“In a world of peace and love, music would be the universal language.”
–Henry David Thoreau
For Ashley and Austin, a love of music resulted in a lifetime of love.
This romance began in college, at Western Carolina University.
In some respects, Ashley and Austin are remarkably different. Ashley is beautiful, bubbly and petite, and she barely stands five feet tall. Austin is handsome and reserved, yet thoroughly masculine. He stands a whopping six feet, four inches.
Back in their undergraduate days, they both played in the marching band. Initially, however, the course of true love did not run smoothly.
Ashley and Austin will each explain how their romance began.
Ashley’s Recollection: “I was walking through the dining hall at Western one night to go to Starbucks. As I was walking, I heard a guy screaming across the room: “Hey, you! Yeah, you!”
When I looked over, there was a guy sitting at a table with another girl. They were studying together and he was beckoning me.
I walked over to see what he needed. He smiled and said, “What’s your name?” I very cautiously answered, “Ashley…”
He smiled again and said, “Nice to meet you! I’m Austin, don’t you recognize me? You stand right next to me in the band!” I looked at him and said, “I’ve never seen you before in my life.”
He looked disappointed at this point, and I felt like I had been stalked by this random guy.
“Sorry,” I said, and walked away.
A few days later I went to Cru, a campus ministry, for the first time. As soon as I walked in, I saw the same guy turn around, very excited to see me, and smile!
The next day, at marching band practice, I realized just how close to me he stood, so we started talking. About three weeks later we went on our first date.”
Austin’s Recollection: “I had seen Ashley many times at band practice. She stood right near me with a group of (color) guard girls who were always talking about the band members, so I assumed they were talking about me, too.
I thought Ashley was cute. I was studying in the dining hall with a friend one night and saw Ashley walking by. I think that the guard girls don’t get enough attention for all their hard work, so I like to get to know them to let them know they are appreciated.
When I saw Ashley, I thought she would already know who I was, so I called her over to say, “Hi.” (I was not screaming across the room. She was close).
I was a little surprised that she didn’t know me, and worried she now thought I was crazy. When she showed up at Cru a few days later, I was so excited to know that Ashley shared in my faith! Once I realized we were both Christians, I began to intentionally pursue her. A few weeks later, we went on our first official date.”
It wasn’t too long before these band-mates realized they were also soul-mates. Austin was so sure Ashley was the woman for him, he made her a rare, personalized gift. He made a “kissing stool” Ashley could stand on during their wedding ceremony. To represent how they met through marching band, he emblazoned the top of the stool with his saxophone and her sabre.
He spent the holiday break preparing to pop the question.
“We had just arrived back on campus from Christmas break and we were each in our rooms unpacking,” Ashley said. “Austin was supposed to get a new roommate this semester. He texted me to ask if I would like to come meet his new roommate.
“I walked to his room. I was expecting to meet the roommate, but when I knocked on the door, he just cracked it open and smiled. When he opened the door, there was a long pathway of tickets from movies we’d seen, photos of us, and maps from parks and museums we had visited.
“At the end of the path was a wrapped box. When I opened it up, there was a snowglobe with a Precious Moments bride and groom inside. When I turned around, Austin was on one knee proposing!”
The happy couple began planning their wedding after graduation. They each moved to Carrboro so Ashley could pursue her graduate degree in Speech Pathology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also works in a home for adults with intellectual disabilities. David is beginning a banking career at BB&T.
In June, the couple held their lovely spring wedding at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont celebrated by family and friends. Their wedding palette was navy blue and kelly green, and the day was filled with sentimental celebrations unique to Ashley and Austin.
For example, Ashley, when she was four years old, had given her Dad a frog sticker. She told him to keep it for a very special day. At her wedding, her father proudly wore it all day long.
The couple’s brother-in-law, Adam Brokaw, had just been ordained, so the first wedding he performed was Ashley’s and Austin’s.
The couple danced their first waltz as man and wife with Kelly standing on the “kissing stool” Austin made just for her. They swayed to “Love,” by Nat King Cole.
Even the cake topper was unique to the couple. It was the Precious Moments snow globe Austin had given Ashley when they proposed.
There were so many unforettable moments for both of them, but Ashley and Austin know which memory they treasure most: “The best part was getting to see each other just for a minute right before the ceremony!”
After the wedding, the couple unwound with a honeymoon cruise through the Bahamas.
Photography by Chuck Eaton and Emily Rearick for Chuck Eaton Photographers!
Cake: Nona’s Sweets
Flowers: Party Blooms
Gown and shoes: Designer: David Tutera
Hairstylist for Wedding: Kristen from Planet 21 Salon
Clergy: Adam Brokaw and Brian Thomas
Location: Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens