Family was the most important part of Ashley & Kimberly’s DIY wedding day, every family member played an important role in bringing the newlyweds dream wedding day together. With vows shared under a willow tree, they celebrated with their closest loved ones in a beautiful big barn with lawn games outside.
Ashley proposed first in July 2016. She lured Kimberly into New York City by telling her that a former teacher was in town for the weekend and wanted to meet up for the day. Ashley had already gone to Kimberly’s job and requested that she be put on the schedule for that morning so she could make her way to the city to get in position. Ashley told Kimberly that she would meet her in front of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center and the three of them would head to dinner together. Ashley was waiting nervously on the top of the stairs leading to the opera house with Chelsea, her best friend and photographer, waiting across the street to capture the moment. Kimberly caught Ashley off guard coming from a different subway exit than expected. Ashley stammered over her words as she tried to tell Kimberly that she had bought her a present and pulled out a music box. Kimberly realized what was happening as Ashley opened the music box and got down on one knee. Kimberly, of course, said “Yes!” as La Boheme, one of her favourite operas, played from the music box. Ashley pointed across the street, giving up Chelsea’s hiding spot.
Kimberly proposed two months later. Her proposal took place at Rockwood Hall in Sleepy Hollow, NY overlooking the Hudson River. Kimberly had intricately laid out a picnic surrounded by flowers, photos, novels, pillows and a portable record player playing Ingrid Michaelson’s version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Ashley met Kimberly there after work expecting to walk around together, enjoying the late summer weather on the river. To her surprise, as she turned the corner, sitting pretty under a willow tree was Kimberly with a handmade wooden ring box. Ashley, of course, also said, “Yes!”
As they talked, they found that they had both been visiting the same jeweller and worked with the same designer to create each other’s engagement ring.
They stumbled across their venue while on a wine tasting day in the Hudson Valley. Instantly falling in love with the giant weeping willow, they booked the wedding that day. They had been dating for 7 years and had already discussed their visions for their wedding day before even being engaged. They knew they wanted a lot of things to be handmade by themselves, a family member or friend. Together they collected vintage bottles over a few years to use as decor. It would be a very laid back ceremony and reception, something that would feel like a magnified version of a party we would throw at our house.
When it came to dress shopping, Ashley and Kimberly went together with their mothers, grandmothers and Ashley’s sister at BHLDN. They didn’t want to see each other’s dress until the wedding day so relied on family members to coordinate coming out of the dressing rooms at separate times and ensuring that they didn’t pick the same dress. Ashley and Kimberly both found their dresses that day.
Whilst they were planning on DIY-ing the flowers a friend, who recently started her own floral business, convinced the couple that it would be a terribly stressful day if they were going to attempt to do their own flowers it would add to it all. Thankful that she did, because holy moly did she do a lot of work the day before and day of!
The most (and only) stressful part of planning the wedding was when the first caterer bailed on us six weeks before the wedding and when a second caterer was found they were unable to get the proper permits and had to decline the job. That left Ashley and Kimberly two weeks to find a caterer that fit their budget and vision in the peak of wedding season! Luckily, they found their perfect match in Sean at Amuzae Catering through Instagram!
For dessert, there was a cookie bar and the newlyweds requested that a few family members and friends make their signature goodies. Ashley, who is also a trained pastry chef, made the cake. Everyone thought she was crazy for taking on the task of making her own wedding cake but actually wasn’t really that stressful for her!
Fast forward to September 2, 2017 at Nostrano Vineyards in Milton, NY.
It was extremely important to Ashley and Kimberly to include their family and friends by incorporating them into their wedding day. Kimberly’s mother created a bunting banner the length of a football field to decorate inside the barn where dinner was served and the flower girl wore the same dress that her mother wore when she was the flower girl in Kimberly’s parents’ wedding. The ceremony took place under a beautiful weeping willow, surrounded by close friends and family. A close friend, Mirna Valerio, wrote a beautiful ceremony with one request from the brides: Please open with “Mawwwwwiage, mawwwiage is bwings togever today,” from The Princess Bride.
Ashley and Kimberly each recited their own, tear-jerking vows and promised to love and support each other, forever. They also included their vocally talented friends by inviting them to sing Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You”. The ceremony finished off with Ashley and Kimberly hammering a nail into a wooden time capsule, built by Kimberly’s grandfather, that was filled with a newspaper from that morning, a copy of their vows and other objects relating to the day. They plan to open it every five years, looking back on their memories and adding new ones each time it is opened.
After the ceremony and dinner, there was a yard game reception complete with giant Jenga, bocce, a piñata, a see-saw (also built by Kimberly’s grandfather) and many other classic yard games. The day finished off with a bonfire after the sun had set. Ashley and Kimberly roasted marshmallows and made s’mores until a romantic drizzle of rain sent them off in married bliss.
It was incredible to have our friends and family all together in one place to celebrate our love. We felt so much love and joy on our wedding day. It meant a lot to us that were able to vow to love, support and grow together forever. We are more than excited to begin this chapter of our lives together and cannot wait for future experiences and adventures!
Photography Chelsea Hellen Photography