Shawna & Brandon

Written by Kirsten Castillo

Photography by Images by Lori

Wedding Date: 09.01.12


Shawna and Brandon knew each other for years through mutual friends, but it wasn’t until a houseboat trip with those friends that the two finally got together. “All I could think the whole weekend was, ‘why the heck I hadn’t gotten to know this guy earlier,’” says Shawna.

They dated for more than a year and then got engaged in a very romantic way. Brandon, a police officer for the city of Folsom, surprised Shawna, a business development manager for a biotech company, with a night out. After dinner at The Kitchen, they went to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento. The hotel room was filled with “hundreds of candles, roses, a bottle of my favorite wine and an engagement,” Shawna says, noting that Brandon recorded the proposal on video.

After an eight-month engagement, they married on a late summer day in front of 175 guests. Brandon’s stepfather officiated the ceremony, which also included the couple’s own vows.

Shawna and Brandon read love letters to each other during the ceremony.

“By the end of the ceremony there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” she says. “It was so filled with emotion, love and happiness.”

Brandon’s favorite wedding memory was waking up the morning of the wedding. “I woke up to no butterflies, questions, no second thoughts,” he says, noting, “I do not think I have ever smiled bigger, laughed harder, or simply enjoyed my life as much as I did on my wedding day.”

Shawna didn’t want a typical wedding gown so she bought a simple bridesmaid dress and “completely redesigned it.” The result was an A-line dress with small straps that crisscrossed under her shoulders, a low back, and a plunging v-neckline.

She accessorized with jewelry, including thin gold hoops with one pearl on each earring and three thin gold chains: “One with the letter M, for Monsoor, one with a cross, and one with my grandmother’s pearl,” she says.

Brandon and his groomsmen dressed in a tan linen vest and slacks, white shirts with rolled up sleeves and peach colored ties. The finishing touch? White Converse Chuck Taylors.

Bridesmaids picked out their own short dresses, which matched the blush, tan and fawn paint swatches Shawna gave her bridesmaids for inspiration. “This way they knew the color palette!” she says.

Although the couple had a first dance and a parents’ dance, they wanted their event to be “a big party rather than the traditional wedding.”

Since Shawna and Brandon consider themselves “major foodies,” they had their caterer prepare “paella in four-foot wide pans in front of our guests during the cocktail hour,” says Shawna. “The paella was filled with different types of shellfish, calamari, chicken, pork and summer veggies.”

Instead of wedding cake, the couple served homemade build-your-own ice cream sandwiches from CREAM.

Another part of the wedding fun? A banner in front of the venue that said, “Happily Ever After Starts Here.”

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Shawna & Brandon's Wedding Resources

OFFICIANTDick Nogelberg, stepdad of groom
Phone: 925-699-4849
VIDEOGRAPHERMarmalade Sky Films
WEDDING PLANNERSimple Country Weddings & Vintage Decor Rentals
Phone: 916-271-6345
BRIDAL HAIRBridget Kasper, Republic Salon
BRIDAL MAKE-UPTenile Shiley, Republic Salon
GROOMS ATTIREMen's Wearhouse
CATERERHola Paella
DESSERTSHomemade ice cream sandwiches by CREAM
LIGHTINGClassic Party Rentals
TABLE RENTALSClassic Party Rentals
ADDITIONAL RESOURCESSimple Country Weddings & Vintage Decor Rentals
Phone: 916-271-6345
Honeymoon Location

Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii

First Dance Song

Let’s Stay Together by Al Green

Father/Daughter Dance Song

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole

Mother/Son Dance Song

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole

Details about Shawna & Brandon's cake

We chose homemade ice cream sandwiches instead of cake. Guests got to pick their freshly baked cookies first (snickerdoodle, white chocolate macnut or double chocolate chip) and then they picked their homemade ice cream to put in the middle (cinnamon caramel, mint chip or coconut).

Details about Shawna & Brandon's flowers

Anything wild looking, peaches and yellows and greens…cottage roses, hydrangeas, billy balls, greenery, etc.

Details about Shawna & Brandon's favors

Custom beer koozies

Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?

I can honestly say that ALL of our wedding vendors were amazing but Ramona Arnold from Simple Country Weddings & Vintage Decor Rentals, and Park Winters made it perfect. The entire day was absolutely perfect!!

Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today?

Don’t forget the reason for the wedding!! The two of YOU!! It is so easy to get caught up in the planning and the money and trying to make it all perfect but don’t lose sight of what brought you there in the first place. It is supposed to be a day with no stress. Surround yourself with good people and remember the look in your groom’s eyes when he sees you for the first time. It melts your heart.

What would you have done differently if you had the chance?

Nothing…it was absolutely perfect.