After not shooting a wedding at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in 7 years, Ashtyn and Shawn gave us that opportunity again! It was their destination wedding here in Asheville, NC.
We had not met Ashtyn and Shawn before their wedding day but did get to meet with their sweet parents when they booked us for the wedding. Upon finally meeting them, Michael and I instantly liked Ashtyn and Shawn. They were super fun to work with and absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know if Ashtyn was trying to look like a Disney princess but I am pretty sure we just shot Elsa’s wedding. 😉 She was stunning and her veil literally made me gasp.
Shawn invited a lot of his military pals to his wedding and there was such camaraderie among them. Michael enjoyed getting to hang with the fellas before the ceremony. They are close and you can tell!
More from us throughout the blog post but for now, here is a bit from Ashtyn and Shawn!
A bit about Ashtyn: Ashtyn is a Florida State University Alumnus with a BFA in Musical Theatre. She currently performs on some of the largest cruise ships in the world as a Singer in the Production Casts. She even planned a large part of her wedding from her last cruise ship!
A bit about Shawn: Shawn is a graduate of Norwich University with a double major in Accounting and Finance. As if that wasn’t enough work, he was also part of the ROTC program there and commissioned into the United States Army as Second Lieutenant Military Intelligence Officer. He will be bravely serving our country for at least the next 4 years.
How did you meet? We met our Senior year of high school in Overland Park, Kansas in 2010. We had English class together and I fell for him the second he walked through the door. After that we were partners for any project or paper throughout the year and developed a really great friendship.
Describe your first date? I asked Shawn on our first date. My best friend wanted me to go out with her and her boyfriend, so I asked three guys before Shawn because I didn’t want to make our friendship weird. Finally, after no one else was available I nervously asked my biggest crush out and he said yes! (Thank goodness) We went on the double date and had a great time and then we left and hung out the rest of the night just us two. What I thought would be just a pre-graduation fling turned out to be so much more!
How long have you been together? We started dating April of 2011, so a little over 6 years.
What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple? We are a very active couple. We love to get out and see places. So we really enjoy local fairs or markets and we absolutely love camping. We’re “pitch a tent in the middle of the woods people” and we have such a blast doing it!
Who popped the question and HOW? Shawn popped the question in November 2016. I had been on my cruise ship since June of that year and Shawn and I hadn’t seen each other since he came and cruised Alaska with me in July. So, he and his entire family, including my mom, were coming to cruise with me for Thanksgiving. The morning they were to board the ship, they picked me up and took me out to breakfast. The week prior, Shawn had just branched Military Intelligence in the Army, so he took a moment to thank the family for their support and singled me out as being a strong source of support for him, and before I even knew it, he was scooting out his chair and asking me to marry him. I was shocked and cried like a baby. Shawn had to ask me again because I was crying too hard to answer! It was a perfect moment in a beautiful setting surrounded by our family.
Why did you pick Asheville and the Grand Bohemian? We picked Asheville because we love the mountains. Being from Florida, one of the reasons we picked up camping was to get away from the beach and into a new environment. Once we got engaged we thought the mountains would be an amazing place to start our new lives together. The Grand Bohemian was the perfect place because it has such a mountain hunting lodge feel while still being glitzy and glamorous. It was the absolute perfect place for our wedding!
What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day? Shawn’s answer: Stunning. Ashtyn’s answer: Mine
What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most? My favorite piece was my dress. It was truly the dress of my dreams. It wouldn’t have been the same without my veil though and I loved the combination of them both!
How many guests attended the wedding? We had 86 total.
What did you and your guests eat at the reception? We had a wedge salad to begin, with jalapeño ranch dressing and Nueske’s bacon chunks, then we had a duet entree, so each guest got a portion of ginger honey grilled chicken and a small filet mignon. The entree was served with Yukon mashed potatoes, asparagus, and a family sized portion of Brussel Sprouts for the table.
What was the flavor of your wedding cake? We actually had three flavors of wedding cake each being equally delicious. We had Lemon Raspberry Poundcake with cream cheese frosting, Carrot Cake Delight with crushed pralines and cream cheese frosting, and Apple Hummingbird with cream cheese frosting. The cake was phenomenal!
What is the one of the funniest things that happened on your wedding day? When I started walking down the aisle, first off, I started crying as soon as I saw Shawn because I was so happy, then secondly, the detail around the edge of my veil caught on the carpet runner we had and it pulled the veil out of my head! Luckily, one of our guests grabbed it, handed it my mom and my mom was able to stick it back in real quick. It definitely wasn’t what I envisioned, but it actually helped me and Shawn compose ourselves because everyone started laughing. Only us!
What was your first dance song and why did you pick it? Our first dance song was “I Met A Girl” by William Michael Morgan. Shawn sent me that song a few years ago and told me it reminded him of me. So earlier this year we were getting our engagement pictures taken, and on the way home, that song came on the radio and we knew that was it. It was close to our hearts and meaningful.
What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding? THE FLOWERS. Holy moly, the flowers were absolutely stunning. Everywhere I looked, I saw incredible arrangements. The bouquets for me and my girls were stunning, the corsages for our moms, the boutonnières for the guys. Seriously, the flowers were just incredible. Close second is just how much stinking fun it was! We had the best guests and the most amazing wedding party. It was a day and night of our dreams!
What is on your “bucket list” to do together as a married couple? We have quite a few things that we want to do/accomplish, but the top things on our checklist are to travel and see the world and then in a few years, hopefully be blessed enough to welcome some children into this world.
The amazing Mary with Mary Bell Events helped plan and coordinate this awesome day!
It was pretty steamy outside so we did most of our photos inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel. The decor was perfect for this gorgeous bride and her gals.
This ceremony was FULL of some amazing, beautiful moments!
The beautiful Mother of the Bride… who happens to also be named Shawn! 🙂
For the parents…
Shawn’s vows were amazing… everyone thought so too. We all teared up a bit!
And the best man too. 😉
We love love loved the up-lighting and floral at this wedding. The Grand Bohemian ballroom is already stunning but they made it amazing!
Ashtyn sang ” Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur. She was killing it… until Shawn kissed her hand. Then she lost it. She said it was the hardest performance of her life. This girl has an incredible voice ya’ll!
These toasts were so fun!
A toast to Ashtyn’s dad from her uncle.
There was a bit of a twist to this garter toss…
Apparently when you find this drink you have to down it. So Ashtyn hid it under her dress.
She was in for a surprise herself… see that guy with the covered plate on the left?
Now Ashtyn had to join in as well!
I don’t know if it was meant to be a competition… but well…
Ashtyn won. Sorry Shawn! She killed it.
Gushing over that ring.
Wobble instructor anyone? She was awesome!
A little limbo was in order.
Congrats Ashtyn and Shawn! We wish you the absolute best ever!!
Shout out to these professionals that helped make this day awesome!
If Michael and I could use one word to describe Ali and Derek’s wedding it would be laughter. There was SO much joy and laughter between Ali and Derek and their friends and family.
More from us later… here is a bit from the couple themselves!
A bit about Ali: Will soon be a Medical Coder but right now I work at Mission Hospital
A bit about Derek: Is a registered nurse who will be starting school in a doctorate program next May to become a nurse anesthetist.
How did you meet? We met at Hickory Tavern in Biltmore Park through a mutual friend, Dru Jenson. All of us were accepted into nursing school and Dru thought we should meet prior to the semester starting.
Describe your first date? Our first official date was at the Biltmore Grand. We saw “The Conjuring” and then hung out with friends at a bonfire after that.
How long have you been together? Four years this September.
What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple? We like to read together (we sometimes take turns reading out loud to each other before bed), play games together, and laugh. We like to laugh as much as possible. We are always trying to find a good scary movie to watch.
Who popped the question and HOW? Derek proposed in a restaurant while we were on a mini vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The week before, he visited the bride’s father, John, asked his permission and showed them the ring. John said yes, but he said Derek needed to make Ali the most important thing in his life which he agreed to and strives to remember that every day. Derek has a lot of respect for John.
Why did you pick Asheville and the Crest Center and Pavilion? We wanted a venue that of course had a good location (view) but also something that had room enough for a large party and room for dancing and mingling. The Crest Center had the best mix of what we wanted.
What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day? Derek describing Ali: Joyful. Ali describing Derek: Calming
What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most? Derek: Ali was the best tangible item ;). Ali: My bouquet, including the bridesmaids bouquets. They were absolutely beautiful.
How many guests attended the wedding? About 150.
What did you and your guests eat at the reception? Braised beef brisket, chicken stuffed with apples and walnuts, rosemary roasted potatoes and a vegetable medley.
What was the flavor of your wedding cake? Lavender white chocolate and chocolate caramel.
What is the one of the funniest things that happened on your wedding day?
