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Shaughnessy, Biggar wedding complete with fine dancing

Kate Shaughnessy and Bob Biggar at the Old Courthouse on their New Year’s Eve wedding day.


By SUE REID       

When Kate Shaughnessy and her fiancé Bob Biggar tied the knot on New Year’s Eve, a stunning and elegant backdrop of the old Cleveland Courthouse was not the only touch of magic guests experienced.

When it came time for the couple’s first dance to Michael Buble’s version of L.O.V.E., there was no simple swaying back and forth. Instead, the two were in unison with a fox trot, complete with a perfect box step.

The dance was due in part to instruction the couple received prior to their special day from longtime dance icon Dick Blake, who helped prepare them for their event.

Ms. Shaughnessy and Mr. Biggar began taking lessons with Mr. Blake in early October based on encouragement from Ms. Shaughnessy’s mother Marian who was aware of his fine reputation.

“For years, my mother has heard about the wonders that Dick has created on the dance floor,” Ms. Shaughnessy, 27, explained. “It was really not an option of where to go because we heard he was the best.”

Initially, the couple’s goal was to learn a few core dance moves for their wedding dance and for future formal settings.

“We were not initially anticipating having a fully choreographed dance,” Ms. Shaughnessy explained, “but that’s what it has morphed into.”

On the grand stage, the couple showcased six different types of dance steps, all linked together and beginning with a “Fred and Ginger” move.

“It’s really, really fun,” said Ms. Shaughnessy, who works in the investment banking arm of Key Bank.

The Sly Band out of Cincinnati was the band the couple selected, and the Old Courthouse on Lakeside in Downtown Cleveland was the site of the reception, which followed a ceremony at St. Dominic’s Church in Shaker Heights.

The large marble hall, with beautiful columns and rose and gold ceiling, is such a special place, Ms. Shaughnessy explained, and boasts a gorgeous staircase with stained-glass windows behind.

“We’ve been to so many weddings where the bridge and groom and father of the bride and bride are just out there swaying back and forth, which is beautiful with a sentimental song,” Ms. Shaughnessy, a Cleveland resident, explained, “but with a big wedding, people want to be entertained.”

“It’s so fun to see the hard work of all the preparation pay off.”

She said she and her husband, who works in the commercial banking segment at Key Bank, both have rhythm and knew how to dance, but their only formal instruction was in middle school.

“It’s been years since we have done any formal box stepping, or promenades or twirls,” Ms. Shaughnessy explained. “It was nice to have those lessons reinforced and polished and we are really excited about our dance.”

The couple practiced twice a week for eight weeks in preparation. The lessons gave them something to do as a couple outside of their normal routines, Ms. Shaughnessy noted.

“I think sometimes with weddings, we can all keep our heads down and focus on the details and you forget to see the forest beyond the trees,” she said. “This brought us back to the main purpose of the wedding – to be together. That was really nice for us.”

Ms. Shaughnessy’s parents also took lessons and there was often an overlap where both couples were together.

The lessons weren’t just dancing, Ms. Shaughnessy continued. They were also peppered with etiquette instruction and lots of storytelling from Mr. Blake. “We have learned so much from him,” Ms. Shaughnessy said.

Mr. Blake also taught the couple some contemporary dance moves.

“We will be dancing to something uplifting and fun and engaging and the audience gets to see us on the grand stage together,” Ms. Shaughnessy said.

For the New Year’s Eve nuptials, Ms. Shaughnessy, a 2008 graduate of Hathaway Brown who attended Trinity College, said the colors are hunter green, gold and a touch of navy. Mr. Biggar is a 2007 graduate of University School who attended Colgate University.

Food is being presented by Doug Katz of Fire restaurant, and Ms. Shaughnessy excitedly described a menu of warm fall butternut soup, short ribs and glazed root vegetables, among other offerings.

For the father-daughter dance, she and her father Michael were prepared to dance to “The Way You Look Tonight.”

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