But like any Cinderella story, the end of the night seemed the end of the fairytale for the fated couple. Though born in Cherry Hill, Jennifer lived in Arizona, while Mike was back in New Jersey in Chatham. The two drifted apart until two years later, when their long-distance romance was rekindled. Mike moved to Phoenix in August 2007, and just over two years later, he proposed to Jennifer.
Deciding to host the wedding in New Jersey was an easy decision for the Phoenix-based couple (they expect to eventually return to N.J. to raise a family). But planning it cross-country was a whole other ballgame. Jennifer, an event planner herself in Scottsdale, relied heavily on her mother-in-law, Margaret, and her sister-in-law and bridesmaid, Danielle, to help her with the day’s details.
Even ordering her dress—a sweetheart strapless satin Lazaro gown, with a jewel and rhinestone detail below the bust that matched her headpiece—was challenging since it was from Kleinfeld in Manhattan. “I had to fly out probably four or five times from Phoenix for fittings,” Jennifer says. “I just had more challenges because I was planning from 2,000 miles away.”
But when the day came, it seemed as though everything fell into place. For the Shannons, the day’s special moments were all about personal touches. Father Paddy O’Donovan, Mike’s priest and family friend since childhood, presided over the ceremony at the Church of Christ the King in New Vernon.
At the Westin Governor Morris in Morristown, Jennifer’s matron of honor, Krystal Baker, and her husband, Sturgis Waters, of the band the Waters, performed the couple’s first dance before handing over the floor to the ten-piece band, the Groove Shop, for the night.
The tiered cake from Gourmet Touch Bakery in Liberty Corner was decorated with paper anemones that Jennifer special-ordered from etsy.com. And the day’s celebration was also shared with Mike’s father, Edmund, who turned 60 that same day.
“It was definitely the party of the year,” says Jennifer. After returning to Phoenix and hosting a reception there, the couple honeymooned for a week in the Dominican Republic.