After officially tying the knot, it was time to celebrate! We joined our guests back at the Castle, where cocktail hour was in full swing.
Greg and I had visited our reception venue many times, but there was something so special about finally living the evening we’d dreamed about, surrounded by everyone we loved, celebrating our marriage. It was a bit of a “pinch me” moment!
Because we had the Castle to ourselves that weekend, and it became our home away from home, we decorated the downstairs with family photographs, as if it were in fact our home.
We also set out pictures of our siblings’, parents’, and grandparents’ weddings as a nod to the other special marriages in our families.
After cocktail hour, our guests were shepherded out of the Castle, through the garden, and into a tent draped with white fabric and adorned with chandeliers.
Greg and I were the last to arrive.
And we immediately began our first dance to There Will Be Time by Mumford and Sons.
As I’m sure you can tell from the pictures, we had nothing planned, and just decided to wing it…
When I was little, my dad would always sing I’ve Had the Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing to me, and it became our song. So when it was time for the father-daughter dance, I surprised him with it.
As Greg’s mom cutely noted, “Ashley’s dad sure is blinking a lot!”
Greg and his mom followed, dancing to an edgy version of Stand By Me by NEEDTOBREATHE.
Afterwards, Greg and I welcomed our guests, thanking them for traveling all the way to Vermont to celebrate with us.
And then my Uncle Steve, another of my Deacon uncles, gave a thoughtful blessing and led us in prayer.
In his sentiments, he shared something that I had said during a family reunion many years ago: “If you weren’t my family, I’d choose you to be my friends.” Uncle Steve then went on to talk about how beautiful it was to witness Greg and me choosing each other as family. He then tied it to Jesus’ words: “It is not you who chose me, but I who chose you.”
My love language is “words of affirmation,” so I’d been really looking forward to the evening’s speeches. And I have to say, in my completely biased opinion, these were the best group of wedding speeches I’d ever heard!
My parents went first.
My mom discussed how kind I am, sending her a text or phone call offering support whenever she has something important coming up. When I first told her about Greg, I said that he was the nicest person I’d ever met. My mom commented on how special that was, since I know so many nice people! She then agreed with my assessment, talking about how Greg is always willing to help out our family, and does it with a smile. She loves how comfortable I am with Greg, and trusting and happy.
My dad then described how, when you have a wonderful child, you think no partner will ever measure up to your expectations. But it took about 13 seconds after meeting Greg for my dad to realize that he was an awesome guy, and a great match for his daughter. My dad then quoted first my Grandma Katie, who said: “Their love for each other is just so obvious,” and then my Grandma Barbie, who said: “Their love is a work of art.” He then finished by stating how individually we are unique, and together we are complete.
Greg’s parents were next.
Donna told a story about how she first knew of Greg’s existence two months before he was born, when the doctor said: “I can’t help it, I see two! You’re having twins!” It was an exciting and joyous moment, and life with Greg has been exciting and joyous ever since. Donna then mentioned how, after meeting me, she hoped I’d stick around, and now here I was, permanently sticking around.
Bob, in describing Greg, told how he was a Boy Scout growing up. For most Scouts the Boy Scout oath is an aspiration, but for Greg it was an oath that he took solemnly. He worked on being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, and molded his life to these values. Greg teared up while his dad spoke, and it was such a touching moment to witness.
Then Jenny, my Maid of Honor, spoke next.
She talked about how we’d been friends since high school, when we’d make each other burned CDs with music on them. She then followed me to college, where I further impacted Jenny’s life by introducing her to her husband. Jenny then stated that if she had to summarize in one word my greatest trait, it would be thoughtfulness. I send cards and notes to celebrate life milestones, and I’m there for life’s small moments too, my solidarity and words of encouragement wrapping my friends like a warm hug, even from a distance. She then said: “You being there for those in your life is as steady and sure as gravity itself,” which was incredibly kind, and moving.
My brother, Josh, went next.
