Ashley and Chris first crossed paths during volunteer orientation.
Though the orientation was a week-long they didn’t actually begin communicating until after it was over. “I thought he was loud and annoying,” Ashely recalls of her initial impression of Chris. Reaching out on social media they finally made a connection and soon had the opportunity to meet up in person. That day would mark the beginning of their lives together as they continued to talk every day after, eventually becoming inseparable hearts. Read all about Ashley and Chris’ love story, romantic Niagra Falls proposal, and wedding plans in their endearing mini-golf engagement session in Washington, DC.
Bride & Groom-to-be: Ashley & Chris
Occupations: College Success Advisor & Program Coordinator
Wedding Date: May 16, 2020
Wedding Location: Wadsworth, IL
Engagement Session Location: East Potomac Mini Golf & Thomas Jefferson Memorial; Washington, DC
How did you meet? We started our post-graduate service year in the Summer of 2014. That year, there were 18 volunteers serving across the country, and all were meeting for the first time at orientation in Wisconsin. You think that with such a small group of volunteers, we would meet for the first time during that week. However, that wasn’t the case. We managed to dodge and avoid each other the whole week, not saying a word. I thought he was “loud and annoying”. After a random Instagram comment that Chris decided to leave on one of my posts, the line of communication, although virtually, was finally open between us. After a retreat in Louisiana where we finally spoke face to face, I told him that I thought we should keep in touch. We spoke for nearly every single day since, eventually having our first date on May 16, 2015.
Tell us your proposal story. We took a much-needed vacation to Toronto, Canada for our 3 year anniversary. In the middle of the week, we planned to go to the Canadian (and better) side of Niagara Falls. We enjoyed the day spending some time learning about the Falls, and even getting a little close and personal (ponchos were very necessary!). It was a great day and a fun experience, but there was at least one problem: IT WAS HOT! And although that may have been the only problem Ashley had to deal with that day, there was a little bit more on my plate. You see, I had bigger plans for that day. And those plans were in the form of a tiny wooden box containing a shiny ring. I thought that it would be a good idea to not have such a large box bulging out of my pocket to seem suspicious; but I didn’t account for the 2000 times that I would have to tap my pocket during the day to make sure that the ring was securely there and that it didn’t magically jump out. I had one thing on my mind: don’t lose the ring, don’t look suspicious. Spoiler alert: I failed at that last part. When we finished exploring, Ashley had one thing on her mind: get to the car, and blast the AC. I decided to forgo those plans and go walk down a sidewalk along the top of the falls. Ashley wasn’t amused. It was about 20 minutes of walking at a slow pace, me looking around the area, trying to make sure that nobody was spying in on us, waiting for the perfect moment. Ashley got very suspicious at this point. I then got down on one knee and asked her the big question, the question of all questions, and on May 16, 2018, she said “Yes!” The day ended at a local Toronto tapas restaurant. We enjoyed the best meal we’ve ever had together and had the entire place to ourselves. It was perfect.
Describe your engagement session. We did not have a theme for our engagement session, but we knew that it had to be at a mini-golf course. Mini-golf is one of the first dates we ever had together and something we love to do as a couple. We even make it a point to visit a new mini-golf course whenever we travel. As long as we were able to do that, we didn’t need much else. However, after seeing engagement photos at the Jefferson Memorial and the beauty of that clean white backdrop we decided to take photos there as well (and are really glad we did!)
What did you do on your first date? On our first date, we went for Italian food at a local restaurant in Evanston, IL and then went for drinks after. Chris had just gotten back from a baseball game with his best friend who was in town visiting. Since they didn’t have time to go back to the house before our date, Brian came along with us and was kind of our chaperone (but he sat at the bar the whole night). We still laugh about that.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple? Mini-golf and eating sushi! That would honestly be the perfect date (and maybe throw in an action movie).
How has wedding planning been so far? Honestly, it’s been pretty low-key. After winning our engagement shoot, everything just kind of fell into place. We found a venue with an in-house caterer, DJ, and had already secured our photographer. Now we’re just figuring out the smaller details.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day. Seeing our family and friends all in one place (we don’t live near either of our families), and dancing the night away. Also, finally being able to call each other husband and wife!