Ashlee and Brandon found love on the field. They met through a mutual friend during their time with the Oakland Raiders—Ashlee was a Raiderette and Brandon played as a tight end.
Surprisingly, the Raiders football franchise is the only team in the NFL that allows cheerleaders and players to date and marry, but Ashlee and Brandon chose to keep their relationship a secret. “Being an athlete is his job, and I never wanted to interfere,” she says. “It was so nice to be on the field and support not only the Raiders, but him, on game days. We would give each other a certain wink or smile to let each other know we’d seen one another.”
Ashlee left the Raiderettes after five seasons. “I’ll never forget my last game,” she says. “At the end of the game, the guys walk through this tunnel that the cheerleaders make. Brandon asked one of the field photographers to snap a quick photo of the two of us in memory of how we met, and how the Raiders brought us together in our union. It’s a photo we have up in our home and look at daily as a constant reminder of where it all began.”
Soon after, Brandon proposed to Ashlee in San Francisco’s Union Square—the exact place they first met. “I was so nervous because I really wanted to surprise Ashlee,” Brandon says. “I was sweating and nervous and shaking, but the minute she said yes, all my nerves went away. We both couldn’t have been happier.”
Ashlee jumped right into planning, quickly figuring out which dates would work for their schedule, as Brandon had training camps, training, and then the start of the season. He had signed with the New York Giants, so Ashlee was tasked with planning their California wedding from the East Coast. “I really took advantage of email, FaceTime, and countless trips back home to get everything in order,” she shares. “My mom and maid of honor were huge helps! They would go to my appointments or interview certain vendors. Countless nights of spreadsheets, Pinterest pages, Etsy, etc. really made my vision come together!”
They wanted to have the wedding at a winery (they both love wine!), and Viaggio Estate and Winery gave them the romantic feel they were after. “I wanted dim lighting, candles, flowers everywhere, and to make sure all of our guests had a wonderful time and an experience they would never forget,” she says. “We wanted our love for one another to be shown in every detail, from the ceremony and cocktail hour to the reception!”
As the day arrived, Ashlee was focused on making sure everything would go according to plan. After she delegated all the day-of duties, she was ready to marry the man of her dreams. “Walking down the aisle and seeing Brandon for the first time made my heart sink into my stomach. He had the biggest grin on his face, and was wiping away the tears!” she says. “I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe I get to spend the rest of my life with this man who is staring at me. I am one lucky girl!’”
Brandon felt just as lucky. “I remember seeing Ash and not knowing what to do because I started to tear up,” he says. “She looked unbelievably beautiful, which I knew she would but it was something about seeing her for the first time, and thinking to myself, ‘Here comes my forever.’”