RE­CLAIM­ING JOY

SHAN­NON MILLER TURNER & JON TURNER

Inside Weddings - - Travel Diaries - July 31, 2016 Santa Bar­bara, Cal­i­for­nia | Pho­tographed by Joe Buissink Pho­tog­ra­phy

The grand­fa­ther of Shan­non Turner (née Miller) met Jon Turner’s grand­fa­ther back in the 1930s, when they were both 17. As the daugh­ter of leg­endary coun­try artist Roger Miller, Shan­non was born in Cal­i­for­nia and spent her early child­hood in Los An­ge­les. Her fam­ily then moved to Texas, where she grew up down the street from Jon. Yet they didn’t meet un­til they were adults, run­ning into each other in an of­fice while Shan­non was home from col­lege. “She was beau­ti­ful,” Jon re­mem­bers. They went on one date be­fore she re­turned to school. Though Shan­non didn’t think much of it at the time – “I was just en­joy­ing my din­ner,” she laughs – Jon knew he was with the woman he was go­ing to marry. When the school year ended, they con­tin­ued dat­ing, and Jon pro­posed after six weeks. The cou­ple wed in 1995.

For a while, Jon had sug­gested they re­new their vows, but Shan­non never thought it was nec­es­sary. Then, at the wed­ding of a friend’s child, she was so moved by their love that she knew she was ready. “I qui­etly leaned over to Jon and said, ‘Will you marry me?’” Shan­non shares. The fam­ily had been through a lot to­gether over the years – in 2008 they trag­i­cally lost their son at two months old. The vow re­newal would be about “cel­e­brat­ing the strength of our fam­ily and that we made it,” the bride con­fides.

The event was in­ti­mate, with just 11 guests from three gen­er­a­tions of friend­ships. “They are the peo­ple who mean the most to us in our lives. Be­cause of them, the day was ab­so­lutely per­fect,” Shan­non muses. To show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion, the Turn­ers, who re­side in San An­to­nio, Texas, flew their loved ones to Los An­ge­les, and then suprised them with a he­li­copter ride to Santa Bar­bara for the fes­tivites. “They had no idea where they were go­ing!” Jon ex­claims. “It was, by all ac­counts, mag­i­cal,” adds the bride. With the guid­ance of Alyson Fox of Levine Fox Events, the cel­e­bra­tion was or­ga­nized in just two months. “I can’t even imag­ine how she put it to­gether so quickly,” Shan­non gushes. “She ab­so­lutely cre­ated magic with very lit­tle time to plan.”

At sun­set on a beau­ti­ful July evening, the bride walked down the aisle to­wards her hus­band of 21 years. Their 16-year-old son stood as the best man, while their five-year-old daugh­ter served as flower girl. The spirit of their de­parted son was all around them, even in the de­sign of the bridal gown. “But­ter­flies have al­ways rep­re­sented our son,” she ex­plains. The bodice of her dress fea­tured but­ter­fly ap­pliqués, and the cer­e­mony over­looked But­ter­fly Beach. “I’ve been vis­it­ing for years and I never knew that was the name,” Shan­non smiles. Though their loss was men­tioned in their vows, the bride and groom made sure to high­light the strength of their fam­ily and their abil­ity to hold each other up as a cou­ple. “It was a cel­e­bra­tion of life in a thou­sand dif­fer­ent ways,” af­firms Shan­non of the day. “We felt his blessing on this re­claim­ing of joy.”

Fol­low­ing the emo­tional vow ex­change, the Turner fam­ily and their loved ones en­joyed a can­dlelit din­ner with the stun­ning Pa­cific Ocean as a back­drop. A wooden struc­ture with ver­dant green­ery and crys­tal chan­de­liers was sus­pended over the ta­ble, which fea­tured lush white flow­ers with pops of lilac. “Shan­non has per­fect taste,” Jon says of the de­sign scheme cho­sen by his wife.

With a wed­ding, a vow re­newal, and over two decades of mar­riage for ex­pe­ri­ence, the cou­ple is es­pe­cially suited for pro­vid­ing ad­vice to fu­ture brides and grooms. “Re­lax and en­joy the jour­ney of plan­ning such a spe­cial oc­ca­sion,” Shan­non sug­gests. “I learned at our orig­i­nal wed­ding how stress can steal so much from your big day. I truly loved every minute of the vow re­newal – even the un­ex­pected ones!” Jon ad­vises, “It re­ally adds to the day if you just let it un­fold rather than stress­ing over things you shouldn’t worry about.”

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