Shadley + Ashleigh | Real Wedding Feature
This wedding is everything we love in a real wedding feature and more.
Shadley + Ashleigh got ready at the infamous Daddy Long Legs hotel on Long Street which followed with a yellow taxi ride to their ceremony which took place at the gorgeous Central Methodist Church in the heart of Cape Towns CBD.
They designed a day true to them in every single way. With a pink suit, ROCKING wedding dress, Shadley on the drums and a “potluck” dessert table with Ash’s infamous rice-krispie treats. These two prove that your wedding doesn’t have to be 3 course meals and a whole heap of fuss.
Ash provides our readers with some of the best advice we have ever heard: “when your style exceeds your pocket, it’s important to play to your strengths and do what you can with what you have instead of trying to do the impossible because it’s what you want”.
With so many newly weds starting their lives in debt because they “want” a certain type of wedding, we love the fact that Ash + Shadley stayed true to themselves while still being budget savvy.
Scroll down to see more of this incredible wedding.
Amazing photography by Tanya Kinnear Photography
Hooray: Tell us, how did you and Shadley meet?
Ash: Shadley and I were Facebook friends for a long time before developing a friendship and becoming romantically involved. I’ve always found it interesting and quite special that we were acquainted for ages before our paths crossed for this next chapter in our lives. We were different then, and I think if we made a connection at any other time, we would not be married today. He was so not my type, but I do remember seeing his name on my feed a few times and thinking to myself, “Oh, there’s that guy”. I’m not sure if that’s what people mean when they say “you just know” – very uninspiring stuff! I would eventually fly to Johannesburg for work, and meet Shadley on the day of his birthday – which just so happened to coincide with my trip. I twisted a friends arm to stop at the local PicknPay and arrived at his uncle and aunt’s place with cake and candles. We spent the afternoon talking about the possibility of a relationship, and went out on our first date – to Milky Lane. I made him sign a napkin, promising that we would make many more memories together; I think we did quite well for ourselves!
Hooray: When + how did he propose? Give us ALL the details.
Ash: Shadley proposed two days shy of my 24th birthday. We both knew that we were ready to get married so I was expecting a proposal. It was just up to him when and where it would happen. Between the two of us, I am the queen of surprises, and so I did not think that Shadley would be able to keep a secret from me. But he did!
After an afternoon spent with friends, we got tickets to go on the Cape Wheel – It still goes down as one of the most beautiful views I have seen! I was taking all the pictures and hoping the ride would go on, and on, when all of a sudden Shadley was on one knee with a ring in his hand. As he went on to say a few words, he honestly looked like he would pass out. (Shadley has asthma, so, not a good look!) He was so nervous that he placed the ring on my right hand – I quickly corrected him but not before he had to remind me that I was supposed to say “yes” and not simply nod my head. I laughed through most of the proposal (no tears) and can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was truly the best day. V&A Waterfront remains one of the most magical places for us as a couple, and now we are very privileged to live a stone-throw away for those days we want to reminisce.
Hooray: We absolutely LOVE Shadley’s oyster pink suit, what made him lean towards that colour?
Ash: We were on the market for an emerald green suit but that colour is very hard to come by. When I suggested that he try this one on, on what must have been the last possible opportunity we had to buy his suit, he wasn’t completely sure. But as soon as he put it on, he was sold. I think everyone was a little hesitant about this one because it wasn’t an obvious choice or reminiscent of our colour palette. But it just worked. He loves the suit and wears it so much that it’s a dusty pink now! Lol. My husband is one of those grooms that won’t let a wedding be designed around the bride – sometimes annoyingly so. But I appreciate that he had an opinion and wanted to be involved in everything. It was his day too and I think he looked smokin’ hot!
Hooray: Your dress is just a sensation, please tell us more!
Ash: During the planning process, I had the task of deciding whether I wanted to wear a traditional wedding dress or opt for a contemporary design. I admired three dresses in total, which ranged from most traditional to least. It is obvious to see which one I chose. My granny wore a tea-length dress for her wedding and I saw Solange Knowles in a yellow peplum dress when I was a teenager – when I set my eyes on the design which inspired my wedding dress, it ticked so many of the boxes I struggled to fill with a more traditional bridal gown. In many ways, I feel like this dress picked me, instead of the other way around. It has somehow been a part of my life for ages. This dress allowed me to venture off the beaten path, but it’s clear that I wore the dress and that the dress did not wear me, which can happen with some funky, adventurous gowns.
Hooray: And tell us about your shoulder necklace?
Ash: My dress was made by Sarah Grace a couple of days prior to the wedding day, I’d always imagined wearing a chunky shoulder necklace with my gown as I have big, curly hair which hides my ears when worn loose. I wore no other accessories other than my veil (also Sarah Grace), which I wish I could wear every day for the rest of my life! Shoulder necklaces cost a pretty penny and I am so happy that we were able to achieve the look I wanted by using offcuts from my maid of honour’s dress.
Hooray: What inspired you to catch a Yellow Taxi to your wedding?
Ash: Our colour scheme for our invitation suite was emerald green and gold. To accent those colours, we chose yellow and a few shades of blue – I loved seeing how this palette came to life throughout the planning and they absolutely popped in Tanya’s photos!
