Empress Avenue had the pleasure of getting the inside details on Ashly (Brough) and Chris Mitchell’s big wedding day! Ashly, a self-employed behavior interventionist and Chris, a sales consultant, live in Surrey, British Columbia with their adorable dog Max. A few months before the big engagement (on their one year anniversary July 28th, 2009), this beautiful couple moved into their own home and started planning the wedding of their dreams – on a budget. Read more to find out how.
Bride and Groom: Ashly Brough and Chris Mitchell
Engagement Date: July 28th, 2009
Wedding Date: Legal ceremony at home November 13th, 2010, but the big official day took place on November 23rd, 2010
Ceremony & Reception: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
1. Tell us about your big day! – We chose to have a destination wedding, which we kept small as we knew that there would be a cost issue with people being able to attend out of town. My sister Abby Hooseman (who runs Abracadabra Chair Cover and Design, abracadabrachair.com) stood for me as my maid of honor and our good friend Tom, who introduced Chris and I, stood as our best man.
2. Did you know the proposal was coming?- I did not know the proposal was coming! It literally shocked me silent, and my husband actually had to ask me to “say something” when I stood there with my mouth open. But, in my own defense, he was so nervous he forgot to actually ask me ‘the question,’ but he did get down on one knee and present the ring. It was a perfect moment for us.
3. Did you throw an engagement party and bridal shower?- My family planned an engagement party for us in our townhouse amenities room. It was a good opportunity to celebrate with friends and family who would not be able to make the trip to Mexico for the ceremony. We had appetizers, cake and drinks, but we kept it very casual, because we are pretty casual people. My bridal shower was also, again, at our amenities room (it’s an amazing space). It was a lingerie party, which came in handy for the honeymoon! My sister and Mom did a fabulous job with planning and decorations for both events.
4. What did you love about your ceremony and reception location?- The ceremony was held on the beach under a wonderful canopy of flowers, just before sunset. What more could you want! (Well, maybe didn’t need that hairy guy in a speedo standing nearby, ha!) It had rained a bit just before the ceremony but stopped minutes before I made my way to the beach. The private reception was held at El Patio Restaurant, an open restaurant area, under cover in case the rain returned, which it didn’t. It was off to the side of the resort, away from the hustle and bustle of the resort which was perfect. We ate our dinner under the stars and listening to the waves of the ocean.
5. How did you find planning your wedding while balancing your career? – At the time I was still doing nursing, and had a very flexible schedule. The wedding packages from the resort took a lot of guesswork out of planning, so my biggest challenge really was just figuring out what to pack and how to get everything in my suitcase (dresses, shoes, hair stuff, wedding favors, decorations, and thank you gifts for all my guests who made the trip).
6. Did you hire a wedding planner or coordinator? – I did have a wedding planner, as one was provided by the resort with the wedding package we purchased. It was really essential for a destination wedding as I was not there in person to finalize details. She was my contact person at the hotel, and through her I planned all the salon appointments for hair and make-up, selected locations for the ceremony and reception, worked out all the details of dinner, flowers, and every last detail. We met with her upon arrival at the resort to run through everything; she gave us a tour of the locations we had chosen and helped us make a contingency plan in the event of poor weather. She organized the preparation of our wedding attire so it was wrinkle free after a long trip in a suitcase. She also managed the timing of the ceremony itself, coming to get me when it was time to make my way to the beach. At the end, she organized to have a beautiful rose petal display in our room and champagne for our wedding night and a fabulous breakfast delivered the next morning. All of the little details wouldn’t have been so perfect without her, so she was definitely an integral part of it all coming together.
7. Did you purchase your wedding dress or other supplies online or in store?- Most people are jealous when they find out my dress was a grand total of….$300! I had been shopping at many bridal stores, trying on different designs, and I had found ‘the one’ for $1800. I continued to shop, but it became clear that this dress would not leave my head. But, still wanting to save money, I kept looking, and found my solution at Champagne & Lace Bridal Centre Inc in Abbotsford, BC. My headband I also picked up at this bridal store. My earrings were purchased online (emitations.com) and they matched a pearl necklace that I borrowed from my mother-in-law, and it had been her mothers who had just passed on. My shoes I picked up at Silk and White Satin in Chilliwack. I picked up some of the decorations and our guestbook at Michaels. Wedding favors and Frisbees for the guests were bought online. Other gifts for the guests were handmade by me and my mother.
8. What was your most extravagant purchase?- There was not one particular extravagant purchase, all items were low-cost, and the wedding package included many costs in one. However, the honeymoon trip, which was one week at another resort after the first week with family, was by far the most expensive thing, outweighing the cost of our wedding and first week trip combined!
9. What made your wedding unique?- We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves, including our vows, so there has never been and never will be a ceremony that sounds like ours. As well, all the personal touches from my mother and sister in helping put it together made it very unique.
10. Do you have any tips for new brides to create a memorable stress free wedding?- It’s important to remember that it’s just one day. Important, yes, but it’s only one day in a journey of many to come. Don’t break the bank for it. Don’t worry if something goes wrong, because you won’t remember what goes wrong but instead you’ll remember everything that went right and made it special. If you spend the whole time worrying about every little detail, the special day will pass you by. Make sure you trust whoever you hire as a vendor and spend more time selecting the right people, then put your faith in them and let them do their job.
11. If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change?- In a perfect world I would have loved to have my grandparents there, who couldn’t make the trip due to health concerns. They were missed, but we made sure to celebrate with them before and after our trip.
Vendor Contact List:
Bride’s Dress: Champagne & Lace Bridal Centre Inc, Abbotsford, BC
Bride’s Shoes: Silk & White Satin, Chilliwack, BC
Bridesmaid Dresses: Silk & White Satin, Chilliwack, BC
Groom’s Attire: Shirt from Moores, belt from Banana Republic, Shoes from Aldo, and linen pants ordered online (islandimporter.com). Shirt and pants then tailored for fit.
Wedding Coordinator: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
Photographer: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
Catering: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa
Rings and Jewelry: Pearl earrings: emitations.com, headband: Champagne & Lace Bridal Centre Inc, Tungsten Carbide wedding bands: weddingringscanada.ca, engagement ring: bluenile.ca
Entertainment: We brought our own Bose portable stereo and I made custom playlists on my iPod for all parts of the wedding. It worked perfectly and saved us the $600 the resort charged for a DJ for 2 hours.