As Ashleigh and Chole envisioned their wedding, they kept going back and forth between two options: an intimate destination wedding with only their closest friends and family, or an epic bash with a gratuitous guest list. They decided – why not have the best of both worlds?
The couple whisked their small group of VIP’s to Vail, Colorado in September for a magical, intimate celebration in the mountains. And just a few short months later, a few hundred of their closest friends flocked to the C Baldwin Hotel in downtown Houston for an electric New Year’s Eve bash, planned by Kelly Doonan Events, to celebrate with the couple. They enlisted me to photograph the occasion after I captured their engagement photos in the spring, and were ecstatic with the results.
The evening started with an intimate dinner at Rosalie’s with much of the same crowd from Colorado as an opportunity to spend quality time with their families. Ashleigh looked stunning in a Jay Godfrey bridal jumpsuit as she greeted guests and enjoyed heartfelt toasts from friends and parents. For the party, Ashleigh donned a floor length bridal gown from Ines Di Santo. The couple did a first look and took portraits in the hotel’s hidden speakeasy – a (technically) ladies-only whiskey lounge, the keys to which are held by 100 influential women in Houston.
Ashleigh and Chole entered their reception and performed a dramatic first dance for their guests. And then it was time to party until 2022! In another “best of both worlds” moment, LG Event Pro DJ’d the party while a live drummer played along. I typically am team “live band” over DJ’s because of the energy that a band brings, but this setup was perfect for a New Year’s Eve event. Guests felt the bass drum pounding in their chest while still enjoying the original artist’s version of the music, with fun remixes and seamless transitions.
The couple joined the DJ on stage for a final countdown to midnight. The clock hit zero and the energy in the room erupted. After the pandemonium of the New Year, the bride changed into her final look of the night – a short, flirty dress from For Love and Lemons that made it easier to dance. I’m told the festivities continued until almost 5 AM.
Many thanks to Ashleigh and Chole for having me along to document this wildly electric New Year’s Eve bash. Ashleigh’s vision was photos that captured an off-duty celebrity, candid, in-the-moment, nostalgic feel and in her words: “These are exactly what I wanted, and honestly even better.”