From the groom-to-be, Travis:
I met Ashton in the winter of 2013, at a get-together with mutual friends. We started talking that night and she told me she was going to school to be a geologist. I automatically thought she was full of shit because, let’s be honest, no one willingly becomes a geologist.
After the initial meeting I managed to oh-so-romantically steal her cell phone number from a friend of mine and started to talk to her. She legitimately blew me off and ignored me all Christmas break… or so I thought. Turned out Ashton had more important things to do besides text losers like me over her Christmas holidays. She was out ice fishing and sledding all weekend.
Once she returned to the city I figured I’d have to get her to prove she was actually into ice fishing and all the outdoors things I liked, so I took her ice fishing. I picked her up in the afternoon, bought her a bottle of Boone’s fine wine and we headed down the highway to the lake. Needless to say I sang out loud to the songs on my phone the whole 45 minute drive, as I did when I was nervous in such situations. After singing all 14 minutes of Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything for Love,” we arrived. She literally spent the whole day laying out on the ice drinking her wine. Not one fish was caught. But, at the end of the day I knew there was no way I was throwing her back (get it, fish jokes?).
We dated for a month prior to making it official, but it was the evening of the Super Bowl when I went onto her Facebook and forced her into a relationship (HA!) because when it comes to romance, I’ve got it covered. Since then we’ve been together for over three years. Throughout those years, Ashton graduated University and joined the ranks of the prestigious Geology Elite. We’ve managed to make our cat obese, and we’ve watched all 250+ episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.
In October of 2016 I decided I would ask Ashton to marry me. But I couldn’t just do it the normal way. Oh no, first class or nothing. So, in secret I planned a trip to Italy. I had it planned down to the very detail. Photographer to capture the moment, the location, the day, everything. In true Travis fashion I kept the secret for roughly a week, then I let it slip that the trip was planned, but as far as Ashton knew we were just going to Italy for a vacation. But, in all honesty, what farm kid do you know who would just fly to Italy for nothing? It seemed everyone else knew what was up but her.
In April we left for Italy. Made it to Rome and I managed to get the engagement ring through three rounds of customs and into the hotel room safely. Now, to tour the city for three days and pretend I didn’t have something huge planned. All the while Ashton couldn’t figure out who I was messaging on my phone while we were on vacation (it was the photographer that was meeting us for the proposal).
Finally it was Thursday, the 13th of April, the day I wore dark wash jeans and a long sleeve plaid shirt while touring the city of Rome in 40 degree heat, the day I carried an engagement ring box around the Coliseum, the day I told Ashton she couldn’t go back to the hotel to change her shoes or stop and eat even though she looked like she was going to kill me… the day I proposed.
Now, I always figured when it came down to it, I’d have a lot of heart-filled things to say, I’d keep it together and I wouldn’t be all nerves… nope. Once I got through dragging Ashton up the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the city to the area that the photographer had arranged, I turned around and said “so, you think I suck at keeping secrets?” Followed by something along the lines of “I would be no where near where I am today without you…” Then my eyes got all puffy and watery, likely due to allergies I’d imagine. I got down on one knee and with the use of her entire name I asked “Ashton Sally Chaykowski… will you marry me?”
She bawled. Like running makeup messy cry. I’m sure the last thing she wanted to do was get some pictures taken, but we turned around and I pointed to the photographer and she knew what all I’d been planning these past 6 months.
We spent the rest of the day getting engagement pictures taken… in 40 degree heat… in a long sleeve plaid shirt and jeans… with my grumpy, sore footed, puffy-eyed fiancée. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Photographer: Lisa Larson Photography