Real Wedding: Michelle & Shayne
Michelle Bourdeau's mother was right. In reply to a question about when she'd find "the right man," Michelle's mother told her, "When you move back to Vermont." As it turns out, within two weeks of moving back to her home state from Boston, Michelle, out with friends in downtown Burlington, met Shayne Fenton. A cousin of one of Michelle's friends and also a Vermont native, Shayne was visiting home after living for a time in New Orleans.
From that first meeting, both knew that this was something special, but with Michelle often on the road for work, it was hard to spend much time together. They'd meet for dinner after Michelle's plane landed, or make a date out of a trip to Home Depot. Shayne hadn't planned to stay in Vermont for good, but when winter came, for the first time in more than a decade, Shayne stayed put. "He hates the winter here," says Michelle."That's how his best friend and his family say they knew he was in love."
The proposal was sweet and unexpected, Michelle says, surprising her with "a ton of rose petals, candlelight, champagne, and the perfect words," Shayne proposed on the night their families were to meet for the first time. At the dinner that followed, at Shayne's grandmother's house, surrounded by family from both sides, the couple couldn't wait to share their surprise news.
Though they'd spent a lot of time away, the couple's roots in Vermont made getting married here an easy decision. Choosing a "rustic romantic" wedding theme, the couple made the most of their exceptional site - using its various buildings, tents, and barns to encourage guests to roam freely and enjoy. Games and a children's tent occupied younger guests, and both young and old were treated to food in abundance - not just at the wedding meal but also at the late-night barbecue held later on (not to mention the pig roast that kicked off the weekend!). But it didn't weigh anyone down - there was still a crowd on the dance floor at 2 a.m., 12 hours after the ceremony began.
Family heirlooms helped make the ceremony special - their cake cutter was the same one used by Shayne's grandparents and cousins at their weddings, and Michelle wore one of her mother's rings and her wedding garter. The wedding produced some new heirlooms, too, including the fall-color table runners made by Michelle's mother and grandmother, saved to be part of a quilt one day, and the programs which documents all the wedding participants and the role that each played.
The most precious part of the wedding, says Michelle, was that friends and family took the time to share the weekend with them. And the professionals they worked with helped make the event. From the caterers to the floral designers to the photographers (who have since become good friends), Michelle says, "Everyone was professional and beyond our expectations." To other brides, Michelle says to trust your instincts - listen to advice, but make sure in the end to go with what you really want. "It's your day," she says.