Now, with regards to the yellow taxi?! When you can’t go to New York, you bring New York to you! Like any self-professed city girl, I have a penchant for New York City. I had the pleasure of visiting there in 2015 – this was also when I met my maid of honour (in person) for the first time. My trip was short and I know I will go back – with Shadley. The tulips and yellow cab are reminiscent of the Big Apple and I think the cab did wonders for our city wedding. The driver was a little confused but lots of fun – he insisted on a photo
**PS. Every website I referred to predicted that tulips would not be in season in Cape Town, in May. Advice taken, I planned to find the next best thing from the Adderley Street Flower Market the night before the wedding. However, a week before the wedding, my MOH and I stumbled upon a lone pack of tulips in Checkers while buying groceries for an American breakfast of bacon and waffles. We worked tirelessly to keep those tulips alive – they made it, but they almost didn’t. LOL.
Hooray: How did your actual wedding weigh up against your ‘childhood fantasy’?
Ash: We hosted a practical wedding and in terms of our expectations or desires beforehand, it touched the tip of the iceberg and represented a small part of who we are and how we live our lives – which is all we could hope for as young entrepreneurs on a budget. I’ve been pre-exposed to the wedding industry and a number of excellent service providers so I was very aware of what is out there and would rather go without than compromise on quality. I think when your style exceeds your pocket, it’s important to play to your strengths and do what you can with what you have instead of trying to do the impossible because it’s “what you want”. We will definitely host a wedding celebration with a formal reception in a few years from now when we are settled.
Hooray: Your favourite part of your day?
Ash: My favourite part of the day was receiving the well wishes of our guests after we were pronounced husband and wife. I completely forgot to allocate time for this in our order of events, but it ended up being the five to ten minutes of the clock that calmed my nerves and assured me that everyone was happy, having a good time and so excited to share the day with us. Being able to touch hands and give hugs and receive blessings gave me such peace after feeling really stressed out about the wedding. Second to that, I really enjoyed the confetti toss and wish everyone didn’t make such haste to get the golden rain out of my hair! I spent too much time cutting paper and making confetti cones for it to be over in a minute! Haha.
Hooray: What are your tips on mismatched bridesmaids gowns?
Ash: Depending on your crew, you might need to give clear instructions and be very firm. I love that this trend gives people the liberty to wear what suits their body and their personal style – but it’s still your wedding and they will have their day to call the shots.
If your crew finds it hard to understand or come on board what you have in mind, go window shopping and pull looks for them. Show them what you have in mind – even if it’s not the exact colour or fabric. That way both parties can get an idea of what works and what does not work before dismissing ideas altogether. I had to do a lot of convincing, and that was stressful, honestly.
If you’re having the garments made, have them made by the same person if possible. Every designer is different and you don’t want to have issues with quality for such an important event.
And lastly, use the same fabric or embellishments throughout to pull the look together.
Hooray: Were there any Groomsmen?
Ash: Not in the traditional sense. Our brothers (two of them) supported Shadley on the day but they did not have any formal duties. This was probably not the best choice because they are young and don’t really know to show initiative like groomsmen should. Shad had to do some heavy lifting the day of the wedding, which groomsmen could have done for him. He also missed most of his time with the photographer because he was directing his mom and dad to the hotel where we were getting ready. Even if you don’t have a bridal party, please consider the assistance of a friend or family member who can help you out!
Hooray: Tea and cake after the ceremony? Tell us more.
Ash: We were blessed to have our guests contribute their favourite dessert to a potluck dessert table. We provided coffee, tea, juice and sheet cake made by one of my aunts as well as little bits like my famous date bars and Rice Krispie Treats on sticks
Hooray: Tell us more about your bridal shower? What happened?
Ash: If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have cried. I am a bridal shower kinda girl through and through. But I’m content now and plan to celebrate myself with a bridal shower when I have some room in my budget. It might be a vacation, dinner or a weekend full of spoils, just because I can. Kind of like people take their honeymoons a couple of months after the wedding, you know? Additionally, I think it’s important to plan or allocate funds for your bridal shower if you really want it done. Don’t assume or expect that it will be done for you – this can end in tears. If it is something you expect from your bridesmaids, discuss it with them when you pop the question. If you cannot afford another big ass party or know that your girls might not have the means, let them know that something as simple as cake and tea at home is fine!
Hooray: Describe your wedding in 5 words.
Ash: Relaxed, Honest, City-Inspired, Practical, Urban
Hooray: If you had to do one thing different, what would it be?
Ash: There are a bunch of little lessons I’ve learned through this experience, one of the biggest that it is not always affordable to shop around or consider your options for too long. I think deciding what you want as a couple and sticking to it is the biggest gift – it is best given quickly before you get sucked into the wormhole. The concept behind our ceremony was one of the first ideas we had for our wedding, but we spent a lot of time looking at other options out of fear that first or second option wasn’t the best option, or thinking that we could find a way to do the unrealistic. We were certainly in denial! We ended up falling back on Plan A, and I can only imagine the details we could have squeezed in if we started right away!
Ashleigh, we cannot thank you enough for sharing with us and our readers.
We are so honoured to have featured your wedding and we hope that your refreshing take will inspire future
brides with how to prioritise the have-to-haves and the wants.
Photography: Tanya Kinnear Photography
Wedding Dress, Veil & Shoulder Necklace: Sarah Grace | Bride’s Shoes: Daily Friday @ Superbalist
Three-Piece Suit, Shirt, Lapel Pin: Markham Canal Walk | Groom’s Shoes: Gino Paoli @ Spree
Groom’s Socks: Foschini | Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Gayle Hansby | Flowers: Arranged by MOH, Gabrielle Gibson | Bridesmaid’s attire: Sarah Grace | Venue: Central Methodist Mission
Accommodation: Daddy Long Legs Art Hotel | Save The Date & Wedding Invitation: Creative Heroes
DJ: DJ HearinAid | Music & Poetry Deslynn Malotana Jerome Rex Gabrielle Gibson.