There’s so much to say about Ashley and Christopher’s wedding, but honestly, the photos and video, along with the bride’s own words, tell it best…

I always had a lot of ideas about what my wedding day would be like, from the setting, food, dress, and especially what it would be like for my dad to walk me down the aisle. Yet all those ideas flew out the window when my parents died two years ago in a plane crash. Their lives deeply inspired me during the planning as I wanted to share this special day with them. I think one of the main reasons I have experienced so much joy in knowing and loving Christopher is because I have experienced the depth of pain in losing the two people I love the most on this earth. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, “The deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” We wanted to acknowledge both joy and sorrow on this day because the two are inseparable.

Bridesmaids wore neutral dresses of their choosing. The bride carried a locket with photos of her parents on her bouquet.

Christopher constructed the gorgeous flower arrangement that hung over our heads, and hung three antique beveled glass windows at the entrance to the ceremony site.

Christopher’s ring was made from the promise ring my dad gave me. My gold band engagement ring was Christopher’s great-grandmother’s, grandmother’s, and mother’s. My canary yellow diamond earrings were my mother’s.

Thirty minutes after the ceremony, my dad’s friend and flying buddy did a Missing Man flyover at the reception to acknowledge the deep absence of my mom and dad that day.

Signature drinks were Champagne with a hint of vanilla and blueberries, and our favorite Yazoo Brewing Company beer from Nashville.

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We knew we wanted an intimate setting, in nature, a place we could go back to, that was unique to us. We decided to have our wedding ceremony on some property my family has had for many years on Lake Martin. We found a clearing created by three huge pine trees on the point of the lot looking out onto the water and we knew we wanted to get married right in between the three trees. We see our relationship and marriage about the triangular relationship between ourselves and God, and the three trees represented the theme of our wedding: I and Love and You. To prepare the space, Christopher and a few friends cut down trees, built a platform, planted grass, and created a welcoming walkway down to the site. Christopher’s hard work and preparation of that site showed me his love and commitment, which is the best wedding present I could ask for.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Ashley: Ah! I have so many, but one moment that stands out is during the reception when I was dancing on stage with the band to “Rolling on the River.” As I threw my hands up, Christopher snuck behind me and threw me up into the air. With a scream coming from my mouth I looked out over all our friends and family of all ages dancing their booties off. To see everyone else feeling and sharing in the incredible love, joy, and celebration of that day was a powerful gift. // Christopher: There is no one moment but a string of them. I remember stepping up on the platform with my soon-to-be wife next to me and in that moment everything stopped. There was no sense of time, just us feeling the wind on our faces, and the mystery of our spirits becoming entangled in one another. As passages were read and words given to one another, I felt the purest gift of love.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  A friend told me to stop throughout my wedding day and take in a deep breath of everything around me. Because I took those moments to breathe, the day doesn’t seem like a blur but rather an endless, timeless joy with details I can remember.

What advice do you have for other brides?  1. Be authentic to you. There are so many wonderful and beautiful ideas out there right now about weddings – you can have a eco-friendly, citrus-colored, parade-themed wedding in Antartica, but is it you? Don’t do things because you find them on Pinterest; do them because they represent you and your groom. 2. Prepare for your marriage, not just your wedding. The best thing Christopher and I did during the engagement season was marriage counseling. It’s easy to be distracted by all the details of the wedding, but remember, your wedding is one day, and your marriage is a lifetime.

 

See more photos from Ashley and Christopher’s lakeside wedding in the gallery.

Photographer: Clark Brewer / Videographer:  Eric Staples / Event Planner: Mariée Ami / Venue: private property on Lake Martin, Alabama / Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Floral Design: Grace’s Flowers / Catering: Shindig’s Catering / Ceremony Pews: P.E.W.S / Cake: Venable’s Sweet Shoppe / Stationery: Social Graces / Calligraphy: Hardink Calligraphy / Music: The Undergrounders / Officiants: Jennifer Fouse, Trey Wince
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  • Touching Lakeside Wedding in Alabama

    27 February 2013
  • 30 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites
    1. Lisa

      Absolutely one of the most emotional stories and beautiful weddings I have ever seen. What a beautiful, inspiring outlook on life and love. The emotion in these pictures is truly breathtaking, and they are a stunning couple!

