Read all about Shyvon and Francesca's romantic and heartfelt love story and experiences in their lovely chic minimalist loft wedding in Manhattan - featuring the photography of MunaLuchi Coterie member Kesha Lambert.
Wedding Couple: Shyvon & Francesca
Wedding Location: Manhattan, NYC
Wedding Date: July 22nd 2917
It’s June of 2013 in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where Shyvon and Francesca are attending a destination wedding. For Shyvon, one of the brides is a former connection found on a dating website - nothing romantic ultimately came from their meeting but a good friendship was formed. Francesca at the time was in a relationship coming apart at the seams. She was the plus-one of her then girlfriend who was a friend of the same bride as Shyvon.
Most of the wedding guests were direct friends of both brides, many of whom were part of the LGBTQ community. Everyone was staying at a beautiful LGBTQ boutique hotel with the exception of Shyvon, who elected to stay in a separate hotel by the beach out of love for beach views.
Both Francesca and Shyvon distinctly remember noticing each other - a sudden gravitational pull instantly drawing them together. Francesca fondly recalls how unforgetable Shyvon looked in a white dress, and how she was “immediately attracted to Shyvon’s energy, kindness, and charisma,” not surprised to later learn, due to her “lovely and comforting disposition,” that Shyvon was a nurse. Over the course of the next few days of the wedding trip they quickly became friends.
For Francesca it was all so bitter-sweet as her and her girlfriend at the time were barely interacting, a divide forming between them, leaving Francesca with feelings of rejection. After witnessing a series of their “tense interactions,” Shyvon approached Francesca telling her how she had noticed the harsh treatment and that “if you were my girlfriend, I’d never treat you that way…” In that moment they both realized it was more than just a consoling statement, the feelings behind Shyvon’s words were genuine, and a seed of possibility was planted in their minds that refused to stop growing…
Francesca and Shyvon’s feelings and attraction for each other continued to grow as they spent more time together, enjoying great conversation over long walks on the beach. Nevertheless, as difficult as it was they continued to keep a certain level of emotional distance between them seeing how Francesca, regardless of its conflict, was still in a relationship.
Those difficult moments before leaving for the airport weighed heavily on them both, Francesca seeking out Shyvon to exchange contact information - looking for any excuse to remain close to each other...
In the time after Mexico the succession of everyday life re-absorbed Shyvon and Francesca who remained in sporadic touch through social media. Francesca still tryed to make the most of things in regards to her relationship but ultimately it would go no further than a few months following their return from Mexico. It was just a few days before New Year’s Eve that she informed Shyvon of the breakup, Shyvon offering some much-needed comfort. They began speaking more regularly, often daily over stretches of time, but only as friends…
Neither had truly confessed the depth of their feelings for the other, and now that Francesca was finally single, and she and Shyvon were in consistent communication, Shyvon was now in a relationship of her own. They both continued to struggle with the emotional weight of it all, regularly fantasizing about being in a relationship together. Francesca attentively listened to Shyvon’s desires to end her relationship, and though her heart screamed “yes, leave her and be with me,” she couldn’t bring herself to say the words aloud… Out of respect for her relationship with this other woman, and since they were too close for her to disappear without notice, Francesca did what she felt was her only option, and told Shyvon over the phone, hoping to hide her sobs, “Shyvon, in all this time that we have grown close, I have developed strong feelings for you. When I’m over it, maybe a month or two, I will reach back out and we can resume our friendship...”
Immediately following their conversation, Francesca began to grieve the loss of her best friend and the only woman she felt so deeply for, while Shyvon thought long and hard about her words - knowing that she too felt the same… It would be a few days later after the heartfelt confession that Francesca received a call from Shyvon. Francesca, seeing who the caller was felt her heart beat heavy as she answered the call…“I broke up with her,” Shyvon exclaimed, “Francesca, it’s always been you! I had feelings for you the moment we met, but I never thought we could be together!”
In late May of 2014, almost exactly a year after their first meeting, Francesca visited Shyvon in NYC after not having seen each other since Mexico. Both very nervous and with thoughts of uncertainty running through their minds, such as “what if she’s no longer romantically attracted to me,” Francesca entered Shyvon’s apartment. Sitting a little too far apart on the couch at first, a few relaxing drinks would help them unwind and quickly dispel the insecurities of their reunion jitters. They soon found themselves in each other’s arms, all the troubles of the past year washing away in waves of emotional joy - what once was just a seed of possibility now blossoming into love…
With Francesca working on her PhD in Madison, Wisconsin and Shyvon on her Masters in NYC, their relationship would remain long-distance until August of 2015 when Francesca moved to Brooklyn with Shyvon. In the summer of 2016, after falling into a harmonious rhythm from a year of living together, thoughts of marriage began to take shape. Knowing already that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, they forwent a formal proposal and went directly to ring shopping - announcing their engagement to family and friends. And on July 22nd of 2017, Francesca and Shyvon were joined by marriage in an intimate Chelsea loft ceremony in Manhattan, New York.
Shyvon and Francesca’s wedding shopping experience was “very different,” Shyvon recalls, “Francesca is pretty laidback and would have gotten married in jeans and a t-shirt at a backyard barbecue. We went into Bloomingdales and it took all of 20 minutes for Francesca to make a decision on what to wear. I grabbed a dress and exclaimed, ‘I think this is the one for you!’ And it was. I on the other hand was more meticulous with my search. The jacket down to the jewelry had to be perfect. My outfit took many back and forth trips over numerous days, but it was well worth it in the end!”
What is your best memory from your wedding?
While walking into our ceremony seeing the most influential people in our lives all in one room at the same time.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
1) We found living together prior to getting married to be really beneficial to our relationship. We learned so much about each other - especially during that first year. Building a home creates a really solid foundation that supports all of the stress of weddings, or anything else that may arise.
2) When working at an LGBTQ clinic, one of Shyvon's patients told her that the best marriage advice she could offer was to go to couple's therapy before tying the knot. Even though we didn't feel like we "needed" it, after the first session we understood why this was such a great recommendation. It's something we now advise to anyone! It was so nice to talk about, and work out, our differences; it's amazing how your childhood and adult experiences influence who you are as an individual, and how different traumas can play out in your relationship without your knowing. It feels very intimate, and we always left each session with a deeper understanding of, and more in love with each other.
3) Shyvon says, “remember this celebration is all about your love for each other, not how much you spend, or the glitz and glamour, do not try to impress anyone. Always keep in mind that your love for each other is what you're celebrating.”
Shoes: Aquazurra and Louis Vuitton
Cakes/Desserts: Stone Fruit Espresso (Francesca's friend, Emily, made a lemon merengue cake as well.)
Catering: Chef Wayne Clarke of Global Chefz
Ceremony Venue: Chelsea Loft (Manhattan), NYC
Event Decor/Design: Calabash Events
Entertainment: Ian Weinberger on Piano (Associate Music Director of Hamilton).
Event Planner: Amanda Paul of Calabash Events
Florals: Melia Poehlmann, Stone Fruit Botanicals
Hair: For Shyvon - Carell Pierre, Locktician; For Francesca - Elan Salon and Day Spa.
Lighting: Calabash Events
Linens: Big Dawg Party Rentals
Makeup: Sokphalla Ban
Photography: Kesha Lambert Photography
Reception Venue: Chelsea Loft (Manhattan), NYC
Stationery: Paperless Post