Friday, January 31, 2014

Renee + Brad

To make up for missing last Friday's love story, I picked out an extra suspenseful story for this Friday. When Renee sent me her story, I found myself holding my breath while reading it with chill bumps. The weekend of their destination wedding would be one that would forever change their lives. You will never believe what Renee and Brad went through; not just went through, but survived. This love story is one that will be sure to leave you in tears.

So, I have a love story that starts out very stereotypical of “boy meets girl and falls in love and then they decide to get married.” End of the stereotypical part! 

My (then fiancé) and I decided that we were going to get married on the beach (ok, slightly still stereotypical of some) and had gone about the process of selecting the perfect spot with the perfect sunset, finding decorations, and picking out food options.  Then, like a big black cloud, comes the BP oil spill!  Well, we all know what kind of damper that put on a lot of parades (and should have been a red flag). But, we decided to press on anyway! The owner of the private house where we were supposed to get married ensured us that there was no hide or hair of oil reminisce anywhere around them (they were located in a bay, so I took her word for it).

It was wedding day eve and both I and my fiancé started the drive from Nashville down to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and I was sitting in the passenger seat laughing while texting to my mom who was 10 miles behind us with my dad.

It was 12:01 PM on August 5,, 2010 at mile marker 192 when it happened; We were getting back on the interstate in Montgomery from a bathroom break when everything changed for the rest of our lives. 

Vickie was a 52 year old woman driving on Interstate 65 North when she decidedly needs to reach for a water bottle in her passenger floor board causing a chain reaction of events. First, she hit the guard rail on her passenger side, then over corrected and hit the gas instead of break. Vickie came across the median and hit us head on. Our impact speed was 150 mph. In fact, we were hit so hard, the speedometer was stopped and stuck at 75 mph. 

All the table decorations were shattered, my dress laid crumpled in a pile of metal.

My fiancé’s foot went through his right heel; a piece of the engine had taken a chunk of meat from his left leg, making him  unable to walk. He pulled himself up, out, and on the roof of the car. He called my name and there was no answer. He screamed my name and still no answer. I had suffered a brain bleed, abdomen bleed, broken ribs, and a broken wrist. We were even wearing seat belts. Vickie opened her door, said nothing, and waited for the paramedics up against the guard rail.

Traffic immediately came to a standstill. My mom was still texting, but quickly noticed her texts were going unanswered. My dad tried calling once, then a second time, and on the third ring, my phone picked up due to the vibrations from the Jaws of Life. He hears my screams and calls my name, the call drops. 

My fiancé had to have emergency surgery to stabilize him until we could get back to Nashville where surgeons would end up putting an entire metal “heel” back in the bottom of his foot. I suffered temporary short term memory loss in addition to all of my other injuries. To this day, I still have no memory of our stay at the trauma center.

On Saturday, August 7, 2010, someone had reminded me that it was my wedding day. Despite the pain and lack of memory, I wanted to get married and would not take “No” for an answer.  Through our mother’s tears and “are you sure’s,” my wedding dress was picked up, a cake from the nearest grocery store found, and even a bunch of silk flowers for a bouquet were rummaged up. Luckily for us, the hospital even had a decent sized little chapel.

My fiancé was wheeled in the chapel, and my dad walked me down the corridor from my hospital room to the chapel and gave me away.  I only have pictures of this day to look back at, not one memory.  

Most people would think that we were robbed, but I like to think about it like this:

We are all given a test at some point in our lives of our character and love for each other. It is how we handle ourselves during those times of diversity that defines who we are and the relationships that we are in.

Not many people start their married lives with such stress, sadness, frustration, and challenge. My husband ended up being wheelchair bound for four months and I, well, I was 8 weeks pregnant with our daughter throughout it all. This isn’t a story of pity, but rather a story of how through the most difficult of times, love will still and always win. The accident took my memory of every girl’s most important day, but it gave me a love for my husband and now beautiful daughter that nothing will ever take away.

P.S. On August 7, 2016, we will be renewing our vows with our daughter. I like to think that God just wanted us to have a flower girl  but I am sure it will be a day that the three of us will never forget.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Run. Confront. Repeat.

