After postponing their wedding due to COVID, Ashley and Bob decided they could not wait any longer to marry each other and organised a beautiful ceremony in only 11 days! They wed on 19th December 2020 at the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, also known as the Honeycomb, in Chicago, IL.
Photography by Furla Studio
Who proposed and how?
Bob and I went to The Capital Grille steakhouse on New Year's Eve, Dec 31, 2019, for dinner with his sister, Jayne, and her son, Jack. I had no idea that Bob was going to propose that evening!! I did, however, think that Jayne was acting a little odd during dinner and that it was just a little out of the ordinary when she had offered me her lipstick, as I had mentioned I had forgotten mine. Once our dinner plates were cleared, Bob turned to me (that evening we were same-siders, aka sitting on the same side of the booth, next to each other), and he said something like, "Ash, I want to start off the new year as a couple." I honestly feel like I blacked out!!! So, I had to ask him what exactly he said to me. He tells me he said, "Honey I love you very much. The last 10 months of my life have been incredible since I've known you. You've brought so much love into my life. I want to start the new year off as a couple. (Then he got down on one knee and asked...) Will you marry me?" I was crying and not sure I responded immediately because I was so in shock. Of course, I said YES!!! :). Everyone in the restaurant applauded for us! The manager of the restaurant even brought us over a wrapped gift which was a beautiful set of steak knives! :) Jayne had told me after the fact she was so nervous as she wanted to be able to capture the moment for us perfectly on camera, which she did! :)
When was your wedding?
We had planned our wedding for 12/12/2020 and were estimating around 150 guests. Once Covid hit, we were forced to cancel our original plans, and then eventually had to cancel our back up plans. At the end of November, we had made the extremely tough decision to cancel our church wedding, as we felt it was too risky to have any of our family indoors and staying at a hotel. Within days of deciding to cancel, Bob and I sat down and had a heart to heart, expressing how much we both just wanted to be married and start our lives together. On December 9, 2020, we threw caution to the wind (after already having canceled my last dress fitting and apologising profusely to our florist and photographer as we had canceled both) and decided to try to pull this wedding off in 11 days!
We decided we wanted to get married outdoors, where it would be a little bit safer due to Covid. So we picked one of our favorite Chicago landmarks, then called Bob's family friend, who is a judge in Chicago, to see if she could perform our wedding ceremony for us on December 19, 2020. She was available! I called my parents to see if they could drive up, which is about 4 hours from their home in Southern Indiana. They were IN! Bob's older sister, Jayne, and her 4 year old son would also be standing there beside us on our big day! Bob and Jayne's good friend, Gus, is extremely savvy with Zoom. He took care of all of the audio/visual needs, allowing my two sisters (both residing in Indiana, unable to attend in person because of Covid), Natalie and Valerie, to take part in our ceremony by each delivering a reading. My 94 year old grandmother was able to join via Zoom. Bob's parents, who reside in Florida, were able to join via Zoom, along with a few of our other close family and friends. We also had a few local friends who were able to attend in person, which was so wonderful!!
What was your vision for your wedding?
My original vision for the wedding was going to be all glam, romantic, and kind of 'Old Chicago'. Our first reception hall (pre-Covid) was going to be a historical Chicago building built in the early 1900's for our wedding to have that 'Old Chicago' vibe. I had even picked out all of the bridesmaids' and flower girls' dresses to be different shades of glam: champagne, rose gold, gunmetal, and a pop of lavender, all with extravagant beading to tie in the beading on my wedding gown. I had also envisioned myself, Bob, and all of our wedding party to ride around the city on a big heated limo bus, stopping at all of our favourite Chicago landmarks to take photos on our big day.
What shoes did you choose?
I was so lucky to be able to have the opportunity to work directly with Emmy to design my shoes! I had the freedom to pick from several different embellishment options, basically any colour I wanted, and the perfect height and width for my best fit on my big day to ensure endless comfort! I went with the 3 inch skinny heel Bluebell! It was an absolute gorgeously stunning heel! I was sent several different options throughout the designing process, and when the completed pair arrived, it was hard to believe what my eyes were seeing!
"They were truly like Cinderella's magical shoes straight out of the fairy tale!"
How was your experience with Emmy London?
"My experience with Emmy London is one I will never forget and one I will cherish all my life."
I had never dreamed of being able to walk comfortably in a pair of heels on my wedding day, let alone in a pair that ended up being the most extraordinary pair I had ever set my eyes on or slipped my feet into! The whole process in itself was a dream! Having access to Emmy, International Creative Director and Founder, was astonishing to me! Emmy was so down to Earth. She was so kind, generous and thorough throughout the entire process. I did have to ask her to send a few additional samples to me to try, as I was not certain what size heel and heel height would be the best fit. Without any issue, my samples were sent out straight away, arriving extremely quickly, especially for international shipping. Returning the samples was also extremely easy.
No detail was missed! Emmy made sure the crystals on the shoes and on my hair accessory were exactly, to a "t", how I envisioned them. I also received more than one hand written note from Emmy along with a sketch she drew for me of the shoe she created! She was even able to include my birthstone and my husband's birthstone on the bottom of my heels!
