Ashley and Jon’s Sophisticated Wedding at The Fairmont San Francisco

As Ashley can vouch for, Jonathan has always had a trick up his sleeve. His most infamous? A surprise proposal, made in front of Ashley and Jonathan’s closest friends and family. It was complete with their home covered in bouquets of red and white roses, a rose petal pathway, and a ring placed in the center of a petal heart. Needless to say, Ashley accepted the ring, designed by her friend Scott Shear of Summit Diamond.

The couple, who met through a neighbor in downtown Raleigh, took to Ashley’s native Bay Area for the celebration. The ceremony took place in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where the bride wore a dress by Oscar de la Renta and Jimmy Choo heels. To match, Jon sported a white bow tie. The bridal party offered an elegant contrast to the couple, with bridesmaids in floor-length black dresses and groomsmen in sharp black suits.

Envisioning a romantic outdoor reception in a secluded garden, the two chose a venue that was near and dear to the bride’s heart. Growing up, Ashley and her mother would stay at the The Fairmont San Francisco during weekend trips. With its high ceilings and ornate detailing, the hotel’s historic Venetian room made it the perfect fit.

An intimate setting was created for the reception. Candles offered soft flickers of light. Tables were adorned with roses, and thick, lush greenery loomed from above. The most important

part for the family-oriented couple was to create a warm welcome for their guests. “It was important to us that each and every one of our guests knew that their presence at our wedding meant a lot to us,” Ashley says. That started with the little details. Each menu was labeled with the guest’s name. For favors, guests received welcome baskets with a special note from the bride and groom.

Ashley and Jonathan gave the same touch to the rest of the celebration. A former starting offensive lineman for North Carolina State University, Jon gifted his fellow sports-loving groomsmen Nike+ SportWatches. Bridesmaids were given Lalee earrings and monogrammed

Mary and Lucy shirts to be worn while getting ready. In lieu of a groom’s gift, the couple gave Ashley’s mother a diamond ring. “My husband wanted my mom to know that he was not only going to love and support me for the rest of my life, but also her as well,” says Ashley.

The fun-loving couple also wanted to make sure to infuse plenty of personality into the big day. The bridal party made a grand entrance to Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” and the bride surprised her husband with a performance of John Legend’s “All of Me.” Fittingly, Southern-inspired dishes—from classic shrimp and grits to fried chicken and waffles—were served.

Ashley has one piece of advice for brides-to-be: “Take a minute to yourself and look around you,” she says. “Let every special face you see bring happiness to your heart… There is no better feeling in the world than the love that surrounds you on that day.”