Photographer: Taylor Roades Photography
Venue: Burnside Lawn Bowling Club
Wedding Planner & Décor: French Kiss Events
Bride’s Dress: Galina, from David’s Bridal
Hair & Makeup: Sigma Squared Salon
Groom’s Outfit: Harry Suits (custom)
Ring Bearer Outfits: Amazon.ca & HomeSense
Stationery: burnsidelbc.weebly.com
Flowers: Cartref Gardens
Catering: Toque Catering
Cake: Pure Vanilla Bakery & Cafe
Officiant: Cathy Lavoie (Marriage Commissioner) 250-532-1925
Rentals: Pedersen’s Rentals (linens), Scene About Town, Simply Sunday Vintage China Rental
Jewellery: Aldo Accessories (necklace)
Bride’s Rings: Cartwright Jewelers (engagement) & Peoples Jewellers (wedding)
Groom’s Wedding Ring: WeddingRings.com

Not only did lawn bowling bring Shannon Battles and Steven Santana, both originally from Victoria, together at the tender ages of 12 and 16, respectively, it would also eventually play a starring role in their wedding.

“Steven and I started bowling competitively at a fairly young age, so we knew each other through our involvement with the sport,” says Shannon, adding that it took years for the friendship to turn romantic.

When the two finally did become a couple, things progressed fairly quickly.

“From that point, it only took a year-and-a-half or so before he asked me to marry him,” Shannon says, laughing. “It was a long time coming!”

The proposal itself happened on Christmas Day. Steven picked up Shannon, a nurse, from the Vancouver hospital where she worked at the end of her shift. Rather than drive home, however, he detoured to Vancouver’s Pacific Indoor Bowls Club and asked Shannon to join him on the pitch.

“I thought maybe he was going to surprise me with a puppy — we’d recently been discussing getting a new dog,” she says. “But he walked to the far end of the green and rolled a bowl [a lawn bowling ball] over to me.”

When Shannon bent down to pick up the bowl, she saw a ring taped to it.

“I was so nervous, I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I remember I probably rolled the worst bowl, form wise — it wobbled up the green,” Steven laughs. “She asked if I wanted to try again . . . and then I got down on one knee. That’s when I asked, ‘Will you marry me?’ ”

As the couple began to plan their wedding, the first venue that came to mind was Victoria’s Burnside Lawn Bowling Club — a designated heritage building built in 1922 — where they’d first met. Since the two would be organizing the event from afar, they hired planner Barb Raymond of Victoria’s French Kiss Events.

“I love and am drawn to all things vintage, so the idea was to host an event inspired by an afternoon garden tea party — both to suit my style and fit our budget,” Shannon says. “Barb really brought that vision to life.”

While Steven liaised with the club to ready the grounds for the big day, Shannon worked with Barb to rent a vintage tea service, complete with patterned china and tiered cake stands, from Simply Sunday in Victoria, and to create an afternoon-tea menu, complete with finger sandwiches and hot and cold tea concoctions (some spiked), with Toque Catering.

On the morning of May 10, 2014, Steven and Shannon each got ready at their family homes. Adhering to Burnside’s “no heels on the bowling green” rule, the bride, stunning in a sashed Galina gown from David’s Bridal, opted to walk down the outdoor aisle — marked by bowls, of course — in bare feet.

“My bridesmaids did the same, and we thought the groomsmen would, too,” she says. “But the guys showed up in Old Navy flip-flops, to our surprise.”

Two more members of the wedding party, however, went shoeless: the couple’s Schnauzer, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Chihuahua-Min Pin-cross Lulu, acted as ring bearers — and dressed the part, too.

As Shannon began making her way toward her groom, Steven inserted one more playful touch into the day. “I held up my hand to stop her — as much as I didn’t want to — and the music stopped,” he says. “I went for a final huddle with the groomsmen . . . they approved [the wedding], and all was good, so I returned back to my place and we continued on. When I finally got my first look at Shannon full-on, I was left in awe.”

After the vows, liberally sprinkled with bowling analogies, had been read, and the union sealed with a kiss, the beaming newlyweds kicked off the afternoon reception by rolling two lawn bowls — one black, one white — back up the aisle. They then retreated to the clubhouse with their guests for teatime refreshments, followed by a chocolate “swoop” cake that Shannon says was “to die for.”

But the long-awaited day didn’t end there. Wanting to have an “open-invitation after-party so that we could celebrate with those who couldn’t attend the ceremony,” Shannon says the clubhouse was then transformed for the evening with “candles, drinks and dancing.”

“Everything went perfectly,” Steven adds, smiling. “It couldn’t have been more ‘us.’ Now, everyone in the family can say they’ve rolled a lawn bowl!”