After meeting through family connections, Ashley and Ashbee "clicked right away", but were living in different states at the time, "so I didn't really know how it would work out," remembers Ashley. "But, to my huge surprise, a few days after I got back to WV, I got a call from Ashbee asking if I would like to go on a date next time I came back down to North Carolina." After a year of long-distance dating, Ashbee moved to West Virginia, where Ashley was living, and several years later, on their ten-year dating anniversary, asked Ashley to be his bride. Although Ashbee was raised Methodist, he and Ashley are going to raise their children Catholic and chose to have a Catholic wedding, and were able to plan it so that their non-Catholic guests felt welcome.
From the Bride: Because Ashbee and his family and other guests are not Catholic, we decided not to have a full Mass, but instead to celebrate the Liturgy of the Word and the Rite of Marriage. We formatted our program in a way to let everyone know when to sit, stand, or kneel and how to respond to the readings and prayers.
The Scripture readings were especially important to us, and we chose Genesis 2 as our first reading, because it shows that man and woman are created to enter into a partnership with one another in marriage. For our second reading, we chose 1 Corinthians 13, St. Paul's famous "Hymn to Love." We liked this reading because it talks about how love is a great gift from God and it is true, self-giving love that makes a relationship last. We also chose this reading because one of my favorite Christian singers, John Angotti, led the music for our wedding, and he has a song called "Our God is Love." In this song, he specifically sings about how love is patient and love is kind. We thought it all tied together perfectly!
For the reception, we had a cookie table (which most people consider a Pittsburgh tradition, but has been my West Virginia family's tradition for years), and each cookie was made by a family member in support of our marriage. It was so nice to know my family wanted to help make our day special and that they took the time, energy, and money, to make over 4,000 cookies to share with our guests.
Ashbee also drew a "logo" for our new family including our names, our wedding date, and a little symbol of each of our hobbies. I loved it so much that we decided to make it into a stamp, which we used on all of the welcome bags and the cookie bags our guests took home with them.
The bride's spiritual take-away from her wedding: For our Gospel reading, we chose the Beatitudes. This reading was the most important to us. We hope to build our family on the foundation of what Jesus teaches us about how to be his disciples: to be humble, sensitive to the needs of others, merciful to those who wrong us, and pure of heart. Through our choice of this Gospel reading, we hoped to share with our guests how we want to live in our marriage, but also to remind them what is important in life and how Jesus calls us to live.
Photography: Claire Watson Photography | Church: St. John's Catholic Church, Morgantown, WV | Reception: Holiday Inn, Mor, gantown, WV, Atria's Catering | Wedding Coordinator: Jaclyn Pheasant, Dream Creations Event Planning | Cake: Bonnie Belle's | Music: DJ Dave Event Services | Flowers: Rooted by Design (Raiko Jack) | Bride's Dress: Coni and Franc | Mother of the Bride & Bridesmaids Dresses: Coni and Franc | Tux: Jos. A. Bank | Makeup: KJS Cosmetology | Hair: Allison Clayton and her associates | Jewelry: J Crew | Ring: Ira Helfer from David I. Helfer Jeweler in Pittsburgh | Videography: Brad and Aimee of McMillen Photography