Not many love stories begin with one person in a minion costume confessing their love in a crowded bar on Halloween. But for Nicole and Ashley Dillon, that’s exactly how their romance started. “She didn’t really hear me, so I pretended like I didn’t say anything,” remembers Nicole of the moment. But a week later, Ashley said they should “revisit the conversation”—proof that she did, in fact, hear Nicole! “We never looked back after that,” Nicole says.
The couple was first introduced during a flag football league in 2014 and three years later, Nicole popped the question while vacationing in Montauk, New York. Ashley’s ring—a custom aqua stone set on a rose gold band—would eventually serve as inspiration for their wedding day, but not before Ashley returned the favor. “About eight months [after the proposal], I came home from work and found Ashley had strung up a bunch of pictures of us from over the course of our relationship with cute notes written on the back,” recalls Nicole. “She asked me to marry her too so I would know how it felt.”
Then, plans for their downtown Los Angeles celebration began. “We wanted our day to be elegant but nothing too stuffy or formal,” says the couple, so they hired wedding planner Heather Freedman of Delmar Events and event designer Sara Beveridge of Golden Poppy Events. Urban venue City Market Social House housed both the ceremony and the music-filled celebration that followed and a quintessential fall color scheme of rose gold, burgundy, and aqua defined the day.
Nicole and Ashley took on plenty of DIY projects, too. From their seating chart display, which now sits in their home, to their sentimental favors to their place settings, no factor was forgotten—including unique activities for their littlest guests! Ahead, all the details from their fall 2019 wedding day, as planned by Heather Freedman of Delmar Events and photographed by Clarkie Photography.
[My dress] felt like me right away. It was light and airy and gave me the freedom I knew I’d need to hit the dance floor hard!
While the couple went dress shopping together, they stayed on separate sides of a Minneapolis-based bridal salon to keep their final looks a surprise. “Ash’s mom, sisters, and friends were able to go back and forth to see us,” Nicole explains of the experience. During the trip, she said yes to a V-neck, cap-sleeved number by Catherine Deane, saying, “It felt like me right away. It was light and airy and gave me the freedom I knew I’d need to hit the dance floor hard!”
Ashley, on the other hand, ended up falling for a gown she never initially imagined herself in. “I thought I wanted a fun print, fitted, and absolutely no train,” she admits. Instead, she was sold on a simple satin look by Tara LaTour—complete with an A-line silhouette, pockets—and, yes, even a train.
After getting ready alone with their bridal parties, Nicole and Ashley met on the streets of Los Angeles for a heartwarming first look.
“We purposely did a two-year engagement to give ourselves enough time to plan at a non-frenzied pace,” Ashley shares. The easiest decision (and one of the earliest!) was hiring photographer Richard Clarke of Clarkie Photography. “We met him at a restaurant and hit it off immediately. He made us feel so at ease that by the end of the evening our decision was a no-brainer.”
Both their wedding planner and event designer help ease any wedding-related stress that inevitably came the brides’ way. “They were the most amazing duo we could have asked for,” Nicole and Ashley praise. “We felt completely supported during our time with them. No question or detail was insignificant to them. They felt more like family by the time the wedding rolled around.”
The ceremony took place inside their industrial downtown Los Angeles venue, City Market Social House. “We loved the openness of the space,” share the brides, who decorated the room pampas grass arrangements, black chairs, and neutral drapes.
A four-post copper arch accented by warm-toned seasonal flowers served as their wedding altar. Nicole and Ashley also borrowed two area rugs from home (they matched the color scheme perfectly) to soften the space.
Nicole knew who would officiate her wedding long before she had even met Ashley. In fact, she made a pact with her best friend, Kaitlyn, as high school students that she would one day officiate her wedding. “I think she got ordained just a few weeks later to really seal the deal,” laughs Nicole.
We always say, ‘When you know, you know,’ about us ending up together and our vows conveyed that.
The brides wrote their own vows and described reading their tributes to each other aloud as a “magical experience.” They add, “It’s not easy to sum up five years of knowing and loving someone but we captured everything we wanted to tell each other. We always say, ‘When you know, you know,’ about us ending up together and our vows conveyed that.”
After an emotional ceremony full of laughs and happy tears, Nicole and Ashley sealed their marriage with a kiss and recessed down the aisle to “Just You and I” by Tom Walker.
As guests migrated to cocktail hour, the newlyweds stole a few private moments outside, giving each other congratulatory high gives and admiring their newest accessories, custom wedding bands.
Ashley’s vibrant bouquet was more than just a bundle of flowers—it was handmade by Nicole ahead of the wedding! “She went to a flower shop in West Hollywood the day before our wedding and picked out all my favorite flowers,” describes Ashley. Nicole wrapped the stems in pale blue and fastened a photo of Ashley’s late father, so he could be with the bride on her special day.
“We had family and friends traveling from all over the country so we wanted to express our gratitude through great food, adult beverages, and dancing,” says the couple on their mission for the entire evening.
At cocktail hour, guests indulged in a raw bar and 10 different passed plates.
The couple scattered games like oversized Connect Four and giant Jenga on the venue’s outdoor patio to entertain their younger (and older!) guests throughout the night.
While Nicole and Ashley tackled several DIY projects for the nuptials, the most impressive was their seating chart display that featured table assignments printed on wine bottles. The piece now lives in their home and showcases their rotating wine collection.
“We wanted to keep our reception tables pretty minimal,” admits the newlyweds, who lined wooden tables with either petite floral arrangements or palm leaf table runners. A pop of color came from aqua glassware, a nod to their original wedding inspiration.
As guests found their seats, they were greeted by menus (boasting food stations of poké and barbeque) as well as custom drink coasters. The favors, which featured an etch of California and a bottle opener on the backside, were wrapped in handwritten notes from the newlyweds.
Make decisions for your wedding that will make you happy, not others. You can’t please everyone so you might as well focus on making the two people whose day it is happy!
After making their grand entrance (before the wedding party!), Nicole and Ashley danced to “Mad Love” by Jackie’s Boy. Each bride then took turns dancing with Nicole’s father to Tracy Chapman’s “The Promise.”
“We are not exaggerating when we say we had the best live 10-piece band,” proclaim the couple, who hired Gold Standard of Downbeat for the big day. Ashley and Nicole spent plenty of time curating the perfect playlist for the dance portion of the night, including old classics and new tracks. “The dancing did not stop, which is exactly what we wanted.”
A traditional wedding cake wasn’t on the menu for this October nuptials. Instead, the brides offered ice cream push pops from Bluebird Ice Creamery, with flavors such as cappuccino crunch, toasted marshmallow, and blackberry sorbet.
“The most important thing for us was to throw an amazing party celebrating our love,” the couple shares when all was said and done. “Make decisions for your wedding that will make you happy, not others. You can’t please everyone so you might as well focus on making the two people whose day it is happy!”