“I vow to be your ears, and make sure you hear the world.”
These are Sean’s words spoken in his vows to Ashley during their wedding ceremony. Needless to say, there were hardly any dry eyes in the whole place. Ashley is deaf, but from the photos and her pure radiant joy, you would never even know it. One of the things that made Sean fall in love with her was how she didn’t let her deafness affect the way she viewed or lived her life. His heartfelt vows are just one small part of the incredible day.
Their entire wedding was so beautiful and touched me deeply. Not only are Sean and Ashley totally in love with each other, but they also love their families and friends so much and are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I was honored to be their photographer and get a glimpse of the true love they share.
Stoltzfus Homestead and Gardens was the perfect choice for their wedding venue. With it’s open air barns, and outdoor lounge areas, it was not only safe, but fun. They knew from their first visit to the Homestead, that it was exactly what they wanted. Not only was the staff amazing, but the beautiful simplicity of the venue gave it a relaxed feel that all brides want for their special day. With outdoor seating, lawn games, and lush gardens to stroll through, it met every hope and desire they had. Because of the outdoor seating and easy ability to social distance, COVID didn’t affect the wedding very much. Those wanting to be sure to social distance completely, wore stickers signifying their desire to stay apart. The one effect the pandemic had on their special day was that Ashley’s sister, Lauren was unable to make the trip from Spain. She’s in the Navy and they were under a travel ban. Because this was so hard for the family, they did something very unique and special. Ashley’s mother mailed Lauren her bridesmaid dress and Lauren took a photo of herself in the dress. The photo was framed and was a big part of the wedding day. It was such a special tribute to one of our American heroes protecting our freedoms, no matter the sacrifice.
The day of the wedding couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Gorgeous sunshine and comfortable temperatures set the tone for the wedding Ashley had dreamed of. She and her bridesmaids got ready at the “Carriage House”, a gorgeous bridal suite with beautiful dreamy light shining in to make photographs perfect. After getting their hair and makeup done by Sophia from Trendz Studio, the ladies had a light breakfast and raspberry lemonade mimosas. Known for her love of good food, Ashley had to be coaxed to eat because she was so nervous and excited about finally marrying the love of her life. Her bridesmaids, along with her mother and mother-in-law helped the morning go by quickly. We got some gorgeous “getting ready” photos and a tender first look with Ashley’s father. She was his first of three daughters to give away, and it was a truly special moment for him.
Meanwhile, Sean, his mom and three brothers all piled into Sean’s car and drove to the venue. Needless to say, the car was packed. Laughing and joking on the way, Sean’s mom said, “You guys have got to enjoy this time. You’ll look back on it and laugh and love the memories!” Other funny remarks were made and I’m sure they will always remember that fun car ride. At the Homestead, the guys got ready, and had a good time watching soccer, having drinks and just hanging out. Sean felt calm but as the time for the wedding got closer, his nervousness began to kick in.
The ceremony was in the Tobacco Barn, known for it’s beautiful lighting and show stopping bridal entrance. As Ashley stood outside the big sliding doors leading into her groom, she felt so many emotions. Her heart was filled with joyful anticipation, happiness at finally being Mrs Dougherty, and the normal nervousness that all brides feel. Sean stood at the front of the barn, waiting for the doors to open, thinking, “She’s right on the other side of the doors. I can’t wait to see her!” As you can see from the photos, he was overcome with emotion, as he saw his stunning bride for the first time. The rest of the ceremony was special and beautiful, but the part most people remember are the vows of love they both spoke to each other. As quoted above, Sean’s vows were the most emotional and remembered words spoken on that day. His genuine and deep love for his bride was so evident in his promises to her. It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies that I’ve witnessed.
Immediately following the ceremony, we were able to get some amazing photos. Ashley and Sean were happy to have a breather from the crowd, just for each other, and I was so happy to be able to capture these moments for them.
The Grand Barn was the perfect place for the reception. With fresh air flowing through, and ample space for all, everyone was comfortable and ready to celebrate. All three of the first dances were filled with love and emotion. Sean’s dance with his mother may have been the most emotional moment of the reception. They have a strong relationship, and while the song, “Seems Like Yesterday” played, he became overcome with gratitude for all that his amazing parents had done for him leading up to that day. It was another tearful moment for everyone watching. The rest of the reception went as planned, with toasts, a delicious dinner and a little cake in the face for the bride and groom. My assistant, Caleb and I “kidnapped” Sean and Ashley, and took off on the golf cart for some sunset photos. Later, we got some great shots by the corn crib. The night continued with lots of dancing, the bouquet toss and taking off the garter. There was so much laughter and happiness throughout the evening and some guests said it was the best wedding they’d ever attended. The reception ended with one last dance to the song “Wonderful Tonight”, by Eric Clapton, the song Sean’s parents had as their first dance many years ago. They walked through a beautiful sparkler exit and drove away in a 1976 Corvette.
Sean and Ashley’s original honeymoon plans were to a beach cottage in Cape Cod. Because of travel restrictions, they went to Plan B. They honeymooned in the Poconos on Lake Naomi. In their cozy mountain cabin, they watched the Facebook livestream of their wedding and other video footage of their amazing day. It ended up being like just their wedding day…perfect.
It was an absolute honor to photograph this amazing wedding! Congratulations, Mr and Mrs Dougherty! May you have many years of love and laughter together.
Photographer | John Malloy Photography
Florals | Pearls and Petals Designs
Wedding Gown | Blush Bridal
Bridesmaids Gowns | David’s Bridal
Groomsmen Attire | Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Makeup Artist | Trendz Studio
Cake Artist | Sugar Twist Cakery
Caterer | Yoder’s Catering
DJ | R Lawrence, DJ
Invitation Suite | Simply to Impress
Rentals | Creative Creations by Ash