Messy, unexpected, real.
Our hearts are full today after reading through Ashtin and Travis’ love story. Fairytale weddings, for us, aren’t half a million dollar budgets, florals from floor to ceiling, 800 guests, and ponies for everyone as favors (okay, but we’d take one though!). No way. A real life couple with real life struggles and a real life love is fairytale enough for us and Ashtin and Travis? A real life prince and princess in that aspect. Love and marriage is certainly about those butterflies you got when you first started dating, but it is more about the choice to love one another every single day. These two are a true testament to this and our eyes filled with tears when reading both of their stories.
Their little Gemma was the icing on the cake, a light in their lives, and we’re honored to share their real life fairytale love story with you all today. We are already huge fans of film photographer Austin Gros, but his work here portraying this new family has our hearts! Bride Ashtin shares wedding details at the bottom, so grab a cuppa and have a read!
From The Groom: “From the proposal to the big day itself, our wedding process reflected the rest of our relationship perfectly. That is to say, it was messy, chaotic, fairly non-traditional, and in the end, everything we wanted and more.
Ashtin told me she was pregnant less than six months after we started dating. I think it goes without saying that we were caught way off guard! We had some really tough conversations, and gave each other lots of grace as we tried to figure out what was next. But ultimately, we fell in love. And not because we had to, not because a baby was on the way. But we just… did…
In May of 2014, our daughter Gemma was born, and life became even more crazy and hard and amazing. And the thing is, we were a family, unwed and still totally complete. We talked a ton about marriage, just as we had before she was born, and there was no pressure, no shame. Marriage would come, if at all, when we chose for it to happen.
Six months later, after another randomly stressful day of crying baby and dirty diapers, I pushed aside the toys on our living room floor, got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. Here it was again, this thread running through – messy, unexpected, and real.
“We gave ourselves 15 months to plan our wedding! Sweet!” But oh yeah, I forgot, we have a toddler to raise and things just keep… happening. Jobs change, money gets tight, stress. And that affordable intimate wedding in Austin, TX we were thinking about? Not so affordable anymore, maybe not so intimate. Also, not in Austin. Maybe we’ll elope to Austria? You know someone who owns a castle there right? No, better keep it in Nashville… Venue, dress, suit, catering, venue, rehearsal dinner, family drama, venue… We couldn’t understand why, but it seemed like every plan we laid fell through. April was fast approaching and we still had so much to figure out.
Three weeks before the wedding, we had to change venues once again. And like dominoes, everything else fell, and it felt like starting from scratch. Those weeks are kind of a blur, filled with late nights, frantic days and lots of desperate calls to friends and family, just asking for so much help. We both cried a lot, we joked for the millionth time about eloping. Hell, Ashtin and half of our wedding party got food poisoning at the rehearsal dinner.
It was hard, that’s all. It was chaotic and crazy, and I swear, I wanted to call the whole thing off so many times. Not because I didn’t love this woman, this amazing woman, the mother of my child who already had all of my heart, but because WHY IS PLANNING THIS WEDDING SO HARD?!?!
And then we woke up on this gorgeous day in April. And we each met up with our very best friends, drank a little, laughed, got ready. We all drove out to these gardens in the Tennessee hills, and outside of a farmhouse, she tapped my shoulder and I turned around and there she was. God, she took my breath away! And our friends cheered for us, and we walked down an aisle. The sun started setting, and we held our daughter, our beautiful daughter, while poetry was read and songs were sung. Eighty of our friends and family watched us promise Forever, shared with us as we said, “I want you. I love you. I choose you.” And then, food and drinks and dancing.
Everything we had hoped for. The perfect day.”
From The Bride: “Our love story is not amongst the traditional tales. We met at a concert nearly 4 years ago. I walked up to Travis thinking I knew him from somewhere. His response? “I’ve never seen you in my life.” This left me utterly embarrassed but gave us reason to get to know each other. Two days later, we had our first date so I guess my embarrassment was not in vain! We got engaged almost two years after we met and six months after the birth of our daughter Gemma Rose. We fell in love and not because we had to, not because a baby was on the way but we just… did… Our love story is unexpected and honest.
Travis and I wanted to take a more intimate approach when planning our wedding. A smaller guest list, vendors who just so happen to be our friends, in a city we call home. It was important to us to incorporate our creative, entrepreneurial friends since the community is what we are drawn to the most here in Nashville. We both love supporting small businesses as well. We were inspired by our own Latin and Italian heritages. Both cultures prioritize celebration with family-style feasts, music, and dancing. We wanted it to feel intentional, romantic, minimal, and delicate in the details. Less grandeur and more organic.
As soon as we set a date, we booked our wedding photographer, Austin Gros. The beautiful film photographs in a perfect little wooden box we received from one of our favorite wedding photographers is a priceless keepsake we will always cherish. We almost didn’t hire a videographer but two months before, we decided to work with Rachel Ashley at Heart Behind It and I’m so glad we did. Since most of our families live out of state and couldn’t make it to the wedding, sharing our wedding video in addition to the beautiful photos meant a lot to those who couldn’t attend.
We had a lot of last minute changes due to increasing numbers (we both come from large families) and shifting circumstances. One of those changes being our venue. I came across Long Hollow Gardens through Instagram two weeks before our wedding date and thankfully, they generously accommodated us! We got married at The Farmhouse and it was stunning. Sunny with a high of 75; the sun set through the trees as the fireflies made their entrance that evening. It was the dreamiest. Eighty of our closest friends and family gathered and celebrated with us. It was the best way to begin our journey as husband and wife. One of my favorite moments of the day was when I saw Travis and Gemma for the first time before the ceremony. They stood there, so beautiful and they were mine.”