I missed my Friday love story. Don't think I wasn't thinking about it, but I did have much more going on. I'm writing with a heavy mind and heart. This is about to get real, perhaps a bit deep? Open book, I am.

I was doing a bit of mourning with a mix of confronting a huge elephant in my room. That room being my life. That elephant being a sliver of my past that happens to be family. This encounter has done nothing but mentally exhaust me…in a good way. The one's that know me, know my family dynamic. I won't go in depth about that…not here, not now. We all have some extra baggage that comes in the form of a past. We all have 3 choices when dealing with a past:

1. Run from it.
2. Confront it and learn from it.
3. Repeat it.

I chose and continue to choose to confront and learn from it, every day.

My encounter this weekend triggered deep thought about my future and past relationships and what I want in a marriage type relationship. Hell, what I want in any relationship or friendship in life. It triggered questions and even a conversation about repeating the past. History is known for repeating itself, ya know.

Quick summary: I come from divorced parents. I, along with my brother and sister, were all mature enough to witness and understand the divorce process. The one we went through just so happened to be a toxic, painful one. That being said, my mom, brother, and sister are my rocks and best friends. We are awesome.

 What if the saying is true? What if I'm destined to end up in the same boat? The boat that sinks from divorce.

I'm determined that this what if won't happen. And here's why:

1. I'm aware. I take notes. I pay attention. I learn. My last serious relationship was in 2011. I made an exit after I noticed some qualities that weren't what I wanted and felt were unhealthy. After that relationship, I took 2 years to do some growing and soul searching. I was completely single; yes, by choice. After being in a relationship nonstop since high school, I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone. And it was one of the best things I've ever done.

2. I learned how to be happy with myself. This is crucial. If you ever want to make anyone else happy or be happy with someone else, you have to be happy with yourself. I can say that I found that happiness. During this time, I became comfortable in my own skin. I developed a strong drive and ambition that literally fuels me every day. During this time, I healed from a painful past…I became strong. I evaluated what I would want/need in a serious, long term relationship.

I stopped searching and started praying. 

3. Because of the first two reasons, I am able to confront my past with confidence. I'm able to give it the middle finger. I'm able to overcome. I'm able to come to terms and be at peace with the fact that people, family or not, will come in and out of your life. I'm not bitter that sometimes you are only connected to someone through shared DNA. It happens to some people (like me and my siblings and a parent), but it won't in my future. I won't be in something so toxic or cause that pain to the people I love. I confronted a part of my past that should absolutely scare me. I should have serious issues. Instead of being scared, I forgave. Because of this encounter, I had the closure I needed. I came to the peaceful realization that the marriage I saw growing up doesn't have to be the marriage I walk into in the future.

They say the truth sets you free…but that's not completely true. Forgiveness can also set you free.

 I won't let it haunt me or repeat. I'm going to break a cycle. I will be A-okay.

Because of my past, I live and love in a way that I never thought I was capable of.  I go out of my comfort zone.  I am figuring out the person I want to be, not stuck on who I was or who I come from. 

This one had a rough start, but I feel like I brought it back up. My awkward encounter with a distant individual last week needed to happen in order for me to be at peace with that part of my past. The past is the past. My present day is pretty damn awesome. Every day I wake up, I become a little more Love Struck by my current reality.

This is my new mantra in regards to the past. 

"You can have my past. I´ll never get that back.

I´m moving on, ´cause those days are gone." -Haim

Friday, January 17, 2014

Heather + Justin

It's FRIDAY! And after this week, it brings me much joy to share one of my dear friends and coworker's love story! Heather is my fellow bride consultant, and she has also become a close friend of mine. So close, that I accidentally call her "my" Heather. Her husband is jealous of me and slightly scared that I have corrupt her. Nonetheless, Justin and Heather have been a great, young example of love and marriage. Enjoy!

From Heather: When I was 8 years old, one of my favorite babysitters was named Lindsey.  I loved Lindsey because she was a cheerleader, and she taught me how to flip backwards out of the swing in my backyard... I also loved Lindsey because she would always bring her little brother, Justin, with her when she babysat.  Her brother was my age and he was the perfect playmate!

