Ashley Ezelle and Carlos Barahona met at a company Christmas party in 2013. She went with a friend, and he brought a date, but they hit it off that night and kept in contact until, what Ashley describes as “much persistence on Carlos’ part,” they went on their first date in March of the next year. The relationship seemed inevitably short-lived, as Carlos would be moving to Germany in just a couple of months, and dating long distance didn’t appeal to Ashley. But, as they soon found out, it was simply meant to be. By juggling time zones and phone calls, they managed to sustain their relationship during Carlos’ time in Germany and a subsequent move to Mexico, and in March 2015, a new job opportunity led to Carlos’ happy return to Birmingham.
In June the next year, Ashley, a pharmacy intern at UAB, returned home from a late shift at the hospital and was surprised to find Carlos in the living room, surrounded by candles. In the special, private moment that Ashley had always hoped for, he asked her to be his wife. She said yes, and they celebrated with wine and chocolate, soaking up their first moments as an engaged couple, sharing the happy news with family and friends the next day.
Ashley wanted to have a summer wedding, so she and her mom started the planning process early and turned to Becky Baker of Becky’s Brides to help bring the day to life. Though this bride wasn’t one who spent her childhood imagining her wedding, her lifelong interest in fashion and eye for a modern aesthetic helped guide their plans. “I really didn’t have an idea of what I wanted as far as specifics go, but I knew I wanted something that was different,” Ashley says. “I wanted something modern and contemporary, but timeless as well.”
A traditional ceremony at Canterbury United Methodist Church would honor their faith, something Ashley says was very important to both her and Carlos, and for the reception Ashley wanted a blank canvas that she could completely transform. What more apt canvas could there be than the Birmingham Museum of Art? “I loved that it was so white and had floor-to-ceiling windows, so the space was filled with natural light,” Ashley says. “I wanted to play off of that, keeping everything white and using flowers for a huge splash of color.”
With the venues in place, it was Ashley’s carefully curated use of color that had the biggest impact on the look and feel of the day. Crisp, clean white was the common thread tying all of the beautiful elements together, starting with a classic ceremony and building toward a truly unforgettable reception.
At half past five on June 3, 2017, after a joyous day spent relaxing, getting ready and enjoying time with her closest friends, Ashley found herself on her father’s arm at the back of the church. As the notes of the bridal chorus filled the chapel, Ashley made her way down the aisle toward her groom. The ceremony was traditional, honoring Ashley’s Protestant upbringing and Carlos’ Catholic roots, complete with a traditional lasso ceremony in a nod to Carlos’ Hispanic heritage. Ashley opted for muted tones and simple florals, not wanting to compete with the beauty of the church or the meaning of the ceremony. The bridesmaids wore mixed-and-matched dresses in a neutral palette with touches of rose gold and carried bouquets of white peonies and tulips, while the groom and groomsmen were the picture of refinement in their black tuxedos.
The dramatic reception served as a beautiful and breathtaking complement to the simple ceremony, as the museum was transformed into a work of art rivaling that which adorns its walls. Every surface was draped in white, with pops of spring green and whimsical florals at every turn. Above the long table running the length of the space hung the centerpiece of the reception: a gorgeous installation of tulips in shades of pink, orange and yellow, suspended by their vibrant green stems and seeming to spill from the ceiling.
Guests were welcomed to the reception with music performed by a Spanish trio and signature cocktails: a fresh strawberry margarita representing the bride’s favorite, and a dark & stormy for the groom, plus a delicious lemon drop on the rocks. A seated dinner featuring fresh, summer flavors and the choice between steak, chicken and pasta gave Carlos and Ashley the opportunity to relax and enjoy a wonderful meal with their guests, something that Ashley says was among their top priorities for the reception.
After a night enjoying delicious food, jubilant dancing and the company of loved ones from near and far, sparklers lit the path for Ashley and Carlos toward their new life as Mr. and Mrs. Barahona.
Thanks for sharing your special day with us, Ashley and Carlos! Cheers to many years ahead as happy and vibrant as your wedding day!
Photography: Eric & Jamie Photography
Wedding planner: Becky Baker of Becky’s Brides
Wedding dress: Heidi Elnora Atelier
Bride’s shoes: Sophia Webster
Bridesmaids dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Mother-of-the-Bride & Grandmother-of-the-Bride attire: The Clothes Tree
Groom & groomsmen attire: Mr. Burch Formal Wear, Hoover
Bridal cake & groom’s dessert table: Olexa’s
Flowers: Hothouse Design Studio
Ceremony venue: Canterbury United Methodist Church
Reception venue: Birmingham Museum of Art
Catering: A Social Affair
Band: The Time of Your Life – East Coast Entertainment
Hair & makeup: Rawwbeauty
Merchandise & stationery design: Empress Stationery
Videography: Holloway Productions
Guest accommodations: Westin Birmingham
Wedding party accommodations: Grand Bohemian Mountain Brook
Engagement & wedding rings: Galatea Designs
Event rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited
Draping, lighting & flower-hanging services: Design Productions, LLC
Lighting design: Design Productions
Linens: Decor 2 Adore
Rehearsal dinner: Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato
Getaway car: Coats Classic Cars
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