Real Couple // A Natural Setting Engagement Session in Mount Airy, NC: Ashley + Ruthie

I (Ruthie) am originally from Tampa, Florida and have been in NC for six years. I work as a nurse in the intensive care unit at High Point Regional and Moses Cone, and I am going back to school to become a nurse anesthetist in the fall (Go Deacs!).

Ashley is from a small town called Chesapeake City in Maryland. She moved to Burlington to go to Elon University in 2007 and has been in NC ever since. She has the coolest job: a life enrichment coordinator at a retirement community—more than bingo, she teaches water aerobics, coordinates activities, and books Elvis for the Christmas party.

Well, we both swiped right (shout out to Bumble!). She was gorgeous and I enjoyed texting, but before we could meet, I flew to Colorado for a week-long family ski trip. Every day that passed we connected more with the anticipation of seeing each other in person building. I knew I loved her before we met, but I wouldn't dare say it out loud. She was special, different, like the perfect puzzle piece fit. We had so much in common and I could not be more attracted to her heart. We bonded over taking care of patients with Alzheimer's and dementia, the fact that I had recently lost my dad and that hers was sick, our love for adventure and seeing the world, and also dreams of settling down and having a family. The day finally came for me to fly home, and as luck would have it, my layover was delayed. I had my heart set on meeting her for a beer that night, but felt terrible asking her to drive the half hour to meet so late when she had to work the next day.

I'll never forget the moment my whole life changed. As I came down the escalator to the baggage claim, the woman of my dreams was waiting. She had my favorite flowers, hydrangeas, and the most heartfelt card in hand. Her legs were shaking as I approached her, kissing her before exchanging words. I've never lived a more romantic moment than that one. We really haven't been apart much since.

Two girls means two proposals! I asked first, on Elon day, right in front of her college dorm where she had a brick made with her name on it. She graduated there, under the oaks, and so did my dad when he went to Elon in 1972 (another thing that drew me to her). Elon is a special part of our story because it's part of what brought us to NC and allowed our paths to cross. I had flowers, a note, and a necklace with Ashley's married initials monogrammed waiting for her to find at the brick with her name.

The same words in my note she had engraved on the ring box she used to propose to me two days later at the airport where we first met (she's definitely the more romantic one). "Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat, I'll keep choosing you."

Being in our thirties, we both feel like we've waited a long time for the right one. We're thrilled to start our lives together, make our own traditions, get through school these next two years, and work on growing our family. We look forward to the depth of companionship that time will bring to our relationship, knowing that things won't always be perfect or easy, but that we are a team and we will love each other through any storm we may weather.

We chose to have our pictures done in a natural setting because we wanted the focus to be on us and our connection. We are often told that "we look so in love" and wanted that to come across in our pictures without distraction from a busy background.

I found Jordan through a friend on social media. She had taken my co-worker's engagement photos that were completely our style and when we started looking for a photographer, she was exactly what we wanted. Working with her was wonderful. She made us feel so comfortable, taking time to get to know us while waiting for the perfect daylight. She was genuinely interested in our love story, sharing in our excitement, and supporting our commitment. She's not only a sweet person, she's an incredibly talented photographer and we were thrilled with the emotions she captured. We're thankful that she is a part of our story and know we will treasure those images for years to come.

Words by Ruthie, as told to Amber Marlow. Photos by Jordan Brannock.

 Mt. airy north carolina natural engagement ashley and ruthie laughing with faces close
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement ashley and ruthie's hands cradling engraved ring box
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement couple looking off into forest background
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement ashley and ruthie smiling at one another
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement ashley and ruthie embrace in woods
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement close shot of couple holding hands
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement ashley and ruthie holding hands in clearing beside woods
 mt. airy north carolina natural engagement candid of couple laughing

 Jordon brannock photography north carolina 

JORDAN BRANNOCK

Jordan Brannock is a photojournalistic wedding & family photographer based in the North Carolina mountains. She travels all around documenting the most honest, sincere moments in a persons life, and loves every minute of it.