Ashley and Brandon
How We Met
We were introduced by one of my closest friends, Kalee. She has known Brandon for years and she just knew that we needed to meet each other. For our first date, I wanted to double date with Kalee and her then-boyfriend (now husband), Nick. There was a Luke Bryan concert about three hours away and I thought it’d be a great way for us to get to know each other. Nick and Kalee weren’t able to make it and I wasn’t about to suggest that just the two of us take a road trip for our first date. So we settled on dinner and drinks and decided that if we didn’t hate each other by the end of the night, we would go to the concert the next evening.
On our first round of drinks at a place called Archive in downtown Salem, Oregon, Brandon slid his phone across the table with the concert tickets pulled up and said, “I say we buy these tickets”. So we bought them.
The next morning, we needed somewhere to print the tickets and I suggested stopping by my parents’ house to do it because they were supposed to be at the beach for the weekend. Apparently, they hadn’t left yet. So my parents met Brandon about 12 hours after I had…oops.
We went to the concert Saturday night, then over to the coast where my family was staying (once they finally left home) and spent all of Sunday with my parents, my sister, and her husband. Don’t ask what the heck I was thinking; and no, I do not typically introduce my parents THAT soon. Yikes.
A couple weeks after that perfect weekend, I got nervous that if anything happened with Brandon and I, it would ruin my friendship with Kalee. So I broke things off and we went our separate ways.
For two months, I heard the wrath of my parents and sister for letting him go. Since day one, they knew he was the greatest guy I had ever brought around and they were wondering when I would come to my senses and get him back. They even ran into him in his home town (I wasn’t there) and invited him to go bowling with them…on MY birthday! My mom says she has been on “Team Brandon” since day one.
At the end of that summer, I was asked to do makeup for Kalee’s sister’s wedding and she convinced me to come to the wedding after (even though I had never met the bride…but shoutout to Melissa – I LOVE YOU :) and thank you for letting me crash your big day!)
I didn’t want to go alone, so I asked Brandon if I could be his date and he agreed. After he ignored me for the first two hours of the wedding (thanks to his friend Jake for that idea), we danced all night and after a few plus a few more glasses of wine, I kissed him.
We moved in together about a month later, we’ve traveled more together than I ever have in my life, and I can honestly say this has been the greatest year of my life because of him.
How He Asked
Brandon and I have been in Nashville for the week exploring this amazing city. If you offered me a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, I would have picked Nashville. And back in June (after probably 500 phone calls made by myself and my work team), I miraculously won a free trip here from a radio station to meet my other favorite man, Brad Paisley. Two bucket listers in one week and I was one happy girl!
A couple days into our trip, Brandon sent me off to get my hair styled at The Dry House Nashville (a salon I’ve been following on IG for some time now and just HAD to try) and then to get my nails done. While I was getting pampered, I thought he was out having lunch with our friend, Will, who lives here. Little did I know, he was up to something far more exciting…
I had been talking about going to a plantation while we were here, so on Tuesday, Brandon said he had booked a tour of Belle Meade Plantation and a wine tasting to go with it. On the way out to Belle Meade, he had planned out this perfect drive that took us by the most beautiful southern homes (because I am OBSESSED with the houses here).
I assumed our tour would be with a large group, as most tours are. When we arrived, our wine tasting guide, Bridget, led us to an underground wine cellar that was set up for just the two of us. We tasted ten different wines (more wine than either of us have consumed in months) and had the perfect food pairings to go with each wine. Once the tasting was over, Bridget informed us that we were free to roam the entire plantation and explore as long as we wanted.
We started walking towards the mansion on the property, but Brandon led me down a path to a statue in the grass. I looked in the statue (must have been the wine?) and said “oh look, there’s moss in there!”. I have no idea why. Thankfully I am not very observant because the ring was hiding in that statue and I completely missed it!
The next part is pretty blurry (10 heavy wine pours plus the moment you realize what’s actually happening equals questionable memory). But what I do remember…
B: Are you my best friend?
B: Am I your best friend?
B: (on one knee) Are you gonna be my best friend forever?
A: (Tears. Just tears. I’m not even sure that I said yes at the time!)
As if it wasn’t perfect enough, Will came out of the bushes and I realized he had been taking photos the whole time. What more could a girl ask for?! Nails were perfectly manicured, I was completely surprised, AND a hidden photographer. Per usual, what I had planned in my head was nothing compared to what Brandon had in store for me. No offense to Brad Paisley, but I’d take this southern proposal over a concert any day, and I now have a whole new idea of a “dream proposal”.
I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who played a special part in our day:
98.7 the Bull for sending us off to Nashville
Bell Meade Plantation for giving us the VIP treatment and the sweetest customer service
Will Fulton for suggesting Belle Meade and hiding in the bushes for an hour while we wine tasted
Dry House Nashville for making me feel beautiful
Kalee Abdou for introducing us in the very beginning
My friends and family for your constant love and support
Last but not least, my FIANCÉ for being the most thoughtful man on this earth and for going above and beyond to make this trip, this relationship, and this life more than I could have ever imagined.
I LOVE YOU ALL