When I got to high school I was terrified because I was coming from a very small K-8th school to a high school with over 2,500 students!  So when I saw Justin on the very first day of school in my math class, I was thrilled to see a familiar face!  We picked up right where we had left off when we were kids, and after months of “talking” to each other, Justin asked me to be his girlfriend!  I was sixteen at the time and thought he was the coolest guy in school... Unfortunately (probably since I told him I wouldn’t kiss him) that relationship only lasted about two months.  But, after we both matured a little more (and after Justin cut his hair), we got back together in October of our Senior year!

Our first kiss was at a playground in my neighborhood, and Justin planned out the whole thing!  For our Senior prom he sent me on a scavenger hunt around the whole city!  At each stop I would find a CD with the next clue and a collection of songs to listen to while I drove there.  The CD’s spelled out “PROM?” and at the last clue, he was waiting with flowers.  Basically, throughout our entire relationship, Justin’s been the man of romantic gestures... He treats me like a princess!

After we had been dating for about two years, we went on a trip to the beach with Justin’s family.  I was convinced that we weren’t getting married for a long while because we didn’t have the money.  But, once again, Justin had a plan of his own... While we were building a sand castle, he placed the ring box on top of the castle with a penny inside.  He then asked, “Is this round and shiny enough for you?”  [For months I had been asking when he was going to give me something round and shiny]  Then he pulled out the real ring and asked if I would marry him.  My response was “Yes!”  and then, through the happy tears, I said, “But, I’m in my bathing suit... I’m not even wearing makeup!!”  Needless to say, it was a wonderfully romantic (and comical) moment!

Nine months later, Justin and I got married on June 2, 2012.  Our wedding was so much fun... with friends and family we danced the night away!  We then went on an incredible honeymoon to Cancun!

Justin and I have been married for a year and a half now, and I can truly say our relationship is a blessing from God.  Our marriage is definitely not perfect, but we love each other and are absolutely committed... for eternity!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Redefining the Love Story.

This is true. I feel like people are afraid to share their story because it's not something out of a Nicholas Spark's novel or a movie. That stuffs made up, people. Yours is real. 
That's what people need to be reading about. 

Since I am new at this whole blogging thing, I have been taking tips and advice from readers. I need to redefine what I mean by Love Story. I should be more specific. I want to hear a story from your relationship that is one of your most memorable memories to date. Whether that's how you met, when you first knew you wanted to share your life with him or her, or it can even be your proposal. If this story makes you smile every time you think or tell it, then I want to hear it!

Great stories don't end after the wedding or when you first meet. If you really think about it, your relationship is full of those moments. Chase and Allison's is a perfect example of a love story that isn't dramatic, but it still sparks that feeling of endearment, brings a smile to your face, or even gives you a few chill bumps.

I want to read and share love stories that will evoke an emotion.

And by story, I mean incident, meeting, date, or moment where your heart felt full; you suddenly realized you never wanted to be without this other person. That moment is a story. The details, emotion, and thoughts that went through your mind and heart in that moment make it a story.

That being said, send them my way!

Incase you were wondering, I will post Love Stories on Fridays! What a great way to end the week and start the weekend! :)

I had to include this.   

Friday, January 10, 2014

Allison + Chase

Today's the day, people. It's the first love story, and there's no other couple I would have be the opening story than Allison and Chase. I've had the pleasure and good fortune to become close friends with Allison and Chase. Allison and I grew up in the same town, went to the same high school, but our friendship came to be through our love of live music. Then I met Chase, and I instantly saw the connection between them. I admire these two and the relationship they have created. On August 17th, 2013, they were married at Woodmont Church. I am proud to say I started a dance circle at their reception.

I am so lucky to know this couple and to be able to call them friends. Instead of getting Allison's version, I asked Chase. I love hearing the male version, and hopefully this is a surprise for Allison! Enjoy!

(The night they got engaged!) 

From Chase: I actually met Allie, randomly enough, six years ago at a party we were having at my apartment in college.  Her old boyfriend and my best friend worked together for the football team at MTSU, and he brought her to the party. I remember we were sitting there playing video games and screaming at the television (seriously, I am the coolest), and I kept sneaking peeks at her out of the corner of my eye. When the night was over and everyone left, I told my friend Jeremy that I was going to marry her. Definitely an alcohol-induced declaration, but I meant it and I'm glad I said it.

