Brenna! What a beaut. I just love this gal. She's three years younger than me, we are in completely different stages of life which means we might not always relate to each other but she will always be such a dear friend because of the little sweet things that any pair of buds can do to enjoy each others company. A normal day in the life of Shan and Bren would include coffee and scones from WholeFoods, either eaten there or taken back home to share under blanket and watch(never) too much Gilmore Girls. She enjoys the little things in life, would rather read a book than go shopping and doesn't waste her time with people who want to waste her time. One of my favorite things about Brenna is her sense of humor. Tell her the absolute worst and dumbest jokes and she cracks. up. Like splits down the middle she will laugh so hard. I do miss this. Ever since I got married we haven't seen quite as much of each other anymore. Still, every time we meet we pick up right where we left off. She's just that kind of lady.
Brenna is a friend for life.
Plus look at her, she's beautiful!

November 14th 2014.

Wow! What an amazing day it was! Cold...but amazing.

On November 14th 2014 Thomas and I celebrated our first day of marriage with all of our family and friends in the backyard of my parents house in Goochland.
Everyone was swaddled in fleese blankets, holding warm glasses of hot apple cider, while songs of FleetFoxes and Ray LaMontagne filled the air with soft, Autumn melodies to compliment the red, orange, green, and brown of the trees (the colours nature picked for our wedding). 

Beer bottles stuffed with baby's breath, pie from Costco, a wedding gown handmade by a friend, and bridesmaid's dresses from the sale rack at Target made for a very simple wedding. But we wouldn't have had it any other way. 
To us, a wedding is not about floral arrangements, a fancy venue, or a three course dinner (though our friend Geoff completely spoiled us with his amazing culinary talent). To us a wedding is about the two of us becoming one. Thomas and I probably would have eloped if it hadn't been for the incredible relationships of our friends and family. If it wasn't for them I think the two of us, even having each other, would still be quite lonely without them.
I learned in the four months we were engaged that a wedding isn't just about the two of you. It definitely revolves around you, but it has so much concern with the people who help bind you two together. 

To put it into perspective...

Throughout the four months we were engaged we had one of our best friends, Jamal, become an officiant so that he could marry us. All the while praying for us and meeting with us. His wife Maria took our engagement photos, met with me so that I could vent, did my hair and make up for both the engagement photos and the wedding, AND she even lent me her veil to wear during the ceremony! 

Our friend Geoff (aka Cheoffry) saved our butts when our caterer came back with a price that was double what we agreed on. He made the most wonderful dinner of BBQ sliders, roasted veggies (with rosemary=my FAVOURITE), and a mac and cheese bar. Yes you read that correctly. MAC AND CHEESE BAR!! With toppings like asparagus, mushrooms, and bacon! I mean if this guy turned every SweetFrog into mac and cheese bars I would cry...with tears of JOY. He also had some hors d'oeuvres of brie cheese, nuts and grapes (that I may or may not have walked away during picture time to go munch on..).
Juilana and David (my doooods) assisted him in the kitched, preparing and replenishing. 
Of course he couldn't have all the fun cause Mama McKeel made her delicious butternut squash soup to contribute to the feast. She also made the best trailmix bar that we snacked on the entire honeymoon.

We had beautiful flowers arrangements done by our friend Billie Jo. THE sweetest lady you could ever meet! She met with me to go over things which was mainly the fact that we didn't have the cash for oodles of arrangements. So she got her creativity on and cut greenery from her yard and even had her kids fill up grocery bags with pine cones to decorate! All I had to do was order a bulk of roses and baby's breath from Costco and she took care of the rest. Along with the other sweetest ladies Kathy Jones and my Aunt Kim, they arranged the most beautiful flowers we could have asked for!
Billie Jo also directed the ceremony. She made sure everything ran smoothly. And it was perfect!

Our premarital counselors Scott and Heather discipled us through our engagement. Man they had so much knowledge to give us in just a few nights out for dinner. They gave us so much perspective and preparation. 

And for even more perspective...

My friend Daniel showed up last minute in the planning proccess when we didn't have anyone to record our wedding on video. He even brought a friend with him to get different angles. 

Our family friends, Dave and Linda, bought us Vera Wang cake knives! (because I would never have thought to put out knives for the pie. Let's be real.)

Another couple, Dan and Lisa, lent us tents in case it rained. If you know how much it costs to rent tents! What a blessing!

My brother Evan suprised us at the alter with a beautiful song he had just written.

My aunt and uncle, Kim and Chris, were sent by God from NC to VA to keep the stress down and meet everyone's needs. Seriously they were lifesavers. 

Carlton and Nathan DJ-ed (is that a word?). And they were boss at it.

Our friends Thomas and Jonathan were ushers for our guests and mothers. When you look at the photos you will recognize Jonathan by his mustache...and how he pretends to scold his girlfriend...

And Preston Tran! He wasn't feeling his best that day but still took such BEAUTIFUL photos of the day! And my bridal portraits. These pictures that I will hold on tight to forever as such a treasure.

Oh I could just go on and on! It was a cram packed four months. I won't say it wasn't stressful. But what an outstanding day! And it will go down in our family's history. Not because the food was tasty, or because the flowers were pretty, or because we had lots of guests. I will always look back on our wedding because of WHY. And that's because of everyone who made it happen. And WHY they made it happen. Because of love and community. That, in my opinion, in why anyone should have a wedding. To celeberate with everyone you love.

It was one of the best days of our lives. Certainly the best first day we could have ever had as a married couple. And it's all because of love. 

Everyone mentioned, and not mentioned (There are so many of you!) we thank you so much!