Names: Ashley and Michael
Wedding Date: 10/10/2020
Guest Numbers: 50 guests
Wedding Location: We had a backyard wedding in Ballwin, MO at our first home we bought together back in December of 2019. Original plan was to have a 230 person wedding at my grandparents country club, but with covid we had to adjust and change our plans and decided to downsize to a 50 person backyard wedding. My husband is Italian, so we had our reception/dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants on “The Hill” at a place called Favazzas. It wasn’t what we had originally planned for, but I believe it ended up being a blessing in disguise because it was the most perfect day!
Photographer: Asia Pimentel and Niko Chemichenko- the most amazingly talented people with the biggest hearts! They flew in all the way from the Dominican Republic to photograph and capture our special day.
Tell Us Your Love Story
How did you meet?
We met 8 years ago at Mizzou (go Tigers!) at Michael’s fraternity party. I went up to him to request a song because he was dj-ing and we instantly clicked. We spent the next 6 months texting back and forth and hanging out a ton, and then he asked me to officially be his girlfriend that October. I had never been in love before, and knew the week I met him that I would marry him one day. We had that immediate spark and still do 8 years later 🙂
How did he put a ring on it?
My sister (Allie) and my brother in law (Casey) invited Michael and I on a houseboat trip on the border of Canada and Minnesota in early July. We spent the weekend swimming, camping, making bonfires, and hanging out with friends. On Saturday morning of their trip on July 5th, Allie woke everyone up to announce that we were going to a brunch at a resort called Kettle Falls that we would have to take the small fishing boat to. Casey drove the “first group” of people (Ashley, Michael, and Allie) to the brunch spot, and was going to return to pick everyone else up and bring them over. While we waited for Casey to get the rest of the group, Michael suggested that we take a walk to check out a cool waterfall spot that he had seen online when researching our trip. It was pretty hot outside, so Ashley protested, but decided to not make a fuss and go along with his idea. Once we reached the top, Ashley asked Allie to take a picture of Michael and her. Michael then grabbed Ashley’s hands and said “Baby…” and took a deep breath. They both started tearing up, and Michael got down on one knee and asked her to marry him! Big sis took photos and was crying as well 🙂 We were all so emotional, and Michael and Allie were relieved that their plan worked!
The rest of the day was spent celebrating, popping champagne, and telling stories about all the planning that went into the proposal. It was a fairy-tale!!!
Where did you draw inspiration from?
My dream wedding that I always envisioned was all white, angelic, and dreamy. So I knew I wanted white bridesmaids dresses, and all white floral. My wedding florist and designer was actually one of my best friends from highschool – she came in town from Kentucky to St. Louis to do them for me. She is such a thoughtful and talented person. She kept showing me ideas along the way, and I noticed that I kept gravitating towards the big, fluffy, babies breath arches so I knew that was a must. Plus- they have always been one of my favorite flowers. My dress fit perfectly into the angelic, dreamy, backyard wedding of my dreams!
What made the wedding personal to you?
Overall, our wedding was extremely personal to us. We got married in our backyard and first home together which is something we will always cherish. Our neighbors got to watch over the fence, and potted flowers that we have been trying to perfect all summer were a part of our day. My husband is Italian so we tried to incorporate some Italian traditions into our special day. We “cut a cannoli” instead of cake, and our guests found their seats with a mini limoncello bottle with their name attached. We also opted for some of our favorite Italian dishes instead of your standard “chicken or beef” option and had a seafood pasta and Sicilian chicken. We are also big music people, so we hired an amazing solo acoustic guitarist to play during our ceremony and cocktail hour. He played many of our favorites all night- Jack Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Van Morrison, Tom Petty, John Mayer, Frank Sinatra, Galantis, and many more.
But most importantly, it was the people. Our precious puppy/daughter, Penny was our “pup of honor” who stood with us during our ceremony, and was also featured as our signature cocktail the “Penny Paloma”. My Nana and Ompah officiated our wedding which was one of my favorite personalized parts! They did SUCH a great job! My sister/MOH went above and beyond to make sure the day went smoothly. My mom had her wedding dress turned into a pillow for the ring bearer. Michael and I are huge family people and come from two very close-knit families, and are very close with our friends as well. We had a pretty large bridal party of 10 on each side. All of our siblings and best friends stood up with us. After downsizing our wedding from 230 people, to 50 guests- we joked that half of our guests were standing next to us instead of sitting 🙂
What were you most nervous or excited about?
I was pretty nervous leading up to it about having all the attention on me, and of walking down the aisle. But when I woke up that morning there was a sense of calm that came over me. Being around my mom, sister, mother-in-law, Nana, and all of my best friends getting ready really put me in a great mood and at ease. And after getting my hair and makeup done, and putting my dress on- I felt so confident and ready to see my guy! We did a first look and read personal vows on a rooftop before the rest of our day which really settled my nerves too. That was probably one of my favorite parts of the day.
Now, the most important part – the Dress!
Tell us about your dress?
OMG, THE DRESS! Everyone says to go into wedding dress shopping with an open mind and I am so glad that I did! I always thought I would get a big, poofy ballgown. Sure enough, the moment I tried on the Assouline gown I fell head over heels in love with it, and so did my mom, sister, mother-in-law, and my two best friends that came with me! We all kind of had that “WOW” moment. It was pretty much the opposite of what I thought I would end up getting! Tightly fitted, and a little mermaid effect. The 3D applique was unbelievably beautiful. I typically never wear tight dresses, but when I put my dress on, I felt so confident and was so surprised! We are having a large reception on our 1 year anniversary next year with everyone we didn’t get to celebrate with, and I am SO excited to wear it again.
What stockist did you get it from?
The White Room in Minneapolis, MN. They were amazing to work with!!! They made me feel so comfortable, and were so sweet.
What was your most memorable moment from your day?
It’s so hard to pick! I have to do a top 3 🙂
Getting to do the first look with Michael and read our personal vows with no one else around, and no pressure was so incredibly special. That was a major highlight for both of us. We also did a private first dance in our backyard before we met everyone for dinner and partying, and that was one of my favorite decisions that I was on the fence about. It was nice having those two private moments to enjoy eachother. Lastly- getting to walk down the aisle with my dad, and looking out and seeing my husband, our families, my pup, and all of our closest friends was one of the best feelings in my life. We are so blessed.
Vendors to credit:
Photography: Asia Pimentel Photography // Videography: NCH Studio // Coordination: Better Than Bridesmaids (Holly Dilthey) // Music: Alex Ruwe // Rentals: Weinhardt Party Rentals // Hair & Makeup: Jennifer Lynch // Floral & Design: Shop Denizen (Olivia Guandique) // Hotel: Chase Park Plaza // Reception: Favazza’s On The Hill