Ashley & William Dunn III
When William Dunn III and Ashley Miller married at St. Paul’s Church in Paget, they stood at the same altar where Ashley’s parents, Beth and Tom Miller, and grandparents, Peter and Barbara Cooper, had stood years before. Honouring family tradition was important to them and so was continuity. After all, continuity was very much part of their 13-year relationship, which had begun in their first year of high school in the U.S., survived long periods of time apart while they were students in college and culminated in their marriage on June 25, 2011.
“I was immediately more interested in Ashley than math and science,” says Will, remembering their first meeting. He was 15, she was 14, and they were starting their first year as students at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. “But I had no idea someday we’d be married.” Ashley had no idea either, although she adds, “I knew he was someone special in my life from the beginning, though this all feels wonderfully improbable.”
After leaving school, they parted ways to attend different universities. Will studied political science and entrepreneurial business at Tufts University near Boston while Ashley specialised in French, art history and dance at Emory University in Atlanta.
But the parting was not for long. While at college, they embarked on a long-distance relationship that lasted until they both moved to Washington. Then Ashley pursued her love of art history by taking her master’s degree at the University of Oxford, U.K. Once again, their relationship withstood the test of distance. “William has always been very supportive of my work, and he encourages me in my academic career,” says Ashley. The day after her return to Washington from Oxford, Will surprised her. He suggested they have a picnic at Dunbarton Oaks, one of their favourite places in Washington. “I had the ring loose in my pocket and no specific plan for where to propose once we arrived at the garden. I finally worked up the courage to propose as we finished our visit.” Of course, she accepted.
What do they appreciate most about each other? Humour, they both agree. “Ashley has the capacity to be very smart and extremely silly,” says Will. “I love that mix.” “Will makes me laugh every day, and I don’t think that will ever get old,” says Ashley. In addition, she is deeply appreciative of Will’s caring nature. “He is very generous and loving and takes extremely good care of me.”
Ashley and Will are close to their families, so family presence and traditions played an important part in their Bermudian wedding celebration. Many of the guests were from abroad, including Will’s family from the States and Ashley’s father’s family from Canada. Some came from as far away as New Zealand.
Will, who is American, followed the Bermudian tradition of wearing Bermuda shorts and a blazer, as did the best man and ushers. Ashley, carrying pieces of her mother’s and grandmother’s wedding dresses under her gown, wore her grandmother’s jewellery. Her earrings had belonged to her great grandmother; her necklace, passed down by her great aunt, was also worn by her mother’s sister, Tina, on her wedding day. Will wore his grandfather’s watch, inscribed with the names of three generations of William Dunns. Photos of the bridal couple entering and leaving St. Paul’s were touching reminders of Ashley’s parents’ and grandparents’ marriages at the same church.
After the traditional horse-and-buggy ride to the family home in Paget for a few photographs in the garden, the couple joined their guests at the Mid Ocean Club.
At last, Ashley and Will have set up home together in Chicago. Ashley is now working toward her doctorate in art history at Northwestern University, while Will is a director at Public Strategies Inc., a strategic communications firm.
Ceremony location: St. Paul’s Church, Paget
Reception location: Mid Ocean Club
Wedding planner: Jane West
Wedding gown: Christos
Bridesmaids’ dresses: J. Crew
Groom’s attire: Bermuda shorts from English Sports Shop
Photography: Sacha Blackburne and Zeudi Hines
Music: Mixed Bag (cocktail hour), DJ Donovan Furbert
Flowers: Suzan Sickling
Cake: Juliette Jackson
Hair: Ginny Jessey, Tangles
Makeup: Elizabeth Martel, A. S. Cooper & Sons
Invitations: Studio Olivine
Transport: Bermuda Train Company, Marquis Stables, and taxi service provided by Olney Bean
Bar Services: n/a
Something borrowed: Necklace and earrings from the bride’s grandmother
Something blue: Tissue case
Something old: Pieces of mother’s and grandmother’s wedding dresses
Something new: Wedding dress