When Jay Hurley bravely asked Ashley Wentz’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, the timing was a little tricky. “We were at lunch with her dad and I hadn’t gotten any time alone with him,” explains Jay. “I had to wait for her to leave the table before I could bring it up, and I was so nervous!” The sweet request was met with a blessing and supportive words; and not long afterwards, Jay took Ashley on a trip to Key West where he romantically proposed near the harbor at sunset.
Since Ashley and Jay wanted to get married on the beach, Key West seemed the perfect locale, especially because of its special significance. “Key West is a great place for all kinds of folks, and there is something for everyone to do there,” describes Jay of their wedding destination. The couple visited Casa Marina – a luxurious waterfront resort – and loved it. Ashley wanted the ballroom of their chosen venue to be a blank canvas without the task of working around wallpaper and carpet designs. “Casa Marina’s off-white walls, dark hardwood floors, and flowing ivory curtains were perfect,” recalls the bride.
Ashley had a vision of what she wanted the celebration to look like, but found it daunting to try to describe that vision to wedding professionals. “You really have to put a lot of faith in the vendors and hope it all works out,” explains the bride. “So, it’s important that you feel comfortable with them and trust in their abilities.” Luckily, Ashley also had her mom to help her in making final selections and was grateful for the support. “My mom was great because she knew the look I was going for and gave unbiased opinions even if it wasn't what she would have chosen.”
The beach-loving bride aimed for a tropical theme and was fixed on having tall palms as centerpieces. “I wanted guests to feel as if they were sitting under a palm tree,” describes the bride. With that concept in mind as inspiration, Ashley concentrated on natural décor elements and chose a punchy palette of bright pink, tangerine, aqua, and shades of green for the event. A sophisticated, beach-worthy invitation suite was created that incorporated a seashell motif and raffia ties. Matching programs and other stationery were also customized for the couple, so that the invitation theme could be seen throughout the celebration.
A beautiful arch made of garlands and colorful blossoms marked the spot for the vow exchange on a sandy white beach lined with crisp white chairs. A wooden runner created a unique middle aisle, while extra-large arrangements of exotic flowers and lush greenery brightened the area. Bridesmaids dressed in lovely fluid gowns preceded the bride down the walkway; their brightly colored bouquets were infused with a variety of flora, while Ashley carried a cascading bouquet of orchids and wore a strapless gown with tiers of ruffles. The sweet words the couple exchanged were self written and memorized. “Though I practiced a million times, when I got up there it came out a little different,” shares Jay. “Ashley had the same issue, but that made it even more heartfelt.”
The dinner ballroom was set with a collection of rectangular wooden tables that were adorned with placemats and runners in lieu of typical tablecloths. Centerpieces were full, lush, and colorful, and the room lent a tropically elegant vibe. Tall palm arrangements were also placed on tables with groupings of candlelight that complemented the amber lighting of the space. The second ballroom meant for dancing and drinking offered a more energetic feel with aqua and blush lighting, a white dance floor, a lounge area, and even more creative arrangements of palms.
Although Ashley and Jay had many wonderful moments throughout the day, they both agree that the walk from the reception to the beach after-party was strikingly memorable. “All the wedding guests lined the walkway holding sparklers and throwing rose petals,” remembers the groom. “When we got to the end, there was a round table with 300 ‘Surfer on Acid’ shots waiting for us and all the guests.” Ashley and Jay then made one final toast and thanked everyone for attending and making the day so special. “It was the perfect way to end the evening – with a little structure and gratitude,” says Ashley. “I think everyone really appreciated it!”