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After Their Bengali Gaye Holud, This Couple Said, “I Do,” in a Lighthearted, Tropical Wedding at The Breakers

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Blush Wood Studios & Chris Joriann Photography

|Planning by 

YSD Events

Ashley Emma Shahid, who works in advertising at Google, and Jacob Alan Althans,  an investment banker at KeyBanc Capital Markets, met on Hinge. After two years and two months together, Jake proposed in a little grove in Central Park. “He told me it was a great meditation spot and told me to put on a Calm app meditation and hang out for a little, and while my eyes were closed, he grabbed the ring and then stood up and proposed,” Ashley remembers. “As if that wasn’t a surprise enough, right after I said yes, Jake looked over to the left and both of our parents—who had secretly made the trip from Ohio and Virginia—joined us in this secluded little spot in Central Park.”

Ashley loved the look of a seaside Mediterranean wedding, but due to planning amidst the pandemic, the bride-to-be zeroed in on Palm Beach. Ultimately, the couple chose to host their celebration at The Breakers. The bride-to-be didn’t want an ultra-formal event, so she leaned into a lighthearted, tropical aesthetic. “I love the look of rattan, wicker, jute, cane, etc. at weddings, so I gravitated towards those textures when planning decor and even some of the stationery,” Ashley explains. “At the end of the day, the mindset was always ‘It’s Palm Beach, let’s have some fun with it!’

Ashley and Jake drew inspiration from The White Lotus‘s opening credits for their invitation suite. “My stationer, Lisa from Mine + Kindred, went as far as to identify bird species that are local to Palm Beach and painted one onto the welcome party invite,” the bride shares. To help bring their vision to life, the couple hired Brad and Justin of YSD Events.

As a part of Ashley’s family’s culture, the Bengali Gaye Holud was held on May 28, 2022 at The Obici House in Virginia—around 20 days before the wedding ceremony. Participants painted turmeric on the couple and fed them sweets. “I wanted to wear a designer sari, versus the custom-made or non-designer ones I’ve been wearing my whole life,” Ashley shares. The bride landed on an Anita Dongre yellow and red sari, to match the theme of the event, and Amina Muaddi Glass Slipper Begum heels.

For the Bengali reception, Ashley’s mother had a red sari custom-made for her daughter in India. “She actually wanted me to wear something a little darker and more matronly, but I liked how youthful and light I felt in the one I wore,” Ashley says. “My mom basically dressed Jake like her own personal doll, and I think they both loved every minute of it.”

For the beginning of the Palm Beach events, Jake’s mother worked closely with Cheree Berry Paper on the rehearsal dinner paper goods. The welcome party at Café Boulud featured a steel drum band and refreshing drinks in custom coconuts by Coco Reserve Miami. Ashley wore a KYHA taffeta minidress with a detachable long bow and paired it with Mejuri pearl earrings and a bright red mini Jodie from Bottega Veneta. The bride explains, “The bright red against the all white reminded me of Valentine’s Day for whatever reason!”

To walk down the aisle, Ashley chose an Ines di Santo gown with gloves, a mantilla veil, Verstolo diamond earrings, and Magda Butrym heels. The bride was about to buy another of the bridal designer’s dresses, but after seeing the Chiara, she made a trunk show appointment at Mark Ingram Atelier and purchased it on the spot. “There was something about the intricate lace and bead detailing that felt so romantic, and though I was not into wearing a strapless dress, it had these amazing lace glove sleeves with pearl accents that made it feel like a long-sleeve gown in a way,” Ashley shares. 

Custom-making her veil with with Basia Custom Headdress was one of the bride’s favorite experiences of wedding planning. “Basia took a swatch of my dress and matched it to diamond white tulle and Chantilly lace to create a 125-inch-long Cathedral-length mantilla veil,” Ashley says. “I was set on wearing a mantilla veil to honor both the Catholic and Arabic influences of that specific style.”

“I knew basically a month after getting engaged that I wanted to hire Megan Lombardi to do my makeup,” Ashley shares. The makeup artist flew from Los Angeles to give the bride a glowing beauty look, and Natasha Cruz styled Ashley’s sweeping, long hair. 

Jake’s soon-to-be sister-in-law’s grandfather owns custom suit atelier DePandi, where Ashley and Jake built his wedding ensemble from the navy fabric up. He completed his look with a velvet dark blue Del Toro tie and tropical patterned loafers from Taft.

On June 18, 2022, Ashley and Jake were married at St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach. “We were surrounded by family and friends, but what was more special to me was that some of my family who are not Catholic nor Christian had not stepped into a church before, so for them to experience something new at our wedding was really cool to me,” the bride reveals. “I felt really happy during the ceremony…Mostly, I felt attentive to what was being said and to the gravity of the actual moment of getting married…Jake on the other hand told me multiple times he might pass out.”

The cocktail hour was Ashley’s favorite part of the night. Carajillos with the couple’s initials stenciled in the foam with cocoa powder, spicy margaritas, and Champagne were passed around. A violin and cello set the mood and many commented how the vibes were very Bridgerton-esque.

As whimsical as the wedding design was, Ashley loved her classic second dress, Charlie by Danielle Frankel. “Wanting to add a more vintage, dramatic feel to it, I purchased some scrap silk from Danielle Frankel and asked my mom to make me a custom shawl to wear with the dress at the reception,” the bride says.

At the reception in the Circle Ballroom, candlelit tablescapes with flora and fauna, arranged by Renny & Reed, made the evening feel like a special dinner party. “It all came together to create this vintage, tropical, young but classic aesthetic that I had been trying to nail all along,” Ashley says.

Because the bride didn’t have a traditional Bengali wedding, she really wanted to incorporate some South Asian flair into the dinner menu. Delhi spiced hearts of palm cakes were served as the starter, followed by Tandoori marinated sea bass and filet. For dessert, Ashley and Jake surprised their guests with The Breakers’s ice cream sundaes featuring a white chocolate topper that had their monogram on it. “I definitely saw some jaws drop, and I ate the whole thing,” the bride says.

Fusion and DJ Slim Rok of Rock With U kept the dance floor packed all night. The new mister and missus had their first dance to Noah Reid’s rendition of “Simply The Best” by Tina Turner from Schitt’s Creek. “We went through a binge-period of Schitt’s Creek in quarantine and came out loving that version of the song so much that we thought it was the perfect first dance song,” the bride explains.

At one point, the newlyweds spontaneously performed the Dirty Dancing lift perfectly, and rumor has it everyone went up to Suite 1037 for a little post-wedding gathering. Ashley sums it up well, “There was a disposable camera, some chicken tenders, a little too much wine, and some great conversation with friends that we haven’t gotten to catch up with in a while.”