"Everything was completely exemplary from start to finish!"
I'm just starting to wonder now if everyone in London is just friendlier than in the US?! :). Emmy and her team sure showed me the VIP treatment!!! Emmy may be a bit of a secret to some in the US, but not for long!!!
"If any woman walking around in her designer shoes knew what she was missing having not tried on a pair of Emmy London's for a day, she would be beside herself!"
I had purchased multiple pairs of insoles, thinking I would need as much cushion and padding as I could possibly fit, to comfortably walk in the heels. I was so wrong! I didn't need any of it! I walked around in Emmy's heels for hours on my wedding day without any inserts and never felt any pain!
What were your most memorable and favourite moments of the day?
Gosh, in some ways, the day was such a blur... I was SO READY to marry the love of my life!!! After so many challenges over the last several months, dealing with this pandemic, I was so ready for us to just start our lives together!! :) I think having my mom and dad with me, helping me get ready, on the morning of my wedding day, was so special to me. We couldn't risk them staying in a hotel due to covid, so they piled into Bob's and my (not huge) two bedroom condo the night before the wedding!! We just made it work!! That night, I made us a yummy dinner, and we all sat down and decided on the four readings for the ceremony the next day. In the morning, dad fixed his signature bacon and eggs (although I didn't have a single bite before the ceremony due to rushing around and nerves!), we listened to some great music, and just enjoyed the morning, counting down the minutes until Bob and I would say "I do!"
I had purchased a pair of warm silver and ivory fur-lined boots, as it was a bit of a hike from the parking spot to the point we would wed, underneath the Honeycomb. At the top of the bridge, before making my way down to my groom for our first looks, Jayne kindly helped me change out of my boots and into my Emmy London's!!! I then turned into Cinderella! It was a chilly December day, about 38 degrees (actually a little warm for Chicago December), and I had on my grandmother's mink stole she had given me a few years ago along with the mask my mom had handmade for me (thanks Covid!). Unintentionally, I had made my groom wait about 20 minutes past what we had planned on as we were having trouble getting my dress bustled up properly. Thankfully, he did not give up on me, even though I'm sure he was turning into a popsicle!! I just remember wanting to run up to him and tap him on the shoulder for him to see me! When I watched our video, I heard the photographer saying, "Ashley, slow down!!" HA!!! Another testimony of how easy it was for me to glide, almost run to my groom in my Emmy London heels!! Did I mention I was ready to marry the love of my life?!! :)
The ceremony was chilly, but all I could think about was HOW HAPPY I was. How, in this moment, our lives would be forever intertwined, and I would never be alone again, nor would he. He would always have me there to help him get through any situation life dealt us. I was so happy. It was amazing to be able to have so many of our friends be included via zoom! We also were able to have my English Cream Golden Retriever, Oliver Dale, join us! The day was so imperfectly perfect. All of the stressors and worries I had over the last 10 months had instantly melted away. The day truly was just about us. I am so happy it turned out the way it did!
Is there any advice you would give to future couples, in the buying shoes process or in any aspect of the wedding experience?
I would say to a future bride to consider what is ultimately important to her, what she envisions her special day to be like, and what are a few things she would really treat herself to on that big day. Comfort (or discomfort) for your feet can really make or break your day. You want to choose a pair of heels that really match your style and personality or maybe even a pair that you have always dreamed of wearing but never thought you could in your everyday life. This is YOUR day! You get to do whatever the heck you want!!! Do not let anyone tell you differently! If anyone is trying to insert their ideas or their vision, remind yourself that the only person who needs to be pleased that day is yourself and your groom! :) Do what makes YOU both happy!!!
"I can honestly say my bespoke experience with Emmy London was the best decision I made for the wedding."
I would do it over again the same way if I had the chance! You will not be sorry! Emmy London blew my highest expectations way out of the water!!!
- I found my dress at Kleinfeld's New York in January 2020, before Covid hit. Ana was my awesome stylist who helped me at Kleinfeld's. My dress is a Sottero and Midgley by Maggie Sottero.
- My veil is by Christie Lauren.
- My hair accessory was custom made by Emmy London.
- My shoes, of course, were custom made by Emmy London: 3 inch Bluebells.
- My 'something borrowed' was the beautiful South Sea Tahitian Pearl and diamond necklace, which belongs to Jayne. She was also kind enough to have matching earrings custom made to match, which I was lucky enough to wear! Those were from New York Jewelers.
- I also had my Grandmother's bow from her wedding gown wrapped around my bouquet, which was very special to me.
- Bob had his tuxedo custom made at Nicholas Joseph Custom Suits You, here, in Chicago. Katie at Nicholas Joseph was a dream to work with and made Bob feel like 'Man-derella'!! :)
- Bob's shoes were Salvatore Ferragamo.
- Our beautiful flowers were done by Steve's Flower Market in Chicago.
- Our talented photographer was Furla Studio, also in Chicago.
- Our venue was the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, aka the Honeycomb, in Chicago.
- My wedding day glam team was 'Yours Truly', as we were taking precautions for Covid very seriously.
- Our post-ceremony private chef dinner was created by the ultra-talented Chef Jacquelyn Prater Lord.