When we think of weddings, our minds conjure images of lavish venues, of blooming arches and otherworldly beauty. If there’s anything that Jo and I have learned from our time as wedding photographers, though, it’s that there’s as much variety to those all-important days as there is the couples that they’re about. Cheesecakes instead of wedding cakes, brunches instead of banquets, you name it. Take the idea of the backyard wedding, for example! What’s the point of having a beautiful home if you’re not going to show it off? Shellane and Michael’s backyard wedding in Surprise is a great example of using what you have and making it even more precious than ever.
There was plenty of sunshine as Shellane and her bridesmaids prepared themselves at their Airbnb, sharing a Champagne toast sipped out of monogrammed glasses. It was a gorgeous day made even better with the kind of laughter you only see between close friends and family. We had the chance to snap photos of her bridal details, and every single one of them was amazing. She had a beautiful watch and a special bracelet that Michael had given her, but what brought tears to our eyes (and everyone else’s!) was another gift from Michael: a small key charm, the key to his heart itself. Can we swoon? We want to swoon.
The bouquet, too, was gorgeous. Shellane and Michael commissioned a family friend to make it, and that made it all the more meaningful. The blend of roses and orchids made it an arrangement to truly be remembered. Shellane’s stylish choices weren’t limited to her details, either–when it was time for the bridal party to make their way home for the ceremony, they did it in a limo!
What better greeting party to have than the groomsmen, anyway? They were waiting there, decked out and dapper, ready to go for the occasion. Michael himself had to be one of the sharpest grooms we’ve seen, too, making everything super posh.
“Posh” can sometimes make you think of stiff upper lips and snooty attitudes, but Shellane and Michael are the opposite: they’re a down-to-earth couple that’s truly in love. It was obvious when Michael couldn’t contain the joy he felt as Shellane made her appearance, stepping slowly down the aisle to declare her love. Happy tears made an appearance as he watched her, ready for the rest of his life with such a beautiful woman. The vows made it even more obvious that these two simply love to have fun, cracking heartfelt jokes that made each other (and the guests!) laugh. Shellane and Michael even joked about Michael’s love of football!
The love that they share isn’t all about laughter and lightheartedness, though. From the official kiss to their romantic first dance, Shellane and Michael have something that’s layered, a dynamic filled with laughter and light and deep, real affection.
You can learn a lot from the way that wedding guests speak about the bride and groom, too. After the formal speeches, Shellane and Michael invited guests up to give them advice on how to bring out the best in each other. Thing is, nobody ended up giving them advice! Instead, it was all about Shellane and Michael as a power couple, their loved ones speaking truth: Shellane and Michael are wonderful together. One guest even shared a secret, that knowing Shellane saved his life.
Shellane and Michael share a bond that makes each other stronger, a love that saves lives and brings joy to every life they touch. There’s nothing more powerful than that.
Congrats, Shellane and Michael! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your love story! We know there are so many good things coming your way.
Jo + Alli