I love a good champion of doing life your way! Custom and tradition, they have a beautiful connotation for heritage but when they so easily fall into the framework of hollow institution, somehow they lose their luster. Culture and its many practices were never meant to narrate baseless ritual — quite the opposite: they were meant to enrich an experience and those who lived it! Weddings are no exception. There are countless tiny nuances that have somehow assembled what we presently consider a wedding, but the deepest beauty comes not in couples who formulate what they expect a wedding should be like, but rather lovingly cobble together the splendid expression of their unity.
Today’s feature is perfect parts tradition and individuality: custom meets two completely unique souls — a wedding simply fit for Pete & Ashley, and it is beautiful indeed!
Love notes from the couple, Pete & Ashley:
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Ashley: “We met at work. I thought he was cute, but rigid and very intense. Turns out, he is cute, rigid and very intense, but also the funniest person on the planet.”
Pete: “We met at work, under the stress of kicking off a new project. I was taken back by her beauty and tried to be cool and professional, which I now know is rigid and intense. I didn’t really get to know Ashley until much later through a work party and ended up just getting to cut up and saw her sense of humor and sharp wit, I knew I had to go all out to even get a chance to have a date…lucky for me things worked!”
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Ashley: “My favorite thing about Pete is his sense of humor. Life can be really tough, but when your partner is making you laugh through it all, it makes things much easier. He sees the good in things and is light-hearted. Not to sound trite, but Pete is just a really good person.”
Pete: “My favorite thing about Ashley is her intelligence. Her viewpoints on all things, work, life, the world and ideas its amazing. We never get tired of talking with each other because we literally talk about everything. I love listening to her share thoughts because it makes me see the world differently.”
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship.
“As soon as we moved in together, we began renovating our home. We basically have rebuilt our house from the studs out. Remodeling and designing a home brings with it some inherent challenges (especially when you are doing it yourselves). We had to learn how to actually communicate. We had to learn to work together to come to decisions we were both happy with. We had to work together in the trenches – at times with no running water, or lights, or flooring. We had to learn to think together instead of as individuals with a lifetime of opinions and strong ideas on the way things out to be. But, by doing all of the hard work up front, it has paid off in dividends for our ability to collaborate and respect each other.”
What part of your wedding day was most important to you?
“The most important part of our wedding day was saying our vows. We took time crafting our ceremony to include prayers and poems that meant a lot to us and were a direct reflection of how we want to live our life together – this included the vows we chose. They symbolized our promises to each other and our future together. Although we did throw a fun reception and we had a blast with our friends and family, our vows were just for each other and very important to us.”
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
Ashley: “As a couple, we really wanted to incorporate our family as a centerpiece of our wedding. Our families are the foundation for our lives and now, our life together.
We began by including details into our ceremony such as the Irish Prayer – Pete’s mom’s side of the family is Irish, as well as my grandmother’s side of the family. In fact, I wore my grandmother’s heirloom bracelet as really the only jewelry I wore besides simple stud earrings.
For the reception, we lined the fireplace mantel with wedding photos from both our parents, and their parents – it was really neat to see, in photos, the love on both sides of the family. My mom is amazing at refinishing furniture, and at our sweetheart table in front of the fireplace with all of our family photos, we used two of my mother’s beautiful antique chairs, given to her by her mother. They are so unique and now we have them in our home.
Because we got married on Daylight Savings Time eve, we incorporated a time theme – that was the perfect way to incorporate another family heirloom, my dad’s father’s vintage clock. We understand that time and life are short and we wanted to incorporate everything we could to build memories that we could share and showcase our family history.”
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
“My favorite part about planning the wedding was incorporating all of the things we love into one event. We loved picking out our first dance song and other music together, adding in our family heirlooms and really making the event about us. We did not intend to have the wedding of the century – we planned the wedding for us. For example, we wanted a pizza food truck, we wanted to show the college football games on a projector, we wanted a great live band and we really didn’t worry too much about impressing our guests with over-the-top table arrangements, guest favors or signature cocktails. We planned a wedding that was truly ours – sentimental and sweet.”
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day!
Ashley: “It was very important to us to include our nieces and nephew in our ceremony. We had the cutest flower girls and ring bearer around. Being that they are all under the age of 5 though, they were pretty restless and bored during our ceremony. They were bored to the extent that they interrupted our vows right when our minister asked me repeat that I would agree to honor and respect Pete. People thought that I was laughing at that particular idea, but I was really laughing at the kids. The interruption was sort of charming and the kids helped keep us in the moment.”
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
“Talk. All the time.
Remodeling a home together taught us that communication is an invaluable tool in a successful relationship. Instead of just getting upset when you are disappointed, talk through your feelings to grow together instead of apart. And often what you will find is that the person you are with just wants you to be happy, and if you are direct about what you want and how you feel, your partner will do what it takes.
Be Happy, Not Right.
I think in today’s culture where you can google your way to right answer for just about anything, we get in the habit of wanting to be right all of the time – sometimes at the expense of our relationships. It is really important to let that part of your ego go in your marriage. Actually being on the same team has the power to significantly change the dynamic. Because at the end of the day, it isn’t about being right; it is about being happy.”
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
“Love is wanting the best for someone other than yourself. Anything else just confuses it.”
photographer: Rachel Craig / venue: Coleman Hall and Chapel / stylist & designer: Erica M Cain / floral designer: Frampton / dress boutique: Bridal house of Charleston / dress designer: Robert Bullock / cake designer: Publix / hair & makeup: Strawberry Blonde / rentals: Event Haus / band: Emerald Empire Band / caterer: Coastal Crust / officiant: Kristen Barner / dessert: Sweet Southern Bellas / film lab: Goodman Film Lab