There’s so much to love about the chilled-out beachside Jewish wedding of beautiful brides Ashley, a beloved member of our Smashing Life Jewish community, and Amanda! Obviously the setting was second to none, and we love that the couple’s top priority in planning the day was making sure their 90 guests had a blast.
We’re obsessed with their gorgeous ceremony in the round (held right on the beach, naturally), which lent the proceedings an intimate feel and meant as many guests as possible got a front-row view. Ashley and Amanda walked down separate aisles, meeting in the center under the chuppah – love it!
Ashley and Amanda both work in the fashion industry, so naturally choosing their gowns was serious business. Ultimately, the opted to work with New York-based designer Bevin Dillon to have their dresses custom made – both choosing the same beaded champagne fabric to have two totally different, and totally gorgeous, designs made. Don’t miss them in the wonderful photos by Leonardo Melendez!
We also love the pair’s approach to our favorite Jewish wedding tradition, smashing the glass! Both Ashley and Amanda were apprehensive about trying to break a glass with their heels on the sand, so instead they opted to do the smashing with hammers, festively wrapped in blue ribbon! Other things we can’t get enough of: the couple’s modern marble geometric ketubah from Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Ink with Intent, and the fact that the duo opted to highlight Ashley’s late mother’s favorite flowers – bougainvillea and orchids. How beautiful?!
Now over to Ashley…
How we Met
Ashley, the bride: Amanda and I are both in the fashion industry in Los Angeles. At the time we were both sales managers for different fashion brands and they were represented by the same showroom in Atlanta. We were at a fashion trade show in Atlanta and Amanda hit on me with an awkward pickup line that I rebuffed because I was in a relationship, but I was secretly intrigued.
We chatted a bit that night before she had to catch a flight back to LA and then we followed each other on social media. We ran into each other a couple years later at another fashion trade show in Dallas and could no longer ignore the obvious spark that was there. We’ve been inseparable since.
A Beach Wedding
We got married in Belize at Las Terrazas Resort. We picked Belize because my family has a vacation home there and we love spending time in our slice of paradise. Originally, we wanted to have the wedding at our house, but decided logistically it would be better to do it at Las Terrazas which is a gorgeous resort just a few nautical miles south of our house. We had 90 guests and they would all be able to stay in the same gorgeous place and the resort has amenities that everyone would love since they were all on vacation with us.
Our theme was FUN. We have both been to so many weddings over the years and really wanted to move away from the formal and stuffy routine of weddings. We wanted to be sure our guests just had a blast at a really fun party and could enjoy themselves and the vacation. The only requirement we asked of our guests was for everyone to wear white.
We used Minted to design our invitations.
Hair + Make-up
My cousin and close friend, Lana Horochowski, is an Emmy nominated make-up artist and she graciously agreed to do our make-up for the big day. She is ridiculously talented so it was amazing having her do that for us and something she never does so we felt pretty special.
Bevin Dillon Dresses
We both had our dresses custom made by a designer in NY named Bevin Dillon. Given we are both in the fashion industry we knew we wanted to go this route and have our dresses made exactly how we wanted them. We picked the same beaded champagne fabric to have our individual dresses made from. Amanda’s was a long halter dress with a dramatic slit and mine was a romper dress with and off shoulder sweetheart neckline and had a detachable chiffon skirt.
Neither of us had a veil. We went relatively simple with our jewellery wearing diamond drop necklaces and diamond earrings that we already owned.
Since we were having a beach wedding and would be on the sand we knew we needed to go the wedge route. I’m only 5’0 tall so having a heel was a must. We both wore a Badgley Mischka beaded wedge that was perfect for the beach.
We had both had our closest and long-time girlfriends as bridesmaids and we each had a Man of Honor. My best friend Kevin and Amanda’s best friend Jim both served as our Men of Honor and stood under the Chuppah with us. We had the rest of our bridesmaids walk in the procession, and then sit at the front when they got to the Chuppah. We did not make them wear specific dresses, but we required them to wear white (as we did for all of the guests).
The first decisions we made when we got engaged, was that we wanted my dear friend Mark Schmulen to be our officiant. It was really special to us to have him marry us and we will always love that he was part of our day. His wife Lindsay was also a bridesmaid. We wanted to keep the tradition of smashing the glass but we were both apprehensive about trying to break it with our heels and on the sand so we decided to use a hammer to break our glass that they wrapped with blue ribbon.
