There’s an old adage that you are likely to find the love of your life where you spend a lot of time. And that only makes sense. For many Americans, this means in the workplace as work hours continue to grow.
For Jason Moore and Craig Ashby, the workplace was the setting for their 2003 meeting as they were both working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota at the time. Following a successful lunch date at Chipotle, Craig invited Jason over that night to watch “Must See TV” Thursday: Friends and Will and Grace.
“He was wearing a suit; he looked good and seemed smart,” Jason says of his first impression. “I liked his business acumen and it seemed like he was going places. But Craig is mild-mannered and not someone who shares much right away, so I had to work for it, which is intriguing. I’m always up for a challenge.”
Craig immediately noticed how outgoing Jason was, the opposite of himself. “And so charming — he lights up a room with his personality,” Craig says. “I found him smart, cute, sincere, a very thoughtful and kind person, and very principled. The Jason I met that first day is the same person I know today — he is very upfront and unwavering in his values and what is important to him.”
Since that first day, the two became fairly inseparable right away. Ten years later, in August of 2013, the two were invited on a Lake Minnetonka excursion that one of Jason’s employees had won through a silent auction at work, or at least that was the story that Jason told Craig.
A senior leader at Blue Cross was the owner of the boat. On the way to the lake, Jason’s plan began to unfold with a timed phone call from the “winner” of the excursion that no one else could make the trip for various reasons.
“At that point we were just close enough to the lake that we couldn’t turn away,” Craig says. “The host and hostess of the excursion were all in on it, and very good actors, following Jason’s script that they should insist on going through with the excursion, even though everyone else dropped out.”
An hour into the trip, it was suggested that Jason and Craig go out onto the bow. Suddenly, Jason got down on one knee, and that was when Craig realized this was an elaborate plan, involving several people, created solely for the purpose of a surprise proposal.
Of course, it isn’t long before the engagement bliss turns into planning the wedding. First on Jason and Craig’s list was securing a wedding planner, Julie Lyford of Fabulous Functions. “We looked for someone with LGBT experience and someone who could help us line up LGBT-friendly vendors,” Craig says. “We didn’t want to have to guess as to whether vendors really wanted to work with us.”
From there, their planner helped the couple find everyone else to help make the day special: officiant, florist, etc. To add a personal touch, Jason has contacts in the theater community and found the musicians and the vocal talent for the ceremony.
For the look and feel of the ceremony, there were more agreements than not as the two have similar styles and tastes. Jason and Craig began with a general idea of a color scheme they wanted before meeting with a graphic designer who refined their idea and developed the invitation. The couple then carried those colors and style throughout the rest of the wedding, from the flowers to the thank you cards.
“For clothing, we wanted to look like we went together without wearing the exact same thing,” Craig says. “So we opted for similar but different custom black suits, and complementary ties. Our socks were unique to our specific interests.” Craig’s were television-inspired (he’s an amateur TV historian) and Jason’s were inspired by the keys on a piano (his undergrad was a double major in music and communications).
“We essentially put together a concert for the ceremony, with 15 songs and four singers (including Jason), split into three parts: Evolution of Love, Equality of Love, and Lifetime of Love,” Craig says. The couple also worked with the officiant to plan the spoken words and connecting threads between the songs, as well as the vows.
“We wanted to put together something that we would enjoy,” Jason says. “But also to celebrate, recognize, and honor the support we have from our friends and family, and to make it a day for all of us to have fun and celebrate.”
When all the planning was done, Jason and Craig hosted 150 guests at the Calhoun Beach Club. “We wanted something elegant, beautiful, and striking, with character,” Craig says. “A big draw was the staircase in the room where we had the ceremony (this is how we entered and exited the ceremony) and the separate adjoining space for the reception, looking out on Lake Calhoun.
With the wedding behind them, the two have their entire future together to look forward to, which includes traveling and spending time with family (especially their niece and nephew, who acted as flower girl and ring bearer at the wedding). Craig also says the future holds “more home improvement projects, more trips to New York to see theater, and we hope to get an overseas trip in next year.”
Wedding Planner: Julie Lyford, Fabulous Functions
Photography: Studio Laguna
Florist: Alice-Lynne Olson
Suits: Custom by Tom James
Shoes, Ties, Pocket Squares: Macy’s
Rings: Scheherazade Jewelers
Invitations/Stationery: Paper Thick Ink
Lighting: AV for You
Officiant: Affordable I Do’s & Perfect Day Ceremonies
Makeup Stylist: Sarah Elizabeth Artistry