Sugar & Cloth's Colorful, Intimate Celebration

The balloons! The desert! The dress! This style blogger nailed every wedding detail

Bride and Groom in New Mexico Desert

Photo by Cotton Weddings

Ashley Rose and Jared Smith, the duo behind DIY and lifestyle blog Sugar & Cloth, first met when they were coworkers at a creative agency in Houston. “We were friends and worked together for so long, I’m not quite sure when we started dating,” she says. But she knows exactly when they got engaged. “It was a typical Friday morning, and I was up before my alarm with a to-do list in my head,” Ashley remembers. “But Jared told me to go back to bed! The next thing I knew, he brought up breakfast and flowers and disappeared again.” When Jared came back, he had Ashley’s cat in his arms and a ring box in hand. “It was the perfect proposal I didn’t know I wanted. Low-key, private, and so genuine,” she says.

The pair started to plan a destination wedding in the Bahamas but scrapped it all in favor of the most stylish elopement you’ve ever seen. With 12 friends and family members in tow, on February 18, 2017, the happy couple headed to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico for an intimate ceremony, cocktails, and sledding down the sand dunes. “We’d always wanted to plan a shoot there for Sugar & Cloth, and having our wedding in the desert was even better,” says the bride. Two friends stepped in to help put the big day together, and Cotton Weddings met everyone on the white sand for a day of love, laughter, rich colors, and modern details that give a whole new meaning to desert chic. If you’ve ever even considered eloping, Ashley and Jared’s wedding just might be the reason you go for it.

Colorful New Mexico Desert Wedding, Groom
Photo by Cotton Weddings

“Jared loves the classic look of a tuxedo, but we wanted it to fit the casual setting,” says Ashley. So instead of a full tux, he wore Vans, a grandad-collar shirt, and an ivory tuxedo jacket.

Bride in Lace BHLDN Dress
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Ashley paired a blush tulle skirt from BHLDN with a handmade lace top. “I actually didn’t try either on before I ordered them, but I was so happy with the relaxed and comfortable combination,” she says.

Colorful New Mexico Desert Wedding, Bride and Groom
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Bride and Groom Eating Ice Cream
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Bride and Groom Eat Ice Cream
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Before heading out into the desert, the pair made a stop for frozen custard that doubled as a serious photo op.

Rose Gold Engagement Ring
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Rose Gold Wedding Band for Groom
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Both Jared and Ashley’s rings are rose gold, with hers featuring an asymmetrical cluster of round diamonds.

Wedding Guest With Banner
Photo by Cotton Weddings

“We wanted our wedding to be simple, intimate, and authentic to us,” says Ashley. Part of that plan? An 12-person guest list!

Bride with Colorful Bouquet
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Flowers in Wooden Clutch
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Ashley asked a close friend to create her bouquet. It featured a mix of garden roses, ranunculus, and flowing greenery. When she wasn't holding them, she toted the bouquet around in her clutch.

Bride Walks Down Aisle in Desert
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Bride and Groom Exchange Vows
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Bride and Groom Celebrate
Photo by Cotton Weddings

As the ceremony began, Ashley’s dad walked her over the dunes. “Jared and I wrote the ceremony together, so we’d heard the ‘I do’s’ before," she says. "But we each also wrote personal vows to each other, which were a complete surprise.”

Bride and Groom With Balloons
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Cluster of Peach-Colored Balloons
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Bride and Groom Portrait With Balloons
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Ever the trend setters, Ashley and Jared posed for photos with a cluster of peach-colored balloons.

Better Together Sign
Photo by Cotton Weddings

The newlyweds enjoyed a post-ceremony drink at a woven table, with a pink laser-cut sign that read “Better Together.”

Low Table With Pillows
Photo by Cotton Weddings

The group gathered in the sand for cocktails and light bites prepared by Jared’s mom. The low table was set on rugs , surrounded by cushions, and topped with flowers.

Reception Table With Floor Cushions
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Rose and Gold Reception Table
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Gold and White Tapered Candlestick Holders
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Colorful Floral Arrangement
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Rose and Gold Table Setting
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Drinks were served in rose-colored coupes, and each place setting featured a coral-inspired placemat, a nod to the pair’s original plan to wed in the Bahamas. The flowers matched Ashley’s bouquet, combining garden roses with dusty millers, thistles, and vibrant greenery. Angular votive holders and gold-dipped candlesticks added an extra layer to the modern vibe.

Guests Cheers With Champagne Coups
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Bride and Groom at Reception
Photo by Cotton Weddings

“Sitting around a table in the middle of the sand dunes, listening to toasts from our family and friends, is something we’ll remember forever,” says the bride.

Ombre Single-Tier Wedding Cake
Photo by Cotton Weddings

The couple served a cream-and-blush ombré cake topped with fresh flowers. Inside were layers of red velvet cake.

Bride Slides Down Sand Dune
Photo by Cotton Weddings

“We brought sand discs to slide down the dunes, but we forgot the wax!” says Ashley. “We didn’t go very far or very fast!”

Bride and Groom Desert Wedding Portrait
Photo by Cotton Weddings
Bride and Groom With Guests
Photo by Cotton Weddings

Says the bride, “Don’t get hung up on anyone else’s opinion about what you should or shouldn’t do at your wedding. It’s your day, and if you stick to what’s authentic to you, it will inevitably be one of the best days ever!”

Wedding Team

Ceremony & Reception Venue: White Sands National Monument

Day-Of Coordinators: Kayla Haykin and Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

Bride's Wedding Skirt: BHLDN

Earrings: BHLDN

Shoes: Kate Spade

Groom's Attire: Asos

Groom's Shoes: Vans

Engagement Ring: Mociun

Bride's Wedding Band: Iconery

Groom's Wedding Band: Etsy

Flowers: Purchased from Flower Muse, arranged by Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

Invitations: Minted

Laser-Cut Place cards, Signage: California Lustre

Rentals: Birch & Brass

Car Rental: Turo

Videography: Modern Atelier

Photography: Cotton Weddings

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