Ashley and Derick’s love affair started because of their love for basketball.
They were both recruited to play basketball for the women’s and men’s McMurry University basketball teams in Abilene, Texas. Ashley shares, “We started getting to know each other on our long bus rides to the out-of-town basketball games. Derick would sit in the seat right across from me, and we would talk throughout each trip… We have been inseparable ever since and 10 years later we are ready to take the next step in our relationship, and say ‘I Do’ to forever!”
To celebrate their engagement, this stylish couple decided to do three looks at three different locations- an all black formal look, a more casual look, and a basketball shoot (since that is how their story began).
See all of their gorgeous photos below.
- Full names of couple: Ashley S. Kelsey (IG: @ashleysimonek) & Derick Sumpter Jr
- Occupations: Ashley- Test Manager for the Department of Homeland Security; Derick- enlisted in the United States Coast Guard
- Wedding date: July 5, 2020
- Wedding location: The Bell Tower on 34th, Houston, Texas
- Location of Engagement shoot: The Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Georgia
How did you meet?
There’s always more than one side to a story and this Sumpter story has two. In 2010, Ashley and Derick were both recruited to play basketball for the women’s and men’s McMurry University basketball teams in Abilene, Texas.
Ashley: We started getting to know each other on our long bus rides to the out-of-town basketball games. Derick would sit in the seat right across from me, and we would talk throughout each trip. Soon after that, Derick started joining me in the cafeteria, not because I was lonely but because he had an eye for me! Either way, we have been inseparable ever since and 10 years later we are ready to take the next step in our relationship, and say “I Do” to forever!
Derrick: I found Ashley sitting all by herself in the cafeteria for lunch and dinner every day and figured she was lonely. Me, being a gentleman, thought that I should give her some company and started sitting with her every single day. Soon after, we started working out together, going swimming, and spending more quality time together.
Tell us your proposal story.
We decided we wanted to finally use all of our hotel points and choose a beautiful, tropical place to stay. We chose the Conrad Maldives Hotel on Rangali Island. On December 28th, 2018 we arrived in the Maldives, one of the most beautiful places we had ever been! The room we stayed in was on the main island with a gorgeous view right from our back porch. We went on an exclusive day cruise where we snorkeled and fished. The crew cooked the fish we caught right out of the water! We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Ithaa Underwater Sea Restaurant and had an amazing couple’s massage at the hotel’s over-water spa.
On New Year’s Eve, the hotel threw this huge New Year’s party with food flown in from all over the world and live music performers. When we finished eating, Derick mentioned it would be a great idea to walk over to the smaller island where we could watch the fireworks set to go off at midnight and get away from the large crowd. We walked over to the smaller island and sat in some of the beach chairs to wait for the fireworks. When midnight approached, we stood up and the fireworks started going off right on cue. I turned her head to look at Derick and he was down on one knee! Derick proceeded to ask me to marry him and of course, I said yes!
Describe your engagement session. Did you have a theme?
For our engagement session, we did three looks at three different locations. We wanted to do an all black formal look, a more casual look, and a basketball shoot (since that is how our story began). For the formal look, we wanted to go somewhere that had beautiful architecture and really dress up because we don’t get the opportunity to do that very often. We wanted to do something that embodied class and royalty. For the second look, we went to Toccoa Falls in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. For this look we wanted to go somewhere scenic and capture a little romance. For the third look, we went to Central Park in Atlanta, Georgia where we wanted to take it back to where it all started for us, the basketball court.
What did you do on your first date?
When we first met in college, neither of us really had a lot of money so most of our dates were active activities. We would go for walks around the track and talk all night, or we would go to the swimming pool and swim, or go to the basketball gym and get some shots up. Most of the time we would meet in the cafeteria for lunch and dinner as well.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple?
Our favorite thing to do as a couple is workout. Health and fitness is extremely important to us and we just have so much fun pushing each other to become a better version of ourselves. We also love to travel, we have driven all over the United States and have traveled all across the world. We love being spontaneous and adventurous.
How has wedding planning been so far?
The wedding planning has been great, we have seen so much growth within our relationship throughout this entire process. We try to make it fun and as stress-free as possible. We want to remember the journey to getting married as a time filled with joy and excitement. Our wedding planner, Darry, is also amazing! He is so creative and always thinks of unique things we could do for the wedding which makes the planning process fun.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day.
We are looking forward to celebrating our special day with all of our family and friends. The fact that all the people that mean so much to us will be in one room is amazing and we are really excited for everyone to meet one another. I am also extremely excited to wear my wedding dress and for Derick to finally get to be able to see me in it. It has been the hardest secret for me to keep! And of course we are looking forward to finally getting married after 10 wonderful years together!
- Photographer: Stanlo Photography
- Wedding Planner: Darryl Moore of D’ Concierge Weddings
- Bride’s Dress Designer: Albina Dyla
- Bride’s Shoes: Ego Official
- MUA: Olivia Song
- Hair Stylist: Shadae Renee
- Groom’s Tux: Men’s Wearhouse
- Groom’s Shoes: Nordstrom