Ashley and CJ

Fairhope, Alabama



Photography | Justine and Wayne | @justine_cunningham

Venue | Fairhope Yacht Club

Floral Designer | Wildflowers | @wildflowers_fairhope

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?

CJ & I met in our youth group at church. We had very different lives and didn’t have much in common when we first met. We weren’t close for the first few years of meeting, but he started singing and playing guitar in the worship band and caught my eye. We talked on and off for a while. We dated for a few months, but it wasn’t the right time, so we decided to just stay friends and talk for a while. During that time, he helped me through some dark days and pursued me through my messy life. He never gave up on, even when I wouldn’t admit my feelings for him.


What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. What makes your relationship unique?

CJ and I have been together for over 6 years and every moment has been sweet! We are best friends and he makes me feel so loved and cared for. I love that he encourages me in my studies and pushes me to be more adventurous! We love eating sushi together and fishing together! Our relationship is unique because we grew up on the same street, but didn’t know it until we started dating. We have literally been around each other since we were kids, but never knew it.


How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship?

I knew CJ was the one when I saw how he pursued me before we started dating and how he cared for me. I’d never experienced that before, so it made me a little hesitant at first, but eventually I recognized how special he was and how lucky I was to have someone who cared for me and loved me the way he did.

Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?

We talked about getting engaged for a long time, but obstacles kept coming up. We both knew the end goal of our relationship was marriage. During the summer of 2019, we both decided we were tired of waiting around and needed to make some moves toward getting married. My grandmother gave me an engagement ring that belonged to my great grandmother. We took it and got it put into a new setting. I picked out the setting, but I didn’t know anything after that.


While I was on fall break after school, Justine & Wayne had emailed me asking if I wanted to do a photo shoot for their new style guide, so I agreed. We planned the date and it just so happened my family was going to be in town that weekend too. I started to become suspicious when more and more of my family showed up. I got to the photo shoot and it was so laid back and calm I began to second guess myself about whether he was going to proposal during the pictures or not! We took the first half of our photos and my family followed along and eventually left to get dinner (or so I was told). We went to our second location and switched outfits and began taking pictures. Justine told me to stand a certain way and CJ was going to stand behind me. I did what she said and she told me to turn around, and CJ was on one knee! I immediately started laughing and trying not to cry! He popped the question and I responded with “Yes, absofreaking-lutely!” I hugged him and tried not to cry. The ring was so much more beautiful than I could’ve imagined! We took some more pictures and he surprised me with a dinner of our family and friends!


We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!

The center stone was the stone from my great grandmother’s ring and we had it placed in a halo of diamonds in a white gold band.


Are you excited to start planning your wedding day? Do you have any ideas in mind yet?

Yes! I’ve loved wedding planning so far and have many of the details already secured! We’re so excited for our big day! We can’t wait to make a lifelong commitment in front of our friends and family!