Real Weddings

Samara and Mikhaile’s Wedding at The Ashford Estate

Details of the Day:  We had a black tie preferred wedding, and opted for soft and classic colors like blush, ivory, and gold. We also incorporated hints of navy, like Mikhaile’s tuxedo and the anemones in the bridesmaids’ bouquets. The bridesmaids wore floor length blush tulle gowns, blush ribbon belts, and blush and gold earrings. The groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos. Our floral designer utilized various blush, soft pink, ivory, and white flowers, as well as candles and gold accents.

As we planned our wedding, we knew that our venue, florist, and other vendors would do a great job of making our wedding beautiful, but it was important to us that it also felt personal. To that end, we incorporated our families and cultures into the wedding and reception, and included little details to make our day memorable. My cousin officiated our ceremony, members of both of our families did readings, and Mikhaile’s sister performed a song with the band at our reception. My mother, who is incredibly artsy and creative, decorated the broom we jumped for our ceremony (an African American tradition), our card box, the ribbon belts my bridesmaids wore, and the hanger for my wedding dress. She also baked dozens of individual bundt cakes for our welcome bags. Mikhaile’s mother made our wedding favors–individual jars of homemade guava jelly. The jelly and the Caribbean rum cake we served with the strolling desserts at our wedding were a nod to Mikhaile’s Caribbean heritage. We also had custom cocktail napkins made with various fun facts about our relationship (including that we got married on the anniversary of the day we met), a custom hand-painted aisle runner with our initials and wedding date, and a crystal monogrammed cake topper. To ensure that we had a packed dance floor all night, we hired the most amazing band (CTO Park Central) and provided flip flops in various sizes for all of the ladies in attendance. We also created his and her signature drinks (the “Something Old Fashioned” and “Something New”) and had custom illustrated drink signs.

The wedding gifts we exchanged were also very personal. I gave Mikhaile monogrammed Tiffany cufflinks and a custom etched and hand-painted bottle of bourbon with our wedding slogan/hashtag (“Savary in Love”), wedding date, and a message from me to him. He gave me a Tiffany’s heart necklace with our initials (my new ones) and our wedding date, and a bracelet engraved with the coordinates of Columbia Law School, where we first met. But, at the end of the day, even though all of the little details were wonderful, the best thing about our wedding day was starting our new lives together as a married couple, surrounded by our family and friends from across the world.

The Venue: From the moment we first entered the gates to the property, we were mesmerized by The Ashford Estate. The grounds were immaculate, the barn chapel showed incredible promise, and the ballroom was breathtaking. We also fell in love with each of the uniquely beautiful guest suites upstairs at the estate. And, once we met the staff from the estate and Merri-Makers Caterers, we knew that not only would our wedding be gorgeous, but we would have top-notch service. Although we considered several other venues, after visiting The Ashford Estate, it became our only option.

The Menu:  For cocktail hour, we had a wonderful array of butler style hors d’oeuvres and stations, including crab cakes, pulled pork arepas, lobster bisque shooters, grilled cheese triangles with tomato bisque soup sips, lamb chops, a contemporary slider station, a pasta station, a “shrimptini” station, and much more. For dinner, we started with the estate’s signature salad, followed by a duo of Chateaubriand and butter poached colossal shrimp, accompanied by haricots verts and red skin garlic mashed potatoes. We also had a grilled vegetarian napoleon option. For dessert, we had our wedding cake, which had alternating layers of red velvet cake and coconut cake with mango filling. We also had strolling desserts, including cookie & milk shooters, assorted cake truffles, banana bread pudding bites, miniature crème brûlées, Caribbean rum cake (or “black cake”), and more.

The Gown: I had loved Hayley Paige’s designs for years, so I knew that I’d have to try on at least a few before I made a decision (and I did). When I walked into a Hayley Paige trunk show at Wedding Atelier, my eyes were instantly drawn to the beaded strapless sweetheart bodice of the “Dani” gown, but I knew that the pleated English net A-line skirt of the gown was not for me. My consultant, Melissa, suggested that I try on the Dani gown, but put another gown with a fuller layered tulle skirt with horsehair trim on top (“Josie”), folding down the top of Josie, so that I could only see the Dani top. Interestingly, neither dress was in ivory, the color I wanted. Dani was in ivory over cashmere, and Josie was in a color called moonstone that reminded me of cotton candy. Once I was assured that the dresses could be combined, and that the whole thing could be made in ivory, I KNEW that this wonderful creation was my dress! It felt regal, glamorous, and fun all at once, and it just made me want to twirl! I never wanted to take it off!


Favorite Moment: It’s so hard to pick just one! My top 3 (in no particular order) are: 1) jumping the broom and starting our lives together as husband and wife; 2) our first dance “on a cloud” to Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change this Love”; and 3) our after party, when the DJ played a surprise original song Mikhaile wrote and recorded for me called “The Sammy Dance” and our family and friends surrounded me on the dance floor performing the dance he had taught them to go along with it.


Couldn’t Live Without: There were so many details that came together to make our wedding amazing, but if I had to pick one detail we couldn’t live without, it would be our awesome band. They kept the dance floor packed from start to finish, regardless of song. I have never been to such a fun reception! Our guests are still talking about it! On a personal note, the most special detail for me was having my late father’s favorite hat with a white rose on the chair he would have occupied at our wedding ceremony. He passed away when I was ten years old, and I have carried his hat with me to every important moment in my life. Including him in our wedding in that subtle but meaningful way meant so much to me.


Did Anything Go Wrong?: Absolutely, but who cares?! We started our lives together in front of our closest family and friends, our guests loved the food, and the party was absolutely incredible!

First Dance: “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke

Advice for other Brides: Accept that you cannot please everyone. Some people won’t be 100% on board with the choices you make for your wedding, but it is your day and you should have it your way. Those who truly love you will fall in line.

  • Hometowns:Somerset, NJ
  • Wedding Location:The Ashford Estate
  • Reception Location:The Ashford Estate
  • Photographer:Kesha Lambert Photography
  • Officiant: Dr. Rydell Harrison
    Wedding Planner: Coordinated to Perfection
    Bride’s Gown: Hayley Paige
    Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade (both pairs)
    Bride’s Jewelry: Earrings: Wedding Atelier; Bracelet: Borrowed from the Matron of Honor
    Bride’s Accessories: Veil: Wedding Atelier; Hair vine: M&J Trimming
    Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo
    Hair: Juicy Looks by Abby
    Makeup: Juicy Looks by Abby
    Groom’s Attire: Custom tuxedo by Enzo Custom Clothiers
    Groomsmen Attire: Menguin
    Flowers: Magnolia Exquisite Florals & Event Decor
    Cake: The Bake Works
    Invites: Save the Dates: Wedding Paper Divas; Invitations: The Polka Dot Paper Shop; Day-of Stationery: Stephanie Somodi
    Music: Ceremony music: Lamarr Hannah; Band: CTO Park Central; After party DJ: Supreme Productionz
    Videographer: Myther Ganibe Films
    Transportation: Arrive in Style Transportation
    Favors: Homemade Guava Jelly, made by the Mother of the Groom
    Honeymoon: Cocobay Resort (Antigua); St. Kitts Marriott Resort
    Rentals: Magnolia Exquisite Florals & Event Decor
    Linens: Magnolia Exquisite Florals & Event Decor
    Lighting: Fennelli Design; Liquor: Neptune Liquors;
    Aisle Runner: Starry Night Design;
    Signature Drink Signs: Rockin Chalk;
    Drink Napkins: Wedding Paper Divas


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