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.
“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.
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.
Before heading out into the desert, the pair made a stop for frozen custard that doubled as a serious photo op.
Both Jared and Ashley’s rings are rose gold, with hers featuring an asymmetrical cluster of round diamonds.
“We wanted our wedding to be simple, intimate, and authentic to us,” says Ashley. Part of that plan? An 12-person guest list!
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.
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.”
Ever the trend setters, Ashley and Jared posed for photos with a cluster of peach-colored balloons.
The newlyweds enjoyed a post-ceremony drink at a woven table, with a pink laser-cut sign that read “Better Together.”
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.
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.
“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.
The couple served a cream-and-blush ombré cake topped with fresh flowers. Inside were layers of red velvet cake.
“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!”
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!”
Ceremony & Reception Venue: White Sands National Monument
Day-Of Coordinators: Kayla Haykin and Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch
Bride's Wedding Skirt: 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
Laser-Cut Place cards, Signage: California Lustre
Rentals: Birch & Brass
Car Rental: Turo
Videography: Modern Atelier
Photography: Cotton Weddings