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.