An elated groom’s emotional response to seeing his soon-to-be wife on their wedding day caused many of the couple’s friends and family to wipe away tears of their own, and stunning photographs of his reaction have gone viral on social media.
Quintin Reed tried his best to hold back his tears when he looked up from the altar to see his bride, Ashleigh Reed, during their wedding ceremony on October 7. As he watched his bride walk down the aisle alongside her uncle, Quintin says he felt like the luckiest man in the world.
“I was just blown away by the woman I saw in front of me,” Quintin, 27, a kickbox trainer in Fenton, Missouri, tells PEOPLE. “In the next few seconds, my heart started racing more and more and my heart was overwhelmed with happiness and the passion I have for her.”
In viral pictures captured by Mindy Miles Photography, Quintin is seen cupping his hands around his face in a last-ditch attempt to compose himself, but the love-struck groom almost fell to his knees as the joy washed over him.
“I bent over and looked up to the sky, thankful for my wife who was walking towards me, it was a great moment,” he recalls.
Ashleigh says she was excited to reveal her gown to Quintin, but felt calm most of the day—until she finally heard the entrance music. Then, when she saw her sweetheart’s tearful response, she couldn’t hold back her emotions either.
“I thought he would be a little emotional but I never would have imagined he would have fallen to his knees like he did,” Ashleigh, 26, a preschool teacher, tells PEOPLE. “As soon as I saw him sigh and look up to the sky, I lost my breath. It was the most romantic moment I had ever and probably will ever experience.”
In front of their almost 80 guests at Cottleville Wine Cellar, Ashleigh shed her own tears with Quintin, and she couldn’t have been happier.
“In that moment I felt extremely grateful that the love of my life was standing right in front of me,” she says, “and that in a short time I would officially be his wife!”
The moment was four years in the making, starting when they met by a swing as students at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. They started dating soon after, and the two knew something was different about their relationship compared to any other they experienced.
“The second I left him that night I called my mom to let her know I had met my future husband,” Ashleigh says. “He was then, and still is now, the most amazing human being I have ever met!”
Quintin says he, too, knew he had found someone special early on.
“She brings the best out of me in every aspect, and I knew that life couldn’t get better than this,” he says. “There’s really no other option that I would choose. I knew where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.”
The newlyweds say they are enjoying the married life. Because they paid for their own wedding, they decided to spend time at home after the special day for a “homeymoon” consisting of a few days off spending time with their dog and binging Netflix.
A big trip somewhere can wait, they say, because all they need is each other.
“My favorite part of him is his soul,” says Ashleigh. “He’s a genuinely good, kind-hearted person and I feel blessed to be around him every second that I am.”