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VIDEO Adventurous couple seals wedding vows with forest leap in Shutesbury

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>With the help of a harness and teather, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, from a 35-foot tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    With the help of a harness and teather, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, from a 35-foot tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Victoria Shaw, left, program director at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, helps her daughter, Corinne Shaw, suit up for one of the high ropes elements at the center from which she leapt into the arms of her newlywed partner Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, right.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    Victoria Shaw, left, program director at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, helps her daughter, Corinne Shaw, suit up for one of the high ropes elements at the center from which she leapt into the arms of her newlywed partner Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, right. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Doing her best "Stan Laurel", Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, left, holds one of the harness lines for her newlywed partner, Corinne Shaw, as she prepares for a leap into Fahey's arms from a high ropes course element at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw's mother, Victoria Shaw, right, is program director at the center.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    Doing her best "Stan Laurel", Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, left, holds one of the harness lines for her newlywed partner, Corinne Shaw, as she prepares for a leap into Fahey's arms from a high ropes course element at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw's mother, Victoria Shaw, right, is program director at the center. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Victoria Shaw, right, program director at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, operates the belay line for her newlywed daughter, Corinne Shaw, as she climbs to the top of the "Leap of Faith" element at the center's high ropes course on Sunday. The younger Shaw then leapt into the arms of her partner, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, 35 feet below.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    Victoria Shaw, right, program director at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, operates the belay line for her newlywed daughter, Corinne Shaw, as she climbs to the top of the "Leap of Faith" element at the center's high ropes course on Sunday. The younger Shaw then leapt into the arms of her partner, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, 35 feet below. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Newlywed Corinne Shaw hikes up her wedding gown to climb 35 feet to the top of the "Leap of Faith" element in a high ropes course at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Then, with the assist of a teathered harness, Shaw leapt into the arms of her partner, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    Newlywed Corinne Shaw hikes up her wedding gown to climb 35 feet to the top of the "Leap of Faith" element in a high ropes course at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Then, with the assist of a teathered harness, Shaw leapt into the arms of her partner, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Newlywed Corinne Shaw reaches the top of the 35-foot tall "Leap of Faith" element of a high ropes course at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday, where she thanked her wedding party and guests and then jumped into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey. Shaw, who is quite familiar with the ropes course (her mother is program director at the center), said of the "Leap of Faith" element, "It's my favorite thing to do."

    KEVIN GUTTING
    Newlywed Corinne Shaw reaches the top of the 35-foot tall "Leap of Faith" element of a high ropes course at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday, where she thanked her wedding party and guests and then jumped into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey. Shaw, who is quite familiar with the ropes course (her mother is program director at the center), said of the "Leap of Faith" element, "It's my favorite thing to do." Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, right, and her partner, Corinne Shaw, are applauded by their wedding party after Shaw leapt into Fahey's arms from 35 feet above on a high ropes course at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, right, and her partner, Corinne Shaw, are applauded by their wedding party after Shaw leapt into Fahey's arms from 35 feet above on a high ropes course at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home. Purchase photo reprints »

  • With the help of a harness and tether, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Sarah “Charlie” Fahey, from a 35-foot-tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.<br/>(Gazette/Kevin Gutting)

    With the help of a harness and tether, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Sarah “Charlie” Fahey, from a 35-foot-tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.
    (Gazette/Kevin Gutting) Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>With the help of a harness and teather, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, from a 35-foot tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.

    KEVIN GUTTING
    With the help of a harness and teather, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, from a 35-foot tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home. Purchase photo reprints »

