Local Love

Ashley & Graeson

This originally ran as a Local Love in the 2024 issue.

WEDDING DATE September 16, 2022

When Graeson Strait first saw Ashley Lowe, she was dancing alone in a field at a backyard barbecue in 2016. He instantly thought, “she’s cool—we need to friends.” Graeson walked over, joined her, “and we connected without saying a word.”

United by an appreciation of live music, their friendship blossomed into romance on the dance floor of Baltimore’s 8×10.

The two were quick to fall in love after that and moved in together in 2018. Graeson, a manager at an insurance agency, knew he wanted to propose, bought a ring, and managed to keep it hidden from Ashley, a digital marketer, despite living together 24/7 in a 600-square-foot apartment during COVID lockdown. It actually wasn’t the first time he had proposed. “Years ago, we were having drunken ramen at Dakaiya after a Capitals game and he started to get down on one knee,” recounts Ashley. She thought he was joking and said, “You have to have a ring to do that.” (Turns out he wasn’t joking.) Fast-forward to lockdown, and the two were watching hockey and eating takeout ramen when Graeson turned to Ashley on the couch and said, “Remember that time I almost proposed to you after the hockey game?” This time when he got down on one knee, she knew he was serious. Says Ashley, “It was perfect. No big production, just us.”

That’s how they wanted the wedding to feel—like them. (But with a slightly big production.) “Our goal for the wedding design was to produce something exuberant, expressive, but still somewhat sophisticated,” says Ashley. “Refined artsy weirdness—if you will.”

They were drawn to the retro ’70s disco trend but wanted to do a slight twist, so they settled on “modern art disco” for the motif. That meant incorporating elements of surrealism into the décor, with handmade melted disco balls, a boom box exploding with flowers, and a giant silver balloon installation over the dance floor. 

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we wanted our wedding to reflect that, so we incorporated elements of high camp, some cheeky dialogue on the stationery, and plenty of references to our favorite show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, to keep things light,” says Ashley. They even made a handmade “Guess Who?” board for cocktail hour that featured their favorite drag queens from the show. There were retro viewfinders sprinkled throughout, filled with pictures of themselves and their dog, Sansa, and a campy pink lip phone for guests to leave them messages.

But there were raw emotional moments, too, like when Graeson’s brother, Elgen Strait, started to choke up while officiating. But even that moment came with some levity. All of a sudden, a loud MARC train slowly rolled behind the couple in the perfectly named Trainshed room at The Winslow. “It was just the comedic relief that we needed,” says Ashley. “Our DJ made sure to play ‘Love Train’ in the reception as a
nod to the moment.”

BALLOON INSTALLATION All About Balloons BEAUTY Tasia Mitropoulos CATERER AND CAKE Linwoods FLORAL DESIGN Wander & Whimsy GROOM and groomsmen Custom tux from Suitsupply (ceremony); sequin jacket from Gentlemansguru.com (reception); The Black Tux (groomsmen)  HONEYMOON A two-week foodie adventure in Vietnam INVITATION Minted LIGHTING, PIPE AND DRAPE Event Dynamics LOCATION The Winslow at the Parker Metal Building MUSIC Kelton Higgins OFFICIANT Elgen Strait, groom’s brother PHOTOGRAPHY DuHon Photography RENTALS Something Vintage STATIONERY Canva TRANSPORTATION RMA VIDEO BOOTH MiHi Entertainment WEDDING DRESSES Enzoani Pearl from Betsy Robinson’s Bridal (ceremony); French Connection (reception) WEDDING PLANNER The Plannery

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