The Father of the Bride Presided Over the Ceremony at This Jewel-Themed Wedding in Los Angeles
Ashley Lauren Vives, a self-love and relationship coach, had been running circles around Steven Joseph Williams for years. They both attended the University at Albany and spent a fair amount of time in the gym; Steven played basketball four nights a week, while Ashley ran laps around the interior track. But that wasn't how they met—in fact, they wouldn't meet until years later, despite unusual coincidences (post-university, Ashley moved into an apartment next to Steven's grad school; Steven later moved to New York City, only for Ashley to follow two weeks later). Four years after their respective moves to the Big Apple, the two finally crossed paths.
Really, though, they met because of a trip out West in 2015. Steven, who now owns The Greyhound Bar & Grill in Glendale, California, was in L.A. shooting a restaurant show when he, on a whim, purchased tickets to Coachella; there, he met one of Bumble's very first employees, who suggested he try out the app. He did so three months later—which is when Ashley, on a girls' trip in Vegas, learned about the very same app. Shortly after joining, she swiped right on Steven, who returned the favor days later. They chatted over the next few weeks, before sharing their first unofficial date—which was, of course, yet another coincidence (Ashley was on a food tour of Brooklyn with a friend; Steven texted her when she was at a restaurant directly next to his apartment and came in to say hello).
A year later, they found an apartment on Craigslist and traded New York City for L.A.; two years after that, they became engaged during a vacation in Mexico ("We were in Cancun overnight on our way to Tulum. Steven's original plan was to propose in Tulum, but the ring was burning a hole through his pocket—he was too excited," says Ashley). On June 16, 2019, they tied the knot in a jewel tone-themed celebration attended by 95 of their nearest and dearest. And, as was only fitting, the event was full of the sweetest surprises.
The couple's jewel toned-centric color palette—comprised of fuchsia, emerald, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, and citrine—was brought to life by Ashley's half of the wedding party, which involved her bridesmaids, her "bridesman," Craig, and her "bride tribe." Bridesmaids wore custom fuchsia dresses made by a local tailor, who crafted each gown using slightly different fabrics for texture; Craig donned a matching suit and looked "fierce," says Ashley. The rest of the bride's attendants wore floor-length gowns that spoke to the palette. "We had an email chain going to make sure we didn't have more than two of each color," adds the bride.
Ashley's natural, farm-inspired bouquet by Reneé Steckermeier was filled with of garden roses from Holland, amaranths, peonies, dahlias, scabiosa, anemones, and ranunculus in a mix of colors, from peach to burgundy; brown feather eucalyptus, eucalyptus pods, blueberries, and blackberries completed the arrangement.
All the King's Men
Steven donned a light blue suit from Zara, which the couple upgraded with the help of a professional. "We got it custom tailored to fit and replaced the buttons with a higher-end style," notes Ashley. "The groom was passionate about having a suit he would want to wear again and again."
As for the groomsmen? They stepped into darker blue ensembles—which made Steven's pop!—from Generation Tux, and accessorized with black shoes, white shirts, and fuchsia bow ties, as a nod to the bridesmaids' looks.
First Look with Dad
Since the wedding took place on Father's Day, it was only fitting that Ashley share a first look with her dad, Roberto, ahead of their walk down the aisle. "It was so special and really calmed my nerves. I could tell it really meant a lot to him," she says.
Ashley's father would ultimately play a key role in the ceremony, though no one—beyond the couple—knew it.
The Processional Begins
As live musicians began to sing "I Get to Love You" by Ruelle, Ashley and Roberto walked through the lush grounds at Exposition Park Rose Garden towards the pampas-grass lined altar, where Steven got his very first glimpse of his bride.
A special surprise led to an emotional ceremony. "No one knew who the officiant was until the moment when our bridesman took the mic and asked, 'Who will marry this couple?' after reading a poem," reflects Ashley. "My dad stood up and said, 'I will.' There was not a dry eye in sight. We had been having secret meetings all along and it was so special for him to marry us on Father's Day."
