GSS Featured Wedding Professional :: Lynn in Love Photo :: Shiri’s Bridals and Couple Session

Today we are bringing you a great session from Lynn in Love Photo. A few thoughts from Lynn, their wedding photographer ::

Shiri and Emmanuel are both from Cameroon and have been married for 15 years! They have two teenage aged children and have decided to have a vow renewal at the Cotton Mill on November 27, 2010. I absolutely loved photographing and seeing how much in love they are with each other even after all these years. I did Shiri’s bridals and Bride + Groom session at the Cotton Mill a few weeks ago and Shiri rocked it out in her bridal gown. I adore that she found a dress that was incredibly chic, age-appropriate and showcased her body.

I’m excited to shoot their vow renewal celebration at the Cotton Mill which will be a black tie affair mixed in with Cameroon traditions.

How exciting….the vow renewal is TOMORROW! Here’s to Shiri and Emmanuel! We were also able to ask Shiri some questions.

How did you and Emmanuel meet?

We girls always expect so much of spring break:  a tropical locale, prefect weather and hot guys!   Well, here’s my famous spring break story . . .

I met Emmanuel at a party in Newark, New Jersey while on spring break in 1992.   I was in graduate school working on my Masters of Public Administration (MPA) with a public policy concentration at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Although the official purpose of my spring break trip was to visit my cousins Angelina and Henry, I had an ulterior motive for going to the East Coast.  Of course, it had to do with a young fella.

During this time, I had been talking to someone who lived in New York and we had decided to meet up during spring break (To protect the innocent, this fella will remain nameless).  For weeks beforehand, me and this fella talked on the phone about how much fun we were going to have since we were finally going to be able to spend some time together during spring break.   But when I got to New Jersey, things didn’t really work out.   I was at the party with the other guy when I met my future husband.

Spring Break 1992 ended and I went back to Baton Rouge.  As I was walking into my apartment from the airport, my phone rang.  I rushed to pick up the phone and the voice on the other line belonged to Emmanuel.  And the rest is history.  .  . because he has kept calling ever since

How long have you been together?

We met and started dating in the Spring 1992 (April 19, 1992 to be exact) and got married on December 4, 1995.  So we have been together for close to 18 years.

How did he propose?

We both know that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together after 2 years of dating.  During those first years of dating, we talked about marriage, money, kids, family, culture, tradition, etc., and we knew immediately that we could live with each other for the rest of our lives.

Emmanuel proposed to me without any fanfare during the winter of 1995.   He was visiting me for the weekend and we were home relaxing and talking about the future at my apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland.   Emmanuel looked at me and told me to look down.  I looked.  He pulled out a ring box, opened it and enclosed was the ring. I asked him, “What’s that?”   He looked at me as if I was already supposed to know (I knew but I wanted him to say exactly what it was).

He asked, “Would you marry me?”   I looked at him and asked “Are you serious?”   Emmanuel nodded his head signifying “yes” and I proceeded to tell him to get down on his knees and ask me properly if he wanted an answer from me.  After the shock wore off a bit from my bold request, Emmanuel dropped to his knees and asked me to please marry him.   In my usual playing hard to get routine, I told him, “I guess so.”   He then said, “You guess so?!” repeating what I said because he couldn’t believe I said that.   In order not to prolong his agony any longer, I looked at him lovingly with sly grin and said with excitement , ” Yes Emmanuel, I will marry you.”   With a satisfied grin on his face, Emmanuel happily slipped the ring on my finger.

What sold you on your wedding venue for your vow renewal?

Emmanuel and I wanted somewhere unique and classic.  And when we stumbled upon our venue (Cotton Mill of McKinney), and toured the facility, we immediately fell in love.   With all the wooden floors and open wide spaces, it reminded us of all the vintage and historical warehouses and buildings in our beloved hometown New Orleans.  It is such a beautiful historical building with lovely grounds. The fountain and the courtyard on the grounds reminds me of Rome.

Your bouquet is stunning. Please tell us more about that.

My bouquet is one of my few DIY projects that I did for our vow renewal.   I love peonies, but since they are not in season in October/November, I decided to do the next best thing to achieve my goal:  buy and make a silk peony bouquet.     I wrapped the handle in tiffany blue fleur de lis ribbon (another nod to New Orleans) and then used one of my fuchsia necklaces as my bouquet jewelry to add some color and highlight my love for anything pink-related.

Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”?

I bought the dress from the Priscilla of Boston’s Dallas store.   My dress is Style Jules from Priscilla of Boston’s Vineyard Collection.   My mom was the one person I took dress shopping with me and when I put on the Style Jules dress, she declared that it was the one for me.   Who can argue with mom after such an adamant declaration?   After all, Mama knows best!!!!   Thank you mom for having such fabulous taste.

Lynn mentioned to us you would be having some Cameroon traditions mixed into your day. Please share with us what you will be doing.

During our wedding reception, we are going to have a Cameroonian traditional entry. Emmanuel and I are going to have change into traditional clothes and re-enter the reception hall dancing to traditional music surrounded by our friends and family who will also be in traditional attire. After our entry, there is going to be a lot of dancing and our family and friends will spray us with money (something similar to the money dance. During this part of the reception, we will also be presented with traditional gifts and money. Some of my family members may even ask Emmanuel to pay an additional bride price.

Do you have any advice for brides that are in the planning process?

I have two words for any bride: “Do you.” I strongly believe that every wedding should reflect the personalities and interests of the couple. Therefore, everything should be all about your details and visions. I will also tell other brides to relax and savor the moment. Do not lose focus on the significance of your event. It is not just some fancy party. It is your commitment ceremony to a wonderful man that loves and supports you. So remember to count your blessings and be thankful for all the beautiful things happening to and around you.

What has been your favorite part of planning your big day?

I love every aspect and minute of planning our vow renewal. From buying my dress, choosing vendors, to planning the reception details, I loved the thrill of the hunt. Yes, there were tiring and frustrating days, but that did not deter me from enjoying the process. Planning this vow renewal gave me the opportunity to reflect and fall in love over and over again with my husband. Looking at my handsome husband and two wonderful children reaffirmed my belief that everything was worth it. I wish I could renew my vows with such pomp and circumstance every year, but my husband has already vetoed the idea.

Thank you so much, Lynn, for sharing this incredible session with us!  Please stop by her blog and show her some love!  And thank you, Shiri, for taking the time to answer our questions!  We wish you and Emmanuel a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!!  May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at  We HEART submissions!

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  1. Aw thanks for the great feature GSS! Shiri is such a gorgeous bride!!

  2. Thanks for selecting our story to showcase. We are truly honored and appreciative.


  1. […] I want to thank Groom Sold Separately , a great wedding resource for brides, for featuring Shiri’s bridals yesterday!  Head over […]

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