Mr. & Mrs. Ryan and Natalie Shannon
This story begins in January of 2012, Natalie's freshman year and Ryan's sophomore year at the University of Alabama. Natalie and Ryan were both members of their church's college ministry program serving on the leadership team. Natalie states she doesn't remember ever being officially introduced but recalls this was the moment they met.
Their story is one laced with sweet words like kindness, gentle, intentionally and meaningful. Leaves me swooning already!
Natalie remembers thinking how handsome Ryan was when she first laid eyes on him, although, she admits she did not think much more than that at the time. She reports they are both "cautious and reserved by nature, and thus preferred to get to know each other more slowly and steadily." A friendship developed and according to Natalie, "once we started to have an interest in and feelings for each other, there was almost no turning back."
It was apparent to the both of them what a complement one is to the other and how similar they are in their shared interests, but most importantly, how much they desired to be together. Natalie voiced that it can be "scary" how well they relate, however, she honestly admits "we also have our own interests and quirks to where we don't simply feel like we are married to ourselves."
As Natalie recounts Ryan's pursue, she shares it was with " a kind and gently intentionality and I felt for him what I had never felt before; a desire to love him, to love others, and to love Christ more and more each day because of who Ryan is and how he loves me with the love of Christ." Ryan's love and support of Natalie is shown to her in the way "he pushes me to be more than I am at present and more like who I can be in Christ", adds Natalie. That affirmed her belief that he was "the one".
A few weeks before a momentous event in their relationship, Natalie remembers she and Ryan were trying to arrange a date. Due to a busy schedule that included a mission trip to Texas, tests for school as well as the general pulls of life, they realized the date would not occur until April 4th of 2014. Natalie remembers clearly Ryan telling her he owed her a dance and what a "fun, special night" it would be. It wasn't clear to her why but she felt it was a great idea and the more they spoke of the date, the more she felt "butterflies" at the idea of spending time with Ryan.
They enjoyed a casual dinner in Tuscaloosa followed by Dip'n Dots before heading to Ryan's apartment for that dance. A song, "Forever Like That", by Ben Rector set the stage for a quite sweet night of of Ryan holding Natalie in a gentle embrace. Natalie notes, "right as the song ended, I felt him get just a little bit shaky and saw him develop this beautiful smile on his face. He proceeded to tell me that he loved me and I responded with a quick I love you too. I had been about to burst at the seams wanting to tell him these three words for a while at this point. We both giggled a good bit the rest of that date night."
The proposal. The eve of July 9, 2016. Natalie recalls being suspicious but"not getting my hopes up." Also, she wasn't sure if Ryan had spoken with her father requesting her hand in marriage. An act that was extremely important to Natalie because of the nature of her relationship with her father. Well, Ryan had developed a plan and was secretly checking off all the necessary boxes.
With a scheduled date for Saturday night, Natalie reports Ryan asked if they could go down to Ross Bridge. "We had visited this scenic area before, but it had been awhile." A funny note worth mentioning, Ryan and Natalie had talked about how beautiful this area was and what a cute place for a proposal over a year before. Although, the date was slighty delayed because Natalie was held up at work, causing some unusual anxiety for Ryan; they finally arrived at Ross Bridge.
Natalie says Ryan began talking and she doesn't recall much of what was said because she was "looking down towards one of the side bridges and seeing pictures of us lining the walkway, leading to a bouquet of roses." Important to note, Ryan feels flowers are cliche but we agree with Natalie, they are cliche for a good reason. "When we reached the end of the bridge, he got down on one knee and opened the ring box upside down as he asked me to marry him." They both laughed and Natalie uttered, "Thank you! Wait, I mean "yes!" To Natalie's surprise, her best friends had driven from Texas and D.C. and her two brothers were all on scene to join in on the celebration.
Hampton Cove Wedding Plantation in Huntsville, Alabama was the perfect setting for Ryan and Natalie to exchange vows in front of 175 of their closest family members and friends. Dressed in a gorgeous mermaid silhouette Pronovias gown from White Dresses Boutique, Natalie walked down the aisle and because Mrs. Natalie Knox Shannon on March 11, 2017.
For their "simple, rustic" style wedding, the most memorable moment for Natalie was the first look. Natalie states, "the anticipation of seeing my groom for the first time and having my groom see me as his bride was second to none. I could barely stand the wait once I was in my dress. Sharing our first embrace and kiss on our wedding day as just the two of us was precious." The Shannons celebrated their union by honeymoon to Sandals Ochi Rios Resort in Jamaica.
*Provided by Natalie courtesy of London Lane Studio