Ashley & Ben {Engaged}

Kick a field goal, run a marathon, go to Hawaii, get into Pharmacy school, learn another language, get married, have children, receive a message in a bottle….  are just a few of the items written on Ashley’s “Bucket List” after a family friend had done something similar and inspired her to do the same.  “Get into Pharmacy School” was soon checked off.  Her first day she met Ben – also a Pharmacy School student.  He was charming, and handsome and when her mother called to ask how the first day went and if there was any boys she was interested in dating – she mentioned that one boy – Ben, was someone she’d really like to get to know better.  The first week was wrapping up and Ashley’s friend Matt from back home (who formally introduced her to Ben) invited her to go to a local bar with a group of friends.  Upon hearing Ben’s name as one of the people going, she eagerly said yes.  As she walked into the bar she saw Matt and his girlfriend and a couple other guys and a girl she’d never seen.  No Ben.  As she walked up to the group, Ben walked up too!  With a two drinks, one for himself and one for the girl she’d never seen before.  Who happened to be Ben’s girlfriend.  The one thing Ashley’s type A mind forgot – was to ask if Ben was single.

For the next two years, Ben and Ashley studied together, hung out together, and became really great friends.  If she couldn’t have him as a boyfriend – she wouldn’t miss out on his friendship.  Eventually Ben’s relationship fizzled.  At this point Ashley still wanted to date Ben, but worried how it could possibly affect their friendship so didn’t act on her feelings right way.  Finally, after some help from friends – the two began dating and with friendship as the solid basis of their relationship – it was easy for love to flourish and grow.

Pharmacy school kept them busy, and is always the focus in Ashley’s mind.  With the end of the semester drawing near, a big change was coming as Ben was going to be moving to Memphis TN.  Ashley wanted to spend as much time as she could studying, but as much time with Ben as she could before he moved.  Ben asked Ashley to accompany him to his hometown of Flora IL for the weekend so he could spend some time with his family before he left, but with the stresses of studying on her mind Ashley just couldn’t commit to going the entire weekend.  So Ben left.  Without her.  She called her mom for some motherly advice and was surprised to hear her say “Go To Flora”, so she hung up the phone and went.  When she got there, Ben took her for a drive to a beautiful park in town.  He asked her to go sit by the pond with him and her mind was still on her studies, but she calmly agreed.  As they sat Ashley noticed a string tied to a tree in the water, and Ben coaxed that she ought to go see what’s attached to the string.  She pulled on the string and attached to it was a bottle with a message inside. As she pulled out the letter she began to read a message from Ben about how much he loved her and wanted her to be his wife.  He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him to which she simply exclaimed – “YES!”  As they walked to the pavilion close by the pond, Ashley’s parents and brother and Ben’s parents were waiting with pizza and champagne to celebrate.  Ashley was so touched that Ben included their families, and SO thankful her mother said “Go to Flora”.

Receive a message in a bottle.

Ben & Ashley will be married in Ashley’s home town near the Quad Cities in May 2011 and Ashley will soon cross another item off her list!  Enjoy their engagement photos.

I had to include this small moment for Ashley and Ben’s session.  Ashley asked if we minded getting some shots with Ben’s guitar.  Um – my heart melted.  I LOVE when a couple find a way to incorporate themselves into a session and was thrilled for the opportunity.  To break the ice and get comfortable I asked Ben if he wanted to just sit down and play for a minute… and he started to play and sing to Ashley and it was plain AWESOME.  Roger and I both agreed that this was the most memorable, special moment we’ve ever had at an engagement session and although the footage is from my handheld camera work – It’s just too good not to share.  Enjoy!

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Dawn Devall - I LOVE these:) Such a beautiful story!!!!

Ashley - Karin and Roger- Words do not even begin to express how in love we are with these photos. It is so surreal to see our names and faces on your website after spending the last year and a half reading so many couples stories and looking at pictures!! You both have an amazing gift and we feel so blessed to have the chance to have you take our wedding pictures!!! Thank you a million times over for these beautiful photographs!!!!

Amanda Zika - These are truly beautiful photos and I can tell by the couple that they are just as beautiful on the inside as they are outside. Awesome session SES!

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