How did you meet?
Katie: Ash is my tinderella! We met on Tinder, but it’s funnier than that. As we started talking and (naturally) investigating one another’s social media accounts, Ash realized I knew her rugby coach, Chris.
The funny story about Chris is that I moved to Delaware in June 2018. My first weekend I was scheduled to referee in Pennsylvania all day on my 25th birthday. The referees were like there’s a ref here that knows you. I was adamant that I didn’t know a single referee with East Pennsylvania rugby referees.
Chris walks up and I immediately recognized him. He was an assistant referee for me in Savannah, Georgia, in March 2017. Moreover, he was in the background of my Facebook profile photo. Chris realized it was my birthday and stayed to watch me referee the championship match that day and reward me with a birthday six pack of Bud light orange.
So in the small world of rugby, Ash and I connected through Chris.
Even funnier was Chris reached out and asked me to referee his team the weekend before me and Ash even had our first date. So I refereed the match and Ash and I pretended we never knew each other to avoid bias and awkwardness. Thankfully for my reputation, I had a good match and her team won!
Ashley: Katie’s story sums it up pretty closely except for the fact that I was VERY new to rugby and had been playing for maybe a year. I loved it but the thought of dating someone who knew rugby extremely well made me very nervous and I did not want to make a fool out of myself! Then to find out she was refereeing our game before we ever even met in person was my anxious self’s worst case scenario! However, everything worked out and we met up the following day to actually spend time together because the day before at my game we didn’t even speak a word to each other to not look suspicious to my teammates or the other team that was there.
How has your relationship grown over the years?
K: Through chaos! Ash has been my constant from day one. She’s always felt like home so nothing feels like it’s drastically changed from day 1. We’ve traveled the world together, gone on countless trips together, and gotten through two doctorates!
A: Our relationship has really been steady over time. I think that is what sets us a part from other relationships we have found ourselves in. We have a friendship that allows us to dig deep and really talk about the various things that come up in our lives and troubleshoot issues together. It is a really comforting place to be.
How did you get engaged?
K: We were supposed to get engaged in April 2020 in North Carolina mountains on vacation. However, Covid had other plans. As a result of the depression of isolation and shutdowns in early March 2020, the ring was burning a hole in my pocket. So we went to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware for the day on March 21, 2020. I put the GoPro on our dog, Kilo, and while walking on the beach I asked Ash to marry me. I was 100000% awkward and didn’t even get on one knee because screw the patriarchy and tradition, but Ash asked me to get on one knee lol so I did eventually.
Later, Ash proposed back to me on a trip to North Carolina in June 2020. We stopped by my alma mater, Wake Forest, and Ash proposed in front of the picturesque Wait Chapel on the Upper Quad.
A: Katie and I did some ring shopping together so we knew where we both stood with getting engaged, it was just a matter of when/how! The pandemic really threw a wrench in Katie’s plans but it was still a special day. We definitely just wished we were able to celebrate more back then, but the wedding day made up for that!
What were the details and theme of your day?
K: We wanted to combine our two favorite colors green/purple, so Ash’s side wore sage and my side wore dusty lavender. The theme overall was modern with rustic flares if I had to guess. The favors were all over! We had a donut wall (“Hole lot of Love”) and warm chocolate chip cookies. Overall I wasn’t big on the favors concept, because I hate waste so I didn’t want to do another “bottle opener” with our name/date on it, because people won’t care and that just promotes alcohol and isn’t inclusive. So we opted for extra photo prints and gave people a magnetic photo booth frame holder, that way everyone got to keep their photos and show them off. Overall, throughout the day we tried to promote inclusivity (i.e., having a signature Mocktail), having both of our parents walk us down the aisle, and eliminating some of the patriarchal gender norms of typical weddings.
Why did you choose your venue?
K: We had a personal connection that recommended Running Deer Golf Club, which is always nice, but beyond that, they were the first venue where staff treated us like any other couple. Miranda was so sweet, and immediately asked to see our rings, so it really was the first time where it felt like people were excited to meet us. Other venues were so awkward and virtue signaling by saying things like “My son’s neighbor is gay, we love gay weddings” to make it seem like they were inclusive…it was just weird because it’s just a wedding (you don’t call it a straight wedding, so why call it a gay wedding), and we didn’t have any of that with Miranda or Running Deer!
What was your menu, and what was your cake flavor?
K: Again with the theme of inclusivity, we wanted a buffet that way everyone could get something that they’d like and we wouldn’t have to stress about dietary restrictions. So we tried to include vegetarian options, non-dairy/vegan, as well as different meat options. Additionally, instead of a champagne toast, we made a sparkling cider toast so everyone (non-drinkers, sober, pregnant, etc.) could participate! For the cake, we did three layers, each a different flavor. The bottom layer was chocolate chip with buttercream, the middle was lemon, and the top was coconut. Everyone agreed the cake was fantastic–which you never hear at weddings, so we cannot thank our baker enough! We also had an entire dessert/chocolate room–this way everyone could get coffee/tea and a little small bite of different types of desserts and didn’t have to commit to cake if they didn’t want to, while still satisfying their sweet tooth!
