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Couple incorporates patriotism into special day
By Melissa Vander Plas
Thursday, January 28, 2010 2:56 AM
Tristan Larson, center, was a special part of his parents wedding, serving as honorary best man and ring bearer. At left is his mother, Shauna Broadwater Larson and at right is his father, Nate Larson.
On Friday, Sept. 11, 2009, Shauna Marie Broadwater and Nathan Thomas Larson stood with their son, Tristan, in front of friends and family and affirmed their love and commitment to each other.
"We are best friends and now husband and wife," said Shauna.
Their love story began years ago in the Fillmore Central Middle School when they were children, Shauna the daughter of Dan and Kathy Broadwater of Preston and Nathan the son of Tom and Tona Larson of Fountain. Then eighth grader Shauna and seventh grader Nathan dated for about a year. Years passed and both graduated from high school, Shauna pursing a degree and Nathan entering the Air Force.
Shortly before Nathan got out of the Air Force, he contacted Shauna once again and asked her to spend Valentine's Day with him and their relationship strengthened and they became best friends as well as falling in love with each other.
Their son, Tristan Thomas, was born on Dec. 9, 2007, and was present when his father proposed to his mother at their home in Rochester on Sept. 27, 2008. "It was especially special to me because he (Nathan) proposed with our son," added Shauna.
The couple chose Sept. 11, 2009 to be their wedding day, honoring Nathan's service in the Air Force and Shauna's father's service in the Army. Shauna added, "We chose (the day) to get married because of the patriotic significance it meant to both of us and it allowed us to share one of the most memorable days of our lives together."
Nathan and Shauna included touches throughout the day to honor both the servicemen and those who have lost their lives because of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The couple and Shauna's father, Dan, visited the Soldier's Field Veteran's Memorial to take photos. Nathan had been a pararescueman in the Air Force and Dan served in the Army.
A special message in their wedding programs explained the significance of a special flower arrangement at the altar, reading, "'Gone but not forgotten: The patriotic bouquet of flowers to the right of the altar are in remembrance of all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice because of September 11, 2001, Patriot's Day."
Finally, the bride wore a garter of red, white and blue, with an Air Force charm on it and Tristan, their honorary best man and ring bearer, carried a pillow that had the words, "Air Force" on it.
In addition to being held on a special date, the wedding was special because it was the culmination of many months of working together with friends and family members creating flowers, backdrops, programs, invitations, unity candles and more special touches.
"It was wonderful to see everything come together so perfectly after months and months of hard work and planning with the help of our families and friends," said Shauna. "There was a lot of love that went into the wedding and we couldn't thank everyone enough."
The invitations they created honored their already-established family and commitment to each other, stating, "Tristan Thomas Larson invites you to the wedding of his parents."
Shauna explained, "Tristan means the world to us and we wanted to make sure he was included in every detail possible."
She also added that by having a 2-year-old son, they also wanted to make sure things were as easy on everyone else and went as smoothly as possible on the day of the wedding. "We made child packs that included Gold Fish snacks, Smarties candy, coloring crayons and we made a small wedding coloring books," she explained. "We wanted the children to have just as much fun as the adults!"
They also created a scrapbook to use as their guest book with collages of photos of Nathan, Shauna and Tristan over the past several years. "So often people use a guest book and you never look back on it," she explained. "This way, it will be apart of our scrapbook that we will always look at."
Getting married on a Friday evening creates a few challenges with work and school schedules, but the couple planned the day of their wedding so it would be as convenient as possible for their families, wedding party and friends.
"We got married at the Rochester Event Center in Rochester," Shauna explained. "We had the ceremony in one side and then the reception and dance in the other side of the venue. We chose to have it there because we wanted something different and for the convenience of having the wedding and reception at the same location."
Because the wedding was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on that Friday night, Nathan and Shauna scheduled a morning rehearsal, a brunch catered by Victoria's and early afternoon photos.
"We scheduled the day like that for a few reasons," Shauna added. "We knew because it was on a Friday, it would be hard to get everyone there on a Thursday night. We wanted to make the least amount of hassle for everyone involved."
On the morning of the wedding day, Nathan and Shauna picked up their wedding cake themselves and then he dropped his bride off at City Looks at the Apache Mall to get her hair done.
"From there we had the rehearsal at the Rochester Event Center at 11:30 a.m. After the brief rehearsal we went to the Sleep Inn next door for a lunch," she explained. "By 12:30 p.m., we all began to get ready for the big day!"
The couple organized a Heartland Tours bus to take the family and wedding party to their photo shoot locations. "We wanted to take a bus for pictures around Rochester so we didn't have to worry about multiple vehicles getting to the destinations," Shauna added.
The photographer for the day was also very accommodating to what the couple wanted for photos. Liz Barrett of Memories by Lizzie Photography of Harmony took the majority of our photos at the Plummer House. From there they went to Soldier's Field for a few and then back to the Event Center for some additional pictures with the grandparents and some candid shots.
"Our photographer was wonderful," said Shauna. "She took beautiful photographs that we will cherish forever and listened to what we wanted to capture."
Looking back on their wedding day, Nathan and Shauna have many special memories.
One of the special touches that also touched Shauna's heart was being able to wear her grandfather's ruby ring as her "something borrowed." Lent to her by her sister, Shauna said it was very special to her. "He passed away when I was very little. After many years of not seeing the ring that means so much to me, to have it with me on the most wonderful day of my life was something I will never forget."
Shauna also remembered, "The day was amazing and we couldn't have asked for anything to go more perfect. After a year of planning, it all seemed to go by so fast. We loved having everything in one location and the hotel in walking distance for out-of- town guests."
Finally, having their son in the wedding and as part of their special day was also something that meant the world to both the bride and the groom. "To have our son as our honorary best man was something we wanted from the day we got engaged," Shauna stated. "We love him so much and he added so much to the wedding. He was right there with us dancing the night away."
She added with a smile, "For a 2-year-old, he really knows how to dance!"
The couple honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in mid-October. "The weather was wonderful and it was such a relaxing honeymoon," Shauna said. "We did so many fun things that included parasailing, Rhythms of the Night and a Canopy Tour. We hope to go back in the future."
The Larson family now lives in Rochester, where Shauna works for General Growth Properties at the Apache Mall Management Office and Nathan works for the Fountain Building Center.
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