Ashleigh + Dylan

When Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown in South Africa, Ashleigh + Dylan decided to act quickly and organized their wedding in just TWO days! No, that is not a typo, TWO days!

Pulling off a “corona-miracle”, their family + vendors assisted them in creating a beautiful wedding day, with Hanrie sewing until the early hours of the morning + Ro from Oh Happy Day creating beautiful floral creations for them. Although it was not their original date or all the original plans, they were going to get married, and they did it in style, in our opinion!

A beautiful celebration with close family + friends, it certainly will be a day to tell the grandkids about!

Hooray: Hey guys, please introduce yourselves to the Hooray readers…
Ashleigh: Hi, we are Ashleigh-Jade and Dylan and we met at church. I had just returned from living in the UK for 5 years and decided I needed to get connected in the community again as a lot of my friend circles had changed. Dyl was the young adult’s pastor at the time, and although I had originally told my childhood best friend, “absolutely not going to happen” when she pointed him out to me as a “potential”, we struck up a great friendship and then one thing lead to another and here we are… (I’m SO glad my initial judgment of him was wrong. Dyl is my absolute best friend and I couldn’t imagine doing life with anyone else) We dated for just under 2 years before we got married. (if we had waited till our original date 18 July 2020 it would’ve been almost 2 years to the day!) 

Hooray: Tell us about your proposal
A + D: We got engaged on the 25th of January 2020 – also not that long ago! Dyl and I had discussed marriage for some time and knew that was where we were headed. We both agreed on not wanting a long engagement but with many family members and close friends living abroad, we wanted to give them enough time to save and plan their trips to SA. So we actually picked our wedding date before we got engaged. (Clearly, we have a history of doing things backward). My dream was to get married in a glass marquee, somewhere unique and not typically a “wedding” venue, so when I discovered Bosch Hoek Golf Estate I knew that was the dream. So Dyl and I, and our parents, decided to take a drive up one Saturday morning to go check it out and unbeknown to me Dyl had planned to propose while we were there. He walked me up to the top hill “lookout” point and proposed when we got to the top looking out over the whole estate. It wildly surprised me as I didn’t think the ring would be ready for at least another 2 weeks. (I was involved in the initial process of it being designed as all the stones are family heirlooms). After he proposed we made our way back down to our parents who had champagne and breakfast set up for us at the clubhouse. 

Hooray: We love how Dylan used family heirlooms in your engagement ring design, can you tell us more about this?
Ashleigh: Both of my ring/s are super sentimental. He was given stones from my mom, gran, and step gran. As well as the gold from different family members from both sides of our families.

Hooray: You must have had a rollercoaster of emotions leading up to the pending lockdown, how did you feel when President Ramaphosa announced the lockdown?
Ashleigh: All the “big” emotions happened in the lead-up/anticipation to lockdown so once the president made his announcement although my heart was sore, we realized what really mattered was that we wanted to be together, so we had a “let’s just do it” moment and decided to plan a wedding in two days!

Hooray: Gosh, we get GOOSEBUMPS thinking about planning a wedding in TWO days!  Tell us more about this process.
Ashleigh: It was nothing like the planning of my original wedding. All my expectations and ideas went out the window and we were consistently reworking the “plan” as we faced new challenges and restrictions. On the Wednesday morning, we had a venue and some assistance from vendors, by Wednesday lunchtime we had nothing but flowers, as vendors feared it was unwise to even be part of a small and intimate wedding. Only now as I reflect do I realize how resilient and flexible we were at that time. And by the time Thursday (wedding day) rolled around we had experienced many little miracles and moments that made it possible for us to even have the “marriage moment” that we did.

Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding
Ashleigh: Since we haven’t had our “dream wedding” due to corona and instead planned a much smaller intimate “marriage moment”, or at least that’s what I’m calling it, in a matter of 2 days (STILL DON’T KNOW HOW WE DID IT!?!?) we actually gave up almost everything I thought might have originally been a non-negotiable. In hindsight, I am so grateful that the most important part of marriage was highlighted through this, love. 

Love was the most non-negotiable, and corona couldn’t take that away from us. It was the thing that was most focused on, our love for each other, our love for God, and how much we are loved by the people around us, many who went out of their way to help us get married before lockdown! This reminded us that everything that we’ve missed out on, although beautiful and we hope to have in the future, isn’t what was going to make our marriage a good or happy one.  

And although we’ve had to process a lot of the disappointments, and starting our married life under these conditions isn’t ideal, it has made one thing very clear to us and that is how much we love, and choose, each other.

Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Ashleigh: Before Corona, “planning my wedding” was all I could think about, Pinterest got way too much of my time. I’m defs the girl who started her wedding board at 14 and despite that, after I got engaged I was SO excited I found myself scrolling through Pinterest until the early hours of the morning! Not my proudest moment but I am a big “celebration” lover, so the idea of finally having my own engagement party, kitchen tea, bachelorettes, etc had my creative party mind going WILD! One of the things I am most sad about is not having had my kitchen tea. My Frida-themed goodies are all patiently waiting for post-pandemic life. 

Hooray: You were gifted a painting during your ceremony… what is the meaning behind this?
A + D: Yes we were! In the original wedding planning, I had shared with my friend Stacey that I was looking for someone to “paint” during our ceremony, to try to capture the moment in a creative way, and attempt to communicate the atmosphere in even a spiritual way. So when our plans changed and we couldn’t have the big wedding, my friend created the moment in an abstract way of our two lives becoming one and almost heaven touching the earth as we vowed to love each other.

Hooray: What “original” wedding date things did you have?
Ashleigh: Our attire. Dyl has his outfit sorted for the main wedding already and although I had my dress — it needed some major alterations which Hanrie the miracle worker managed to do it 24 hours! I believe she stayed up way past her bedtime to finish hand stitching it for me so that I could get married in my original dress.

Hooray: How many people were at the celebration? How difficult was it to decide who can/can’t come?
Ashleigh: We had 19 people at the wedding. Our immediate family, without grandparents and few essential workers that couldn’t get off work to be there. And friends who played an important role in the ceremony — like our pastor, our good friend who sang for us so that we could include worship in the ceremony and another couple that has played an important role in our relationship guiding and mentoring.

We sadly couldn’t have any of the original wedding party there — and I know many of our closest friends’ hearts were broken not to be with us. Also! I now know why bridesmaids are so important, navigating that dress on my own was a tough job!

Hooray: Were others able to join through Zoom/Facetime?
A + D: Yes! We made a private Facebook group and streamed it via Facebook Live. It was so special to get photos of all our friends and family sitting at home all dressed up with a glass of champagne toasting us! It was really special to be able to share it via technology — many friends commented afterward saying the experience felt like the royal wedding! Which was such a win because I was initially worried streaming our wedding would be tacky and impersonal.

Hooray: The best moment of your wedding day?
Ashleigh: I loved walking down the aisle and seeing Dylan ugly crying for the first time. We joked so often about him crying when he saw me, and he was convinced that he wouldn’t – but I’m so glad he did. The photos capture the moment wonderfully 😉 haha.. It would be hard to say what the best moment was, but definitely the ceremony as a whole. We were able to worship together as a good friend came and sang for us, as well as our vows that we had each written, and our pastor is a good family friend and “big brother” type to both of us. So it was a very very special moment from start to finish.  

Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
A + D: Everything and nothing. I would have loved it if Corona Virus wasn’t a thing, and didn’t destroy all original plans. BUT at the same time, although it was a rollercoaster ride of a day/72 hours – I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
A + D: Corona Virus that put the entire country into lockdown. Even just within the 2 days of planning (9 pm Monday night after president address to our 4 pm wedding on Thursday before lockdown) many vendors that were happy to help us on Tuesday, were no longer happy to help us on Wednesday. I almost ended up doing my own makeup, we didn’t have many things I thought we could’ve made possible. But so grateful for a few key people that went above and beyond to make it possible. Hanrie worked late into the night doing the alterations to my dress so that I could wear it! Roe from Oh Happy Day was the absolute best putting all the flowers together for me. and the list goes on! 

Hooray: Have you got any plans for your second celebration?
A+ D: We’re finding it really hard to make plans. We have a new date penciled in but with the world and the economy looking the way that it does, my heart is very apprehensive to get my hopes up again. Regardless of what happens, we will have a celebration no doubt — but what that looks like exactly, we have no idea.

Hooray: Lastly, do you have any words of advice for brides that had to postpone their wedding day?
A + D: Keep your heart soft in the areas you’ve faced disappointment. This is something easier said than done as I’m still struggling to do it, but every time I’m faced with the choice to be bitter that I couldn’t have my dream wedding/kitchen tea, etc etc— I try and remember I got the main thing — LOVE and a husband! And that is for life.

Ashleigh and Dylan, thank you so much for sharing your wedding day with us today.
While we know it is not the day you had planned, we could almost feel the love surrounding you guys as you started your new journey together. Wishing you many more happy years together filled with love and celebrations.

We cannot wait to see your wedding day, v2.0!

Photography: Michigan Behn
Dress: Hanrie Lues
Florals: Oh Happy Day
Hair + Make Up: Cindy Laird 

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