June 19, 2019
As the youngest in my family, I never had a little sibling to play with, tease, or prank. Fortunately, God blessed me with a younger cousin and a big family farm as our playground. Tyler and I grew up together and spent much of our childhood riding too fast on the fourwheeler, helping Granddaddy with the cows (him more than me), and playing in Grandmama’s pool. My friends and I played plenty of tricks on Tyler and he filled the role of honorary little brother by following us around a good bit.
In high school, Tyler met Ashley. She was a beautiful and spunky young lady who immediately became a fixture at family dinners. As Tyler’s nearest cousin, I confess I was a bit skeptical of the high school romance at first, but Ashley quickly grew on me as she stuck by Tyler’s side through the highs and lows of high school and college. Both Tyler and Ashley lost their fathers in high school, and were forced to grow up too fast. Their relationship was strengthened as they walked through loss together, and they both grew up to be loving and hardworking adults, still doing life together.
So, I wasn’t at all surprised when I finally got a call from Tyler a few months back, telling me he had a ring and planned to propose. I WAS surprised however, when he told me the date – June 8th. I told him that ring would burn a hole in his pocket, but he promised me he had a plan. And it was a good one.
He would tell Ashley they were having a family photo shoot down by our Aunt Sarah’s lake – a place we grew up taking family pictures on Thanksgiving all our life. That way, she would come dressed for pictures and not be surprised to see me there. When she got to the lake, Tyler would have a screen set up where he would play a video that he and Evan put together for her. The pavilion by the lake would be all decorated, supposedly for a wedding taking place later that weekend. After the proposal, the guests would arrive for their engagement party.
I have to say, it was a great plan. Unfortunately, summer plans are often at the mercy of the Georgia rain. It didn’t just rain the day of the proposal. It poured buckets. Tyler called me three times that day giving me plan B, then plan C.
Plan C would take place at The Reserve at Hendricks – a banquet hall in Downtown Covington. He had sent Ashley on a shopping spree/scavenger hunt throughout the day to get ready for the party. And he somehow managed to track down all the guests and update them on the new location. Evan and I arrived to a flurry of decorating – I have never seen a venue flipped so quickly!
Ashley arrived a little later with a sleeping mask on – Tyler led her down the steps and the lights went out and the video played. Tyler was on his knee as it stopped, but I don’t think he even needed to ask the question. Ashley was smiling and in his arms before he even finished putting the ring on her finger. (Jury’s still out on whether she ever actually said “yes”.) Tyler then told Ashley about her ring – he had the diamond that his dad had given his mom placed in a setting that Ashley would love. It was beautiful and perfect.
Finally, Ashley turned around and their closest family and friends came running out from their hiding places in the hallway. The venue filled with people who loved Tyler and Ashley throughout the night and it was the perfect ending to a perfect day!
Here’s to you, Ashley and Tyler! Thanks for letting me have the honor of capturing the moment. And remember as you begin the planning: a wedding is just an event, a marriage is a lifetime. Congrats- we love you!