Jason & Ashlee's wedding was like something out of a dream. If I didn't have video footage of it, I would wonder if I had, indeed, dreamt the whole thing up one night.
My second shooter, Robyn, and I happily traveled to the gorgeous Emerald Coast and spent three magical days with Jason, Ashlee, and each of their lovely friends and family. These three days were full of delight, gratitude, funky dance moves, tasty food, laughs, celebration, and love!
Jason and Ashlee themselves are some of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met. I know Ashlee from us both running in the same St. Louis wedding vendor circles. I first met her a couple of years ago, and within a few minutes, I knew we would be good friends. We bonded over our love for Mary Poppins, anything dipped in chocolate, and early 2000's Christmas movies set in England. The first time I met Jason, I knew he was perfect for Ashlee. He anticipated her every need, and every look he cast toward her was full of adoration.
When Ashlee emailed me to ask about filming her wedding, I quickly put on my victory lap song ("Hold on (I'm comin')" by Sam and Dave) and danced around my office. I knew this would be a beautifully designed event, with lots of thought, intention, and beauty poured into it. More importantly, I knew my friend was happily in love. I knew Jason & Ashlee's wedding would be enjoyed by lovely people, and bursting at the seams with joy.
Robyn and I road tripped from St. Louis to Santa Rosa Beach a couple of days before the wedding. The minute we stepped out of my car, I could taste the salt in the air. I could smell the ocean, and hear the waves. The other thing we could hear were people laughing as they lounged on the beach. I could barely contain my excitement for the events that were to come! You know the feeling? The "I can't stop smiling and humming and I'm practically bouncing as I walk around" kind of feeling? I felt this level of excitement the entire weekend!
Although Jason & Ashlee's wedding was filled with many enchanting, memorable moments, here are a few that are my personal favorite.
Giggling Under The Spanish Moss
One of my favorite moments was going to a local park to film Jason & Ashlee with some trees drenched in Spanish Moss. I was obsessed with the way it looked, how the sun peeked out from behind it. What was even more special was Jason & Ashlee. Jason put his arm around Ashlee's waist and pulled her in close. They whispered to each other and giggled together. It didn't matter what kind of trees or moss were framing them, Jason & Ashlee only cared that they were together, laughing in each other's arms.
"You're my present, my future, and my forever."
Jason and Ashlee's ceremony was one of my favorites I've ever filmed. Not only is there the ocean, the sand, forty cheerful people in adorable heart-shaped sunglasses, and the gorgeous buttery light, but there's also two people, head-over-heels in love, promising themselves to each other for forever.
Jason & Ashlee's vows to each other were personal, real, poetic, and romantic. I was crying as I operated the camera, ecstatic knowing these precious moments and words were being recorded and kept forever.
Their vows included promises of brownies, sparkle, smiles, and love. Note to future couples: write your own vows! It makes the ceremony even more real and feel closer to home.
"Do you want a grilled goat cheese sandwich? Who am I kidding, of course you do!"
Jason & Ashlee's reception passed by far too quickly. It was filled with happy people, snazzy dance moves, and belly laughs! It was hard for me to put my camera away. Cheerful, happy moments kept happening all around me and I wanted to capture every one of them. I didn't want the reception to end!
Around midnight, Robyn and I decided to pack up our equipment and began backing up the footage from the day. We were already excited at the different shots we had got and happily went through the footage together. We changed out of our wedding outfits and into comfy pajamas, and lounged on one of the big sofa beds while the files transferred. At about 1:30am, our stomachs were both growling. I remembered we had some beef jerky sticks in the car, and decided to go out to get them. As I came down the stairs, I saw that Jason, Ashlee, and Lynn (Ashlee's mum) were still in the kitchen. I felt a little silly in my pajamas (consisting of very cool Lion King t-shirt) as they were still in their wedding clothes.
"What do you need, pumpkin?" Ashlee asked. Pumpkin is one of her favorite terms of endearment. I grinned and said, "Robyn and I are little hungry. I have some meat sticks in the car, I was just going to grab them!"
Jason and Ashlee looked at me almost in alarm. "Meat sticks? Did you say meat sticks? Oh, honey! Go grab Robyn and come back down here!"
I went upstairs and told Robyn of our impromptu invitation. We headed down the stairs, both of us in pajamas, and went into the kitchen. The sight we encountered made me laugh out loud, and still makes me grin to this day.
Ashlee, clad in her lavish, glorious wedding gown and a panama jack hat, was pulling huge containers of wedding food left by the caterers from the fridge. Jason, still in his fancy suit, was gathering glasses out of the cabinet and pouring us drinks. "Ice?" He offered with a grin.
"Please! Sit down!" Ashlee smiled enthusiastically.
"Ashlee, you're still in your dress! We can serve ourselves-- "
"Oh, don't worry! Have a seat! Seriously! "Do you want a grilled goat cheese sandwich? Who am I kidding, of course you do!"
Robyn and I sat in this opulent, modern kitchen, in the most handsome beach house I'd ever seen, at 1:30 in the morning being served delicious leftover wedding food by the Bride & Groom whose wedding we had just filmed! It was such a bizarre and surreal moment. And I think it captures Jason & Ashlee perfectly. Even on their wedding day, they wanted to ensure everyone around them was having fun, full of food, and were as happy as could be. It showcased exactly how selfless, caring, and giving they are; What thoroughly good people they are.
Congratulations, Jason & Ashlee. Your wedding will be one I treasure for a long time. I'm keeping you forever.
Event Designer: Signed Sealed Delivered Events
Photographer: Amanda of Dreaming Tree Photography
Officiant: Kassaundra Schario of St. Louis Officiants
Flowers: Angie of Elegance in Bloom
Gown: Clarice's Bridal Fashions
Hair & Makeup: Emily Miller Makeup & Hair
Stationary: Amanda Schwent
Location: Santa Rosa Beach, Florida