Stella York real bride Ashleigh and her now-husband Sebastian made the most of their wedding day with a dreamy forest elopement. Ashleigh moved from Australia to Germany in 2019 and hasn’t been able to return home since. COVID lockdowns prevented her family from celebrating with the couple in person, but thankfully both Ashleigh and Sebastian had a close friend present for the celebration. Ashleigh also incorporated tons of special touches to her wedding and bridal look to keep her family close to her on the big day. Ashleigh knew she wanted a Stella York gown, but Style 7161 was the dress that gave her goosebumps. It was absolutely perfect for the intimate and natural elopement setting.
Tell us about your proposal…
Sebastian and I were hiking in the Swiss Alps last summer. After a couple of days of constant rain and storms, we awoke to fresh snow capped mountains in the middle of summer. We spent several days hiking in the Alps before deciding to complete a summit hike on our final day in Switzerland. Sebastian had chosen the Brisen summit to climb which overlooks Lake Lucerne to one side and the snow capped Alps to the other. He had hiked the whole day with my ring in his pocket and a bottle of champagne in his backpack before finding the perfect location on the side of the mountain to propose. I had no idea he was proposing to me throughout his entire proposal speech until he pulled the ring out from his pocket and asked me to marry him!
How did you know that Stella York Style 7161 was the one?
My dress shopping experience was nothing like I had ever imagined it would be. We were nearing another COVID lockdown with some restrictions still in place from the previous lockdown. I knew before I went dress shopping that I wanted a Stella York gown. The gowns encapsulate everything that I imagined my perfect dress would be like… dreamy, soft, feminine, with layers of tulle and lace. I was so happy to find out that I could locate stores in Germany that stocked these dreamy dresses. Although I always imagined dress shopping with my sister, mom, and best friend, I am fortunate enough to have a strong group of supportive friends in Germany. They took turns dress shopping with me as I was only allowed to attend appointments with two friends for each session. My friend who joined me on my wedding day, knew the dress was the one before I had even tried it on. When I saw myself in the dress for the first time, I had goosebumps looking at myself in the mirror. The dress was perfect for my forest elopement. The details in the lace were a small reminder of home and I had a piece of Australia with me in my dress. I knew it was the one.
How did you make your wedding personal to your style and love story?
Our wedding was constantly evolving and changing as the date drew nearer. I wanted to pay tribute to my family with small details on our wedding day to ensure that their presence was felt despite not being able to join. Thistles were used in my bouquet to represent my maiden name, “Ferguson,”, as the thistle is part of our family emblem. My mom cut the sleeve off her wedding gown and sent it to me to use on my bouquet and my husband’s boutonniere. I borrowed a brooch from my husband’s great aunt to add to my bouquet as my “something borrowed” and to represent the family I was about to join. I purchased some Salita Mathews pearl earrings to represent my home and love for the oceans in Australia. With these small details and elements, I felt surrounded by the things that make me feel at home. I could not have asked for a better wedding day. We laughed, we cried, and most importantly we were still able to say “I do” despite the unusual circumstances that surrounded us.
What was the most memorable part of your wedding?
My favorite and most special memory from the day was looking at Sebastian from afar as he stood in front of the snow capped mountains with his back towards me, not knowing that I was there and not knowing when I would tap him on the shoulder for the first look. He was so nervous and I was so excited to tap him on the shoulder for him to finally see me in my dress.
My other special memory from the day was being fortunate enough to bring one friend with me to our elopement on the Eibsee. Unfortunately at the time of our wedding we were in a Covid lockdown and it was not permitted to have more than 5 people attend weddings (including the photographer). I left Australia in 2019 and sadly have not been able to return since leaving. In the time that I have been in Germany, I have gotten engaged, married, and am now expecting my first child. Although it was incredibly difficult to stick with our wedding date, knowing that all of our family members and friends were unable to attend, we felt grateful and lucky to have been able to each take one person with us for our big day. My friend Emily, a fellow expat, joined me on my big day and from the moment we awoke to the moment I walked down the “aisle” she was there to support me, make me laugh, and ensured that I had the best possible day despite the circumstances. Not to mention my Stella York gown is perfectly spotless after my big day thanks to her attention to detail and care of both me and my gown!
Photography by Aneta Lehotska
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