This is a love story…my love story, with the man who I am now honored to call my husband.
To really understand, we’ll have to go back to 2013. It was early May, and I was about to release my website carlyshankman.com for the very first time. I’d been working super hard the whole year prior, preparing my site, completing my online nutrition program, all while still working full time.
It was a Wednesday morning and my web designer who was in Australia emailed me saying she needed one final picture for my website before we went live on Friday.
To Facebook I went.
See that “1 share” above…..THAT is where it all began.
Through 4 degrees of separation I ended up at a woman’s house about 20 minutes away from where I was living. I showed up with a bottle of wine and flowers as a gesture of gratitude. To this day, that woman, Jackie, and her husband Matt, are some of our dearest friends.
In the middle of my photoshoot, in walked the man of the hour, Mr. Ross Owen Brown. He was with his friends who he’d just moved to Austin with from Montana, Kalyn & Virginia (2 other key players of this story and lifelong friends).
They were coming over for a BBQ after Matt had seen their band play at a local bar earlier in the week. I was there following my passion of becoming a Health Coach, and Ross was there following his passion of being a professional fiddle player in the Texas music scene.
I was smitten. I vividly remember our awkward hug at the end of the night and was already eager to see him again.
(This would be me shouting out his band on Facebook the day after I met him….I’m smooth like that).
Three glorious years later – years filled with lots of love, world travels, new businesses, epic fiddle gigs, & online wellness programs, Ross proposed in Costa Rica. We were spending 2 weeks visiting the Caribbean town we fell in love with, back when we lived there for 3 months working with horses on the beach.
We never actually intended to get legally married, but in our own way, on our own time, we decided we wanted to. We thought of doing a beautiful dinner with family and friends in Montana, we thought of getting everyone together on the beach in Costa Rica, and we thought about renting out a trendy hotel here in Austin.
We threw around ideas for a few months until we realized that the planning was taking us away from the original intention of why we wanted to get married in the first place – to celebrate a sacred union between him and I.
Not to impress people with pretty lights and beautiful flowers, not so I could put on a ton of makeup and buy an expensive dress, and most definitely not to throw a wild party….we simply wanted to celebrate each other’s love. “What if we just go to the courthouse,” we said, sort of unsure about how that would play out with our families. YES! Each of us 100% said yes.
I found my wedding dress at the second hand shop next to my apartment and it was only $5.18.
Our friend Sarah, a professional wedding photographer came as our witness & loving support, and offered to take photos.
My family heard the news and sent us a beautiful bouquet of flowers to hold while the judge had us say our vows at 11:30am on Tuesday, April 12th. We were then officially married by the Justice of the Peace at the courthouse in downtown Austin.
We said personal vows & even had our first dance in our living room that morning.
We had pizza for lunch at our favorite pizza place, Homeslice, where they gifted us a piece of delicious cheesecake to celebrate.
We drank wine, wandered around our favorite city, and fully enjoyed our perfect, magical wedding day.
We reminisced about the journey we had been on to arrive where we were in that very moment, and dreamed about everything to come in the future.
We said all the reasons we loved, appreciated, and valued the other. We laughed, took pictures, and shared our love and journey on social media, so everyone could celebrate with us.
It was perfect.
Now we’re living “happily ever after,” and I absolutely love being married to this man. I can see so clearly now that by staying true to my own passion and vision, I created the space to welcome Ross into my life. I went out in search of myself, of my dreams, and voice, and along the way, I found him.
May your journey of love and union be nothing short of spectacular.
May you listen to the wisdom of your heart to guide you every single step of the way.
And may you have the immense joy of only spending $5.18 on your wedding dress.
Peace & LOVE,