It isn't every couple that gets engaged before 2,000 screaming fans -- but if the groom is Brandon Saller, drummer of the popular metal band Atreyu, there really isn't a better way to do it. Just before a concert on Halloween night, Brandon's blindfolded girlfriend Ashley Reeves was led onto the stage. "He had a banner with my ring on it and a question mark in the middle," says Ashley of the moment her blindfold was removed. "In front of [the audience], his band, and both of our families, he dropped to two knees and asked me to marry him." The fact that Brandon was dressed as Frankenstein and Ashley as a bumblebee was all part of the charm of the exciting holiday proposal. "I said yes, and he swung me around, smearing green makeup all over my costume," Ashley remembers. "But I was happy to be the bride of Frankenstein!"
With their hearts set on an October wedding, the couple was willing to weather a two-year engagement to accommodate Brandon's tour schedule. While Brandon was on the road, Ashley stayed in constant communication about the wedding details. "She would send me pictures over our Sidekicks and through email," Brandon says. "Every decision was made together -- except for her dress, of course." The couple envisioned an elegant affair that would reflect their "rock 'n' roll" personalities and take decor inspiration from the films of Tim Burton. "Our vendors were so supportive of our vision," says Ashley. "Every time we mentioned something black they were excited -- they never flinched."
The scene of the couple's distinctive event was the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles, a five-star fantasy built in the 1920s. Home to eight Academy Awards(R) ceremonies, the Biltmore's ornate decor and glamorous history was irresistible to a fan of Hollywood's Golden Age like Ashley. Dramatic columns and a painted ceiling set the stage for the couple's ceremony in the hotel's opulent Emerald Room, where crimson candles and floral arrangements added a pop of color to an ebony aisle runner and matching chiavari chairs. The musical score from the film Edward Scissorhands accompanied the bridal party's procession before Ashley appeared on the arm of her father. The bride put a striking spin on tradition by accessorizing a timeless Alvina Valenta gown with beautiful black accessories, including a satin sash, beaded pumps, and a custom headpiece with wedged veil. Her bouquet of Black Baccara roses and magenta calla lilies was swathed in black-and-white ribbon and topped with a crystal brooch. "I could have sworn that she was glowing and sparkling," says Brandon of seeing his bride for the first time. "At least in my eyes she was."
For the reception that followed the nondenominational ceremony, guests were led to the Biltmore's storied Gold Room. Seating cards were custom designed to resemble all-access passes similar to those that Atreyu uses on the road; in this case, the passes were for "Brandon & Ashley's Life Tour." Black manzanita branches, Black Baccara roses, dahlias, and red candles composed breathtaking centerpieces in three different heights, adding levels to the space and contrasting beautifully with the room's gilded ceiling. Ebony linens and chairs coordinated perfectly with the shiny black dance floor where Ashley's father-daughter dance turned into a family affair. "My dad handed me over to my eldest brother Mikey," explains Ashley, "and then Mikey handed me to my younger brother Timmy." Although a third brother, Pat, bowed out with a sprained ankle, the spirit of the dance was intact. "My brothers love Brandon, and they gave me away and accepted him that night as much as my dad did."
Guests were surprised and delighted by the unique menu of pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, pasta with Bolognese sauce, French bread, and salads. "I love that we had a fairy-tale wedding in a five-star hotel and served the greatest comfort foods known to man!" Ashley exclaims. A baked-potato bar with every available accompaniment was also offered, and a retro "cigarette girl" passed out Ashley's favorite candies. The wedding cake was the picture of beautiful simplicity: layers of white buttercream with black satin ribbon placed on a table of bright red roses. After an evening of dancing, guests fortified themselves with doughnut-hole skewers, French-toast sticks, and frosty shots of milk.
The wedding reflected an amazing combination of many things that Ashley and Brandon hold dear: music, family, glamour, and fun. They incorporated their edgy personalities into a gorgeous, formal event without once diminishing the dignity of the occasion, and the result was as memorable as it was striking. Brandon credits the secret to their success to "moms and wedding planners," as well as an optimistic outlook. "If you keep a positive attitude and involve yourself," he offers, "things will be more fun. Enjoy every step and don't stress out -- and do whatever you can to keep your bride happy."