Ok, so technically Ashlee and Luke weren’t engaged when they booked us for their wedding this coming August here in Asheville. And technically they weren’t engaged when Ashlee booked me for their engagement photo session. Luke was waiting on Ashlee’s ring to be custom made before he officially asked. She was patient and it paid off! Luke custom designed the ring himself. He used some of the diamonds from Ashlee’s grandmother’s ring. It took 8 months for the ring to be completed but was so worth it because there isn’t another one like it in the world. Here are some of his sketches of that amazing ring.

I was sure to get some photos of the finished product!

Luke called me the week of the E-Session and told me the ring was ready. I felt honored that only he and I knew that it was ready and that he was going to finally get to propose to Ashlee. Luke and I schemed all week to come up with a plan for me to capture the actual, official proposal. We decided I would show up early to the E-Session and stalk them as they finished touring Biltmore Estate. Here is the map of the scheme that Luke sent me to make sure the proposal went off without a hitch!

Total surprise was the goal and total surprise was accomplished!! Luke took Ashlee and their dog Emma down to a secluded place below the south terrace of Biltmore and snuck a peak up to the south terrace to make sure I was in place. He got down on one knee and proposed to his best friend and soon to be wife!

Ashlee and Luke have a great story… A REALLY GREAT STORY!!! You have to read it in her words though… and yes, you HAVE to read it. It will make you swoon.:)

“Luke and I have been best friends since we were eighteen years old, we are now both 28 years old.

We grew up in the same small hometown outside of Columbus, Ohio, our families lived less than five miles apart, and still do today. We went to the same high school, middle school, and elementary school. I was good friends with Luke’s older sister throughout middle school and high school, so we would see each other here and there but never really talked. It wasn’t until after high school in 2003, at a graduation party, that we realized we were very much alike and needed to hang out more, wondering why the heck we never did before. From that day forward, we did not miss a day of seeing each other. That summer, his best friends told us “You guys are going to get married someday, and for my best man’s speech, I am going to say “I told ya so.” We both laughed and thought he was very silly.

The time came and we both left for college, he left for Cincinnati, I left for Cleveland. We continued to stay in touch every month and visited each other over all the holiday breaks. Luke had girlfriends, and I had boyfriends, yet we still remained close through all our relationships. My parents would always say “We really like Luke, why aren’t you with him?” I would say “Mom, Dad, we are just friends. Luke’s mom would always ask him the same thing and Luke would say “she doesn’t like me like that.”

Luke’s landed his internships in Cleveland, his last few years of college, a choice I did not know was his until we were later together. I had always thought it was just a coincidence:)

After college, I got a job as an elementary school teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. We both dated different people on and off. Luke never approved of my boyfriends, and I never approved of Luke’s girlfriends, nor did his girlfriends want us to continue being friends, however that never stopped us. Whenever Luke and I were together, we had the time of our lives, it was always fun, and never a dull moment.

We always knew that one day we would end up together, but just didn’t know when…I told Luke every year, after he would confess his feelings to me, hoping for the same in return, “someday Luke, just not right now.” I knew in my mind, I just was not ready for “perfect” yet in my life, I still had mistakes to make and things to learn. Luke held on to the hope that “someday” we would be together, forever. We continued to date other people and live our own lives in separate places, knowing already who we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with…

After five years of teaching, I decided that I needed a big change in my life, and decided to risk everything, and move to Los Angeles, California (Luke tried to convince me that, North Carolina would be a good change for me) but I had always wanted to move there so I proceeded, it was the best and craziest decision I had ever made.

Once there, I began meeting new people, and trying new things. Life out there was exciting, and a lot of fun, however, I still felt like piece of something was missing to make me feel whole. After a few months of living there, I received a phone call from Luke, on his way to work. We started talking about what was going on in our lives at the time, and he then stated again how he felt, but this time was different, all of his feelings from over the years poured out, and he said “he only wanted one chance, just one chance.”

