Neither Ashley nor Richard expected to find love on the Internet, but OkCupid worked like a charm. “Richard’s screen name was Macks-a-million,” says Ashley. “I dared to message him first stating, ‘I am 1,000,000 and 1.’ ” After two months of phone calls, texts and FaceTime, Richard decided to ride his motorcycle to Ashley’s job for a lunch date. They’ve been inseparable since.
After getting engaged in summer 2018, the Philadelphia-based couple knew they wanted to continue their parents’ tradition of having a destination wedding. Being that Richard’s family is from the sea islands of South Carolina, they pinpointed Charleston as the perfect location for their Southern wedding.
Though Ashley did much of the planning herself, she brought in Emore Campbell Events months before the wedding to firm up the details and help finalize her vision. “It helped that Emore and her team were extremely organized and detail-oriented, so the day moved very smoothly,” Ashley tells ESSENCE.
Scroll through and get a dose of Southern decadence from Ashley and Richard’s Charleston wedding.
"In summer 2018, Richard and I met in the Philadelphia airport to travel together to visit my family in Kansas after being apart for two months," says Ashley. "I was convinced he would propose in Philly at the iconic 'LOVE' statue before our flight. When he didn’t, I was disappointed. He very calmly ignored my emotional outbreak and we flew to Kansas. One morning Richard, my mom and brother forced me out of my pajamas to go to the Wichita State University campus under the guise of needing to pick up my mom’s WSU basketball season tickets. Walking the campus we passed the 'LOVE' statue [it’s actually the original that the Philly statue is modeled after]. I noticed Richard had gotten on one knee."
"My mind was calm and at ease because I knew that I wanted to spend my life with Ashley," says Richard. "This was our moment, but my body was aflutter with all the energy in the air."
Ashley and her attendants rocked flower crowns and matching floral robes during the "get ready" portion of the day.
"I learned to live in the moment," says Ashley of her wedding day. "When I finally stopped caring if everyone else was having a good time, I had a ball!"
How adorable is the ring bearer?
In Memory Of
Ashley walked down the aisle with her brother Cortney to “Giving You the Best That I Got” by Anita Baker. "During the ceremony, there was a memorial table at the end of the aisle that allowed me to see my father’s photo before looking forward at Richard," says the bride."
Jumping The Broom
Here's to a new beginning!
Always Looking Ahead
Ashley had butterflies in her stomach most of the day. Thanks to her bridal party, family and friends she found a level of peace. "Their energy calmed my nerves and allowed me to refocus on the reason for the day," she says.
Southern Bridal Style
Ashley's wedding dress was a white taffeta sweetheart ball gown with pockets. Richard wore a white dinner jacket with a black shawl lapel by Calvin Klein.
So Fresh And So Clean
The couple wanted a classic look for their wedding party. The bridesmaids wore black Vera Wang halter gowns with bow details and pockets while the groomsmen wore black tuxedos with shawl lapels.
When Love And History Collide
Richard’s family is originally from John’s Island, one of the sea islands surrounding Charleston. "It was really important for us to honor his heritage by having the wedding on Market Street, our venue, Merchants Hall, overlooked a historic slave market—likely the market his great grandparents were sold in."
It's enough to make your heart flutter.
My Best Thing
"Our wedding was truly the best day of my life," says Richard. "We got to really celebrate our forever love."
Apple Of My Eye
"Richard is extremely intelligent and resourceful," says Ashley. "He can literally do and make ANYTHING and it's so cool. He also approaches challenges and stress differently than I do, which has taught me to relax and enjoy life."
A Grand Entrance
"We walked into the reception to 'Make it Last Forever' by Keith Sweat," says the bride. "Our hashtag was #MAKEITMACKFOREVER. Guests danced all night long."
Its All In The Details
"The theme of the wedding was Southern Charm," says Ashley. "I was obsessed with black-and-white stripes so I pretty much built the look of the wedding around them. I wanted it to feel romantic and classic, so the addition of candles and florals EVERYWHERE really brought my vision to life."
Black And White With Love All Over
The black-and-white striped tablecloths were a nod to one of the first gifts Ashley ever received from Richard: an iPhone with a striped Kate Spade case.
The couple and their guests dined on classic Charleston dishes like shrimp and grits and pimento cheese.
DJ, Play My Song!
"For the wedding, we opted to have a DJ," says the bride. "We both really love music and thought it was a cool addition to have a DJ be a part of our entire ceremony and reception."
Ashley's Advice To Brides
"I’d tell other brides to remember what it’s all about: marriage. Weddings are parties to celebrate marriage and marriage is work. So while you’re planning the wedding, have date nights and make it a point to REALLY connect with your partner."