It's not every day that I'm able to design a wedding gown for someone as adventurous and spontaneous as Ashley. When I say that this gown was 4 years in the making, I'm not kidding. Ashley came to me as soon as she got engaged and knew exactly what she wanted. She knew that they weren't in a rush to get married, but when they decided to set a date (November 21st, 2018 at the Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse Suite), she was prepared. We started making the dress four years after my initial sketch and we barely changed a detail!
By the way, you can see the wedding featured in the latest issue of Modern Luxury Brides!
Ashely's husband Adam is originally from Dallas and is an investment banker at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Ashley is originally from Vail and is the owner of Ashley Nicole Style, a fashion, lifestyle, and travel blog. Ashley has been a loyal client of ours ever since she came to Houston, which made designing her wedding gown all that more special since I knew her so well!
From the beginning sketches to final alterations, the design process was inspiring and so rewarding. Ashley's gorgeous elopement was in huge part a testament to her vision as she was able to have complete creative control, designing a dress that truly reflected her individuality. Seeing the photos from such a beautiful wedding made me wish that I could've been a fly on the wall!
Q: How did you meet?
A: We met at a charity event San Francisco, where we both lived for five years before we moved to Houston in 2013.
Q: Describe the proposal
A: We got engaged in New York City, and it was the most amazing day. I had been on a British Isles & Northern Europe passage cruise with my family that ended in NYC, and Adam planned some business meetings in the city so he could meet me there (we lived in San Francisco at the time). The day that he met me we went to dinner that evening and saw The Book of Mormon.
The following day, he told me he had a meeting in the morning, so he suggested I go get my hair blown out on the Upper East Side near our hotel, and that he would meet me after. Once I was done, he met me along Madison Ave. and we headed to Central Park. When he met me, he had a tacky tourist NYC drawstring backpack with him. I asked what that was for, and he said we could find somewhere in the park and have cheese/wine. Once we got to the park, we were walking taking in the gorgeous fall weather (it was September) and we walked by the Boathouse Restaurant, and quickly, we were at Bow Bridge. To this day, I swear I heard him say under his breath, “This is it,” and I turned to look at him to say “What?” and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee. Although there were other tourists on the bridge, you could have heard a pin drop. Of course, I said yes!
We went rowing on The Lake in Central Park, and in his NYC backpack he had picked up my favorite macarons from Laduree and a had bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate our engagement. After our ride around the lake, he had a beautiful dinner planned for us at One if by Land, Two if by Sea. It truly was so surprising and romantic.
Q: What did you like about the venue?
A: The Penthouse Suite is known for its expansive 6,000 square foot space, stunning terrace overlooking downtown San Francisco, and most importantly, its notable guests. Some of the guests have included President Obama, President Truman, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Prince Charles, and King Hussein to name a few. John F. Kennedy also frequented the suite, and it is rumored that the trap door located on the second floor of the two-story library was where he would whisk Marilyn Monroe in and out of while he was there.
The location helped set the scene for what I wanted for our wedding - glamorous, picturesque, over-the-top, and very timeless - in a modern sense of the word!
It was important for us to return to the City by the Bay for our wedding. Not only had we meet at the Fairmont, but the hotel also holds many personal, lifelong memories for both of us.
Q:What did you like about your wedding planner?
A: Although they weren’t my wedding planner per se, I loved working with the Fairmont. They were incredibly responsive, and met all my expectations and exceeded them. Being an out of town bride (although I was familiar with the venue), I had lots of major and minor requests and questions. They made me feel confident and at ease, and did everything they could to make our day extra special.
Q:Describe your vision/inspiration for your wedding day. Did you have a specific theme?
A: I wanted something that was old-Hollywood glam. Very classy, timeless, but also with flair. I wanted to make sure we added to our space in the Penthouse Suite, and compliment it in the best way possible. I knew pink had to play a big part, and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting and day.
Q:What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
A: I loved that our day was truly about us – from start to finish. After the ceremony, we had a little break before dinner/’the reception’ and we went into the billiard-room, and I kicked off my wedding shoes and traded them for slippers. I watched Adam shoot and I attempted and failed multiple times, but we laughed - it was really fun and special. We got to truly enjoy and take in that special moment after saying “I do” in an incredibly unique way.
Q:How did you incorporate a family tradition or family heirloom to your special day?
A: The cap sleeves on the dress were originally part of my mother's wedding dress, and had to be dip-dyed countless times to get it to the perfect shade of blush. Creating movement, a statement piece, and something that could be worn again and again, was an important part of my wedding dress "design story."
