A blizzard wedding was not what bride Ashley Burlage was expecting in New York on Saturday.
Determined to marry her fiance Casey, the bride hiked up her wedding dress’ skirts and hit the subway from Spring Street to Columbus Circle to make it to her wedding, and the photos from her journey have now gone viral! In exclusive interviews with The Knot, Ashley, her wedding photographer Jose Pang, and wedding planner Laura Petrocelli of Couture Concepts NY recall the epic blizzard wedding adventure!
As wedding planner Laura shared with The Knot, “Saturday began as planned. The bride and bridal party were getting their hair and makeup done at Ashley’s suite at the Trump SoHo, the four limo fleet from M&V Limos were on schedule and en route, the photographer Jose Pang and the videographer Michael Giardino of Palette Films had arrived at Trump and began shooting…everything was in motion and getting all set up for a perfect day.”
It’s certainly not every day cameras catch a fully dolled-up bride riding on the subway in a snowstorm, but when winter storm Jonas threatened her January 23 wedding day with tons of snow and travel bans, Ashley and her crew had to improvise. Fast.
“The forecasts were never that bad,” Ashley said. “Spirits were high all day Friday and Saturday morning. It wasn’t until mid morning on Saturday that I knew how bad things were getting…until the travel ban, that’s when we realized we were going to have to move to a plan B.”
As the day went on, the weather forecasts began to get progressively worse, and inches upon inches of snow began piling up outside the hotel. “Everyone became slightly more and more concerned about getting to the wedding safely,” Laura told The Knot, “and when guests coming in from New Jersey, Long Island, and beyond had no choice but to cancel last minute, we knew that there was a more serious decision to consider here.”
With the groom, Casey, and his groomsmen already close to arriving at the wedding venue, The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, at about 2:10 p.m., “The inevitable happened that changed everything,” Laura said. “Mayor De Blasio had enforced a travel ban!”
With the ban being put in place at 2:30 p.m., the bride, her bridesmaids, the photographer, the wedding planner and family were all stranded at the hotel, but Laura explained they weren’t the only ones impacted. “This was obviously a game changer,” she shared, “because this meant that the band, the venue staff, vendors, guests and everyone else involved with the wedding may be able to get there, but they wouldn’t be able to get home!”
But the bride not only kept a level head throughout the ordeal, she was a downright cheerleader! As the couple’s wedding photographer Jose told The Knot, “Calm is not the level she’s at [before the wedding]. She’s unperturbed and determined more than anyone else she’ll meet Casey at the church.”
“Throughout the entire pre-groom and pre-bride session, she’s calling Casey on the phone and updating him and reassuring him everything is going to be okay.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a blizzard wedding, this bride is getting married!
Determined to wed, but a little more lenient with their reception plans, Ashley and Casey agreed to postpone their wedding reception until the next day. Laura said, “At this point, we had to put the nail in the casket and beg The Lighthouse to please allow us to move everything to tomorrow. Thankfully they didn’t have another event on Sunday, and were able to accommodate #ABC123WED Take 2!” The ABC stands for Ashley, Burlage, Casey and the 123 is their wedding date! Despite the sudden change in plans, Laura said, “Every single incredible vendor was on board to move the reception to the following day.”
Insisting on taking the subway the 10 stops from SoHo to the church for her blizzard wedding, the bride and her bridal party gathered their winter coats and boots and hit the streets for the station!
“The walk from the hotel to the subway was about 10 minutes and the walk from the subway to The Church of St. Paul the Apostle was 15 minutes under attacks from blistering strong winds and icy snow at times,” Jose shared with The Knot. The entire group, dressed to the nines for the wedding, and covered in winter gear, kept spirits high for Ashley and the bride did the same.
“Her bridesmaids are totally cool and supportive…chanting ‘subway wedding’ and shouting out ‘welcome to the subway wedding’ to the public entering the train cars,” while the bride couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.
Jose reminisced, “The people’s reactions were priceless, congratulating and expressing their admiration for Ashley’s determination to get to the church that day.” The bride herself said she received, “a lot of congratulations, high fives,” and called the subway ride to her blizzard wedding “a party” in its own right.
