Shannan & James Tie the Knot

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James and Shannan were married at the Dangarsleigh School of Arts Hall in November 2018, on their tenth anniversary. They tell us about their not-so-traditional romance and their self-appointed Wedding of the Year.

A little bit about the couple …

Shannan is a local girl who met James when he moved to New England from the city. Shannan is a nurse and diabetes educator at Armidale Community Health, while James is our resident photographer at FOCUS. Together, they own and direct Superbooth Australia, a photo booth and event hire company, and in their spare time are often seen with a Smithfield Blue Cattle dog named Nip. 

It’s been quite the public love story…

Yes! For those who don’t know, James proposed in the most public and spectacular way, setting the romance bar impossibly high for the region. Shannan said yes, of course, and the engagement lasted two years, during which time they gathered wedding tips, tricks and good advice from friends, blogs and social media. 

Meanwhile, Shannan completed post-graduate study and James held the fort and position as executive Wedding Planner while all those papers were due. 

About those wedding plans …

James and Shannan set a date and a budget between uni trimesters, and six months later they were married. Having photographed hundreds of weddings and events, James and Shannan had a clear view of want they did (and didn’t) want for their own. With an unspeakably tight budget of 5K, they chose Dangarsleigh Hall as their venue and blank canvas, op-shopped furiously for glass and tableware and formed a guest list. This list proved to be the most difficult part of a small-budget wedding, for their list of precious loved ones is expansive. 

James revealed his inner carpenter, constructing a 6 ft marquee, L.O.V.E. letters, lawn games, and a bar, using up-cycled wood and a fair bit of grunt.   

It all came together … 

The day was filled with music and art, while guests were filled with grazing platter goodies, slow-cooked meats and salad, and a steady flow of bubbles, craft brews and cider. 

The touching ceremony was performed by Belluca Civil Celebrant and the couple’s dear friend Jobi Strike in the quaint CWA Hall adjacent to the reception. The music began with the dreamy acoustic melodies of “Yhan Leal Music”, followed by the first dance to the effervescent “Matt, Dave and the Other Guy”, transitioning to the smooth and oh-so-funky sounds of “The Gravy”. 

Guests were treated to a live art installation by “Silly Pear”, who created an epic triptych from scratch for the day (and now for James and Shannans’ home). A good time had by all was captured by the incredible photography of Rachel Deane, who pulled out all the stops for every angle. 

The couple also has to give a shout out to Sam from Loose Lighting for all his hard work.

Advice for those planning right now:

Prioritise the things you love and question the status quo. James and Shannan love music and art, therefore their budget leant heavily towards those parts of the day. They were not so much into traditional formal meals or cakes; therefore, the food was casual and the dessert table was handmade by friends and family. Be true to yourself and your guests and most of all … have fun! 

To quote anyone ever married: “It all goes so quickly!” 

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