How Unconventional Turned Into Unforgettable Love
Story by Liesel Schmidt | Photography by Casey Crowe Taylor
“First comes love, then comes marriage…” It’s an old playground chant we’ve all heard a million times throughout our lives, but never more so than as children jumping rope, its sing-song rhythm and rhyming words providing the perfect cadence for each turn of the rope, each meeting between feet and ground. And while Ashley Mattison may not have been a little girl on the playground when she first saw Corey Dowd jumping rope at the local gym they both frequented in 2007, the words of the familiar chant might as well have been running through her mind. “He had been into boxing when he was younger and was still very, very good at jumping rope. I have no coordination whatsoever, so I was extremely impressed,” Ashley recalls. “One day, I decided to say hi, and we made plans to meet up with friends that night in Arlington.”
The two hit it off, and after six months of dating, they moved in with one another and bought a dog. And while the traditional order of things would next dictate marriage, they threw convention aside when they had their son nearly two years later and decided to wait until the time was truly right to get married. “We didn’t want to get married just because our son was on the way, so we embraced it all and became a happy family of four (counting the dog)!”
Knowing the time had finally come, Corey, a construction sales account manager at Sun Services, jumped to the rhythm of the love song his heart was telling him to follow and asked Ashley to marry him in December of 2012. “Corey was down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree with our son and proposed. Since Christmas is my favorite holiday, it was extremely special,” says Ashley, who works as Director within Guidehouse’s National Security Sector.
Seven years later on December 14, 2019, Ashley walked down the aisle toward Corey at the Lyceum wearing a crèpe fit-and-flare La Sposa gown with a dramatic sash and lace accents. As their friends and family looked on, the two exchanged vows and united their hearts together forever, making their family—now grown to include two beautiful children as well as another dog—and their bond even stronger.
Having been officially given the title of Mr. and Mrs. Dowd, the newlyweds joined their guests in a winter wonderland-themed reception on the grounds, where they dined on delicious, seasonally-inspired food before cutting into a stunning and winter-esque “naked” pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting adorned with winter berries and greenery. And as the celebration came to an end, the happy couple was sent to start a new part of their lives together, the rhythm of their rhyme matched by words that—while perhaps unconventional in their order—still tell the story of unforgettable love.
Photographer: Casey Crowe Taylor
Planner: Birch Event and Designs, Julie Park
Dress: La Sposa, Vivid Bridal
Jewelry: Olive & Piper
Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth
Tux: Men's Wearhouse
Flowers: Rocking Bird Flower Co.
Cake: Lovely Sweets
Catering: Main Event Catering
Entertainment: DJ Crawdads
Car Services: Fleet Transportation
Makeup/Hair: Makeup by Ana B