Shannon and Dan’s Wisconsin wedding will give you the same warm feeling as sunshine on your skin, and not just because it’s filled with bright, cheery sunflowers and lots of golden summer sunshine. Their big day is also full of love. Experience it all, and get a little mood boost, thanks to beautiful images from m three studio, in The Vault!
From m three studio…Shannon and Danny’s story was written decades ago it seems. It was outlined in the poems of Shannon’s grandfather. Strengthened in the houses he built on a tiny island in Lake Michigan. Fleshed out with the dozens of grandchildren that sprang forth from her grandparent’s love, with countless days and nights she herself spent on that island learning what love looked like, from him, from her, from her own parents. Grandpa and Grandma were everywhere on this wedding day, though they have long passed. They were there. In every breeze, in every tear, and most assuredly in every smile. Their love gave inspiration to Shannon and Danny’s, and it was absolute captivation to watch them walk in those footsteps and forge their own story.
Echoes of Shannon’s grandparents were everywhere – and intricately woven into the details of their wedding day. The ceremony location was her family’s vacation home – built by her grandfather to accommodate his growing brood of grandchildren. Situated right on the lakefront, it was a scenic setting for their vows. Self-written vows were only surpassed in emotions by Shannon’s brother reciting a poem written by their grandfather to his wife on their fortieth anniversary. They exited the homestead to cheers and lavender blossoms (an island export) and jumped into Grandpa’s vintage Studebaker, which he used to court Grandma. The wedding party hopped on ‘The Cherry Train’ – an island touring vehicle much beloved by locals. They met up at Grandpa’s farm for pictures. Then it was off to the Historic Island Dairy – an event space that was once a dairy for the island and now hosts parties, an art gallery and lavender fields. Birch trees from their property were cut into placecard holders. Wedding pictures of past generations greeted guests. A signature cocktail accented with more of the island’s lavender was well-circulated. The whole weekend was dubbed “A Sigmund Ferrytale” as a nod to the ferry everyone must take to get to the Island. While all of these details and niceties are wonderful – it is the deep emotions of the day that really leave their impression. It’s evident in the free-flowing tears and laughter of their families, the tight embraces of the dances and the looks exchanged during speeches.
From The Bride…I didn’t have too much of a vision, actually. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to get married at my family’s cabin and not too much besides that. I wanted everything to be very natural and have a woodsy theme. My now husband, Dan, and I knew we wanted to keep things simple and elegant. Our wedding planners at mb designs+events really helped me put what I was imagining together while keeping my style. I don’t think many people realize the task of putting on your dream wedding and keeping a budget until you’re actually doing it, it was great to have extra help everywhere I could. The coordination between Molly at m three studio photography and the mb designs+events team helped me have a stress-free wedding that I could only have dreamed of. The whole day was completely my style captured with the island elements in the ambiance and pictures.
My color palette changed a number of times. I kept envisioning one thing and then deciding something else once I saw it. With so many moving pieces it’s hard to have it exactly right the first time – which can make wedding planning stressful. Jean and Michelle, at mb design+events, did a great job in our preliminary meeting getting an understanding of what my priorities were and helping me decide what pieces would go best together. There was sometimes a disconnect I felt, as the bride, with making so many decisions – I thought I had such a specific idea of what I wanted until it came to decision time! Not everything was what I initially thought, but ended up being so much better…And much more ‘like me’ and not as traditional.
I was actually put in a really good situation because I loved the idea of being able to add my own DIY pieces to my wedding, but of course, didn’t want it to look like a “DIY wedding”! DIY definitely comes in handy as you start to reach your budget limit. That’s where we played around with the idea the most. Jean and Michelle, the planners, were really great at following my budget and if I went over one place, they worked to help me find a way to save that money somewhere else. Dan, my now husband, and I burned all the table numbers into the perfect birch pieces Jean and Michelle forged in the forest on the island (crazy right?!). This was such a great example of still getting what we wanted, while helping with the cost and also being able to contribute a project Dan and I did to our special day.
I am such a sap – hence the “ferry tale” wedding – so reading my vows and hearing Dan’s vows will forever be my favorite moment. I pondered those words from the moment I met him and was able to fully express it in a way that was very ‘me’… I’m getting teary eyed now! I’ll never forget that wonderful overwhelming feeling. It set the pace for the whole day. My favorite crafted detail would have to be my veil. My mom actually made it for me and it was perfect, just stunning. It gave me a natural, elegant beauty and was better than I could have imagined. I was really lucky to work with such great people for everyone who contributed to the day.
My flowers were from “Flora” in Sister Bay. Helene, owner of Flora, was amazing to work with and was so on top of what I was looking for. She gave great suggestions and advice too, when I wasn’t sure what direction to go. Helene was brilliant to work with when sticking to the budget. My gown I bought downtown Chicago at Ultimate Bride. It was a Monique Lhuillier and, unlike most brides, I didn’t feel that moment of “this is the one!” I saw it on the model and thought that it fit my personality very well. I am a maxi dress kind of girl, and so many of the dresses I tried on were gorgeous but too formal and over the top for who I am. This dress I knew was going to reflect my personality and once it was altered (and I wasn’t trying on the sample) I knew I made a great decision – but it was a little bit of a leap of faith and trusting my gut. My cake was made by a local, Jennifer Mineo, on Washington Island and I still have guests raving about it. The entire thing was made from scratch and gluten free! I knew I made my parents nervous when I said I wanted a gluten free cake – because usually gluten free has a reputation for not being as good as the real thing. That was definitely not the case there! My wedding planners, Michelle and Jean, had so many great ideas with little pieces of island elements to incorporate for the day but, if I had to choose my favorite, it would be the personalized napkins. It was a small detail but they had a quote on there from me that I always say to Dan, my husband, “How lucky am I to have someone like you who loves me?”. It was a heartwarming touch that was a great reminder throughout the night the beauty of why we were there celebrating.
What is one piece of advice that you could give brides-to-be? Breathe. Remember what the day is for. You only get one, so slow down, enjoy it. Say “I love you” to everyone who you’re sharing that day with and let go of any negative thoughts. Have people there who are on top of things. Having someone keep you and the wedding party on schedule and on time lifted a giant weight off my shoulders. I was able to enjoy the day and simply let it happen because of all the great people who we hired. Also, Molly, my photographer, gave me some timeless advice that I reminded myself all day – “it’s only ugly crying if you try to stop it, just let your emotions flow!” And I did – which resulted in a beautiful day, beautiful memories and beautiful pictures!
Photography: m three studio | Event Planning: Michelle Bates Designs | Floral Design: Flora Flowershop | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Jennifer Mineo | Stationery: Ashley's Custom Stationary | Ceremony: At Home | Reception Venue: Historic Island Dairy | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy Collection By Vivian Diamond | Makeup: Paulina Esthetics Boutique | Hair: Scottfree Salon | DJ: Action DJ's | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Rentals: Elegant Presentations