A Decade of Marriage: The Story of Us

Aaron and I have the image below hanging in our bedroom, and every time I walk by it, I remember…

Our first dance as husband and wife (August 15, 2009).

I remember him holding me close as the world softly faded away in the background when we shared our first dance as husband and wife. I remember feeling calm, peaceful, and in love. I remember why I won’t walk through life with anyone else but him. I remember how we fit so perfectly together. I remember how he makes me laugh and how he’s brought out the best in me.

Last week, on August 15th, Aaron and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. An entire decade has gone by in the blink of an eye! So today, I want to share our story with you and where it all started.  Heads up, this post is going to get a little long, but please stay with me until the end!

So many people are shocked when they find out that we never really dated before getting engaged. Sounds pretty crazy right?!

We first met in middle school, but didn’t become friends until high school. It was my 9th grade year, Aaron’s 10th, and we both ran track. Although Aaron was quite the athlete, he didn’t run much during practice (he was pretty much just on the track team to keep in shape for soccer). Instead, he lounged on the pole-vaulting mat and watched me run by, or so he says. The entire season, I watched him watching me. He still looks at me with the same sweet grin!

It wasn’t until my 10th grade year that he started trying to court me. He was already driving at the time and we finally planned a date – Longhorns followed with a stroll through Media Play where we unexpectedly bought the same CD. Yes…we used to buy our music in stores back then! Do they even still make CDs?

From then on, we practically did everything together. We attended concerts, went to each other’s family functions, the beach, parties – you name it! Wherever I went, he went. We were BEST FRIENDS. We even went to his senior prom together and he arranged for a horse and carriage to take us! He was and still is a hopeless romantic!

2001 Crest Senior Prom

Although we both were in and out of relationships (well, mostly me), we still stuck by each other.

I knew early on that I would marry him one day, but I wasn’t ready to start dating him early on because I wasn’t ready to be tied down. My parents kept telling me that I was crazy and that if I didn’t move quickly I would miss my opportunity. They continuously reminded me that Aaron wouldn’t wait around forever. I even recall a time that my dad told Aaron that he was too great of a guy to be lead on by me.

After I graduated high school in 2002, we weren’t in touch as often. We were both in relationships, but reconnected a year later when I emailed him and asked him if he wanted to grab dinner.

Aaron’s high school graduation in 2001 (left) and my graduation in 2002 (right).

The Ashley and Aaron team was back together and we picked up right where we left off…him trying to court me and me not being ready. In the few years that followed, I told him that I would know when I was ready to settle down and I would let him know. He trusted me and continued to wait. I honestly knew that I would feel it in my heart and I prayed for him to wait.

2004 vs. 2010

In the summer of 2008, we had a Saturday cookout planned with friends. When I woke up that morning, it’s as though God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s time.”

When I arrived at the cookout I had the worst case of butterflies! Aaron was already there and came walking up to my Jeep to greet me with a hug. He could sense that something was a little different and asked if I was ok. I knew it was time to confess. I pulled him to the side, wrapped my arms around his neck, and whispered in his ear, “I’m ready.” He knew exactly what it meant and gave me the biggest hug you’ve ever seen!

A couple of weeks later, we were shopping for rings. I had no idea when he would propose, but I was anxious and excited!

In November of 2008, we made our annual trip to the Colonial Cup Steeplechase in Camden, SC. Most of my family came so I was a little suspicious, but didn’t dwell on the thought. As the event was coming to an end and the big race had finished, we wandered across the finish line. We weren’t even two steps across and I could feel Aaron’s hand trembling – I got nervous.

When we reached the midpoint of the finish line, Aaron pulled me around and dropped to his knee in front of HUNDREDS of people.

We always had a saying when either of us would ask the other a serious question, “On one condition.” That one condition was a kiss. So what do you think I said to his proposal? Through my tears I replied, “On one condition.” Technically, I never said, “YES!”

November 16, 2008. Aaron proposes on the finish line of the Colonial Cup Steeplechase.

We planned our wedding for August 15, 2009 and the day couldn’t come soon enough!  We got married at West Point Farm in Rutherfordton, NC and it was truly the most incredible day of my life!  Fun fact: Mary McDaniel, with Salon Palazzo, did my bridal and wedding hair and then my hair for our 10 year anniversary session!  I felt like I was getting married all over again!

Our wedding day – August 15, 2009.

Fast-forward over 10 years and here we are! Aaron still leaves me little love notes around the house and, to this day, he has never missed a morning text to tell me he loves me and hopes I have a good day! I really have no idea how I got so lucky to have such a kind, patient, intelligent, hard working, loving, and thoughtful husband (and let’s not forget smokin’ hot)! Even in high school, he was an old soul that was full of wisdom.

Us with Pickles and Doppler in December of 2012.

We have never missed a “please” or a “thank you” and always take time each evening to just sit and talk about our day or our plans for the future (we occasionally retell stories from the past and they get more hilarious with time)! We have always gone to bed at the same time and have only spent one night apart since we got married. Whoever gets ready for bed first will always fix the other’s toothbrush and he even still races me to wash the dishes.

