy. I had to keep reminding myself that they were all coming for our wedding! We were getting married, and that is why they had come! And every time I remembered that, gratefulness would almost bring me to tears. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled as much as I did that weekend.
I fell asleep the night before my wedding with a full heart and such comfort knowing that in every room of the great big cabin was someone I loved and someone who was excited for Brad and I. And waking up in the morning, the sun not yet rising, I pulled on my jacket and boots and walked down to our reception ‘bungalow’. I plugged in the strings of lights and sat at the piano and prayed. Thanking the Lord for the man I was about to make big promises to, for the friends and family who were up to the adventure, for Dani and Romy for opening their home, and for the hundreds of unlit candles carefully placed on each table. I walked back to the cabin, the sky beginning to lighten, filled my arms with buckets of flowers for bouquets and waited in the kitchen for people to start waking up. My lovely and ever so helpful matron of honour joined me a few minutes later and a few others one by one started appearing. The bouquet and boutonniere making commenced and the day took off!
The rest actually wasn’t a blur. It was a beautiful, restful morning as each person awoke and came to join the festivities. I remember watching a group of people out the window as they hung white material from the tree where our ‘alter’ would be and turning away from the window, watched Madeline and Candace quickly and calmly matching flowers together and snipping stems.. Food and drink was laid out for people to eat. And I felt ZERO anxiety.
I saw Brad sitting in the living room, chatting and relaxing, I went and sat on his lap for a moment and felt blissfully happy and made a mental note to remember that feeling for the rest of my life. The girls casually drifted upstairs to get ready –hair curled, lipstick applied, dresses on. My girls all stood before me in their colourful dresses and jewelry and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many beautiful faces. I looked out the window and saw the sun shining brilliantly and the guys gathering down in the garden. I caught a glimpse of Brad and couldn’t wait to be out there with him.
My papa preformed our ceremony –something I had always wanted. We spoke our vows confidently.
“Shauneille, I still remember how I felt when I told you that I loved you for the first time. Feelings of joy, certainty, trust and happiness. I also felt scared when it took you about 30 seconds to say ‘I Love You’ back. I know it won’t be easy to find these feelings every day, but I will constantly choose to love you every morning. I will always seek God first for direction in his Kingdom. I will lead you as he leads me. I will be a committed, faithful and loving husband; through sickness and health, joy and sorrow, richer and poorer. I promise to be slow to anger and learn to love you better every day. I will trust God’s guiding hand on our marriage until he calls us home. I love you.”
“Brad, I love you. Thank you for pursuing me. Thank you for your perseverance, honesty, courage and genuine heart. It is God’s faithfulness that has led us to this day and with deepest joy and confidence, I am honoured to take you as my husband. I vow to choose you every day and I commit to growing in love and respect for you. I promise to live first unto our God and then unto you, loving you, caring for you and ever seeking to please you. I enter into this covenant with the desire to love you passionately and sacrificially. I will be a committed and faithful wife, through sickness and health, joy and sorrow, richer and poorer, until he calls us home. You are my beloved and you have my heart.”
Let me just write a quick sidenote here…I never would have thought I would be saying those words to Brad. Our story is one of a man’s perseverance and a woman’s stubbornness…And then more perseverance reciprocated with confusion. After MANY tearful and heart wrenching conversations (in three of which, I told Brad he would never be my husband), I am one thankful woman…Thankful that God knows what I need more than I do. And thankful for a man who knows what he wants and was EXTREMELY patient.
At the end of our wedding day, when Brad and I drove away hand in hand into the darkness, looking behind us at the dancing sparkles of light and singing voices of our wedding guests, huge smiles on our faces, the amount of joy in our hearts was indescribable. We had danced and celebrated, we had laughed and kissed, we had spoken our vows to each other surrounded by tall mountains and smiling faces and we felt so much love, from each other and those celebrating with us. We talked for hours, reliving every moment of the day over and over again.
Thanks for letting me share a little piece of our wedding day. A HUGE thank you to Ryan Tam and Joshua Yong for joining in on the party and capturing these photos. They will be sweet reminders to us for years to come.
Let the adventure begin!
The ever sweet and hospitable and generous, Dani and Romy who opened their home and land to us. SO thankful to these two AMAZING people.
Honourable mention to Krystle Aspenlind who wrote and performed our first dance song. My favourite song to date.