She went off to college at Memphis, so for the next 5 years or so we just kept in touch via Twitter and Facebook. We mostly just talked about music and stuff. I'm glad it progressed the way it did, because by the time we started dating we had already become incredibly close friends. With my 3 months of vast marriage expertise, I really do think that the friendship aspect is one of the most important things you can have. 

When she moved back to Nashville and started working at a company that was literally a quarter mile from my office I think that was when the switch flipped for me and I decided that I was going to go for it. We randomly met back up at a Matt Nathanson concert at the Cannery on November 5th, 2011. I tried to play it cool. She tried to introduce me to her friend. I wasn't having any of that :) She did had a boyfriend (one that I REALLY didn't care for) at the time, so I had to be cool about that. But I decided to amp up the flirting aspect anyways. Whatever. I'm not a bad person haha. Anyhoo, everything worked out anyways because they eventually broke up. My big break!! :)

We went on our first date on January 21st, 2012. Preds game. After we left dinner before the game, I was just too nervous so I decided to get the first kiss out of the way. Leaned in and BOOM! missed her lips. Kissed her on the nose. Reeeeeaaaalllll smooth, Chase. It was a great date, and every one since then has been too. 

I knew I wanted to marry her. She was exactly what I had prayed for every single night for as long as I can remember. It's crazy how, just as you're about ready to give up on love because every single freaking experience you've had with it had ended in shit, the love of your life comes in and it's the EASIEST FREAKING THING IN THE WORLD. 

I proposed on November 5th, 2012 at the Cannery. I always like to tell people about right before the proposal because it was the neatest. The few minutes before I proposed when we were just walking around were the coolest moments of my entire life. It's difficult to describe the feeling of having a secret that, at the time, not a single other person on the face of the earth knows exactly what is about to happen at this certain exact moment. Just a really empowering feeling. It's really the closest I can imagine to holding the entire world in the palm of your hand.

So anyways, that's our story. Writing it, I still can't believe something like this happened to me. Every time I re-tell it, I am just overwhelmed with gratitude that she is here and we are a thing and I am this lucky of a human. It's incredible.

(Once Like A Spark) 

Their story had such an impact on me during a time filled with doubt. I consider myself lucky to know a couple like Allison and Chase. He was actually the first person I asked to share for Love Struck. Thank you both for being great friends and allowing me to share your love story. I'm looking forward to seeing how your love story continues! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello, 2014.

No, this isn't a love story. That comes on FRIDAY! And it's a good one! I feel it only appropriate that I write about New Year's resolutions. I, like the rest of the universe, enjoys creating a resolution(s), do it for 3 weeks, and then go back to old habits. It happens with every. single. new. year. WHY?!

Reasons for resolutions:
1. Tired of the same ole' stuff on different days.
2. We feel fat.
3. It's time for a "new" you.
4. The idea of change is appealing.
5. You want to spice up your life…just like the Spice Girls recommend.

Reasons for not dominating resolutions:
1. It's hard. 

We have an entire year to accomplish a resolution, but we give up before January even ends. Why make yourself a promise just to break it and hurt your own feelings? Don't disappoint yourself at the beginning of the year….there's a whole year to do that. Hell, there's an entire life waiting to slap you with disappointment. I say bahumbug to that, and I will slap disappointment right back with a handful of awesome.

The whole key to making a resolution, which is also a goal, is to choose something that is 50% challenging and 50%  realistic. If I made a resolution to lose 30 pounds, that would be unrealistic considering how much I love mexican food and wine (not together). Last year's resolution was to live a healthier lifestyle which included exercise and NO fast food.

I didn't start my resolution until April 1, 2013. Better late than never! Now,  I am 10 pounds down, workout 5 days a week, only enter the Dunkin' Donuts drive threw for a small breakfast (occasionally), have less jiggle and body dimples, and don't eat French fries anymore. It sucked, and it was hard. But that's the challenge. I kept it realistic. I didn't make a weightless goal (avoided disappointment). I just wanted to feel better…everything else was a bonus.

