Ashlyn and Daniel

How We Met

I am a pre-k Sunday school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. Children hold a very special place in my heart. I had been teaching for a little over a year at this point in time, and different volunteers were always in and out each week to help me as the teacher. Having a class of close to 20 four and five year olds, calls for an extra set of hands, am I right?! Volunteering was only a once a month commitment, so I never even really got the chance to know any of the people that would volunteer in my classroom. Little did I know, that would quickly change. One week, Daniel was placed in my classroom as my volunteer for that Sunday. I immediately noticed something special about him and noticed how great he was with the kids. This was the beginning of the major crush I had on him! Weeks passed by, and to my knowledge, he asked to be placed back in my classroom to volunteer the next week, the week after that, the following week, and well, you get the point!

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Although he kept coming back and specifically asked to be put in my classroom to volunteer, nothing came about it. He would simply help me teach, lend a hand during craft time, and assist with the passing out of goldfish and the “wings up” on the juice boxes during snack. Weeks went by, and still nothing. I had come to the conclusion that he would never be interested or already had a girlfriend. I mean, maybe he really did just want to spend time with the cute kiddos, or could never get enough of the paper airplanes or Play-doh! I had gone home and did some social media stalking (let’s be real girls, we all do it) and noticed that he did not seem to be in a relationship, and also noticed that we had one mutual friend. The next Sunday, trying to start a conversation, I asked about that mutual friend on Facebook. He quickly realized I had been doing some research and shortly after, he called me out on it (yes, I was embarrassed).

This inquiry let him know I was interested and he admitted to doing some “stalking” of his own. At that point we both realized the other was interested. Fast-forward a few weeks, and we had began sitting with one another during the services and exchanging texts here and there. After one evening service, he asked if I would like to go get some dinner. Little did he know, I had already eaten, and had hours worth of homework that needed to be finished, but I mean, how could I say no after waiting months for this moment?! I rode with him to a pizza place down the road, and had butterflies the whole way. He asked about my family, music, and my love for kids, and I could tell he was genuinely interested to learn more. Dinner was perfect. We talked for hours, laughed all night, and then he took me back to my car and we parted ways until the following Sunday. Several days passed, and then one night he showed up to a writer’s round I was performing at.

Moments after I got off stage, I went to go say hi and thank him for coming. It was then he asked to take me on a real date the following week. I counted down the days, and finally that day had come. He picked me up that Monday night, took me to a nice restaurant for dinner, and then to a cute little park down the road, where we fed some ducks at a pretty lake and watched the sunset. The next several months consisted of study dates, where we would then go sit in the parking lot and talk because the coffee shop had closed, watching shooting stars in the middle of nowhere, Christmas parades in Downtown Nashville, hockey games, concerts, hikes, picnics in vineyards, a private tour of Nissan stadium, sunsets from the pedestrian bridge, trips to the beach and Georgia, supporting the children from our church and so much more. Somewhere in the middle of all that, he officially asked me to be his girlfriend and I was over the moon. He had quickly become my best friend and the guy I fell head over heels in love with.

How He Asked

Daniel and I had received an email from the head lady of the kid’s team at our church, asking if we would be available to watch the kids while all the parents were in a class the evening of July 31st. This wasn’t unusual, as we have done this previously several times, so I thought nothing of it. I replied that we were both available and put it down on the calendar.

That day quickly arrived. Daniel and I had planned on hanging out that morning and afternoon before we had to be there. I met some of his friends that came to town, he took me a nice lunch, the Cheesecake Factory for dessert, the mall, and then we headed to church. The walk to the building seemed normal until I noticed rose petals scattered out all over the floor, and the dim lighting.

I quickly realized we were not here to babysit any kids. The rose petals led to the classroom where we had met, and where our story began. The classroom was decorated with my favorite kind of flowers, candles, pictures, and notes that we had written to one another over the past year. It was there he asked me to spend forever with him.

After Daniel asked me to marry him, and after I said yes (obviously), he told me the surprise was not over! He took me downstairs, where both of our families were hiding, all of our friends, families from church, and kids that were in our class. It was truly a fairy-tale and could not have been any more perfect.

Special Thanks

Jeff McMahon
Photographer