  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>With the help of a harness and teather, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, from a 35-foot tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Victoria Shaw, left, program director at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, helps her daughter, Corinne Shaw, suit up for one of the high ropes elements at the center from which she leapt into the arms of her newlywed partner Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, right.
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Doing her best "Stan Laurel", Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, left, holds one of the harness lines for her newlywed partner, Corinne Shaw, as she prepares for a leap into Fahey's arms from a high ropes course element at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw's mother, Victoria Shaw, right, is program director at the center.
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Victoria Shaw, right, program director at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, operates the belay line for her newlywed daughter, Corinne Shaw, as she climbs to the top of the "Leap of Faith" element at the center's high ropes course on Sunday. The younger Shaw then leapt into the arms of her partner, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, 35 feet below.
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Newlywed Corinne Shaw hikes up her wedding gown to climb 35 feet to the top of the "Leap of Faith" element in a high ropes course at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Then, with the assist of a teathered harness, Shaw leapt into the arms of her partner, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey.
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Newlywed Corinne Shaw reaches the top of the 35-foot tall "Leap of Faith" element of a high ropes course at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday, where she thanked her wedding party and guests and then jumped into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey. Shaw, who is quite familiar with the ropes course (her mother is program director at the center), said of the "Leap of Faith" element, "It's my favorite thing to do."
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, right, and her partner, Corinne Shaw, are applauded by their wedding party after Shaw leapt into Fahey's arms from 35 feet above on a high ropes course at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.
  • With the help of a harness and tether, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Sarah “Charlie” Fahey, from a 35-foot-tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.<br/>(Gazette/Kevin Gutting)
  • KEVIN GUTTING<br/>With the help of a harness and teather, Corinne Shaw, above, completes her wedding ceremony by jumping into the waiting arms of her betrothed, Charlie (Sarah) Fahey, from a 35-foot tall tree stripped bare at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury on Sunday. Shaw, whose mother, Victoria Shaw, is the program director at the center, is originally from Leverett and Fahey is originally from Ireland. They now call Hadley their home.

A close runner-up would be what happened about an hour and a half later, when Corinne Shaw climbed to the top of a 40-foot pole in the forest, stood upright and leaped into the waiting arms of her bride, Sarah “Charlie” Fahey.

The descent was more butterfly landing than swan dive. Shaw was strapped into the rigging of a high ropes course.

But the power of the metaphor was not lost on any of the almost 60 guests who ventured into the woods to witness the spectacle.

“I love the symbolism and I love the idea of her flying through the air and them starting a new life together,” said Hollis Chatelain, Shaw’s aunt. “It was very cool.”

Shaw said the significance of taking what she calls the “leap of faith” at the high ropes course at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center near Lake Wyola, which her mother, Victoria Shaw, helped found 15 years ago, was all about commitment and faith.

“In this world of divorce and instant gratification, creating a relationship and a marriage is having a lot of faith and really committing to it and committing to do the work,” said Shaw. “It can be scary and it might be daunting, but if you and your partner commit you will always be there to catch each other during the hard moments.”

Fahey, who took the “leap of faith” after Shaw, said afterwards that for her it symbolized “trust.” It was also a personal achievement because she had to overcome her fear of heights to climb up that high. “I was scared, but when I got to the top it was great,” she said.

Shaw, 32, grew up in Leverett and is a 2000 alumna of Amherst Regional High School. She now lives on Aqua Vitae Road in Hadley where she runs the “Free to Be” home daycare for 10 children. Fahey, 41, moved to the Pioneer Valley from Boston two years ago so she could be with Shaw. She is originally from Ireland and works as a nanny.

“We both are really into childcare and changing the future through youth and teaching love and compassion through nature-based education,” said Shaw.

Boe Morgan, president of the 107-strong Moving Violations Motorcycle Club, officiated at the ceremony. It is the oldest motorcycle club for women in New England and, she said, “we are Charlie’s Boston family.” Fahey has been riding with the club for four years.

During the ceremony, Fahey wore black and white plaid sneakers with slacks and a vest over her shirt and tie, which was also plaid and matched her sneakers. Her short dark hair was combed into a bleached racing stripe down the middle of her head.

Shaw had on a flowing white wedding dress. The backless garment revealed the tattoo of a tree growing towards her neck and over one shoulder. “It is the ‘tree of me,’” she said and it is a work in progress.

During the ceremony Shaw told Fahey as part of her vows, “I feel so privileged that you choose to spend your life with me, I love who you are and that we share morals and ideals about the world. In my life I have struggled, and maintaining my mental well-being has been a huge priority. You support me through my dark times and by doing so lessen them. My life shines so much brighter because of you.”

For Shaw, taking her guests out to the high ropes course was very special. “This is my happy place and to combine it with my wedding is priceless,” she said. “My mom, ever since I was little, has run an adventure camp and that’s how I grew up. My mom is an inspiration and taught me about empowerment, strength, and commitment.”

Shaw was not expecting Fahey to also leap. “I was floored and surprised that my wife did it too,” she said. “It sums up our relationship. Always stepping up. Always trusting each other and being committed to it.”

Fahey’s mother, Mary Margaret Vallence, came from Ireland to attend the wedding. She lives in Knocklong, County Limerick.

The leap of faith, she said, was “lovely … it was different and it made the wedding more interesting.”

One of the guests, Amanda Tyler who came from Taunton, said the dual leaps of faith were “a great bonding experience.”

Eric Goldscheider can be reached at eric.goldscheider@gmail.com.

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