Husband & Wife

Well friends, on Saturday we hit the 6 months of marriage mark. In our first six months we have traveled to four new countries, celebrated our first holiday season as husband and wife, and moved 2,000 miles to the other side of the country. We’ve already had some stressful and scary times, but many, many more joyous ones. Aside from having to work, it really does still feel like we are honeymooning. This might be partially due to that fact that we currently live at the beach, but I think it’s mostly because marriage is fun. I know it’s not going to be fun and games every step of the way, but for us right now it is, and we are totally soaking it in.

I want to continue on with my wedding recap series, so the logical place to go next is our ceremony.

We were waiting in the bridal suite, and enjoying every last second of air conditioning before we headed out in the early September heat. I remember feeling so content. It felt surreal that this was about to happen. I wasn’t anxious or nervous or stressed, I was just genuinely so excited to take this step with Doug. When it was time we left the bridal suite and took the short walk to the ceremony garden entrance. The garden was my absolute favorite part of the venue and I was so happy and relieved the weather cooperated, giving us the perfect backdrop for our “I do’s”. The girls lined up in order and we stood there in complete silence listening for our cue to begin.

We hired a guitarist to fill the garden with music for our ceremony. My grandparents were escorted to their seats first followed by Doug’s parents and my mother to Prelude in D. After they were seated, the bridesmaids followed to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. I loved this song for this moment because it is so happy and airy sounding, I just felt like it really fit perfectly. As I mentioned before, Belle Meade has a long aisle. The first part is lined with flowers and bushes alongside, then there is a small step up to where it opens to the large grassy space. The girls were met at the stairs by the men and were then escorted the rest of the way down. Following the bridesmaids were our devastatingly cute ring bearers. Matthew was very excited about having an actual responsibility on our wedding day, so we gave him 2. One was guiding Liam down the aisle and the second and most important was entrusting him with our rings. He carried a burlap pillow with our initials and wedding date that had the rings tied to it. He kept the rings safe down the aisle, but in true Matthew fashion spiced things up by tossing the pillow up and down while making his walk. Liam on the other hand, decided he wasn’t ready and stopped walking after only making it a few feet. So we sent the girls off in hopes that he would maybe just join them. Our beautiful flower girls carried a sign painted by my dad reading “here comes the bride”. They argued over how to hold it correctly up until it was time to walk, and they did a perfect job, although I’m sure Lilly’s arm was sore from the way she held it straight up all ceremony. Liam still didn’t join in with the girls, but decided that he was to have his own moment after them. I could only catch a little glimpse from where I was standing trying not to be seen, but he took someone’s words of “marching down the aisle” quite literally and gave all the guests a little laugh. Then all that was left was my dad and I. We listened for what felt like forever to our song to begin. I picked out a special song for us in hopes that my dad would be able to recognize it as we were walking. If you know my dad, you know he loves the Beatles, so I chose their song “In my life” for our walk together. Again, I just felt it fit really well and I love the meaning behind it. I had never pictured myself walking to the traditional bridal march, so this was a perfect substitute.

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I made it about halfway down the aisle before I started to get emotional. I wish I could remember more of my thoughts in that moment, but truthfully I feel like I blacked out. I just remember being overwhelmed with happiness, looking at Doug standing at the end and all the people there with us- so magical. When we reached the end of the aisle my dad gave me away, hugged and shook hands with Doug then hugged and gave me a kiss. Then I stood facing our officiant, next to the man who would be my husband in under about 20 minutes time. Our pastor was Todd Henry, my brother in law’s father. We are so thankful that he was able to travel to Tennessee to officiate our wedding. He married my oldest sister Kristin and her husband Matt and is the father in law of my middle sister Laura, which made it very special. He welcomed our guests and gave an opening prayer. Then it was time to set our intentions and say “I do”. He then gave a short sermon on God’s gift of marriage, followed by the two readings we had selected. The first reading was done by Doug’s sister Stephanie, it is a sweet poem called Union by Robert Fulghum. The second was read by my best friend Peish, Ephesians 5:22. After the readings, we joined hands and began speaking the most important words of our lives-our vows. I didn’t even make it past the first line without crying. I had said the word husband out loud many times, but saying it as a part of my wedding vows really got me. We exchanged our rings, said a prayer with all of our guests and then it was time for one of the best moments of the day- the kiss & being announced for the first time as husband and wife! We made our way back down the aisle to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” smiling from ear to ear. We circled back around to the front of the aisle because Doug and I had agreed we wanted to release the guests row by row in order to give us an opportunity to thank everyone individually for traveling to celebrate with us. This allowed us to see everyone, but saved us from spending the entire reception doing so. It was nice to greet everyone and give them a quick hug! Our guests headed off to cocktail hour and for the bridal party it was picture time.

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Every detail and every moment of our ceremony was beyond perfect, best 30 minutes of my life!

Cheers,

Ashley

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