When Mark Spain asked Shannon O’Neill for a guitar lesson while they both were working at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Shannon jokes she suspected it was a ruse. Little to her surprise, they didn’t touch a guitar the entire night and instead enjoyed a lovely dinner cooked by Mark.
Three years later, their engagement would also come as no surprise. On a drive back home to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in August 2017, the couple stopped to visit Shannon’s parents in Chapel Hill. It was during that weekend when Mark “officially” proposed to Shannon in Sarah P. Duke Gardens – though they had already met with Kristen Prescott at The Carolina Inn to plan their wedding. They knew before the proposal they’d be together for the long haul.
A graduate of Chapel Hill High School and UNC, Shannon has been drawn to Chapel Hill since she was 10 years old. Although she has lived in several states, she says that Chapel Hill will always be her home. So when the couple got to celebrate their wedding alongside Shannon’s parents, Kimberlee and Hugh O’Neill, and Mark’s parents, Russ and Carol Spain, at The Carolina Inn on June 24, 2018, it was very special. Rev. Barbara Lodge helped create a personalized ceremony for the couple, incorporating their idea to play “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who would say their vows first. The ceremony was brought to life with flowers from Henry House at University Florist and a lot of laughter after Mark forgot to say “I do,” forcing Shannon to gently nudge him.
The couple currently lives in Baton Rouge, where Shannon is a freelance sound designer and an assistant professor of sound design. Mark works in the film industry as a costume crafts artisan, milliner and ager/dyer.