The thing about a resolution is that it's not a short term thing. Once you do it so much, it will become normal, a new habit per say. This is something that can change your life. It's meant to change your life. That's the point of a resolution. There's no deadline (unless you make one), so the hardest part is actually starting. I say, "do it to it."  But Nike would say, "Just do it." 

I swore that I was avoiding resolutions this year. I failed. I made one definite one.


I feel like I do this on a regular basis, but I can improve. This blog is part of it.  Another part is telling the ones I love that I love them regularly. I may begin to smother them, just cause I can.

What's your resolution for 2014? How will you improve yourself and the world around you starting in 2014?

Friday, January 3, 2014



I am Ashley #2 from Wedding 101. That has become my identity in the Nashville wedding world, and I really don't mind having a number connected to my name. I am starting this blog as a hobby. I hope this hobby has an impact and shines a little light in this slightly dark world.  I want to share love stories, and I hope you (or anyone that reads this) will help me.

I'm not just some twenty-something writing about the love you see in the movies and hope to stumble upon in real life. I am surrounded by married or engaged people, and I take great notes.

 This isn’t going to be all about me…I love sharing the love…so I will  have A LOT of guest posts. My guests will be the lovely brides I encounter on a daily basis, some friends I’ve watched fall in love, a few strangers that I only met briefly,  and the voices of some wedding pros.  

 I am a single 23 year old in a world where the divorce rate is at or over 50%. I work in the wedding industry, and there are some days I question what I’m doing? There are some days I question the idea of marriage because of what it has become. I blame the Kardashians. 

I'm partially kidding. 

 Marriage is something I want to believe in. I want to know that true, honest love does exist in this world. I want a reason to hope that I can have a pure, true marriage one day. I hope one day I'll have those butterflies that mark the beginning of my own love story. With time, growth, and the right person, I want to be Love Struck. Until then, I will live vicariously through these stories! 

I want to spark hope.
I want to remind people of the reason for having a wedding. 
I want to radiate positivity…(learned this catchy phrase at my first Bonnaroo last summer)
I want to share love.

And I plan on attempting to do that through this blog. I think those things can be accomplished by simply telling real stories. Sometimes we all need a gentle reminder about why we are here and what we are doing with our one chance to live…and love.

Have you ever heard a love story that left you with chills? I have. I am going to share those. Those are going to be testimonials for the saying, “When you know, you know.” If not that, then hopefully this blog will at least put a smile on your face. 

About Love Struck

This idea blossomed during a dark time for me…a time where I sang Taylor Swift's song "I Knew You Were Trouble" on a regular basis. (This is not my usual music of choice…but Taylor Swift brings out the 15 year old girl in me).  I had been toying around with the idea of starting a blog for a few years, but never had a focus or purpose. Well, life happened. So, after a tablespoon of heartbreak and 3 pints of Ben & Jerry's, Love Struck kind of struck me. 

My job is to help brides plan their wedding. Because the planning is overwhelming for a newly engaged couple,  it's a rare occurrence that I actually get to hear how the couple met. The times couples have shared their story, they have left me with chill bumps and grinning from ear to ear. These stories should be shared because they are beautiful. Every love story is unique. The moment you feel those butterflies and know that you've found a life partner, a soul mate, is life changing. I love helping brides plan weddings, and I love being a part of that special day; However, I love hearing about the reason for the wedding even more.

I will NOT talk about the wedding in this blog.  That's not the point of this life. There's a bigger picture.

BUT, if you want wedding talk, head on over to the Wedding 101 Nashville blog! (Cross promotion, I work for a marketing company!)

I created this blog to share some great love stories and to also have a live journal of my mid-twenties.  I plan on sharing experiences, words, music, and any other thing that inspires or impacts me in a meaningful way. 

These stories give me hope and make me happy. I want to spread that hope in a society filled with ridiculously high and depressing divorce rates and sadness.

One day, when I'm Love Struck, I'll share my story with you.

If I can help or touch one person throughout this new adventure, then I will be satisfied. If not, then at least the world wide web can have access to my thoughts and stories. 


***If you know of a love story, or if you have one, submit it! I’d love to hear it, and perhaps even share it! : )