Join us for dinner and dancing immediately following the ceremony. Please reply by February 23, 2019.
Erin is my childhood best friend. She easily became a part of the Ashley family - joining us for trips and spending countless nights and weekends together. She is a part of many "growing up" memories and has shared lots of life's highs and lows. No matter how long we go between visits, we always pick up right where we left off.
Erin - you have pushed me towards Christ from the very beginning!
Marie became a best friend of mine post-college as we both lived in Macon. We've shared meals, prayers, walks, songs, books, laughter, tears and everything in between. She has consistently opened her heart and home throughout my journey with Drew. PLUS - Marie is responsible for introducing us, so we pretty much owe her for life!
Marie - you are evidence of God's grace to me in so many ways!
We met in an airport on the way to Israel. Our bond was quickly forged rafting down the Jordan River and surviving the Dead Sea. Since then, we've continued to have each other's backs through many adventures and trials. Whether traveling together, celebrating New Year's or Easter together, or just reading books in the same room, our friendship holds many treasures.
Emily - I have learned so much about prayer and God's faithfulness from you!
I was in a discipleship group with Lauren when I first moved to Nashville. (I’m so grateful for that group and how it provided such close friends)! I was immediately refreshed by her honesty and humor. Whether we’re discussing the tough questions of life, hanging out with students, sharing crazy dating stories, or watching cheesy TV together, she is a joy to be around.
Lauren – your desire to seek Him even when it’s hard is such a challenge and encouragement to me!
Meghan was special to me before I even met her. I'm familiar with the unique bond between siblings, and it's so fun to see it with Meghan and Drew. She has welcomed me into their family, and I love our times together. I feel so blessed to be gaining such a sweet friend and sister-in-law whose smile lights up a room.
Meghan - your humble and kind spirit is a light to me and so many others!
Mary and I originally met on a youth trip in high school and then ran into each other during freshman orientation at college where we became super close. Her quick wit and loving heart made for an easy friendship that has endured over the years.
Mary - your listening ear and consistent friendship is a testimony of God's steadfast love.
Nikki and I worked together, lived together and traveled together for several years. We always thought we'd make a great team on The Amazing Race! I have laughed so hard I cried with her as we made some incredible memories over unique shared experiences. I knew my wedding was official when she put it in her Franklin Covey planner!
Nikki - your zeal for the LORD and loyalty to your friends has had a big impact on me!
He’s been there from the very beginning and has been a consistent model of hard work and dedication for as long as I can remember. Dad has a determination I admire. Whether solving a problem or seeing how far we could bike or kayak in one day, Dad sticks to his commitments. I’ve been around for 31 of my parents’ 37 years of marriage, and I couldn’t have asked for a better example to follow as I embark on the same journey with Ali. No matter what I’ve wanted to do or try, I’ve always had my parents’ support, and I’m thankful they’ve given me the freedom to become who I am. In recent years, I’ve come to appreciate Dad’s ability to fix or figure out anything, and I hope I have a fraction of that ability to be handy. Dad also recently retired after more than 30 years as a pharmacist!
The first time I visited Ali in Nashville was the weekend of the UGA vs. Vanderbilt football game in the fall of 2017. She had an extra ticket to the game and invited me up. (I’m thankful to be marrying a woman who shares my love for the Georgia Bulldogs, and I think I owe Eric, Todd, and her dad for that.) Little did I know that extra ticket was part of a group that included about a dozen members of the Ashley family! That weekend was the first time I met Eric. As one of her older brothers, Eric could have tried to intimidate me or give me the third degree, but instead, we spent the rest of the day after the game at his house with the rest of the family who had come to town. I felt welcome from the start and easily connected with Eric, his wife, Annette, and their four kids, Nathan, Naomi, Jude, and Sam. They’ve given me a place to stay many times when I’ve visited Ali in Nashville. Now they’re stuck with me!
As Ali and I continued to get to know each other that fall, she invited me to her parents’ house the day after Thanksgiving. Despite getting lost on the back roads of South Georgia (Who knew there were two Eagle Roads in Wray, Georgia?), I had the pleasure of meeting her parents as well as her brother Todd, his wife, Kathryn, and their kids, Will and Sara. I soon came to appreciate Todd’s quick wit and the fun and camaraderie he, Eric, and Ali share as siblings. I’ve enjoyed watching how much joy they give each other when they have time together. Just like Eric, Todd was friendly and welcoming. When we’re together, Todd and I always seem to end up discussing the latest news about Georgia football. I’ve gotten to know him and his family during vacations, holidays, and family gatherings over the last year, and I'm excited to be getting not one, but two brothers-in-law.
Bill and I both grew up in Macon and attended rival schools but never knew each other until we were freshmen at UGA. We shared an apartment in Athens for two years with Luke and Daniel in our humble abode we called The Bears Den. (You’ll have to ask Luke about that.) There’s a reason almost everyone who knows me from college knows me as D-Nasty, and that reason is Bill. (He gave nicknames to Luke and Daniel as well, but somehow, nothing ever stuck to him.) In spite of that, Bill remains one of my best friends. Between the many meals I’ve shared with him and Rebecca, Boys Nights with Liam and Clay, and Saturdays watching Georgia football at his parents’ house, I feel like another member of the Barnes family. He and Rebecca were co-conspirators in introducing me to Ali, which only reinforces his self-proclaimed title of “greatest friend in the history of the world.”
I met Luke through Bill during our freshman year at UGA, and the three of us became fast friends. Living together with Luke, Bill, and Daniel for the next two years forged a bond between the four of us that has endured more than a decade. At that time, Luke was dating his high school sweetheart (now wife) Danielle who went to school at Alabama. That meant Luke spent a lot of time video chatting with Danielle on what we called the “Jetson phone.” (Skype was new to us.) They were the first of us to get married and have kids, and I’ve learned so much about marriage by watching Luke as a husband to Danielle and a dad to Addie, Connor, and Jennifer. Even when they spent a season in Philadelphia, The Bears Den tradition of the Team Meeting kept us connected (and still does).
One of the unexpected joys of the last year was the Lord bringing Steven into my life. He moved to Macon to start a new job working for Marie’s husband Wes (small world!) and joined a small group I attend as he looked for community and a church home. After one conversation with Steven, I knew I’d found a friend, and that friendship grew as we got to know each other and supported one another through life’s struggles. Steven has a gift for bringing people together, and he has used that ability to serve our small group by inviting guests, organizing game nights and service opportunities, and just keeping everyone updated from one week to the next. Steven briefly met Ali at the Old Book Sale last year and has been a consistent voice of encouragement in my relationship with her ever since.
When Bill, Luke, and I needed a fourth roommate for our apartment after our first year at UGA, Luke suggested that we invite Daniel to live with us. I barely knew him at the time, but little did I know then what a dear friend Daniel would become. One of the most genuinely nice people I could ever hope to meet, Daniel also kept us straight by managing all of our bills and making sure we evenly shared the cost of groceries and supplies. I watched him faithfully walk through those college years with his bride-to-be Lindsay and learned so much from his example of steadfast commitment to her. When Luke got married and Bill graduated early, Daniel and I continued to live as roommates, just the two of us, during our senior year. He had the good fortune to land a job and settle in the Classic City and is always willing to give me a place to stay and join me in watching the Bulldogs play. Daniel also recently became a dad when he and Lindsay welcomed Piper to their family!