Those words stayed in my head for the rest of the morning, and on my way to work, I felt a warm feeling rush through me, something told me to pull over to the side of the road (near the beach) and tell Luke how I really felt, that something I knew was God, giving me a sign, telling me, now is the time. I asked myself “What am I doing with my life? It’s time to be where I need to be, with my best friend.” Knowing Luke was at work, I sent him a message, and said “Let’s try it” he returned a message within the second, “Let’s try what?” and I said “US.” He sent a message back, again within the second, and said “Are you serious, because I’ve been waiting nine years to hear those words.” I said, “Yes, I am serious.”

A month later, Luke flew out to Los Angeles, to see how it would work, being more than friends, it ended up being the most perfect weekend either of us have ever had, we only wished we had tried it sooner. Luke continued to fly out once a month so visit his new girlfriend, and best friend of nine years. Six months, later Luke flew out for the last time, and we packed up my car with all my belongings and drove across the country from Los Angeles to Greensboro, North Carolina, an amazing four day road trip that felt right, the whole way.

It has now been almost two years of being more than friends, and we could not be any happier, our life together is perfect, and will forever be perfect.

I am proudly wearing the hand-made ring Luke took a year making for me, and look forward to truly marrying my best friend. We will continue living the blessed life God has provided for us, knowing that we are fortunate enough to have found our true soulmate.”

To view more of our portfolio check out our website—> Asheville Engagement Photographer

Michael and I first met Katie and Jared during a trip to Chicago almost a year ago. They are currently living there and since we were “in the neighborhood” we had the pleasure of shooting their engagement session in that fabulous city!

Needless to say, we have been eagerly awaiting their Asheville Wedding… and what a WEDDING! Katie chose Asheville because this is where her Nana lives. It was easy to see how sweet her relationship with her Nana is. The girls got ready at her house and I loved getting to see her wedding photos and portraits. I even used one of them for a photo prop.

The sentiment in this wedding often had me in tears. Katie’s mom passed away in 2003 but her presence was felt as her beautiful girl married the love of her life. There were some very sweet moments with Katie and her two sisters, especially when Katie gave her sisters and her nieces necklaces that had a diamond from their mother’s wedding ring in it. This was actually Jared’s idea and, I tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room! (Way to go Jared!)

There were a lot of fun moments during this day as well. Katie choose to have a first look with her dad and with her bridesmaids! As a photographer who loves the candid photos, this moment and the reactions involved were real winners. (See pictures below!) Katie and Jared have a lot of fun together (constantly cracking each other up) and it is evident in their photos.

As always, here are the amazing vendors that helped pull off such a great wedding too!

Wedding Planning Boutique: StudioWed
Wedding Venue- Basilica of St. Lawrence
Reception Venue- The Century Room at Pack’s Tavern
Wedding coordination and Design- Brittany Ghio with Verge Events
Decor- Paula Mikolajczak
Venue Coordinator- Mary Evans
Dress Designer- Casablanca
Makeup- Blush by Wendy Ballance
Hair- Amanda Hughes and Brittany Craig with The Secret Spa
Floral- Blossoms of Biltmore Park
Caterer- Century Room
DJ- Sound Extreme
Minister- Morris Boyd
Cake- Cakes by Jane

To view more of our portfolio check out our website—> Asheville Wedding Photography

Alli and Tyler have become kindrid spirits to Michael and I over this whole process of planning their wedding. We have had the opportunity to meet with them several times over the course of 8 months. Even though they don’t live in Asheville they chose the city as the destination for their wedding. Every time they visited for planning we made coffee dates together. It was such a treat getting to know this sweet couple!

On the day of their wedding they rented a trolley. After the wedding their was a block of time for cruising around and making random stops for photo opportunities. After someone in the wedding party requested a diet coke we soon found ourselves in the McDonald parking lot. I guess there is always a time for “firsts.”

We love the details of this wedding and the vendors from StudioWed that made it happen!

Venue: The Venue
Venue Coordinator: Maggie Melton
Dress Designer: Modern Trousseau
Makeup: Blush by Wendy Ballance
Floral: Beth at Studio Flora Diva
Dj: Premier Light and Sound
Cake: Tiffany’s Baking Company
Minister: Dr. John Sittema (Bride’s Uncle)

To view more of our portfolio check out our website—> Asheville Wedding Photographer