Oksana and Leo are not your typical couple. When we were planning their engagement photos way back, I told them how most people wear 2 outfits, one casual and one more dressy, but that it was up to them. I then learned that they love to dress up and go out to eat in nice restaurants, so they were going to do two dressy outfits. I (Shannon) loved that! I too love dressing up and eating out. When they arrived, they were not just in your “Sunday best” they looked ready to attend a gala or opening show. And I thought…these are my kind of people! They are beautiful and kind and unassuming. Joel and I have absolutely loved getting to know them over these past months preparing for the day they said “I do”! They both come from wonderful and unique families, and when I heard Oksana’s father give his toast and then dance with his little girl, I teared up. In fact I’m tearing up now just thinking of her beautiful story as a young Russian girl moving here with her mom, to a place she didn’t know and didn’t speak the language of, to a new dad that she didn’t know at the time, but who obviously loves her as much as any of his natural children…it’s beautiful. And that is the vibe of this whole wedding day…love and family. The family you are born with and the family you create in the people you choose to fill your life with. Leo and Oksana spoiled their guests with a beautiful reception in the Marriot Grand Crystal Ballroom and even had the most amazing late night snacks, that I learned they didn’t get to eat at all, but which I assured them were fabulous! One of the many highlights of the day was their first dance. They had spent many months taking ballroom dance classes and preparing a choreographed piece, and can I just say that as a dancer and a photographer who’s seen countless first dances, this was the best one I’ve ever seen! Just awesome. And I can’t neglect mentioning the beautiful Shrine of St. Joseph where the ceremony was held – for sure our favorite church in St. Louis. We love the beautiful, old, dark churches – there is something holy and awesome about them. It was a beautiful ceremony and a more perfect day for these two I could not have imagined. Congratulations Leo and Oksana!!
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