Jenna and Ridge

Jenna and Ridge's Engagement in Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

How We Met

My parents met when they were in sixth grade, so for most of my childhood I had this dream that I would meet my future husband sometime when I was in school. All throughout highschool I dated different guys and with each one I’d think, ‘this has gotta be the one’. And it never was. My parents had some friends from school, Paul and Michelle, who had a son named Ridge. My mom pestered me for years trying to get me to go out with him, because he was ‘super cute’. He went to my school but was much older, a senior while I was a freshman. I had seen him in the halls and talked to him maybe once, but that was the only contact we ever had until my sophomore year. About once a year until I graduated we would message back and forth on twitter, but it never went anywhere. I honestly thought he was kind of full of it. We both dated other people and went on with our lives. Fast forward to my senior year of highschool.

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One day, out of pure compulsion, I decided to message Ridge on instagram just to see how he was doing. I truly didn’t think anything would come of it, but boy was I wrong. We had a conversation, which led to him asking for my number, which led to a week of texting every single day. He eventually summed up the courage to ask me out. We went on our first date on May 9, 2015 and when he dropped me back off at my house that day I told my mom, “That’s the one”. I had never been on a first date like that in my life. I didn’t know him, but it felt as if my soul did. He was easy-going, smooth, charming, witty, kind, and unimaginably handsome. Everything just clicked perfectly. He asked me about my family, my dreams and passions, likes and dislikes. He wanted to know my heart and for that reason I was mesmerized. I prayed for a man like him for all of my life but who Ridge is exceeds all of my wildest dreams, prayers, expectations. I didn’t start dating him in highschool, but he had been right in front of me all along. God has a funny way of turning our own plans and dreams into something much more than we could ever ask or dream of.

Jenna's Proposal in Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

How He Asked

In August of 2017, I submitted an entry for a photo contest called “The Passion Project” that our dear friend and photographer, Maura Davidson (Maura Davidson Photography) was doing. The task was to submit your love story, and Maura would pick a winner to receive a free shoot. I honestly didn’t think we’d win, but she emailed me in late August to let me know that we had. Maura has done work for us before and her shots are just breathtaking, so I was pretty excited. We scheduled the shoot for September 2, 2017, which happened to be mine and Ridge’s two and half year anniversary, and his parents’ wedding anniversary, so I was stoked to get some updated anniversary pictures. Originally, the shoot was supposed to take place at Maura’s apartment. Just a super chill, laid back, in-home shoot.

She texted me probably a week or two before the shoot and asked if I’d be cool changing the location to Cloudland Canyon State Park near Trenton, GA. I’d seen pictures of this beautiful location before so of course, I was down. I was a little suspicious that she had changed the location to one that was four hours away, but the suspicion eventually faded and I forgot all about it. Ridge and I had been talking about getting engaged sometime the next year, so I truly didn’t think it would be anytime soon. Fast forward to the day of the shoot. We arrive at Cloudland and Ridge, Maura, and I hike down to the waterfall (in a dress, might I add). It was stunning-seriously, it looked like something out of a travel magazine.

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The greenery was lush and the water flowing around us was clear and fresh. We started taking pictures and shot for about thirty minutes. At some point, Maura asked me if I wanted to put my heels on (that were in a bag) for a few pictures. Little did I know, she was asking me to do this because she figured Ridge had put the ring in there. She asked me if I’d be willing to read my submission for the project to Ridge while she shot a few pictures. So I thought, ‘alright that’ll be cute’. We sat by the waterfall and I read my version of our love story to him and as I watched tears fall from his face my knees began to shake and I knew then what was about to happen.

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When I finished reading, Maura asked Ridge to read what he prepared (I had know idea he had anything prepared). It read:

Jenna,

I wish I was a better author or orator, because the words on this paper pale in comparison to what you deserve. You deserve Shakespeare. You deserve Hemmingway. You deserve Frost and Fitzgerald, Kennedy and Churchill. I’d wake them all if I could. I’d sit and learn from them and write you a classic. I can’t give you what you deserve, but I can offer you everything I have. I’ve been searching for you my whole life and I only wish I had found you sooner. I want you to know exactly who you are to me. You are my hand to hold; my encourager; my something to look forward to; my partner in everything; my laughter on a rainy day; my reassuring voice; my loving touch; my future; my person to protect, provide and pray for; my constant reminder of God’s providence because He sent you to me when I needed you most. You are the love of my life, and I’ve loved you since before the first “I love you”. You are all of these things, and today I want to ask you to be my forever.

Que tears. He knelt down on one knee and asked me to spend forever with him. With tears in my eyes, I threw my arms around him- still wondering today if I ever actually said yes. And now I get to marry this man that I’ve dreamt of my whole life. Ridge awakened a part of my soul that I didn’t know was sleeping. He opened my eyes to the world and to adventure in a whole new way. He filled gaps in my heart that I knew were there, but never knew how to fill. He is everything, and more.

Special Thanks

Maura Davidson
Photographer