Real Weddings

Ashley & Philip

Ashley & Philip Wedding

Philip and I met during high school and have been inseparable since we were 15. We both knew from a young age – just a year in – that this was it. We loved growing up together on the coast – all summer we would skate down to the beach to hang out and swim all day long. In the early days Philip told me that we would one day get married. He has always had such a sensitive heart and thought so far into the future.

Despite all of the changes that happen between 15 and 24, we tried our best to grow together, and so, as a result, we have never felt more meant for each other than we do today. Philip and I bring out each other’s strengths and push each other to achieve our goals in life. He was always the one for me – we click in every way and we’ve built a life together. Philip asked me to marry him after the 2018 Christmas fireworks at Orewa Beach where we grew up.

On our first holiday far away together, to Cape Town, South Africa in 2017, my aunt suggested we stay at Vrede en Lust Estate. The morning we were checking out of the boutique hotel we saw that they were setting up for a wedding and started talking to the wedding co-ordinator about the wedding packages that day. It became our dream venue.

South Africa’s Franschhoek Valley remains the most beautiful place we’ve been to. We were so happy to show our family and friends the amazing area we’d travelled to and fallen in love with. The location also meant that family that wouldn’t have been able to make the trip all the way to New Zealand were able to join us.

We chose to have an early summer wedding so that our best man and maid of honour could join us while on their uni break. It was fantastic timing as we wanted an outdoor ceremony. The perfect weather was also great for the weeks before and after the wedding which were jampacked with activities, including a safari

Our wedding theme was organic and wild. The venue tied into the look with the historic Cape Dutch buildings, like the manor house which was built in 1688. The grounds were not overly manicured and let the gorgeous landscape speak for itself.

We incorporated our favourite colours into the day with wildflowers in rich shades of burgundy and lots of greenery. I love the wild elegance of proteas, so I had to include them as a nod to the location – they are native to the Western Cape. As it was summer I was also able to have peonies which added to the organic textured theme. The wild and natural arrangements tied into our theme and we carried the pops of burgundy through with our napkins. We kept the décor simple as the venue and its surrounding area were so beautiful that we didn’t need much else.

I found that the only wedding dress styles I liked seemed to come from designers based in New York or Spain! I instead went for a custom design from Ellie Atelier who created my dream backless gown. I kept the dress simple and elegant, with the only detailing being the textures of the skirt and the fabric. The whole wedding was about raw texture. We used a gorgeous cream dupion silk from Philip’s mother’s wedding dress for the bodice. It was a nice way to pass the dress through the family, as she has all boys, but still, have my own style. The dress had spaghetti straps with a low back and plunge front. It was tight to my waist, then flared out into a cascading A-line skirt. The bottom layers were made from silk taffeta and tulle that Ellie matched perfectly to the 30-year-old silk. We purposefully made the skirt as thin as possible to cater to the heat and for more ease when travelling across the world with it.

The moments I spent walking down the aisle were so memorable as the decade before all came together. Philip and I never dreamed it would be such a perfect day. We hope our guests enjoyed spending time together in a foreign country. I do wish we had paid more attention to the live video – we didn’t realise how many people would tune in at four in the morning New Zealand time to watch us say our vows and were so honoured. We didn’t quite realise how lucky we were until the last few months. Our hearts go out to the gorgeous couples who’ve had to postpone or cancel weddings. We are so happy to have had the chance to reunite family and have such amazing adventures.

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