Ali: the funniest thing was Kevin being pinned to the bottom of her dress (Kevin was an integral part of her bachelorette party and was a running joke. He was a playing card of a Chip N Dale’s dancer who she arbitrarily named Kevin)
Derek: The funniest part of the whole wedding experience was the photo session with all the groomsmen when all the brothers, and Josh and Dakotah were together and we were joking about gangsters, ants and termites, and taking pictures like Run DMC and Reservoir Dogs. Great experience for all parties involved.
What was your first dance song and why did you pick it? “Start of Something Good” by Daughtry. Derek introduced Ali to this song early on in their relationship and later on we decided it should be our song.
What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding?
Derek: How beautiful inside and out my wife is.
Ali: I was pretty calm all day but right before I walked down the aisle it started to hit me (how everyone will be looking at me, this big decision I’m making) but as soon as I saw Derek that all went away. He has that effect on me, he’s my comfort zone 🙂
You could tell there is a special bond between Ali and her ring bearer!
They wanted the “boy band shot” Michael was happy to oblige. 😉
The beautiful Ali!
We loved loved loved Ali’s bouquet!
Those gals be crazy! 😉
Ali reading her letter from Derek.
The “around the door/not seeing each other shot” was full of laughter with these two!
Waving to his bride.
This officiant held Ali’s veil throughout the ceremony. The wind kept blowing it in their faces. 🙂
Congrats to the Mr. and Mrs.!
As moment junkies this was one of our favorite moments of the day. Ali was adopted at 3 months old. I actually didn’t know that until the day of her wedding! Her adoptive parents are amazing. Really AMAZING. Ali and her parents invited the foster parents who had Ali for the first 3 months of her life. Ali did not know they would be there. Ali’s mom introduced them to Ali with, “These are the people who loved you for the first 3 months of your life.” We all lost it. It was an absolutely beautiful moment that left me remembering that life is beautiful.
Onward to the reception!
See what I mean? Loads of laughter.
Ah, that Father daughter dance.
You can tell this fella loves his mamma.
Ali and Derek allowed us to bring them back out when the lighting was just right. My how we love those mountains and to have a beautiful couple standing in front of them! One of our favorite scenarios for photography!
Let’s do some tossing.
Ali’s parents. We loved them so!
There were some funny dancing moments to be sure!
Congrats Ali and Derek!! We wish you joy and laughter every day of your lives.
Shout out to these vendors for their hard work on this day.
Venue coordinator – Lauren Miles
Dress Designer – Marley Lilly
Where you purchased your dress – Poffie Girls in Gastonia NC
Makeup artist – Ulta
Hair designer – Woodeane @ Upper Cuts in Weaverville
Floral designer – Brown’s Florist in Weaverville
Center pieces by- MOB Lisa Boff and Peggy Snider
Caterer – M7 Events
DJ or Band – Sound Extreme
Officiant – Jason Rhodes
Cake designer – A La Cupcake
Wedding hashtag- #DnAtietheknot
As Asheville family photographers it is our pleasure to get to photograph our friend’s growing families! And Michael and I have known Melissa since we were all still single. We had the privilege of photographing her and Todd’s wedding some years ago and enjoyed it so, so much. Now Melissa is a mom of a precious little boy!
It was a real joy to go to their home and do an indoor and outdoor lifestyle family session. To see your old friends as parents is awesome… especially when they are as awesome of parents as Todd and Melissa are! Melissa encouraged us to bring the family over and we all had pizza after the shoot and played on the four wheeler. Todd even gave Ezra his first four wheeler ride!
A word that comes to mind when I think of Todd and Melissa as parents is, nurturing. While there, Ezra got his first bee sting. Todd was so concerned and quickly put a home remedy on it to help take the sting out. I remember thinking that Melissa and Todd are rock star parents and I wish they were our neighbors because we would hang out all the time!
What a lovely fall evening with good friends enjoying this stage in our lives.
This playroom made my heart so so happy!
It’s all fun and games till your kid throws an egg across the kitchen floor. 🙂
One of the great things about lifestyle sessions in the home is when your kid gets hungry you can give serve up a snack! 🙂
Time for an outfit change with daddy!
This little red head stole our hearts!
So many cute faces I couldn’t pick just one. 😉
While on their farm property dad lets him drive a bit. 🙂
While hanging out, Melissa had to feed our baby Elliot. I love this moment so much!
Ezra’s first four wheeler ride, messy hair and all. Clay was too timid to allow daddy to drive him around yet. 🙂
Bath time! I love these moments with my kids because they love the water! So glad to capture these moments with Melissa and Clay.
What a beautiful sunset to end a beautiful evening!