Thanksgiving weekend we had, in addition to the abundance of love we have surrounding us, a wonderful opportunity to photograph the wedding of Mary and Shawn. Bill has known Shawn’s dad, Graydon and by extension, Shawn, since the mid-90s and we have all since grown very close. So when Graydon and Michelle called to let us know of Mary and Shawn’s engagement, we jumped at the chance to document their wedding for them. They had wanted to create something very intimate and special for their family and close friends in attendance, and they did. It was clear everyone had a great time that evening – us included!
Because the sun set well before the start of their ceremony in the historic Wren Chapel at the College of William and Mary, the couple opted to see each other beforehand to share some private moments together and to have some fun with us in doing their portraits outside. We had positioned Shawn with his back to the chapel, from where Mary, wearing a stunning Monique Lhuillier gown, would be approaching. She decided to have a little fun with him as she descended the steps into the college’s Sunken Gardens, pantomiming behind him until he realized something was up and turned around to see her smiling face.
When we first got together to meet them, they shared the story of Shawn’s proposal, in a plane he was piloting with Mary in the passenger seat. They had flown over one of the many picturesque hills in Virginia where, to Mary’s surprise, their families stood with a large unfurled banner saying, “Mary, will you marry Shawn?” It was probably good that Shawn was not down on one knee at the moment, given that he was flying. Of course she said yes and it was a touching moment for us to be able to hear the start of the culmination of their courtship.
The couple chose William & Mary for their ceremony in a nod to Mary’s undergraduate and graduate studies at the school. After the sun set that night, they enjoyed a personalized ceremony in the Wren Chapel with readings by a close friend of Mary’s, Sarah (who also did an amazing job coordinating the day’s events) and Mary’s brother, Matt. Mary’s sister Abby and Shawn’s sister, Erin stood in attendance with their respective siblings as their parents watched from the front pews of the chapel.
The small chapel was built in the 17th century, when pews were arranged opposite each other, so their guests faced each other. After the ceremony, everyone converged at the Williamsburg Winery, one of the oldest in the state, for a delicious spread for dinner and lots and lots of dancing. Shawn’s grandfather, Hatcher was the big hit on the dance floor, with more dance partners that night than anyone we’ve seen this year. The couple had further personalized their reception by having John Winntet play all night, keeping everyone with broad smiles on their faces. After dinner, their guests enjoyed slices of delicious cake, along with pastries and caramel apples (yum!). Off to the side appeared a sand-filled bucket with solid-chocolate lobsters, a nod to Shawn’s new job as a flight planner up in Cape Cod.
All in all, it was a wonderful way to finish our season. We have one more wedding before the end of the year, our former associate shooter Eric Kelley, and will be blogging about that shortly after the new year. In the meantime though, we want to profusely thank Shawn and Mary for inviting us out to their wedding to witness the love they share with their families. We can’t think of anything better and are so thrilled that they’ve found each other. Congrats, you two!