Gregory and Ashley

How We Met

“High school sweethearts,” such an anomaly, right? Well not for us. In our teenage years, we formed the best friendship ever — a forever friendship.

I remember it like was yesterday. August of 2008. High school registration! I stumbled into the halls greeting faces I hadn’t seen in months. Sophomore year: new classes, new teachers, old friends, and new girls! I was ready to conquer the new school year! It wasn’t long until a friend of mine came running up to me. “Dude do you remember Ashley from the church from wayyyy back, apparently she’s a Freshman?” To myself, I thought, “Yea and from what I last remember she was pretty cute.” I later continued my way through the halls and BAM, there she was! Pretty…gorgeous even…just like I remembered her. But believe it or not what drew me to her was her cute, warm, friendly hello. It was genuine. I knew I had encountered something special.

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Weeks later I got her number on a school trip and the rest was history. For three years we grew to be best friends. Just weeks before my graduation my Journalism teacher called me into her office for a private meeting. I was the editor of the school newspaper and figured we were there to discuss business. “Gregory you like Ashley. I think you should ask her out.” I was stunned. How did she know this? I considered this a sign and in a few days, I spilled the beans to Ashley. I sent that risky “throw your phone across the room and run” text. I let her know how I felt about her. I was afraid I was going to ruin a friendship, but to my surprise, she felt the same. …….weeks before my graduation. -___-

Gregory's Proposal in San Pedro, Belize

That summer our friendship was stronger than ever before. We texted until the sun came up and saw each other as often as possible. However, in a matter of months, I was off to Huntsville, Alabama a whole state away. That August I started at Oakwood University and she remained in Atlanta. Awkward. Frustrating.

A few weeks into the school year Ashley came to Huntsville for the weekend. With a day’s notice, I knew I had to do whatever it took to see her… and ask her to be my girlfriend. Reluctantly I asked her and ‘She said yes!’ …For the first time that is.

For a year we dated “long distance” before she attended Oakwood University the next school year. Reunited again! We supported each other through college and even graduated together!

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How He Asked

December of 2017, Ashley reminded me that she was going on a girls’ trip to Belize to celebrate her best friend’s birthday. The trip was scheduled for the coming February….one week before I planned to propose. This was a problem, a huge problem. Her best friend is based in Houston and we live in Atlanta. I needed her friend for the proposal. I frantically called her friend to see if she could do both Belize and Atlanta. I remember her words like it were yesterday, “Greg, I can’t do all of that. You’re going to have to come to Belize.” It was just weeks before I was going to purchase her ring. Now I had to figure out how to make it to Belize as well! After hours of deliberation and a sleepless night, I purchased a ticket to Belize the next day.

February 5, 2018: The suit was packed, my passport was ready, and my life was ready to be changed forever. After a long day of flying, I reached the resort and hid in a loft until the big moment. The girls had already been in Belize for a few days and I made my arrival on their last evening. Her best friend lured the girls outside for what Ashley thought would be a photo shoot with the girls.

The girls walked out onto the beach, and down a long pier with the sun setting in the background. There I was, standing in the distance ready to ask the biggest question of my life. About halfway down the pier Ashley finally noticed me. She lost it. She was crying in disbelief as I dropped down to one knee. I asked her a very important question and guess what she said? She said yes! The next morning we were on our way back to Atlanta as a newly engaged couple.

Special Thanks

Jose Luis Zapata
Photographer
Pelican Reef Villas Resorts
Helped with proposal plans
Sarah Jordan Brazier
Photographer