Welcome to FACES of Marry Me NC! Behind every successful business is a FACE. And, let’s face it (pun intended), people want to do business with people, someone they can trust and personally connect with. We are thrilled to introduce YOU to these wedding professionals through this special Q&A blog series!
Meet Ashley Stone, owner of Ashley Stone Photography
Tell us about your wedding business in 5 sentences or less.
I have been serving the Triad for over a decade now. Offering a variety of photographic experiences, ranging from weddings, graduate sessions, families, and newborns. My goal is to document the most authentic YOU and preserve the most genuine moments with your loved ones.
How did you get started in the wedding industry, and what inspired you to specialize in your particular area of expertise?
I have always been drawn to the camera; documenting special moments gives me such a thrill! I can literally feel the endorphins being released when I am on a photoshoot. I love searching for those in between moments where the magic really happens. What is caught on camera is captured forever; it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten them. Wedding days are like a love story playing out before my eyes… and it is my job to write that story through images. What greater job is that? I can’t think of anything better.
What is the most unique or memorable wedding you have ever been a part of and what made it so special?
Elopements are always very memorable. Last year, I shot a sunrise elopement in Glacier National Park, Montana. Waking up before the sun with bear spray (yes, bear spray) in hand to hike to the most gorgeous overlook was something I will never forget.
Can you share a funny or heartwarming anecdote from one of your past weddings?
Ok… so at last night’s wedding while the best man made his toast, he compared the groom (whose nickname is “Steak”) to the qualities of an actual steak. It was surprisingly accurate and hilarious. Top qualities were tenderness, warmth, and balance. It’s probably one of those things you had to be there for, but I laughed and also thought to myself, ‘Wow, that was a creative speech and the best one I have ever heard.’
What is one of the most NOT-so-funny things you have experienced at a wedding and how did you handle it?
Having vendors that work well together is KEY. There is a whole dynamic behind the scenes that people don’t even see. Sometimes there is friction about who’s job is more important, and in reality, we were all hired to be there so all of our jobs are important. The key is communication and working together as a team. I highly suggest couples talk with their photographer and ask for referrals on people they have worked with and how it went before making a lot of decisions. Planners are also there all day, so they can give tips on this as well.
What is your favorite part of working with couples on their wedding day, and why?
My favorite part of working with my couples is the connection we have. I feel like my clients are an extension of my family. Many come back to have me document new chapters of their life. Just this week, I shot a home birth for one of my couples. Their wedding picture was hanging above their bed as they laid there holding their newborn baby. It really hit me that it had come full circle and I had a front row seat for all of it. What an absolute honor!
What are some current wedding trends or themes that you find most interesting or exciting?
This might not seem exciting, but when I got married I felt like there was a set of unspoken rules that had to be followed. The tradition of weddings. I am seeing more couples be true to themselves and their style nowadays. It has become less taboo to go outside of the box, and I love encouraging couples to stay true to their desires for the big day. Some other fun things that I love seeing… “flower men” instead of flower girls. That always causes some laughter during the processional. First looks are so beautiful and offer an intimate moment for the couple before the rush of the festivities. I have even seen couples choose to get ready together the morning of their wedding and really get some beautiful shots together. I think it offers a completely different, more intimate dynamic to the wedding day. Again… going way against tradition, but who made those rules anyway? I encourage you to take a look on Pinterest at some of these photo opts before you knock it.
What advice would you give to couples who are just starting the wedding planning process?
Talk to your wedding photographer before setting any timelines. Lighting is important and knowing the time of sunset is key. Your photographer will LOVE you for asking this question. Ceremony time also plays a big role in how photos will go afterward.
What are some common mistakes or pitfalls that couples should avoid when planning their wedding?
There are a few that really stand out to me:
- Always stay true to yourself. Do not plan your wedding to please everyone else. You need to be happy on your wedding day.
- Know that smaller weddings are just as amazing. It offers a more intimate atmosphere.
- Wedding planners are a lifesaver. Please do not think you can do it all yourself. There are even planners for just the wedding day. Have that designated person to run the day so you can sit back and savor every moment without worrying about the details.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job, and how do you overcome it?
I think the most challenging part of my job as a wedding photographer is honestly the editing part of it. I really love the shooting part of photography. I tend to overshoot. So, when I sit down at my computer to cull through the images it’s a bit overwhelming. I love it, but there is A LOT of work that we have to do after your photoshoot. My job is only beginning on the wedding day.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not working on weddings?
Anyone that knows me knows I like to travel the world. So, if I am not shooting, you will find me in my camper or on an airplane.
Are you a wedding professional interested in being featured in FACES of MMNC? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.