We did it. Three weeks ago Saturday, on a beautiful October afternoon, after about six months of planning and close to two years of knowing each other, Tim and I took our first steps together as man and wife.

Looking back now, it feels like a blur. I knew it would go by quickly and that, partway through it, I’d want to slow things down: if the weeks leading up to your wedding feel busy, the day-of feels overwhelming, exciting, like you can’t believe what is happening is really happening and now it’s happening too fast, too good, too much like you wish it wouldn’t end.

So many times I’d look at Tim and think, This is happening! He’s my husband! This is our wedding! We’re really doing this! And, wherever we were at that moment, he’d be taking my hand to move me towards the next thing, and there we’d go, doing it, living it, having our photos taken and eating a meal and hugging people who told us they loved us.

Now that we’re back and home and getting settled, I’m ready to come back to this place and start talking about food and cooking and what that looks like lately. But before I do, in the spirit of those wedding blogs I was reading so frequently for six months, today I’m bringing you a wedding-detail post, complete with what we loved, what went wrong, and info on all our vendors, from my dress to the caterers. Here we go.


From the beginning, one thing I’m really glad about is that Tim and I helped each other keep perspective: the only thing we HAD to have happen all day was that a husband and a wife emerged at the end of it (and we did!). When things went wrong—just a few little things did—we took it in our stride and, thanks to the love and support of our friends and family, ended up with options even better than what we’d planned, if you can believe it. When we couldn’t get the giant yellow trees for the ceremony we’d wanted because they lost all their leaves four days beforehand, my friend Carrie called a florist and booked us tall, yellow gladiolas; when the place where we had planned to do our “first look” told us they charged $150 to take photos (!!??), we nixed it and went down the street to a quiet forest preserve. And when the single violinst we’d booked for the ceremony got deathly ill on her way over and never showed up, my friend Becky saved the day by improvising music for the prelude, the processional and the recessional—all on top of already singing. I loved that. She was amazing.

Another thing we really loved was doing so many things nontraditionally—it’s what made the wedding feel like us. We saw each other before the wedding and ate lunch together in our wedding clothes, sitting at my parents’ kitchen’s breakfast bar, with people from the bridal party all around, before heading to the church. Tim’s dad performed the wedding at a chapel so beautiful we didn’t need decorations (except those gladiolas!) in a service that felt really meaningful and reflective of who we are. Our bridal party, wearing whatever they wanted, didn’t stand on stage with us but rather came up for a dedication prayer, circling around us as three people led aloud—and that was one of my favorite parts of the whole October wedding day.



I loved riding to the church with my parents, and hearing my dad get choked up as he talked to me about an hour or so before I said I do. I loved sitting in an empty room just before the ceremony with only my brother, the person who’s been my best friend since we were kids, and joking with him about running away like both of us knew I’d never do. I loved feeling so calm before walking down the aisle, so sure of what I was doing, like I knew it was right, like I knew I was marrying the best guy I know.

I loved everyone who came, everyone who rejoiced with us, everyone who helped us (and there were a lot of people who helped us). I loved looking around at so many familiar faces and being introduced to faces I’d never seen before. I loved knowing people traveled from other states to be there, to show us their support.


And I loved our reception. Oh, our reception. I remember five or so years ago, when a friend of mine got married, telling her the only thing I knew I wanted if I got married someday was a fall wedding in my parents’ backyard. Now, I can’t believe that’s exactly what we got. We had the dinner in a big white tent and I swear it felt like pure magic:  long tables with burlap runners and white tea lights, live jazz music, family-style dining, a cookie table, a pumpkin wedding cake, grass beneath my feet and my new husband by my side.



Tim and I ate at our wedding—I mean, we ate—a full meal, and a really good one. After the appetizers, there were fresh rolls with pumpkin butter, a salad with pecans and feta, green beans, roasted vegetables, petit filet mignons, wild salmon filets, butternut squash ravioli.



And before I could think about it, the day was ending. My friend Jackie, whom I’ve known since she was in junior high and I was a sophomore in high school, was giving an amazing toast that made me both laugh and cry, and people were standing up and saying things about what a great man Tim is, and we were walking around greeting friends, wishing for more time to talk to them, and then we were inside changing clothes, leaving through a path of sparklers held by our wedding guests, screaming and shouting and cheering us goodbye.


Driving away from my parents’ house, Tim and I talked about everything. We talked about the wedding, about our friends, about what we had thought and what we had seen, and I held his hand and I looked at his ring and I called him my husband and he called me his wife, and we knew this was big, this day, this commitment, this new family we had made.

And just like that, it was over.

Or just like that, it begun.

photography: Jessie Holloway Photography // invitations, programs, menus: made ourselves, using GIMP // rehearsal dinner: Honey Cafe // chapel venue: Koten Chapel // reception tent: Blue Peak Tents // caterer: Maison Cuisine // reception dishes: vintage, thrifted // wedding cake: made by my mom // wedding cookies: made by our friends and family // bridal gown: Pronovias, purchased at Village Bridal // bridal bouquet: made by my friend Josie // favors: chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s, wrapped with handmade gift tags // ceremony music: by my friend Becky // reception music: Scott Lies Jazz Trio

Slideshow of selected wedding photos available at Vimeo

Film photography of the day taken by our friend Jacqui, available on

More on our wedding inspiration available on Pinterest

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. Maria

    Oh, Shannalee. I’m a sobbing mess here at my desk because this is just so lovely. All of it, especially the bits that went wrong-then-right. A lifetime of happiness to your new family.