One of the most memorable moments from the bride’s journey was the in-subway beauty session thanks to her makeup artist Igor Santos of Livian Salon. Prepped with the most necessary tools of the trade, Jose said, “Ashley’s makeup artist, Igor was terrific and he came with us to touch Ashley’s hair and makeup. Imagine getting hair and lip touch ups in a wobbling train car.” Ashley was “clinging with both hands on the rails and having lipstick put on,” Jose added. What an experience!
Though Jose was unable to spend time snapping photos of the couple out in the snow after the blizzard wedding, to protect Ashley’s dress for the postponed reception, he still got a few now-viral pictures of Ashley trekking to and from the subway. As the bride shared with The Knot, “Bunching up my entire full princess dress, wearing snow boots and a huge fur coat [was] not what I was envisioning!” But despite the snow and the cold she said, “There was so much excitement that it was a blast!”
After the memorable 20-minute train ride and 10-minute walk from the subway, “Everyone arrived at the church and Ashley in her UGG snow boots and a Trump SoHo umbrella, made it there safely to walk down the aisle to the love of her life, Casey,” Laura said.
Though the couple had told friends and relatives that they would marry just in the presence of their wedding party (weather permitting), Jose shared with The Knot that their friends and family braved the snow to witness their blizzard wedding anyway!
“Attendance was amazing at the ceremony. We have 70-year-old grandmothers braving the walk in the peak of the blizzard to attend their church ceremony…Lo and behold, family, relatives and friends gathered at the hotel and were ready to go. Guests who were able to walk to the church from nearby also arrived,” making it a blizzard wedding to remember.
Ashley told The Knot, “Everything was stunning, other than guests not being able to make it, it was the wedding of my dreams!”
After Ashley and Casey tied the knot, they – like the city – had some time to recuperate before their wedding reception at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers the next day. Thanks to the bride and groom’s relaxed attitude and flexibility, the event went perfectly!
“It could have been a nightmare situation for any planner, but the fact that Ashley and Casey happen to be one of the most amazing ‘go with the flow’ clients of all time, definitely made my job slightly less stressful under these circumstances,” Laura shared with The Knot. “I just wanted to make sure they still had the most perfect wedding day of all time, with the cards they were dealt. Aside from some guests not being able to make it, they definitely did!”
All the reception vendors arrived safely and put on an incredible reception, and thanks to some musical family members Jose added, “They had some amazing party dancing when Casey’s dad took up the guitar and rocked several numbers with the band.”
“Mike Giardino the videographer was there Saturday and stayed up all night,” Ashley said, “to make a BEAUTIFUL video that we showed at the reception on Sunday.” The Palette Films cinematographer had put a rush on editing their wedding day footage so those who were unable to attend the ceremony could watch the day unfold at the reception the next day. The video, seen at the very end of the article, captured the entirety of the heartwarming blizzard wedding from the bride first putting on her jewelry and looking out onto the snowy street, all the through the pronunciation of Casey and Ashley (“officially Cashley”) as husband and wife.
But when it comes down to it, ample credit must be given to the subway-riding, blizzard wedding bride herself for remaining not only determined to marry her love, but also for keeping her cheerful demeanor throughout the day.
“Anyone who knows Ashley, knows her million dollar smile and laugh, and how easy going she is,” Laura told The Knot, “When most brides (and grooms) would have completely lost it, she stayed cool, calm and collected knowing that there was nothing that anyone could have done any better or differently to make the very best of the situation.”
“It was exciting to photograph Ashley’s journey from the hotel to the church as she was so positive during the entire time. That made my day and I believe her positive energy gave everyone a boost as well,” Jose said.
Laura added, “If the two of them can handle a situation like this, than they will be able to handle just about everything. I am truly blessed that I got to be a part of the beginning of their beautiful and unforgettable love story.”
Thank you to all involved for sharing your incredible blizzard wedding adventures with The Knot, and we wish Ashley and Casey Burlage all the best as they enjoy their warm honeymoon diving the Great Blue Hole in Belize!