Shelly & Mike’s Wedding

Shelly & Mike’s wedding was a stunning seaside celebration in Newport, Rhode Island! A color palette of pink, white, pops of gold and captivating textures mixed within was perfect. Their story of connecting, going separate ways then reconnecting is equally as beautiful as the wedding day and absolutely worth reading all the way through!

Shelly and Mike’s wedding was nothing short of enchanting. From the moment guests arrived, they were surrounded by soft, classically beautiful delicate hues of pink and white that perfectly captured the couple’s love story. The photography, shot mostly on film, boasted a timeless quality that added to the magical ambience of the day.

The wedding was held at Belle Mer after a church ceremony, the perfect backdrop for the couple’s celebration. The church ceremony area was dressed in pink and white flowers, seamlessly blending with the design of the entire day. Shelly arrived in a vintage white car wearing an elegant form fitting white dress that complemented her delicate bouquet.

Following the ceremony, guests made their way to the reception, where they were greeted by a champagne wall. Exquisite florals from The Wild Dahlia covered the tables that added to the romantic atmosphere. The couple’s love for timeless esthetic was evident in all the details chosen by Jessica Hennessey Weddings, from the vintage glassware to the stunning vintage lounge area for guests to watch the perfect sunset.

The photography captured every moment of the wedding in stunning detail, with the grain of the film adding to the timeless elegance of the event. From the soft pink hues in Shelly’s bouquet to the small moments shared between the couple, everything was captured on film and digital and blended seamlessly together.

In the end, Shelly and Mike’s wedding was a magical and memorable event, captured by the photography and cinematography with the exquisite attention to detail by the designer. It was a day that will be treasured for years to come, and the beautiful photographs reflect the love and happiness that Shelly and Mike share. -Meredith Jane Photography

How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another? As told by Shelly: Our story is unique, happy, sad, and funny, so stay with us, because as you know, it has a happy ending. Mike and I met in January 2010 when we both attended Bentley University. Mike was a cool Junior, who played Rugby, while I was a Freshmen on the diving team just trying to figure out this whole college thing. I had an especially fun teammate and captain, Emily Travers, who was dating Mike’s roommate. We just had our annual Swim & Dive team Christmas party, so Emily was uploading all of the event photos to Facebook when Mike stopped her and said, “Who is that girl in the red dress?!” From there Mike was eager to meet me and Emily played matchmaker. She showed me pictures of Mike, who I thought was the most handsome and “hot” guy I had ever seen. I instantly said, “I have to meet him!” Emily had her task and set Mike and I up to meet one evening. I remember being so shy and nervous, but trying my best to play it cool. After flirting back and forth during what I think was a game of flip cup (sorry Mom and thank you Aqua Riders), we knew there was something there. I couldn’t contain my giddiness and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Did I mention that he was even cuter in person? Mike and I had the most fun night together, learning about one another and doing what college kids do best, dancing the night away in some dorm room party. At the end of the night, we romantically shared our first kiss in the stairwell of the Boylston dorm.

From there, Mike and I dated for a year and a half, where we fell head over heels in love. He set up romantic dates, which in college consisted of dinners at the Cheesecake Factory, trips into Boston, ice skating at Frog Pond, Valentine’s Day dinner in the North End, meeting each other’s families, waterskiing together at my lake house, riding all of the roller coasters at Six Flags, going to Chatham, and my favorite, a romantic moon lit night laying on a blanket in the middle of the Bentley track and just watching the stars together. He taught me what it meant to be selfless, to challenge, motivate and encourage one another to be the best we could be. I remember thinking he was the smartest man I had ever met, and I knew the way he made me feel was unlike any other feeling in the world. He was my first love and I could see my future with him.

Mike graduated college and we went our separate ways for just about 7 years. We ran into one another in Boston a couple times and texted back and forth when one of us was single. Mike even sought me out in the North End in 2013 and we contemplated dating again, but the timing never lined up. Feelings were clearly still there for both of us and we never forgot that once in a lifetime love we shared.

