Ash and Sophie met when a 16 year old Sophie fell off her bike in Byron Bay - with her dog and groceries flying. Ash laughed at her but swears that he actually helped Sophie. "We were in and out of each other’s lives for the next decade, always remaining close even though I had moved from Byron Bay to Sydney." Fast forward a few years and Sophie had a boozy Sydney Harbour boat party which ended in her ringing Ash and having 'the chat.' "I woke up the next morning with limited memory of it, but we were going to try a long distance relationship and see what happened." Less than a year later, Ash moved to Sydney and started working at her family business Home The Venue. (Their dogs took a little longer to love each other!) "Running a 2000 person nightclub together is absolutely crazy. Ash balances my wild ideas with what’s realistic and together we have thrown some incredible parties. It’s obviously been pretty tough with Sydney’s Lock Out Legislation and now Covid-19 but, we always bounce back stronger and more in sync with each other." To balance their busy and stressful lifestyle, the couple travel a lot. "From a month in Mexico, to a motorcycle ride around the Alps in Europe, we’ve been super lucky to see a lot of the world. Ultimately, a trip to NYC in 2015 captured our hearts with its wild vibrant messiness, incredibly polite and unique locals and exceptional hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants." Ash and Sophie also head home to Byron a lot. "We spent our five-year anniversary at Rae’s on Wategoes and the next day Ash proposed with a ring he had made with a local jeweller. It was super sweet, incredibly unexpected and makes the town where we met even more special to us."
Ash and Sophie had always said if we were to get married, that they would elope. Sophie liked the drama of jetsetting away somewhere magic and Ash liked the lack of drama of not having to have the big wedding day. "When we got engaged, we already had a trip to NYC planned to see one of my best friends walk down the red carpet for her first ever film premiere. Her movie was showing at Tribeca Film Festival and there was no way we were missing it! Even though it was only a few short months after our engagement, it just kind of made sense that we could make it happen. We plan events for a living so we weren’t super stressed about pulling it together so quickly." In their previous visit to NYC, Ash and Sophie spent a magic few days roaming around Central Park and so it was a pretty obvious choice for them (and many others – "when we were scouting locations we found many brides getting their snaps taken!) It had also been raining the whole trip so being close to Bethesda Terrace gave the couple the option to take cover, although ultimately the sun came out a few minutes before their ceremony. Sophie and Ash kept their elopement very hush hush. "While it was an amazing experience, we realised that we wanted the big family party too so we spent a year (!!) married with no one knowing except my mum! We planned a casual wedding in Sydney for May 2020. We were going to show the elopement video then dance the night away. Then came along Covid-19 and like many others our plans were cancelled. I can’t imagine how difficult that would have been for so many brides-to-be out there but having already tied the knot we just rolled with it."
Two days before their one year anniversary (and their cancelled wedding #2 date) Sophie managed to convince Ash to have a Zoom Wedding! "We had a local drag queen friend Coco Jumbo as our celebrant and spent our anniversary in fits of laughter trying to get the tech work, watching 100+ guests on Zoom dancing in their homes, while we renewed our vows. Our family still want us to have the party though which, being wedding #3 also makes it a bit of an annual tradition that I’m pushing to carry on each year!"
Officially the couple had two wedding guests at their NYC elopement, one of Sophie's best friends (who also made their wedding video) and the second a lifelong friend who was in NYC at the same time! "The other two guests we met the night before, they’re an amazing couple from Copenhagen who came bearing gifts of mini bar goodness!"
"The outfit was probably the hardest part for me, and the easiest for Ash. Ash looked killer in a Hugo Boss tux jacket but he wanted to keep it cool and casual so he wore jeans with it. He looked like James Bond standing on the rooftop of The Ludlow Hotel!" Sophie had no idea what I wanted to wear. She knew it had to be practical for running around New York but she was never super into bridal things. "I bought eight options, then ultimately after a few nights of panic on Pinterest I realised even though I wasn’t super bridal - I do love to rock a tutu! I found ‘Millie’ the gorgeously layered tulle skirt from Chosen by One Day Bridal but there wasn’t enough time to make it! I was devastated so kept badgering anyone who would talk to me until I could get one. I think eventually I got someone else’s order for much later in the year - what legends!" The skirt arrived two days before they flew out and fit perfectly. "That said, a floor length tulle skirt wasn’t ultimately practical for New York but it was a heap of fun to run around in! Since it was a lot more ‘bridal’ than I was planning, I toned it down with a simple white tee and as NYC was freezing (and wet!) we found the Anine Bing White Leather Jacket while we were over there. It was a lifesaver!"
The most important thing for Sophie and Ash was "remembering that it was about us. We stripped back what we really needed for the day and realised that it was just to be with each other and have fun. Besides the ‘What Will I Wear’ debacle, finding a photographer in NYC that didn’t have these strict policies of how many hours and how many locations wasn’t working (I mean seriously – you can’t get anywhere in NYC fast!) so we spoke with Jono Le Grice who did a lot of work at the nightclub for us. Besides managing to keep our secret for a year (legend!) it was so fun having someone we knew and loved with us for the adventure. He really understood that we didn’t want to pose, we just wanted to roll with the day and have him there snapping away!"
Sophie and Ash managed to scrap every tradition for the elopement, but when it came to planning wedding #2 for their first anniversary in Sydney some things surprised them and became really important. "We had two photos of our elopement drawn for our invites (still no one figured it out at this point that we had already got married) and having an aisle of sorts to walk down with my Dad. The aisle hasn’t happened yet, but we did get to dance together on Zoom which was super cute."
Any tips for couples getting married? Do it your way! And if you’re doing it on Zoom – make sure you’re all over the tech!
Photographer : Jono Le Grice @jstop
Ceremony location : Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, New York City
Reception location : ABC Kitchens @chefjgv
First Look Location : The Ludlow Hotel @ludlowhotelnyc
Videographer : Selina Miles @selinamiles
Celebrant : Mirelle Eid @honeybreakofficiants
Flora : A little florist on Lower East Side
Cake : ABC Kitchens
Bride's Skirt : ‘Millie’ Chosen by One Day @chosenbyoneday
Bride's T-Shirt : Rag & Bone @ragandbone
Bride's Leather Jacket : Anine Bing @aninebingofficial
Groom's Jeans : Nudie @nudiejeans
Groom's Bow Tie & Pocket Square : Tom Ford @tomford
Groom's Jacket : Hugo Boss @hugo_official
Groom's Shoes : Aquila @aquila_est1958
Bride's Veil : Lola Varma @lola.varma.bridal
Bride's Earrings : Natasha Schweitzer @natashaschweitzer
Makeup : Sephora
Hair : A blow dry bar on Ludlow LES