On August 27, 2016, in the little town of Wesley Chapel, NC, Ashley and Justin Murdock stood before their family and friends in a quaint chapel, the same one in which Justin grew up, and vowed to love each other forever. The couple first met on a double date — but they weren’t each other’s date — so after that night, they didn’t talk again for two and a half years, until Justin messaged Ashley on Facebook. After catching up via text message, Justin asked Ashley out on a date to Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse. At first, Ashley was hesitant having only known him briefly from so long ago but something in her heart said, “Do it.” She agreed to the date and they’ve been together ever since. On a Sunday in November 2015, Justin suggested he and Ashley go for a walk along the greenway — an idea that Ashley liked but found suspicious considering the Panthers played that day (you know where she’s coming from, right?). On their walk, Justin barely said three words or took his hands out of his pockets until they were heading back towards their apartment. He then dropped down on one knee and before he could even finish asking “Will you marry me?,” Ashley blurted out, “Are you serious?!” followed by lots of happy tears and, of course, “Yes.”
Like any traditional Southern couple, Ashley and Justin wanted a hometown celebration. With both of them being from Monroe, NC (40 minutes outside of Charlotte), they chose to get married in Wesley Chapel, the town over, in the chapel Justin grew up attending, and have their reception at Monroe Country Club. Planning their entire wedding themselves, Ashley and Justin left no task unfinished. With Ashley’s detail-oriented nature and knowing exactly what she wanted, the Murdocks ended up with their perfect Southern romantic wedding.
Of all the planning the couple did, it was Ashley’s wedding dress that threw her for a loop. Going into David’s Bridal, Ashley knew she wanted a strapless, sweetheart neckline ball gown with pockets, which she tried on immediately, along with a couple of her consultant’s selections. To her surprise, what Ashley imagined she wanted was actually not flattering and the trumpet-style dress that her consultant pulled for her was the keeper. “This was the third out of three dresses that I tried on,” shares Ashley, “and I knew from the moment that I looked in the mirror, this was the one.”
The couple’s wedding day was full of emotion, excitement, anxiety, happiness and optimism for the future. When asked how she felt leading up to the ceremony, Ashley says, “I was pretty calm for most of the day … when I saw everyone arriving for the ceremony, I got nervous. And when I saw my bridal party leave the ‘getting ready area’ to go line up, I got super nervous!” Ashley wasn’t the only one feeling those pre-wedding nerves. Justin also says he was “anxious, but more so excited.”
As is usually the case, it would not be a wedding without something crazy happening and the Murdocks’ wedding was no different. As the bridal party got ready to line up for the processional, the skies opened up and the rain poured down. The couple’s bridal party of almost 20 people then had to cram into the tiny room in the front of the church. “We were like sardines,” says Ashley. “It ended up being a good laugh.” And what a wonderful gift to calm nerves right before a walk down the aisle!
Any Southerner knows that the most important thing is family and Ashley and Justin definitely paid tribute to their families when it came to their wedding day. For Ashley’s something borrowed, she wore her cousins veil, which was made by her Granny (paternal grandmother) and Nana (paternal step-grandmother). This was especially important to Ashley because her Granny always said that she and Nana would make a veil for her but, sadly, her Granny passed away two years ago, making her cousin’s specially made veil all the more precious. Another way they incorporated loved ones was through a dessert buffet comprised of delicious baked goods and homemade desserts from their families. Some of the desserts they had? Ashley’s aunt’s red velvet cake, Granny’s chocolate chip cookies made by another aunt of Ashley’s, Justin’s mom’s peanut butter cookies, Justin’s grandmother’s lemon pound cake and brownie bites provided by Ashley’s mom. And alongside all of those delicious desserts, Ashley and Justin still had a two-tier chocolate pound cake with buttercream icing!
Dinner featured pre-set salads and a buffet featuring bruschetta chicken, a vegetable medley, garlic mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. Their favorite memory from their wedding day? Having all of their friends and family in one place at the same time.
After a night of dinner and dancing, Ashley and Justin made their getaway through two rows of sparklers and departed in a 1956 Chevy Bel Air station wagon, driven by a family friend before heading off on their honeymoon at Puerto Aventuras, Mexico! When asked to share advice for couples planning their own weddings, the pair suggest taking one thing at a time and delegate tasks. They go on to add, “It’s too special a time in your life, too special to spend the whole time stressed out. From start to end it it flies by, so do whatever you can to enjoy every second.”
Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Murdock! Wishing you many years of love and happiness!
Church: Siler Presbyterian Church, Wesley Chapel, NC
Venue: The Ballroom at Monroe Country Club, Monroe, NC
Photographer: Avonné Photography
Bride’s gown: Jewel at David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids’ dresses: White by Vera Wang at David’s Bridal
Hair stylist: Lia Baudoin Watson of Carmen Carmen Salon
Makeup: Ann Marie Ball
Groom’s & groomsmen’s formalwear: Men’s Warehouse
Programs: Made by the bride
Flowers: Harrisburg Florist
Catering: Creative Food Concepts
Music: Spintastic Sound Decisions
Cake: Made by a family member
Read about more beautiful Southern nuptials in our “Weddings” section. Click here to get started.
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