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Ashley & Jeff | Ocean City, NJ Engagement Session

You know when you meet someone and you realize that they’re meant for you? Yeah, well… sometimes that happens to me with the couples I photograph! Ashley and Jeff have a way about them that makes it feel like you’re hanging with old friends even if you’ve just met. We visited Ocean City, NJ for their engagement session, as it is a special place Ashley’s family visits every year. We walked around on the boardwalk, went to Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy (Jeff’s favorite!), the music pier, and of course, the beach at sunset! They brought some really sweet details to photograph too, which added an even more personal touch to their session! As you’ll soon find out when I tell you about their proposal, Ashley ADORES Disney, so they brought their Disney buttons from when they got engaged, and a hand-painted “Up” themed ring box! The whole shoot was a blast, and these two were such naturals, with the way the are playful together and share this contagious throw-your-head-back kind of laughter. We finished off the night by having a slice of Manco & Manco’s pizza together, which was absolutely delish! It was so much fun hanging out with these two and finding out more and more things we have in common, (my favorite and most amusing being that both Jeff and my boyfriend, Ryan, have to walk on the left side! When we were taking photos and I had Ashley & Jeff hold hands, and Jeff switched positions to be on the left I was cracking up!) These two are seriously the best. You’re going to love their love story; read on!

Ashley and Jeff met in their Psychology class in high school. He was a senior and she was a junior; they were both very quiet, shy people, so they spent that entire year liking each other, but never really acting on anything. Through the years, they kept in touch, but that faded as they both went to college and started their careers. A few years ago, Jeff noticed that Ashley had shared a lot of pictures on social media from her first marathon in Disney World and the Dumbo Dare races in Disneyland. It caught his attention and he reached out to say hello! They went on a few dates and picked up where they left off in high school, but now that both of them are a bit different and much more outgoing from how they were then; everything just clicked! The chemistry and connection they had in high school hadn’t change at all. They love trying new things together and being creative with their date nights, like picnics, camping in the living room, bike riding, hiking, snowball fights, and Nerf gun fights!

Remember those Disney buttons I mentioned? Well, get comfy and make sure you have your coffee (and maybe some tissues) ready, this story is a good one! Ashley shared with me:

“I am a huge Disney fan. I always have been. It’s my happy place. Not just the theme parks, but watching movies, the music, the stories. It’s something positive for me and holds a lot of sentimental value. I have been there on vacations countless times, but it was just before Jeff and I reconnected, my godfather and uncle convinced me to run my first marathon at Disney. He and his family ran it almost every year and I had been talking about it and thinking of doing it. I mentioned it to him and within a day he had me registered and training. It was amazing! I went with them to California later that year to do the Dumbo Dare races. We did a few of those together. Then 2 Christmas’s ago my uncle was very suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He passed away within a week of us finding out. The following year I ran the marathon alone in Disney for him. This past January, my cousins (his kids), my aunt, etc. all decided to go down and run one last marathon together in honor of him. It was emotionally and mentally very difficult to register and train. Jeff decided to go with me and that we would make a vacation of it. I can get a little intense in Disney and he is the more laid back one. I told him I would try to tone it down, but begged him to pinky promise he would still date me after the trip. I knew he loved me… but I also knew myself in Disney ha! I must have asked him to pinky promise a hundred times before that trip that we would still be dating at the end. He kept saying he had heard stories and he would agree to nothing! We got to Disney and for the record I did tone it down, but we still went 100 mph. The day of the marathon with my family, he got up at 3am with me, stood out in the 30 degree weather (coldest day in 6 years in Florida), and he spent the whole day running around with my aunt and my cousins’ spouses, taking pictures of me at various locations and cheering me on. By 1pm we had all finished and were heading back to the hotel. I told him he was amazing and I couldn’t believe he woke up that early and stayed that long. His response: “Are you kidding? This has been the easiest day of the trip yet!” I must have begged him to pinky promise me he wouldn’t leave me another hundred times after that! The next day was our last day in a Disney park and we went to the Magic Kingdom (my favorite)! I asked him to take as many pictures as we could with the photopass people because I figured I may never get him back to Disney with me again and I wanted one nice picture. We had an amazing day and an absolutely amazing trip! I was sore and emotional all day after that marathon and everything with my family. It meant so much that he was there for that. Around 6:30pm that night, Jeff asked to get another night picture in front of the castle. He took me to my favorite photo spot and we waited in line. I told him the photographer was going to think we were nuts because we had been there twice before that day. It got to be our turn, we went to stand in front of the castle and Jeff stuck his pinky out to me. I had NO idea what he was doing. I was so confused. He linked our pinkies and kissed me and said… “I told you to trust me. I love you.” The next thing I knew he was down on one knee. It was amazing! Naturally I was a mess. Our last day in Disney, the marathon for my uncle, and a proposal… that’s a strong combination for me. Every second of it was absolutely perfect. He’s not a super huge Disney fan, but the fact that he put so much thought into Disney for me, after finishing a race he knew would be tough for me, my favorite photo location, the engagement ring is actually a Disney engagement ring (from their Cinderella collection) I am so beyond lucky! After people stopped cheering and I got myself calmed down, he asked if I wanted to sit for a bit. My response: “Are you kidding? We have fast passes to meet Rapunzel and Tiana in 15 minutes and I can’t wait to tell them! Let’s go!””

Ashley and Jeff, thank you for spending the day showing me around your stomping grounds! I had the best time with you two and am so thankful celebrate this exciting time in your lives! Wishing you both the happiest engagement full of Disney trips and new adventures, and I can’t wait for your wedding next year!

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