It’s not often that one can look back over the trajectory of their life and see that one friend has remained steadfast throughout the years. But for Clarksville natives Kelsey Sherley and Chase Gibbs, a friendship that began in first grade stayed true and bloomed into something that could no longer be defined as friendship—but love that they knew would last a lifetime. Hardly knowing that they would one day fall in love when they formed their elementary school bond, Kelsey and Chase finally explored their feelings for one another when they began dating in 2009; and by 2012, Kelsey knew in her heart that she would never love another. Fortunately for the love-struck radiology technologist, those feelings were not unrequited, and four years later in 2016, Chase took his true love for a memorable weekend in Chattanooga. Stopping for what might have appeared at the time to be a simple walk to let their dog Brady stretch his legs on the way home, Chase guided their stroll downtown, stopping for a bit to sit on a bench overlooking the pedestrian bridge. For the pair of lovebirds, the spot was a special one; and that special spot became even more treasured when Chase did something that Kelsey was hardly expecting.
“We sat down on a bench to relax for a bit when all of a sudden, he’s down on one knee with the most beautiful ring, asking me to be his wife!” she recalls happily. Naturally enough, the question was answered with a yes, and the couple was married eighteen months later on October 14, 2017. Casting off tradition, the ceremony was held in the unique setting of the green spaces of Old Glory Distilling Co., mere steps away from the distillery’s gleaming copper kettles. It was fittingly symbolic, in a way, as the raw grains that must be put through so many processes to blend them into something smooth and beautiful could well be thought to resemble a marriage. Marriage refines those who enter into it, taking two souls and refining their relationship into a deeper, more beautiful bond that will see them through the struggles of life and keep them strong.
Wearing a fit and flare gown of ivory lace and tulle over light gold with a sweetheart neckline, Kelsey vowed her love and devotion to Chase after being “presented for marriage” by her parents—a tradition begun by her mother’s father. “My Papa Ralph always said his girls—and granddaughters—were raised to be independent and have a choice in marriage. They aren’t given away!” Kelsey laughs. Having both entered freely into the union, Kelsey and Chase joined their many happy guests at a reception held at the distillery’s indoor venue, a space whose vintage-inspired architecture and style pay homage to the 1940s banked by a wall of windows looking in at the distilling room’s copper stills and stainless equipment. After dining on a classic Southern-style buffet dinner of pork tenderloin and rosemary-lemon baked chicken served with fluffy mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, grilled mixed vegetables, garden salad, and freshly baked rolls, the couple danced the night away to country music favorites and shared their very first spin on the dance floor as newlyweds to George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart.” The sweetness of the occasion continued through the cutting of the cake, a tiered confection of strawberry cake with fresh strawberry filling iced in ivory colored buttercream rosettes. And while the sugar rush may have been short-lived, the true high was just beginning as the newly married Gibbs were sent off to begin their honeymoon with one night in Nashville before heading to relax and soak up the sun in Aruba. Now back home in Clarksville, Kelsey, Chase, and their three dogs have a happy family who are looking forward to a long life together distilled down to one very important word: love.