Roberto guided the couple through a religious Christian ceremony he and his daughter had curated together; during the service, Ashley and Steven recited meaningful, pre-written vows.
Sealed with a Kiss
After recessing to "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit, the newlyweds concluded the ceremony by sharing a kiss at the top of the aisle.
As guests boarded buses that would transport them to the reception venue, Ashley and Steven took some time for themselves, posing around the gardens near the ceremony space. The bride's Galia Lahav wedding dress, which was custom-made to her measurements in Tel Aviv, took center stage in the romantic floral setting. "I had been obsessed with this dress from photos for quite some time. When I saw it in person, I knew it was the one even before trying it on," says Ashley of the ivory-and-blush number, complete with lace and a dramatic tulle train.
Time to Party
The newlyweds rejoined their guests—who had arrived at The Fig House ahead of them—about halfway through the cocktail hour (after munching on a few nachos and bustling the bride's dress, of course!).
Take a Sip
Ashley and Steven served two signature cocktails (called the "NY Born" and "LA Livin'") during the interlude, and also provided an open bar.
One of the cocktail hour's biggest highlights? A caricature artist, who captured guests' likenesses on the spot.
Waiters passed around pulled chicken and pork nachos in copper drain gutters.
Out on the Patio
The al fresco reception unfolded in the courtyard, where long, dark cherry banquet tables created a mid-century mood.
Centerpieces, placed atop blue-and-green fabric runners, were filled with a variety of gemstone-hued florals; bowls (many of which were found at nearby antique stores) held fruits for an opulent feel. Purple goblets were the regal finishing touch.
Ashley and Steven personalized the formal dance component of the evening, which was timed with dinner. "We actually shared our first dance with our parents, as well—it was a surprise to them all. So, we had his parents start out with their first dance song, then my parents first dance song faded in and the DJ asked them to join, and then our song came on and we all danced together." The newlyweds selected "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Haley Reinhart for the moment. "It is a classic that we love so much in every variation and her cover is just so good," says Ashley.
Following these three songs, Ashely danced alone with her father to "My Girl" by the Temptations—and then, much to the delight of their guests, segued into a surprise salsa number to Frankie Negron's "Princesa." Steven then spun his mother around to "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
The evening's speeches also happened during dinner, which started with a bibb lettuce salad and culminated in a main of either roasted chicken or paella; sides included bruschetta toast, garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts and bacon.
Kira Cakes baked the couple's abstract confection, covered in multicolored brushstrokes to mimic the piece of art it was ultimately suspended in front of.
As for the couple's best advice for duos currently planning their celebrations? "Make it an experience that is unique to you," says Ashley. "You will have a lot of outside pressure to do things a specific way, invite certain people, or stick to a specific timeline. Do what makes you and your future spouse happy! We promise everyone will enjoy it in the end."
Photography, Carmen Lopez Photography
Videography, TSI Video Productions
Getting Ready Venue, The Langham Huntington
Ceremony Venue, Exposition Park Rose Garden
Reception Venue, The Fig House
Day-of Event Planner, So Smitten Events
Event Designer, Ashley Vives Williams
Flowers, Reneé Steckermeier
Invitations, LA Press Printing
Other Paper Products, McManus and Morgan Inc.
Officiant, Roberto Vives
Bride's Gown, Galia Lahav
Veil, Bridal Reflections
Jewelry, Petite Delights
Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Hair and Makeup, Ashleigh Howard
Groom’s Attire, Zara, Macy's, Theory
Groomsmen’s Attire, Generation Tux
Engagement Ring, Brilliant Earth
Wedding Bands, Anna Sheffield, Etsy
Music and Lighting, DJ J Roberts
Cake, Kira Bakes
Rentals, MTB Rentals
Favors, Caricatures by Nathan
Transportation, Gogo Bus Charters, Swoop
Singer, Tyana Marie Music
Musicians, Hudson & Delilah