Scuffed Boots and Fairytales

Tom and I have been together for a long time and during that time, we have somehow failed to have professional photos taken of just the two of us. When I finally booked a shoot with the amazing {understatement, to say the least} Haley Sheffield, I couldn’t have been more excited. I also couldn’t have been more nervous. Unfortunately, the comfort I have acquired behind the camera is in direct correlation with how uncomfortable I feel in front of a camera, and I was a wreck the entire week before.

It had taken me two months to figure out what I would wear. I’d spent the entire day prepping. I went straight from work to my hair appointment, where I got all dolled-up with an up-do and a face full of makeup. I’d called Tom numerous times throughout the day, pestering him to “not get all dirty at work” and to “make sure you shave and wear matching socks” and to please don’t
“spill chemicals all over yourself today.” Of course, everything had to be perfect.

When I got home from my day full of appointments, I was putting on my dress when I looked in the mirror. I looked pretty, I guess. But I looked so different. My hair had taken two hours to fix that day; on a normal day, I run a brush through it or pull it up in under 3 minutes. My makeup took 45 minutes when I usually wear foundation and mascara. The pretty up-do and the makeup…they just weren’t me. So, I hopped in the shower and washed it all off. I got ready in thirty minutes, as I usually do.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about love since we were just babies in high school, it’s that love is not always going to be picture perfect. It’s not always going to be that jaw-dropping romance that you see in the movies. But thanks to Tom, I do know what love is, and I’m lucky to experience it everyday. Love is when your grandmother is sick and he rides with you, your mom, and your sister to go pick her up, packs her bags, helps carry her to the car, and stays with you until the early morning as you sit crying behind a hospital curtain. Love is coming home to see he’s stocked your refrigerator or cooked dinner. Love is when he’s best friends with your dad and listens to your grandfather’s stories, even if he’s heard them 12 times before that. Love is being there for your sister’s first dance and holding you back from marching down to the school the first time she faces petty high school bullying. Love is a field full of sunflowers, Friday night dates, sitting in the Wendy’s parking lot sharing a frosty at 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday, or just lying on the couch with the dogs watching Say Yes to the Dress.

We’ve been through some tough stuff in eight years: a death of a grandparent, a parent diagnosed with cancer, the loss of a best friend, starting our own businesses at 20, living two and then five hours apart, four long pecan seasons. Through all of that, there’s never been one doubt that, though not perfect, our love is real.

So, we galavanted around the country in our boots. We sat by the pond and I wore flowers in my hair. We played with the horses and chased the chickens. We just had fun and soon, being in front of the camera wasn’t awkward and didn’t feel silly. It actually felt really natural. His boots were scuffed, my hair was flat. It was typical Tom and Ashlee, but it was perfect to me.

And so love might not always be a fairytale, but once in awhile you stumble upon someone so incredibly talented that they are capable of not just seeing, but capturing your own unique fairytale in the most beautiful way. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Haley. I’m so honored to call you a friend.

Here are a few of my favorites.

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5 thoughts on “Scuffed Boots and Fairytales

  1. Ashlee,
    Words can’t describe how good this makes me feel! I’m very blessed to know you & Tom. The photos are beautiful!

  2. Tears.

    Seriously… I contemplated shooting you a screenshot of my face as I read this post.

    This entry couldn’t be more–well–accurate. Love is messy, unplanned for, and oh-so unpredictable. If nothing else, I have to say that you and Tom fell into each other like you felt “home.” And that, my friend, couldn’t have made my job easier.

    I also have to say that I’m glad you washed off everything that wasn’t “you”. And I’m glad that Tom had a scuff on his pants… and that you guys like to hang out with miniature horses and chickens and goats (but that part is really selfish because I was entirely fascinated by the animals).

    Thank you for choosing me to be the lucky girl to capture you! Thank you for your excitement from Day One to Day Delivery (hallelujah, it finally came!).

    Here’s to many more pictures and coffee dates in the future!

    So much love for you girl!

  3. I do not know these two wonderful people in these photographs. However I feel honored to have been able to have shared what appears to be an honest and enduring love. I wish you both much future happiness in your lives together. Be blessed and continue to hold each others hands and hearts through out your journey.

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