I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

We’re totally into the timeless quality of Shanleigh and Joe’s seaside wedding day in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. There’s a quiet sophistication to the mix of genres—vintage, classic and relaxed with a dash of flower child. Add in a rainy day by the sea and you’ve got nuptial style magic. We love how Gabriella Riggieri captured the beautiful authenticity of Shanleigh and Joe’s day.


What made the wedding special and unique?

Our wedding party was composed of 11 groomsmen, 8 bridesmaids, 3 flower girls, and 1 ring bearer. Go big or go home, right? What made the occasion so special was that there were no introductions. Joe and I shared the same group of friends, and family members in the wedding party had been well-acquainted for years. It was a party from the start.








Tell us more about the gown and where/how you found it!

I always knew I wanted a lace gown. One of the first things I did after we got engaged was start the hunt for the perfect dress. I spent a lot of time looking online and found a few that I wanted to try on. The dress had to be the perfect mix of elegance and class with an antique flair. When I put my dress on, the first thing I noticed was how light it was. We were having a summer wedding and I knew I didn’t want to be too hot or feel too weighed down. There was another dress that I was going back-and-forth on, but I couldn’t get over the lace on my dress. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was thick and had almost a crochet look to it. It made the dress have a hint of 70’s flower child, while still maintaining a subtle sophistication that wasn’t overpowering. Some brides try on hundreds of dresses. For me, it only took five. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut.




What were some touches added to make it personal?

Our wedding was full of unique elements that made the celebration as a whole more personal for our family and friends. Joe’s uncle, whom we are very close with, is a deacon and was able to help officiate the wedding and read us our vows. He also delivered an excellent homily that was so much more meaningful having witnessed first-hand the type of relationship Joe and I have. At the reception, I tried to add small details that our guests could relate to. The guestbook was on a table that also displayed wedding pictures of three generations of brides and grooms on both Joe’s side and mine. Instead of having table numbers for a guest to report to, the tables were named after an exciting place that each person had likely spent time with me and Joe together. Table names included family vacation locations, skiing destinations, and spectacular beaches or hikes that our family and friends experienced with the two of us.







What was the most memorable part of the day?

Everyone tells you that your wedding day will fly by. I couldn’t disagree more. I soaked in and enjoyed every second of it. Every girl dreams of a bright and sunny, rain free wedding day. Well it didn’t rain on August 2; it poured. What I’ll never forget is how we didn’t let it ruin any of our fun. As a designer, the one thing that I wanted to be able to gush over in later days was my pictures. And let me tell you, we had an angel with us that day. The second we came out of the church, the rain halted. We all rushed to the venue to try and get a few pictures in before the skies opened up again. We were able to take every single picture that I had envisioned, and once we were done, it started pouring again. It literally stopped raining for 1 hour that day; the 1 hour that started from the time they opened the doors to the church to the beginning of happy hour at the reception. If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what will.



Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Joe and I have known each other since the 2nd grade. We grew up in Lunenburg, a really small town in Massachusetts (and an even smaller school) where everyone knew everybody. We started dating our senior year of high school and haven’t looked back since. We love to spend our time outdoors whenever possible. Joe proposed to me on the summit of Mount Osceola in New Hampshire on our five year dating anniversary. We were scouting out the area for the ideal place to eat lunch. Joe brought me to a small alcove off to the side and popped the question after some delicious PB & J’s. What is cooler than telling your family and friends that you got engaged on the top of a mountain? I spent the entire climb down gazing at the new rock on my finger, in disbelief that I was 22 years old and engaged to my best friend.


August 2 from Shanleigh Heelan on Vimeo.

Vendors: Photography: Gabriella Riggieri // Stationery: August & Osceola // Dress: Allure Bridal // Bride’s Ring: Penny Preville // Venue: Shining Tides, Mattapoisett, MA // Flowers: Always in Bloom, Marion, MA // Bridesmaid Dresses: Banana Republic // Groom’s Suit: 9 Tailors // DJ: Tom Cooney // Catering: Russell Morin // Hair: Sisters Hair & Skin Care