Ashley and Bobby

Image 1 of Ashley and Bobby

how they asked

Asking Ashley to marry me was one of the biggest no-brainer decisions that I have ever had to make. I often tease her that I knew I wanted to marry her shortly after we met, despite not being together for years after that special month at Trail West. But it’s true. Once I knew when I wanted to ask, the gears started to turn on how the heck do I pull this off and make this moment special for her and one we’ll remember forever.

Ashley gave me four rules for the proposal: Family, friends, say her full name, and Cooper had to be there.

Image 2 of Ashley and Bobby

I first concocted the plan around December 2017 shortly after I purchased the ring. I shared my intentions with my parents and Ashley’s family that I’d like to surprise Ashley on Easter weekend. I suggested we visit Ashley mother that weekend to celebrate Easter, but I actually had an ulterior motive. I thank God every day that Ashley took a major leap of faith and moved to Chicago to further advance her new career and strengthen our relationship. Proposing in Chicago would surely have been significant, but not nearly as special as popping the question in her hometown of Greenville, South Carolina.

Here’s how it all went down.

The Setting. Falls Park is a beautiful area in downtown Greenville that we make sure to see whenever we are in town. With the waterfall and bridge, I knew it would be the perfect backdrop. I asked my parents and our photographer to help set up a blanket, our favorite bottle of champagne, and a bouquet of flowers in a small grassy patch in the park overlooking the falls. It was a beautiful day to ask the love of my life to marry me.

Image 3 of Ashley and Bobby

The Family. My parents, Ashley’s mom, and brother were secretly “in” on the entire plot. All, graciously, made the trip to the park that morning and played a part in making the surprise a reality. I asked them to hide on the east side of the bridge that spans Falls Park.

The Friends. Two of Ashley’s closest friends, Meg and Kaitlen, made the trip to the park that morning as well. I also had them hide on the bridge with our families.

Cooper. I had our best friend there to give me support and I had a nice chew toy waiting for him as a reward once the proposal got going.

Image 4 of Ashley and Bobby

The Plan. We manage to convince Ashley that we were going to the park in the morning for her mother to take some nice photos of us, which was a very “mom” thing to ask so I felt we didn’t give things away too soon. We woke up bright and early to start getting ready. Shortly before we were planning to head to the park, we got a visit from the fire department (Ask us for the long version sometime, but the short version is “bacon”).

The Walk. We drove to the park and I got out of the car “looking” for Ashley’s mother. However, I knew we wouldn’t find her, but rather I was looking for the picnic blanket where we would sit and have our moment. We made the walk down about 70 stairs and meandered to the blanket, at which point I think Ashley was starting to catch on. Ashley still asks me how I was able to stay so calm even though I was freaking out.

Image 5 of Ashley and Bobby

The Note. Letters have always been a crucial part of Ashley and I’s relationship. It was only fitting that I read to her the note that encapsulated all the events that led to this moment. I made her several promises (seven, in fact) as we entered a new and glorious stage together. Most importantly of all, I promised to love her with all my might for the rest of my days.

Image 6 of Ashley and Bobby

The Proposal. After finishing up the note, I had Ashley stand up and got down on one knee. Cooper by my side curious as to what his mother and father were doing. It was a perfect moment and I said those words. “Ashley Elizabeth Thompson, will you marry me?” AND SHE SAID YES!

Image 7 of Ashley and Bobby

The entire moment was everything we had hoped for. Seeing Ashley’s smile and pure happiness that day made all the planning worth it. It was the perfect way to start our new journey.

Image 8 of Ashley and Bobby

Special Thanks

Matthew Pautz
 | Photographer