Dress: Palmer by Rime Arodaky
Where: Chelsea Town Hall, London
Studio: Notting Hill
Most weddings this year likely took on 1 of 2 themes: “All you need is love” or “Love is patient.” Both are fair and valid, and we opted for the former.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Ashley. I moved to London 5 years ago from the U.S. after 3 years of long-distance with my now husband.
How did you meet your Groom?
Ironically, Matt and I are from the same hometown, Buffalo, NY, and we both moved to Boston, MA, after college. But, we didn’t meet until our late 20s/early 30s. We met through mutual friends, naturally also from Buffalo (…one could say Buffaloians simply can’t get enough of each other).
A few months into our relationship, he got a job offer in London. As we both felt there was an undeniable connection that we weren’t ready to let go of, we took the long-distance leap across the Atlantic, from Boston to London.
How did you come across The Mews?
We live in Notting Hill and after passing by The Mews many times, and I always appreciated how from the outside looking in, it didn’t appear to be your typical bridal boutique. And, this was reaffirmed when I visited the website which showcased the gorgeous, classy, yet cool and chic selection of French designers.
What styles were you channeling whilst dress shopping?
I was not 100% sure of what I wanted, but I knew that I wanted it to be some sort of balance between light and lacey, timeless and comfortable.
Tell us about finding your perfect Wedding dress?
While (even pre-COVID) it was tricky for U.S.-based family and lifelong friends to come along for the dress-shopping experience, I thankfully have some incredible friends here in London who were just as excited to join me. In addition, the team at The Mews made us feel welcome and “at-home” upon our arrival. Natural, easygoing girl-talk and bubbles were flowing from the get-go.
I kept a very open mind and tried on a whole range of styles, but as soon as I tried on Rime Arodaky, I just knew—the way the dresses fit me, the way I felt when I moved in them. And, when I tried on the Palmer, the lack of words and sweet tears in all of our eyes said it all.
Where did your wedding day take place? Was there any themes or inspiration behind your day?
Our initial wedding plans were completely turned upside down and inside out, much like most of 2020. We rode the COVID rollercoaster, like many other couples, and were really unsure what would be feasible come our big day. Most weddings this year likely took on 1 of 2 themes: “All you need is love” or “Love is patient”. Both are fair and valid, and we opted for the former.
We decided that as long as regulations permitted us to do so, we would still get legally married on our original date–even if that meant it would just be the two of us. We’ve been together for almost 9 years, and this year in itself has reiterated the importance of slowing down, appreciating the little and everyday things, and cherishing the love we have in our lives.
As the regulations seemed to change by the minute, the final details of the day came down to the last minute (i.e., the evening prior, a friend and I scoured the many flower stands between Kensington and Chelsea to make the table arrangements)! Overall, we were very fortunate and lucky that our wedding date fell within a brief window of time that allowed us up to 30 guests to join us and that one of our favourite pubs, The Orange, had their first floor available for hire.
We welcomed our U.S. family and friends virtually via Zoom to the ceremony at Chelsea Town Hall. While it was a bit surreal that they were not physically present, but we certainly felt their love and support from afar. We also had 20 of our closest friends here, our London fri-amily, if you will, join us for the dinner that followed. The intimacy of group size brought with it a no pressure, no worries, lightness. We found ourselves floating between our own love and the genuine joy was being exuded by each and every person.
What did he wear?
In lieu of a formal suit or tux, Matt went for a classic navy jacket and light-blue floral printed trousers. His pocket square donned a design that is a nod to his favourite band, Phish. And, he sported custom-made socks that had our faces imprinted as Mr. & Mrs.
What was your favourite detail of the day?
Each stage of the day was special in its own way, from getting ready to the first look at Chelsea Physic Garden to the virtual ceremony and so on. But the cherry on top was that our friends surprised us and hired a band, Big Smoke Brass – UK, to greet us as we made our entrance to the steps of Chelsea Town Hall to the tune of “All you need is love” by the Beatles.
The band played on and led us for the 20-minute walk to the pub. Residents along the way opened their doors and came out to the streets to share smiles and good cheer… something the world needs a little more of right now.
Upon reaching the pub, the final song, “Africa” by Toto played, and Matt and I had a very impromptu “first dance” in the square outside the pub.
What advise would you give out to a bride to be about finding the perfect dress?
Have fun with it. Keep an open mind. Even try on the dresses that aren’t your style that may give you a laugh, or maybe take you by surprise!
Words of wedded wisdom?
Leading up to and on the actual wedding day (and heck, in life in general), there is only so much we can control. However, we can control how we ride the wave and react. Try to channel that, keeping in mind that the wedding itself is truly, simply about the two of you and your love of each other.
Day of and onwards, cherish each other and every moment, big and small.