Jesse and Ashley got married in the middle of May — and you GUYS. Their wedding was epic — from their sweet and worshipful ceremony to one of the best receptions and dance floors that I’ve ever seen (if you know the Smith Family, you know they BRING IT when it comes to dancing), this wedding was just absolutely jaw-dropping perfect here at Iriswoods in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
Iriswoods has a beautiful bridal suite where Ashley, her two bridesmaids, and her sweet mama got ready. When Ashley slipped on her dress (behind one of those old wooden changing door things which she was absolutely obsessed with) you could just feel the anticipation of the day ahead — she was going to marry her best friend in a couple of hours and MAN — she looked absolutely STUNNING. She quickly put on her jewelry and shoes with the help of her cousins and then we headed outside to grab some bridesmaid photos.
Oh, and one of my favorite parts of the day is that we had a spontaneous first look with Mark, Ashley’s dad, as the girls headed back into the house. Ashley saw him, asked me real quick if we could make a first look happen, and I rushed over to Mark and asked him if he wanted to see his daughter (he has four sons and only one daughter, so of course this day was very emotional for him) and he said of course. But when he saw her, he couldn’t walk any closer to her because he was just awestruck by Ashley. SO CUTE IT’S FINE. Soooo many precious tears were shed
Since Jesse and Ashley weren’t having a first look, we hid Ashley away in the house and then I grabbed Jesse and his two groomsmen for photos. One of Jesse’s best friends — who was supposed to be a groomsman — couldn’t make it to the wedding because he is currently deployed. However, he still wanted to be incorporated into the wedding, so he got a 6ft cardboard cutout of himself andddd you can definitely see it in some of the photos throughout the day, so look out for it To take his place, one of Ashley’s younger brothers, Jack, stood in as Jesse’s groomsman.
As guests started to arrive, Ashley and Jesse and the wedding party lined up in the hallway, anticipating the ceremony ahead. The officiant of the ceremony was my old youth pastor (and I also knew SO many of the guests as well, which made this wedding even better!) and Jesse soon joined the officiant at the altar. After all the family had walked down the aisle, Mark walked out of the house, followed by Ashley in all her beautiful glory. Her dress was stunning and her face shown under her veil — as as she came closer, you could see her tears as well. The ceremony was beautiful and lovely, and when these two kissed the celebration was like no other!! Such JOY, such UNITY, such PEACE.
After the ceremony we took all the family photos (these were SO FUN — I love their families dearly) and then headed into bride & groom photos. About a minute into these photos Ashley’s bridal headband came off but we fixed it quickly with a bobby pin (I’ve never had to fix a bride’s hair on a wedding day ahahah but ya know I’m always adding new things to my wedding photographer resume, so just add hair stylist to that ) and we took some STUNNING photos of these two!!
The reception was LIT. I mean truly — string lights were everywhere, but the people and company and music were just perfect! Ashley danced with Jesse and then her dad, then Jesse came back up and danced a sweet song with his mom. Then three special people came up and gave toasts to the newlyweds, before they headed up to cut the cake (and stuff some in each other’s face!). I actually haven’t been to a wedding yet where they purposely put cake on each other’s faces, so this was SUPER fun and entertaining!
A few minutes later, as the reception was starting up, Ashley, Jesse, and I snuck out and took some sunset photos in the back field. Andddd I even gave a camera to each of them to take some photos of each other (which turned out SUPER CUTE) and we just had some fun escaping the chaos of the reception for a second and giving these two a little bit more time alone together. It was absolutely perfect — and then we headed back to the rocking dance floor and oh.my.goodness. these people know how to DANCE. It was truly an unforgettable evening.
At last, after all the partying, these two closed the night with a stunning sparkler exit. As Ashley reached the last couple feet of the exit, she saw her mom and her eyes immediately started to tear up. The reality of being married and leaving her family to head back to Virginia as a new wife to her best friend and just all the feelings and emotion of the day caught up to her, and many of her closest family came up and hugged her as she sat in the passenger seat. It was moving and honestly a perfect way to end the day — these two are MARRIED and the joy and emotion of a marriage was evident the entire day. I’m so grateful that I had the honor of taking their wedding photos, and I’m so excited for everything that the future holds for these two and their marriage! They’re going to impact so many lives and I just pray that they have a long and loving marriage ahead. Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Wangrud!!