Ashley + Ashbee, Cooper's Rock Engagement Session



Ashley is one of my dearest friends from law school. Everyone invariably describes her as "sweet" and they are spot on. Ashley is kind, patient, and endearing. She's also incredibly smart (she earned her law degree and MBA at the same time), but she would never lord it over anyone and so she carries a quiet confidence that can't help but draw you in.






I met Ashbee not long after Ashley because they have been dating for ten years. Ten! When our little group of law school girlfriends would get together to study at Ashley's (i.e., play guitar hero and eat Chinese food), often times Ashbee would there too: reserved at first, but then revealing this hilarious wit. Ashbee never fails to make me laugh. The two are a perfect match and so much fun to be around. At least half of our pictures ended up being laughing shots!




Ashbee has a masters degree in aerospace engineering (so yea, rocket scientist) and hails from Southern Shores, North Carolina. (I don't think I'm the only West Virginian who has OBX as their happy place.) He's been surfing since he was a little boy and gets in the waves every chance he gets.




The two actually met in the Outer Banks. Ashley's Aunt noticed this cute boy on the construction crew working on her house back in 2006 and thought he would be perfect for her niece. Turns out, she was right. When Ashley came to visit in 2006, her Aunt introduced the two. Ashbee seemed so shy, so Ashley was really surprised when, upon returning to Morgantown, she got a call from Ashbee asking to take her on a date the next time she visited.



Ashley accepted his invitation and during her next trip, Ashbee took her to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The two climbed the stairs all the way to the top and Ashley did her best to, in her words, pretend she wasn't "dying and out of breath!" The two then went to the beach (whereat Ashbee tried to show off his surfing skills) and then out to dinner. For the rest of the summer, they spent nearly every day together.




Ten years later, Ashley's mom's family was visiting her aunt over the Fourth of July weekend. The night after their tenth anniversary, Ashbee asked if Ashley wanted to go watch the sunset on the sound while dinner was being prepared. They drove over to Jockey's Ridge park and made their way to a dock overlooking the sound. As the sun set, Ashbee got down on both knees and proposed.

{Swoon; I feel like I'm writing the synopsis to a Nicholas Spark book over here! }

When they got back to her aunt's house, everyone was waiting to congratulate them with champagne. They spent the rest of the night celebrating and playing cornhole.




Though so many of Ashley and Ashbee's special moments took place in the Outer Banks, a big part of their love story has West Virginia as the backdrop. The two got their degrees from West Virginia University and built a lot of their lives in Morgantown. The two love to go camping and hiking, so Cooper's Rock, WV, was the perfect place to take their engagement photos.

The two also love to travel. Not long ago, the pair went on a cross country trip and camped in the back of his truck most nights. They have drove and camped through the lower 48 states and all the way though Canada up to Nova Scotia in a 2 year period. With Hawaii checked off their list, they only have Alaska to go! (Honeymoon location?)





Ashley and Ashbee, thank you for sharing this exciting time with me. I am lucky to call you friends and honored to photograph your love story. I'm so happy you two have found each other and look forward to the day when you marry your best friend!





Claire Watson is a Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer based in Martinsburg, WV; she joyfully serves clients in West Virginia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.



Claire Watson