He talked about how, when he first met Greg, the two of them got a nice bottle of Scotch and had a glass together to get to know each other. Now that they’ve gotten to know each other, they still continue the ritual as a way to catch up. In fact, at one of the family weddings this year, they had a bit too much Scotch and both got in trouble with their now wives. Josh joked that he knew at that point that Greg would be a great brother-in-law, and he looked forward to getting in trouble with Greg for the rest of their lives.
Josh discussed how he had the opportunity to go to Greg’s bachelor party, and he was excited to see what Greg was like when he wasn’t around my family or me. Josh joked that Greg was still, unfortunately, the nicest guy in the room.
Josh also shared a few stories from our childhood, and talked about how my willingness to pursue my dreams, and pick up and move across the country several times in pursuit of my goals, led me to New York City and to meeting Greg, and to this wedding.
Most of the speakers ended their speeches with something along the lines of: “To the bride and groom!” Instead, Josh hilariously ended his speech with: “Ok awesome, see ya.”
Greg’s sister Katherine also spoke.
She began by saying that she had so many great stories about her older brother, including times he was there for her and gave her great advice. But she needed to keep her speech short, so she couldn’t spend all that time discussing Drew, and instead would spend the remainder of her time talking about Greg.
According to Katherine, good relationships have three main factors. First, the couple must have similar priorities, and it’s clear Greg and I place a high value on family. Second, shared passions are important, and Greg and I both love to travel and see the world together. Third, each partner has different strengths. Katherine talked about how I have good planning and organizational skills, and Greg doesn’t have those talents. But he can reach things on high shelves, and do the lift in the dance routine, so he also brings something to the table.
She then concluded by toasting to us, and saying how we’re stronger together than we are apart.
Drew, Greg’s twin brother and Best Man, closed out the speeches.
He joked that he’d known Greg the longest, ever since they were “womb-mates.” Drew was also the first person in his family to meet me. He had asked Greg whether he was seeing anyone, and Greg replied that there was this girl he really liked but they were just friends. Drew and Greg made plans to go to a Lionel Richie concert, and Greg announced that he would be bringing me, but not as a date, just as a friend.
When Drew met me, he said I was charming, cute, funny, and witty, and told Greg to get his act together. During the concert, Drew looked over and was happy to see Greg and me holding hands.
Drew became choked up during the end of his speech, talking about how Greg has the biggest heart out of anyone he knows, and that Greg pours his heart into everything he does. Drew then wished us a marriage filled with lots of love, and heart.
After dinner it was time to dance, celebrate, and let loose!
At the end of the night, as the band played the final chorus of Etta James’ At Last, Greg and I walked out of the reception, hand in hand, as husband and wife.
You can view a highlight reel from our reception, here:
The next morning, we hosted our guests at a post-wedding brunch in the Castle. We’d had live music our entire wedding weekend, so we figured why stop now? Jordan Snow, a local musician who we both like, was on site to serenade guests as we enjoyed our breakfast.
Lisa, the Castle’s wedding coordinator, presented me with a copy of The New York Times as soon as we got downstairs. I eagerly flipped to the wedding announcements and found our own. Greg and I had made The New York Times Vows Section!
And, not only did our announcement make it into The New York Times (competition is fierce!) it also made it into The New York Times’ parody account!
After brunch, our family and friends said their goodbyes. Greg and I had smartly booked another night in the Castle, so we didn’t have to pack up or rush off the day after our wedding. Instead we relaxed, opened up our presents and cards, and talked about all of the wonderful memories that we’d made that weekend.
Greg, I am so honored to be your wife.
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Hotel: Castle Hill Resort & Spa
Reception Venue: Castle Hill Resort & Spa
Photography: Amy Bennett Photography
Videography: Juharo Productions
Hair and Makeup: Traveler Beauty Company
Florist: M’s Wedding Flowers
Band: Silver Arrow Band
Wedding Dress and Veil: Monique Lhuillier
Rings: Erdman Jewelers
Earrings: Tiffany & Co.
Cufflinks: Sally Clay
Bridesmaid Dresses: After Six
Table Numbers: Duanes Workshop
Dance Classes: Fred Astaire Dance Studio
Brunch Musician: Jordan Snow
Maple Syrup Favors: Carman Brook Farm