        1. Shannalee

          I don’t have the exact dress #, Lauren, but I can tell you I found the cardigan at Target… approximately one week before the wedding, ha! : ) I had the idea in my head and found it on clearance online just in time. Best wishes!

  2. Lan

    yes. finally. i’ve been quietly stalking your FB looking at your beautiful pictures, eagerly waiting for a possible post. and here it is and it is as wonderfully written as it can only be, written by you. i am so very happy for you, and Tim.

    ps. the cardigan. i love it. the color & how great it went with your dress and the day. i bet when you wear it, it reminds you of your special day. where did you get it?

    1. Shannalee

      and I know I’ve already said THIS over and over again but: thank you so much for coming and for your beautiful photos. I ordered our wedding album via Shutterfly today and that shot you took of me waiting to come into the chapel? a full page. priceless. thanks, friend!

  3. Caitlin

    It has begun, and I must admit that one year in (!!), it doesn’t get much better than this. You look absolutely gorgeous, both of you look so happy, and I adore that you did a wedding cookie / cake buffet provided by friends & family. Really, this day just felt like you, and that’s the way it should be. Congratulations Shanna & Tim, best wishes, and hugs all around.

  4. Joanna

    A beautiful day, a beautiful couple, and most importantly, a beautiful promise made to one another. The way you and Tim love each other and love God inspires me. Thank you for blessing us with and through your marriage! (Sounds weird, but it’s true.) And HOORAY for being married! Nothing better.

    1. Shannalee

      that’s so funny because you’re about to get a thank-you note in the mail that tells you and Brad we feel the same way about you guys. Thanks again for coming and thanks for talking so well about marriage—it was a real blessing to me in preparing to get married and now in echoing how I feel. : )

  5. Maria

    Oh my goodness, I saw this post on my iPhone while at work and couldn’t wait to get home to leave you a message! I am so excited by your wedding. It looks like it was beautiful. Thank you for posting your beautiful photos and letting us share in your happiness!

  6. Anna

    Dear Shanna, your wedding looks truly special and I wish you all the best! I loved the lights in your wedding tent and how you set up the tables – makes it very cozy and warm. Maybe one day I will use these ideas on my own wedding. Thank you for sharing these moments with us!

  7. Megan Gordon

    My heart is brimming reading this…I’m so, so happy for you Shannalee, and it’s been such a treat reading about the beginning of this relationship through the blog. The wedding looks not only stunning but very, very special and very “you” which I think is the most important thing. My congrats and love … all the way from California. xox

  8. MaryAnn

    Congratulations on your beautiful wedding & the beginnings of a beautiful marriage. It truly is one of God’s greatest gifts to us & such a wonderful responsibility.
    I’m so happy for you guys! And I’m grateful you are willing to share your story, your pics, & your thoughts about all of it. It was a blessing to read.

  9. Vicki

    What a beautiful post about a beautiful day in your life. Very beautiful dress, decorations and what sounds like a wonderful menu! The wedding day truly goes by fast but the memories of how you began this new chapter in your love story will live on forever. Congratulations!!!

  10. Maddie

    Shanna, I am SO happy for you and Tim! And I’m blown away by the stories from your beautiful wedding, too…what an auspicious start to a long, joy-filled life together. Mazel tov!

  11. Rachael


    Not sure if you remember me, but I remember you from old IBC days, and I was thrilled to discover your blog several months ago. Beautiful wedding and pictures. Praying for you and wishing you and Tim the very best!!!

    1. Shannalee

      Rachael, Thanks for your encouragement and especially your prayers. I think it’s great that you’re blogging, too, and can’t believe you’re, what, 19, now!? Glad to have you visiting and reading. : )

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  13. Kim

    Oh, Shanna, I’m a bit of a sobbing mess myself. I am beyond thrilled for you and Tim. What a beautiful wedding (and so very you), and I’m glad you got to eat, because YUM, that menu. So full of joy and love for you both, friend.

    1. Shannalee

      We’d had many sobbing messes over our years of blog friendship, haven’t we, Kim? Thank you for your joy and love and can I just say I CAN’T WAIT to hear about your winter wedding. Loved your engagement pics!

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  16. Brooke McDonald

    Shanna – I’ve just recently discovered your blog, and love your writing style as well as the wonderful recipes and insights you share. I especially enjoyed looking back at this post from your wedding (I wanted to learn more about you and your handsome husband, and you conveniently provided a wedding post to do just that!). This blog is a work of art, an inspiration, and a joy!

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  19. MJ

    what a beautiful retelling of your special day! I could see myself there. I’ve always wanted a fall wedding – I ended up getting married on December 21 instead (the last day of the world) and it worked out gorgeously anyways. I’m really surprised at how similar our weddings were. Here’s my blog post about mine: http://welleatyouup.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/the-diy-guide-to-a-yule-tide-wedding-feast/

    PS – your writing inspires me…I have a difficult time being transparent over a blog, but you have such a simple, honest approach that is very refreshing. Thank you so much! It encourages me to do the same.

  20. Ashley

    I adore every aspect of your wedding! You looked stunning! Chris and I also did things a little un-traditionally…like, staying with each other the night before the wedding, seeing each other on the wedding day, and melding Irish, Jewish, and Greek traditions into our ceremony + reception. We also had my uncle ordained to marry us, which made the ceremony quite special.


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