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'Til Death Do Us Part

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Choosing to celebrate their love, again and again.

Ashlee was super close to her dad. She’s a Nurse Educator, so when her father, a “big guy”, at the age of 52, was diagnosed with squamus cell carcinoma, Ashlee and her family kicked it into gear to help her dad beat this thing. After all, he was given a 90% chance of full recovery. Months of chemo and radiation later, a follow up PET scan revealed what doctors thought was an old rib fracture. Only he had never broken his ribs. Cancer was in his bones.

He fought valiantly for four years. But in May of 2020, he took a turn. It was clear things were changing, and fast.

Ashlee and Bethany had been planning their wedding. Having known each other since high school, moving apart and then finding each other again 14 years later, these two were head over heels in love and couldn’t wait to celebrate. Both have loving, supportive families and boatloads of friends, so they were looking forward to a big shebang. Then the pandemic hit, and as so many couples experienced, wedding planning got abruptly halted. That’s cool. They love each other. They’ll wait until the world reacclimates.

Except then…

Ashlee needed her dad to be with her when she married Bethany. She adores her dad and knew that he wanted to be part of her wedding day just as much as she wanted him to be. It was agreed. Backyard wedding. Pronto!

Remember now, pandemic. How the heck are they gonna pull this off? But they did. With the help of friends and neighbors, in six days they pulled together a backyard wedding.

“The amount of love and support we received to make our day possible was absolutely incredible. People offered help in any way the could; from building a dance floor and an arbor, organizing a car “parade”, our jeweler allowing us to borrow wedding bands, Ashlee’s bridal boutique letting her borrow her dress, flowers done in 48 hours, our gym coach became our officiant for the day, wedding decorations donated, meals prepared, a wedding planner who wore several hats throughout the day. With our families by our side, and our friends honking and waving, we could not have asked for a better way to start our lives together”.

Ashlee’s dad walked her down the aisle, witnessed his daughter marry the woman she adores, and danced his father – daughter dance. Many dreams came true that day. That was May 3rd, 2020. August 23, 2020, Ashlee’s dad passed, in his home, tended by Ashlee, with his wife, other daughter and Bethany by his side.

This couples’ wedding story doesn’t end here.

Yes, they had an incredible wedding day. They even have gorgeous photographs by @lindseytopham to cherish forever. And…. there was the specter of Ashlee’s father’s impending death ever present.

So when I put out a model call for couples for a lakeside shoot, Ashley and Bethany jumped at the opportunity. Bethany’s family has a lakeside cabin, and they love enjoying time on the water. Lakes are definitely a happy place. They realized, while their wedding day was an incredible gift, it was also true that they had not had the opportunity to be quietly alone and focused solely on their love for one another. A lakeside portrait session would give them a chance to wear their stunning gowns again and soak each other in for as long as they chose.

Ashlee and Bethany are romantic poetry. You can feel their mutual adoration when you’re in their presence. Their love is magnetic. The truth of their connection draws in those of us fortunate enough to be nearby. To have had a small supporting role in Ashlee and Bethany’s love story has made a lasting imprint on my heart. Gratitude brims for having the gift of witnessing their entwined spirits.

Thank you @piperjophoto for capturing us in our element! There’s something to be said about a photographer that makes you feel so comfortable you get lost in the moment and you forget you’re in the middle of a photoshoot

Be sure to follow this amazing couple as they continue to share their lives through their Instagram @wife_life_balance and on their podcast


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