Stevi and Ashleigh got engaged over Thanksgiving after spending three years together. We spoke with them about what it’s like to date long distance, how to know when it’s the right time to get engaged and their adorable dogs, Colbi J and Monte Rey. You can find Stevi and Ashleigh on Instagram.

Tell us more about you both! 

Ashleigh: I currently live in bourbon country. Before my move to Kentucky, I was born and raised in Louisiana, and am actually a proud Ragin’ Cajun from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I love my family more than anything and I am basically obsessed with my two younger sisters because I was never as cool as they are. My mom and dad are the most caring, loving and supportive people I girl could ask for and without that love and support, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I love some great food with my best friends and just sharing in that meal with them and people. I love every day with my incredible fiancé and two amazing pups. The three of them make every day the craziest adventure. 

Stevi: I was born in Colorado and was raised in a military family, we moved around a lot and I’m lucky enough to have been in Germany for 10 years from eight years old to 18. I went to the University of South Carolina, graduated in 2014. I came out to my family in June 2018 just before same-sex marriage became legal. My family is super supportive and so loving. I love sports’ going to Carolina being a Gamecock is one of the things I’m most proud of. I love being outside with the pups. We have two, Colbi J and Monte Rey and they even have an Instagram. I also love watching movies, or binging TV shows on lazy days. I love to cook and listen to music. My faith is very important to me. I am so thankful to have been raised in a Christian home that put love above all. I think that this helps me not embrace others but also who I am in the world. 

How did you meet?

Ashleigh: My college roommate and best friend, Jamie, is one of Stevi’s really good friends from high school. When Jamie would Skype Stevi, I was just always around in the background, and from time to time I would be in the background crying or whining about my love life.

Stevi would always say, “If you would just date me you would stop crying.” “You should just date me.” “Jamie, tell Ashleigh she should just date me.” This went on for about three years, and one day Jamie knocked on my door and said, “Ashleigh wanted me to tell you just to date her.” I then proceeded to social media stalk Stevi because we hadn’t talked in a while, and I came across her blog and read all her posts. It was exactly what I needed to read so, on July 11, 2015, I texted her and it all started from there. It was constant texts, calls and Facetimes from then on out. By the way, we were long distance.

Stevi: We met through a friend of mine from high school, Jamie. We got close after I went to college, and when she was in college her roommate was Ashleigh. We all three ended up on Skype a lot of the time talking about whatever. If there was a moment for comedy, I was normally trying to make Ashleigh and Jamie laugh. I spent about three, almost four, years telling Ashleigh she wouldn’t have relationship problems if she would just date me. It was a joke, I was in a relationship and she clearly was too, but it’s always been a point I like to bring up. Thankfully, a couple of years later she texted me one day and we’ve talked and been together since.

How do you know when you're ready to propose? We asked a real couple
Photo by thirty7 photography

Who proposed to who (or did you both propose)? Do you have a proposal story?

Ashleigh: The Donut Sunrise Spectacular of November 10, 2018, will be the best date slash proposal I ever planned for myself. On my first visit to see Stevi, we said for days that we would wake up and see the sunrise at our favorite park but that did not happen and we had said it many times of the years and nothing. So one morning I was bringing Stevi to the airport and was like, “We have said we are going to watch the sunrise at Cherokee for so long and haven’t done it. Let’s do it! Let’s watch the sunrise and take our family photo. Then go get donuts because donuts.”

She was in and we were amped and planned this whole thing. We get out Saturday and it is cold and dark, but hey, this was the plan so let’s stick to it. Stevi is getting the camera and Go Pro ready because we are out there for a photo. She’s adjusting the cameras and me and the blanket and making it perfect, but again it is freezing and the pups were so cold. So, I’m focused on them and say maybe we should go soon.

She comes over to me in the spot we have taken our family photos for years, and takes my hand to get me to stand up. I think she wants me to adjust for the photo again, but she just takes my hands and starts saying the sweetest things and I just start crying because she is being sweet and I cry a lot. It truly didn’t register that she was proposing until she was on her knee taking my hand actually saying the words, “Will you marry me?” Again, I was sobbing and I just kept shaking my head ‘yes’ but no words; my word was broke in that moment. Finally, I said yes with words and the rest of that day was pure bliss and felt like magic.

Stevi: I bought the ring on October 25, 2018. I went to Shane Co. with my friend Simone who happened to need her engagement ring resized. I wanted to go there because I knew you could get a customized ring that’s one of a kind. I looked at a few options. I knew rose gold was a must, but honestly A,shleigh had never really given me much more to go off of. The idea of what I wanted was not lining up with the things I was seeing, finally, the Shane Co. rep said they had some other rose gold settings with a vintage appeal.

I was interested so she brought out a setting out the stone I had picked out on top and I knew right away that was it. There was a four-day turnaround and the ring was mine to pick up the day before Halloween. With no exact plans of how or when I wanted to ask Ashleigh. Simone took my precious ring home with her to avoid any possible accidental discoveries of the ring.

