The lives of these high school sweethearts are beautifully choreographed
Ashleyanne Thomas and Garrett Murray
May 16, 2015
North Beach Plantation
You could say gymnast Ashleyanne fell head over heels for Garrett, but it was actually a longer course of action that took place over five years’ time, starting as Facebook friends in high school in Rock Hill, S.C.
“But we’ve known each other a longer time, since preschool, then elementary school and summer camps,” says Ashleyanne. “All of our friends saw us as the high school sweethearts.”
The right comment on one of Ashleyanne’s Facebook photos senior year triggered the long-term relationship that continued through college at Coastal Carolina University and onto the wedding altar on May 16, 2015.
“It always seemed as though our lives were intended to cross paths and the timing was right,” says Ashleyanne.
Garrett Murray also timed the proposal perfectly on a cloudy December day and managed to keep it a secret from his bride at the time of liftoff. He told Ashleyanne that his mom bought them an early Christmas gift: a helicopter ride above Myrtle Beach that left from the North Myrtle Beach Regional Airport. Little did she know that the videographer on board was in on it and this was more than just a tour of Myrtle Beach from the friendly skies above.
“We flew to the ocean and began flying straight along the beach. The tour guide told us to look down at the beach about 10 minutes in and there was a huge banner that read, ‘Ashleyanne, Will You Marry Me?’ that all of our family and friends were holding below us,” she says. “I looked back at him and said, ‘Yes!’ I was completely surprised! It seemed like a dream come true because for the 25 minutes we were in the air, the weather suddenly cleared just in time for the proposal. After landing, it began to get cloudy again. In fact, the only clear part of the day was that 25 minutes.”
The bride’s mission ahead was clear as day as she planned the big event to say “I do” to the love of her life. Held in the courtyard between 21 Main restaurant and North Beach Plantation, the ceremony was a stunning bejeweled beach theme that married diamonds with an oceanic color palette of blue, turquoise, silver and ivory. A stone table was transformed into an altar, thanks to a white linen backdrop and silver trees laden with jewels and white flowers. Metallic vases stuffed with more flowers lined the aisle leading to the altar. Strings of lights on palm trees and up-lit tapestries provided intimate lighting.
Ashleyanne’s favorite part of the ceremony was the pouring of the unity sand at the altar and a cannon positioned at the end of the aisle that blew flower petals into the air as she and Garrett walked the recessional.
The magical sea of blues and jewels continued into the reception layout, with turquoise linens and candle centerpieces, plus a ton of fun. The couple had a live band, Summerdaze Band, as well as a DJ, a photo booth and a personalized quilt for guests to sign. To kick things off, the bridal party—that’s 12 bridesmaids and groomsmen and 14 junior bridesmaids—danced a choreographed medley to “Marry Me,” “Shake It Off,” “Country Girl” and more.
The 14 young ladies in her bridal party were competitive gymnasts Ashleyanne had coached at the time at Thomas Gymnastics at the Beach, a family business recently expanded into Myrtle Beach from Rock Hill, where Garrett also works as business manager.
“It was important to me to have them in the wedding and I couldn’t pick just one!” says Ashleyanne. “With training, I was spending more time with them than their own parents! They all walked down the aisle two at a time and had a special place to sit.”
The gymnast theme was tumbled into the mix too, with a gymnast ice carving and tables named after famous gymnasts, where guests dined on Southern comfort foods of fried chicken, fresh corn, mashed potatoes, steaks, an ice cream sundae bar, and a table full of desserts like cheesecakes and peach cobbler.
All the wedding details were pulled together flawlessly, but Ashleyanne says even if they’re not, it’s not worth the worry. “Don’t stress over the little things because it can get really consuming,” she says. “Live life in the moment and enjoy your day.”
The newlyweds are now enjoying their new home in Myrtle Beach and are focused on building a third gymnastics location in Carolina Forest.
Venue: North Beach Plantation
Cake: Croissants Bistro & Bakery
Planner: Memorable Moments Event Planning
Designer: RSG Event Designs
Videographer: Hart to Heart