Meet Ashley & Gunnar!
Have you ever seen a love that seems to be timeless - like they've known each other forever? Ashley and Gunnar have that kind of love - the kind that is goofy yet understanding, playful yet stabilizing. The kind that keeps you up late talking at night, even after so many years. These two are hard workers, but they find time to complete each other, and we are so excited to photograph their wedding this summer! For their engagement session, we took Ashley & Gunnar to a super secret spot nestled in the heart of The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Northern Michigan has gifted us such a perfect background for photos, but our weather doesn't always cooperate. We had to reschedule this session SEVERAL times, but I think the outcome was definitely worth the wait...
We have our wedding couples fill out a pretty extensive questionnaire before we accept them onto our roster, and I just want to share some of the answers they gave us because they're absolutely endearing <3 Click on any of the photos in this blog post to be directed to their full engagement session gallery!
How did you meet?:
We originally met back in the Summer of 2004 through a group of mutual friends. We dated on and off for the next 5 years. Throughout those years, we dated other people here and there, but we would always talk on the phone. We always would meet up at mutual get-togethers or at one of the local bars or restaurants for a friend's celebration, and it was like we never were apart and could always just understand each other. We became best friends during that time. Nothing was ever too taboo to talk about when it came to "us". We know each others pasts and it has made our relationship stronger. Fast forward to February 2009...a group of friends were out at the Loading Dock celebrating Gunnar's Birthday. I was sitting at the bar with our friend Linda when everyone walked in. I gave Gunnar a hug, like we usually did when we saw each other, but this time was different. The hug lingered longer than usual, and I whispered in his ear to please be safe tonight and get a ride home. He was out to have fun...it was his Birthday! ;o) I was having relationship issues at the time, and I needed to go home to get some sleep before my daughter and I had to leave at 3am the next morning for a Volleyball tournament down in Muskegon. I ended up leaving the Loading Dock around 11pm and headed home. My phone rings around 2:30am. It's Gunnar, and he's crying. Our friend Linda drove him back to her house so that he could crash on the couch after a long Birthday night. He starts the conversation with "I love you". He couldn't explain what took him so long to realize it, but he knew the feeling was mutual. We were never shy with telling each other how we felt. After about a hour of conversation, I reminded him about my daughter's tournament and that I needed to get back to sleep and that we were going to finish this conversation when I returned on Sunday. I told him that I should make him come with us, and his response was "I will be right there". I reminded him that he probably wouldn't feel too good in the morning, and that he should just sleep instead. That was February 9th of 2009, and we have been inseparable every since.
Where was your first date?:
Our first official date was March 13th, 2009. It happened to be Friday the 13th to be precise. We headed out to the Loading Dock to partake in "buckets" with our friends first. We ended up at Apache Trout and Grill to have our first official date as a couple. All of our friends agree....."it's about time"!
Describe your relationship in one word.:
Gunnar says, "lego". Why....because you can build anything you want ouf of the pieces. Ashley says, "teamwork". Why...because everything we complete in our life is 50/50.
How long have you been dating?:
8 1/2 years. It will be 9 years in March 2018.
How did the proposal go down?:
Even though we had been talking about it and busy designing my ring....it was officially in our living room. Gunnar down on one knee, and our dog Lexi trying to lick my ring that we had designed from James C. Smith in TC. It's both of my Grandmother's diamonds put into one ring.
What are some of the hobbies you enjoy doing together?:
We enjoy doing home improvement projects together, camping in our new teardrop camper, cooking together, talking about life, watching horror movies and sci-fi flicks together while eating way too much popcorn and candy.
What are some of your individual hobbies?:
Gunnar enjoys video games in his "alone" time. He loves comic books! Thus....his nickname for me....Wonder Woman! Up until recently....I was in Nursing School. I had no hobbies other than reading and eating, school, and working. I do enjoy painting once in awhile. I haven't painted in quite some time. I enjoy decorating for each and every Holiday. I tend to go overboard during Halloween. I love Fall and Halloween! Our house tends to look like a orange and black color bomb went off each Halloween.
What do each of you do for a living?:
Gunnar is a property tax assessor. He works with his Mother, Kit, and his sister, Christy. Together, they own Michigan Assessing Services based out of Honor. Their company is in charge of over 10 townships all over Northern Michigan. I'm a Registered Nurse working in the Operating Room here at Munson in TC. I have seen it all. Nothing freaks me out anymore. :O)