Romantic Vintage UP Inspired Wedding from Shannon Kelley Photography

I have a confession for all of you. Up until a few months ago, I had yet to see the Disney and Pixar movie UP. From the time it came out in 2009, I flat out refused to see it. I can’t even remember the reason why, I just didn’t want to. Then I saw this wedding from Shannon Kelley Photography. In talking to Shannon about the details and hearing from the bride the details of her love story (much of which has a foundation inspired by the movie), I knew I had to see it. A few months ago, I finally did. I loved it. I sobbed through the first half hour and repeatedly asked myself why I was watching this and why were people so in love with this movie. Then it clicked. It’s because at the heart of adventure, there is love, and vice versa. There is no love without adventure. Or rather, love is the greatest adventure of all. Chris and Christi are just beginning theirs, so let’s see how it all began…

bridal couple kiss bent over blue vintage truck

bridal couple kissing under covered bridge

Chris and Christi met purely by chance on a business trip. Chris was called in at the last minute on the tail end of another business trip for support, causing him to miss his daughter’s fourth birthday. Throughout the trip, coworkers commented just how well Chris and Christi worked together, both professionally and personally. But both Chris and Christi were in committed relationships at the time and refused to view their relationship as more than just friendship. Which continued long after the trip had ended.

wedding dress with custom bridal hanger, haute hanger

brown sparkly bridal shoes, hanging wedding dress shot

vintage suitcases with wedding rings, DIY tags

Their friendship was strong and withstood the 400 miles that separated them for many months. When their respective relationships ended, instead of turning to each other, Chris and Christi parted ways. Choosing to mend their broken hearts alone, at risk of possibly never seeing each other again. (Even though I know how their story plays out, I can’t help my stomach from clenching every time I read this.)

bridal couple first dance

When the time was right, Christi reached out to Chris. Early on in their friendship, Chris had talked about how the movie UP made him cry the first time he watched it (and every time since). The fact that he felt he had never had the kind of loving relationship portrayed in the film was an overwhelming blow. Christi, remembering this, sent Chris a handwritten note and grape soda bottle cap (movie reference). The note simply said, “I want to be your Ellie.” From that moment on, Chris vowed to do everything he possibly could to keep Christi in his life. (Cue the heart flutters.)

bride and groom exchanging sentimental letters on wedding day

sentimental wedding card

The first weekend he could, Chris drove up to see Christi. After a moment of, “Wow. I can’t believe we’re really here.”, they shared their first kiss. To them, it felt like home. Despite being their first kiss, it felt natural (as if they’d been doing it all along, and would for the next 50 years). They both knew at that moment that ‘together’ was where they were meant to be. (Sigh.)

bridal couple kissing on garden path

When it came time, Chris put a lot of thought and planning into his proposal. On October 2nd, Chris woke Christi at o’dark thirty (I love Christi’s term for the early wake up call) to drive 45 minutes to meet “someone” at 6:45AM. The “someone” was actually a surprise, sunrise hot air balloon ride. Taking one was something they had talked about doing for a while (and also reminiscent of the movie UP). It was so much more than just that though, it was the start of a new beginning. It was a beautiful and fun experience that Chris had even planned (at the request of their mothers) to videotape. Their pilot caught the entire exchange and proposal on video! Chris later put a compilation of the video and photographs of the day together for their friends and family. You can see it here! (I highly recommend you do. It’s completely fun, totally sweet, sigh-worthy, happy tear-inducing, and perfect.)

up inspired hot air balloon invite

vintage desk decor with old family photos

up inspired adventure book

DIY wedding signs decor, garden fountain

bridal wedding flower hairpieces

{From the Bride} Our wedding ideas changed along the way, but the day of was supposed to be outdoors, in front of this little bridge over the creek that ran through the Hawkesdene property. Unfortunately, it rained and we delayed and it kept raining. Then about 10 minutes after we started the ceremony indoors (completely unplanned for even though we knew it was a possibility) it finally let up and we had our reception outdoors as planned.

