Son Valley Ranch Wedding | Michael + Shelby

Shelby was at a wedding reception and noticed the tall good looking young man who walked in. Evidently he noticed her too because as soon as the music started he came to ask her to dance. That cute young man was Michael. As fate would have it, the song they danced to was "The Chair" by George Strait. That song has special significance in Shelby's family - believe this or not - it was the first song that her grandparents danced to and it was also the first song that Shelby's parents danced to, many years before. They spent that first night dancing and talking. That was the beginning of a sweet romance. Being the gentlemen that he is, Michael talked to Shelby's father James and asked him for permission to date his daughter. James had already heard good things about Michael and gave Michael his blessing.

Shelby and Michael spent the next year and a half getting to know each other by going on dates to movies or just riding around talking. It was Christmas Eve 2015 - Michael & Shelby were attending the Christmas Eve service at Sportsmans Church at Son valley Ranch. Both Shelby's & Michael's parents & grandparents were present at this service. Even some of Shelby's relatives from London were here for the holiday. The service went as usual and Shelby was oblivious at what was about to happen. At the end of the service, the pastor asked Michael to come up to pray. Shelby thought that was unusual but still had no idea what everyone was up to. Michael thanked God for the families present, thanked God for His son, prayed that He be with everyone and ended the prayer with "And I pray that she says yes". Then he got on one knee and pulled a ring out of his boot. Shelby could barely speak from the excitement but managed to say yes! I get goose bumps just telling this story!!

It was very evident on their wedding day that everyone was very happy about this union. The pavilion at Son Valley Ranch holds over 350 people and it was standing room only. There were so many special moments in this day - from the bride & groom praying together before the ceremony, to the sweet ceremony. Michael looked so handsome in his dark blue wranglers, ivory colored button up shirt and Cowboy hat. Shelby was a vision in a beautiful Maggie Sottero Couture ivory lace gown. Michael & Shelby wrote their own vows and I doubt there was a dry eye in the room. When the pastor was explaining that the rings were a symbol that they were off limits to all others , Michael lightened the mood by turning to the crowd and saying "sorry ladies". Everyone thought that was so funny especially Shelby who got a serious case of the giggles. Her infectious laughter kept everyone laughing for several minutes. It was sentimental and funny - just like the bride and groom. They said their I do's and then did their own country version of the unity candle. They had asked a member of their church who is a blacksmith to create a brand for them to use at the wedding. The brand had a big C on it for Castner and then had an S and an M in the middle of it for Shelby and Michael. The brand was pre-heating in the fire during the ceremony. Dylan, the best man, presented the brand and together Michael & Shelby branded their initials into a sanded down 22” wood cut. It turned out perfect. The wood cut was then taken up to the reception hall to be their guest “log” (pun fully intended). Everyone signed the branded wood cut as they entered the reception hall so they would always be able to see who had been a part of their special day. After they branded the wood cut, Dr. Constantine Stoilis and Mrs. Terri, two very special members of their church, prayed over their marriage. After the prayer, Michael and Shelby walked down the aisle as husband & wife!

After the ceremony and wedding party pictures, they walked over to Son Valley Ranch Legacy Hall (which had been an old dance hall in Shelby's parents’ day). Everyone enjoyed a bar-b-q brisket and sausage dinner with all the trimmings catered by Uncle Mutt's Bar-B-Q. Then the dancing began. Michael & Shelby love to dance!! Of course one of the special moment was when the DJ played the song "The Dance" by George Strait as a beautiful reminder that marriage can last!

They had a strawberry cake with buttercream icing as their wedding cake which was served to them and the wedding party. For the guests, they had a cupcake tower featuring ten different flavors of delicious cupcakes. And in lieu of a groom’s cake, they chose to have Banana Pudding which is Michael’s favorite! All of the desserts came from Sweet as Can Be Bakery in Victoria, TX.

After a long night of dancing, the couple exited for their honeymoon amid a sparkler send-off and wowed the crowd with one final kiss!!

I am so blessed to have been a small part of this epic love story. Michael & Shelby put God first which guarantees this love story is not only epic - its eternal.

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