31st May 2017
Dagenham couple Akira Johnson, 33 and Ashley Green, 31, decided to hold their wedding reception at the weekend at the place they first met ? Barking & Dagenham College!
The pair were just teenagers when they were introduced by mutual friends at the College they both attended. Akira, who was 19, was studying art and design while Ashley, then 17, was studying graphic design. Although it wasn’t quite love at first sight, they soon changed their minds and became an item – and they still are some 14 years later!
After Ashley totally surprised Akira by asking her to marry him on a family holiday to Devon – something she says she wasn’t expecting at all - Akira started looking around at different wedding venues. She quickly realised that she was looking for something that held more sentimental value to her and Ashley than the usual venue. It was then that she hit upon the idea of asking their former college if they could hold the reception there. Barking & Dagenham College was delighted to help and the plans were set into motion.
Not only, however, was Barking & Dagenham College the venue for the reception, Akira and Ashley enlisted the help of its students to make their day as special as possible. As a result, floristry students arranged all the flowers, the bridal party’s hair and make- up was done by hair and beauty students and a photography student took the pictures!
Their two children, Ryan, 5, and Nicole, 11 months old, joined them on their big day along with other family and friends who were initially surprised by their choice of wedding venue. As Akira says:
“I think they were a little shocked when we first told them we were holding our wedding reception at a college, but once I explained why they quickly got behind the idea and were just excited to see the venue.”
Akira, who looked stunning on her big day, continued:
“Everyone at Barking & Dagenham College has been so supportive and helpful. Ashley and I had so much fun there when we were students I’m glad we asked if we could use the College as our wedding venue. It was such a nice day!”