I decided to take a leap of faith – I wrote Mike a love letter, well, a love email. I told him how I thought we were always meant to come back to one another. That I haven’t felt a love or connection like ours and that I thought the time was right to try again. I waited weeks and months, but no response. Come to find out, Mike was seeing someone at the time. How did I find that out? Well, remember our mutual friend, Emily Travers? She ran into Mike’s roommate at the time, Jeff, in NYC and he told her that Mike received the message, but is in a relationship. Once they broke up, he reached out to me and apologized for not responding and said that if I wanted to talk to him, I should fly to Philadelphia. By this time, I was already in another relationship. I am a girl that loves adventure, but I wasn’t just going to hop on a plane and fly to talk to a boy that I hadn’t seen in years! Nevertheless, those words stuck in my head.

About a year later, Emily Travers and I decided to do a girl’s weekend at her place and she just so happened to live in Philadelphia! Emily, knowing the whole story with Mike, said to me, “are you going to text him?” I said “No, I’m going to try my best not to text him.” Emily knew this was just me being too scared to reach out again and face the possibility of being let down. So, for a second time, Emily played matchmaker. Without me knowing, she texted Mike to meet up that night. I found out a few minutes later when Emily had a smile plastered on her face and was so bubbly and excited that she had this all set up. Cue the nerves! I was shaking, walking into Ladder 15 in Philadelphia to meet Mike after all of this time. I knew my life was about to change. Mike and I locked eyes again; I was done for. I was relieved to find out that he was just as nervous as I was. We spent the night talking through the past, meeting all of Mike’s Philly friends, and laughing and dancing for hours. The next day, Mike and I met up for coffee at what is now one of our favorite places, La Colombe. We talked more seriously about the past, what we have done in our time apart, and our hopes and dreams for the future. It was incredible how much we still aligned in all of our values, dreams, and work ethic. I also couldn’t believe this hunk was still single!

I left the weekend in Philadelphia knowing that I still had these incredibly strong feelings for this man, but not knowing if it would go anywhere. I lived in Boston and he lived in Philadelphia and neither one of us wanted to do a long-distance relationship. A few days later, I was sitting at Kaizen Sushi Restaurant with my best friend, Kassie, and I was telling her about the weekend. She asked me how I was feeling and I just kept saying, “I don’t know.” I also told her I hadn’t heard from Mike again since I left and I didn’t know if he was interested. All of a sudden, my phone buzzed and I had a text from Mike Shea. I instantly looked at Kassie and had a tear running down my face because I was so genuinely happy. She just looked at me, laughed, and said, “well, I guess we know how you’re feeling now.” Mike asked me to dinner in Boston on February 13, our first real date the second time around. Since then, we were both all in and once our walls came down, the love flowed.

Come November of 2018, just 10 months later, I was moving to Philadelphia to live with Mike. Although my parents were sad I was moving farther away, they knew that Mike is the only man I’d ever move for and that we were meant to be together. Luckily, they love him just as much as I do! Since then, we have started new jobs, spent countless weekends with our friends and family, had many date nights discovering new restaurants around Philly, traveled to San Francisco, Nantucket, Naples, Colorado, the Grand Cayman, Michigan, and Europe to name a few. My favorite place, being Switzerland.

For Mike’s 30th birthday, he told me he wanted to wake up in Europe. We planned a trip to Amsterdam, Lake Geneva Switzerland, and Paris. On our first full day in Switzerland, we didn’t have much planned, but instead wanted to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. We woke up early and watched the sun rise over the mountains, then ordered room service for breakfast. Once we left the hotel to explore, we took the cutest gondola ride down to the town, Vevey, and sat outside at a coffee shop. Then we went to a Swiss chocolatier and had what may have been the best milk chocolate we have ever tasted! Our last activity was to take a boat on Lake Geneva headed towards the Chateau de Chillon, a little castle on the water. The entire paddle wheel boat ride was so picturesque, and I could not stop gushing about the incredibly beautiful lake and mountains around us. When we got off the boat, I looked at Mike and said, this may be the most beautiful place I have ever been. We were walking towards the castle when Mike stopped to ask a man to take a picture of us, where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! With happy tears, shock and overwhelming excitement, I said, “Yes!” The rest of the day ended with a long walk along the lake to Montreux, another boat ride back to Vevey, local Swiss wine by the lake, watching the sun set over the mountains, and calling all of our family to tell them the good news!

