Two People Fell in Love
by Laurette Veres
Ashley Marie Tovar and Naval Nurse, Artur J. Gonzalez had only known each other for seven months when he decided to propose. The bravery of this Naval man was tested and confirmed when he secretly asked Ashley’s former Army Ranger father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Artur had only just met her family the day before and now they were rushing back to Houston that evening for the rodeo and her first Brad Paisley concert. She had no idea he was planning to pop the question in an unforgettable, truly Texan way!
In the middle of the bustling NRG stadium concourse, after the concert and fireworks, Artur scanned the crowd for the “most married couple” in the concession area and came across a happy family with a toddler and a beautiful new baby. While Ashley wasn’t looking, he ran over and asked the couple to record the moment using his iPhone. Artur walked back to Ashley and got down on one knee and asked her to be his bride“It was just the two of us,” recalls Ashley. “And everyone at the concert.”
With the big day set for August, Ashley and her maid-of-honor attended the Bridal Extravaganza in January, Decked out in matching T-shirts, they were ready for some serious wedding planning fun! There, Ashley followed a whim and signed up to be interviewed for the chance to appear on billboards all over town as the face of the Bridal Extravaganza. “I was so nervous and hoped I answered the questions correctly.” she admits. A few weeks later, as she was finishing up a hair appointment, she received the call saying she had won. “I still had foil in my hair but I was screaming because I was so excited.” she recalls.
Ventura’s Bridal and their limitless selection of fantastic bridal gowns made the dress fitting day tons of fun. “It was just like playing dress up!” says Ashley. “Getting to see the gown again and getting to wear it is just so nice.” Ashley looked stunning in the gown and especially loved the dramatic cape – perfect for a church or religious ceremony.
We checked in with the Billboard Bride recently and she says plans for her summer wedding are still going great! “I have a great planner, she keeps me on top of things.” she says smiling. “We are doing this all on our own (financially) and I want to be an inspiration to young brides who might be intimidated by wedding planning.” Ashley cautions brides who might be daunted by the planning process not to settle for a backyard barbecue just because it’s easier; “Planning a wedding can be easy if you have the right vendors in your corner.”
Speaking of a great team of wedding experts, the Bridal Extravaganza brought together the best of the best for this shoot.
Just North of The Woodlands, in the Piney Hills of Conroe, Texas, sits Madera Estates Weddings and Events. This versatile venue is known for their variety of indoor/outdoor spaces and an iconic outdoor Grand Fireplace. “We really provide our clients with a one-stop shop.” explains Ian Ramirez, of this family owned business. “We take away the added level of stress throughout the planning process so couples can focus on the fun.”Madera Estates’ architectural structures and breathtaking grounds were inspired by a family home in San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. “When you drive through the gates, you are transported to another world. We bring the destination wedding to you!” he adds.
Lorie Speich, owner of A Splendid Event was on site managing event design and coordination for this shoot. On any typical weekend, you might find Lorie and her team out at a farm or ranch wedding or producing an upscale, luxury event. “We are ready to take your needs and your details and plan the perfect day for you.” assures Lorie.
Of Madera Estates, Lorie declares,“I have fallen in love with the grand style of this venue. It’s very versatile and full of character. We could be in Cabo San Lucas or even Monaco!” she adds.
Mayra Malik of Simple Beauty Artistry heads up the beauty team for this shoot. Offering traditional and airbrush makeup, spray tanning, lash extensions and hair services, this team of 12 artists is available on location or in studio. Mayra stresses the importance of having an experienced professional in charge of your wedding day look.“It’s important to have a professional do your hair and makeup on your wedding day so you will be photo ready.” she says.“Professional application of makeup ensures top quality pictures.”
“Wispy, flowy and organic” are three words Malik uses to describe the fishtail braid she did for Ashley. “It’s one of the most popular looks we have.” she comments. “What we are seeing more now is pops of color.” Mayra explains.“Everyone wants to have the golden, dewy, sun-kissed look with a pop of color. In this case, we went with a bold, red lip.”
The task of bringing it all together with the right linens and table scape design goes to the expert team at Rexberry Luxury Weddings and Events. “When you book a venue, think about the aesthetic,” offers David Rexroat. “You don’t want to be able to tell where the venue stops and your décor starts. We created a mix of glam and rustic together.” he explains.
The custom bouquet created for Ashley by the Design Studio at H-E-B Blooms was on-trend, complimenting the bride with just the right amount of color. On hand to capture every last detail, we enlisted Ivan Garcia from Ivan Garcia Studio. Ivan is excited to announce his new portrait studio in Old Town Spring. As he continues to focus on shooting weddings, his wife Ana is at the studio shooting families, engagements and more. Ivan offers these expert words of advice for couples, “Break tradition and see each other before the wedding, if possible. This will allow ample time to change locations around your venue and you’ll be sure to capture every special image. These will be the photos that will look great in your wedding album. Especially brides who crave a sunset ceremony,” warns Ivan,“they should definitely consider first-look pi
After the shoot, Ashley was buzzing with excitement and anticipation of the finished product. “When I see the first billboard it’s going to take my breath away for sure!” she gushes with enthusiasm. “It will be overwhelming to see everyone’s hard work come together. For this to happen and then have your face up there is very overwhelming, in all the best ways.”
THE BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA SHOW IS IN JANUARY AND JULY. TO PURCHASE TICKETS, LOG ON TO www.BridalExtravaganzaShow.com