A: We were also very graciously gifted a donut wall from a friend that is associated with Running Deer, and it goes along with our inside joke of giving each other donuts instead of an engagement ring. It was a sweet touch.
What Did You Wear?
K: I wore a jumpsuit, with pockets! I just didn’t feel the need to spend thousands on an outfit I would only wear once. My mother and I went to six places, and in typical Mom fashion, the first place we went to had the dress I wanted. It was simple which is very me and the pockets were nice because I am lactose intolerant and had to make sure I had dairy pills on me for dinner time LOL.
A: As much as I would like to say we did not splurge on my dress—we totally did. I am very grateful that my mom paid for my gown and it was everything I could have wanted for my wedding day. It was the first dress I tried on but didn’t commit to until returning for a second fitting. It was totally not my “norm” as it was full of lace and sparkle but it felt like it made it that much more special for me.
K: Twofold. After the ceremony, we spent 15 minutes tucked away together enjoying our cocktail hour snacks and signature drinks while warming up. The second was at the end, we sent everyone out of Running Deer and had a final dance between just the two of us. It was beautiful and intimate.
A: I couldn’t have said it better myself—we share the same favorite moments from our wedding!
One detail you couldn’t live without?
K: The blankets. Naturally, it was 70 degrees and sunny the weekend before and after our wedding, our day was 38 and overcast. So we had blankets with ties on them “Wrapped up in love” that we provided the guests before the ceremony and I think that made a world of difference.
Beyond that, our reading. We didn’t want the typical religious reading because I am a scientist and don’t delve in religion. We had Ash’s cousin Becky, who stole the show with her natural beauty, read the closing lines from Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court ruling which legalized gay marriage:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
I think reading this made everyone aware of the privileges afforded to all of us to marry the one we love. It was beautiful.
A: Becky did not even know what we were asking her to read until that day, too—which she shed a few tears about because she is so supportive of our love.
We also added little photobooth sized frames to everyone’s tables that were magnetic. I always think photobooth photos can easily get lost so this allowed everyone to have a way to take it home and easily hang it up! The pictures from the photobooth are some of our funniest photos.
Did anything go wrong?
K: The weather! I thought I paid extra for the beautiful sunset and 60-degree weather, but apparently, that check didn’t clear. The cold weather was tough, but it is okay because we had a short ceremony so we only froze our butts off for 10 minutes.
A: It was quite cold that day, which made for minimal outside photos, but it was fine and it made everyone extra snuggly at the end of the day. My one thing is that I wish that we were able to have a photo or video of our bridal party seeing us get on the bus as this was the first time we saw EVERYONE that was part of our day. We also definitely could have continued partying a little longer with everyone—I feel like the day flew by!
First dance song?
“Tenerife Sea,” by Ed Sheeran.
K: We were fortunate to go to Amsterdam three weeks before the wedding for my work, but apparently that doesn’t count! We currently leave for Europe again this month for Ash’s work and I’ll be tagging on some of my work while there. So between these two trips, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we haven’t had time to honeymoon. We hope to schedule one for our one-year anniversary.
A: We have quite the list of travel locations we want to see in our lifetime! I am sure we will find a way to honeymoon eventually.
Advice for other brides
K: Have lists for everything. Assign someone to have your phone during the ceremony and reception to take photos that way you can relive the day before your photographer gets back to you. Additionally while getting ready, have a bridesmaid’s spouse/partner or someone not in the wedding, but in the wedding by proxy, be a runner for you. Our bridesmaid’s spouse was a game changer—Danny got everyone drinks, coordinated the first look, was given the envelopes with cash tips for all vendors and made sure the right people got them at the ceremony. We couldn’t do the day without people like the phone carriers and Danny!
A: We really tried our best to be organized and prepared! However even our timeline was quickly pushed when hair/makeup took longer than anticipated—we were racing to beat the clock a little but it was still the perfect day. Definitely make sure you have a list of everything you need where/when and what photos you want to have! We had a huge bridal party and thankfully everyone made the day a little bit easier—everyone was ready to help!
Photographer | Daniel Nydick Photography
Venue | Running Deer Golf Club, Pittsgrove, NJ
Officiant | Close friend, Sarah (Red) Anderson
Attire | Katies jumpsuit: Nordstrom. Ash’s gown: Free Love Bridal
Hair | Tara Funk of Colton Michael Hair Salon
Makeup | Stephanie Wilson
Bridesmaids’ Dresses | Azazie
Groomsmen Attire | Men’s Wearhouse
Flowers | Driftwood Floral
Cake | Stella Baking Company
Videographer | Nick Meriage of Creative Digital Masters
Invitations | Zola
Music | Tommy from Inspire Entertainment