As told by Mike:
At this point, if you have made it this far and read through Shelly’s story, you have a pretty good idea of our timeline. I know I couldn’t do a better job laying it all out, so instead I thought I would try to provide a little of my perspective to hopefully help enhance our love story. I originally met Shelly during the spring semester of my junior year at Bentley University and fell for her pretty hard after borderline stalking her on Facebook through our mutual friend, Emily Travers. To me, Shelly was my “Lady in Red” (check out the 1979 Lewis Teague movie), because in the first picture that caught my eye she was wearing a beautiful red dress. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, Emily was able to get us at the same party which, as Shelly noted, led to some flip cup, a little flirting and a goodnight kiss.

Needless to say, I was bragging pretty hard to all my buddies about how I had met this “chick” way out of my league. She had to be the most beautiful woman I have ever met and I was super nervous to open up about how much I liked her. What’s more is only a few weeks later, after trying to woo her with multiple trips to Panera, Cheesecake Factory and Currito Burrito for romantic dinners, she actually wasn’t disgusted by the volume and speed I ate food; and agreed to date me! Through the rest of my Bentley career (and part of Shelly’s), I was fortunate to have Shelly by my side for most of my favorite college memories. Rugby matches, nights on the track, Spring Days, Shelly’s diving events and even my graduation.

Events help people solidify memories into a chronological timeline, but it’s the people that you are with who actually make each great moment memorable. It wasn’t just Shelly’s stunning looks that stole my heart. When we did get the chance to spend time together, I learned that behind the polite and kind woman that most people see, was an intelligent, driven, and compassionate person capable of anything she put her mind to. I was immediately attracted to her effortless ability to chase her goals while seamlessly enjoying life to the fullest.

These traits, along with some really fun times in college, made it especially tough when we decided to go our separate ways after I graduated. We both got the opportunity to grow as individuals and never really lost track of where each other was in life, catching up from time to time over the phone or in person. To this day, I still don’t understand how she was still interested in me after some of the nights when I would stop by and talk with her on the bench outside her North End apartment after a night with friends. I did receive and email from Shelly a few years before we started dating for the second time that was a pretty detailed account of how she felt, why she thought we may have split the first time, and why she thinks we may work again. Although at the time I was seeing someone else, I could never forget that email and frankly never disagreed with anything she said. I did think that one day we may give it a second chance and even mentioned it to my now Best Man, Ben Yodzio when we were having drinks in Boston during one of my work trips. I even got the chance to tell Shelly in person when we FaceTimed while I was at the NFL Draft in Philadelphia that I read it and felt the same way. I told her that if she ever wanted to give it another shot, she should come down to Philly and we can grab dinner and I’d show her around the city.

Despite almost seven years of living in different states including California, Massachusetts, Texas, and Pennsylvania, we still were able to find our way back to each other thanks again to the “newly minted” Dr. Emily Travers. My Philadelphia friends can attest that the night Emily told me she and Shelly were going to be at the same bar as us (shout out to Ladder 15 in Philly), I looked my friend Joon in the face and said “I’m telling you to protect me. If I see Shelly again in person, I’m probably going to end up marrying her.” I’ve been known to be over-dramatic from time to time, but I can confidently say that I was pretty spot on with that one. I was newly single and when I saw her that night I was in awe of how beautiful she was and how quickly we hit it off again.

It took a few weeks for us to see each other for dinner in Boston. In the meantime, the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, so I was battling intermittent depression, but I snapped out of it when Shelly said she would be visiting Emily again. During that trip, the two of us took a walk through Rittenhouse Square and I mustered up the energy to kiss Shelly again for the “first” time. I knew during that walk that I wanted to give us another shot and I would do anything to keep our chances alive. Shelly must have felt the same way as she was kind enough to move to Philadelphia while I finished my MBA at Villanova. We picked up right where we left off and have had some awesome adventures to Florida, Colorado, Europe, Michigan, the Cape, the Grand Cayman Islands and more.

It was almost one year after she moved to Philly when I asked her to marry me on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. She thought we went on the trip for my birthday, but the whole time I had other plans. Although we visited Paris and Amsterdam as well, Shelly is a “lake girl” at heart, so I knew it had to be done on a lake. Although I was greeted with “what are you doing?!” when I took a knee, it was the best moment of my life when she said yes.

There has really never been anyone else other than Shelly for me. She was my first true love and still is to this day. It took us both time apart to realize how special our bond was, but I couldn’t imagine enjoying this crazy ride and growing old with anyone else.

Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning. We were apart for seven years, during which time we both grew as individuals, started working professionally, moved cities multiple times, and had many new experiences. When we started seeing each other again, we had to take the time to get to know one another again and accept that we had both changed and grown since we were last together. It was hard to accept that we didn’t share those seven years together, but we know we wouldn’t be who are today if we didn’t spend that time apart.

Our one hurdle during wedding planning was the Covid-19 pandemic. We were originally supposed to be married in May 2021. In December 2020, we were told that our venue would not have the dance floor open and the wedding would be outside on the lawn instead of in the ballroom. We didn’t want to sacrifice our vision for the day and all that we had planned and although it was a tough decision, we decided to postpone the wedding for one year so we could have the best celebration party with all of our loved ones on the dance floor!

Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day? Although my Grandmothers weren’t with me physically on my wedding day, I was able to have a piece of them both on my bouquet. I had a white rosery from Capri, Italy wrapped around my bouquet, which my Dad’s parents brought back with them from a trip to Italy many years ago. My bouquet also had a brooch from my other Grandmother and I wore her blue Saphire ring on my right hand as my something borrowed and something blue. My Dad was in a wedding band in college and immediately after. During this time, he was dating my Mom and she would go to the weddings as his date to sit there and watch him play. My Dad’s one request was that we have a live band at our wedding and we wouldn’t have had it any other way! They were incredible!

What is your favorite thing about each other? Mike – My favorite thing about Shelly is her passion for life. She does not sit by idly waiting for things to happen, but instead devotes all of herself to the most important things in life, including love, family, friends, and her work. Her commitment to things that make life exciting make me happy that I can stand beside her during a this incredible life.

Shelly – My favorite thing about Mike is his ability to always be my teammate. Together, we are stronger and he is the best partner I could ever ask for.

What was your favorite part about planning your wedding? My favorite part about wedding planning was dress shopping! My Mom, sister in law, maid of honor, and I went dress shopping in New York City at Kleinfeld and Pronovias, Mariella’s Creations in Connecticut, and Pronovias, Vows, and Flair in Boston. I loved dress shopping so much that I even bought a second dress, which I wore for the reception! My first dress was a classic, simple, form fitted, crepe dress with a v neckline, a very long train and a cathedral length veil which was all from Pronovias. My reception dress was a fun, fully lace and beaded gown from Martina Liana. Not only did I love shopping for my gowns, but also helping my Mom and bridesmaids find their gowns. We went to a few different bridal boutiques for my Mom’s mother of the bride dress and my bridesmaids had a fun day trying on dresses at Bella Bridesmaids before we decided on the one!

Mike’s favorite part about wedding planning was the food tasting. Belle Mer’s food is top knotch and we not only “tasted” the food, but finished every item brought to us!

What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you? If you asked us this question before we got married, we would say that the ceremony is the most important part to both of us because we couldn’t wait to marry each other in front of all our family and friends and what little girl doesn’t dream of walking down the isle with her Dad? Now looking back on our wedding day, there were two standout moments that were so special to us. The first is writing a card to one another to read the morning of the wedding day. Since we didn’t do our own vows in the ceremony, we wanted to tell each other what was in our heart. We will both remember reading those words forever and the excitement and smiles it brought to both of us.

The second moment being our last dance at the reception. We received the advice to do a private last dance together once all the guests left the wedding venue at the end of the evening. The band agreed to stay late and grant us this unique request. When the music started, Mike and I were in tears, slow dancing with one another and reflecting on all of the beautiful moments of the day. It was the best wedding decision we made and a moment we will cherish forever. After our dance, the band was also in tears and they thanked us for allowing them to be a part of such a special moment. They had never done that for a couple before!

Wedding Planning + Design: Jessica Hennessey Weddings
Photography: Meredith Jane Photography
Floral Design: Wild Dahlia –
Reception Venue/Catering: Belle Mer of Longwood Venues 
Rentals: Peak Event Services 
Linens: BBJ Linen
HMUA: Lyndsay Simon Beauty 
Videography: Chris Thomas Weddings 
Transportation: Limos of Newport
Bridal Attire: Pronovias purchased at Martina Liana Bridal
Mens Attire: Classic Tux
Stationery + Paper Goods: blu3designs and allisonkthln
Entertainment: Closing Time Boston


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