Featured in Spring 2017 Issue
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“Our chemistry was immediate,” says Ashley Taylor Cooper. Her family was vacationing in the Bahamas when they met and befriended Ernesto Argüello. Out of respect for Ashley’s parents, Ernesto sat down individually with her mother, father and step-father, and asked permission to date their daughter before pursuing a relationship. Once he was granted approval, Ernesto visited Ashley in New York and they spent every weekend together for two years.
In November of 2015, the couple was vacationing in Cartagena, Colombia. During a romantic carriage ride along the fortress city wall, Ernesto stopped to buy his then-girlfriend a bouquet of flowers from a little boy on the street. Shortly after, a singing trio began following the carriage, harmonizing while the couple started dancing. Once they reached the top of the wall, Ernesto stated, “I want to be with you forever.” Pulling a ring from his pocket, he asked, “Will you let forever begin today?” As Ashley tearfully accepted, fireworks lit the sky behind them, champagne was brought out, and a live band began to play.
With a wedding ceremony being held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the reception taking place at the iconic Plaza Hotel, Ashley and Ernesto fittingly chose a wedding theme that was an elegant and classic interpretation of an enchanted fairytale. “We love the glam life but are very laid-back,” explains Ashley. “We didn’t want our guests to feel like they couldn’t kick their shoes off to dance all night. It was incredibly important to us to come up with a design that was elegant, unique and fun.” Another exceptional aspect was the couple’s wedding registry, which was donation-only, and generously used as an opportunity to help build a teacher training facility for impoverished communities.
On the big day, the groom woke up early to enjoy breakfast with his parents before finding a surprise waiting back in his room—a large glass box engraved with the words, “You are what happened when I wished upon a star.” Inside, he found a barrage of custom-made gifts, a stack of letters from friends and family, and a special letter from Ashley. “The letters brought tears of joy to my eyes, and I couldn’t wait to see her walking toward me at the cathedral,” he says.
A total of 400 guests were in attendance to celebrate the nuptials, and a stunning reception incorporated the concept of “love birds” throughout the décor. Two waitstaff women wore gold birdcage skirts filled with champagne glasses during the cocktail hour, and dove-shaped seating cards were placed inside a 15-foot birdcage with an aerialist. Inside the Plaza’s ballroom, rainforest and bird sounds wafted through the air. Ivory roses, hydrangea and lush greenery also filled the space, creating the ambiance of an enchanted forest.
For their honeymoon, Ernesto told Ashley, “I’ll show you the world”—and that he did. After the wedding, the newlyweds jetted off to Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Croatia.
> Written by Lauren Malamala