Peaches are such a beloved staple in Southern agriculture and cuisine, and for couples like Ashlee and Tom, who live right in the heart of Georgia’s peach country, they take on an extra special meaning. From bridesmaids outfitted in mismatched peachy hues to the flavor of the ice cream Ashlee and Tom enjoyed during their first look, peaches played an important role in inspiring the look and feel of every detail of this sweet celebration. Ashlee said it best when she said, “Our goal was for our guests to be able to take a bite of a peach and to taste the peach ice cream, and, if just for a moment, be taken back to a time when life was much more simple than it is now.”
We’re so grateful to Haley Sheffield for sharing Ashlee and Tom’s beautiful wedding with us!
My first memory of Tom is from an Easter party in second grade; I’d found the “prize egg” during the hunt, and Tom came up behind me and stole the egg from my basket. Thankfully, one of the other guys in our grade wrestled it back from him. Tom swears he stole it because he had a crush on me, but I’m not quite sure if I believe that. We still laugh about it! Years later, when I told my parents that I was going on a date with Tom, my mom’s first reaction was, “the punk that stole your Easter egg?!” My parents adore Tom now, but he did have a reputation to overcome. Tom and I dated for eight years before we got engaged in June 2013.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, Tom and I did a first look and I’m so happy that we did. Our ceremony was at 7:30 P.M., so we wanted to do our photos before the official festivities began. I also wanted the first glimpse to be private and secluded, instead of in front of a large crowd. We saw each other on the front porch of the Lee Pope House and spent an hour walking through the peach orchard and venturing over to Pearson Farm to get peach ice cream, which is one of our favorite things to do together.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our vows together and repeated them after our officiant and close friend, Zack. My favorite phrase from our vows would have to be, “I vow to reach for your hand through any crisis and to turn to Christ through any trials.” I love how that phrase unites us with the Lord and is a gentle reminder that although we may lean upon each other, we ultimately look to Christ above all.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The music at the ceremony was one of my priorities. I chose to walk in to “Baleen Morning” by Balmorhea, which moved me to tears the first time I heard it a few years before our wedding. We also asked our guests to sing along with us to Steve Moakler’s song, “Holiday at Sea.” The lyrics to that song hold a deep meaning to us and remind us that this earth is only our temporary home.
Three days before our wedding, my lab, Odie, suddenly passed away. I was devastated and worried that I wouldn’t be able to put on a happy face through all the festivities that were about to take place. On our wedding day, I found comfort in the ordinary. Instead of anxiety, I looked at the crowd spread across the lawn at Lee Pope and I saw love. Instead of imperfect details, I saw the countless hours that everyone had pitched in to make that day perfect. I felt calm in the gentle breeze that day. I took deep breaths for the first time in months and felt thankful for the unseasonably cool temperature. As Tom and I slipped away, hand in hand, to share some peach ice cream, I found contentment in the simplicity of it all. For the first time of our 14-month engagement, I was able to see what that day was truly about. Although it was by far the most challenging part of our wedding and something most brides hopefully won’t have to face, I am grateful that it gave me the vulnerability to realize what a sacred day our wedding day was. I’d become so wrapped up in every detail being perfect that I’d neglected to focus on the real meaning behind the day.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our ceremony venue and reception venue both hold a very special place in our hearts. Our ceremony venue is a house near our family’s farm that holds so much farming history. I have a special connection with the Lee Pope House, and I knew immediately that there was no place I’d rather join our lives at than there. Tom and our families spent over a year fixing up our barn for the reception.
Tom is a farmer and I wanted our entire wedding to represent that tradition. Our wedding was centered around peaches–what this small county in Middle Georgia is famous for. Our goal was for our guests to be able to take a bite of a peach and to taste the peach ice cream, and, if just for a moment, be taken back to a time when life was much more simple than it is now.
Don’t miss Ashlee + Tom’s video from Hampton Road Studios!
Tell us all about the proposal! I was in North Carolina photographing a wedding and Tom decided to come with me. He mentioned that he’d like to stay an extra day, which I found odd, because Tom is usually itching to get back to work on the farm. We went to visit Tom’s brother-in-law, Stephen, who is also a photographer. Stephen told me that he was “rebranding” and that he needed a new headshot for his website. The three of us went to a mountainside park close to Stephen’s house and I began taking photos. After we were done, Stephen somehow convinced me to let him take a few photos of Tom and me. He positioned Tom a few feet behind me in the background and then told me to look towards Tom. Tom was down on one knee holding the most beautiful ring, and all I remember was telling him he was “making a scene.” Those pictures are so special to us.
When did y’all get married? August 2, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I wanted my dress hunt to be very simple and relaxed. I took only my mom with me and we made a fun girls’ day out of it. We found my dress at the first shop we visited, The Sentimentalist in Atlanta. I loved how light and breathable it was. I’m a very low key person, so I wanted simplicity as well as comfort, and the Elizabeth Dye gown provided both. I selected a gold scalloped belt to accent the waistline.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Directly after the ceremony, Tom, Haley (our photographer), Aphid (our dog), and I snuck away for about 20 minutes. Tom took us to the edge of a field that overlooked the entire county–a gorgeous view. We caught the tail end of the sunset and it was the first time we’d gotten to be alone that entire month, really. It was so quiet and I felt so at peace at that moment.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We purchased a 100-year-old farmhouse and are knee-deep in renovations. Married life is so fun. I love not having to say goodbye at night. When he leaves for work in the morning, he kisses me on the forehead–he thinks I’m still asleep, but I’m not. I love that. I just love sharing this life with him.
Photographer: Haley Sheffield / Videographer: Hampton Road Studios / Planner: Molly McKinley Designs / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Lindsay Coletta Designs / Cake Baker: Jan McCord Catering / Caterer: Leon Holloway / Rentals: Southern Vintage / Band: Celebration Band / Paper Products: Emma Torrence / Bride’s Gown: “Tempest” by Elizabeth Dye / Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist / Hair and Makeup: Sarah Elisabeth Makeup Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: “On the Floor” by Seychelles
Haley Sheffield is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!