usually i format all the images for a blog post before i settle in to write about the wedding day. not this time. maybe from now on i’ll do it this way. i want to write about the day as i remember it: before i look at the images. what can i tell you about shandelle and britton? if you do not recall their amazing eighteen-year story in their engagement session post you should probably re-visit it before we continue. shandelle and britton have two beautiful hearts: perfectly created for the life they started together on saturday, march 19th, 2011.
the couple met for their first look on the wedding day at two chefs & a table in the gastown area. what a beautiful restaurant: big thank-you to the owners for allowing us to take over the space. britton waited anxiously at a table, ordering two glasses of red wine in anticipation of his bride. shandelle walked in, they embraced and enjoyed their wine together before we headed off for portraits pre-ceremony.
the ceremony took place at grandview baptist church, only three blocks from where shandelle & britton live [remember they have lived exactly next door from each other during their dating/engaged months?] — the ceremony was full of meaningful prayer as well as music by shandelle & britton’s very talented friends/family. before their reception at the creekside community centre in the olympic village, shandelle & britton stopped for a pint [well, two. one each] at caffe barney’s on main street. i love that about this couple. they were all about enjoying each other on the day: no fuss, no bridal party, no rushing from location to location unnecessarily. every moment was enjoyed.
the reception was decorated with simple flowers and colourful vases. details included a typewriter, encouraging guests to type their messages to the bride & groom [and a sign declaring that mistakes were okay! some people may be out of type-writing practice.] britton & shandelle are huge believers in community. it’s one of their core values through-and-through. this was evident in the home they both lived in for a few years together: jokingly referred to as many by the “christian commune.” though those who have lived at the house prefer to affectionately call it the cotton club, named after the street it sits upon. they believe in doing life with people: none of this alone-business.
all the guests sat at one of three long tables and dinner was served family-style: large plates and bowls to pass around, like at thanksgiving or christmas dinner. i’ve been to a few weddings similar & it’s something i’ll be incorporating into mine someday. i love it. the only “program” of the reception was speeches by their friends and family. well, that’s a lie. there was also a performance by friends, dressed head to toe in 70’s attire, singing a medley of “isn’t she lovely,” “hey soul sister,” and “i wanna sex you up.” ;) hilarious.
another little note i wanted to add. both these families are full of incredible, incredible people. shandelle’s father, harvey, is battling alzheimer’s disease and has been for the last few years. it was amazingly special that he was able to be there on saturday, as he was in emergency only the week prior. shandelle’s entire family is a true example of what it is to depend on the Lord during trials in our lives. i know this has been the most difficult thing in their life & the wedding day was truly, as shandelle mentioned during her speech, a challenging blend of overwhelming joy while struggling with equally-overwhelming grief.
shandelle & britton live their faith. they are people of action. from the line of work they’ve chosen to do: shandelle working with people on the downtown eastside of vancouver, britton as a nurse–they live to help people. they live to love God. i was inspired to greater faith in God through their wedding. during their closing remarks, shandelle & britton sang a song with their friend jeanette. it was titled “by the mark” by gillian welch. as i sat listening, tears formed in my eyes and i thought, “this is what it’s all about.” thank you for that song, shandelle & britton. you two are talented, blessed, loved and i enjoyed rejoicing with you on saturday. have a beautiful time in mexico!