Darlington House wedding a studious affair

College grads used old books as centerpieces

Ashley Johnston and John Jones wed during the summer at La Jolla’s Darlington House. The couple, who graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University earlier this year, fell in love with the venue’s library and many romantic rooms and patios.

‘I KNEW…':

Ashley and John met two years ago while in college. Ashley, an art major, was working on a project in between classes and John walked over and introduced himself. Ashley went home that night and tried to look John up on MySpace and Facebook, but couldn’t find any information on him. To ensure she’d run into the math major again, Ashley made sure she hung out in the same spot where she ran into him the first time. “I wouldn’t say I stalked him, I just made sure I was available,” Ashley said. She ended up running into John again. Though John really liked her, he wanted to remain friends for some time. “I knew that if we started dating, I would end up marrying her,” John said. At the time, he wasn’t ready to start thinking about getting married. But that changed quickly. The two began dating in January 2007 and John proposed in July 2007.


Ashley, 22, and John, 23, started planning their wedding shortly after they got engaged. They chose the Darlington House not only for the humanitarian aspect - the fee couples pay to rent the venue goes directly to The League House, which provides seniors affordable housing - but also because of the romantic and vintage feel of the house. Specifically, there is a library inspired by Moorish architecture and filled with old books. The couple collects vintage books. “I felt like it was totally us,” Ashley said. She and John carried the book theme throughout the reception with stacks of books serving as the centerpieces.


John’s father, who is a preacher, married the couple in a short, evening ceremony in the Darlington House’s rose garden. During the ceremony, musicians performed “Dreams” by The Cranberries. Dancing and a dessert reception followed the vow exchange.


After the couple cut their cake, they called upon two of their friends to act as stunt doubles for the part where the bride and groom are supposed to feed each other. “I think it’s funny to see someone get cake in their face - I just didn’t want it to be me,” Ashley said. On that note, the couple’s stunt doubles took little pity on each other as they smashed cake in each other’s faces.


In honor of their last name - Jones - Ashley and John, who is currently trying to get into graduate school, gave away Jones Soda as party favors. Ashley, a graphic designer, created new labels for the soda that incorporated their engagement photo and a condensed version of the story of how the couple met. “It was such a fun project,” Ashley said. “The sodas ended up serving multiple purposes: celebrating our new last name, showing off our engagement pictures and telling our story - all in a convenient party favor!


After the wedding, a family member drove the couple to their new home in Golden Hill. When they arrived, Ashley and John realized that neither one had a house key (they let family members borrow their cars…and their keys). “We couldn’t get a hold of anyone - we were locked out,” John said. Rather than panic, John took matters into his own hands. “I had to break into our house,” he said. The next day, the couple left on their honeymoon to St. Maarten.