On Thanksgiving Day in 2014 the Detroit Lions were playing the Chicago Bears. Ashleigh, a Lions fan and Ryder, a fan of the latter, could not give up the chance to see their teams play each other. Prior to the football game Ryder would often tease Ashleigh saying that when he proposed it would be at a major sporting event. Ashleigh would politely laugh and brush it off as a “yeah, right” moment. Come Thanksgiving Day and before the couple began tailgating Ryder suggested a walk along the Detroit River and by Hart Plaza. While on the River Walk, Ryder stopped for a moment in a beautifully, scenic spot overlooking the river to one side and the city on the other. Here, Ryder got down on one knee and asked Ashleigh to marry him. Now he can tease her that his proposal was how he said it would be all along.
“See, I told you that a major sporting event would be involved with the proposal.”
Not only were they able to celebrate their engagement with both their families, but the Lions also won that day (which is a real cause for celebrating!)
Before we get into the details of the wedding day, let’s go back in time briefly to how this happy couple met. Both Ashleigh and Ryder are from Michigan: Ashleigh from Livonia and Ryder from the west side of the state in Grand Rapids. Both attended Western Michigan University and participated in Greek life on campus. It was at a Greek event in 2010 during Welcome Week that the two met. They began dating that same year. After graduating in 2012, Ashleigh moved back to Livonia where she and Ryder continued to date long distance, until 2014 when Ryder moved to be with her.
The wedding was in St. Joseph, Michigan on June 25th, 2016 which is also Ashleigh’s parents’ anniversary. St. Joseph is on Lake Michigan which is where Ashleigh and Ryder spend many holidays at Ryder’s family cottage. The ceremony was held at the John E. N. Howard Bandshell, which is a gorgeous outdoor venue with the lake in the background, surrounded by greenery and the geometric architecture of the gazebo. The reception was at the Shadowland Ballroom on Silver Beach.
“And as soon as we saw the Shadowland Ballroom, which was located on the beaches of Lake Michigan and had a carousel, we knew that this was the perfect, fun, summer place that we wanted to share with our families and friends.”
When it came time for Ashleigh to start looking for her wedding gown, she knew she wanted something truly unique because while in college she actually worked in a bridal store. And anyone who has worked in bridal feels a bit of pressure to wear something “never seen before.” Enter Hayley Paige, the queen of “outside the box” dresses. Ashleigh is obsessed with Hayley Paige, as many brides are. Ashleigh found Mimi’s Bridal Boutique because they carried Hayley Paige designs. On the day of her appointment it turned out to be a trunk show for none other than Hayley Paige.
“The Mimi’s staff made me feel like royalty and I could honestly feel the excitement from the staff and everyone around me when I knew that I had found my gown.”
Her gown was ‘Lennon’ by Hayley Paige, a multi-tiered ballgown, alternating between organza and accordion pleated tulle and a geometric pattern beaded bodice with straps, a V-neck and scoop back.
“The gown was everything that I ever wanted in a wedding dress and more.”
Ashleigh has some very practical wedding day advice for future brides: If you are planning on being outside, whether it be for the ceremony or for photos, be sure to wear sunscreen. Ashleigh got quite the sunburn from being outside for so much of the day.