Our Ketubah hangs in our bedroom and I love the modern marble geometric design. We purchased it from Ink with Intent which my step-sister Courtney had recommended to us since she also had used them.
We wanted the Chuppah to be in the center of our ceremony in the round and to be dripping with Bougainvillea because this was my late mother’s favorite flower.
Our Music Choice
We were obsessed with the show Schitt’s Creek and we loved the acoustic version of Tina Turner’s ‘Simply The Best’ that was featured on the show so we decided it was perfect for us to walk down the aisle to. We also had the Golden Girls theme song, ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’, as the song our bridesmaids and groomsman walked down to. This was a nod to my late grandmother, Ruth, because she and I used to watch this show together every Friday night when I was young.
My mother’s favorite flowers were Bougainvillea and Orchids so those were the two flowers we had featured. I wanted to feel her presence surrounding me that day, so they were used in the Chuppah, table décor, and bridal bouquets.
We used a photographer who came highly recommended by our wedding planner, Carolyn Stone, from the resort. His name was Leonardo Melendez and we liked him because he focused on candid shots and captured everyone in the moment.
Food and Cake
Las Terrazas Resort provided all the catering as part of our wedding package. We had a beach buffet with stations that featured traditional Belizean foods by Chef Nolvin. Instead of doing the traditional cake we did a desert station. I didn’t want to interrupt everyone’s good time dancing with doing a cake cutting (that always annoys me at weddings) so that’s why we decided to forgo the traditional cake.
We brought a DJ in from San Diego named D’Ondre Essex, DJ Dre Motion. He DJ’d my cousin’s wedding and we really liked him so we decided it was best to go with the expense of flying him in then going with someone local that we wouldn’t have a chance to test before. We spent a lot of time going through music with him and sending him songs and song types to play. He was perfect and everyone was dancing till the very end.
We did welcome gift bags for all of our guests. We included a custom beach bag, hangover kits, Belizean rum, shot glasses, snacks, personalized koozies, and fans with flashlights.
We organized our wedding ceremony to be in the round. We wanted everyone to have the same view and for it to feel more intimate. Amanda and I walked down separate aisles in the center of the round ceremony so that we would meet in the middle together which was also special to us. At the cocktail hour we had tables set up with photos of us with all of our guests from over the years and it was fun seeing everyone looking through them and having a good laugh at all the memories we’ve had together.
Also, unbeknownst to me, Amanda had organized a dance with some of our friends to surprise me with. It was a Tina Turner mash-up of Simply the Best and Proud Mary and she had me sitting in the middle of the dancefloor while they danced around me.
We were already in paradise so we stayed in Belize of course!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
For us the keys to the perfect wedding were amazing people, great music, good food, and a top shelf open bar. Those were the most important things we knew we needed to have a great time and so everyone would have a blast. All the other details like flowers, décor, cake, etc are great, but they aren’t what people remember. It’s how you made them feel and that they can come away having a fantastic and fun night.
I think we knocked it out of the park by focusing on those things and prioritizing those in our budget. I tried to not stress about the things I couldn’t control the day of—at the end of the day, no one else knows when something isn’t exactly as you envisioned it so just relax and try to slow down to enjoy it. It’s over before you know it!
ASHLEY & AMANDA’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography – Leonardo Melendez
Wedding planner -Carolyn Stone from Las Terrazas Resort
Venue – Las Terrazas Resort
Bride’s dresses – Bevin Dillon
Bride’s shoes – Badgley Mischka
Hair + Makeup – Lana Horochowski
Flowers – La Bodeguita
Band – DJ Dre Motion
Catering – Las Terrazas Resort Chef Nolvin
Ketubah – Ink with Intent
Stationery/Invitation – Minted
Rabbi – Mark Schmulen – Rabbi from Houston helped him with the ceremony.
If you’re a Jewish or Jew-ish bride-to-be, you’ll want to join Smashing The Glass’ Brides Club. Guided by the world’s number 1 Jewish wedding expert, Karen Cinnamon, Brides Club is the private community for Jewish and Jew-ish brides that removes wedstress and indecision and gives you what you need to plan with confidence during these uncertain times. Join our Brides Club here.