Our 10-year anniversary session with Kieran Hooker (Kieran Claire Photography).

Aaron has always put his own needs and wants last to make sure I was happy and taken care of. Yes, we get on each other’s nerves every now and then, but we have never had an argument (minus the occasional disagreements) and we have never raised our voice at each other. Being best friends for so many years before getting married certainly has something to do with it, but our backgrounds have taught us to respect your spouse and love them unconditionally.

Love is a choice and I will always choose YOU.

Our wedding day (2009) and our 10 year anniversary (2019).

Our 10-year anniversary session with Kieran Hooker (Kieran Claire Photography).

This is why I so strongly believe that every couple should have an anniversary session for those milestone years. The session itself is a time to reconnect and the images remind you why you’re doing this together.

So when the tough times hit your marriage (like they do for everyone), when things get crazy, or when life takes over … you will remember.

If kids come along and the two of you start to get lost… you will remember.

If you’re celebrating something like a one-year, five-year, ten-year, or fifty-year anniversary, you will never forget the joy. If your love is stronger than ever and you have built a marriage that you’re proud of… you will document it for your future generations.

If your grandkids get married and they see that your marriage was something special and beautiful, they will always remember where they came from.

So that you will always remember what truly matters most – the two of you.

Together.

Our 10-year anniversary session with Kieran Hooker (Kieran Claire Photography).

 

He’s my lobster.

It’ll be fun to see who gets that.  🙂

 

XOXO,

  1. Barb says:

    I remember when you told me this story a while back. It warmed my heart, it still does. I love you both so much. I couldn’t ask for a better daughter-in-law. My wish for you is many more decades of love and happiness.

    • Ashley Koch says:

      Barb, you are just the sweetest!!! Thank you so much for listening to our stories, supporting us, and for always being so caring!! We love you so much!!!!

  2. Kim Alexander says:

    Your story of your relationship is why when we are all together as a family or I see pictures of the two of you, it makes my ❤️ so happy because the love the two of of share always shines! You both know how much I love you and I am so Proud of the life the two is you share. You are an example to everyone on how to keep your marriage Special (toothbrushes, love notes, texts). Thank you for sharing your “Love Story.”

    • Ashley Koch says:

      Kim, thank you so much for your sweet, thoughtful and caring words!! We love you so much and we’re so blessed!!!!

  3. Lynn Williamson says:

    Thank you for sharing. In this past year I have learned that pictures through life are oh, so very important. You never know what life will throw your way and a picture to look back too and hold too can give you the strength you need sometimes. Beautiful story!
    And you are right- ya’ll are so Ross and Rachel 😉

    • Ashley Koch says:

      Lynn, your words have brought me to tears!! You’re absolutely right when you say that photographs are such an important part of who we are, where we’ve been, and the legacies we create! Thank you so much for taking the time to read our story and I’m so excited that you got the lobster comment! So few people didn’t! 🙂

  4. Daddy says:

    My beautiful daughter and most awesome son in law. Y’all remind me that I am the one who is most blessed. The two of you are what God meant when he said the two will become one. Yours is a love and ongoing process that shows how life should be. I am so proud of you both and my heart is full and always amazed at where your life has gone and excited for where it will take you. So blessed to witness it all first hand. I love y’all.

    • Ashley Koch says:

      Daddy, you are such a blessing to us and we wouldn’t have such a solid foundation in our marriage if it weren’t for all of the advice, support, and encouragement you’ve given us throughout the years! The Weekend to Remember trip that you gave us for our wedding gift was the most thoughtful and helpful gift we could have received! It gave us the tools to prepare us, teach us, and to strengthen our marriage with each passing day! Our long talks on the porch have been more meaningful (and educational) than you’ll ever know!! We love you so much!!

  5. Aunt Barbara says:

    I love it, such a great story of the strength of your love. I am so pleased that you take the occassions to celebrate, renew and grow even more in love each “moment” in your case.. i have enjoyed seeing you work as a team encouraging and respecting one another. When i grow up i want to be just like you. Thank you for helping us each feel how special our loved one are. Be blessed even more. I love you both very very much and am certain angels watch over you both every moment. Amazing. PS the photoes are wonderful.

    • Ashley Koch says:

      Aunt Barbara, your kind words have brought me to tears!! Aaron and I are so blessed to have found each other and especially me for having a husband that takes such great care of me (and for waiting all those years)! I feel like we have something pretty special and we couldn’t have done it without the love, support, encouragement, and advice of our families! We love you so much and are so thankful for you!!!

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Hey there!  I'm Ashley!

I'm a small-town, North Carolina wedding photographer, and a full-time spaghetti enthusiast! If I'm not behind my camera or computer, you'll be able to find me at the barn with my horses or in the garden - I'm pretty sure that I'm a wannabe plant lady at heart!

The blog is here to not only showcase weddings and portraits, but also to be a resource for clients and other photographers. You'll find session and photography tips, style guides, and so much more! If there's something specific you're interested in, shoot me a message - I'd love to hear all about it! 

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