Ashley and Jonathan were married surrounded by warm glowing lights at Philadelphia’s Front & Palmer. The sparkling backdrop from their ceremony space was a perfect fit to describe their special connection, love for friends and family, and hopes for the future.
“She’s gorgeous, intelligent, hardworking, funny and confident. You can’t imagine a “better partner with whom to share the rest of your days.” This is the woman with whom you share a magical connection, the face that lights up when you return, hands that will touch yours as you share life’s many adventures together.” –Alisa Tongg, Celebrant
“He’s smart and handsome, funny, kind, romantic and outgoing. This is a man who demonstrates his capacity for fierce loyalty and optimism, even when his beloved Philadelphia sports teams are down on their luck. The man who makes you laugh everyday, who warms your soul and fills your heart, he’s the sane to your crazy, the calm to your storm, the clean to your messy, he’s your perfect complement and your best friend.”–Alisa Tongg, Celebrant
Through all the changes in their past eight years together, Ashley and Jon have built their dreams around each other one day at a time.
Love Story (an excerpt from their ceremony)
It was Senior Week, and Ashley was in Ocean City with friends celebrating graduation. “On a whim”, Ashley texted her friend Brandon from work, (who lives in Pennsylvania, but just happened to also be in Ocean City on this particular Wednesday night), and invited him to join in the celebrations.
Brandon was in Ocean City with his friend Jon and within the hour they all met up to head over to a party together.
Now, during the summer of 2007, Jon was going through a stage where he wore sleeves on his head, and this particular night, like many other days that year, he was fully committed to helping this fashion trend take off.
At the party, in a room full of people, Ashley remembers being drawn to Jon, and out of everyone, it was him she wanted to know. And Ashley had made an impression on Jon too. He says he remembers being in disbelief that his friend Brandon was “chatting with a girl that attractive!”
And maybe there was a little magic in Jon’s sleeve, because at the end of the night, Ashley texted Brandon, “your friend in the sleeve is really cute!” Ashley and Jon made plans to meet up again, and Jon says, “I knew something was going to come from it…and it did!”
Five months after they first met, while both home for Thanksgiving break, sitting next to each other on a sofa watching a movie together, all Jonathan could think about was how great it felt to be with Ashley. He recalls, “everything just felt right” he asked Ashley if she would be his girlfriend. And a few months later, on Valentine’s Day, he finally told her what had been brewing in his heart since that night on the sofa…it was love.
For Ashley, when it came to love, it seems as if she and Jon were existing in their own dimension of time, “it happened all at once and slowly at the same time,” she says, “which when you think about it doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how it felt—and how it still feels…”
Over the years, Ashley and Jon have evolved and developed into new versions of themselves, and this has been exciting. In the summer of 2009, when they both moved to State College together, Jon remembers knowing that he wanted to be with Ashley in a forever sort of way—“It was moving day, her dad and brother left and it was just us in our new apartment full of boxes,” Jon remembers looking around and at Ashley and just knowing that “this was going to be great.” Ashley adds, “as we grow and change and mature, it feels like we are doing it together…I am always discovering new parts of him to love.”
Last year, over Memorial Day Weekend, Jonathan flew into Chicago to surprise Ashley who was there on a work assignment. On their way to dinner, Jon asked a young woman walking by if she’d snap a picture of the two of them together…and then a second one just to be sure. When Ashley went to put her arm around Jon for the second picture, she reached and missed…then she discovered Jonathan down on one knee, with a ring in his hand, asking, “Will you marry me?”
Ring Blessing Jon and Ashley wanted their guests to feel invited to participate in the start of their marriage, so we included a Ring Blessing in their ceremony. In a Ring Blessing, or Ring Warming, the couple’s wedding bands are passed through all the guests, so that each friend or family member can infuse the rings with their own private wish or prayer for the couple and their marriage. By the time the couple exchanges their rings later on the in the ceremony, the rings have collected a tremendous amount of good will from all the witnesses.
Remembrance Not every loved one was able to be present to witness the start of Jon and Ashley’s married life together. So we included a special Remembrance for Jon’s father Robert. In honor of his father’s influence and lasting and loving example in his life, Jon chose to wear his late-father’s wedding band as his own.
Unity Ritual, Wine Box: Ashley and Jon chose the Anniversary Wine Box + Love Letters for their unity ritual. They brought a wooden box symbolizing the strength and endurance of their marriage; a bottle of wine symbolizing that their marriage will only get better over time; a hammer and two nails to demonstrate the active and intentional part of love in a marriage, and love letters. They plan to open their Anniversary Box once a year, drink the wine while reminiscing and then replace the bottle and add new love letters for the next anniversary.
Guests signed their best wishes on to the Newlyweds’ custom Anniversary Wine Box
As Ashley and Jon sealed their vows with a kiss and took the first steps into their married life, MIKA ‘Celebrate’ played and set the tone for the rest of the celebration.