Ashlei and Elias

Image 1 of Ashlei and Elias

How We Met

Elias and I met on a dating app (no, not Tinder!) in late January of 2016 when our companies moved us both to the middle of Georgia not knowing anyone. Elias was coming was Dallas, Texas while I was coming from Pullman, Washington. We first began texting via the app for a month. During this time I had joined a Latin dance team and had begun traveling an hour and a half to Atlanta each night to practice; most nights this meant driving back home close to midnight. Elias took this opportunity to call every night to help me stay awake on the drive back. After a month of this, Elias finally worked up the courage to ask me out on a date and meet for the first time.

I agreed but was nervous as all get out. Kinda wanted to throw up… The night of the date I was late because, like have you driven in Atlanta’s traffic? It be crazy!

Image 2 of Ashlei and Elias

Image 3 of Ashlei and Elias

Beforehand we agreed that the date would be close to my dance studio so that I could get back to my practice on time at 9 pm. Welp with me being 30 minutes late (due to traffic people!) and Elias getting lost a little bit himself, it left us with very little time together. In fact, the date lasted long enough for us to chat nervously about absolutely nothing, order food at this Italian restaurant and take literally two bites before I announced, “Umm, I gotta go to practice…”

Image 4 of Ashlei and Elias

Needless to say, it was an epic fail of a first date! I knew that I had blown it and had already told myself, well there goes that one! That night after practice I got in my car and prepared myself for a long drive back without help. 30 minutes into the drive and my phone began to ring. I picked up and it was Elias! What the heck!?! I answered, “Why are you calling me!?! I was horrible on that date!”

Image 5 of Ashlei and Elias

Image 6 of Ashlei and Elias

He laughed and said, “I like women who have things to do! So how was practice…”

And just like that, we picked up where we left off! Now, nearly two years later, I can confidently say that Elias is my best friend. The two years haven’t been easy but they have been worth it! We have laughed and cried together, traveled to two countries, attended countless ugly Christmas sweater parties and have learned so much about how to love each other in the best way possible.

Image 7 of Ashlei and Elias

how they asked

Mid-October a close friend of mine from Canada gave me a call w/ some awesome news. She had won tickets for two to a festival in Toronto, Canada. She laid it all out perfectly: free tickets & a free place to stay at her place. For the next two weeks, I raved about how we could go find Drake’s house or go to Niagara Falls. The night before, as I began to pack for the trip I checked Toronto’s weather one last time. They were calling for snow & low 30 degrees. The following morning we checked our bags & boarded our first leg of the trip, a flight from Atlanta to Charlotte.

As we landed & taxi’d in, Elias told me, “Babe, we only have 20 minutes to get to our next gate. We need to get to gate B4.” I hurried to gate B4 & looked for Toronto on the boards. It was nowhere to be seen.

Image 8 of Ashlei and Elias

“Umm, babe…I don’t see Toronto. Are you sure we have the right gate?”

As I began to scramble in my purse for the flight ticket Elias pulled me around & said, “that’s because we aren’t going to Toronto.” It took me a moment to process this bit of information. “It’s all fake,” he said, “We’re going to Aruba!” I took in my surroundings; everyone around the gate was wearing shorts, tees, sandals & 100% ready to get to a beach. Whereas I was in jeans, boots, a sweater, hat & coat. “I have one rule,” he continued as I was awe-struck, “no questions this weekend.”

Image 9 of Ashlei and Elias

And just like that, we were off to Aruba. We spent the weekend exploring literally the entire island & just about everything that these awesomely cool people could offer. Each day Elias had planned an adventure. As Sunday rolled around, I didn’t think it could any better & then it did. He took me to Aruba’s Butterfly Farm where he had secured a private viewing & tour. As the tour ended we stopped to take a pic. Two snaps later & I turn to see him down on his knees. “Ashlei, you’ve been giving me butterflies since the day we met,” …honestly, everything else is blurry AF…

Image 10 of Ashlei and Elias

“Will you marry me?” And of course, I said “yes!!”

Image 11 of Ashlei and Elias

Image 12 of Ashlei and Elias

Special Thanks

Kim Mason
 | Planning
Donnell Perry Photography
 | Photographer