The Amalfi Coast did them in…
It seemed like a fairy tale romance being whisked away to Italy only weeks after professing her love to him. It was only a couple months earlier in October ’07 that Ashley had met Franco… She was out to make her appearance at Riviera Magazine’s yearly anniversary party and what seemed like an uneventful evening turned into one of the most important evenings of her life. As she stood there making polite conversation with Franco she noticed there was something different about him. Ashley is not the type of girl that has a hard time conveying what she wants to say… but there she was, fumbling her words, getting sweaty palms, and doing her best not to loose herself in Franco’s infectious smile or his engaging personality. Franco will tell you to this very day that he almost immediately knew that he was talking to the girl that he was going to marry. Ashley, smitten from their first meeting kept her feelings to herself using every opportunity after that meeting just to be in his presence. Once it finally got to a point where she could not take it anymore, a plan was devised; Ask Franco to dinner and tell him how she felt. Ashley was relieved when Franco did not bat an eye as she professed her love for him over dinner and a couple glasses of wine. When she was finished Franco explained to her that he had known since the first time he talked to her that they were meant to be…
(skip back to Italy)
They rented a speed boat earlier that day and as they laid there on the sands of some random beach on the Amalfi coast, Ashley couldn’t help but think about how fast things were moving. Here she was, spending the day motoring from beach to beach, meeting new friends and drinking Italian beer on the yachts of friendly locals. The two were having the time of their lives, together. That trip to Italy only plunged Ashley and Franco deeper in love.
Franco waited until September of that year to give her the ring. In true Franco fashion he remained tight lipped about the event until he was able to get Ashley on a gondola in Newport harbor. There, with Andera Bocelli playing in the background, conjuring images and memories of their whirlwind romance in Italy. Franco took her ring from his pocket and without hesitation Ashley said the magic word… YES.
They were married a year later in August of 2009 and I was there.
The Ceremony was at St. Catherine of Sienna chapel in Laguna Beach. The reception site, Maison des Oliviers is a private estate in the hills of San Juan Capistrano. It offered Ashley and Franco exactly what they were looking for: Tuscan Italy (the place they truly fell in love) with a touch of the south of France, without the travel. Working with Gianna of Chic-Celebrations the planning went off without a hitch. Ashley wanted to celebrate her new Italian Family’s culture by incorporating it not only into the menu, but also the décor. All Table Names, Favor Signs etc. were written in Italian. Italian beer, wine, cheese and meats were laid out in a buffet that Ashley designed herself. Bags of fresh ground Italian coffee were sent home with guests as favors. Because it was so hot this summer, guests were offered parasols and sandals at the reception. Long feasting tables, covered with fresh potted herbs, thyme infused candles, vintage books and cherubs were perfect for the old world romance feel Franco and Ashley wanted. Centerpieces were made of Hydrangea, grape leaves, Spanish moss, olive branches and curly willow. Rich cream linens were accented with table runners, and gold chargers. A sprig of fresh rosemary was placed on each place setting to signify love and loyalty. Pictures of their parents and grandparents were set out on the guest book table as guests entered. Through the night the lounge style nook, made for the perfect dance area. Ashley still wanted to make sure guests felt at home so side tables were put out with pillar candles for dim lighting and set with white cushions so guests could be comfortable when they weren’t dancing. While they wanted the wedding to be luxurious, they still wanted to stay within a reasonable budget. Patti, the Mother of the Groom, even did the centerpieces herself that morning. Guest Seating chart , invitations and signage was made by the grooms sister . Franco’s grandmother even made 200 cream puffs for dessert because what’s an Italian wedding without cream puffs?
Some of you might recognize Ashley from the pictures below… She is quite the successful Actress/Singer. Just some of Ashley’s credits include being an American Idol and having a re-occurring role on “the OC”. She just recently released a CD and is the face of CBS mobile. Her newest project is a new MTV series called “Kiss and Tell; the dos and don’ts of dating”. It will be premiering soon so watch your local listings. (or watch my twitter page).
Franco and Ashley’s wedding was a small and intimate affair that was so full of love that I couldn’t help but feel like I was part of that big Italian family that day… I walked around with a huge smile on my face though out the whole thing. It was exactly what every bride hopes for; a wedding that people are still talking about months later.
Dress: Melissa Sweet
Bridesmaids: Davids Bridal
Suit: John Varvatos
Reception: Maison des Oliviers, Private Estate, San Juan Captistrano
Coordination/Design: Chic Celebrations