Oh how my heart might explode. I just want to say – micro weddings? I AM HERE FOR IT. Ashleigh and Justin are one of my beloved 2020 couples who, like me, have had to deal with a hell of a time wedding planning thanks to COVID-19. (As if it wasn’t already difficult). They were originally supposed to get married at the end of May, and then switched to July 4, and then switched to June 28th for a micro ceremony! They’re having a big celebration with all their family and friends next year and I can’t wait for that as well, but I literally can’t put into words how insanely special this wedding day was.
I’ve known Ashleigh for over a decade (which seems crazy to me!). We were on the Vernon Ski Racing team together in high school, and her parents were both my high school teachers! Mr. Berge was the athletic trainer and my gym teacher, and Mrs. Berge was my marriage and family teacher (how full circle!). So needless to say, when Ashleigh and Justin first asked me to be their wedding photographer, I was over the moon to get to be a part of such a special day for such a special friend and family. And I was completely right about how special it would be.
When I pulled into the parking lot, Ashleigh’s dad ran up to me with the biggest smile and gave me a huge bear hug. He said he couldn’t be happier that I was going to be a part of this day and I almost burst into tears right then and there! The same reaction happened when I saw Ashleigh’s mom, Ashleigh, and her brother Kevin. I just love this family.
After I got settled, I took a few detail shots of Ashleigh’s ring, dress, Converse sneakers, and a special coin from her uncle who passed away. He wanted her to have it on her wedding day and that was so so special. I did details super quick, ran over to the building Justin was getting ready in for a quick portrait, and then went back for Ashleigh to put her wedding dress on. And let me tell you that this moment was amazing. Right before Ashleigh got into the dress she facetimed her grandparents and held back tears, and then I had everyone wait outside while her mom helped her into her dress. This was such an emotional moment! And let me tell you – this Ashleigh was SO STUNNING as a bride! Her dress was absolutely amazing and it was amazing to see her all dressed up on her wedding day – especially when I’m used to seeing her in gym clothes from our race days!
Once she was ready for a reveal, I opened the door and had all her bridesmaids close their eyes. I counted to three with Ashleigh in view, and had them open their eyes for the reveal and their reaction was absolutely priceless! It was such a special moment! And then the reveals continued! Immediately following this, I took Mr. Berge outside to set him up for a first look in the garden area. Ashleigh came out and started crying and shaking before she even got to him – they are so insanely close and he cried so much when he saw her! I’m crying just thinking of this moment as I type this! I have so many “favorite” moments of this day, and this was one of them.
After the first look with Ashleigh’s dad, it was time for the ceremony to begin! The few guests who were sitting took their seats, and the rest of the guests remained socially distanced, standing in the back. The wedding party walked down, and then the ring bearer, Justin’s son Jackson walked down looking SO HANDSOME, and then his daughter Bella, walked down as the most beautiful flower girl! Ashleigh then followed and walked down the aisle towards Justin with her parents on either side of her, and Justin cried the entire time. This was a reaction I will never forget.
Their ceremony was performed by their dear friend Dennis, and he did such a wonderful job making it so personal and special. Ashleigh and Justin wrote their own vows, and Justin wrote a poem as his vows. Ashleigh’s vows are something I will never forget – she vowed not just to Justin, but to both his kids as well, and Bella and Jackson both teared up when they realized how much they are loved by Ashleigh!! They all cried through the entire thing, and I admittedly had to wipe tears away from my eyes at least 10 times throughout. From looking around to the guests, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
When they were announced husband and wife, everyone cheered and clapped and they ran down the aisle overjoyed dancing and kissing the whole way! Bella and Jackson were the first to follow, and ran into their arms in tears for a family hug. These moments were priceless and I can’t even express how much this warmed my heart. I know Ashleigh is going to be a wonderful step-mom to these beautiful children! After they hugged and cried it out, Ashleigh’s brother swooped in and picked her up for another tearful hug, followed by parents, friends, and grandparents. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and that’s when I truly fell in love with micro-wedding and ceremonies. This wedding was truly about them and all the people that are closest to them got to witness it. It was BEAUTIFUL.
Immediately following their ceremony, which was outside at their venue, The Bishop Farmstead, we took family formals and wedding party pictures! The girls all wore dresses in blue – which they spur of the moment threw together! We had a beautiful backdrop and shade from the huge tree on the property and it was the perfect spot for photos! After all the group shots were done, I got to sneak a few photos of Ashleigh and Justin alone. We went up to the barn which was lit with bistro lights for a few pictures, and then went back down to the gardens for a few shots. These two love each other so insanely much and every action towards each other makes that so apparent.
I only photographed the day for 3 hours since we were just doing portraits, the ceremony, and family formals and wedding party, and it was literally perfect. I can’t wait for their renewal celebration next year, but I am overjoyed that I got to be a part of this celebration too. It was a PERFECT DAY.
WHen portraits were done, Ashleigh changed, and they jumped into Justin’s jeep that had a just married sign hanging in the back! They ventured off to his brother’s house for a small party with their families, and I imagine it was the best day of their lives.
Ashleigh and Justin – thank you so much for having me be a part of such an incredible day. I know a lifetime of happiness is ahead of you and I can’t wait to watch you two grow more and more in love. You have such a beautiful relationship, and a beautiful family, and I can’t wait to continue celebrating that. I love you guys!!