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    2. Stephanie

      I’m wiping away tears! Those photographs are gorgeous and capture the emotion so beautifully. Seems like it was a wonderful day, and a great start to marriage.

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    3. Polly Alexandre

      Incredible. One of the most symbolic and meaningful weddings I have seen, yet so beautiful and natural too. A huge congratulations to Ashley & Christopher. Your wedding is so precious and I am sure your marriage will be too. Both your photographs and story are just incredible & so emotional. I just love everything about your whole approach to your wedding.

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    4. Christina

      This has to be my absolute favorite wedding you’ve ever featured! Such a beautiful story— and such a great way to commemorate your parents! Thank you for making me cry. Beautiful story, beautiful photos, amazing video!

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    5. Mary

      What a beautiful story – and lovely, thoughtful details!

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    6. Elizabeth

      So glad to see the wedding of this amazing couple on your website today! Ashley is one of the most amazing brides I’ve ever worked with! Cheers to a wonderful couple!

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    7. Inspired by This Blog

      What a beautiful couple and wedding to match! Love how well the photographer was able to capture the range of emotions of the day.

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    8. lydia {ever ours}

      tears were shed reading the story behind this. she must be an amazingly strong woman. a stunner of a wedding too btw.

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    9. KC

      What a beautiful, beautiful bride!!!

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    10. Jamie

      I was blessed to help the amazing Clark Brewer with this wedding. His photographs are so great! I must say, I had never known about Ashley’s parents but quickly meeting Ashley and Chris, a wave of emotion hit me. This was hands down one of the most beautiful and God filled weddings i have ever been a part of it. Clark killed it!!

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    11. Anna

      Beautiful! Wow. She is a stunning bride!

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    12. Plum Pretty Sugar

      Gorgeous!!

      xo

      http://www.PlumPrettySugar.blogspot.com

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    13. thu

      wow…so touching. i absolutely fell in love with this story. i couldn’t stop crying, the emotions captured in the photos were so tangible!

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    14. Li Mei

      Oh wow, the Missing Man flyover must have been a really personal moment during the day. I’m fortunate to have my parents still alive and well, but I could not imagine how my wedding day would have been without them. Thanks for sharing!

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    15. Alison

      This might be one of the most beautiful wedding stories (and couples) I have ever laid eyes on. Love everything about it!

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    16. Carrie

      I immediately recognized this couple. They attended a wedding that I photographed here in Jackson Hole this past summer and I had the opportunity to talk with Ashley during the after party at the Mangy Moose. What a lovely couple!

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    17. Megan Clouse

      This wedding gave me chills. So pretty and personal!

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      • mia

        hey, meg!! i went to college with him. good people!

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    20. NY Wedding Photographer

      Absolutely beautiful day. So wonderful. The picture with the groom jumping in the air is fab & so fun.

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    21. doedeka

      I’ve never gotten choked up by a post before, but this got me all misty eyed. The fly over really did me in.

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    22. Anna

      Making me very teary this one. What a beautiful wedding , captured perfectly in the photography and the video. They make a very lovely couple.

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    23. isis

      Oh my gosh this is such a beautiful and touching wedding. Who knew an internet post could make me cry!

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    24. Kathy

      Beautiful wedding and a special place! Ashley, your father and God saved my husband’s life in 1995. He brought you and Evan to meet me and to introduce the two if you to the wife of the man that your family had been praying for at home! He will always have a special place in my heart.

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    25. Elizabeth

      Beautiful pictures and beautifully worded thoughts. Love the bridesmaids dresses. God used your father to save my husband’s life in 2006. Not only did he have back surgery but he also had a brain aneurism and he had prayed with us before surgery. We met Evan out at JH and my husband knows him at a men”s small group. What a beautiful heritage you have in your family.

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    26. Gina

      Ashley,

      You are beautiful inside and out. I had the privilege of knowing your dad. He did surgery on my back twice. I was so upset when he passed away, and jealous at the same time knowing that he was in the presence of God! I know your sweet parents were watching every moment. Congratulations.

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    27. Jacqueline

      What a sad and beautiful story!

      / Reply
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