Ashlee + Dane
It was Halloween and my friends were begging me to get out of the house. I hadn’t left Poppy yet, but I knew I could use a night out. I showed up as a third wheel to a couple’s Halloween party. My friend who is a hairdresser mentioned this guy who’s hair she was doing and showed me a photo. I instantly had googly eyes for him and told her to casually bring him around sometime. I wasn’t ready for a relationship but I was ready to get out of the heaviness I was sitting in.
She brought Dane over to my mom’s house (which is where I was living) Poppy was 11 months now. When Dane walked in that night he happened to meet my mom, dad, brother, sister + Poppy. He is a 6’5″ danish man who golfs, and he walked in the door with confidence and charm, and at the same time his presence was calming and peaceful, he felt like home. We played a card game that night and really hit it off, I hadn’t laughed that hard in a while.
I was really cautious about getting into a relationship, I still had to much to grieve and I didn’t need a new relationship to balance through this process. But Dane gave me space, he let me go through the process I needed to and he was always an arms-length away. He let me cry on his shoulder, he brought fresh perspective into my world, and more than anything he brought hope. I fell hard and fast, Poppy on the other hand really made him work for it. It took a while for her to come around.
As time went on our relationship slowly got closer and closer. Over the holidays he would bring all the ingredients for sugar cookies, and dinners, and bread he brought the danish hygge way into our home of broken hearts. Dane slowly baked and knitted (yes he knits) his way into our world and it felt so right. Over time Poppy called him Daney, to Daddy Dane to Dadda.
It was March 8th, 2020 and my mom had convinced me to attend this charity event at a restaurant that was Dane and I’s favorite. I really didn’t want to go, but I went anyway. I drove with my mom and as we pulled up with no cars in the parking lot I told her, she definitely had the wrong address, there was no way they were doing the event here. But she gave me a head nod and a demanding wave to come in that couldn’t say no to. I finally got out of the car and walked in, I saw a sign that said “come in little mama” our song ‘la vie en rose” played over the speakers and I knew.. I walked in and saw Dane and Poppy and the end of rose petals and candles. Poppy ran to me and I instantly started bawling. Dane expressed his love and got down on one knee, I said yes and then he grabbed Poppy’s hand and asked her if he could be her Daddy. She said yes he gave us both rings and I think I cried for the rest of the night.
Fast forward to August 22nd, I imagined getting married again but never knowing how I’d get there. the moment of walking down the aisle with Poppy by my side and my mom holding my dress was symbolic of how I navigated our biggest tragedy. Poppy was by my side the whole time through it all, she was how I survived. My mom was always there for me, holding my hand and my heart. Helping me navigate. The moment was beautiful and precious and I know we had our angels watching over us, cheering on in this new beginning.
I woke up with so much peace the day of the wedding which is unusual for me because my anxiety can be triggered easily. But I knew it was right. Like I said before I was leading with my heart, and my heart was overcome with so much peace this day. The day was truly magical. Thanks to Rachael Ellen for taking care of literally everything, allowing me to feel this peace I desperately needed to feel. All the moments I had replayed over and over in my head leading up to this big day ended up being everything I could have imagined and more. It was the greatest celebration of our new beginning.
All-day, I couldn’t help but think of what my mom told me three years prior when I was in my darkest place ” as dark as this feels right now, I promise you, one day you will feel the light again just as bright if not brighter” I made it, she was right. I put in the work, I processed my emotions, I gave myself time, I took care of my heart. I got myself here and the wedding day was all the light I could have imagined and more. It went way too fast. I wish I could go back and relive it over and over again. It was beautiful and magical and it was so “us.”
– Bride, Ashlee