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Ashley + Matt’s Real Buffalo Love Story

<“Don’t ever lose the spark between you.  It is so special and obvious to everyone who meets you.” Tim, Officiant.>

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How did you two meet?
Although Matt and I knew each other for a long time (Matt’s sister and I had been friends since high school) we really started dating in the Fall of 2010. Matt was living in Buffalo, and I had moved back to Buffalo to finish school at UB. Since we had attended the same high school we had friends in common, and we started hanging out together more and more. We even went to the same local gym, and would sometimes end up doing more talking than working out! Matt called me one night on his way to his hockey game, and asked me if I would go to dinner with him. After a delicious first date dinner at Mulberry we got in Matt’s truck and he proceeded to hit a parked car.  He immediately got out of the truck, looked at the very minor scratch on the parked car, and left a note with his contact information and an apology.  I thought that was such a kind thing to do and knew I wanted to spend more time with this guy!  Now, of course, we joke about it being the most expensive first date ever!

How did you get engaged?
For a couple weeks prior to his proposal Matt was adamant I take a random Monday off of work so we could have a spontaneous 3-day weekend. We usually plan a few long weekend trips per year, so it wasn’t completely out of the blue, but we usually go hiking, and the cold February weather was not exactly ideal. I thought something might be going on, but nothing really seemed too out of the ordinary, and I definitely didn’t think he brought a ring with him as we headed up the mountain. Once we reached the top of the mountain and stopped to rest, I asked him for my water and granola bar out of our backpack I was wearing. He said, “Sure, but I have a question to ask you first.” He fished around for something out of the top pocket of the backpack, and when I turned around to face him, he was down on one knee. With the ring he had so carefully guarded (and I had actually been carrying) during our hike, he asked me to marry him. I felt so surprised and extremely happy. After the surprise wore off I, of course said yes! He could not have asked in a more perfect way or setting – just the two of us enjoying a hike on a beautiful trail! We didn’t tell anyone that day, and that evening we went and celebrated at a local brewery, simply enjoying our new engagement before heading back home!

What were your favorite moments of your day?
It’s difficult to pick just a few of our favorite moments.  I loved getting ready with my girlfriends and mom and mother-in-law.  The girls are spread out across the country, and it was amazing having them all in one place.  Other moments included tearfully exchanging our vows during a beautiful and very windy outside ceremony where my best friend kindly held my veil to keep it from blowing away! Then there was the dancing — our first dance was beautiful, but we also did a second impromptu dance to AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long”, which was so much fun! Being able to spend the day with our closest friends and family was truly the best.  We later talked about how surreal and incredible it was to have the people that mean the most to us all in one space together sharing our joy! There were so many more amazing moments throughout our wedding day, and it seems as though we remember another one every time we go through our photos!

Did you do anything unique or non-traditional?
We were actually fortunate enough to have Matt’s uncle officiate our wedding ceremony.  Not only did he become an ordained minister specifically to marry us, he also spent months researching and writing the most wonderful ceremony that was tailored to us.  He provided us a copy of the ceremony and the bible he used as keepsakes. I wore the earrings and necklace that my mom wore on her wedding day.  She surprised me by having them cleaned and the pearl put on a new silver chain which was beautiful. My brother and I had  “brother-sister” dance before Matt’s “mother-son” dance, which we did to a Green Day song we listened to growing up…not your typical wedding song, but it was perfect! Finally, one special moment I really wanted to have was a sparkler “send off”.  We actually ended up dancing through a path of our family and friends that were holding sparklers.  Unplanned, “Sweet Caroline” came on, and everyone began singing.  It was just such an emotional and happy time!

How did you make your wedding your own?
There were so many parts of the wedding that we were able to make our own, but that was largely due to our family and friends.  We are lucky to have talented and creative friends and family that helped make the day perfect. We wanted a simple and natural environment for our wedding.  We got married during our favorite season, Fall, at Crag Burn Golf Club in East Aurora, which is one of the most beautiful places in the Buffalo area.  Matt’s dad is a member, and the course is where Matt grew up playing.  It was a special location that I immediately fell in love with.  There is a rustic European charm to Crag Burn, and it absolutely fit our style.  I will be the first to admit that it is difficult to not get caught up in “Pinterest” or looking at endless pictures of photo shoot weddings, but my advice to anyone else planning a wedding is that there is not right or wrong way to have a wedding.  Whether it’s a group of 10 people at a restaurant or 300 people in a ballroom, everyone has his or her own style and different things that are important to them.  For us, our wedding was about celebrating our marriage and combining our families, which turned out incredible.
There were several diy projects completed for the wedding, including handwritten seating charts for our guests, which Matt was able to put together on a homemade easel, homemade table numbers on wooden squares that I stained and painted, and unique signs to set up around the reception.  However, my favorite sign was the bar sign that a friend made, which is now hanging up in our dining room. Matt’s mom did all of our gorgeous flowers and centerpieces, which my friend and sister-in-law helped transport before getting ready themselves!  I wanted simple and neutral flowers and colors, and my mother-in-law hit it out of the park!  Matt and his dad built the arbor that we got married under, which is now in our back yard.  My mom took care of all of our favors, which were wrapped sponge candy from Fowler’s in East Aurora…the perfect Buffalo treat!  Our families also brought homemade desserts and our favorite cookies from a local bakery to go on a dessert table.

Anything else about the two of you that you’d like to share?
One of the things Uncle Tim (our officiant) said during the ceremony was, “Don’t ever lose the spark between you.  It is so special and obvious to everyone who meets you.”  My husband and I definitely share a special bond that we are lucky to have and were so happy to celebrate!
We took off for Iceland a few days later for our honeymoon, and were able to see the Northern Lights, which was a big “bucket list” item for both of us.  Even though it was incredibly cold in Iceland in October, we would highly recommend it as a honeymoon destination!

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Photography: Nicole Gatto Photography | Venue: Crag Burn Golf Club | Bridal Gown & Veil: David’s Bridal | Suits: Tuxedo Junction | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal | Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Hairpiece: Barb Klein | Hair & Makeup: Kelly Griffin (Primp Salon) | Lighting/Whiskey Barrels: McCarthy Tent Rentals | Caterer: Oliver’s | Wedding Cake: Chrusciki Bakery | Cookies: Eileen’s Bakery | Favors: Fowler’s Chocolates | Invitation Suite: Minted | Flowers: Barb Klein | DJ: Jammin’ Sound | Wedding Rings: Graeber Jewelers

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