Creating something that is made to measure that truly no one else on earth has, was only the beginning of our unique wedding. The feathers and beading added an effortless whimsical touch.
For our "rehearsal dinner," the day before our wedding, I wore a custom made David Peck cocktail dress adorned with pearls, and complete with a feather and gemstone belt. We went to City Hall to get our marriage certificate and had a photographer with us. After we took the cable car, which was reminiscent of our first date, to the restaurant Gary Danko, where we had celebrated our one year anniversary prior to moving to Houston.
Q:What was your color scheme?
A: Pale pinks, cream, and gold.
Q:Were there any new trends that you incorporated, or did you decide to go more traditional?
A: I think we kept it very traditional. When I describe our wedding to others, I say that it was a full-blown wedding, just without the people! From start to finish, it was important for us to not overlook any details. For example, documenting us getting ready, cards to one another we read before the wedding, first look, music, first dance, cake cutting – we didn’t miss a beat.
What made it “trendy” if you will, was that we did all this just for the two of us. I have heard countless brides and friends tell me that the biggest regret of their wedding was not getting to spend more time with their husband – I can’t imagine having had it any other way.
Q:How would you describe your personal style and fashion?
A: Being a self-proclaimed fashionista and fashion lover, having my personal style shine through on my big day was undoubtedly a priority for me. For this reason, that is why I chose to custom make my dress and be involved in every step of the way. Clothing not only is a form of self-expression, but it also tells a story. I wanted my wedding dress to be something that was outside the box and extra special, but also something that I could wear again in the future.
While the silhouette was traditional, all the details, including the color were more fun and edgy. Glam, classy with a touch of trendy is how I’d describe my everyday style, which I think shone through in my dress, as well. Adam’s tuxedo was timeless, and I loved getting to add a little silliness to it by giving him a pair of fun socks to wear down the aisle!
Q:What flavor(s) did you pick for your cake?
A: We had a beautiful two-tier cake with his/her’s flavors. The bottom tier was “his” – chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and buttercream frosting, and “her” tier was a lemon cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting.
Q:Where did you go for your honeymoon?
A: We went to India and Nepal for three weeks. In Nepal, we had the opportunity in Kathmandu to base camp at Mt. Everest which is over 17,000 feet
Q:What was the most memorable moment of your reception?
A: We had a pianist perform during our dinner/”reception,” and in between courses, we loved going to talk to the pianist and requesting some of our favorite songs. We both love Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Q:Any other details we left out, special considerations, or something you want to share that made your day unique?
A: I loved creating the most memorable day of our lives, and being involved in the entire process every step of the way. The day was uniquely ours – from my pink wedding dress to our 6,000 square foot venue for two, it was a traditional wedding in the most untraditional sense, which is just like us. We love to make our own traditions and do things our way, which is why we chose Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” as our first dance.
Wedding Planner | I planned everything myself, with the help of the Catering Sales/Event Manager at the Fairmont. Any of the decor used - napkins, tablecloths, candles, place settings, etc. I ordered and designed. I also orchestrated and planned the wedding in its entirety in less than two months. That being said, the gown had been being made for nearly a year, we just didn't have a date picked yet!
Bride’s Gown | My dress was custom-made by a local atelier/designer David Peck. From the moment we started sketching out ideas for my gown, I knew it was going to be a one-of-a-kind beauty that I would cherish forever. I also knew that I didn't want my wedding dress to be the traditional white, but instead blush pale pink. Having always been my favorite color, it was not only fitting of my personality but also our relationship.
Linens | I ordered all the linens (napkins, tablecloths, silverware, chair covers, etc) from Etsy. Due to the fact that it was just the two of us, it was challenging to find a rental company, and the items that the Fairmont had, were too simple for what I was looking for! I handpicked, ordered and in many cases designed all the ‘essential’ pieces myself. I absolutely loved getting to dip my hand in everything.
Entertainment | We had a harpist who performed during the ceremony, and a pianist who performed during dinner, and the reception (cake cutting, first dance, dancing).
Wedding Site | Fairmont Hotel San Francisco - Penthouse Suite
Bride’s Shoes | Jimmy Choo
Groom's Shoes | Ferragamo
Rings | Custom made by Kaira
Event Planner | Entire Productions
Flowers | Ornamento
Cake | Kelly Zubal of Inticing Creations
Food and Drink | The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco
Photographer | Jean-Baptiste Jacqout of JBJ Pictures
Videographer | Brittany Jacquot of JBJ Pictures
Officiant | Tom Wolfe
Event Rentals and Décor | The Original Runner Co
Stationary | Minted
Beauty | Adelina Eidelman