This love story is truly one for the books! Meeting while on a study abroad program in London, Ashton and Tom’s love actually spans countries! Prepare yourself, this wedding will make your day!
How did you meet your fiance?
I was studying abroad in London for a semester my junior year in college and Tom was one of the eight boys I moved in with in the co-ed dorms where I was staying!
Tell us about the proposal!
After a morning of being pampered and having high tea with Tom’s sister, Hannah, Tom’s brother Adam picked me up and drove me down the country lanes to have “dinner at a manor house with Tom’s family” (as it was presented). Adam pulled over halfway there to give me an iPad with videos Tom had filmed of all our first dates and special London date spots to reminisce about how we first met.
We then arrived at the real location of Bodiam Castle, where the “castle-folk” took me up the top of the hill to the castle itself. After walking across the drawbridge over the moat, Tom was waiting in the sunlight in the middle of the castle. Tom proposed at the medieval castle in Kent, England, which was near where he grew up, and a place which held cherished childhood memories. He presented the ring, which had my English Nana’s diamond in it, set in a 1920’s art deco style setting, from Tom’s friend’s jewelers who also does the Queen’s jewels, in his hometown of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
After celebrating with glasses of champagne on the castle grounds, we took a private boat down the river Rother through the English countryside to the coastal town of Rye. We spent the night at The Mermaid Inn, an 11th century Tudor bed and breakfast, and wandered the cobbled streets of the town the next day.
The next weekend, my family unbeknownst to me who had flown over from the States, surprised me at the engagement drinks party with Tom’s friends and family!
How did you choose the location for your wedding? What type of venue were you looking for?
I wanted a traditional Charleston house with a garden and Tom wanted to be on the water, so The Palmer House was absolutely perfect! For the chapel, we choose St. Luke’s Chapel as it was very intimate and reminded us of English churches.
How did you decide on your bridesmaids dresses? Tell us about your experience at Bella!
I knew I wanted mix-match neutrals, and I wanted each of my bridesmaids to express their own personality while still maintaining a cohesive look. Allison at Charleston’s Bella Bridesmaids shared her expertise, as she consulted on the right looks and selected the right gowns for my bridesmaids to choose from. With her help, the final look was exactly on point as I had hoped!
Who designed your bridal gown? Where did you get it?
My dress was designed by Anne Barge which I got from White on Daniel Island. It was so comfortable and I love it so much, I want to wear it again!
What was your favorite part of the day?
The whole day was truly amazing, but I believe my favorite part was the moment we shared during the first dance.
I wanted the day to encompass Southern and English traditions and to have a feeling of an English garden tea party, yet without too strong of a theme. I was heavily inspired by Kate Moss’ wedding in the Cotswolds as captured in Vogue which was carefully curated but effortlessly elegant.
What advise do you have for other brides?
Enjoy the process as much as the day! I think many brides can get lost in the stresses but the planning process should be a positive experience. I loved spending the time planning the details with my mom. Also, remember the real point of the day – this is the moment where you begin a new chapter of your life with the love of your life. This especially resonated with me after years of trips back and forth to England and all of the visa paperwork to be actually be together. Basically, just plan wisely for the big day then let your worries go and have fun and take it all in!
Wedding Photo Credit: Olivia Rae James
Engagement Photo Credit: David Hunt