groom getting ready in military dress uniform

bride with white bouquet

I poured my heart into a ton of little details, some of which were never realized due to the craziness that becomes your wedding day. So many family and friends helped me put the finishing touches on what I had spent months and months putting together, and set it all up the day of while I was getting ready. That was what was most special, the love and helping hands that went into making it all happen.

wedding table setting

wedding decor chair accents, wedding table settings

wedding table settings and centerpieces

We built a backdrop for a Polaroid guest book with props. I drew and created kids programs as well as adult programs and I crafted the invitations using letterpress and embossing stamps. Vintage hot air balloon stamps/pictures adorned a lot of the paper details. I collected vintage handkerchiefs and made our mother’s clutches. So much more, but that would be a huge list.

up inspired hot air balloon wedding invitation suite

It was a SMALL wedding, but it was so special being able to spend quality time with the people who would take the time to travel and be there for us on that important day.

first kiss as husband and wife

{Advice} Nothing that hasn’t been said before by others much wiser than myself, but I think communication is key: RESPECTFUL communication. You can be upset and not belittle, patronize or otherwise verbally abuse the person you claim to love so much. It’s how you act when things aren’t just perfect or aren’t going your way that matter. If it draws you together and you face it as a couple, fantastic, if not… you might need to work on being on the same team and making reasonable compromises. Life is hard and it gets really busy, so having that foundation of friendship, trust and being able to communicate is oh-so-important.

Also, love your future spouse with all that you are and don’t do it expecting something out of it. If it’s true love, it will be returned, maybe not in the form you prefer or that you give it in, but it will be returned. Relationships fall apart when people get selfish.

DIY just married sign on vintage blue truck, bride gazing at groom from blue vintage truck

bridal couple next to vintage blue truck

I just love when a couple’s love story is as beautiful as their wedding day. I love how they loosely incorporated the movie that meant so much to their relationship into the details of their wedding. Christi did an amazing job bringing their love story to life in the most beautiful and romantic way. Speaking of the details, their love story, and romance… I have a special treat for you! The most beautiful wedding video (from Milestone Pictures) I have seen in a very long time. It’s a two-song highlight of their most special day with a voiceover of vows that will have your eyes shining with tears and your heart fluttering in your chest. Watch it in it’s entirety. It paints the most beautiful picture… of life, and love, and the adventure of it all.

bride and groom exchanging kisses on vintage blue truck

bride and groom kissing and having fun in vintage blue truck

Big hugs and thank you’s to Chris and Christi for sharing their love story with us today! Congratulations on beginning the greatest adventure of all! May your years together be nothing but joyful and sweet. A special hug and thank you to Shannon Kelley Photography for once again sharing her incredible talent for capturing love (and all of its adventures). << I can’t stop saying that, because it’s beautiful and true. :)

P.S. This is a note to myself: DO.A.WEDDING.VIDEO. That is all. Oh, and find a vintage truck for photos. Yes, yes, yes! Must do! :)

Christi + Chris from Milestone Pictures on Vimeo.

Shannon Kelley Photography is a member of our Vendor Boutique. For information on how to join our growing family, click here.

Videography: Milestone Pictures – Ceremony and Reception Venue: Hawkesdene

Wedding Dress: Designer: Ella Rosa (Private Label by G) at Hers Bridal, Minden, LA

Bride’s Shoes:Naughty Monkey, (Resurrection in Chocolate) – Silk Bolero: Mary and Angelika (Etsy)

Florist: Andrews Florist – Paper Products: Paper SourceLetterpress plate: Boxcar Press

Flower Bobby Pins:Virginia Geiger Jewels (Etsy) – Personalized Hanger: The Haute Hanger (Etsy)

Me without You card: Porterness (Etsy) – Balloon Images: Charmed Memory Collage (Etsy)


    • AlexandraAlexandra says

      Those are my favorite too, Sarah! I was serious about having a vintage truck at my wedding one day – I want photos like that! :) Thanks for reading! xo


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