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Shannon and Hal's Washington Wedding
It took just five minutes of conversation, a phone call, and one date to set off a ten-year relationship for Shannon Eileen and Hal O’Keefe. The lifestyle blogger/artist/singer-songwriter and the commercial real estate broker/ski and snowboard shop buyer/motorcycle garage co-owner who now live in Seattle, tied the knot on September 8, 2012, with elements of childhood nostalgia and movies, many of which they crafted themselves.
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The bride got crafty and turned herself, her husband-to-be, and their cat into vintage-style paper dolls. Recipients of the unique save-the-date could cut out the couple and their wedding and honeymoon attire, which were printed on repositionable adhesive-backed fabric.
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The groom took charge of the invitations. The main invite was letterpressed and linocut, a vintage postcard was tweaked for the invite to the welcome dinner cruise, and a wooden ticket announcing their website tied it all together. They had fun with their website too, shannonandhal.com, thanks to the bride's computer-programming brother. The interactive site hosted engagement photos (also snapped by Shannon's brother, Christopher Bachmann), the pair’s story, wedding party bios, an online RSVP, and a full list of wedding weekend details.
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A Picturesque Setting
The bride's parents' home in Gig Harbor, just an hour and a half outside of Seattle, offered the perfect setting. And since it’s where the bride grew up, it added to the nostalgic undertones of the celebration. With a sprawling lawn overlooking the Puget Sound, the views weren’t bad either. Shannon and Hal took full advantage, posing for portraits on the front yard and a neighboring beach.
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A Fashionable Group
Shannon wore a Tadashi Shoji gown, Remix Vintage shoes, earrings from Ruche, and a headpiece found by Etsy vendor Pippatree, and part vintage jewelry. Her groom wore an H&M suit paired with a vintage tie, Calvin Klein shirt, Stance socks, and Johnny Sole shoes. A Ben Sherman hat completed his ensemble.
Bridesmaids chose their own vintage cocktail dresses and accessories in the green, mint, and gold palette and, like the bride, carried bouquets boasting fresh artichokes and greenery. Groomsmen also went vintage, in dapper suits and hats. Hal gifted them green and gold ties he picked up from local thrift stores.
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Shannon's mom hand-painted wooden signs that dotted the long driveway. In full, they read: "Right this way; We’ll see you soon; Get ready get set; For a fun afternoon; Follow the music; Find your chair; Head to the water; We’ll meet you there."
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During the ceremony led by Hal’s good friend, light-hearted readings balanced the couple’s serious vows. The selection included "A Lovely Love Story" by Edward Monkton, "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams, and "Me Without You" by Lisa Swerling. During the ring exchange, they swapped their names into the vows from West Side Story, the bride’s favorite movie. Shannon and her dad walked down the aisle to a brass quintet arrangement of "One Hand One Heart" from the same musical.
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The bridal party—who entered the ceremony to "Soulful Strut" by Young-Holt Unlimited—put the couple's collection of vintage instruments to good use for the newlyweds' upbeat exit up the aisle to "More Today Than Yesterday" by Spiral Staircase.
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Set in Stone
Since a permanent fire pit was in the middle of the aisle, dahlias in floral tubes were stuck into the ashes to pretty it up. They were about as local as possible—coming from a farm just down the street.
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Wishes on Water
As a child, Shannon spent many summers on the lagoon, paddling around in a canoe with her family. To keep with tradition, immediately after the ceremony she and her new husband hopped into a row boat and hit the water as guests gathered around to wave them off. They wrote vows on paper folded into large wish boats and symbolically released them into the water. "Except the boats didn’t float away as beautifully as they did in my imagination," Shannon said. “"The current tipped them over and pushed them against the row boat, but it was quite hilarious." Guests wrote well wishes on origami paper boats at the reception, for the duo to open on each anniversary.
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Guests wrote well wishes on origami paper boats at the reception, for the duo to open on each anniversary.
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Fun To Look Through
Shannon collected vintage Viewmasters and spray painted them gold. Viewmaster reels doubled as place cards, with guests' names glued to the center of each. Shannon tried to pair each reel to the personality of each person—friends from Arizona get Phoenix reels, outdoorsy pals got pics of national parks. "We got such a kick out of watching people click through their viewers with big grins on their faces," Shannon recalled.
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Mismatched vintage dinnerware, antique green bottles filled with dahlias, wooden planks, and baby artichokes adorned the long tables, which were covered with off-white linens and set with wood chairs. Guests dined on comfort food catered by acclaimed Seattle food truck, Skillet.
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A Simple Cake
Baby artichokes topped the simple cake, made by the bride’s cousin. It sat atop a wood platter given to the couple by a neighbor who happened to be clearing trees in his year a few weeks prior to the wedding. The bride and groom cut the cake to a version of "You Belong To Me" from one of Hal’s favorite movies, The Jerk, that they had recorded themselves.
Pie pops, cannolis, brownies, and cookies from a local bakery rounded out the dessert table, which was set with tea-party-style plates Shannon received at her bridal shower.
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The First Dance
After changing into a short dress from Urban Outfitters, Shannon joined Hal on the dance floor. They had taken Argentine Tango lessons sporadically since they met, so it was a natural choice for their wedding. They chose the classic song "Por Una Cabeza" and worked with instructors to finesse their final routine. They even woke up at sunrise to practice on the small dance floor for the first time—including the dramatic dips. With a layer of dew, they slipped and slid all around, but laughed all the way through.
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With many musically inclined friends in attendance, the reception boasted some unique performances, including three bridesmaids singing "Something's Got A Hold On Me" by Etta James, another friend doing an acoustic rendition of Edwin Starr’s "25 Miles" and the bride's fellow USC alums who sang in the the school’s female a capella group joined her for their own version of Madonna's "Sooner or Later." The gals practiced via conference call to help the bride fulfill a dream to sing for her husband on her wedding day.
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Instead of a traditional photobooth, Shannon and Hal hired a flipbook booth. Guests made 7-second mini movies that were turned into booklets. In addition to these fun keepsakes, the couple gifted everyone with a soundtrack of their wedding. The vinyl-style CDs were packaged in kraft cardstock sleeves with a different engagement photo printed on each label.
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Before they got engaged, Shannon and Hal always used to say "2G4E" (together forever) to each other in regards to their relationship. It eventually became a slogan for the wedding, displayed as marquee lights made by the groom using cardboard, spray paint, and small round bulbs over the dance floor. The letters now hang on the wall in the couple’s bedroom as a special memento of the big day.
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Late Night Revelries
After dinner, guests dined on s'mores by the bonfire and gathered around an outdoor make-shift movie screen to watch a short film made by the couple themselves, shot and edited by Katia Herrera. The video shared their story in a way inspired by Amelie and was aired with popcorn, of course. After the show, the bride's dad and cousin shot off some fireworks, ending the couple's "grandiose backyard DIY wedding" with a "big, loud, colorful bang."
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Photography: One Love Photo
Day-of Wedding Coordination: Cammie Watts
Flowers: Bea's Flowers
Videography: Son of Sharkpig
Dessert Bar: Tortes n Tarts
Bartending: Tacoma Bartender
Music: Route 66
Hair: Sophia VanSlyke
Makeup: Sarah Wong Beauty Artistry
Eyelashes: Olivia Barney of L'Atelier Salon de Beauté and Day Spa
Transportation: First Student Charter Bus Rental
Wedding Movie Filmmaker: Katie Herrera
Dance Instruction: Tony and Ilana of Seattle Tango