That weekend I was off to Colorado for work, and on the way to the airport unknowingly Ashleigh planned her own engagement. She asked if I remembered her first visit to come see me and how we also talked about watching the sunrise. Right away, I knew where this was going I nodded and said of course. She then said we should actually go do it next Saturday.

I agreed and she took me to the airport and I spent the next nine days figuring out the perfect way to ask her to marry me. Skipping through a lot of excitement on my side, anxiety (the good kind) and energy, Saturday, November 10, 2018, finally came. Ashleigh was calling this day the ‘sunrise donut spectacular’ as the plan was to brave the cold for the sunrise and then go get donuts. We woke up early, bundled up and headed to one of our favorite places in Louisville—dog hill, fitting since we also had our two pups with us. It was a freezing 20 degrees, at one point even the dogs were shaking.

As the sunrise started, I had placed my Go Pro and iPhone up to see us and hopefully get some photos. And there, in our frozen most perfect place, I got to ask my beautiful now-fiancé to marry me. She was very surprised and I was so excited, she nodded and said yes! Of course, we then got into the car, cranked up the heat and went to get donuts at our favorite place, Hi-Five!

How do you know when you're ready to propose? We asked a real couple
Photo courtesy of Stevi and Ashleigh

What makes your relationship special? What are some of your favorite memories together?

Ashleigh: I think the thing that makes us so special is we were long distance for a bit. It made us communicate even when it was hard. It made us really become in tune with each other’s emotions even when we couldn’t see the other person. You learned how their voice sounded upset or worried or off versus its normal tone. You learned from a text if the day wasn’t going so great. That constant communication also had us become each other’s best friend. That’s personally one of my favorite things about us; we are truly the other’s best friend and we never get tired of each other. This is important because we do lots of road trips together, like an 18-hour drive to Boston. Most of these long drives are some of my favorite times though because they are usually getting us to some really awesome new adventures.

Stevi is also the queen of surprises and one of my most favorite memories will forever be when she surprised me a day early to a visit she had planned to see me in Louisiana. I was in music class on Instagram, obviously, just scrolling when I saw a picture of her outside of the building I’m in. I freaked out and text edmy sister asking her if Stevi was there. But she was there—outside of my class a full day early, just waiting with our perfect pup, Colbi J. Definitely one of my favorite memories for sure.

Stevi: I think our relationship is special in a lot of ways. We have lived together basically since the beginning of dating. For us, this was huge because we had gone from long distance to living together in a matter of months. It would seem that this is not the move for everyone to make but for us it was seamless. My space quickly became our space and we felt at home with each other right away. We’ve been lucky enough to share our love with our families and many trips to visit or adventure with them by our side. I think some of my favorite memories will always be embedded in those road trips. Laughing, listening to music, planning an event, telling jokes, listening to podcasts and maybe even crying over traffic in New York City.

How do you know when you're ready to propose? We asked a real couple
Photo by thirty7 photography

Where did you take your engagement/proposal photos? Does the location have meaning to you, and why did you choose it?

Stevi: We took our photos over Thanksgiving in Columbus, Georgia. We’d never been there before but my mom just moved there. My sister-in-law is a professional photographer and was awesome enough to take our photos.

How long were you together before you got engaged? Why did this feel like the right time?

Ashleigh: We had been together a little over three years when Stevi proposed. I didn’t really have the part of having to choose the time and when it is right and all that jazz, but I can tell you why I said yes.

For starters, at that moment I knew I wanted nothing more to go on the greatest adventure with my best friend. I said yes because I want this incredibly kind and caring person next to me daily showing me what true love is and means. I said yes because I wanted the strongest most motivational person by my side helping to build me up to make me the person I am meant to be for me and her. I said yes because I want to spend every day with the funniest person that puts the biggest smile on my face and get to see her smile that makes my heart the happiest. I knew it was right and I said yes because we have always been right and I want that forever.

Stevi: We’ve been together over three years (three years, two months and nine days to the date of the proposal). Now felt right because we are both in a good place individually and I know I can’t ever do this life with Ashleigh by my side.

Do you have any advice for other couples about wedding planning, marriage or relationships?

Ashleigh: When you get engaged, enjoy it! Immediately literally hours after it happened people will ask, “When is the wedding?” Uh, what? Enjoy one of the most special days ever. Call your friends and your family and share with the people you love, but also take that moment and day and share it with each other. Hang out, be happy and let the magic of the moment be for you guys. Because the magic is real, and the whole day felt surreal and like a dream.

Stevi: Communication, this is always my answer any time someone asks for advice in relationships. Ashleigh and I have always been very open about our mindsets at any given time. We talk about what makes us happy and what frustrates us all the same. If you only communicate about the good, it doesn’t work and if you only communicate about the bad, I imagine that is much harder.

How do you know when you're ready to propose? We asked a real couple
Photo by thirty7 photography

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Photographer: thirty7 photography

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