Hope’s bride Ashley didn’t know she was connecting with her future husband when they shared a hotdog and a couple beers at a Chicago Cubs game they attended with friends. But that set off a fun and easy courtship for this Chicago couple, culminating in a thoughtful proposal on a trip to San Francisco in November of 2014.
Rich didn’t seem nervous that morning, but was adamant on leaving the hotel by 8:30 for their visit of the Palace of Fine Arts. As they were walking around the water, he slowed Ashley down and started telling her how much he cared for her. Ashley happened to notice someone in the bushes taking their picture, and she started to ask them to stop when Rich got down on one knee. After she said YES, Rich introduced her to the sweet photographer he had hired to capture the special moment! “A majority of the photos were quite funny, but many of them a beautiful reminder of how special that day tuned out to be!” Ashley says.
The couple planned for an October 3rd wedding at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, IL. Ashley visited Hope’s in the Village of East Davenport, where she found her Allure bridal gown, Kitty Chen bridal belt, and Meg Jewelry. To achieve the perfect look, we added some gold crystals to the belt, earrings, and dress.
“Hope’s Bridal was extremely helpful in the wedding dress determination process. They provided me lots of options for the styles I was interested in and provided me honest feedback which I greatly appreciated! They were very accommodating and friendly! Great dress selections and great service!” Ashley shares.
The day of the wedding, Rich and Ashley did a “first look” in Davenport before heading to the country club. Ashley remembers, “It was a special moment I will never forget – the way Rich looked at me as I walked down the staircase at Hotel Blackhawk was priceless, and that memory will forever put a smile on my face instantly.”
Their wedding style was Rustic Elegance, and the day was gorgeous for their outdoor ceremony and tented reception. Ashley’s favorite memories are the speeches from her husband, their parents, and the best man and maid of honor.
For a unique guestbook, friends and family took photos of themselves with a camera that printed instant photos and placed each picture in the custom guestbook with a little message for the couple. A favorite hangout spot at the reception was a comfy seating area in the corner of the tent set up with couches and pillows. As it got dark, the newlyweds were able to capture some awesome shots outside with sparklers.
Since Rich is British, some of his family and friends brought blow up guitars and British flags to dance around with on the dance floor when the Rolling Stones and Beatles songs were playing. And to make sure their guests were able to have a blast and stay safe, Ashley and Rich hired transportation to pick up guests and take them back to their hotels.
Ashley has some tips for those planning their own big day: Don’t splurge on the little things (weddings are obviously super pricey and every little thing adds up!). Hiring someone for day of coordination will help decrease stress and allow your family and friends to enjoy more of the day instead of doing things the coordinator would do. Don’t sweat any of the small things that might go a little differently than you had planned, no one notices those little things except you! Ensure you have selected some good tunes so your guests can enjoy themselves on the dance floor and boogie the night away! Lastly, make sure to really enjoy yourself – you do so much planning for this one day!
Five days after the wedding, the newlyweds traveled to Italy for a honeymoon. They visited six cities in sixteen days: From Venice to Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome, Sorrento and finally Capri! “It was great to experience all the famous landmarks, wineries in Tuscany, amazing food (lots of wine, cheese, gelato and pasta) and the history and beauty of Italy together! It was a magical time and my husband did a fabulous job planning it all! He didn’t miss one single thing and made it such a memorable trip!”
Ashley and Rich added Sully, a Bernedoodle, to their family a few months after the wedding, and are enjoying planning for their future as husband and wife. “Enjoy the time right after the wedding to slow down and take it all in! Planning a wedding and the months leading up to the wedding are very stressful, so really take time to enjoy each other’s company without all the wedding distractions!” Ashley recommends.
Ashley, thank you so much for being a Hope’s bride and sharing your GORGEOUS real wedding with us! Many blessings to you and Rich!
Photographer: Jeff Wros from Rick Jennisch Photography
Coordination: Tamara Wendt Design
Venue: Oakwood Country Club
Flowers: Staacks Florist
Hair: Haus of Heir
Make Up: Made Up